Splash & Step

Sunday, a few final projects: painting the boot stripe, lubing all the sea cocks and making sure they can open/close easily, loading all of our belongings from “the burrito” onto Free Range.


More taping and sanding…


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A fresh coat of paint!


Monday we splashed Free Range (dropped her in the water!). Paul loaded her up on his giant truck and drove her over to Sailcraft Marina. Stephane stood in the cockpit with a white PVC pole to clear any wires that she might run into on along the way. I brought up the rear, taking video from The Rogue. The guys at Sailcraft put her on the travel lift (this giant machine with two straps that holds the boat up, moves it to the water, and then lowers her in.

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All loaded up and ready to go.

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We ran into a little problem trying to move Free Range – the truck was stuck so we had to get a second truck to pull the truck AND Free Range out.


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In the travel lift.


Once we got her in the water, it was Mast Time: we cleaned it with rubbing compound, waxed it, ran messenger lines through to set it up for new lines that we later purchased, and then went shopping for lines. Mark the rigger sent us to West Marine with a shopping list (120 feet of 7/16 white w/red fleck, 100 feet of 3/8 line w/green fleck, etc.). Then he showed us how to splice the lines (very impressive to us).

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The messenger line is the littler line that you tie and tape to the real/original line. Then you pull it through the mast and tie it off. Then you can remove the old/original line and when you have new line, you use the messenger line to pull it through the mast.


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Attaching the spreaders.

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Cleaning and waxing.



Today we stepped the mast (attached the mast to the sailboat). By “we”, I mean the amazing and talented crew at Sailcraft Services. These guys are awesome. They each have their speciality (engines, riggers, painters, carpenters, etc.) and they are each so kind and helpful to us. They know we are total novices and are doing all they can to help us and to teach us as well. We are trying to be super sponges and soak it all in, but it is a lot!


On a side note…

Stephane is in his element: trouble-shooting, fixing, asking questions, connecting the dots, teaching me; up and working before the sun rises and still tinkering away after the sun has long since set; staying positive through IT ALL…I have always been so proud of him but the past two weeks I have discovered a whole new level of pride in and awe of my husband. He is, quite simply, the best.

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Big Boat, Little Boat

This past Saturday we took a day off. And boy did it feel good 🙂

We drove back to Nofolk and got to spend the morning on the aircraft carrier on which Dan currently serves – the USS Harry S. Truman (The Buck Stops Here!).


We got the personalized tour from Dan!



Me and my bro (“Chief!”)



Put yer back into it!



On the flight deck.

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Later in the day, we met up with a guy selling his dinghy and motor (a Craiglist connection, of course) – both checked out so we now have a dinghy for Free Range!


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Me and Dan cruising!


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Getting the hang of it.



Take a look at this awesome gift from Dan – these are Harry S. Truman CHIEF hats with our names and “Free Range, Montrose, CO” on the back. So special.

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Up and out of Norfolk early the next day for finishing touches to Free Range before she goes into the water on Monday.

Original Slocum 37 Brochure

Yesterday I discovered a Slocum Owners Group on Yahoo Groups – awesome!!! Although most of the owners appear to own the Slocum 43, it is still a very helpful and knowledgeable group of which to be a part. I posted a question about chainplates last night and got a response an hour or so later – love it! A great group!!

While looking through the postings on this group, I saw that one of the members posted a link to an old Slocum 37 brochure. Stephane and I were really excited to see/read this. Love it!!

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Boat Boot Camp – Week #2

More projects this week…


We had Mark from SailCraft (local boatyard) come out to assess the chainplates. The chainplates themselves look good and so we are good to go to move forward with re-sealing them. Stephane did that today (took all day, but it’s DONE which means NO MORE LEAKING in our boat (at least no more leaking from the chainplates)).


The is one of the chainplates. There are four on each side plus two in the front and one in the back. First step was to remove the plate and then the bad caulking/sealant.



Clean, re-seal, and voila!


Bottom Paint

Bottom paint has chemicals in it that release slowly over time and help to keep critters/algae from growing on the hull. Because the paint sloughs off over time, you have to add coats when you have your boat out of the water. Her original bottom paint was red and we were planning on adding more red to her, but we got a nice deal on some black bottom paint that we could not refuse (this stuff is expensive, like $270 a gallon) . So, we painted her black! I like her new look- she’s more aggressive now. Two coats so far, one more to go.





Taping up







We ordered two 8D 12v marine batteries – these will be our battery bank and give us 500 amp hours daily. These suckers weigh 180 pounds so we had to be very careful with how we got them on board.


Using our old climbing rope and the wench to lift the battery up to the boat.


