WE’RE TAKING ON WATER!!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

PART I

It’s been a long time coming but, after almost a year, tons of repairs, and a few motoring runs, we finally got to raise the sails on No Tan Lines (“Tanny”)! We’d been waiting for just the right weather window before the rainy season starts and this was the day when it finally arrived. Richard was scheduled to train a new employee on this particular day and he later told me how SO VERY HAPPY he was to be spared from the stress and mayhem we endured!

It was a beautiful morning. Just a few clouds, a cool breeze, and hardly any boats on the bay at all. Just before backing Tanny out of the slip, we bumped the box on the dock housing our utility connections. My fault. Oops. Just a slight ding. If only I’d known that was a sign of things to come…

We backed her out of the slip, rounded the basin, and entered Tampa Bay. We then turned south, towards the Skyway Bridge. After the main, mizzen, and jib were raised, we cut the engine. There was a nice morning breeze for a few minutes but then it petered out and we were only moving at about 1 knot. It was starting to warm up and we were passing around the bottled water and sunscreen. Capt. Brian Whiddon rolled up the jib, and set the staysail, which has a boom attached so we could more easily tack and jibe. It was very relaxing and we saw large schools of fish and even two dolphins!

It was so quiet and tranquil…until the VHF crackled to life.

The Coast Guard started making frequent announcements about a vessel in distress. Some poor guy in a 22-foot blue and white boat was taking on water “10 to 15 miles” from one of the islands. They were asking anyone in the area to be on the lookout, and to offer assistance if possible. As the alerts continued, it was clear nobody had found him yet. We weren’t anywhere near that area so we couldn’t assist. But, the frequent requests for help were unnerving as we worried about him.

When we got closer to the Skyway, after passing the land mass, our quiet ride ended. The wind picked up with impressive speed and we were suddenly flying across the water with the boat heeled over and spray splashing our warm cheeks. We were having a blast! At one point, we heard a large crash below. A drawer in the hallway had flown out, spilling hardware everywhere. I quickly cleaned it up.

We had to tack to avoid a slow-moving tanker that was crossing directly in front of us. Once it was out of the way, we proceeded under the bridge.

Another tanker was heading our way and I was at the helm. I had no intention of playing chicken with that big guy. However, I had to head more into the wind to avoid him and our speed slowed a bit. I guess the tanker captain grew a little concerned so he hailed us on the VHF, asking how we planned to pass him. He was very nice, and probably just wanted to make sure we could see him. (How could we NOT see him?!)

Brian told him we planned to pass well off to his port side. After we safely passed him, I let Max and Mason take a turn at the wheel so they could sail in the Gulf of Mexico, too. They loved it! It was such a beautiful day!!

We sailed about a mile into the gulf but it was already mid-afternoon so we turned around to head back. The wind was still kickin’ us along quite nicely and, once we were back under the Skyway, it continued. After we got into the dead zone again (which was no longer dead as the wind had picked up everywhere), Capt. Brian adjusted the sails so we wouldn’t heel as much. Heeling is more fun and I LOVE to go fast but it’s not good to put stress on the rigging if you don’t need to. Still, I’d very much enjoyed the exciting ride! I admit I pouted a bit about the excitement ending but Brian reminded me, “You want this boat to last another 20 to 30 years, right?” I nodded and, while were still moving along at about 5 knots, I stared longingly at the Lev-o-gage, which showed we were only heeling at 1 degree.

Things would not be boring for long, however. Brian took the helm and I sat back, watching the cormorants diving for their dinner, and the occasional pelican flying nearby. I pulled out my phone and sent Richard an update, telling him our location and estimated time of arrival, and I also sent him several pictures I’d taken of the boys and the boat.

I had just clicked send…and that’s when I heard the bilge pump dumping water. No big deal. I hear it a few times a day, every day. When we’re at the dock, it turns on about once every two or three hours to dump the water the air conditioners produce, or when the sump pump overflows.

