Saturday, November 27, 2010

Liberty Landing to Stamford Sunday...

Boy was it blowing today... small craft warnings, winds to 30kts+.  If we were heading down the coast it would have been perfect - beam wind at 20-30kts and 4-6 foot seas.  But alas, we're not heading down the coast, and it would have been a miserable trip down the East River.  Sunday is supposed to be much better so we'll be leaving around 8:30ish to catch the flood tide through the river.  The currents can get to be upwards of 4-5kts, higher in the Spring, so you pretty much have to go with them when on a sailboat.  You follow the flood tide on the East River when going west to east, and the ebb when going east to west.  Anyway, we expect to be under the Brooklyn Bridge between 8:45 and 9am, Williamsburg 10 minutes later, 40th st. around 9:25, 81st st around 9:45, Whitestone 10:20ish, Throggs Neck 10:45ish, in sight of Rye, NY (my hometown) around noon, and Stamford between 1:30 and 2pm. Follow along via satellite by clicking on the follow us link on the right side of the page.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day one - Haverstraw to Liberty Landing

Chris here... Just a quick update.  We're probably going to be staying here at Liberty Landing for a day or two.  We didn't leave today since it was raining and windy, and didn't feel like running the East River and Hell Gate when it was difficult to see through the dodger.  Unfortunately, now it looks like tomorrow, while it won't be raining, will be REALLY windy with 20kt winds and gusts to 30kts, meaning 25kt+ winds and gusts to 40kts once you "reinterpret" the National Weather Service forecast.  So... we're probably going to stay here tomorrow too, and then head out to the East River and Stamford CT on Sunday which kills our logistics a bit, but such is the boating life.

Yesterday's trip was fairly uneventful which is a good thing.  It was so incredible being behind the wheel again with a real "destination".  It's going to be tough peeling myself away from Pelican next week and going back to the day job.  What's going to be tougher is when we have to make the turn from New York Harbor into the East River not continuing south instead, through the lower harbor and then into the ocean and south.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

Pelican prepped to head out - looking like
a cruising boat again.
Almost up to the Tappan Zee bridge
And past the Tappan Zee...

Almost to the George Washington Bridge.  Starting
to rain a little.

For those of you that know the book, here's the little
red lighthouse under the great grey bridge!
The start of the Harlem River. If we didn't have that
 big stick on the top of our boat we could
have shaved a day off our trip.  I'm glad we can't
fit through :)
In our slip at Liberty Landing
Thanksgiving Dinner.  Kristen is awesome at boat cooking.
We even had a 14lb turkey cooked in our oven.  It was

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Echo echo echo :) And we're heading to CT

Chris here... I don't know if anyone is still reading our blog, but I thought I'd post a short update if you are.  We left you kind of suddenly, and I've received numerous e-mails over the past year asking "What happened?  What's the end of the story?"

If you don't read the entire post, just know we're moving Pelican to Connecticut, leaving either Thanksgiving day or the day after.  We'll be running our SPOT tracker if you want to follow along for fun.  Click on the "Tracking Us" link in the upper right section of our blog.

Last we left you it was almost exactly a year ago - December of 2009.  We were in Haverstraw, NY, on the Hudson River.  We had planned on being two night transients on our way to Baltimore but it never came to be.  Business wasn't great and I needed to stick around.

Pelican braving a Winter storm
Our house was still rented out, so we ended up living on Pelican for the Winter while at Haverstraw Marina.  It was actually great!  Yes, we had to deal with excessive moisture inside, and the fact that our diesel heater kept most of the boat very comfortable (we could get it to 90 if we wanted to) but since the vents weren't at the extremities of Pelican (i.e. not at the foot of our bed or the kid's bed) our feet would get a bit chilly.  We had to shovel snow off of the docks at times and use jerry cans to fill our diesel tanks.  But - we were still living on our home on the water, and it was great.

We shrink wrapped Pelican so we never had to deal with snow or ice in the cockpit or on deck.  As a matter of fact, we could use our entire deck as additional storage.  The marina placed bubblers in the water to keep the ice from fully encroaching on Pelican's hull.

Pelican Shrink Wrapped, Ice in the Water
We met some great people at the marina over the Winter and made some truly great friends.  I had to work in Albany at least three days a week, so we would pile into our car and stay at our home away from home - the Marriott Townplace Suites in Albany.  The kids weren't crazy about it, but since we didn't have a TV on Pelican they were excited about being able to use the one in the hotel room.  We became platinum members since we stayed there for so many nights, and we were experts at packing and unpacking every week.

