So now that I've gotten a few things off my chest, I can tell you about some of our preparations. Suffice it to say, they are ENDLESS. Geez! Can we just go already before we overload the boat to the point where it tips over with the first puff of wind??? Seriously, there are very few cubbyholes left to fill and we still have about 2 1/2 weeks before we leave. How much more can we take? (Can you tell I'm stressing about this???)
Truly, I thought our boat was sea-ready years ago, but how wrong I was! It is true what they say: "A boat is just a big hole one throws money into." We added a Hydrovane self-steering gizmo on the stern, fans in every room (since we don't have A/C), 4-person life raft, AIS (to see when another vessel is about to hit you), radar (for fog mainly), SSB (for weather & communication), storm windows (to protect our glass 360-degree view in heavy seas), storm sails & drogue, water maker, lee cloths (so we don't fall out of bed) and so, so much more!
Those are the big things, but then there are plenty of projects to be done that are time-consuming and "fiddly", shall we say. Things like getting extra lines (ropes in landlubber terminology) of various types (and yes, they all need different properties for each use so it makes for a lot of stuff) and extra parts for the engine, the outboard, the water maker, the bow thruster, etc. It's mind-boggling!
Then there is provisioning of our food. Yikes! I can't even plan what I want to eat for lunch today, let alone figure out what I'm going to want to eat two weeks from now! Not to mention what the other people on board are going to be hungry for. Can't we just order out for a pizza or something??? Oh. Yeah. I guess that ain't going to work, is it? Dang! I hope those guys like eating cold beanie weanies from a can... especially if I'm busy puking my guts out while I try desperately to keep from pitching into the cabinets with every crashing wave. Oh well, I am willing to bet that every single one of us could do to lose a little weight anyway...
Which gets me to our crew... For the first leg of our trip (to San Francisco), Brad and I will be joined by Natalie and Tolga, both of whom we just met a few months ago. Let's hope it will be a match made in heaven for the four of us. Both Natalie and Tolga have sailing experience and both own their own boats. Tolga is the only one of us who has racing experience. Hopefully we can use his knowledge and skills to tweak the sails for optimum speed. Natalie has enthusiasm going for her and a willingness to be a good team player. We have only managed to go out all together to sail on our boat once and dang it if there was almost NO wind for us to practice in. We managed to re-learn how to heave-to (since our boat's jib has a Hoyt boom, it is NOT an easy task!) and work and think together as a team so that was encouraging. Time will tell.
It would be great if we could squeeze in another crew bonding trip prior to departure, but right now our boat is in dry dock getting the bottom painted, fresh zincs all around, and a bunch of other stuff. Next week we will be backpacking for a week in the Enchantments with our good friend, Doug, and five others. This is a bucket list trip for Doug that we just couldn't miss. And it will be our last big hiking trip out with him so it will be quite bittersweet. On the positive side, hopefully this backpacking adventure will give me a chance to stop thinking and worrying about the upcoming voyage. I sure hope so!
That's it for now. But before I forget, here is a link you can use to see where Abby Normal is. It's not real-time, but will tell you where we were last time we were able to transmit our position via SSB. We hope to post our position once per day, but don't freak out if we miss for several days as the ionosphere can be unpredictable. (The SSB bounces waves off the ionosphere and its surface is not constant.) We won't begin our adventure until August 13th or 14th so don't expect it to move until after then.
And here are some boat pictures so you can see what Abby Normal looks like. Most of these are sales literature photos, not ones of our actual boat. This is what Abby looked like before we added all the safety gear and whatnot and before the inside was loaded up with all of the crap that we just can't seem to do without! The last picture is ACTUALLY our boat.