I knew the air conditioners weren’t running and nobody had turned on a sink or shower to fill the sump. Then, the bilge pumps kicked on again. Then they stopped. About five seconds later, they started again. And, it wasn’t a lazy dump of just a little water from the air conditioners, which I was used to hearing. It was a big dump. They turned back off. And, about five seconds later, turned back on.

And, that’s when it hit me. WE WERE TAKING ON WATER!

I didn’t want to alarm the boys. I tried to remain outwardly calm but my words came out in a high-pitched squeak as I mentioned the bilge pumps to Brian. I took the helm and he casually walked below. I heard him pulling up the floor board in the galley.

I plastered on a fake smile for the boys while my mind raced. ‘Okay, breathe, Angie. Taking on water. Have dinghy. Have outboard. Have Epirb. In Tampa Bay. Easy to find…not like that poor guy they were looking for this morning. We’ll be fine, right? Keep breathing, Angie. Wait…bilge pumps are working. But, how long will the batteries last when they’re running non-stop? We have an emergency pump but what if the generator stops working?

A million words were flying through my head. I knew we weren’t going to die but I didn’t want to lose the boat and ALL of our belongings. ‘Can we get her close enough to land to run her aground? Is that even a good idea? Aarrrgghhh!!! Why haven’t I read more sailing books?! Angie, you have GOT to start budgeting your time better! Can Sea Tow get to us before the batteries give out???

It had been maybe 90 seconds since Brian went below. I heard the bilge pumps dumping again. Then, I saw Brian race past the companionway opening, from the galley to the nav station. My stomach tightened. He then silently darted by again, back toward the galley. The bilge pumps made another dump. Bile started rising in my throat.

I heard the bilge pumps dump yet again. I was counting in my head, waiting for the next dump. Three-one-thousand… Four-one-thousand… Five-one-thousand… I turned my head and strained my eardrums. No spurting. No splashing. Nothing. Whatever was wrong, Brian had fixed it!

The bile settled back down in my gut and I sat down behind the wheel, remembering that I was supposed to stay on course while in a full-blown yet silent panic. That’s not easy.

Brian casually climbed back into the cockpit. I didn’t mention the sweat on his brow. Still not wanting to alarm the boys, I smiled, and said, “Seacock problem, eh?”

Looking out at the horizon, he shook his head no, and said, “We’re fine.”

I asked, “What was it?”

He turned, looked at me, and sternly whispered, “We’re FINE.”

I knew he didn’t want to scare the boys with the truth. It must have been something bad. Very bad.

A few minutes later, the boys went downstairs for a snack and Brian leaned over to tell me a hose had come loose, and was filling the bilge. He had no idea how long the bilge pumps had been running because we couldn’t hear them when we were in high winds and rough seas. He’d managed to plug it with a cylindrical cork he pulled from the emergency bag but he didn’t know if the hose was going to the engine, or the generator, or somewhere else. No generator means dying batteries. No engine means we’re stuck out there, hoping we can sail to more shallow water, and anchor while we wait for help…all the while hoping we don’t start taking on water again.

Now that the boys were down below, blissfully unaware of our predicament, Brian wanted to see if we had outflow from the engine and generator. I fired up the engine but we were heeling and the exhaust opening was under the waterline, so Brian couldn’t see if water was coming out. We had to turn around so the boat would heel to the other side. Gurgle gurgle spurt. Thank GOD! It wasn’t a hose going to the engine. Brian then tested the generator. It wasn’t that, either. We’d have to wait until we got back to the marina to see what caused the problem. For now, we tried to relax, hoping the plug in the hose would hold.

I was tempted to send Richard another update but I didn’t want to give him a hear attack so I decided that probably wasn’t a good idea.

Taking down the main sail later was another adventure involving a lot of sail flapping, deafening clanging from the rigging, and hollering back and forth. The main didn’t want to come all the way down and one of the lines got stuck. We may have suffered some mild hearing loss from those few moments. The evening wind had picked up and Brian had to climb part way up the mast to fix the problem while Tanny pitched to and fro. He managed to get it down and things once again got quiet.

