My dream is coming to life! I am so glad I stuck with my dream. When we purchased this vessel with a hint of intention to take families with special needs out sailing we frankly weren’t sure we could prepare her to fit such a great cause! I talked to many people and was discouraged by so many that I just put my blinders on and worked. Have you ever had an idea that most people thought was nuts? Well many people thought I was, actually I should say they think I am! If it were not for some friends that have seen me working with these kids, many of the families that I have worked with and meeting Jerry from prism polish, I think I might have given up!
The project started out well and after we sailed down from Annapolis to Jacksonville Florida, we knew we had a lot of hard work but most surprises were good! We had a starting goal date early this year and really thought we would make our goal. Then north Florida faced a very cold winter, leaving ice on the deck making it impossible to work at the speed we wanted to. Finally after ripping off the teak deck, drilling and filling all of the screw holes, replacing some of the wet deck core (thank goodness her hull is solid fiberglass), we started the whole non skid painting process. Again freezing temperatures (paint has to have warmer temperatures) slowed us down. Wow it was finally finished and looks spectacular!
We were gifted a rigging inspection from a wonderful company called SparmanUSA! What a great gift! We thought we had better get new lifelines and have a look up the mast even though she was recently re-rigged a year before we bought her. A pretty big kick in the gut was felt by me when he showed us the photos of cracks in critical areas of the metal plates that are part of what holds the mast up. Whew.. Oh my.. OK.. Over 10 grand with a company helping us out with the cost and Julian of Sparmanusa not charging much. It had to be done! We motored over to a yard where they pulled out both masts, weeks later being put back with all new rigging. In the mean time (thank goodness it happened here before we started taking families out), our forward head holding tank cracked. We had already gutted and rebuilt the whole bathroom so the leaking tank was mostly water as it was decommissioned for construction, now this? Ok. Take a deep breath… Well… take a deep breath outside, then go inside and clean out the inside of the tank and the whole bilge. Then sand the inside of the tank, fiberglass it, pressure test it and clean again a few more times. The aft head tank is going to get the same treatment now, I’m not gonna mess with that again please!!
We checked our steering out, thinking we might have a cable issue. Replacing a cable is a day or 2 of work and a fellow sailor on our dock offered to help. First the binnacle was removed to find out the bearings inside were all chewed up. So over a two week period the whole steering system and binnacle were inspected, cleaned, the binnacle itself was powder coated and now it has been reinstalled and sits waiting for all of the electronic wiring while we take a forced break due to rain. It should be done next week!
So here we are, at some point I’ll open the back tank and sand and glass it, we need to install hinges and handles on all of the deck lockers, do some wiring, install blocks that are put on stainless risers for some ropes that control our jib (one of the sails) as well as a new bow roller for our huge and best anchor and we will be sailing! Whew, it sounds like we are really close! I hope once again that all surprises in our future are good, but if they aren’t I will be grateful that things show themselves before we have trips planned!
So that’s where we are. We are so grateful for all of the help we have had! We are flowing and rolling with however this goes now. We haven’t given ourselves another deadline but soon we will have a group coming with a child with autism! We won’t be ready for others until after that trial sail as one of the guests will be our rigger! He will tune our rig on that sail and will have his friends with an autistic child who are sailors also! I am excited.. In the meantime a few kids will be coming that have never been on a boat and that will be a joy! The only thing that keeps me going some days is knowing the peaceful feeling the ocean brings to these kids! I mean look at the photos of surfers healing, these kids love the water! They (surfers healing) have been doing this for ages and the crowds that come are enormous which isn’t usually great with kids on the spectrum but they love it! I love attending their functions but they are in California.
I will try to keep up on the blogging for you all to see where we are at in regards to sailing, keep us in your hearts!
Voyage Into Healing!