Saturday, November 14, 2015

Planning the refit

Howdy Folks,

We've been busy getting things rolling with refit projects for Vela.  Our local sail loft, Banks Sails here in Kemah, is working on our new set of $ail$.  So we're looking forward to putting those to use pretty soon.  As part of that project we're still working on the design for the Asymetric spinnaker, stay tuned for that one.

As part of the new sail project, we'll be removing the staysail boom to free-up some deck space.
According to the rigger who came by today, we'll be able to keep the sail self tacking (with the new sail cut correctly) and get rid of the boom, so it feels like a big win.  In the past, having a dinghy on deck has meant the staysail was out of commission, this will address that.  What's the use of a cutter rig if you can't use your staysail offshore...when you need it most?

We've also been working with a local stainless shop to build an arch for our new solar panels and  wind generator.  It will also include a new set of davits.  Vela came with a set of davits but they don't really get the dinghy up high enough for our taste, and they're not the most sturdy design.  Moving them up to the arch and removing the stern ladder will allow us to open up the stern pulpit a bit.  As part of the project we're also planning to add a removable swim platform with it own ladder.  We'll also be replacing our existing stern rail seats, in an effort to get a more usable shape (deeper) and move them further back to gain some room.  Last but not least, we'll also be raising the back of bimini a bit to gain a bit of headroom when using the stern seats.  It currently hits me about mid-forehead when sitting in the seats.  It's turning out to be MUCH more expensive than we where originally thinking, but it's an important addition and we want to ensure it all works well and is solidly built.

It looks like we've also found someone to help us with the planning and installation of all the electronics upgrades.  One of the things Kara and I are both adamant about is that we're involved in the refit and know where EVERYTHING is.  Every connection, component, wire, splice, etc...  Someday, we know we'll be out there when something stops working and we want to be able to troubleshoot it on our own.  After talking with several other local sailors, we found Gary and he's going to help us with the entire process.  So there's some big changes in place for Vela in the coming months.  Our current 'plan' is:
  • Arch - local custom
  • Solar Panels - TBD
  • Wind Generator - Silent Wind
  • Chart Plotter - B&G Zeus 2
  • B&G WiFi Module for phone/tablet control/visibility
  • Move wind/depth/knot meter to companionway (from helm) - B&G Triton 41
  • Charge controller - Battery monitor
  • Radar - B&G 4G
  • Water Maker - TBD, Likely Spectra 12v
  • Much larger next-gen Anchor - TBD - Mantus or Rocna (73lb)
  • Much larger Windlass - Lighthouse 1501
  • Updated battery bank - Currently all lifeline
  • AIS send/recieve - TBD
Essentially our plan is to hemorrhage as much $$$ as possible for the next year and if we survive some cruising...or at least that's what it feel like at this point ;)

Friday, November 13, 2015

4-26-2017 By Kara

"Four, twenty-six seventeen" Like Dorothy clicking her heals to get home, I repeat my chant hoping that my mind will take me to a better place then the present stressful rat race.  April 26th, 2017 is our target date to leave our current life behind, to transform and to explore the world.  

“I can put up with just about anything for 18 months if I know it will all change”, I think as I receive another elbow jab from my fellow airplane passenger while on the way home from everlasting work travel.   I’m not quite sure what happened, my career used to be important to me; it used to be fulfilling.  I was excited to help my customers solve a challenge or to ‘own the room’ with a 500 person audience.   Maybe it was process or lack of resources, but something killed my motivation.   Perhaps, it was when I took a step back, looked at the bigger picture of life and asked, “I am alive, but am I really living?”

My old soccer coach was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a few weeks ago and is under going Chemotherapy.  She was fit and lived a healthy lifestyle, but is still staring death in the face.   My dad died of cancer before 60 and I have numerous relatives and in-laws that either succumbed to health issues before their time or have trouble doing everyday tasks because of their declining health.  I am often reminded that you are only guaranteed this moment; the next might not happen.  Life is too short not to live out your dreams so we are going sailing and are untying the lines in April of 2017.

What’s the significance of 4/2017?   Our original goal was to retire early and go sail.   We could possibly leave in 5 years and 2020 sounded like a nice round, safe number to shoot for if we had to put a number on it.  The more that we researched the more we kept hearing “Go small, Go cheap, Go now!”  Not a single item we read made us think that we needed to wait longer or that cruising was a bad decision.  Advice from our cruising friends that are in mid-circumnavigation was to put a specific day month year on our plan to leave.  After careful consideration on Vela’s necessary improvements, the best time of year to sail through the gulf, and personal preparations (house / condo / family) we decided on 4/2017.  The 26th just happened to be a random date in the last week of the month and we aren’t necessarily set on that date, but it gives us a day to shoot and plan for.

Yes some parts of this will be difficult, yes there is real work involved, yes we are not nearly prepared, yes I’m nervous yet excited, but also yes, we can do this!  As Walt Disney stated  “The way to get started is to quit talking and get doing” and thus I am going to stop typing and get doing.