It was getting dark and we were still pretty far from the marina. Worse, the wind was blowing directly out of the northwest (the direction we needed to go) so we’d have to tack back and forth in order to get home. And, each time we thought we’d gone far enough north to avoid heading directly into the wind to get home, the wind would shift again. All the while, that hose was on our minds. We wanted to get home. And fast.

So, we sat in the cockpit, watching the sun set and the city lights coming on in the distant buildings.

We tacked to port, sailed awhile, then tacked to starboard, then back to port, then back to starboard. We weren’t going to make it home until around 10 p.m., if we were lucky. If we got home AT ALL. As the sky grew dark, I tried to relax while listening to my heart pound in my eardrums, and silently talking to myself once again. ‘Come on, Angie. Chill OUT!! I mean, seriously, what else could POSSIBLY go wrong?!

STAY TUNED FOR PART II – COMING NEXT WEEK!

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* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

WHERE WE STAY WHEN “NO TAN LINES” IS ON THE HARD

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

No Tan Lines is our office and our home. We live there but we also run BookLocker.com and WritersWeekly.com from her salon. Our employees and contractors all work out of their homes, too, because it’s very important to us that they are able to be with their children as much as possible.

During the past two years, since we sold our house, we’ve been spending way too much money on storage for our business equipment and files. A few weeks ago, we decided to rent a “satellite office” for all of those, as well as a quiet place where we can work when the boat is noisy, for employee meetings, and for training since we really don’t have a table suitable for more than one person on the boat.

In most cases, when you have repairs made to a house, or even an office, you can usually stay there when they’re being done.

When you’re having repairs that require pulling your boat (office) out of the water, you have to find another place to work.

No Tan Lines has been on the hard for three weeks now. We’re having drive shaft work done, and getting new spurs. We wanted to have a new thru hull put in for the kitchen sink (it currently goes into the sump pump) but the sink is too low in the boat.

During Hurricane Irma, we spent $4500 staying at the Hilton. It wasn’t just us staying there. We had some of our adult kiddos and our new grandson there, too. Assuming we’ll have more hurricanes in the future, and that we’ll need a haul-out every year or so, we realized we could bunk at the “satellite office” if we need to, and furnished it accordingly. And, only two months after we got it all set up, here we are!

There are only two rooms (offices) and one bathroom, along with a tiny kitchenette in the front office. The desk in the front office has a regular chair but the other chairs fold out into small beds.

The shower only runs lukewarm. There are two window air conditioner units but they work pretty good.

It’s on 4th Street and, apparently, this is the route all the ambulances take to the hospital. So, we hear ear shattering sirens all day and all night. There is constant traffic and a traffic light right out front. Twenty-four hours a day of VROOM! VROOM!! RUMBLE! RUMBLE!!

And, rap music! It’s really nice outside so lots of folks are driving with their windows down. BOOM! BOOM!! BOOM-CHICK-A-BOOM!!!

Lots of people walk in St. Petersburg and, unfortunately, there are lots of late night walkers (and partiers) on the sidewalk out front, all hours of the night. Loud talking, laughter, and even yelling.

I call the lady upstairs “clogs.” I think she has insomnia. She is constantly clomp, clomp, clomping up there on the wooden floors.

The biggest problem has been that our dog, Coco, absolutely refuses to go potty here. We’ve tried walking around the block, walking around two blocks, and even walking to the dog park at the high rise we used to live in. She won’t pee anywhere except at the marina. Thankfully, Capt. Brian Whiddon has been keeping her on his boat most nights so Richard doesn’t have to drive her there late a night, and early in the morning.

We were ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to learn today that Tanny can be picked up on Friday. Only two more nights of sirens, traffic, rap music, clogs, and the like. Yea!!! While it’s nice to have an affordable place to stay when we need it, we can’t WAIT to get back home!!

Well, it’s late now so I have to turn off my laptop…and find my earplugs.

