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.

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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.

WINE GLASSES, EQUIPMENT, AND PEOPLE FALLING IN THE DRINK

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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.

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!

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

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???

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

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!

* * *

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…

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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.

 

CAN GIRLS DOCK BIG BOATS? YEP!!

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

As detailed in past posts, I’ve owned three boats in the past. A 25′ sailboat, a 17′ fishing boat, and a 30′ motorboat. Back then, I was pretty good at launching and docking, whether from a dock or a boat ramp. But, that was 20 years ago. And, those boats were far smaller than No Tan Lines, which is 52′.

I admit, after buying No Tan Lines (“Tanny”), I was nervous. She weighs about 45,000 lbs. You can’t stop her on a dime, nor do a fast turn. She reacts very slowly to whatever you do, whether under power or sail. And, when a piling (or another boat) is close, you run a very real risk of hitting something. That’s why everyone comes out of their boats to watch when someone’s docking!

Today, Capt. Brian Whiddon took us out, and taught me how to dock the boat. To avoid giving our Dock 4 neighbors a heart attack, we took No Tan Lines around to Dock 5. There are no live-aboards on that dock so I could safely practice pulling into slips without a crowd of anxious eyes watching over me (or yelling at me!). Dock 5 is the last dock at the marina and it has a large, deep basin beside it. So, you can approach the dock from a considerable distance, heading straight in. You don’t have to turn at the last moment.

There were empty slips on both sides of the one we used for practice so my nervousness was diminished somewhat. Capt. Brian did an excellent job. Here are his calm, wise instructions so you gals can try this at home yourself!

– As long as water is passing over the keel, you have control of the boat. If you stop completely, you won’t.

– Go very slow. This isn’t a race. Don’t make the same mistake that (name removed) made last week. He was going WAY too fast.

– Gradually ease the bow between the first two pilings, and shift into neutral.

– When you’re halfway in, very gently tap it into reverse to stop moving forward.

– If you need a little more momentum, gently tap it forward. Do not throw it into forward.

– Your deckhands can now use the boat hooks to get the lines on the pilings by the stern. Once they secure those to the stern cleats, you won’t hit the dock in front of you.

– At this point, your crew can toss a bowline to someone on the dock, or someone can jump onto the dock, and have the lines thrown to them.

Using his excellent advice, I was able to move into the slip several times with just a few problems in the beginning. Okay, I may have grazed a couple of pilings and, at one point, Richard was standing on the port side, his feet firmly planted on the deck, pushing a piling away from the boat with all of his might. It was at these times that Capt. Brian’s patient, coaching voice would change to something entirely different:

“Go slow. VERY SLOW! Why are you in such a hurry?! Slow down! Reverse! REVERSE!!”

“Do you really want to lose that toe rail? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe you should steer a little more to the right then?”

“I said SLOWLY shift into reverse. I didn’t say to gun it!”

“Do you see that piling straight ahead?! Yes? Are you TRYING to hit it because YOU’RE ABOUT TO!”

Yes, Capt. Brian gained a few more gray hairs today but, for the most part, I did a pretty good job, especially after learning from my earlier mistakes. And, I was confident enough after practicing numerous times to steer the boat into our own slip. I overshot the slip the first time after turning too late. I aborted, turned around, came around again, and eased her in. It was picture perfect! At that point, there was an audience on the dock and, I have to admit, the men seemed impressed.

Later, one of the men on the dock texted me, and said, “Hey, can Capt. Brian teach MY wife how to dock a boat?”

Now I have to learn how to back her out of the slip. I’m a bit more nervous about that because she’s pretty big and there are boats in the slips behind us. I’ll let you know how that goes.

NEXT: HOW TO SAVE YOUR MARINE MATTRESS IN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

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.

BUYING THE ARCH: NEVER BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE FOR MAJOR BOAT EXPENSES!

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

I’m pretty good at haggling. Whenever we need to buy a major asset, Richard stands back and watches me do the negotiating. The adult kids occasionally ask for my advice when they’re making a major purchase.

