Raven has been here for a little over a week now, and we’ve already done a bit of work getting her back to sailing mode. None of which will feel real until we get the mast and rigging back up.

We have cleaned the inside up a bit and put up the dodger to protect the cockpit and entryway. I cleaned the master head as the sink drain exploded during the journey and there was drain gunk spattered about. It wasn’t too bad. The Mister went around and taped up all the holes where the hardware was taken out for the trip and just in time. It started raining soon after. I guess our unlikely hot summer is over.

On Tuesday night we spent our first night on Raven to test it out. It was super comfy and I slept very soundly, which is not always possible for me. We could hear the trains, but otherwise it was quiet and peaceful and I love the sound of trains going by. And I got to wake to this out of our stateroom portal (notice all the sailing terminology?? Eh?)

I just had to add a quick post because Raven is arriving today after a brief hold up in Redding California due to construction on I-5. She has been decommissioned and I feel that I should share the pictures we got of that from the broker, as it is kind of awesome to see a sailboat without it’s mast or rigging.

I don’t think I’ll make it down to see her until Friday, but it’s pretty exciting to know she’s here. Oh, and if you’re in the market for a beautiful Gulf 29′, check out this page.

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of VietnamCatfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew X. Pham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gritty bike journey through the US West coast, Japan and finally, Vietnam. An (Andrew) bikes through all these places in search of himself, even though he is often more lost on his introspective journey than when he began. Interspersed with the tale of his travels are flashes to the past when he was a child in Vietnam before, during, and after the war, and as an immigrant in the US, ending up in Los Angeles.

An has a lot of self hate, and he seems to be searching for a way to like himself: if he can only find a reason to like the Vietnamese, he might learn to like himself. I’m not certain that ever happens, but he has a grand adventure trying.

All in all, very entertaining. I always wanted to know what would happen next and I found his ability to keep going despite his setbacks inspiring. I would have liked a bit more of an ending, but this is a memoir, so I’ll have to live with reality.

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I was looking around the internet today, recouping from a biopsy on my precious day off from work, and came across this list of “Top 10 Things” to hate when living aboard. The list did not surprise me. I am expecting to hate doing laundry in a laundry room and the lack of space is something I expect as well.  It is good to be reminded of the condensation issue and I really didn’t know that power and flipping breakers might be a problem. I think it will be fine when it’s just The Mister and me, but when the kids are here, we sometimes put a lot of strain on the power grid. The comments on the post are worth checking out–people have come up with some great solutions. And there is also their previous post that lists the Top 10 Things they love about living aboard.

I had already decided that I needed a place to store my road bike and camping gear off the boat. Mildew is not my favorite thing, especially in tents and rust on my Surly!!??!! Not happening. I know I can get a storage space in Ballard fairly cheaply, but I’m also thinking about a place where I can get away occasionally and possibly do some sewing projects. There are office spaces at ActivSpace that go for $260 a month. That’s a lot more than a storage space, but utilities are included. If they had wifi, that would be wonderful, but that is not offered that I see. They are wired for internet, but I don’t really want another bill.

I was considering a membership at Makerhaus along with a storage space as a possibility, but I see that they are going away September 16th. This makes me sad. I did a tour in the Spring and wanted to come up with some reason to join because their offerings are so cool. Having access to all of those tools and space to set up the laptop and work on personal projects would have been great. Luckily I have a lot of time to figure out an alternative that will work for me. It would be nice if the space is something The Mister and I can both use, anyhow.

Update on Raven: She’ll be here on Monday! Once the ball gets rolling, it goes fast. I am so excited!

 

We were downtown this afternoon, playing tourist, when I remembered there was a Cost Plus nearby. They have all kinds of interesting kitchen gadgets, and I was pretty certain that they would have the size of spice container I wanted. And they did!

Spice Containers

I only got four for now. I’ve filled them with some of my most used spices and the size seems perfect. Here they are on our current fridge.

You might think I like curry and chili powder…and you’d be right.

If these continue to hold up over the next few months, I’ll buy more for the more ordinary spices, like basil and marjoram. 

The Mister spent some time cleaning out Serenity and I stayed with the kids and pumped up the paddle boards for a little fun. I figured out that the pumping is what makes my arms sore, rather than paddling. That explains why kayaking on Friday didn’t do me in.

As usual, I make a promise in a blog post and then forget all about it. At the end of Shift in Focus, I said I’d tell you all about Raven in my next boat related post. Then I posted 2 more times about boat stuff, but no introduction! So here I am, making amends.

The Mister has been doing research on sailboats that would be a good option for live-aboard since I’ve met him. Not just for him, but his 3 children and now me as well. His criteria has changed over time with all the looking and bringing me and the kids on board some of his finds. He’s mostly used Yacht World and Craigslist to do online boat shopping.

We knew we needed enough room where the kids were comfortable and a head that didn’t smell (their biggest complaint about our current boat). The Mister finally found a good layout in the Vagabond 47. He didn’t find our Raven right away. In fact, he looked at several others and lost a lead on one in Oregon before he went down to Los Angeles and Marina Del Ray to see Raven.

Here is a G+ album of pictures that the broker took for us before The Mister went down to see it. Here is the original sale post (although this will probably disappear in time). Just an FYI, he did not pay the full asking price. During the haul out and survey there were a few things that need to be fixed. Some before she can sail, so she’ll be decommissioned and hauled up to Seattle. We also intend to replace the counters and sinks in the galley and heads before we move in.

