How to Repair the Mainsail

As I mentioned a few posts back, we recently tore our mainsail. We still have a full summer of sailing ahead of us, so we needed to fix it ASAP! Here was our process:

Got a sail repair kit from Amazon. Sail thread, wax, some special sewing needles, sail tape, and a palm pusher (like a thimble, but hardcore). $50 total.

sail repair1

Brought down the mainsail, got a bit discouraged that we had SEVEN tears of varying lengths.

Laid out the mainsail on the dock and applied sail tape.

sail1

Brought mainsail into cockpit because it was so f*cking hot out.

sail repair 2

Hand-sewed for 3 hours, fixed 2.5 tears. Must follow zig-zag pattern back and forth along each seam to reinforce, and realized we were in for more than we thought. Conor worked on it from the crack of dawn the next day and 10 hours later he was done.

sail repair 3

Hurricane Chris passed by east coast.

High winds + in-mast roller furler – mainsail = HORRENDOUSLY LOUD BANGING. No way could we hoist our mainsail up while tied to the dock in such high winds. Needed a temporary fix.

Had the bright idea to shove pieces of pool noodle into the mast to keep the furler from banging. Recruited our friend Zach (who recently bought his own 42 ft liveaboard) to go up in his bosun’s chair to do it for us.

zach

It worked! All was quiet while we waited for the right conditions to pull out the pool noodles and put our sail back up. Borrowed the bosun’s chair again, and this time I was initiated into another part of boat life—my own trip up the mast! Check out the view:

mast2

mast1

Fun fact: I am usually terrified of heights, but it was either Conor hauled me up the mast, or I tried to haul his 200+lbs 60ft up in the air. I picked the easier choice. Once pool noodles were out, we put up our mainsail and quickly rolled it up into the mast.

We went sailing the next day, and winched it out with our fingers crossed. SUCCESS! You can’t even tell where it was repaired. Sails held strong and we had a great day out on the water.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Advertisements

Pinterest Worthy?

We’ve finally accomplished some mini-projects for the inside of the boat. Just a few little touches to make life more comfortable, easier, or homier. My favorite is this cool spice rack that Conor put up:

spicerack

All you need are some powerful magnetic strips and jars with magnetic tops. Add in a label maker and you’re set! No more digging through the pantry for spices in the middle of cooking.

mixtiles

We also put up this great photo wall using a company called MixTiles. They are high-quality photos printed on foam, and they just stick right to the wall. Easy to swap out, too. $9 apiece and they are boat-proof. No glass frames in here!

Now that it is summer in North Carolina and everyday is around 100% humidity, we are trying anything and everything to keep our interior cool and dry. We stuck a product called dri-deck under our queen mattress and the v-berth mattress. It helps with air flow, especially in the v-berth, to keep bedding from getting damp. I’ll be interested to see if it helps in the winter, too.

bed

Speaking of bedding, I know some people were curious to know how we secured W’s crib to her mattress:

crib

Simple straps! Easy peasy, and that thing doesn’t move at all. There’s an adjustable strap running through each leg separately, then up and around the mattress. All 4 legs of that thing are locked down.

That’s about all of our interior updates. Each little project over the last year has customized it to our family, and it definitely feels like home!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

COVER REVEAL!

I proudly present the cover of my debut novel! Cloaked will be released on August 22, 2018. You can order it here once it becomes available:

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/

Let me just add that this is such a surreal moment. The Wild Rose Press editorial team did an incredible job finalizing the manuscript, and the cover artist, Debbie Taylor, brought my vision to life.

Cloaked_w12562_750

As the Cloaked Shadow, Fawkes has made his career breaking into prisons for any contract with a large enough purse. He takes advantage of the kingdom’s impending revolution by playing both sides of the conflict. Each rescue contract he fulfills turns a tidy profit until he angers the wrong duke.

Charlotte is a criminal-in-training who yearns to crack her mentor’s guarded façade, but is unprepared to confront the depths of his dark past. As her sense of right and wrong blurs, Charlotte discovers just how far she will go for the Cloaked Shadow and the sacrifices he requires.

