Well, so far that most frequently asked question that Mark and I have received from our dockmates that we have met is….

How did you find the boat?

This question usually comes after we have already told them that we bought the boat in Florida and had it shipped to Minnesota/Wisconsin on a truck. I am sure they are really thinking…why would you buy a boat in Florida and ship it here?

Well the answer is really quite simple, there are not alot of ocean going boats available for sale in Minnesota/Wisconsin that would be suitable for our intended purpose of cruising in the tropics/living aboard. Once we settled on the purchase of an Island Packet, there also are not a great deal of Island Packets on the market in Minnesota/Wisconsin either.

So this really required that we not focus so much on where the boat was located but instead focus on purchasing the right boat for us, regardless of where it was located. Yes, shipping is a considerable expense, not to be ignored, however when compared to the overall cost of the boat itself, it really is just a small percentage and one that we were willing to pay on the right boat.

Of course the more simplistic answer to the question is, we found it on yachtworld.com. Now perhaps not everyone knows about yachtworld.com, so I explain that it’s like the MLS listing for houses online, only for boats. Nearly any boat in the world that is for sale, is listed on yachtworld. So, like us, you just sit back and browse through the descriptions and pictures in the comfort of your favorite lazy boy and dream about which one you want to buy….hahaha…..then you wake up from your nap in the lazy boy ūüôā

Yes, browsing yachtworld.com can be an obsession on to itself. Sometimes you kind of forget…am I looking or buying?

Renaming a boat is not something to done lightly. Since the beginning of time, sailors have sworn that there are unlucky ships and the unluckiest ships are those who have defied the nautical Gods and changed their names improperly.

Since this is an auspicious occasion, we invited family and friends to join us to witness and help us celebrate the re-naming of our boat.

Here’s a pictorial representation of the day:

We appropriately provided lots of liquid spirits and generously bestowed compliments to the boat so that she understands how we as the new owners appreciate her.¬† First, we performed the de-naming ceremony.¬† This is done to purge the former name from the Ledger of the Deep and Poseidon’s memory.¬† First, we removed all physical traces of her former name from the boat as best we could.¬† Then we wrote the former name on a large metal washer.¬† We toasted to her previous name and Bob and Bev, the previous owners, who we are thankful to for providing such loving care of her prior to our purchase.¬† Then the metal washer was dropped into the sea to appropriately retire the previous name.

<Lots of toasting and drinking>

We then proceeded with the re-naming ceremony.  We asked the Gods of wind and sea to bless our boat and guard her with their mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within their realm.

<Lots of pouring of wine and champagne to appease the Gods>

Let it be recorded, that on this day, June 2, 2012 and forevermore, this fine vessel is named “Painkiller”¬† Toast – To Neptune!

<Lots more toasting and drinking>

I arrived home from work today and there was a package on our doorstep. Just the package we have been waiting for. It contains our vinyl boat name that we had ordered online.

There are multiple online sites to order vinyl boat lettering and most of them are set up that you can preview your selected font, color, etc with your name. However, I was anxious to actually see what the real thing looked like.

Here’s what it looks like:

We were excited to put it on the boat. It went on really easy with the directions provided and took about an hour.

All finished…

Today was our first official sail on Lake Pepin!¬† We were excited to get some of the work out of the way so we could sail.¬† The weather was in the low 70’s, nice light winds as we test out all the sails.¬† Roger and Stephanie had a blast helping us celebrate our maiden voyage!

This weekend we are tackling the project of cleaning and polishing all the woodwork on the interior of the boat. And boy is there alot of it. I am using Liquid Gold furniture polish and it is working out great. The wood is in good shape just needs some moisture added back into it and some luster, so the Liquid Gold works out very well.

Mark and I were doing most of this work ourselves, However, Roger & Stephanie, Mark’s Dad and his wife, have arrived to the boat and guess what? They asked if they could help! How cool is that!

I have plenty of rags to go around, so with 4 of us now working, we were done with all the woodwork in record time and were able to finish that same day just before dinner and having some fun.

Thanks Roger & Stephanie!

Today finds me literally hanging upside down…inside the boat refrigerator trying to clean every nook and cranny of it. For those unfamiliar with a boat refrigerator, these are a bit different than your refrigerator at home. First, boat refrigerators typically open from the top rather than from the front. This allow all the cold air to stay inside when you open the door. Secondarily, boat refrigerators tend to be very deep, irregular in shape with corners that are very inaccessible.

So, my task today is to clean out and wipe out the refrigerator. In order to get to the back corners of the fridge requires me to literally hang upside down with my head way down inside the fridge and my feet off the ground with my body literally halfway inside the fridge.

Good thing I don’t tend to get claustrophobic.

