Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Losing Even More

Last time I mentioned how I had lost a few things and that those losses were good things.  Well, the good losses continue.  This past weekend we had the first of what will undoubtedly be several garage sales as we continue to trade all of this stuff we have accumulated for our freedom.

If I knew then what I know now I certainly wouldn't have bought some of this stuff...but as I've admitted before, I was somewhat the good little American consumer that our society trained us to be since we were children.  Fortunately neither my wife nor I have ever been big spenders or overly compelled to "keep up with the Joneses", so the damage to our freedom isn't nearly as bad as it could have been.  Still, even recouping a small percentage of the price paid for many of these things we no longer need feels really good.

We held the sale on Friday and Saturday and had an assortment of items available.  We had some tools, kitchen equipment, dishes, artwork, camping gear, electronics, and the list goes on.  It was really only a very small subset of the items we need to get rid of, but was a good start and filled the garage.  I forgot how much of a pain it is to price things for a garage sale.  On one hand, you want to get a reasonable price for things in order to justify having the sale but you also want the items gone (to me the one thing worse than not getting a reasonable price for things would be to have to pay to get rid of them).  We decided to try and price things around 10 cents on the dollar of replacement cost, with some exceptions for condition or the type of item.

Since we had more to sell than would fit in the garage, I often told those that stopped by to let me know if there was anything in particular they were looking for. A few folks took us up on the offer and we did sell a few things that weren't originally out for the sale. We continued to "restock" as items were sold, so it is hard to get an accurate idea of how much we purged.

We got rid of a few big items that has made some extra space in the garage/house.  In the end we did regain over a thousand dollars worth of our freedom.  Not too shabby.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sometimes Loss is a Good Thing

Since I got back to Colorado, I've had a few interesting losses.

When I started this adventure, one of my hopes was that a more active outdoor lifestyle would improve my health.  Well, I didn't think too much of needing to buy a belt while I was in Brunswick (I just figured the waistbands on my old pants were stretching). But, after arriving in Denver, I did step on a scale (I didn't have one on the boat).  To my surprise I had lost about 35 pounds without any attempt to diet.  My only difference was cooking at home more and working on the boat more than sitting behind the "glowing boxes" (computers, televisions) most of the day.  One benefit I had hoped for seems to be realized.  A big win for me.

I've also suffered from a couple kidney stones in recent years.  I apparently have a genetic predisposition for them as my father suffers from them periodically as well.  Over the past dozen or more years I've had a couple "procedures" to remove stones.  Late last year, before I left to go live on the boat, my doctor found another stone and an ESWL procedure was performed to break up the stone in hopes that it would pass.  Shortly before leaving, they did an x-ray and found that most of the stone had passed but there was a small stubborn fragment that was still stuck in my kidney.  We tried using an inversion table and a few other techniques to try to get it to pass, but it would not budge.  So, I left for the boat with the fragment and instructions to "keep an eye on it".

Since I am back in Colorado, it seemed like a good time to go to the doctor to check up on the stone.  I went to the doctor a few days ago, got the usual X-ray, and waited for the doctor.  Imagine my surprise when the doctor came in and told me that they saw no signs of the stone fragment.  Apparently I had passed the thing.  Woohoo!  I hadn't really thought of it until now, but I didn't start having stone issues until I was firmly settled in my software engineering career (and associated sedentary lifestyle).  I now wonder if it is the lack of movement while sitting behind a computer all day is a big part of stone formation.  Getting out and moving about...and maybe hanging from the mast a time or two...definitely seems to help them pass.  Regardless of the reason, I'm very happy to be stone free again and I hope it stays that way now.

It really seems to me that our, or at least my, modern lifestyle is not a good thing for long term health.  Being sedentary isn't good, sitting for long periods isn't good, stress isn't good...and the list goes on.

Speaking of stress, I've lost something that was causing a lot of stress in my life as well.  My job.  During the last boat move from Southport to Deltaville, it became very apparent to me that my wife and I really need to shift things into high gear and move on with our lives.  The reason I came back to Colorado is to help in that regard.  Working full time has limited the amount of time I've been able to dedicate to our new life.  Add in that the working conditions, management, and morale have continued to degrade at the job over the last year and it made the decision to leave a fairly easy one.  I submitted my resignation, including a two week notice, when I returned to Colorado. The company apparently decided that they didn't want me to transfer any additional knowledge of the projects I was working on to anyone else and released me the next day.  Guess it was good for them that I had already been transferring knowledge so my departure would be reasonably smooth and there are only a few systems that people will have to go figure out on their own.  At least one of us was professional about it.

So, over the past weeks and months I've lost a few things...and all for the better.  I can't wait to get back to the boat and my new, healthier, life.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moving Forward

For the next couple months my posts may be a bit more sporadic.  I have returned to Colorado to help my wife with our house.  We have lived in the home for over 17 years so there is a lot to go through before we can put it up for sale.  A lot of stuff to sell and even more to throw away...er recycle.  I don't think we will have to do as much work on the house as we did with my father in law's place, but it still will take a little time. The local housing market seems to be pretty good right now, so I hope we can get the house up for sale soon.

