Thursday, May 26, 2011

Storage: Clothes and Shoes

Storage is an ongoing issue for us. We throw things away, we buy new things, it is a never ending cycle. I like to think that we have a pretty good handle on our junk though. We cut ties with land and got rid of a lot of things that we don't need. I say a lot instead of all because living aboard a boat doesn't have to feel like camping. I think our boat has about 18 pillows in total. As you probably already know, I like to comfortable.

Our only hanging lockers. 
Anyway, with out a storage unit or a car trunk to cram things in it gets tough. There is one area that is probably the hardest to manage and that is clothing/shoe storage. When I moved aboard the boat M had already been living there for a while. His things were overtaking every possible storage option. This quickly changed and I went through EVERYTHING. He purged a lot of good stuff and I gave away probably 90% of the things I owned. Now we live fairly thing-free. However, back to my original point; clothes and shoes will always be an issue.

It is hard to give up on certain choice items. Expensive dresses and winter coats are my weak spot. It is funny because I never even wear these things. I live in San Diego where it is never below 40 degrees and the we barely every go anywhere that warrants a fancy dress, but yet I feel the need to keep these things. Not to mention all the everyday items that need places to be stored. M and I both have full-time jobs and so we need to change our clothes and look semi-presentable on most days.

Secret shoe storage. M gets the space on the right....
under my rain boots, the rest is mine.
I guess it is just one of those things that we will always be working on and living with. And to be honest as my dad would always say, 'Hey, if that is the worst of my troubles, I've got it made!'

Does anyone else out there have storage issues or solutions? I would love to hear what neat ideas people come up with on their boats (or in small houses too!).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Food and Cooking Aboard

Is anyone interested in what/ how we eat? I have decided that I should probably start cooking more often and document the trials and tribulations of our galley happenings. Not to mention, poor M always cooks for me. I mean ALWAYS. I never cook so he could probably use a break. I know, I am spoiled but he is just better at it.

Last night I made an impromptu decision to cook for other people. I knew this was a risky undertaking considering my creative use of ingredients that don't necessarily go together but it sort of works out perfectly because we can't stock a lot of dry goods. Our galley storage is pretty small and improvising is what makes M such a great cook. He can take ingredients that seems plain on their own and make a gourmet dinner. Anyway, I was not born with this gift but I have learned a lot from watching M cook for me. So, last night I tested my skills and I must say, it turned out pretty darn good and everyone cleared their plates. The following is my version of Moroccan Chicken. It is pretty close to the traditional dish with some things added and some things missing. Enjoy.

Moroccan Chicken and sausage with sauteed vegetables 

Moroccan Chicken and Sausage w/ Vegetables 
-2 chicken breasts
-4 chicken sausages

For the marinade:
- 2 tbs Cinnamon
- 2 tbs Turmeric
- 2 tbs Cumin
- 2 tsp Salt
- a few Peppercorns ground
- 5 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 oz Fresh Ginger minced
- 1 handful Raisins
- 2 tbs Paprika
- 2 tbs Oregano
- 1 tbs Cayenne Pepper
- 4 oz Olive Oil

For the Stir Fry:
- 1 stalk chopped Celery
- 3 handfulls Spinach
- 2 Zucchini sliced
- Few handfulls Green Leafy anything (I can't remember what the greens I used were called, anything will do)
- 1 large Red Pepper
- Some sort of very spicy pepper, I used a mix of 4 serrano peppers and 4 red chillies 
- 3 small tomatoes 

Mix all of the spices together in a bowl. Don't worry about the order they go in, just toss them all in together with some olive oil. Cut up the chicken and sausages into 1" cubes and put them in the bowl too. With your hands, mix the spicy goodness with the meat so that everything is coated well. Let sit as long as you can wait. I let it marinate 20 minutes but it would probably taste even better if you have time to let it marinate for an hour.

Next put a pot on the stove with about 2 oz of olive oil. Once the oil sounds hot, put all of the veg in the pot together. Again, don't worry about the order you fry the veg, this is about being lazy here.

Then put the meat in a pan on the stove. Take the left over goodness from the bottom of the meat bowl and pour it over the veg in the pot. Flip the chicken a few times to be sure the chicken gets cooked on all sides.

Stir both pots a few times for about 15-20 minutes. The veg will be finished first but just leave it on the stove with the burner off once it seems finished. After 15 minutes check the chicken. Make sure it is cooked all the way through before removing from heat.

Serve the veg on the middle of a plate and put the meat over top of the veg. This dish is all about mixing flavors and embracing the savory with sweet. Serves 4.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Main Trim System

Disclaimer: This is a very unexciting post about main-sheeting systems. If you don't know/care what that is you may not be interested in this post. I warned you.

Our old main sail trimming set up was less than ideal. In order to trim the main you had to actually sit behind the person at the helm. It was messy and inefficient. For you to understand let me explain how most modern boats rig their main sheets.

Traditional main sheet trimming system
This is probably the most common simple set up on smallish boats. It works, it isn't complicated, and it is easy. However, if you don't have a traveler in the middle of your cockpit and your mainsheet is run behind the helm like ours, it is not ideal. The boat was designed with a similar sheeting system that just doesn't flow right for us. Most of the time when we go out sailing the main doesn't get a lot of attention. It stays cleated off between rare occurrences of adjustments. After the last time we went out it was about the time that M decided that it was time for an upgrade. He removed all of the old blocks and redesigned the whole main trimming set-up and location. The new system is apparently sometimes referred to as German sheeting but I had never heard that term.