Even if the product or service has a firm list price, I’m not afraid to initiate a negotiation if it’ll save me some money, especially if the product is priced extremely high. When buying No Tan Lines, I negotiated the price down $30K. That was a 23.1% savings! (Yeah, I calculated it.)

Oh, the awesome (expensive) arch! They provide mariners with extra room for even more equipment (toys!). And, even better, they look super cool! No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) has one solar panel hanging from the port side that hasn’t worked since we bought her. Tanny’s myriad of antennas are attached to stanchions on the port side of the stern. I’m not even sure all of those work, either.

We had a really nice set of davits for the dinghy but we knew we’d have to remove them in order on install an arch. The good news is they’re worth about $1500-$2000 used. We took pictures so we can sell them.

For the arch, we contacted a well-known local firm for a quote. They came out and measured Tanny, and the estimate was astronomical. I was expecting to pay maybe $3K to $4K. When the much higher estimate arrived, I said, “No way!” I had resigned myself to the fact that we just weren’t going to have an arch.

Fast forward to the St. Petersburg Boat Show a few weeks later. The same arch company had a booth there and they were advertising the same arch for a much lower price. $1800!! I didn’t hesitate to immediately confront  the guy working at the booth. Why was the price so much lower than the quote I’d received? He stammered a bit, and tried to tell me the boat show special was for an arch that was too small for my boat. Uh huh… It’s so funny when salesmen in an industry dominated by men (boat products) think this blonde chick was born yesterday.

Fast forward again to the following Monday. Brian called the owner. He’d heard we’d been at the boat show. After Brian’s added high-skilled negotiations, we did indeed get the arch for the boat show price and Brian would install it for us, saving us even more money. The deal was so good that Brian got one for his boat, too!

Our awesome and multi-talented neighbor, Diego, pitched in to help and now both No Tan Lines and Floggin’ Molly have beautiful arches AND new davits to boot! (The davits were only $400 per set, and they attach directly to the new arches.) Now we get to begin the fun task of deciding on new solar panels. If you have any recommendations, please let us know! 🙂

NEXT: CAN GIRLS DOCK BIG BOATS? YEP!!

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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.

STRAY CAT STUCK IN THE BILGE!

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

After our plumber’s horrible seizure onboard No Tan Lines last week, we all made a pact that the following day would be a boring one – one devoid of any drama whatsoever. But, alas, that was not to be…probably because we forgot to KNOCK ON TEAK!

The next morning, Capt. Brian Whiddon called me from his boat, saying he’d be late for work. He works for our publishing company and he is NEVER late for work. What happened? Well, let me start at the beginning…

Exactly one week prior, Brian said he was hearing a “bell” on his boat. One night, he even texted us to ask if our cat, Rambo, may have followed him home, which is literally just a few feet down the dock from the floating “home office.” But, he had not. Rambo was comfortably curled up in our salon so, of course, we told Brian he was NUTS. He was babysitting Pookie at the time (his brother’s dog). He said Pookie heard the bell, too. So, laughing, we told him he AND Pookie were nuts.

Brian knew he wasn’t crazy because Pookie heard the bell, too.

Fast forward a week to Brian’s phone call. He said, “I was right! There IS a cat on my boat!! I can hear it meowing!!!”

As with a house, if a live critter is loose under your floor, and if you can’t access that area, you might have to cut into the floor to rescue the little furball. And, that’s what Brian was going to have to do so Richard raced down the dock to assist. I was still getting dressed and, as soon as I finished, I grabbed one of our bowls, put some cat food in it, and walked down the dock as well.

By the time I arrived at Brian’s boat, the guys had lifted up floor boards everywhere, and had successfully located the cat. Brian had lured it close with some ham but he couldn’t quite get it. I reached in with a piece of ham, and tried to lure kitty cat forward so I could grab his or her scruff. He/she grabbed the ham, and ripped it completely out of my hand. I was quick, too, and grabbed it right back. I held on tighter, and was eventually able to lure it forward, and lift the starving feline out.