Bottom Paint for Propeller

The propeller needs love too – a little sanding to remove the crustacean funk, a little acetone to clean, and then a primer. So, this is crazy to me, all these chemicals! In this case, you paint on the primer (which is a primer + another goo that activates the primer). The primer makes it so that you can add another coat of goo. This second coat of goo makes it so that you can put paint (the final coat) on metal. So many steps! So many chemicals…




After sanding, cleaning, and first goo coat.


After a second coat of goo, the final goo coat is a red epoxy anti-fouling paint. Done!


More cleaning…


The bilge was quite dirty…


s/v Free Range

We’ve been brainstorming for a proper boat name since the day we bought her. Finally, we have one we love:


We see “open range” signs all over our neck of the woods in Colorado (ranchers let their cattle wander over the land, eating whatever wherever). We also see them on our way to Indian Creek. So, firstly, it reminds us of our Colorado home and of Indian Creek and climbing. Secondly, the concept of open / free range reminds us of us – we are on our boat, free to go wherever whenever.

WE are s/v (sailing vessel) FREE RANGE!


Those that didn’t make the cut:

Withershins (we were SO close to making this our boat name. But in addition to meaning counter-clockwise, it also stood for disaster and unluckiness)

Hobo (because we make hobos all the time. And hobos wander about)

Wander-Box (Stephane didn’t like it)

The Star Key

There’s a little star cut-out on the deck where you fill the water. All week we’ve been looking for “the star key” so we can open up and fill the water tanks.



Finally, when we see the boatyard owner, Paul, we say to him, “We’d like to fill up our water tanks but we can’t find our star key – do you know where it might be?”

Paul: “What?”

We point out the star-shaped cut-out in the deck.

Paul look at us, pauses… “Ummmm, yeah, you use your winch handle…”



Boat Boot Camp

It’s been a work week like none other I have known before: manual labor from sunup to sundown. My body has grown soft and weak sitting in its office chair all day Monday through Friday, so this new routine has been hard on it but GOOD for it!

As the clock struck seven AM this past Monday morning, we pulled out of 7014 Porthole Place, Rogue riding low, crammed with our last remaining possessions. Thank you SO much, brother Dan, for housing us for the week and hanging out!


Three and a half hours later, pulling into Triton boatyard in Oriental, North Carolina, we were both parts nervous and excited (me more nervous, Stephane more excited). There she stood- OUR boat! Nancy showed us the yard, the facilities, and let us get to work.


We pulled out the vinegar, spray bottles, sponges, paper towel, and lysol and went to town. A few hours into cleaning, we hear the soft splashing of raindrops on the deck; minutes later soft turns hard and it’s pouring out. Good opportunity to see where the leaky spots are, right? Of course right…



I look around and see small puddles of water under two of the three hatches and the companionway. Checking where the chainplates enter from the deck above, I feel…oh crap…water…moving in right on down the chainplate and through to wooden shelving below. And the wooden shelving? It’s rotted through. Ugh. This is pretty horrifying to us- made more horrifying by the fact that we don’t know enough about boats to know how bad this really is. So much for having a survey done- it did not mention any of these issues…



We securely cover all of the chainplates/hatches in case of another rain so there will be no more leaks inside. Then we get back to cleaning and more projects.

My project for the day was the settee cushion covers and foam cushions. Stephane’s was cleaning out the mold and rotted wood from the sections underneath the chainplates.



We pulled the cushion covers off of our fifteen or so cushions. Luckily, the foam cushions were not moldy! They just smelled mildewy – we hit them with some Febreze and let them sit in the sun and de-mildew-ify. The cushion covers had only a few moldy spots which we hit with vinegar, oxi-clean, and then took to a local laundromat. To my surprise, the mold and stains were completely removed! We saved ourselves a LOT of money going this route – apparently foam cushions and covers are VERY expensive to have made.


Feeling better about the boat today. We’ve discovered that the mold and rot was contained only to the areas underneath the chainplates and we’ve cleaned it all out. We’ve gotten in touch with a local boatyard who will be sending someone over to check out the chainplates and we’ll be re-bedding (fixing) them. They are also sending another guy out to put in a new cutlass bearing (this is a piece that helps to turn the propeller).


Deep cleaning the fridge / freezer. Emphasis on deep. The fridge is about as deep as I am tall!



Cleaned out the stove, oven, and area behind the stove. Voila!


Today we decide that we need to clean the areas under the chainplates again (just because they were so gross and moldy). And then we decide to rip out the entire settee backrest and part of the seat – start from scratch with fresh, strong, un-rotted wood and also to cover the entire area with a  fresh coat of paint. Stephane finds the perfect piece of teak at the local boatyard and goes to work shaping it – he is AMAZING!