I fell in love with the pictures, but also knew that nothing is as good when you see it in person. The Mister thought this one was different with a broker taking the pictures. He took a chance and went down to look at her and he was very happy with what he found. I came down to see her during the survey, and I was also very happy.

See? Happy!

We still can’t believe how beautiful these teak decks are. We really didn’t think we’d want anything with wood on the deck. Too much of a chance that what’s underneath is no good.

Fast forward to yesterday: The Mister signed the final papers and paid Washington State sales tax. He’s secured moorage at Shilshole Bay Marina and Raven should be coming out of the water for final prepping for her journey in the next week or so. Wish us luck!

On our travels this week, The Mister and I have talked a lot about wishes for the boat. He mentioned replacing the counter tops with granite and installing sweep sinks (inset sinks where you can push water and debris straight into the sink without that pesky lip in the way). I am all for both of those. Then he mentioned magnetic knife holders. !!!

I was thinking that with the way the boat moves, magnetic wouldn’t be strong enough to hold items without them falling if we went sailing.  Who wants knives and spices caroming around while you’re sailing? Not me. However, the Mister says that Raven will not be rocking as wildly as Serenity does when she’s heeled over or we’re in some weather. He thinks that magnets will work great. !!!

So, I’m rethinking my spice storage strategy. There’s a blank wall in the galley that would be great for mounting both knifes and spices on a magnetic strip or square and then I can use stainless instead of plastic.

 

Place to mount knife and spice holders.

Knife storage example

This is one spice option I’m considering

 

I will want to see these options in person, in order to evaluate size of the container and strength of the magnet. The knife bar is easy–Ikea. I could even get several of those to use with the spice tins, but that could lead to not being able to pry them off when I wanted to use them. Most of the magnetic spice storage sets come with a regular metal sheet and the magnet is glued to the tin. I’d also like to get empty tins, rather than a set that comes with spices. I have plenty of spices, and usually like to buy them as I need them (thus all the little bags in my drawer currently).

In the sailing realm, I’m trying two new apps that I’m hoping will help me remember terms and rules: Sailing Flashcards and Sailing Right of Way. As expected, there are not a lot of apps out there for sailing instruction. I’ve started using Sailing Flashcards, but it is not very complex, either in function or the diagrams used. Cons: In the 2D drawings it can be hard to figure out what part of the boat they are pointing at for identification and the order of the cards doesn’t change each time you start the app, so you always answer the same ones first. Pros: I’m getting more exposure to the terms than I would otherwise and repetition is making it easier to remember them. Once I’ve started Sailing Right of Way, I’ll give some feedback on that one as well.

I’m thinking about the things I want to take with me. There are certain things that I really enjoy, like a cold beer in my bike pint glass or a warm cup of coffee in a mug. Plastic and stainless just won’t do it.

I also have a mess of spices–and I mean a mess. I don’t want messes on the boat. Space is limited and I don’t want to live like a hoarder. I’ve always had a little problem with accumulating things in the corners of my room or not organizing things that would be easy to organize with the right containers. The spice drawer is one of the latter.

I’ve found a couple of options for spices. One is just using a rack and being really selective with what I keep. The other is to get these snap in holders and plastic containers.

SpiceStor 10-Pack 2″ Spice Bottle Set with Organizer

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about keeping my spices in plastic, but these seem like a good solution. If you click on the picture it should take you to a user review on Amazon. You can stick these to the inside of your cupboard and people seem very happy with how they stay put.

The Mister and I are going on a road trip this week and I think that when we get back I will order one of these and give them a try. If they pass my test, I’ll purchase enough to hold all of my essentials. This will also be a good test of my ability to get rid of perfectly good things that I don’t use.

Here’s a little eye candy to make getting through the boring post worth it:

Raven from the bowsprit. What a beautiful deck!

Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across AmericaGoing Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America by Brian Benson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brian and Rachel set off on bikes across the country, testing their strength and relationship during the thrilling and grueling days in the saddle. Written from Brian’s point of view, he spends a lot of time being apologetic for his white maleness and inspecting his interactions with Rachel. I loved the descriptions of the ride and both the good and bad feelings (physical and emotional) that went with it. However, Brian’s voice got a little whiny at times and I often wished that Rachel was the voice of the story.

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I think I’ve always struggled a little bit with this blog because I don’t have a sharp focus for the content. That’s probably not going to get any better. However, I have a new subject that I’d like to add in, which is pretty far off from my norm.  I may lose readers (ha! I’d have to have more than 5 to be too worried about that).

The Mister has purchased a sailboat. Yes, I know he already had one. That one will go up for sale and we will eventually move onto this new one. Just for you trolls out there, I will disclose that I have nothing to do financially with the purchase of this or the previous vessel. However, I will be moving onto it and paying part of the mortgage/moorage, so I’ll have a fair investment into how we outfit her. There are a few luxuries that I don’t want to give up, like ceramic coffee mugs, that will require some innovative storage solutions to make sure they don’t break while we are sailing.

It will be 8-10 months before we make the move, so I have some time to figure these things out. While I don’t want to buy a bunch of duplicates in order to test these solutions out, I do want to make sure I get the best thing I can for each situation. So, to keep track of my efforts and research, I’ll be using some of my blog posts to document the process of outfitting our beautiful new home.

Her name is Raven, and I’ll tell you all about her in my next boat related post.

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