NEXT:  WE’RE TAKING ON WATER!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

WINE GLASSES, EQUIPMENT, AND PEOPLE FALLING IN THE DRINK

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

We have heard many Dock 4 Party stories about people falling off the dock…usually in a state of extreme inebriation. While I haven’t seen that myself, there was one funny incident that occurred late one night when we weren’t present.

One of our neighbors, who I’ll call Sam, told the story of hearing something banging on his hull late one night. He went outside and another neighbor, who I’ll call Ian, was in the water, banging on the back of Sam’s boat, and trying to climb onto the swim platform. Yes, he’d fallen in after imbibing a bit too much that night.

Capt. Brian says there are two types of boaters – those who have fallen in and those who haven’t yet. I haven’t yet fallen in (knock on teak) but I’ve come close a few times. Once, I was getting out of the cockpit in a hurry (which is always a mistake) and my body lurched forward. I managed to stop the momentum of my torso by grabbing a life line but my prescription glasses flew off the top of my head, into the drink. They were $400! Brian put on his dive suit and tank, and tried to find them…to no avail. However, while he was diving, our neighbor Allan said he’d recently dropped something and Brian was able to find that for him.

We use plastic wine “glasses” (for obvious reasons) and we’ve lost five of those, sharing the wine remnants with the fish. The arm rests in the cockpit slope slightly outward. That’s so water coming into the cockpit drains out, not in. If you bump a wine glass with your elbow, it shoots off of the armrest and, occasionally, skips across the deck and over the the side. Once at a dock party, I bumped a wine glass I hadn’t even filled with wine yet and it went over. And, I wasn’t even on the boat.

What we need are wine glasses with suction cups on the bottom! I was just sitting here thinking I might be onto something here, and pictured riches flowing in from the patent I would most certainly be applying for very soon. But, alas, I just found a wine glass holder with suction cups for sale online. Darn it.

Click on the glass to check it out!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

NEXT: WHERE WE STAY WHEN “NO TAN LINES” IS ON THE HARD

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

SHOULD WE FIRE OUR BOTTOM SCRUBBER?

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

If your boat is living in saltwater, you need the bottom scrubbed on a regular basis. When we were buying our boat, we chanced upon a meeting with a guy at a local marina who offered this service. He had a lot of experience, and seemed to know everyone in the area so we hired him.

We’ve been paying $126/month for this service, which we learned from our Dock 4 neighbors is too much. But, he always showed up on schedule and he seemed to really care about No Tan Lines (“Tanny”). This week, we had Tanny hauled out for some work so we were able to get a good look at the bottom, which was scrubbed only about 9 days before the haul out.

Notice that, from a distance, the bottom looks really good. But, on closer inspection…

If all of this growth was “new,” it would be all over the hull. It’s not. If the growth above the tiller was permitted to keep growing, it could cause problems with steering. Don’t even get me started on the condition of the propeller. The growth on the bow thruster is pretty old, based on the size of the barnacles.

What really angered me was the thru hull. The one in the picture is from our aft air conditioner, which has been periodically shutting down with an error message. Now we know why! There was a lot of growth in there. The diver could have simply put a screw driver in there to break it up. Brian pulled his keys out of his pocket, stuck one in there, jiggled it around for a second, and then a mess of growth poured out, followed by a steady stream of saltwater. I was NOT happy.

I posted this photo to our Dock 4 Facebook page, asking our neighbors for a recommendation for someone who charges less, and who does a much better job.

NEXT: WINE GLASSES, EQUIPMENT AND PEOPLE FALLING IN THE DRINK

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

NAUGHTY NAUTICAL TERMS!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

At a recent Dock Party, we were discussing naughty nautical terms. As the night went on, and the cutter cocktails flowed, the terms got even more hilarious!

Back in the day, sailing was strictly for men. In fictional lore, the only women at sea were mermaids, damsels taken captive by pirates or captains (yes, I’m a hard core romance novel addict), and brave women paying passage on vessels…all the while being ogled by the all-male crew.