Here is a view of the settee framework – lots of mold and rotted wood here. We hit the mold with vinegar and pulled out all of the rotted wood.



We pulled out the entire backrest and part of the bottom section.



Thorough cleaning and a coat of marine paint + new bottom section Stephane built.



I made the form for the cut-outs and Stephane made the whole thing work – he does good work, right? Next we’ll throw a few coats of white paint on it and be done!





In the meantime, I ordered our battery bank! Two deep-cycle 12 volt, 8D batteries, 250 amp hours each. One of these suckers weighs more than I do! In addition to these two batteries, we will have a second, smaller battery devoted just to starting the engine (our “starter battery”) and a third battery for the windlass (this is machine that pulls the anchor up) – we haven’t ordered these yet, but we will soon. The emphasis is on the battery bank for now as we have no 12 volt power to the boat – meaning no light, no water pressure, no cooking, no anything, really. The batteries will hopefully get delivered by the end of next week!

My mini projects include soaking all of the curtains  ——- mom skip this part ——— in bleach water  ——- okay, mom you can read again: ———-

and then washing curtains in soapy water and hanging them out to dry. We have four small fans throughout the boat. Stephane removed them for me and I washed them and de-rusted them and gave them a nice new coat of spray paint to freshen them up.



Today we painted the settee section (see pics above) and Stephane created the new wood inserts for the backrest and seat rest. Then it rained. And rained and rained and rained. We’d pulled out a  section of the sealant around the chainplates (in preparation for removing them) so water was just pouring in RIGHT ONTO MY NEW PAINT JOB. We’re running around trying to sop up the water and Stephane fell through the companionway (second time doing that- I’ve told him, “you’ve got to turn around and go in backwards!!”). He went to the local hardware store (The VILLAGE Hardware Store – love it) to get some plumber’s putty to fill the gap temporarily. Stephane is now known by The Village Hardware Store as “The Little Canadian” — heeee!!!! I laughed so hard when he told me that.


To celebrate surviving week one of Boat Boot Camp, we treated ourselves to pizza at Little Italy (soooo good – reminds me of Paisano’s).


That’s a good pour.


Four Knot Sh*t Box

And on our second day of searching, we found our very own Four-Knot-Sh*t-Box (we learned this term from one of the boat owners we talked to yesterday – blue water boats are known for not going very fast  – thus the four-knots – and they hold all your stuff!).

We were up early and on the road for the three hour drive south to Oriental, North Carolina. We spent the morning with Knute at Whittaker Marina checking out quite a few blue water boats. The Formosa was in pretty bad shape but we did get to get on a Hans Christian 43 (ketch) – BEAUTIFUL, a J40, a Cape Dory 33, and a Brewer 41. I really liked the Cape Dory – small but simple and clean – but it did feel like a more medium-displacement-type boat, not meant for ocean crossings…

Our next appointment was to see a 1988 Slocum 37 named Dimsan; she is a one-owner boat that has been very well cared-for. We’ve been eyeing her for months and trying to do as much research as we could about this type of boat. With 29,000 lb. displacement and 10,000 lb. ballast, full keel, and beefy rigging, she is meant to cross oceans. She came with some nice goodies as well: VHF, SSB + pactor modem (to send/receive email wherever in the world – very nice. This also means we can get our weather anywhere in the world as well – important!). Other goodies include an autopilot, chart plotter, two GPS units, EPIRB, and a nice sail inventory including a brand-new genoa. She just had a survey completed two weeks prior and we poured through the twenty-eight page document, focusing on the items that needed attention- there weren’t that many and most we felt we could handle on our own (sweat equity!).

We spent the entire afternoon going through every nook and cranny on Dimsan, re-reviewing the survey, making a mental list of the items we’d need to purchase (liferaft, dinghy, batteries, additional EPIRBs, PFDs, etc.) and how much we thought we’d have to put into her to make her seaworthy. This boat checked all our boxes as far as it being a super beefy, strong, solid blue water boat and financially made really good sense.

At the end of the day, we made an offer on her and the owners accepted! (On a side note, the owners are also S and S – Sally and Stephen).

We can hardly believe we have a boat already! Monday we will pack up The Rogue with all of our belongings and move into Dimsan and start work! Cleaning, fixing, testing instruments, etc. We will live on her (she is on the hard) for the next month and hopefully have her ready to put in the water by October.

On another side note – after much googling, we could not find the meaning of the name “Dimsan”. We do not have direct contact with the owners so we can’t ask them what it means but I am curious. We are currently brainstorming for a new boat name. The port of call will be Montrose, CO!


Our boat! A Slocum 37.



She’s a big girl.


