Prep, Prep, Prep

Spending pretty much every day making lists and checking them off. There are Three main Categories of preparation - Atlantic Crossing, Cruising the Med, Closing down the US home.  Of course Cruising and crossing have a lot in common with respect to the boat but there are nuances. For example - We'll need 80 Gallons of Diesel on the deck for the crossing, but we won't need them in the Med. Also- Europe runs on 220V AC where the US runs on 120 - so we need to ensure the AC electronics (Batt charger, Microwave, etc. can handle it, but of course on the ocean it's pretty much irrelavent. 

First the House: 

We decided to rent the house furnished (Saves having to move everything out and then back again) and we found a terrific family that has one more year in DC before moving back to Canada - There kids are the same age as the neighbors so they're sure to love it here. 

Of course there's still lots to do - Pack, then trim, then repack what we're taking on the trip. The rest of the small stuff - clothes, toys, personal stuff needs to be packed up and stored. (We're keeping the garage for ourselves to help with the storage) 

Ever experience the scenario that as soon as you leave on the road trip - say 30 miles out - you say "Ack we forgot the ...." That's what I'm afraid of happening 300 miles offshore! 

Preparing for the Atlantic crossing: 

We're going to have 4 crew on board for the crossing from the US to Bermuda then Azores and Finally Lisbon Portugal. Actually we'll have 5 for the 6 day trip to Bermuda. 

The boat is getting a lot of attention for the crossing - You can't find a West Marine store at Lat/Long 33.28462,-70.817871

The boat has 6 main areas of focus - The Rig (Standing / Running), Engine, Electronics, Hull / Plumbing, Sails, Galley, I'll go through each in turn: 

Rig - Standing Rigging are the wires that hold up the mast, lifelines that keep people from falling in, winches, steering cables etc. Running rigging is the soft lines - ropes (Sheets) that lift sails up, trim sails out and generally move things about.   We had the rig surveyed and made a couple of changouts on questionable cables. We changed out just about all of the running rigging - new sheets are nice! :)

Engine - The Why Knot has a Yanmar 27 HP diesel auxilliary engine (Auxilliary implies that your supposed to be sailing not motoring!) The engine received a lot of scrutiny - new oil, filters, belts, water pump etc. Also lots of spares are purchased - starter motor, water pump, hoses, filters and so on. The engine is in tip top shape actually - with only 600 hours on an engine that will easily do 10,000 - knock on wood, we should be fine.

Electronics - My favorite area of course. We bought a new Raymarine Chartplotter with a 4kW Radar dome. Installing was fun and successful. So far we think that Raymarine makes a fantastic product. We were also able to plug in all our existing sensors so we now have a GPS plotter on steroids - We can see where we are in the world, our heading, speed, depth, wind direction and speed, what objects are within 48 miles, autopilot and Man overboard alarms.  Crazy! We opted out of the espresso add on module. All our new electronics will take a toll on the battery banks so we made changes there too. We bought a new 220 AH AGM house battery. We also changed out all of the lighting on board to LED which reduced the lighting load by nearly 90%. Isn't technology excellent?!

Hull / Plumbing - The Hull of course is the big bowl we pile everying into. Ours was built in 2000 and is in great shape - Our bilge is bone dry and we've no corrosion or history of issues above or below the waterline. We will bring additional plumbing pipes and plugs (just in case). We can only carry 80 Gallons of water in the holding tanks so we'll supplement that with carry on jugs too.  Did you know the average American uses 100 gallons per day. We have 4 people at sea for 20 days and only 100 Gallons. Better stock up on deoderant!

Sails- An Ocean crossing requires having the right sails for the right weather - and hopefully a few spares, just in case. We have 5 sails for our trip. 2 Main sails (one brand new arriving next week) and 3 head sails - a furling Jib, an assymetrical spinnaker, and a storm jib that we really hope was a waste of money!

Other - This is the catch all category for things like cooking (Propane, pots and pans, menu) sleeping, watch list - who's on call, who's making dinner?, Medicine; we have a full emergency pack as well as lots of seasickness meds and regular tylenol. Storage - There is very limited space on board, so every nook and cranny needs to be filled. Now if I can just remember where we put everything!

And finally - the Med

Honestly, we're not entirely sure what to expect so we're planning to get there and see how it goes. We'll probably have to buy a bunch of new items with different plugs, adapters, thread sizes etc. Not a problem - we'll adapt. More on the Med I guess when we learn more!


Ready set .... Go! 

I've thought and dreamed about sailing to unknown places for many years - as I'm sure many people do.  I bought all the magazines - Sail, Cruising World etc. and lived vicariously through all of the other intrepid families that have gone before us through their books and many update articles and blog postings.

We've talked about setting out the year I turn 40. As luck would have it, the timing worked out very well for us to leave this summer- My career came to a natural pause point, we have a suitable sailboat (More on her later) and we have just enough cash to throw caution to the wind and give it a go.  So when we ask ourselves "Can we really do this?"  we answer with "Why Knot!". 

Since making the decision only a few weeks ago- there has been a lot activity - route planning, boat provisioning, paperwork filing etc.  The list is truly endless of the things that could be done. The reality is that while we could cover any potential outcome we can't possibly cover them all - so we make compromises. After all - if it was risk and challenge free, then it wouldn't be worth doing. 

So over the next year - we'll keep our logs updated, and hope that our friends and family will find the reading interesting and entertaining. Please do comment and leave feedback! 

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