'German' sheeting
The photo above illustrated how the new system works. Instead of trimming from the block on the traveler, it is run forward through fairleads along the boom to a block on the mast down to the cabin top. It then comes back to a newly installed winch on the cabin house (different winch location than in the illustration). The new winch location allows someone to trim the main without being balls to elbows with the person driving. However, it is still close enough that while single-handing the driver can adjust the main with little effort. We bought all new Garhauer blocks. They are strong and work just like Harken for a fraction of the cost. We used the new trimming system for the first time during the Yesteryear Regatta and all and all I would say the new system is a great success!

Old meets new: Old traveler car with a spectra strop spliced around it for our new mainsheet blocks 

New main-sheeting system in action. Note- photo from before the fairleads were installed on the boom.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yesteryear Regatta Photos

Here are the photos as promised. Thanks to Dave Basham for taking all of these pictures.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yesteryear Regatta Recap

We finished 2nd in class out of 5 boats. It was a close race and all of the boats in our fleet had very close handicap ratings; within 10 points. We were a little quick on the gun at the start and possibly were over early. There was a quick debate about it and we decided to round the end of the starting line just in case. Why were we unsure you ask? The sailing instructions stated that it was each yacht's own responsibility to determine if they are over early. No individual recalls. If you are over early you must round the end of the starting line to clear your boat. In the end of the day we all decided that we were not actually over but better safe than sorry, right? Who knows how we would have finished had we not made this mistake... but, either way we had a lot of fun. The day was filled with steady 8-10 knots and moderately calm seas.

I had 3 goals for this race:
#1: Don't be hammered drunk at the start. Check.
#2: Don't take it too seriously, it is just an Ancient Mariners race after all. Check.
#3: Don't be too drunk to miss the party. Almost check.

Although we were still sober enough to make it to the after race party, we missed the race committee announcing our 2nd place because we were getting cocktails. We didn't realize the results were being announced and had to get our trophy after  everything was announced. Oops.

More photos to come soon.

Donation Box

Many of you may find this a bit cheeky but 'To the Edges of the Earth' has a new link: the Donation Box. I know most of you don't care much and we all have our problems but, if you feel so inclined, you now have an easy way to buy us a virtual drink. Call it charity if you want, call it inappropriate to ask for money, I really don't care. If you don't want to give us anything than don't. I'm not asking for anything... unless you want to give it.... we will probably just drink it away at the bar anyway. (just kidding, sortof).

So, without further explanation here it is:

p.s. There is a Donation Box link on the right column for future reference. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Half Hour Haul-Out

Ok, so it was more like 2 and a half hours but 'half hour haul out' has a better ring to it. Yesterday we hauled out to take our prop off. Although we are in SoCal and it is reasonably nice outside, the water is not very warm, ever. Besides, the water in the harbor is all dirty and who really wants to dive in the water to mess with all that business anyway!? We decided the prop needed to come off because it isn't safe to go sailing with no engine and the prop still on. If the shaft was to work it's way out of the boat the prop would get caught on the rudder and we wouldn't be able to turn the boat. No good.

Anyway, it was nice to get a look at what was going on under there. We hauled out last October with the intention of hauling out again within a year to take the bottom down to wood. She needs a new bottom pretty badly but not this time. This time is just about the prop and a quick pressure wash for the slime. Besides, the mopped on paint is holding up pretty well. You can read about the last haul out here: Halloween Haul Out.

San Diego Ancient Mariners Sailing Society's Yesteryear Regatta is tomorrow. We are taking old Ellen Louise out for a race. Should be a lot of excitement for the old girl but she will be in great company. Hope we can stay sober enough to make it to the party. I jest. More to come soon.

Not too bad. Maybe time for a proper bottom job. Not this time...

Our friend Caleb helping M remove the prop.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Words to live by

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
-Hunter S. Thompson

Today my post is a bit different from the normal ho hum boating dialogue. Today, I would like to reflect on life. There are certain aspects of my life that I obviously do not share here. I prefer to stick with just sailing/travel/fixing related topics. However, yesterday there were events that panned out that were out of my control. I won't go into details but they were family health related. Sometimes things happen and there is nothing you can do about. Hakuna Matata, right? It is moments like these that make me embrace my short life here on this earth. It seems that many people, Americans especially, get so caught up in the details of their lives that they forget to go out and live. Life shouldn't be about making money or buying cars, houses, and handbags. It should be about family, love, friends, and embracing imperfection. Sure, a little money would be nice, but it shouldn't be the focus. 

This morning I was reading through the millions (not really) of blogs that I subscribe to and came upon one peculiar post. A girl that I went to high school with has a very cute blog about art, fashion, and all things life. (Link here: From the Aisle to Aloha)  I don't know her well, but her cheery little blog brightens my day. Apparently some one left a very mean anonymous comment on a picture of her with messy hair. Maybe it is just odd timing but it's amazing how trite these things seem. Someone actually took the time to criticize this girls hair over the internet?! People all over the world are suffering and dying and this is what we have come to?

I guess my point is, I have decided that we all should take a step back, sit down for a moment, and just enjoy being alive. I know my life isn't the one for everyone but I am happy with the path I am taking and that is all that matters. Sure, i'll most likely be broke the rest of my life, but I would rather be broke and have a wild ride than sitt in the passenger seat of life.  

"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?"
-Hunter S. Thompson