Monthly Archives: January 2012

Today’s Weather: New Jersey vs Georgetown Bahamas? Hmm…

It’s Saturday morning here in lovely Upper Saddle River, NJ and I am looking out at snow accumulating quickly on the back patio.  With 5-6 inches in the forecast and temperatures in the 20s I can’t help but think about what the weather might be like in Georgetown Bahamas, where we plan to visit next February.

While only just over a year away, and closer than ever for me and Brenda, it does seem like going to the Bahamas would be about as likely as a trip to Mars given today’s weather.

However, it is only a YEAR away and I have never been able to say “we are going to the Bahamas next winter, for three months, actually” and I am excited about that plan, to say the least.

Yes, I am going to say “WE ARE GOING TO THE BAHAMAS” three times with my eyes closed, click my heals together…  Oh well, still looking out at the snow.  Yes, it is a year from now and I will just have to be grown up about it.

On a brighter, more immediate, note we are just about ready to put our home on the market and prepare for our move to eastern CT or RI some time this summer.  The plan is to downsize in a less expensive area that is closer to the water. We are very excited about this move but are nervous as we have lived here for 22 years and it’s a big change to be sure.   Did I say that we have tons of stuff to sort through prior to the move?  Throwing away 22 years of stuff is good.

Anyway, back to the weather and the Bahamas.    Here are the two forecasts next to each other.  Which is better?  I guess that’s for you to decide.

Georgetown:  Sunshine and clouds mixed. Slight chance of a rain shower. High near 80F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

Upper Saddle River:  Cloudy with snow. High 29F. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Snow accumulating 3 to 5 inches

Hmm…  Tough to pick.

Perhaps these two videos will make the point clearer to you.   This one of a typical day in the Bahamas in the winter.  Actually, this video is about as exciting as one of those tropical fish screen savers.   Works for me.

A trip to the grocery store today here in lovely NJ.

Gee, it’s so hard to decide.

No, I’ve decided.  I like swaying palms better.  And about that ice.  It’s better in a G&T.

So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?

As we prepare Pandora for our trip south I am reminded once again of the adage, “when Momma be happy, EVERYBODY be happy!” As I have said many times, it’s all about keeping Brenda happy and aboard with me.  These words are particularly true today as it’s her birthday.  Yes, January 15th is a day that you too should have in your calendar.  However, that’s another story and this post is about the cost of water.

More importantly, just how much would you pay for a gallon of water?    That question certainly has many answers all of which depend on your state of mind.   Questions such as… how thirsty are you, do you need a bath, or would it be a good idea if the person you are with down below took a bath?  Need to wash dishes?  Clothes? Each of these weighty concerns relate heavily to keeping Brenda, and to a lesser extent me happy aboard Pandora.

As we prepare Pandora for our upcoming strip to the Bahamas a big issue for us is one of having adequate water aboard.  Perhaps better put, the value of a gallon of water depends on how much you carry aboard and in our case, it’s about 125 gallons.  This seems like a lot but if you have to work hard, or travel great distances, to get more it’s a big deal.

Aboard Pandora we have two water tanks and we have documented that we tend to use about 15 gallons of water per day.  That means with reasonable usage we can fill up about once every 8-10 days, perhaps every two weeks if we were to really conserve.

A great solution to the water supply problem is to install an RO unit, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.  As I noted in a past post, we chose a Spectra unit and I will begin installing it in the next few weeks.   Setting aside cost, this is one complex unit.  Besides the obvious technology that makes the system work,  there are a LOT OF PARTS.  This sucker is complicated.   The instructions that came with it urged me to do a complete inventory upon delivery.  Here you go, a complete inventory…

Yes, it does look like it would be expensive.  But, more importantly,  back to the question about cost.  When you purchase a 12oz bottle of “designer” water for $2.00, that translates to roughly $20.00 per gallon.   Put it that way and it makes a $4.00 per gallon gasoline seem like a bargain and perhaps it is.

So, how much is a gallon of water worth?  In the Bahamas you can purchase water for about $.25/gal but that assumes that you can bring the boat to the dock or are willing to schlep the water by the bucket full from shore in your dink, something that I did last summer in Maine multiple times per week.   Given the cost of the unit I purchased it will take nearly 25,000 gallons of water to break even on making verses purchasing water.  At 15 gal per day it will take 1,600 days to use that much water.   Since we will be aboard Pandora for about 180 days in 2012, that means that we will break even on the purchase in about 10 years.  But wait, there’s more…

These calculations don’t even count the cost of maintenance of the unit or the cost of the energy to run it, not an insignificant amount.

So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water?  If you compare the RO unit and the cost of those bottled waters that you get, I will actually break even on the unit in 3,000 gallons.  However, I find it hard to imagine pouring countless 12oz bottles of water over my head to rinse off after a hot day.  Decadent you say?

