Monday, May 20, 2013

2103 TMCA Spring Fling!!!! Our goal date has arrived!!

The "Spring Fling" hosted by the Texas Mariners Cruising Association has been our target completion date and goal since we attended last years event on the motorcycle. (land yacht?)
After scrambling for the past many weeks to finish "Spirit of Jessica", we hit the road last Friday morning (5/17/2013) for our three day trip to the event.

We live an hour from the boat ramp in Seabrook, TX where we put in. During our build, any time we needed to get "re-inspired" for our project, we would head to Outriggers to watch the water and the boats go by. We felt it would only be appropriate to start our first true "voyage" from there!
Following a quick lunch, it was time to head out into Galveston Bay...
....toward our final destination in Baytown, Texas.
The Bayland Marina was the site of this years Spring Fling so we had 11 miles to cover. I know they say get the "uphill" part out of the way first, but we had a destination in mind, and today it was all downwind. Winds of 15 gusting 20 kept me on my toes to keep her aligned with swells, but we did see 7.3 mph on the gps at one point. Not bad in a 15 foot boat! (Sorry no sailing pictures. It was very "busy" sailing for us as we learn our new boat!)
We had to motor the last stretch up the Houston Ship Channel to avoid the BIG boats, but soon the Hartman bridge showed us to the marina just short of the span.

Spirit of Jessica arrived to great fanfare at Bayland Marina, and we returned the favor by "dressing ship" for the event.

Although we aren't members of TMCA (yet!), our hosts were wonderful. They even created a category to award "Spirit of Jessica" with the top prize for "Most flags displayed per foot"! In a world and party of big boats, Jessica was the star for sure. Lots of questions and praise all weekend. What a blast. It was actually hard to remember the earlier stages of the project. Did we really do that?... The only tools we allowed ourselves to bring were "fun" tools. That kept us from "working" on the boat. We just wanted to enjoy the weekend..
...and enjoy we did! What a way to break in our new little vessel. We even had her inspected and now have the sticker from the CG Aux to prove it.
The trip home Sunday morning proved to "spirited!" Wind was howling from the south all night. We left early to take advantage of the lighter winds. They were "only" 12-15mph when we left, but forecast for 20mph by noon, right from the direction we planned to go. The reality was that we sailed close hauled into winds SSE at 20 gusting 28 (!) for the last three hours of the trip with 2-3 foot waves and the occasional 4 footer. We had to learn Jessica's heavy weather traits quickly. The bigger waves did make it difficult to tack as they slowed us down through the wind, but we eventually got better at tacking in rough seas.
Spirit of Jessica's namesake was a feisty, spirited individual who required alot of attention at times... a trait our new little boat has certainly inherited. :)  
The only thing we broke was the mainsail outhaul, a rope I should have replaced anyway. I can't tell you how happy I am with this little boats ability in weather that heavy. I don't plan to be out much in conditions like that, but it's wonderful to know she can take it. (this wasn't the day to convince Kathy we could take this little boat to the Bahamas..!:)
Kathy and I worked together as a team and the voyage was great!  Again, sorry for no sailing pix. We were too busy, but we did have several boats slip by and take pictures as we sailed home. If we can track those down, we will post them.
See ya on the water!!!
Pirate and da Babe

Sunday, May 12, 2013

She Floats!! She Sails!!!!!! :)

The day has finally arrived!
 We are one week away from our target completion date so we will be ready to attend the Texas Mariners Cruising Association's "Spring Fling" event this year in Baytown, TX. We set this as our goal one year ago! And what a year it's been!!!!
After attending the skipper's meeting for the Spring Fling, we headed down to the boat ramp and set up shop.
The pictures pretty much tell the story from there....
From this just over a year ago... this!

May 11, 2013-Clear Lake, Texas
It's pretty hard to put into words how this afternoon felt to us. The countless hours, the endless days staring at the water waiting for our chance, the frustrations, too!
Sail On,
Pirate and da Babe

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jimmy Buffett speeds things up!!!