Pullman berth in v-berth.


Nav station / instruments.


Look at all the pretty wires!


This is what sold me. You remove this circular wooden panel from the table and voila- wine bottle storage!


A mini bathtub in the head! No way!!

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The search for the boat: Day 1

Since the windshield of The Rogue is so badly cracked, we decided to stay local and check out the nearby marinas. Not much for sale but we did meet Tim, who gave us some broker advice and invited us to come back to race on his sailboat on Friday evening. At the next marina, Little Creek, we saw several blue water boats – a Tayana 37 and (drumroll)… a BABA 35! The very same make of boat that we nearly purchased back in July. The owners were aboard working on her and invited us on to check her out. They purchased her in Muskegon, MI and sailed her through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal, and down the east coast to Norfolk.

I am having a hard time adjusting to the humidity. It’s 100 degrees and 90% humidity outside and inside anywhere, the a/c is kicking out the cold- FREEZING!

Tomorrow we drive to Oriental, North Carolina where we have several appointments set up to check out a Formosa 34, Slocum 37, and Nassau 34…

The last leg to VA: Detroit > Suffolk

It was as if all the forces of nature wanted to keep us from arriving in Virginia…



Three hours into the drive – flat tire #1.


Twenty minutes after flat tire #1 was fixed, I run over a piece of metal that looks like Karen’s tibia. Flat tire #2. We have to pull EVERYTHING out of the back to get to the doughnut…



The perp.



Thank you to T.C. & Mike at Autosmith in Newton Falls, OH (home of the second oldest covered bridge in Ohio) for taking care of us!



The second oldest covered bridge in Ohio!



Practicing new climbing techniques for the Midwest.



Two fixed flat tires later, we JUST cross the state line into Virginia and a windstorm blows a giant branch into The Rogue – body and windshield damage…

Heading East

We left Colorado on a Thursday morning after yet another goodbye get together (“Here we go again on our own / drinking all the bottle of wine we’ve ever owned” – Tom Chamberlain). You can only say goodbye so many times – it was definitely time to get on the road. We said our tearful farewells to Dan and Karen, Tom and Melisa. And Mighty Myra… Oh, my, that was hard. I know she will be the happiest of dogs with Dan and Karen but she won’t be with me anymore and that is the hard part.



We managed to get everything we own packed into The Rogue – including mom’s pretty large wicker trunk.



Goodbye for now! We’ll be back…


It was an easy twelve hour drive to somewhere in Kansas where we found a free camp spot for the night. Then on to Cory & Gina’s in Lafayette, IN the next day. Saturday, a short 4.5 hour drive to St. Clair Shores, MI, and HOME. We had a nice get together with family – ate too much, drank too much, played euchre ’til way too late.


Me & Grandma Wilma


Us and Grams


Selfie with Cousin Anthony; Stephane photobombing.



Me & mom


The boys made a batch of dad’s awesome beef jerky. Mmmmmmmmmm

Not all fun and games in Michigan – we found and filled out our Power of Attorney forms for health and finances (just in case – you never know and it’s always better to be prepared than not).


Tomorrow we head down to Virginia to start our boat search. One thing we have been researching lately and need to know more about is sales tax. For example, if we buy our boat in Delaware, we pay zero sales tax! In Florida, it’s 6% with a max sales tax of $18,000. North Carolina is 4.75% with max of only $1,500. Very different rules depending on what state you are in. Ideally we find a boat in DE…




Instead of tracking our potential boats on a spreadsheet, Stephane found this great little website that allows us to pin our boats to a map, adding a link and notes for each. Multiplottr is proving to be much more fun (and useful) than Excel.



Going Away Day

Our friends came from near and not-so-near to spend time with us, wish us well, and send us off on our adventure. We spent the afternoon trying to chase the shade with Team Duck Tape: climbing at the Pool Wall in Ouray – being loud, talking more than climbing (Heidi & Lori 🙂 and enjoying each other’s company. Kirk and Lori made a surprise entrance – yeah!

That evening amidst burgers, Susan’s fruity cocktails, banjo/guitar tunes, stupid human tricks and prizes, we said goodbye to our friends. We are blessed in that we have the most generous, loving, interesting, silly, and overall excellent group of people to call our friends; our family. And even though we are here for another ten days or so, I am starting to miss them already. Greatly.

It was a bittersweet night. It is a bittersweet time.



Kirk, Lori and Lee. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but Kirk had on the best pants ever.


Jeff & Jess


Dancing! The prizes for Stupid Human Tricks in the background – who wants a half-full can of mosquito spray?


Rene & Belinda


Heidi & Vicki. Pretty sure Jeff is talking Jonno’s ear off in the background there 😉


There’s a good pant shot – check ’em out!


