Will cover four things:

  1.  Monthly review for our third month on the water
  2. Rules (written and unwritten) that we have developed
  3. Truisms
  4. Cost of the trip (to date)

Monthly Review Stats:

Start: 6/7/17: Hope Island Anchorage, Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
End: 7/7/17 Salmon Marina, Kewaunee, WI
Number of States this month: 2 (Michigan and Wisconsin)
Number of Countries: 2 (USA, Canada)
Total Distance for month: 556 Miles.
Time: 132 hours over 19 moving days (11 days stationary)
Average Speed: 5.4 mph
Average Miles/Day on the loop: 18.5 miles/day.  Back to what we saw our first month
Longest miles in a day: 71.7 miles; Northport MI to Washington Island WI–our Lake Michigan crossing. It is also the longest on the trip.
Longest duration in day: 13:20. Lake Michigan Crossing. Left in the dark and made it across on mostly flat lake
Shortest trip: 6.1 miles. Garden Island to Beaver island across a small straight whipped up by a thunderstorm that just passed us by. So it was short, but not much fun!
Number of Locks: ZERO!!!!  This month.  Will start on them in September when we get into the Illinois/Mississippi.
Number of times ran aground: ZERO!! This month.  Which is good–we are in the land of rocks!
Number of animals on the boat at the end of the month: 2. Does not count the hundreds of insects that catch a ride with us every day.
Days with rain: 19 out of 31.  We are trending the right way.  We have days of actual sun!
Number of gallons of gas: 93.66
Number of gallons of diesel: 0
Fuel usage: .8 gal per hour when using both engines. Sails are improving our gas mileage.
Number of oil changes: 1.
Number of pump outs: 4. Still Ick.
Number of car rentals: 1 (Sturgeon Bay)
Number of people who recognized Serenity’s true origin of her name: 1 (Beaver Island Harbor master)

Rules (Written or unwritten) and superstitions on S/V Serenity.

It is a gorgeous morning. 0900 and we are heading south on Lake Michigan towards Sheboygan; another in a series strongly named towns along the Wisconsin West side. Genoa is up trying to catch as much as we can of the wind coming from the southwest. It is only blowing at 10 knots, we are traveling at 6 knots, so the apparent wind is not much, but in our minds it provides us a push so we have it up. This practice got us noticed by another sailing cat when we were heading to Kewaunee; we both were beating against the wind; we had our genoa up and were sailing a bit off the wind to keep it filled and they were going straight into the wind with no sails. Ultimately we both ended up with about the same realized speed across the trip (we went farther faster, he went shorter slower), but it got me thinking out our habits or our superstitions or rules that we have developed over our 100 days on the trip.

1. Always put the sail up until it is proven that it harms our forward progress (i.e. it backfills or flops around like a hanky). It helps increase our speed, justifies having a sailboat on the loop (because most of the loop is way more appropriate for a trawler), and (in our mind) makes the boat handle better. Usually it is just the genoa; the main comes out when we know we have some strong wind over a long distance. We have not yet mastered the art of bringing up/down the main in gale force winds, single handed without turning into the wind (a la Don in Endeavor).

2. We don’t ever write, text, blog, talk about success in a particular part of the journey UNTIL we have finished the trip. Karma and Murphy both come into play here. We all know that as soon as we tell someone “We are having a GREAT day today!” than something disastrous will occur.

2a. Corollary to above: We don’t take pictures, record or otherwise take time to capture activities that are happening when we are uncomfortable with wind/waves/weather/or any activities on the boat. More so we can focus on whatever it is that is happening, but also if we don’t capture it and memorialize it, nothing bad will happen.

3. No standing in the hallway of the salon. Sounds trivial but it is wide enough for one body at one time. And if we are flying in (or out) to get something done, anyone standing in the aisle is liable to get run over.

4.  Head Rules

a.  No paper product in toilet. Even marine toilet paper. If you violate the rule and plug up the toilet then you win the opportunity to unclog and clean said toilet.

b.  No going #2 in toilet while we are at a marina. Under pain of death. This rule is waived if we had a particularly spicy batch of mexican food AND we are more than a football field away from the marina toilet.

5. Always three points of contact while moving about the boat. Both inside and out. Some sadistic bastard designed the two steps inside that lead from the salon to the port and starboard hulls and if you don’t hang on to a bar on the way down the stairs, you are going to end up on your rear end.

6. No talking to Jan in the morning before coffee. This is a holdover from our house, but even more important on the boat where we live on top of teach other.

7. Laundry: Every time we do the laundry we have a contest to see who has the least amount of clothes; they are the winner for that wash cycle. I’ve won all but two. Which has led to two other rules:

a.  Jim may not wear a shirt more than four days in a row. This goes for any article of clothing for anyone but we have had some issues with my shirts.

b. AJ Rule: We must shower at a minimum ever two days. Or swim. Or do something that makes us presentable to the greater public.

