September, 2011 - Cruising - Life Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Sept 20 - Finally, back out on the water. I know, if there are any left looking, that you've been wanting us to forget the house and go sailing. We did, albeit a short trip.

We left on Saturday morning and the rules were - we know we will forget something so we will just laugh about it. The first thing I figured out we forgot was the cable so we could download pictures for the website. Talk about being out of practice!

We left our house and canal passing through the Wilson Pigget bridge heading west. The Gulf of Mexico awaits! Our plan was simple! Head to Pelican Bay which is at Cayo Costa which is about 45 nautical miles from our house. Then go offshore and sail south passing the islands then Sanabel. Our goal was to be able to sail with the spinnaker. Will we achieve the goal? Then hang out at the beach for a day then back home.

Let's get going west. To the right you can see the bridge we passed through on the way towards Ft. Myers. Below you can see the river view and that old familiar picture from the helm seat. Wow, we miss this. Up pop's Ft Myers about 8 miles down the river.

We passed the city and were traveling on water that we hadn't seen before as we cruised between Kentucky and Long Island.

We encountered the entry on the left and it brought back some very fond memories. From this point on, we are on familiar water again. This was the location of Vacation Yachts and a place where we rented Gemini's and a Seawind Cat. We didn't have a website then but we took that Seawind from Ft Myers to Key West and back for the millennium celebration. What a great 9 day cruise.

As we approached the "miserable mile" we saw an unwanted site - a boat in tow. It's been 9 months since we have used our boat as much as we've already used it on this first day. I was just hoping I wouldn't have to hip up the boat again because something breaks. Oh wait, something will break just not today.

It was Saturday and as you can see below, there are finally other people on the water.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Don't go boating where you can see birds walking?" This is an instance where it really did look like there should be deep water except when you look at the charts or the birds.

We continued motoring up the inside against the wind to pass Cabbage Key. First, Cabbage Key was one of our favorite spots to stop as we passed going north or south. Ok, it isn't cheap (which is our absolute favorite spot) but I understand when everything has to come to the island by boat. It is simply an experience.

This time we didn't stop although we will next time. I promised Deb so that means we will stop - she remembers those things.

We anchored in Pelican Bay with the wind out of the North East. This is the worst wind position for anchoring here so we went further in and turned up closer to the inbound island for some protection. Winds were fairly light so it really didn't matter although the winds were to build in the early morning.

Of course the first problem showed up just as we were getting ready to anchor. I put the throttle into neutral and we kept going forward. Yes, I know you typically go forward because of "carry" but I'm telling you it didn't go into neutral. I had Deb take the wheel and turn in a circle. We were heading for a 2 foot shoal at the time so prudence was to turn - I hate going aground and ripping things off the boat. I went back and the good news was it was still in the forward position on the transmission (bad news would have been it was in neutral.) I found the cable had come loose so I quickly made up a fix for that and we were back to anchoring. Life was again, good today. By the way, I fixed the rest of the problem before we left the next morning.

Our wind forecast for Sunday was 15 knots out of the North East. I was thinking it was going to be a great sailing day in the gulf as the sun was setting on the other side of Cayo Costa. Three sunset pictures? Yes, and all for our friends on Zippedoda along with all the rest of you that don't get to watch sunsets on the ocean.


Jimmy Buffet was having a good time on the boat too. He got right back into the boating life taking a nap in the morning and afternoon. I think I could hear him saying "Don't get off the boat, Don't get off the boat!" Sorry Jimmy. We will get back on shortly.

Sunday morning we left at 9 am - yep, we slept in after a great night grilling on the boat. We motored against the wind for the pass and then turned catching the current going out to the Gulf. Life is really good now. We were making 8.5 knots riding out the pass. Winds were great and as soon as we turned I set the sails and we were making 6-7 knots. I thought, we didn't even need to bring the spinnaker. Oh but wait! The sea breezes started up which are caused by the heating of the land and started canceling out the wind from the high pressure that was north of us. That means the wind dropped. After an hour I set up and launched the spinnaker and again - life is good today.