Lee with one of the prizes! Photobomb!


Our most excellent musicians for the evening – you played some GREAT tunes, boys!


The kiddie table. So great to see some old friends.

Nereia 2

I got back from St-Thomas/Puerto Rico. Even though Nereia isn’t going to be our boat, the trip was super productive. Here is what happened.

The bones of the boat seemed bomber, but unfortunately it got broken in. Lots of equipment was stolen and the stuff that wasn’t stolen wasn’t functioning properly. Nereia still seems to be a good deal, but it’s just above our price range after including the cost of all the repairs.

I still got to learn a lot and help the owner with fixing up everything we could in just 4 days. I installed a brand new starter, but before doing that, we had to troubleshoot why even with all electrical switches off, the starter was still getting full power (great for making unwanted sparks when working on it thinking the electrical is off…). It turned out that one of the hot wires was connected on the wrong side of the on-off switch, resulting in power going to all systems at all times. The wind and solar panels where connected on the wrong side too.

We had gotten excited with this boat because it was setup with higher than average quality components throughout and that’s why we were ok with going a little above our initial budget, but the more stuff I tested, the more I found that they were not working. Here are a few examples: Nereia is equipped with a $5,000 autopilot, not the electric motor on the wheel, but a serious hydraulic piston that pushes and pulls the rudder. Unfortunately, the screen died. When I called the manufacturer to get a quote, it turned out that they don’t make that screen anymore. I could have bought the new screen, but the new screen doesn’t work with the old computer. Once all said and done, the fix was going to cost $3,000. The boat was equipped with the best high output alternator to charge the batteries more efficiently. Unfortunately it was putting zero power out. The radar screen got stolen, same thing as the autopilot, old screen not made anymore. The engine was refitted with a brand new cooling system 7 months ago. Unfortunately after running the engine for 5 hours, we found coolant in the bilge and saltwater on the drip pan. I estimated the fixes to be around $15-20,000 and the boat started out at the top of our budget.

On the plus side, I helped cleaning the hull with a hookah system, it’s an air tank on the boat with a 100ft hose connected to it delivering air to the diver through a regulator like the ones for normal diving. I spent a good couple of hours underwater scraping the whole hull but it was kind of fun with that system. It was incredible how much plancton, fish, crabs, mussels had found home on this hull… Speaking of learning, I learned to wear gloves while scraping the hull, I got some pretty deep cuts…

For the last couple of days we sailed from St-Thomas to Puerto Rico, with one night on the island of Culebra. We had to clear customs which wasn’t a big deal, but it was nice to see what to expect.

We’ve put the boat on the hard in Puerto Rico were it can safely weather the hurricane season.

Well, so once I got back home, Sara and I discussed the boat and accepted that this one would just be too much money for our budget. So we’re reverting to plan A, we both finish work on August 26th. After that we’ll start driving to Virginia to go pursue some boats that we’ve found online and spend some time with Dan, Sara’s brother. Hopefully Pete and Ryan and Debbie and Marty will be able to come visit before we set sail!

Stay tuned, the adventure is about to begin!!!





Before and after…IMG_0031


The truck has sold!

And…just like that, our trusty truck is ours no more. We sent it on its way this morning with new owners. One step closer to departure!



Craigslist, boxes, St. Thomas and a boat

Stephane left for St. Thomas on Thursday afternoon. Believe it or not, he is there with the owner of a boat we are seriously considering purchasing – this *could* be our new home! Over the past few days Stephane and the owner have been working on the boat- getting her ready to sail to Puerto Rico where they’ll leave her on the hard in a marina there (for hurricane season). Stephane has been working on the engine, electrical systems, and cleaning barnacles off the hull. I know he is being a sponge and soaking up all of the knowledge that he can. Of the two of us, he is definitely the one to be there – he has so much knowledge of boat systems already that he is an amazing help to the owner and, on top of that, only adding to his working knowledge of all things boat.

I only wish I could be there too but as we near the end of our time here in Colorado and our jobs, it is more important than ever to maximize our savings potential until the very end. So, we work in our own ways – me at my job and, after work hours, putting our last remaining items on Craigslist, boxing items that are coming with us and items that are not, getting rid of more clothes, and generally prepping for our new adventure.

They are sailing RIGHT NOW as I type.



Captain Hefti!

Saint Christopher

Stephane is currently training Alan, a new pilot for CareFlight’s Durango base. Alan gave us this for luck on our new adventure. I’m not Catholic but I love the gesture and sentiment.


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I think we might make some room for Saint C on the boat.