Pondering the naughty-cal terms below, it’s blatantly obvious that men invented them:

  • Bow thruster
  • Cockpit
  • Seacock
  • Seaman
  • Masthead
  • Spreader
  • Drive shaft
  • Blow me down
  • Thar she blows
  • Broad in the beam (think about it…)
  • A shot across the bow (think about this one, too…)
  • Going on the hard
  • Cuntline (I seriously can’t make this stuff up!!)

Three sheets to the wind doesn’t just mean being drunk.

And, believe it or not, Cat O’Nine Tails also has nautical origins. According to Wikepedia: “The cat o’ nine tails, commonly shortened to the cat, is a type of multi-tailed whip that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment, notably in the Royal Navy and Army of the United Kingdom…

That concludes our naughty-cal history lesson for today. If you need a cold shower now, I’ll completely understand.

And, if you have other terms to add, please share!

NEXT: SHOULD WE FIRE OUR BOTTOM SCRUBBER?

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

YEA! I DIDN’T WRECK THE BOAT TODAY!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

Today, No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) was scheduled for a trip to the boat yard. When I practiced docking a few weeks ago, her drive shaft threw a bearing. (I swear that was NOT my fault!!) We also want to add a new thru hull so the kitchen sink will drain directly into the water instead of into the sump pump. The sump has failed twice now and, when it does, it overflows into the bilge. Old coffee grounds, grease, and other yucky, rotting muck are NOT something you want floating around in your bilge. That can stink to high Heaven! (And, yes, we throw away leftovers and we have a strainer in the kitchen sink drain but it doesn’t catch everything.)

While it’s already been six weeks since I learned how to dock the boat, I was still feeling pretty confident so I told Capt. Brian I wanted to back her out of the slip. He said okay and we called our Dock 4 friends, Stephanie, Diego, and Allan, to ask if they’d come help. They and Max would handle the lines, and keep a watchful eye on our surroundings while Capt. Brian would stand by the helm, talking me through this perilous procedure. Once everyone tossed the lines, my stomach flip-flopped a bit. I ran a very real risk of turning the boat at the wrong time, and either hitting a piling with the bow, or hitting a boat behind us with the stern.

While regaling you with a tale of high winds, waves, and a hairy, heart-stopping experience would be fun, that’s not what happened. A northeast wind was blowing gently and I was able to ease Tanny out of the slip without incident. Once Diego told me the bow had cleared the last piling, I followed Brian’s instructions. Turn the wheel all the way to the right. Once she’s turned enough, put her slowly in forward, turn the wheel to the left, and bump the bow thruster a few times until she’s straightened out.

It took only minutes and I didn’t hit anything at all, nor even come close to a piling, much to everyone’s relief. We were on our way and I steered her into Tampa Bay, toward the channel that would then lead us past the Coast Guard station, and into Salt Creek. There were a TON of crab traps so the trip was like navigating a fun obstacle course. There was also a regatta of small sailboats that I had to steer around. (Thank goodness I didn’t have to pass THROUGH them!)

Once we got to Salt Creek, I let Capt. Brian take over. It’s very narrow, with boatyards and docks on either side. He had to pass a motor yacht and the vessels were only two feet from each other. That was a bit hairy.

By the time we approached Embree Marine (which is EXCELLENT, by the way), the manager, Chad, was walking out to help us dock. Brian pulled up alongside the dock on our port side without incident. It was perfect, in fact! Everybody secured lines and we disembarked.

We’re staying in downtown St. Pete until Tanny is done at the boat doctor. I can’t wait to take another shot and docking her when we get her back! 🙂

Diego, Stephanie, Brian and Allan. We love our awesome Dock 4 friends!

NEXT: NAUGHTY NAUTICAL TERMS!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts, and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

A FUNNEL CLOUD OVERHEAD!

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On Tuesday morning, the weather reports looked pretty ominous. Winds of 21 mph, gusting to 50 later in the day. Severe thunderstorms, frequent thunder and lightning, and hail. Oh BOY! It was going to be an exciting day!!

We spend the morning securing lines, and stowing any objects that might blow around. While a tornado or waterspout is of major concern to anyone, the chances of one hitting us were pretty remote so we decided to ride out the storm on No Tan Lines (“Tanny”).

