Less than two months till we head south! Did someone say chores galore?

I can’t believe that we will be headed south in less than two months to begin our first “snowbird cruise”.  This is a big deal and one that began in 2006 when we decided to sell our Tartan 37 and get a bigger boat that we could live on for extended periods of time.

Our departure was delayed by two years from what was to be a three year outfitting project to get Pandora ready for the trip due to that pesky recession.  However, the time is nearly here and we are really excited about heading out.  Actually, I am really excited and Brenda perhaps “really nervous” in spite of looking forward to our journey.

Following our move to Essex this spring my schedule has been non-stop with chores both at home and on Pandora trying to get things ready for such an extended trip of more than half a year.  One thing for sure is that I definitely underestimated the complexities of packing up or home of 20+ years in NJ, finding a new home in CT and settling in here.  There have been plenty of unexpected expenses too, not the least of which is a new boiler/furnace here in Essex that we can leave for extended periods without worrying about power outages and freezing pipes. The new boiler should be installed in the next week.  The plan is to put antifreeze in the system and winterize the potable water system too when we shut the heat down to 50-55 when we are not here.  There is also the question of who will watch our home when we are away in addition to the alarm company ADT.

Getting our bills all delivered on-line has also been a bit daunting as, in addition to our own epenses, we also handle the bills for Brenda’s mother who is in assisted living nearby.  Oh, did I mention that we have moved her twice in the last year as well?  No rest for the weary.

Not to worry, in spite of the long list of tasks, there has still been time for fun along the way with some trips aboard Pandora.  Actually, our son Christopher has been visiting us for a two week vacation from his work at Columbia in the physics lab.  Earlier this week Chris and I headed out to Block Island for an overnightvisit.  We had a great trip and took some time to finish up the antenna installation for our new single side-band radio (SSB). This involved hoisting him up the mast to attach the antenna to the backstay.  What better person to handle such a job than a physicist.

As I understand it, the proper way to install an SSB antenna is to keep the wire from grounding to the lower backstay with PVC offsets.  The antenna needs to be connected to an insulated portion of the backstay which is of a specific length to offer proper reception. Here’s Christopher doing his handiwork. Perhaps it would be fun to sail with him up there?  His mother might have something to say about that.As it seems to be “always something” on a complex boat like Pandora, our autopilot crapped out for some reason.  This meant that Chris and I had to take turns steering the boat for the run out to Block Island and back.  I have to say that I really hate steering.  Besides, when it works, the autopilot is much better at holding a course than I am.  Happily, this is the first problem that we have had with the pilot in the 5 years since we purchased Pandora.  It’s actually amazing that the unit has worked for so long as it’s been in service for over ten years.  Nice shot of Christoper at the helm.  Speaking of complicated boats, Pandora may seem complex to me but can’t hold a candle in that department to others in attendance in the harbor at Block.  How about this carbon fiber beauty.  I’ll bet that she flies.What a great looking profile.   Really looks like she means business.   I just love that hard dodger.   This one is no slouch either.  In the project department, I am also sewing a full cockpit enclosure to make the cockpit all-weather.  The project is harder than you would expect but is progressing nicely.  Taking the measurements off the boat and making templates is not easy, especially when the wind is blowing everything around while I am trying to set up the patterns on board for sewing later.   Here’s my “workshop” in the basement.  Not exactly the best decorated room in our home.

Me hard at work sewing, or should I say cutting away. Well, the list of tasks to get Pandora, and us, ready to head south is long and complicated but we continue to plug along.  With less than two months to go… Yikes!

Perhaps I should get back to work and stop writing.


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