Sutures, Shots & IVs

One evening, our good friend Patrick (an amazingly talented surgeon) taught us how to suture. He brought over the different-sized sutures and we practiced stitching up gashes in lemons.


Patrick teaching us the proper technique.


Sara stitching up the lemon.


That evening, Karen taught us how to give a proper shot (we practiced on a lemon as well). Just this past Wednesday, I gave Karen several of her weekly shots – good practice!

Last month when we were home visiting family in Michigan, Ryan taught us how to set up an IV. Can you believe we actually practiced on HER?! I got my needle in but then forgot to apply pressure up top and pulled out immediately after I saw the blood (oops!). Stephane gave Ryan an IV through a vein in her hand and did it perfectly!

Thank you to all of our super smart medical friends who are sharing their knowledge with us and making sure we have the skills we need to take care of each other in the boat!



I also learned that getting the cover off of the needle is an art in and of itself.

– use suture size >=5 on the face
– inject latocaine on the inside/cut of the skin, then on the top of the skin along the edge of the cut
– after latocaine is injected, wait ~20 minutes before suturing
– do not use epinepherine on a digit
– use latocaine without epinephrine
– suture types:
– continuous
– non-continuous – these are better (and the kind we learned). Tie knot (6-8 knots) then first stitch – wrap 2x, then 1x each
– vertical sutures – for large gashes (far-far-near-near)





I just booked Stephane’s flights to St. Thomas! He will head down there next month to meet the owner of Nereia (latin for sea snail – LOVE it!), a Baba 35. This could be our boat.

Stay tuned…



We got married!

It was a breezy Saturday evening around Tom and Melisa’s fire circle on their back patio. We were having dinner and drinks and decided it was the perfect time to tell our friends of our plans to get married this summer! Upon sharing the good news and everyone checking the calendar app on their iPhones, it was quickly determined that June 7th (the following Saturday) would be the only day this summer that everyone could be available. So we set the date for our wedding one week out, invited our closest friends via text that same night, and called our families the next day to share the good  news.

The following Saturday, I married my best friend, my faithful partner and my one true love at the Chamberlain Cabin up in the Cimarron Mountains. Brother Alan showed up around 9:30pm (after driving from Denver that afternoon) and married us by tiki torch-light. It was short, sweet, and perfect. We ate hobo meals, drank wine, and celebrated with our closest friends. We would have loved our families to be there but we are hoping that they will save their money and join us for a more extended vacation on the boat instead 🙂



Brother Alan


Eating hobos and waiting on Brother Alan – we can’t wait!!


The ceremony


LOVE these – such an awesome idea of Dan’s!


Group shot




We have been reading about and looking at photos of the Westsail 32 since the start. But words and photos are one thing and getting ON an actual WS 32 is something entirely different – we want to see what one is like for REAL!

While visiting family in Michigan this month, I posted a message on the Westail Owners Association page asking if there was anyone in the Detroit area that might have a WS 32 and be willing to show us. Later that evening, Tyler from Racine, WI extended an intivitation to us to come out and see his WS 32. While we were super grateful for the invite, Racine is a bit far for a day trip so we had to decline.

The next day, Bud Taplin emailed us with contact information for Charlie, a WS 32 owner in Michigan. And wouldn’t you believe it – his WS 32 was on the hard at Jefferson Beach Marina – a mile down the road from parents house! We got in touch with Charlie who garciously invited us to check out his WS 32, Antares. That morning we got the full tour and also got to watch Antares get put into the water for the season. Charlie invited us to join him as he motored Antares over to the marina next door.

Charlie is a super salty sailor! He has sailed all over the world and is so knowledgeable. Stephane asked him question after question and really took advantage of being able to pick his brain. This was almost as good, if not better, than being able to see a Westsail: being able to talk to someone who has been out there and done it and who can give us advice and tell us their thoughts. Charlie was so generous with his time and we are SO appreciative.

Impressions after seeing Antares:
1. We are still in love with the Westsail 32.

2. Our previous thoughts on how sturdy, solid, and safe of a boat she is have been further reinforced.

3. The galley was REALLY small but do-able.

4. I don’t think we’d go any smaller but I think the size would be just perfect for the two of us.

5. We have NO IDEA how to sail a cutter…well, add it to the list of things we’ll be learning as we go!

6. The cockpit was really small (which is what you want in a bluewater boat, but we like the idea of being able to stretch out and sleep in it and not sure we’d be able to do that in a Westsail).


Charlie showing us the manual windlass.


View of the cockpit – notice how the cockpit sole flips up allowing great access to the engine.




The v-berth.




Lots of storage and the port lights are solid – brass not plastic like we’ve seen on some boats.



The galley. We could work with this.



