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Old 02-07-2013, 08:17 AM   #1
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KJ (El Capitan),

How about an update of your move aboard. How are you finding things? Anything better or worse than you thought it would be? In general what do you think of the livaboard life?
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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Thanks for the inquiry.
The move aboard went pretty smoothly. I left a lot of stuff in storage at my sisterís house in NJ, so I didnít bring a lot to the boat with me. Or so I thought. When I got all my stuff on the boat I kinda had a mini panic attack, as in, where in Godís name am I going to put all this stuff. Fortunately, I discovered that there is tons of storage space on the boat and everything found a place with room to spare. I spent quite a while just familiarizing myself with all the systems. Quite a learning curve being a former sailboat owner. The trip I made down the west coast was on a boat very similar (Ocean Alexander) to mine, so I did have some idea of what to expect.

I had hoped to have the boat ready to take her to the Bahamas by Jan/Feb, but my crew (brother-in law) developed a heart problem (A Fib) when we went back to NJ for Christmas. Two of his houses were destroyed by Sandy and dealing with that was a little too much stress for him. So he wasnít able to come back down here with me.

So, Iíve been spending my days doing as much maintenance as I can (when Iím not fishing). Iím trying to finish the engine stuff now. Iíve changed all the fuel, oil, and water filters, and some fuel lines. Iím still working on the impellers. It took three weeks just to get the right ones. I think Iím going to do the heat exchangers next week as Iím not 100% sure that a piece of an impeller blade didnít break off and make its way out of the pump. That should be it for these big boys. I re-plumbed the heads (yuck) and the fresh water systems. I also had a guy come in and rewire the AC system.
I also re-glassed the lazarette hatch (following Anodeís method).

Iím going to be installing all new nav electronics for the upper and lower helms. Iím going with Garmin just because Iíve used their stuff and like their graphics and software.

Fortunately, I was prepared for all this stuff. Having read TF posts for over a year, I gained enough valuable info to know what I wanted for my boat. I also had to learn a very important concept in boat searching Ė COMPROMISE. Learning the difference between what you would like to have and what you have to have, and what expect as far as repairs and upgrades ($) is a must. I think the 10% thing is a conservative estimate. So, all of you perspective boat buyers, donít forget to build this expense into your budget when you go boat shopping.

When I started I had a ďTO DO LISTĒ. It was four pages long. Most of it has been crossed off, but some projects like fixing the drive belt on the dryer, exterior cosmetics, and interior decorating will have to wait for summer.

My nephew will be coming down in March, so Iím hoping we still have time to get out of here for a couple of months. My insurance requires me to have the boat north of the Fla state line by June 1.
What do you think of a March crossing? I would like to head straight for Nassau, and then down to the Exumas. Iím trying to figure where I would put a small compressor for my dive tanks. Weíll see how it goes.

I need to get into high gear now to get the boat ready to go. I will probably be sending you some PMís for more detailed info as I know you have made quite a few crossings. I wanted to stop at Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, and other points of interest on my way south, but now I think I will just hit them on the way back.

I absolutely love living on the boat. Itís very comfortable and quite cozy on these stormy winter nights (like tonight). Iím in a pretty nice marina, and I have the ICW for my backyard. Every day I get to see something interesting cruise by. Iím told that the area just south of here, the Waccamaw River, is one of the nicest stretches on the AICW. Iím anxious to get out and do some exploring.


So, thatís where Iím at. I wish I could make it down to the boat show (I was thinking of impersonating Mr. Firefly), but itís a hecka long drive and I might just keep going south. Hope you all (yaíll) have a great time.

KJ

PS My former employer sent me a certified letter asking me to come out of retirement, with a very handsome bonus. Hmmmm! My response Ė ďNutsĒ.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:17 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. KJ. A STRONG word of warning...You may be leaving yourself open to a world of grief if you say you're me. You might be better off impersonating a more socially acceptable persona such as Kim Jong-il or Hugo Chavez but thanks for the thought.
It's commendable that you are able to get so much preventive maintenance done both to increase dependability and your knowledge of vessel systems. You say you've found a place for everything eh? Well, keep in mind that broom and dustpan will probably be moved another two or three times before it finds it's permanent home but that will come.
You're off to a great start and I wish you well in the future. If it's any consolation, the weather forecast here is for 1'+ of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain....
Oh, and very appropriate quote from Gen. T McAuliffe.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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KJ:

When the winter storms abate and the daily temps routinely get up into the 60s, do check out the Waccamaw River. It is one of the prettiest stretches of the ICW. Find an oxbow, drop the hook and hang out for days.

David
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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KJ:

When the winter storms abate and the daily temps routinely get up into the 60s, do check out the Waccamaw River. It is one of the prettiest stretches of the ICW. Find an oxbow, drop the hook and hang out for days.

David
Sounds like a great place for a summertime TF raft-up. KJ
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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PS My former employer sent me a certified letter asking me to come out of retirement, with a very handsome bonus. Hmmmm! My response Ė ďNutsĒ.
THAT SAYS IT ALL!