Now hunted throughout the land, Fawkes must face long-buried secrets in order to survive, but they could destroy him. Charlotte risks everything, including her heart, to set Fawkes on the path to redemption.

Will Charlotte have the strength to pull Fawkes into the light, or will she follow him into the shadows?

Thank you all for your never-ending support.
Love,
Taylor, Conor, and W

Hey There, Big Spender

helping dad
Helping Dad with paperwork is very serious business

June was an expensive month for us. It will always be an expensive month because that’s when we owe our annual insurance as liveaboards. Thankfully, we were able to switch insurance companies this year for a much cheaper option.

We were previously insured through Lloyds of London. We were grateful that they would insure us in the first place (read about our insurance struggles as a first-time boat owner here) but when it came time to re-up this year, we were disappointed that they were going to charge us the same astronomical rate, even though we were accident-free and ASA certified now. They also required a ton of paperwork hoops to jump through.

After shopping around, we realized that it was way easier to get insurance when you’ve had insurance and were able to get a much more reasonable rate through Pantaenius ($1,000 annually vs $3,600 annually). So what did we do with our savings?

Got a new A.C. unit! Our old one was 16 years old and on its last legs. We had it professionally installed, and Conor watched the process from start to finish. He is getting to be quite the expert on boat systems.

There are also some personal and decorative touches we have planned for the boat. Details and photos next post!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

The Week Everything Broke

As I mentioned in the last blog post, we have just celebrated 1 year living aboard our boat. So how did our beloved home decide to mark the occasion? By having everything that needed to be replaced break at one time.

Let me paint you a picture: it is 3am. I have just been awoken by the dulcet cries of a hungry baby. I stumble down the companionway to the v-berth. I glance at the thermostat, and it reads 79 degrees. Shit. No wonder I’m sweating. The A.C. isn’t working. The air is still blowing but it is no longer cool.

I pick the baby up and start feeding her. All of the sudden, an ear-piercing beeping starts coming from both the aft cabin and the v-berth. The carbon monoxide detectors are going off, and I’m trying not to panic. I wake Conor up, who has miraculously slept through all of this. He’s searching for the manual binder to find out what is going on with the detectors. Turns out, it is the ‘end of life’ alert and we need new ones.

These are both significant problems, but they are 7am problems and not 3am problems. Bleary-eyed, we agree to assess the situation in the morning and go back to bed.

Two days later, we take the boat out for our second sail with baby. We have an in-mast furling system for our main, so as I’m cranking out the sail, I notice that the bottom corner has a small rip. Sucks, but not devastating. As I unfurl it further, I see a rip on the edge of the sail at regular intervals all the way up to the top. WTF??

Turns out, our main halyard wasn’t tight enough at the top, and the weight of the sail had been resting on our battens and our mainsail tore every few feet. I’m kicking myself for not realizing it during the first sail this summer. I had no idea something like that could happen, though. Just when we thought we were kicking butt at this whole newbie sailor thing, too…

So it’s been one thing after another. The good news is that this all happened while Conor was home, instead of when I was alone with baby. Silver linings, right?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

sails
Does this mainsail look trimmed enough to you? That’s because it isn’t. A 4-hr sail like this and it ripped. I feel so dumb I didn’t realize how loose it was when I took this pic.

Celebration Week

Lots to celebrate this week: This stud’s birthday is coming up, and we passed 1 year aboard our boat!

Conor bday

I am such a lucky lady.

But because Conor doesn’t like to make a big deal out of his birthday, the rest of this post will be about our year aboard. This is a random collection of thoughts with contributions from both me and Conor, in no particular order.