I got all the nooks and crannies cleaned up and it now looks better and smells better too.

Post-script:  I now have discovered the value of a good pair of tongs that can extend my reach and grip a towel or sponge to get to all those nooks and crannies.

Home at last

ah home…home for the boat that is. This is where we dock the boat. So, we are on a body of water called Lake Pepin. I am not sure why this is a lake really, since this is simply a really W I D E part of the Mississippi River, which divides Minnesota and Wisconsin. The lake is approximately 20 miles long and 4 – 5 miles across. There are 3 marinas on the lake to choose from, Lake City Marina located on the Minnesota side of the “river” in Lake City, MN, another marina on the Minnesota side called Hansen’s Marina, and the 3rd, located on the Wisconsin side of the “river” in Pepin, WI called Pepin Marina. We are located at Pepin Marina in Pepin, WI.

Once we got the boat settled in the slip, we finished putting some more items back together. We got the canvas back up for the bimini and the dodger, filled the water tank, hooked up the shore power cords and generally got organized.

We had dinner at the Harborview, which is a great local restaurant located overlooking the marina and later enjoyed drinks with our friends Don & Jodi.

Ahhh….it feels good to be “home” in our slip.

Valium anyone?

So, we think we are about ready to raise the mast on this boat. Now, if you thought that watching the boat be lifted off the truck and into the water was nerve wracking, as the title says, we are going to need a bit of valium to get through this day.

So, the mast was laid on the boat and we motor the boat over to the dock that has the crane lift located on it. Now, we are in small town Minnesota and not some fancy marina on some coast, so this crane is a hand mechanical crane. It has a large wheel much like a boat lift that we turn and turn to make the large wire cable on the crane arm lift anything such as the mast. In other words, we are doing all this work ourselves.

So, here we start out with the cable attached to the mast just below the spreaders. (How much did you say this crane could lift? We can do it with just one attachment point, really?)

Well, Jennifer, our daughter and I cranked and cranked and turned that wheel to slowly start to raise the mast off the deck of the boat. Meanwhile, we had 3 guys who were guiding it’s ascent. We all, at some point, had visions of this thing sliding, not so gracefully, into the water….never to be seen again. Or, it getting wildly out of control and swinging and scraping the entire side of the boat.

Here’s that wheel we had to crank

Up and up we go…

Ok guys, we need to rotate it a little bit…

Looking good…

(In my best Bill Murray Caddyshack voice) It’s in the hole….

Ok, guys, you only have a few more feet…

Now, it’s just like putting the star on top of the Christmas tree…

Wheew……deep exhale!! The mast is in!

Wax on, wax off

The weather was cooperating a bit more today, so we headed down to Lake City Marina once again. On the agenda today, is to clean, wax and polish the mast and all the rigging (those wires that hold the mast up). This task is much easier to accomplish with both the mast and us safely on the ground. If the mast were on the boat, we would only be able to do this by having one of us hoisted up the mast in a bosun chair. If you are not familiar with a bosun chair, it is basically a harness type seat made of board, webbing and nylon, like this:

I am really not quite ready to be hoisted up the mast, 54 feet in the air, supported by a board, webbing and nylon for an extended period of time to clean, wax and polish the mast. I am more than happy to do this job right here on the ground.

The boat has been in a salt water environment for the last 11 years and has sat with little to no attention paid to it for 2 years, so things are a little dirty and grimy to say the least. With a few hours, ok more like 8 hours, of rubbing and polishing things are looking quite nice and shiny. I think we are ready to put the mast back in the boat now.

Or so we thought the work would begin. The weather seems to be conspiring against us today. Rainy, cold and gray today. We did drive down to Lake City and met up with Joe Marz (our rigger) to see what work could be done. When we arrived Joe was hard at work, as usual, inside the boat, checking electronics to ensure things were working properly after some things were reinstalled.

Unfortunately, we are in a very temporary spot on the dock in Lake City Marina and where we are sitting there is no working shorepower to connect to, otherwise we would have plugged in and turned on the heater to see what addition work could be done…it was cold.

As it was, we all decided it was too cold and too wet to be very effective today and packed it in before noon.

With some additional time on our hands, Mark and I drove to Wabasha to look at a cradle for the boat (this is what you place the boat on when you take it out of the water and place it on land for the winter). We knew there was a guy who had an Island Packet 350 around here and sold his boat, but the cradle was still lying in Wabasha. So, off we go to take some measurements to see if it will fit our boat.

Then, we drove over to Pepin, WI. This is where we will be keeping the boat, at Pepin Marina. Our friends Don and Jodi were aboard their boat for the weekend, so we stopped by and visited with them for a bit before we headed back home.