It is an easy cruise for you to get down to the Waccamaw. Anchor off to the side in one of the cuts. The night sounds can be other worldly. Peaceful, beautiful, and at night somewhat mysterious.

In March the spring fronts start coming through. You just have to wait them out until the wind clocks around to the south, or you get in the middle of a high pressure circulation. You can anchor inside Lake Worth Inlet to wait them out. Behind Peanut Island is probably the best, but there are a couple of places South of the inlet that are more open.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:34 PM   #7
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Please no more, I still have 18 inches of ice on the lake and boat trailer has snow drifts over the wheels and frame, I cant take it anymore.
ps what is sunshine ?
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #8
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Itís snowing! Didnít expect that here. Itís blowing like stink in the marina. The boat is rock n rolliní like crazy. Put extra spring lines out this morning, just for the heck of it. Getting snugged in for a cold (17*) stormy night.
The marina has already shut off the water. KJ
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #9
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I finally pulled the old (original?) carpet up today. It was so gross. I couldnít stand to look at it anymore.
Hauled it to the dumpster. It got its revenge though; I put my hand down on a piece of tack strip I had missed. Ouch.
I found a nice teak parquet floor underneath. Itís in fairly good condition. Itís probably never seen the light of day. Found a hatch to the engine room that I didnít know was there. KJ
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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Keep the parquet exposed, put mats where you need them. We bought some continuous fake "Persian" type carpet runner from the hardware store, edging is available to tidy up the cut ends.
My boat has 2 large removable sections of floor to increase ER access and light when needed. You made a useful discovery.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:59 AM   #11
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New Toys!
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:18 AM   #12
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Huge Garmin on the bridge, are you sure you'll actually be able to see the real water behind it?

I just got a 740s. Did you install yours yourself? How long, how many wires, and what was the hardest part?

I'm 100 miles from the boat and have the unit down there, so I haven't had the chance to fiddle with it between fiberglass work and painting and house work and work-work and a host of other distracting things...

I think I need to sell the house and kids so I can focus on the important stuff.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:19 PM   #13
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I used a 740s on an offshore trip I made last Sept. from Seattle to LA. I loved the software, but the screen was a tad bit small for my old eyes. The 10Ē one that I have is just right for me. Before I bought or installed anything, I made cardboard mock-ups and moved them around to check their visual footprints.
The screen is located where I donít have to look too far off center for too long. The viewblock that it does create is minor and only blocks part of the deck. Everything is located for optimum access for me. Iím sure other folks might find it awkward.
I had everything installed professionally simply because electronics scare the heck out of me. If I tried to do it myself, I would just have to hire someone later to install it correctly, and pay them to fix my mess
also.
The hardest part was coughing up the boat bucks.
Good Luck. KJ
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:41 PM   #14
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Keep the parquet exposed, put mats where you need them. We bought some continuous fake "Persian" type carpet runner from the hardware store, edging is available to tidy up the cut ends.
My boat has 2 large removable sections of floor to increase ER access and light when needed. You made a useful discovery.
I did a Google search after reading your comment about edging. Found a product called Instabind that looks interesting for the DIY type (like me). Maybe it's the same thing you ran across. Anyway, the carpet on our boat is in good shape, but the sewn edging is getting ratty...so I'm going to try it out. (no affiliation)

www.bondproducts.com/instabind
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:27 PM   #15
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KJ, now that you have made a first successful cruise to Marathon Key, how about an update on some of your impressions and feeling about the livaboard and cruising lifestyle.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:11 AM   #16
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I did a Google search after reading your comment about edging. Found a product called Instabind that looks interesting for the DIY type (like me). Maybe it's the same thing you ran across. Anyway, the carpet on our boat is in good shape, but the sewn edging is getting ratty...so I'm going to try it out.
We got the carpet and edging at the same place, the end edging stuff matched the side edging on the carpet. The edging goes around the raw carpet edge to self stick on top and underneath, recently we did a full replacement and it did not adhere properly so I used a contact type cement glue which did the job.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:57 PM   #17
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KJ, now that you have made a first successful cruise to Marathon Key, how about an update on some of your impressions and feeling about the livaboard and cruising lifestyle.


I will give it a try. It may take some time.

First, my impression on being a liveaboard. I absolutely enjoy living on the boat. At first, it took some adjustments, like learning to do without certain things I had become comfortable with when I lived in a rather sizable home. Things you take for granted in your everyday life. Conveniences, more than anything. For me however, it wasnít just moving onto a boat, it was also relocating from California to South Carolina. I really enjoy the area that I call home now though.