  1. Showing off the boat is fun. It’s like bragging about your kid, but people are more impressed.
  2. Parenting is hard whether you are on a boat or in a house. Sleep deprivation is still sleep deprivation.
  3. Sometimes I have no idea what to write on the blog.
  4. It can be hard to focus on work when all you want to do is sail off into the sunset.
  5. All boat work must be done with a beer in hand.
  6. We still haven’t used our dinghy.
  7. Why does the bilge always smell weird after we sail?
  8. Conor keeps accidentally dropping AC filters into the river when he cleans them. We are on #3 now.
  9. Using a cockpit as my writing office is super sweet, until the bugs come out in summer.
  10. I am bad at taking Instagram photos. I don’t have the patience. Usually I look at my phone and say, “Meh, that will work.”
  11. It is hard to get your significant other Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents because you don’t have anywhere to put them.
  12. I have only worn makeup 8 times this year. Hobo boater fashion is going to catch on, I just know it.
  13. Occasionally when the weather is horrible, I envy the people in base housing.
  14. Doing the black water pump out always smells bad. In 4 degrees or 90. The first time or the thirtieth time.
  15. Some friends like to exert their dominance by peeing on the boat, knowing that Conor will have to drag their urine up a hill.
  16. Ice is a novelty.
  17. It is okay to say, “I don’t know why it’s doing that.”
  18. What is ‘personal space’?
  19. The best part of Conor’s day is sliding open the hatch and yelling “Hello girls!” Even when the baby is napping.
  20. We are thankful to be doing this today instead of 30 years from now.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

How to Sail with a Baby

memorial day 3

After 8 long months at the dock, we finally went sailing again! Memorial Day weekend was just too gorgeous to ignore, and the water was calling to us. It was the first time with our little family of 3 (plus Scout, of course) and we had a blast. We weren’t as rusty as I feared we would be. Story Time sailed like a dream, and seeing her sails up filled me with such joy and contentment.

memorial day

While we were prepping the boat after a stagnant winter, I was jittery with nerves. How in the world could we safely sail with an infant? Were we negligent parents to even consider doing so? Let me tell you, seeing my baby girl gaze in wonder out at the water while safely strapped to her dad made all doubts fly out the window. Here’s how we sailed with a baby, and cardinal rules we have decided to follow:

1. Wait until baby has good head control. For us, that was 5 months. W can roll over and is close to sitting up unassisted. She is huge for her age and has strong body control. I definitely wouldn’t take a baby out who is younger than 3 months, but that is personal preference.

2. Pick a day with perfect weather. We had a max of 10 mph winds, and it made for such a calm experience. If there was any chance of high winds or storms, we would not have gone out.

3. Go over your casting off and docking steps. Who is doing what, when, and with which line. Review it over and over until you’re confident with your plan of action. Worrying about the baby took up massive space in my brain, so it was necessary to be able to move without second-guessing myself as we left the marina and came back.

4. Stay local. Don’t push your luck and risk a fussy and unhappy baby who is hot and tired. We only sailed around New River and were gone a total of 4 hours. As W gets older, we will go for longer stretches, but this was a good start.

5. Babywear. Seriously. We have a Lillebaby carrier that can be adjusted to both me and Conor, and W loves it. Conor wore W during the sail because he was at the helm the whole time. I like to run the sails, so I needed to be free to maneuver. This brings me to rule #6:

6. Baby does not leave the cockpit, ever, except to go down below into the cabin with Mom to eat/stretch out/etc. If she is not in her Lillebaby, then she is in her Stohlquist infant lifejacket.

7. For casting off and docking, baby goes in her crib down below. She protested a little when we were casting off, wondering why she couldn’t be in on the action, but it was better for her to fuss in a safe place for 5 minutes while we got underway. While we were docking, she was quite content to wait for us and babbled in her crib. Her crib is strapped down in the v-berth, and won’t move.

8. Leave and return while your marina is open and there are staff members to help you. It is quicker and smoother than trying to do it with just two people. I’m a fan of whatever makes life easier with a baby.

memorial day 2

All in all, it was easier than I expected it to be. I had thought that we might need to rig up some sort of car seat contraption in the cockpit to put W in while underway, but once we came up with these rules, it was pretty much unnecessary. We are looking forward to more adventures this summer, especially anchoring out. If you have any additional tips for sailing with babies, please post them in the comment section!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W