It's hard to believe that it's only been 9 days since my last post because I have so many new pictures.
We have been planning to go to the Frisco, TX (Dallas) Jimmy Buffett spectacle for months, but this past week, it occurred to us that if we got enough done on the boat, we would have a place to stay for the show! Talk about speedin' things up! That's why I haven't even had time to post the progress.
With painting and varnishing done (for IS a boat!) we could add our numbers, etc.
did I REALLY move to Texas!

                                          That makes for a couple of happy boat builders!

So the adventure begins. Did some body say "Road Trip?"
We found a little marina and RV park only 5 miles from the concert which was perfect for our needs. Lake Lewisville, trees, fire pit. What a find!
With a day to kill before the concert, the construction continued even on the road.

We even had a chance to put "Spirit of Jessica" in the water, but with the wind gusting 33mph, I wouldn't let her leave the trailer that has been her home since last August. But she DID get her tail feathers wet!!
So the first 600 mile road trip is behind us. I have never had to worry about bug "splat" on my sailboat before, but welcome to the new world of trailer sailing! And we still have 2 weeks before the Spring Fling that has been our target completion date for months. That will allow me to get the rig set up so we can actually sail! Nice to be a little ahead of schedule.
....the concert was fun too!!!! :)
Sail on...
Pirate and da Babe

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SSShhhhsssshhhhh!!!!!! Don't tell her.....! :)

The fact that there hasn't been many pictures of Kathy on this blog is by design. HER design!
She has been sanding her butt off inside the boat and now painting this week as we get close to completion...but DON'T tell her I posted this picture! She'll KILL me! :)
talk about a new hair color!!!!
I've been varnishing a ton, but haven't had the chance to take any pictures yet, so I'll get those on soon as I can.
"Spirit of Jessica" is coming together quickly now. We should get our registration numbers, etc back from the sign shop this week. From there, it's mostly reassembly work and LOTS of little details. More pix soon!
Have a GREAT weekend!
da Pirate and da Sawdusty Babe!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Work Hard, Play Harder!!!!

I found a new sign that sez it all......!!
We have completed painting the outside of "Spirit of Jessica" and more varnish is next. Although it's not quite ready to reassemble yet, I couldn't resist another "test fit" session!
Time to get back to WORK, so I can play HARDER very soon!!! :)
Sail On!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gawd!!! EVERYTHING is a Corner!!!!!

I haven't had much to show you lately since I've been back to the sandpaper AGAIN!!!
Sand this, prime that, re-sand this, re-prime that!! Wash, Rinse, REPEAT!!!
This is absolutely CRAZY!

...and EVERYTHING on a boat is a corner!!

I'm really not whining, REALLY! This boat has many times been filled with tedious projects, all of which I had anticipated. And any time I get tired of it all, I remind myself that yes, I could've bought a small boat that looked just like everyone else's.

But instead, Kathy and I are about to finish a great little pirate ship that we can be proud of every time we're on the water!!!

...and that's VERY KEWL!!!

Sail on,


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boat show is BITCHIN!!!

As I am a guy who has been sailin' boats AND ridin' Harleys most of my life, it was fun to meet a fellow "biker pirate" at the Southwest International Boat Show this past weekend... 
..just a couple of Pirates talkin' Harleys, or was it Bikers talkin' boats!
I've been readin' Bob Bitchin's work since the days of BIKER magazine in the '70s through his transformation (and mine) into the world of sailing, and now, his latest endeavors with Cruising Outpost magazine. Kathy and I had the opportunity to meet Bob and his better half Jody, and also  attend their seminar at the show. Very Kewl!!! 
We also had a great time at the bash that Cruising Outpost hosted at the show!
..a "rockin' sunset" for sure!
Boat shows always provide great ideas and inspiration, so the day after the show, it was back to the boat and time to start the brightwork...
Main hatch

Hatch boards..

...and a closeup!
Following our inspection last Friday, the state of Texas has now assigned us our HIN and registration numbers, and we continue to push for our May 17th party deadline for our inaugural cruise. Things are lookin' up!
Sail On...