In case you may be sensing a theme, Life is Good Today, then you might want to click on the movie which is highlighted above in blue.

Deb kept saying, I love this and tell me again - why did we get off the boat? Of course she knew but isn't is just so cool that she's still ready to get back on again and go.

Yes, we still love to see dolphins!

After a wonderful day of sailing we went into Ft. Myers Beach to pick up a mooring ball. Our goal was both fun and work. We wanted to go through all the storage areas on the inside of the boat plus we were planning on having a great time as all tourists should and do.

One thing you will notice is NOBODY IS HERE! Really, this is the dead time at the beach. There were only 6 boats on the mooring balls when we showed up. We picked up a mooring ball and the winds weren't wonderful so I started the Honda then the A/C. Honda crashed and said "I can't do this." Honestly, it said that! Well in Honda generator talk it said that. It shut down on overload. Now that doesn't make sense. The A/C just worked on two different days on our extension cord from the house. Troubleshooting is in our future.

We went for happy hour and a cheap dinner at Bonito Bills then back to the boat when it was cooler. I was thinking about the problem and figured out it wasn't the Honda or the A/C, it was the cable and it had to be corrosion on the plug. I found another plug on the end of a different cable and replaced it. A/C fixed. That's two problems but I forgot to tell you about the third one.

We were offshore and tried to pump out with the macerator pump and it was toast. The third problem and my only fix is to replace the pump. Something to add to the list. We are doing fine and really, that isn't bad for a boat that hasn't been used for 9 months extensively. Not even a boat unit (remember BOAT = Bring On Another Thousand.)

Then there was the storm. It blew at 30 knots and how much fun was that! Of course there was the rainbow so who cares about the storm? The rainbow is what it is all about!

We got back today, Tuesday, at about 11:30 a.m. after a 4 hour and 40 min trip. It was too short but I get to work with another boat on Thursday through Saturday. You should see pictures about that delivery soon.

Life is going good today.

  Sept 22 - What a great day. You may remember that I was working with Larry on the purchase of a boat. I did the pre-survey so he could decide about an offer on the boat. He ultimately made the deal and we were off today to do a "teaching and discovery day" on the boat. We had a great day showing Larry everything and teaching him the systems on the 39 foot Mainship that he had just purchased. We labeled and went through everything on the boat.We also made a long list of items he needed ranging from safety items to parts to repair electric cords along with safety placards. In other words, a bunch of stuff from West Marine. the boat is almost ready for the delivery back to Naples. It looks like we will be going up on Wednesday of next week to complete a checkout of the newly installed autohelm along with a sea trial. After refueling, we will be getting underway for the delivery down to Naples. This is a very good condition Mainship with twin turbo diesels and I am looking forward to helping Larry get it home along with helping him continue to learn the systems along with handling of the boat. I know he and Joyce will truly enjoy the rest of their time on the water with their new boat.

Sept 30 - What a great delivery.  Let me bring you back up to speed. I had gone up to do a pre-offer inspection on a 39' Mainship with twin turbo Yanmar's. It had some small, but let me say again small, issues. Overall it was a very good buy and based on the information provided to us on the way similar boats had sold, Larry made an offer which of course was countered but in the end they found an agreeable point for the sale. Larry did quite a bit of work on the boat with some good contractors and it really updated the boat. New upholstery inside and out along with a new enclosure.

I had come up with Larry a week ago to identify all the systems and he was able to label everything so he would know them in the future. This boat has a much more complex electrical system which we were able to explain and Larry now has it totally under control. We had checked out all the oils and identified where to check everything. At this point, Larry had been just about everywhere in the boat and understood most of the systems. Fast forward to Wednesday of this week.

Larry picked me up at 7:30 and we were in Bradenton at 9 am just in time to unload ton's of stuff we had purchased from West Marine. We secured the holding tank overboard discharge to comply with regulations then posted the waste placard again to comply with regulations. Next we got underway with the electronics people who had installed a new autohelm. It had to be calibrated and ensure it all worked. It did and the Raymarine ST70 system worked just fine and would continue to. Another issue would raise it's head as you will soon see.