Meanwhile, the boat is on the hard getting a little work done.  I'd prefer to do most of the work myself (particularly due to some of my recent experiences with "professionals" in the boating world), but many folks in the Deltaville, VA. area have good reviews for their work so I am hopeful.  Unfortunately I simply cannot be in two places at once.

So, I'll post when I have something interesting to report, but I'll assume you all know what it is like cleaning up a house so I won't bore you with that.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Flying Boat to Land-based Home.

In the past few days, I've watched my boat become a land-based home.  In Deltaville, I had one of the local yards haul it for a couple reasons.  First, there have been a couple through-hulls that need attention and they are notoriously difficult to replace while in the water (you know, that whole water rushing in through a hole in the bottom of the boat thing).  I also planned to head back to Colorado to help my wife with purging our house and the other unnecessary belongings we had acquired as good little American consumers.  Since we needed to haul the boat anyway, might as well store it on the hard while I am gone.

The Travellift raising Rover from the water.

Hovering over land ready to pressure wash.

The haul out and blocking of the boat makes me a bit nervous.  Other than the brief haul-outs for surveys (I feel more experienced at that with 3 surveys under my belt), I've never hauled and blocked a boat for storage on land.  Of course, the owners manual has little useful information on the subject.  I looked through pictures online and made sure that the boat stands were positioned under bulkheads and that load is spread out as much as possible on the stands.

The past couple days I have lived on the boat while it sat out in the boatyard.  This is much less pleasant than sitting at anchor.  In the boatyard the scenery isn't quite as nice (although the Deltaville area is pretty, it just isn't the same as being surrounded by the sea). The worst part is the temperature though.  When we were at anchor, the boat would point into the wind and the airflow would keep the boat fairly cool without the need for air conditioning or fans.  In the yard, the surrounding trees prevent most of the breezes, and the few that do make it to the boat are from random angles that even make the breeze boosters useless.

And, since you are not sitting in the water and the A/C units require raw water to operate, that isn't an option.  Throw in the dust and dirt of the yard, and it just isn't the most comfortable way to live on a boat.  I'm not knocking the yard though, for as far as yards go, this one seems pretty nice.  The folks that work there are friendly and helpful and seem to know what they are doing (guess I'll know for sure after they've completed some work on my boat).  They do have a bathhouse and, although small with only a single shower, it is clean and nicer than some marinas I've stayed at.

It feels a bit weird leaving the boat on land.  It just looks so out of place.  And adding that this is the first time I've hauled and blocked a boat and the first time that I'll be leaving it for any extended period, I guess I'm a little nervous.  I've cleaned up, done laundry, thrown away all open food, defrosted the refrigerator, opened all cabinets so there is some airflow, setup a dehumidifier to help keep it reasonably dry, and the list continues. Hope I've done everything I need to do to keep her clean and safe until our return.

Rover sitting on land...just doesn't look right.

Of course, as I'm writing part of this I'm actually on board a plane heading back to Colorado.  Nothing goes to windward like a 747 (or in my case an A319) and Colorado is roughly windward of Virginia.  Interesting to think I was happy traveling along at 5 knots a few days ago and am now going closer to 500 knots. Of course Rover couldn't make it to Colorado so it really isn't a choice.

We arrive in Denver along with the usual summer evening thunderstorms.  In fact, after we landed we had to sit for about 45 minutes waiting for a gate.  Apparently lightning hit concourse A and knocked out all the communications with the gates.  This resulted in planes not being able to come and go on schedule.  The fun of commercial airline travel...wish I could sail to Colorado.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Technology Black Hole

I shouldn't be complaining about this, and truth be told I'm not.  I found a bit of a technology black hole in Deltaville.  For several days I've had VERY limited internet access and no cell phone service.  The boatyard I'm in has a wireless router and repeater...that needs to be repaired/installed.  Right now the only working router is the one that just barely covers their small office space.  My cell and tablet won't even connect to the wireless when sitting outside the office door.  Unfortunately the Wirie, while picking up a number of wireless signals (but not the boatyard office), didn't see an open signal to use anywhere.

And speaking of my cell...apparently T-mobile has never heard of this little peninsula in Virginia.  I guess Verizon owns the show here and unless you have a phone that can use the Verizon network, getting cell coverage here is...shall we say...a challenge.  While Verizon had good coverage in the U.S., I know that the rest of the world doesn't use the same radio technology as them (GSM versus CDMA) so I don't really want to switch...but I have been finding my coverage less than ideal.

All things to consider when you are heading off to live on a boat.  Personally I kind of like being a little more out of touch...you know what they say...ignorance is bliss.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Can't Wait to Have Solar on the Boat

Having spent the last few nights at anchor, I have to say I just cannot wait to install alternative energy options on s/v Rover.  When purchased, the only option (other than a shore power cord), was to run a Northern Lights generator for power.  Sadly, I have not remedied this situation yet so I have to fire up the generator once a day or so to top off the house batteries.