Once I got it in my arms, it was clear kitty cat was very sweet and affectionate. Still, we put it in Pookie’s kennel (Pookie was NOT in there at the time!) in case it tried to bolt, and pondered our next move. We took pictures, and came up with a pretty accurate description. Green eyes. Very small. Hot pink collar and fully-functioning pink bell (ha ha). All black with a tiny wisp of white under the throat, and another near the groin. And, speaking of groin…was it a girl or a boy? The hair was so black we couldn’t tell so…I had to feel down there. After apologizing to kitty cat for pawing her (heh…), I said, “No dangly parts! It’s a girl!!”

Now that we had the little kitty out of the bilge, we had to figure out who she belonged to…

We brought her back to No Tan Lines, and transferred her to our cat carrier, gave her cat food and water, and started posting “FOUND” notices online. About 30 minutes later, a friend on our private Dock Facebook page, Diego, said he’d heard a week prior that the crew of the Tall Ship Lynx had lost their cat.

This is a pretty big town and there are LOTS of lost animals, according to Facebook’s lost pets pages. It was a long-shot. It really was. But, I called their office anyway, and left a message. A man in New Hampshire immediately called back, very excited. The missing kitty, Leeloo, belonged to the ship’s captain. We compared descriptions and it sure looked like we had a match! We offered to drive her to the ship, which is docked five minutes from here for the Winter, 2017 season.

The TallShip “Lynx”

The Lynx is a full-sized replica of a topsail schooner that actually served as an American privateer blockade-runner during the War of 1812. The captain was expecting us. He walked down the gangplank as we approached. We exchanged greetings, and opened the cat carrier. He reached in and pulled her out, excitedly saying, “It’s her!” He hugged her tight. And, we knew he was her daddy because she curled right up into his chest. He then held her out in front of him with his hands under her armpits, examining her, and then pulled her back in for another hug, before saying, “You’ve lost a lot of weight!”

That’s when my eyes got all teary. I’m getting teary-eyed again just thinking about it. 🙂

He then told us she’d been missing for 13 days. He proclaimed us honorary sailors on the Lynx.He thanked us profusely, and said we can come sail for free anytime. We, of course, accepted his offer as we’ve been wanting to sail on that beautiful ship for a year now. They do educational excursions and we know Max and Mason would love it!

As we were walking away, we turned back to see the other Lynx crew members coming out to pet Leeloo, and to welcome her home. The captain emailed Brian later with an update, saying Leeloo was doing just fine, and was being spoiled rotten. And, they installed the pet tracking device that had been delivered two days after she went missing.

Here’s the weird thing…

The previous Friday night, we’d gone out to dinner with some dock friends. While some of us went to the bathroom, the rest were standing outside, in front of the restaurant. Two women approached Diego, asking if anyone had seen a black cat. They said the Lynx was missing theirs. Diego remembered that brief encounter when he saw our post on Facebook. Had we not all gone out to dinner that night, we may never have found the owner. And, that was the exact night that Brian started hearing the bell in his boat!

After leaving the Lynx, we returned back to No Tan Lines. Half a day had been spent doing all of that and, combined with the seizure emergency the day before, we were getting more behind on our work. We all once again made a pact. The following day would be soooooo very boring. We would all be completely bored to tears and we would LOVE IT!

SO, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!

Chaos seems to follow us wherever we go. The next day, we received an urgent text from our daughter-in-law. Our son, Matt, who was supposed to arrive this weekend for Christmas, severed his Achilles tendon while playing flag football. He and all of us are devastated because he had to cancel his trip. Thirty-six hours later, he had surgery. It was worse than they thought. (How could it possibly be worse? It was severed!!) Turns out the injury was higher than they thought. He’ll have to wear a cast 2 weeks longer than they originally predicted and full recovery can take 6 to 12 months.

We sadly packed up Matt’s Christmas gifts, and shipped them to Maine. He’s doing well after surgery and he is so very happy his new Xbox arrived just before his injury. His brothers here in Florida are able to play with him online. He is an actuary and, as soon as he no longer needs pain meds, he’ll be able to work from home for awhile. We also bought our son, Zach, a plane ticket so he can fly up there next week, and keep Matt company for a couple of days.

The good news is, nothing weird has happened since then (because we remembered to knock on teak!)…and we’re praying it stays that way!

NEXT: DRIVING (NOT SAILING) TO KEY WEST. SIGH…

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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.