Perhaps better put is to repeat J.P. Morgan’s quip when asked how much it cost to maintain his yacht when he said,  “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”  Can I afford to use RO water aboard Pandora?   Who knows, but it’s safe to say “when Momma be happy…”

The value of a happy wife with that “just showered feeling”?  Bring it on.

Pandora’s plans for 2012. Where will you be?

As I sit here in my home office at 6:30 AM, it’s 28 degrees outside and still dark.   That would make this a great time to think about where we will take Pandora this coming season.   When people comment on the cold weather I find myself retorting “don’t worry, the weather will be better in May” a response that sometimes gets a chuckle but more often a look that seems to suggest something more like “huh?”.

With regards to our upcoming sailing season, unlike some of my friends who are more, shall I say, “casual” in their advance planning, I can’t help thinking of when Pandora will “splash” (the week of May 28th if you were wondering) and where we will take her later this year.  I can’t believe that it’s already 2012.  I still remember in high school when the book, or at least the title of George Orwell’s 1984 book seemed to be so far off in the future.   Now with us less than a week into the new year, I am totally focused on getting Pandora ready for the coming season and ready to travel to Florida and the Bahamas in the fall and winter of 2013.

Here are a few highlights that we plan for this coming summer.    Our first rendezvous will be in Ziegler’s Cove, in Darien where we will connect with friends from the sailing.  This chart shows exactly where this great spot is.   I will be attending this and other events with a group, The Corinthians,  that have been a part of Brenda’s and my life for many years.

As part of this group, I am planning a number of rendezvous for the coming season, in part because the group wants to expand their on-water activities but also because Brenda and I are planning to spend some time in local waters this summer, instead of spending much of the summer in Maine as we did last year.   By setting dates for on-the-water activities and being involved in their planning, I can choose where I want to be and, at the same time, enjoy the company of others along the way.  What better way to make sailing even better than to connect with others for a party on the water.

After that early spring event the week after Memorial Day, Pandora will go to Mystic where we will use a friend’s mooring for a few weeks where we will participate in another rendezvous including one at Watch Hill RI, a place that we have visited many times over the years.  There are fun places to visit there including a walk among the stunning homes along the cliffs overlooking Block Island Sound.  Check out these shots of some of the “cottages”.

And these homes have wonderful gardens too.  Very nice. n  Looks like a perfect spot for an “adult beverage” on a summer evening.

There’s also an Op Sail event, with sailing ships from all over the world, planned for New London, the weekend of July 6th and a 50th anniversary rendezvous of the Catboat Association at Mystic Seaport planned for that same weekend.  So much to choose from.  Brenda and I participated in the 25th anniversary rendezvous of the CBA way back when in our 22′ catboat Sappho.   It’s been a while since that event.   We are all grown up now.  Hmm…

Additional destinations may include a run to Maine to participate in the annual Corinthians cruise which will begin and end in Camden Maine this year.   Having visited Maine nearly every year for over 15 summers, I am always eager to go back yet one more time.

Another highlight of this summer’s plans will be the “Non Cruise Cruise” that I am planning    with The Corinthians in Narraganset Bay RI.  More like a rally, this cruise designed to be a follow on event after the Corinthians cruise in Maine and will include stops throughout the bay including such great stops as East Greenwich, Potter’s Cove, Bristol and the ever popular port of Newport RI.   We even expect to include a visit to the majestic Harbor Court clubhouse of the New York Yacht Club for cocktails and dinner.  Their site includes some great panorama views that are worth checking out of both Harbor Court in Newport and their 44th street main clubhouse. I always enjoy the panorama of the model room, perhaps the most stunning room in NYC.  In particular, this of the patio overlooking the harbor in Newport is just the spot for a cocktail on an August evening followed by dinner in the Bolero Grill.  Not bad, not bad at all. If your computer doesn’t have the most recent Java plug in to view these, you can get it here.

Later in August we will begin provisioning Pandora for our visit to Annapolis, the Seven Seas Cruising Association rendezvous at Camp Letts MD where there will be nearly 100 boats from all over for a three day gam with seminars and parties as everyone prepares to head south on their boats for the winter.  No visit to that area would be complete without a visit to the Annapolis Boat show where we will begin our final preparations for our cruise down the Inter-coastal Waterway.  We plan a trip that will take us all the way to Florida and onto the Bahamas where we will spend several months beginning in late January or early February of 2013.

A busy year you say?  Yes, and even more active when you consider that we are squeezing in the sale of our home in NJ and a move to Mystic CT or Wickford RI as part of our plans for this year.    Yes, there is a lot going on in our lives but Brenda and I are really looking forward to this new and exciting chapter of our lives together.

As no blog is complete without at least one photo I will close with a great sunset.  Actually, for us, this coming year is a sunrise.  Sunset or sunrise?  You be the judge.

Oh, and did I say that I am taking some time off from work too?  I am not quite ready to say the “R” word just yet.   Well, that’s a topic for another post so I guess I will have to leave it at that for now.