The front was a long line stretching northeast to southwest, with Tampa getting hit first. Our phones all started singing with weather warnings. There was a tornado north of us. By then, the winds had really kicked up and Tanny was bouncing around quite a bit. Once the rain started, we found a few leaks and put towels down. There was tons of lightning and thunder and it was a cozy yet exhilarating day on the boat.

At one point, while we were bouncing around, the boat suddenly pitched and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I looked out the bedroom port to the south, up at the sky. I couldn’t see anything. It subsided after a few minutes so I got back to work.

The rain ended around 7:00 p.m. and we were none the worse for wear. In fact, Tanny had received a nice bath in the storm so she was glistening.

Later that night, I found a photo on Facebook taken from the other side of St. Pete. It showed a funnel cloud directly over the marina area. Thank goodness it never touched down! The next time the boat pitches like that, I’m going out on deck to investigate. And, of course, I’ll take my camera!

NEXT: YEA! I DIDN’T WRECK THE BOAT TODAY!!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts, and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

WHEN YOU BUY A BOAT, EVERYBODY INVITES THEMSELVES FOR A VISIT…BUT CAN THEY HANDLE IT???

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As soon as we announced we’d moved onto No Tan Lines, numerous friends and relatives invited themselves for a visit. We were too busy at that point to host dinner parties and out of own guests but, eventually, we ran out of excuses and the flood began. Here’s a brief list:

  • My father-in-law: Super cool guy from Corpus Christi. One of my absolutely most favorite people in the world! Loved hanging out with us in the cockpit but he didn’t want to sleep in the boat. Said he’s not a boat person. He got a hotel.
  • My parents: Were not invited to stay on the boat (not enough room for them). They were going to stay with our daughter anyway. The tide was very high when they came to visit and my mother had to climb a ladder to get onboard. She made a few peeps and “oh dears” but she got on board. They spent about 30 minutes, politely complimenting the boat and taking pictures. Then, we went to dinner. They left town a couple of days early and never came back to visit us on the boat.
  • Husband’s friend: Wanted to stay on the boat. I was impressed! He’s a tall guy. Bumped his head the next morning and it bled. Hurt his leg later in the day. He said he woke up in the middle of the night and thought there was an earthquake because the room was moving. He’d forgotten where he was. The second night, our cat kept scratching on the v-berth door, looking for our son, Max (that’s his bedroom). The friend then asked if he could stay at our daughter’s house for the rest of his visit. He’s coming back to visit, too this summer, and said he doesn’t want to stay on the boat.
  • Another in-law: Came to visit before we all went out to dinner. Said, “This is cozy,” and asked if we were comfortable in it. I don’t think the “cozy” comment was a compliment.
  • Husband’s other friend: Gets seasick. Was visiting with his dad so they couldn’t sleep on the boat anyway. He asked, “How long did you have to live on the boat before you could stop taking Dramamine?” I told him none of us had taken Dramamine since moving onboard.

We love our minimalist lifestyle and we love living on a rocking home but we definitely understand this type of life isn’t for most folks. Still, we enjoy giving them the experience whenever we can, even if they quickly realize it isn’t their cup of tea.

Several friends have been waiting to be invited to dinner parties on the boat. And, while we have had a few, with the boat maintenance, homeschooling the children, and running a business, we don’t have time to host a lot of parties. I wish we did!

NEXT: A FUNNEL CLOUD OVERHEAD!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

OUR FIRST BIG SAILING TRIP GETS BLOWN AWAY. LITERALLY…

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

Each year in March, the Grand Prix comes to St. Petersburg. A couple of weeks before that, they start blocking off huge chunks of downtown, near the waterfront. The cars actually race through the streets of town in a large, meandering circle. Large gates are set up to prevent crashing cars from hitting buildings and pedestrians.

While this sounds cool, it creates a traffic nightmare. And, for the three days when the cars are practicing and racing, the sound is absolutely, alarmingly deafening.

