Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stardust sails to her new home

Monday, 5/15. The radar had been fixed last Friday, but the boatyard didn’t call (or return my messages) so I didn’t find out until Monday morning that the radar was ready to go. This was my last chance for 2 weeks to move the boat. Chris and Terry Reynolds, and JZ, volunteered to help sail to Regatta Pointe Marina.

We had a wonderful sail for 3 hours across Tampa Bay, crossing under the Skyway Bridge. We identified a distant storm cell and two tankers on the radar. The chartplotter led us through deep water to the mouth of the Manatee River. The autopilot did all the work, with JZ punching in +10 or –5 to change course. Terry and I performed all the winch duties. I oversaw the course, spending time on the bow, at the helm, and down below at the nav station with paper charts.

The wind died, so we cranked up the Yanmar and motored the last hour to the marina. Upon arrival at our slip, all the neighbor live-aboards were standing by to watch the new guy enter town. We performed well enough to not get thrown out. Then everyone on dock sprang to action, helping us tie up. What a great community we’re joining!

Stardust exceeded my expectations. The four of us had a most wonderful time. What a great adventure we are about to undertake!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Maiden Voyage-Mothers Day

Sunday, May 14, 2006. Kathy, Rachel, and I traveled to St. Pete with Jim (JZ) and Amy Zeiset to see the boat. I have the gate combo, and let us into the deserted boat yard. Low and behold, the radome was on the mast, the chartplotter was installed at the helm, and all the wiring was back in place. Sunny and breezy, the boat looks ready (even though we hadn’t heard from the boatyard despite many phone messages to them the previous 2 days), and it’s Mothers’ Day, so what should we do? Go on the maiden voyage, of course!
With expert crew on the dock lines, we backed smoothly out of the slip in a crosswind, and headed for Tampa Bay. JZ performed most of the helm duties while I cranked on the winches and ran all over the boat checking everything. The girls soaked up some sun and Rachel kept an eye out for shipwrecks on the chartplotter down in the nav station. There are quite a few but we didn’t see them. The chartplotter worked great, especially since we didn’t have an operable depth sounder.
After docking, Terry and Chris Reynolds dropped by to share the moment and some beer with us. High spirits all around!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Closing Day/28th Anniversary Day!

Well, we signed the papers and she’s ours! The closing process was quick with no surprises. The radar/chartplotter is still not fixed, and the depth meter doesn’t work either. We wanted to sail a victory lap around Tampa Bay, but since we don’t know the water, and don’t have a depth meter, we decided to look into nooks and crannies on the boat, do some cleaning, and just sit and stare at our new boat. Then we picked up Rachel and had a celebratory dinner at Outback. Lobster! Last night, we watched Rachel and her friend Erin receive awards for honor roll grades (maintaining a 3.5 gpa or better). Then we ate out again (with Erin and her parents Bob and Whitney Kreiling) on Kathy and my 28th wedding anniversary.