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WELCOME ABOARD: I am attempting to blend working/living/adventuring into the content of this blog. I’m writing unfiltered and letting it flow freely, so I might fail at times. Thanks for bearing with me as I figure it out!
Ahoy again! I can’t believe it has been over 2 weeks since the first blog post! So much has happened, but I’ll try to just capture the highlights. This piece is meant to be a reflection upon my practices of sustainability that come inherently with boat life. As always, I will manage to weave in some of my unique philosophical ideology. Fair warning: this may end up totally off course from my original intention. That’s the beautiful thing about having your own blog, you can do what you want.
To begin, I should mention that Venture finally made it into the water. There was a mad dash to button up all the details like getting the sails on, provisioning with tools, safety gear and all that good stuff. I’ve been sailing for many years but always as crew, so this was my first mission as Captain and I really didn’t want to mess up the dock maneuver when it was time to leave. I think the people around me were more nervous for me than I was for myself though.
I have this quirk where I process emotions differently than most people. I believe that every emotion can be interpreted on a spectrum, there are two sides to every stick. What some might feel as fear, I feel on the other end of the spectrum, excitement. For better or worse this has led to my being happiest when I push myself to the limits of uncertainty. Every day is like Christmas Eve for a young child, I can exist in a state of pure exhilaration.
Anyways, the dock maneuver went off without a hitch! Full disclosure, a bunch of folks I’d met at New England Boatworks (NEB) this summer came down to help with Venture’s send off. It really was a beautiful moment. One of my favorite things about the boating lifestyle is the community. We all have this shared passion for living in an unwelcoming natural environment and that requires us to buddy up and help each other. It’s always disappointing when I return to land and that sense of community diminishes. When someone has a case of road rage I like to picture the equivalent scenario out at sea, it makes me laugh. I imagine some boater running aground and just getting on the VHF and hailing them to yell what an idiot they are… it just wouldn’t happen. Somehow the Ocean is the great equalizer, I can relate to the sailing bum just as much as the guy with the super yacht. We have this thing in common called sailing and it erodes all social stigmas and barriers, it’s truly beautiful.
I was able to take Venture for a short test run out of NEB and over to Pirate’s Cove on the Sakonnet River (where I am right now). I also had a special treat on this jaunt. A couple of years back I helped a rowdy sailing bum rescue a salvage boat from the Bahamas (Sandy’s Way). Hurricane Irma decimated the Bahamas and we picked the vessel up in Treasure Cay. It was really quite the adventure and a story all in itself (for another time). This person (who we’ll call Captain X) managed to sail this boat up to Newport, RI! They’re not one for doing things by the book and left this thing unattended at anchor in Weaver Cove (ill advised!). I was lending a hand and taking a cruise by to see if the anchor was holding and/or the boat had been raided. It brought back a flood of memories seeing this boat which we pulled out of Treasure Cay floating peacefully all the way in Rhode Island. She definitely has seen better days, but we really did pull this thing from the graveyard and gave it a second breath of life.
Jeesh, I have to stop going off on tangents here. So… the test run went fairly well, but as expected, we uncovered a few issues to button up before going offshore to Annapolis. The other goal of this whole adventure has been embodying a true lifestyle of sustainability. I’ve been taking advantage of the boat shows as an opportunity to learn about what’s available and how these things can help accomplish my mission (Some photos below!)
One of the highlights of the boat show was getting to hang out with Bob Bitchin. Bob is the founder of Latitudes & Attitudes, the #1 Cruising Lifestyle Magazine. He’s a real character with a great story. One of his famous sayings (I subscribe to with full belief): “Attitude, it’s the difference between an ordeal and an adventure”.
After many years Bob is getting out of the game. On October 15th in Annapolis (right after the boat show) I’m looking forward to getting a chance to hang out with Bob and the Lats & Atts crew, celebrating Bob’s contributions to the sailing community over the years. I envision this will be a transformative experience and a bittersweet day for cruisers everywhere.
HOWEVER, I have a few obstacles between where I am and where I’m going… It’s peak hurricane season and the National Hurricane Center map is lit up like the fourth of July!
I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting on a weather window. Although I’m not just sitting around waiting. I’m amazed at how well the Starlink performs, even in swells. I’m having clearer zoom meetings and working faster than I ever did on Burlington Telecom (no offense Burlington peeps).
I was able to pick up a like-new fishing pole mount for $20 at the consignment shop and a 2” pipe adapter from Starlink for $39. I also picked up a Cat6 shielded junction box for $14 on Amazon to cut the cable, run it via a thru-deck and voila! The RV Starlink unit is now a boat unit for under $100. The one weakness to the system seems to be heavy overcast & rains. That’s when the cellular systems really come in handy.
I’m bound and determined to make it to Annapolis by the 15th, but it will likely require some tap dancing around these storms. Not surprisingly, this actually makes the experience that much more enjoyable for me. This is where I have to be careful, I make sure to get advice because I don’t process fear the same way as most people. The drawback to that comes during the instances where fear can be useful. One thing I learned the hard way, you can’t underestimate the power of the Ocean. It’s truly an awesome experience to witness 18’ waves and gale force winds. Crossing the gulf stream on a north wind I had a break-down and really got hammered… for days. There’s nothing quite like it. On the other hand, it’s miraculous that I pulled through that storm, that little Endeavor 38’ (Sandy’s Way) was a trooper. The experience led to a deeper understanding of myself and learning how I can adapt my processes to not take things too far moving forward.
Oh yeah, I promised you I’d talk about sustainability. Sorry if this is too technical, but it’s my blog so you’ll have to deal with it.
I just finished upgrading the batteries and designing a renewable energy system that can supply 176 amp hours of power per day. When you have to run a generator you become conscious of every amp hour consumed. I watch the battery management system like a hawk now. I know the draw of every light bulb and system on the boat. It becomes a personal challenge to reduce consumption as much as possible. The same goes for fresh water consumption and generation of waste. It’s very inconvenient to resupply fresh water or take care of trash removal. I’ve found myself living more sustainably than ever before. I walk almost everywhere having now stored my vehicle. It’s one of the coolest experiences ever. Also, if anyone has suggestions on a bike that can be stored compactly/easily I am ALL EARS!
Ok I have to stop rambling and wrap this up. This is turning out to be an awesome yet challenging adventure. I’m excited for the various projects I have materializing as others are sunsetting. I’m excited to be meeting new people and joining new teams. I look forward to updating this blog (or trying to) every few weeks or so.
Thanks to those who’ve reached out and I haven’t forgotten about you. Once I get through this move I’ll get back to everyone with thoughtful responses. Also, I’m going to need a crew hand (or two) to move South from Annapolis so if you have some time to kick it on the boat and ideally some boating experience, please let me know.
Stay salty my friends!