When I moved onto the boat, I had some idea of what to expect both regarding both space and systems (except the engine room), having spent time on a similar boat on a west coast trip. I do admit that it took some time before I became comfortable in my own engine room. I would open the ER hatch and look down at those two big diesels and wonder what the heck was going on down there. There just seemed to be so much stuff; pumps, wires, hoses all over the place, fuel tanks hidden behind walls, filters and more filters. I spent half a day just reading and figuring out what the heat exchanger does and how it works. But in time I got most it figured out. And thatís the key. You gotta take your time and work your way through it all. I asked so many questions of people whose opinion I respected, that Iím sure I became quite a pest. But I needed to know things before I would even considered heading out.



The fella in the slip next to me has a good size Gulf Star that he has fixed up beautifully inside. But heís been in the marina for four years and heís never taken the boat out. He wanted to sell it to buy a bigger boat to live on, and when a surveyor showed up for a prospective buyer, neither one of the engines would start. He hadnít turned them over since he was in the marina. For him it was just a floating condo. I have to admit that I had interior decorating envy big time, but I knew that was not what I wanted to do.

I realized after a while that I was becoming a little too comfortable living on the boat. I was in a nice marina, and I had my car. I realized that I really hadnít given up that much after all. I mean at that point, the things that I missed the most that were in storage were my Les Paul and my golf clubs (which I will bring down this summer).



I had a list of things to do on the boat that was four pages long. I would scratch off one item and replace it with another. At some point I realized that I was probably just procrastinating due to departure anxiety.


So, I took the list and separated the things absolutely need to be done before I could realistically leave on a cruise, like changing the raw water hoses that were in pretty bad shape, and things that could wait till I got back, like changing a couple of cracked windows that were not leaking.


All of a sudden, the list shrunk to one page and before I knew it, it was all checked off. My nephew had arrived and we had enough time for him become a decent crew. We worked mostly on our anchoring routine (heís also been reinstated as navigator since the Jacksonville gaffe).


So the day came to cast off and with a deep breath we left the security of the slip behind.


It would take too much space here to describe my feelings about cruising other than to say, itís been great. Much, much more than I ever expected. Iím sure the sights, people, and experiences are different for each individual that cruises. For me, so far, they have been quite memorable.


But itís not all peaches and cream. You absolutely have to be on top of your game when it comes to navigation. It only takes a moment of inattention and you can be in big trouble real fast. You should also be really comfortable knowing how your boat handles in different winds and currents.

And then there are the mind games you play while driving the boat. How many things can you worry about at the same time about all the things that could possibly go wrong on the boat at the worst time? After a while you just have to chuck it all out the isenglass and enjoy the cruise.

You realize that you canít anticipate everything that could happen, and accept that things will eventually break and you will have to deal with them as best you can.


I would, however, highly recommend to anyone considering doing the ICW to buy the best chartplotter and depth sounder you can afford, and a really good guidebook. There are so many places that could cause you heaps of trouble even with this stuff. However, I had a new radar unit installed before I left but I havenít needed it as of yet.
And donít forget the spare parts. And the extra oil and filters. And the provisioning.

Because we were going to be anchoring out most of the time, it was important that we had the next dayís travel planned so that we had not only the best anchorage identified, but also viable alternatives if the first choice didnít work out. One time we decided to pass up on our first choice because it was such a pleasant evening, so we continued on and eventually snaked our way up a small creek that was on our ďOKĒ list. We wound up anchoring right behind the Sea Ray factory, right where they launch their brand new boats.

I would have like to have spent more time in some of the places we passed through, but like a lot of other cruisers, we do have a time constraint.

We didnít get to the Bahamas this time around either. The Gulf Stream was a little too treacherous for my liking. That will have to wait for another cruise.

So, as of Sunday weíve been hanging on a mooring ball in Marathon in the Fl. Keys. Yesterday, after an intense thunderstorm passed through the harbor, I was sitting on the sun deck, enjoying the sunny skies and the warm breeze, playing my acoustic while washing away the miles with a cold Corona. I asked myself, ďwas it worth itĒ? No brainer on that one. KJ

ďItís a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you donít keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.Ē
Ė Bilbo Baggins
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:22 AM   #18
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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, KJ. There is nothing quite like the feelings experienced on a first extended cruise. I know that you had cruised down the California coast, but the ICW is so different from that.

Being in the FL Keys is as close to a tropical paradise that the US can offer. Enjoy the funkiness of Key West. The Bahamas aren't going anywhere. They will be there when you are ready. They are not a good place to go with time constraint worries. Patience is the key to dealing with Bahama weather as Capt. Chuck can verify.

Because life does interfere, it looks like we will likely scratch our Bahama cruise this year.Instead just head down to Biscayne Bay and the northern Keys. It's all good. In cruising flexibility is a good thing. We've been back and forth between the Bahamas and Biscayne Bay since the Miami Boat Show that we also had to scratch.

Fair winds, and enjoy your cruising.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:35 PM   #19
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To echo-thanks for posting your thoughts and experiences so far. Sounds like you are where you are supposed to be!

Where do you dock in NMB? Years ago, we were one of the first boats in Coquina Harbor when it was first built. I lived up around Shallotte, NC. Still love that area even with its phenomenal growth over the last 20 years.

Have a great trip back!
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