Charlie & Stephane



It’s a tank.



Trip to Michigan


We took advantage of our trip visiting family in Michigan to complete our first sailing classes: Basic Keelboat Sailing and Coastal cruising on a Catalina 25. Before the actual class, the sailing school sent us a couple of textbooks to study. To get the most out of our classes we reviewed the 2 books and quizzed each other the whole week prior to the classes. We’ve learned a lot from the books and the classes helped apply all of that book knowledge.

The weather was still a bit crisp in Michigan. We got lucky though, we got a glimpse of the real deal with winds blowing at 20-25 knots that day. It was perfect for practice and a little bit of exposure.


Sara at the helm. Our fellow classmate Margaret and instructor Brett.


First round completed. We just went to the Montrose Health services to get all the shots needed for the first part of our trip. So far so good, other than feeling tired and walking around looking like we have T-Rex arms we didn’t have any other symptoms.
Sara got 6 shots (the max that they will give at once), I got 4…
Round 2 is scheduled in 1 month and the last round in 6 months from now! Hopefully the insurance will cover this or we’ll have to pay roughly $600…

[May 16th UPDATE]

Second round went fine, minimal arm pain, yay 🙂

Also, Sara’s insurance picked up most of the bill with only $68 deductible. I’m still waiting to see if mine will pick up the bill.


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The Little House

The Little House has been my home for a while now – it’s been perfect for me and Myra: plenty of room for this girl and her dog. The Little House is actually Dan and Karen’s guesthouse and is located in what we lovingly call The Village: a community of friends and homes up on Spring Creek Mesa outside of town. With Dan and Karen next door and Tom and Melisa across the street, I am only ever a few steps away from movie night, wine on the veranda, or a jam session.

So this place has been my little haven, just mine. But now I am ready to open my home up to Stephane!

With Stephane’s house closing in less than a week, we are taking another big step toward our dream! The ideal buyer fell into our laps and the selling process has gone smoothly so far. Over the course of one weekend – with advertising on Craigslist and lots of signs posted all over town – we were able to sell a majority of the items from The Medium House (a.k.a Stephane’s); the rest we sold on Craigslist. Another big step taken towards the dream – getting RID of stuff. It is amazing to me the amount of things that one amasses over the years. I thought I didn’t have much in the way of stuff but as I cleaned out my closet to make room for Stephane, I was astonished at the number of bags I was able to fill with unnecessary clothing.



With both Stephane and I living here we will be able to save even more and keep moving in the right direction (faster!) towards our goal.



Our Sailing Library

Since we still live in beautiful but landlocked Colorado, books are our main way of fueling our dream.

Here is the list of the books we’ve read so far:

Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual – Nigel Calder
The Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing – Scott and Wendy Bannerot
The Voyoger’s Handbook – Beth A. Leonard
The Cruising Life – Jim Trefenthen
The Cost Conscious Cruiser – Lin and Larry Pardey
Offshore Sailing – Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr
Sailing the Basics, the book that launched thousands – Dave Franzel
The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat – John Vigor
Coastal and Offshore Navigation – Tom Cunliffe
Twenty Affordable Sailboats to take you Anywhere – Gregg Nestor
Your First Sailboat – Daniel Spurr
Emergency Navigation – David Burch
Why didn’t I think of that – John and Susan Roberts
The Essentials of Living aboard a Boat – Mark Nicholas
Coming About, a Family Passage at Sea – Susan Tyler Hitchcock
The Race – Tim Zimmermann
Galley Book – by Good Old Boat Magazine

We also subscribed to Good Old Boat magazine and we are members of Seven Seas Cruising Association.

We’ve subscribed to the www.waterwayguide.com newsletter since there is a good chance we’ll navigate the Intracoastal waterway.

We have also downloaded videos from www.thesailingchannel.tv

And of course searching for sailing videos on youtube has provided us with many hours of entertainment.



Sailboats We Love

We have been looking at and reading about sailboats for over a year now. From all of our research, we have narrowed it down to several blue water boats: Fantasia 35, WestSail 32, Tayana 37, and Hans Christian 33T.

Fantasia 35: Lost our Hearts to Viking

We love love love the Fantasia 35. Like all the boats we are considering, it is a beefy, full-keel, solid bluewater sailboat. It has a center cockpit- this means you stay drier on the water; having the cockpit more forward on the boat leaves room in the back for a roomy aft cabin. It also boasts a feature we’ve not seen on any other boats we have looked at – a small utility/storage/work room.

We gave our hearts to Viking earlier this year – a beautiful, CHEAP (as far as Fantasias go) F35 for sale in Oxnard, California. We talked like she was our boat and we just needed to go scoop her up come September. But, alas, she was sold last month. She is on the Left Coast and we are planning on starting our adventure on the Right- so we tell ourselves it was just not meant to be, us and Viking.



