Monday, January 23, 2012

A much needed update

Getting started has been a thorn in my side as I am known to procrastinate and once I do it for so long on a certain project it gets out of hand. I keep telling myself I need to sit and write to catch the readers up on what’s been happening here on Renegade. Here I find myself almost in February and I have yet to write a word so I will do my best to catch you up. I just find it’s not any fun writing about projects that are tedious such as scraping decks, varnishing and the grunt workings on the boat. I’m ready to cast off the lines and start heading south again, I say I, but I know Dirk feels the same way. Writing about travel and new experiences is what I want to be doing, and if we have it our way it will be happening soon. So for right now let me get back to filling you in on the past month. First things first, Renegade has now officially been renamed, libations have been given to the perspective Gods of water and winds and hopefully they bestow upon us safe travels where ever we may go.
Renegade named

Dirk admiring his work once all the blue tape was removed
We decided to do the renaming ceremony on New Year’s Eve as we thought why not start the year out right. There was to be a dock party afterwards so  we gathered everyone to witness.
The brass nameplate with the name Cassaway that was removed and given to the great ruler of the seas to expunge from the records  

There it goes
Now we offer champagne in appreciation

Now we offer champagne to the rulers of the winds so that Renegade may traverse the wind and faceless deep, ensuring us gentle assistance according to our needs
Here Dirk is explaining the meaning of Renegade to our guest
Here's to Renegade, may she be assured fair winds and smooth seas wherever she may travel

After the ceremony we ate till we were stuffed with wonderful foods all the tenants provided and I could be mistaken but I think only a handful made it to midnight to see the fireworks show on the island behind us. Us and our guest Klaus and Barbara from s/v Klabara popped champagne and toasted to the New Year.

Several weeks earlier Dirk had finished the rigging and we ended up taking Renegade out for her first sail. Dock master Scott and Asst. Dock master Brian wanted to go along for the ride so we all piled on and headed out to Tampa Bay to test and adjust the rigging.
Heading out for our first sail, Cortez bridge and our marina in the background
Scott, Dirk, and Brian as we have a nice sail going
It was nice to have the extra hands on deck helping Dirk as I took the helm and tried to make myself comfortable with it. After sailing the same boat for several years it took some time for me to get comfortable with where everything was and how the steering handled. It was a beautiful day, just a bit chilly but beautiful and on several occasions we had dolphins come to check us out. We put Renegade through her paces, and she did great, the rigging looked good with just a few minor adjustments and it’s amazing just how different this boat feels under us than our last one. Must be that 44,000 pounds vs. 19,000. On the way back to the marina we radioed back to the dock to let them know we were coming in. Dirk did a great job sliding her right into her slip with no problems.
Thanks to Sandi for capturing us returning to the dock
We won’t talk about our departure, still trying to figure out the prop walk and how a full keel reacts differently than a fin keel. Also still trying to figure how we did a 180 just about in the slip. Well it was more like a 12 point turn. No harm done except perhaps the egos got bruised just a bit. “One day you are entertained, one day you’re the entertainment.”

We have still been doing task, trying to shorten our list of projects that need to be done so that we can focus on making tracks south. Dirk had to go back to Germany for family issues for two weeks so I stayed here and managed to get a whole lot of nothing done while he was gone. I admit it, I got a major case of being lazy. But now that he is back we sat down and made a list of must do, can do underway, and can do when we return in the summer. It’s still a pretty good sized list but Dirk has gotten busy and in the last two days checked a couple items off.One of the big projects that is complete and we love is our full enclosure. Thinking back on what we started with, a cockpit that even Dirk and I couldn’t stand up in without hitting our heads, side curtains that seemed like afterthoughts and didn’t fit right, and it just looked a bit sad in general. We thought we could live with it one season till we decided what we wanted but we are so glad we went ahead and did it. I spent many a lazy day up in the cockpit lounging and reading my kindle while the world outside of my “sunroom” was wearing sweat shirts and pants. Even on cold days it can get a bit warm inside and I find myself unzipping it to allow some air flow.
The full enclosure with matching cockpit and aft seating cushions all installed

While Dirk was gone he did have parts come in and so the task of installing and stowing extras has begun. One of the purchases he made was a Racor duel fuel filtration system to be installed in the engine compartment. He always wanted to install one on our last boat but never got around to it. This way if for some reason we end up having a problem with the filter getting clogged all he has to do is flip a switch and were back in business. Brings back memories of travelling in the gulf a couple years back on Tybee Time in a pretty decent storm and with me on the helm, Dirk was below changing out a clogged fuel filter. As Capt. Ron says, “If its gonna happen, its gonna happen out there” and it did. Lets just say its not something we would like to repeat again.

We also got a new Standard Horizon radio with a remote mike for the helm. One of the nice features about this radio is that it has the AIS feature which stands for Automatic Identification System. It only receives, not transmits which is OK by us, that is it only receives the AIS. We didn’t buy the radio because of it, but with that feature it made it more enticing.
Doing crossings to the Bahamas or crossings in the dark period there is always ships, big ships, cruise ships, cargo ships sharing the waters with you. Sometimes it’s very difficult to judge how fast, what direction they are heading, and what their intentions are. You can get on the radio and hail “the large ship in the vicinity of such and such”, they may or may not respond. With the AIS system, it tells you the name of the vessel, the direction of travel and speed. Once you hail them by the name they tend to respond as we found out thanks to our buddy boat and his AIS system he had aboard last season. Its just another piece of equipment that gives you piece of mind. The radio was installed yesterday, wires run to the helm and all that’s left to do is connect the GPS to the AIS so we can also have it overlaid on our chart plotter along with the radio.

So now that I have given you some sort of update I can go back to projects and preparations for departure.I have already begun to inventory my food, re-provision a little at a time so it doesn’t hurt so much and trying to organize the best I can. Still not knowing this boat inside and out and we forget about some of the cubbies and all the stuff we can carry. I'm sure we will find plenty to fill it with. Our hope of course is to be outta hear as soon as possible but we think the soonest that will happen is probably late March sometime. Will keep you posted and I leave you with a photo of Capt. Butters making sure his dad installs the wires correctly.
This is exhausting....
 As you can tell, it’s a tough job. Till next time.....