As I sit here typing this, the drone of the generator going in the background and disturbing this otherwise peaceful setting just annoys me.  I hate having to run the thing...the pollution and noise just make me cringe.  Hopefully soon I won't need it any longer as one of the projects I'd like to do over the next couple months is add solar and possibly a wind generator.

Become self sufficient and less reliant on fossil fuels, that is one of our goals.

This might be a bit much, but I can appreciate the sentiment.
Now I need to go turn off the infernal noise maker before it drives me crazy.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chisman Creek Anchorage to Deltaville - Beating to Windward.

After getting up, verifying the anchor was where we left it, and making breakfast, we were again on the move.  This should be our last day of travel up to Deltaville VA.  The weather finally seems to have improved and is supposed to be nice for the next several days. We make our way out of Chisman creek and into the Chesapeake.  The wind was again from the northeast, but we decided to try and sail it anyway.

Goodbye Chisman Creek, you were a nice anchorage.
Beating to windward is what sailors call it when you are trying to head to an upwind destination.  If you have big swells and the wind in your face, I can imagine you could take quite a "beating".  In our case it wasn't bad.  We had maybe two foot seas on a 5 second period (at least that is the guess I noted in my log book). Of course it feels rougher because you are traveling against the wave direction so to you they feel much closer together. Winds were anywhere in the 15~30 knot range, justifying the need to reef the sails.  Still trying to figure out the best time to reef using the "sticker" the charter company put on the inside of a cabinet door as a recommendation.  As it turns out, I found the boat tends to make more leeway without going much faster if you exceed their recommendations, so it looks like I'll stick to those.

You do a lot of sailing when beating to windward...but you don't do much of it in the direction you are trying to go.  We were averaging around 5 knots, but our velocity made good (VMG - or the speed you are going toward your destination) ranged from around 3 knots to -2 knots.  We would play with pinching into the wind as much as we could, then falling off a bit for better linear speed to see if the VMG would change, but it was a slow ride.  I know I'm no expert when it comes to sailing and the best we could seem to get any sort of speed was at about 40 degrees off of the wind direction.  When you account for the leeway, we were traveling somewhere around 50 or more degrees away from the wind. Finally around 4:30pm we had to fire up the engines and motor sail or we were never going to make it to Deltaville before dark.  You can see in the image of our track below when we went from sailing to motoring as our course became much more direct.  While we sailed a majority of the distance we traveled, it seems we only sailed about 1/2 of the actual path between Chisman Creek and Deltaville.

We made it to Deltaville, but it was late and the boatyard I was heading to was closed for the day (and weekend), so we anchored in a nice bay just a little outside their facility.

Rover at anchor in Fishing Bay near Deltaville VA.
I guess I hadn't mentioned this, but the reason for this trip, in addition to getting north of Cape Hattaras before June 1, was to get the boat hauled and get some work done.  I hope I can find some decent tradespeople here, I've heard pretty good things about the area.

Dodge the Big Gray Iron Ships - Portsmouth to Chisman Creek Anchorage.

The weather was forecast to be better today, not great, but better and improving as the day went.  So, I decided it was time to move on.  We left the free dock in Portsmouth just a little before high tide (so we could get to the dock lines without getting our feet wet) and with gray skies greeting us.

Lots of Navy ships in Portsmouth/Norfolk.
There was other gray that greeted us as well, the gray of several U.S. Navy warships.  Shortly after leaving the dock, one of the ships came up from behind, backwards.  It didn't get that close and apparently found a place to turn around, because later, it passed us.  Actually, it was in the channel and passing a barge coming the other way in the channel and we, wisely, just moved off to the side and let them pass.  You can sure feel small when these ships pass by.

Navy Ship passing Barge.  Weather still wasn't great.
There is a causeway that goes into a tunnel north of Norfolk so ships can pass over the cars.  Just after getting through that part of the channel, we were passed by an aircraft carrier.  You really feel small when one of those giant floating airports pass by...even at a distance.

Aircraft Carrier with a 500 yard "protection zone" enforced around it.
Once we got away from Norfolk, there were no other encounters with the Navy.  We did hear on the radio that they were doing exercises in the area, I guess that explains all the ships that were out and about.

About the time we got on course, what little wind there was we found to be dead on our nose again.  So, we did a little sailing and a little motor sailing to make reasonable time.  At one point near the end of the day's travels the winds died down a bit and we flew the spinnaker again.  Still pretty sure I've used this sail more since I've had the boat than it has been used the entire rest of it's life.

We found a nice anchorage location courtesy of Active Captain and after a little debate about where to drop the hook, we anchored for the night.  The few times I've anchored out, I've had a hard time choosing an anchorage location.  Maybe I just try to be more considerate, but I try not to anchor right in front of a house on the shore or too close to where I think a lot of boat traffic may be (don't want to be inconvenient to others and certainly don't want to be run in to by another boater).  By the time we were ready to anchor, the clouds had all parted and it was a nice evening.  We grilled up some hamburgers on my Magma rail mounted grill and then were treated to a nice sunset.

Not a bad place to spend an evening.

This will be the first night I've spent at anchor on our boat. The anchor seems well set and the weather is calm now, so hopefully it will be an uneventful night.  One more day and we should be to our destination.