 After our checkout, we went back to the fuel dock to fill up and luckily we had time to get organized since nobody else was coming in for fuel. We got underway out of Bradenton and decided to go on the inside to Sarasota to anchor and check everything again. Since this was a new boat for Larry, we checked the engine compartment every couple of hours and also the aft compartments where the hydraulic steering piston was located. This is where we found the first major issue. We had a leak in the hydraulic steering piston and after a call to the autohelm installer we found that wasn't in his scope of work and he thought we would be just fine continuing our trip. You will find it was good we had a twin but I won't get ahead of the story.

We had measured the bridge clearance with antennas down and didn't have to request any bridge openings. In case you ever wondered, don't trust the measurements that are given to you - measure it from the water line yourself and you will know for sure what your clearance is. We did!

Beautiful view from the fly bridge, isn't it!


 We headed past Anna Marie Island and on to Sarasota. "Our Life" was doing just fine although we were tracking that hydraulic leak. We only had what appeared to be a small leak but we also did not have the tube that would attach up to fill the hydraulics. Oops - that won't happen again.... So far however, everything was working just perfectly.

We checked all the other fluids and it was working wonderfully. The two air conditioners were working great, generator running like a top, understanding of loads (when to run everything or shut something down) was totally understood, life was going great on "Our Life."

Lessons on the GPS and autohelm went very well. I just love it when the autohelm is tied to the GPS.


 We pulled out of Sarasota and went through the pass. It had shoaling on each side which could easily be seen from the fly bridge. We had breakers and we didn't even have much of a sea!

Larry had made the decision that we really should get back on Thursday. That is about a 95 nautical mile day so we were going to burn some fuel. We powered it up to 2500 RPM on each engine and were making almost 12 knots. That is a really good speed for a 22,000 pound boat. As you can see, we put out a bit of a wake too.

Once again, we made 4 trips down during the day to check the bilges along with under the engines to see if we had leaks. Fortunately, nothing. Oh yeah, we did figure out the macerator pump didn't work properly, the horn was toast, more systems to figure out, and there was that nagging hydraulic leak that didn't seem to be a problem - yet.


 We arrived at the inlet to Naples and it was just beautiful. The autohelm was off and we were back to manual steering. I noticed that Larry was having to move the wheel much more than we did up in Sarasota. Obviously, the autohelm had compensated but now we needed the wheel. Oops, I guess the advice we received was wrong so it was time for plan number two..

Now it was time to learn to steer with the throttles on both engines. (We had already covered using the transmissions at slow speed.) This new proceedure went great and Larry caught on in a heartbeat. We had a 30 minute run up to the mooring ball that we thought we would pick up. Oops, we needed to go into the fuel dock first. Larry did wonderful and put us up the the dock while I only handled the lines. I was about to be told he didn't need me anymore - that is my goal and we were close. After we left the fuel dock, Larry did a great job picking up the mooring ball. We were done for the day - oh yeah, there was a wonderful dinner when we took the dinghy in for the first time. Joyce joined us and it was delicious.

  This morning, I got some numbers off of the macerator pump so it could be replaced while Larry pulled the horn off. Then when the sun had just come up we practiced docking in a larger slip. Larry did great and I could tell my days were definitely numbered. Again - that is my goal. We then headed for his dock which was in a narrow area and it was going to be a tight fit. Once we got the boat about a quarter of the way in we quickly figured out somebody had given Larry bad information. His boat would not fit. Picture this, a new skipper with a twin engine boat in a narrow channel with EXPENSIVE boats very, very close. Larry did a great job of getting us back out, turning us around and we headed back to the fuel dock for plan number 2, 3 or whatever. He was able to get a slip at the Naples City Dock for a couple of months which is long enough before he takes off cruising for 4-5 months.

We set up all the lines for the boat so they would be easy to get off then headed for a parts run. Fixing everything on the list except for that nagging hydraulic problem. We did pick up the right hose with fittings to fill it however. Then the best thing happened and Larry said - "I don't need you anymore." Another successful delivery and new owner orientation.

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