Last year, we were located in a high-rise apartment three blocks from the waterfront. Despite being on the 18th floor, and having hurricane-proof doors and windows, we still had to shout inside to hear each other talking. Worse, the noise would start at 7:30 a.m…on the WEEKEND! It was pretty awful for residents.

This year, we decided to take No Tan Lines on her first big trip! Okay, it was only for five days but that was huge for us! We were going a spend the night on Beer Can Island, and then sail to Egmont Key for some history lessons for the boys, and then we were going to head into the Gulf of Mexico for deep sea fishing!

But, as Murphy’s Law would have it, on the day before we were scheduled to set sail, the weather forecast took a dramatic change. A cold front was going to blast through, bringing gusts to 36-knots, and 6-8 foot seas offshore.

I know the boys must experience bad weather at times on the boat, but I didn’t think their very first trip would be good timing for that type of adventure.

We put our heads together and came up with an alternative plan. Since the boys were so excited to have a vacation, we simply had to create a new one for them. The next morning, we asked our good friends, Diego and Stephanie, to watch the boat. We packed our clothes and camping gear in the truck, along with the dinghy and outboard motor (we had promised them boating, after all!), and drove three hours south to a campground on Marco Island.

We had a blast primitive camping, and then moved to a cabin when the front blew through. We hiked, fished, dinghy’d, played competitive games of shuffleboard, roasted marshmallows, weenies and burgers over the fire, and shared funny stories from our childhood. Everybody had a super time!

As of today, we’re in a holding pattern so no sailing is on the immediate horizon. No Tan Lines is scheduled to go on the hard next Monday because the driveshaft threw a bearing when I was learning how to dock her a few weeks ago.

I swear it wasn’t my fault!

NEXT:  WHEN YOU BUY A BOAT, EVERYBODY INVITES THEMSELVES FOR A VISIT…BUT CAN THEY HANDLE IT???

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

HOW TO SAVE YOUR MARINE MATTRESS IN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

The humidity in Florida in the winter is odd. In the summer, any moisture in the boat dissipates pretty quickly, likely because the air conditioners are running at full-blast, 24 hours a day. In the winter, however, the moisture in the bathroom after you shower, for example, can linger for hours or even days. We hadn’t been vigilant about this and we started seeing mold on the teak inside the shower. After cleaning that, we realized that hanging damp towels in there was the problem. Now, one of Mason’s chores is to take all the towels outside each night, and hang them on the lifelines. We have a couple dozen clothespins on board just for this.

That worked! The mold problem disappeared.

Last month, however, we pulled the v-berth cushions out to have them measured for replacement. That’s when we discovered they were damp on the bottom. Those cushions have rubber bottoms so we were able to clean them with bleach. Mason’s mattress was the same way. However, our mattress, which came with the boat, is a traditional memory foam one. When we checked it, we found it was wet on the bottom, and had mold. We had to get rid of it.

While we waited for a new one to be delivered, we slept on an air mattress. That was NOT a comfortable experience and we had to keep Rambo the cat out of our room. If you’ve ever owned a cat with claws AND an air mattress, you know why.

It took a week for the mattress to arrive and, in that time, we took a trip to West Marine. With the calculations for the size of the mattress, we purchased enough Dri-Dek to fit the bed area. When the new mattress arrived, Capt. Brian pieced the Dri-Dek puzzle together, which only took a few minutes. We then placed the new mattress in its place. A week later, we checked underneath and it was as dry as a bone.

We will also be purchasing Dri-Dek for the boys’ mattress, and the settee cushions.

Another good use for Dri-Dek is in high traffic areas on your deck. While the boys scrub the deck weekly with a long-handled brush and Comet, there was still a noticeable difference in “dirtiness” on the starboard side, where everybody boards the boat. Capt. Brian pieced together a Dri-Dek walkway along the starboard deck, from the finger dock to the cockpit. Footprint problem solved!

NEXT: OUR FIRST BIG SAILING TRIP GETS BLOWN AWAY. LITERALLY…

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.