I spent a significant amount of time working towards selling my company and was finally successful in finding the right partner in June of 2010.  I now work for the company that bought mine.  It wasn't a windfall, but it was good for us and gives my family the stability they need in today's turbulent economic times.  Unfortunately, it does mean the end of our cruising - for the moment.

At the beginning of September, this year, our renters moved out of our house and we moved back in.  They actually took phenomenal care of our house with it being in better shape in certain ways than when we moved out.  We had continued homeschooling Casey and Kaitlin while we lived on Pelican over the Winter, but when we returned to our house we sent the kids back to public school.  It has definitely been an adjustment, but they are enjoying being around their friends.

Being back in our house is also a huge adjustment.  To tell you the truth, I much prefer our 250 square feet on Pelican to our 2500+ square feet at our house.  We're back to having "stuff" although we never ordered cable TV (we do have cable Internet though) and we don't have a landline telephone.  We've worked to replace energy eating appliances and have replaced many lights with CFL's.  We've decided to keep many of our economizing boat habits - not because we have to, but because they make good sense.  I truly miss having our kids sleeping six feet away from where my wife and I sit at night, and listening to them laugh, giggle and talk while they are supposed to be going to sleep.  It has been really difficult for me to adjust back to life on land.  I constantly want to be back on Pelican.

We did go back to being weekenders on Pelican.  We made a ton of friends at the marina (Haverstraw rocks!) and I felt like I was back in my college days with the amount of partying we did over the Summer (I can officially tell you, for example, that Sunny D and Rum is NOT a good combination).  Pelican rarely left her slip though - after ocean sailing and being in clear, warm water for so long, we were rarely motivated to take her into the current filled river and sail her back and forth.

Some of our amazing Haverstraw Marina friends.  Left to right - Dan,
Robyn, Kristen (you know, my wife), me (the guy in the orange
hat), Dana and Terri.
The upside is that we recognize what an incredible opportunity we had - we made great friends, we saw beautiful places, we learned about the history of our country and became part of other cultures, and most importantly - we spent close to a year and a half living every day, all day, with our kids.  It was, well, indescribable.

What are our cruising plans moving forward?  Well, right now I plan on continuing to work for my company and to regrow it to its past glory.  If things don't work out for some reason, we plan on moving south to Virginia or the Carolinas.  Our current thinking is that if that happens (and it would only happen for an extraordinary reason) we'd buy a larger boat and live on it.  Casey is now as tall as I am (almost 6'3"), fourteen years old, and needs his own room.

In the absence of something happening between now and when Kaitlin goes to college, we plan on moving back onto a boat the day after she leaves.  As we've told her, don't let the door hit you on the way out :).  "When we send you off, you can visit us in faraway lands for the summers," we've told her.  This would be a little over eight years from now, but hopefully we'll get out there sooner.  By the way - Side by Side, who we met in the Bahamas and became close friends with, has moved back to Saratoga, NY, about 30 minutes from our house.  It's great having cruising friends so close!    They are actively working on selling their Manta 42 catamaran, so if you have an interest in an excellent cruising cat that has been well taken care of, please let us know.

So that brings us to our immediate plans.  We found some structural issues with our rudder cage (a known issue on Passports) and have to get a new one fabricated.  Our first trip after we decided to start cruising was to bring Pelican from Dutch Wharf Boatyard in Branford, CT to Annapolis.  Well, this weekend, we're completing the circle and bringing Pelican back to Dutch Wharf for the Winter.  She'll get some much needed pampering while there, and be hauled for the Winter.  We're going to take the opportunity to take her mast down and do some work on rigging, the VHF antenna, put a tricolor on top, fix the rudder cage issue and check for any other metal issues while she's there.  Dutch Wharf is the most honest yard we've ever been to in our entire cruise, and we highly recommend everyone go there to get work done.  Last time we were there, they actually gave us money back from our prepaid estimate, did a high quality job and completed the work (which was fairly major) in under two weeks.

We'll be leaving either Thanksgiving morning or Friday morning from Haverstraw and will head to Liberty Landing Marina.  The next day we'll shoot up the East River, through Hell Gate, and plan on reaching Stamford, CT.  After that we'll head to Dutch Wharf in Branford, CT.  We'll be running our SPOT tracker, so feel free to follow along if you're bored.  Click on the "Tracking Us" link in the upper right section of our blog.

We'll keep you updated every so often on what's happening, so please stay tuned.  If you have any questions, or are planning on going cruising yourself, we'd love to talk to you so please write us at

All the best, and Happy Thanksgiving!