Westsail 32: The Wet Snail

The Westail 32 is the smallest of all the boats we are considering at the moment. AKA “The Wet Snail”, Westsails are slow (because they are a super heavy displacement boat at 20,000 pounds) and wet- aft cockpit. So, we will get wherever we want to go safely but it may take a while (no big deal for us) and we might get wet along the way (well, we are surrounded by water, aren’t we?). There seem to be more W32s out there at a more affordable range than the Fantasias so we may have better luck with these boats in our search come September.

We were looking forward to checking out Gitana Del Mar (Sea Gypsy – love the name) when we go home to Detroit this April/May but she was sold earlier this year. Sigh.


The Tayana 37

Is the biggest of the boats we love right now. Tayanas have an aft cockpit, roomy v-berth, a quarterberth, u-shaped kitchen; lots of storage. A downside (in many peoples’ opinions) is that many of them are made with a lot of teak (teak = maintenance). I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative for us – we will have all the time in the world to take care of our boat, so teak TLC sessions are not a dealbreaker.



The Hans Christian 33T: layout, layout layout

I think if Stephane were to have his way and price were not an issue, we’d be sailing one of these babies. A unique feature of the HC-33T is the Pullman Berth- a bed situated on the side of your sleeping quarters and gives you standing room on the other side (see pic). In some HC-33Ts, there is also a cut-out at the foot of the bed (think if we are both sleeping in the berth and I have to get up at night- I go through the hole not over Stephane). These boats also have a double berth starboard-aft where most boats have either nothing or a single berth. The very roomy head is forward towards the bow of the boat.

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We know our boat is out there just waiting for us! What’s her name? What kind is she? Where is she? Will she keep us safe? What kind of amazing adventures are in store for us with her?

Created the domain name eeeeeep.com

Why eeeeeep.com

Well, it’s a good story.

Our friend Tom introduced us to a funny video. It’s the video of a Desert Rain Frog that puffs up and makes this funny noise when threatened.

Next thing, as we were climbing, Sara got in a spot where she was pretty uncomfortable (scared to death), and reproduced the sound of that tiny frog, which you guessed it, on paper translates into eeeeeep…

It’s been our little noise ever since.

So we spent a whole evening brainstorming for a website name but couldn’t come up with anything that we both really liked. We decided to call it a night and get ready for bed. I reminded Sara that there was nothing holding us back anymore now that we sold the house, to which she replied: Eeeeeep, and there it was! Eeeeeep.com

The House has SOLD!

The house was the number one thing that kept us fom sailing but at the same time, after it sold, it turned out to be the number one thing that will allow us to go sailing.

Sara and I worked hard at improving it. Some of he major things that we did was painting the whole inside together, I replaced the old carpet and put in a nice wood floor (laminate) and I also replaced the main windows. We didn’t use any contractors so we saved a lot of money but these few things changed the entire feel of the house and we gained a lot of equity. It wasn’t all easy but really worth it in the end.

Once we found out that we had a serious buyer, it was time to get rid of almost everything. Anything that we won’t need on the boat or for work (we’re still working until september) has to go because I’m moving into the little house (there is another blog about The Little House).

Cruisers call their savings “the cruising kitty”, and selling the house was a necessary step for us to build ours.



Annapolis Boat Show

My journal entry…

Boat show was amazing…Mrs. Westcott…private quarters…crazy cat with dialated pupils…breakfast is ready when you hear the music…butter croissants…cornbread muffins…strawberry waffles…R-A-I-N…Painkillers(2-4?)…Beneateau, Jenneau, Bavaria, Hunter, Oyster (yeah, right)…Dufour – so many!

Beers @ Irish pub with Erica & Greg…seafood dinner…Mr. + Mrs. Smith…downpour!…


Annapolis Day 2

Marine diesel seminar…rigging seminar…back on boats…30 feet feels big enough – maybe?..center cockpit rocks…we need a bluewater boat not an “entertainer” boat…Dinner @ Cantlers – CRAB! Bottle of wine @ the store + paper cups = late night wine party @ Mrs. Westscotts (shhh!)…pouring over sailing magazines and dreaming about our time…and the rain keeps pouring down…


Day 3 in Annapolis

Liberty Marina open house and we get to walk around and look at “real” boats (i.e., ones we can afford)…Halburg-Rassey, Pearson = beautiful! Guy who just bought a Pearson 30- good luck! Four o’clock flight gets us home by eight that night. Ah…Oh! And it was our one year anniversary! 10-11-12 x1!





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