8.  Going Ashore:

a.  Grandpa Chuck Rule:  Can’t go ashore unless your fly is zippered or fly is CAPABLE of being zippered.

b.  Gas can needs to be in dinghy (AJ is responsible since I demonstrated twice that I cannot handle that responsibility)

c.  Boat needs to be buttoned up, instruments off and covered, power to boat (if at shore), lines tied and checked (twice), and logs updated before we head into shore.

d.  First trip ashore must have dog to preclude any accidents on board.

9.  Departing

a.  Do a quick check for the cat to make sure he is on board the boat. But don’t spend a lot of time…

b.  Check weather forecast one last time. Include wave forecast if you are on a big body of water (say, Lake Michigan for example). If it looks ugly, stay another day.

c.  Make sure all lines are accounted for and (preferably) not tied to dock before placing engine in gear.

d.  Make sure dinghy is secured to the boat either by two lines (if dragging) or by ratchet straps and two lines (if carrying).  And that the dinghy is empty of water (from rain).

10. Electronics are a privilege not a right and are done after everything else on the boat (chores) are complete. And parents have the right to veto the use of electronics at any time for any reason. Which only applies to AJ. Parents can use electronics as much as we want!

11. If there is a chance for rain at night, it is understood that if windows or hatches are open, and it begins to rain in the middle of the night, Jim gets to close the windows.

12. There must be a reserve bottle of wine in the port hull locker at all times. If that wine gets opened, the boat must stop at the nearest port for immediate resupply.

12a. Always have crushed red pepper on hand to spread liberally on any/all food served on the boat.

13. Docking

a.  Call marina and get the slip assignment and the configuration (i.e bow in starboard tie). Pass information onto Jan so she can get boat ready.  Also check to see if there is anything unusual about the marina that will affect docking.  Like the current in ‘Little’ Current.

b.  Slow down and give time to Jan to get boat ready!!! Under pain of death. Fenders out, lines ready.  Or bridle on, windlass on, anchor ready to be deployed.

c.  Make sure everyone knows the slip assignment, the marina layout and how we are approaching dock.  AJ will invariably see the slip first (eagle eyes).

d.  Don’t panic.

e.  Approach dock (or lock) at the speed at which you want to hit the dock. No faster. And try not to hit the dock.

f.  If you don’t like the approach to the dock or anchorage, go around and do it again.

g.  Give clear, concise direction to dock hands on which line to take and what they should do with said line. Don’t assume they know what to do with the line.

h. Tip the nice dude/dudette that got your lines tied up to the dock.

Some truisms:

If we prepare the mainsail for use, we won’t use it. And if we don’t, we will.

If the marina doesn’t tell us which side the fenders need to be placed, we will place them on the wrong side. And even if they do tell us, there is a good chance that the slip may change and fenders are on wrong side.

The weather forecast will always be wrong. Or it be the worst possible conditions detailed. For example, if the winds are forecasted from 10-15 knots, then it will be 15. And the wind will always be blowing from the direction that we are traveling.

People are nice. And helpful.

Whatever we don’t check will the the thing that goes wrong.

The cat is going to make it through this entire trip just to spite us.

How we are different from 100 days ago.

1. We are fairly confident we are going to make it, and have reason for that confidence!

2. We are much more risk averse when it comes to weather and deciding to leave. Conditions that would have been considered ‘fun’ on the Chesapeake Bay are considered ‘wait another day’ conditions on the loop. Something to do with this being our house, not just a boat. BUT there are some areas we are also more tolerant than we were at home. For example, on the bay if the forecast called for 2-3 foot waves we would’t head out; waves on the bay are uncomfortable. But we have gone out on 2-3 foot (or higher waves) if there is a long period and they are somewhere behind us.

3. The tasks that need to be done when arriving/leaving are done quickly and efficiently. Once questions are answered on what side we are docking or where we are anchoring, and how the weather/current affects us, we all know what our jobs are and they get done. Mostly well. What used to take an hour (when we arrived in port), now takes 15 minutes and much less stress.

4. Our faith in humanity and the goodness of people has been restored. We can count on one hand, maybe one or two fingers, the number of jerks we have encountered.

5. We ask for help and admit when we need help. All the time.

6. Our stress level in general, has gone down. Significantly. Though there are days when our stress level is really, really high and we wonder what the heck we are doing!

7.  We are much more flexible.  We don’t have a schedule, we don’t have anyplace to be.  We have learned to take what we get and enjoy it and not regret what we didn’t get or what we missed.  We just add those things to the list for next time.

7. Our judgment of quality of marina has less to do with facilities (which are important) and more to do with the people at the marina and how they treat us. Some of our favorite marinas are ‘diamonds in the rough.’ Or just rough. But the people bend over backwards to make you feel welcome and help you out. We now know that our home marina (Herrington Harbor North, Deale, MD) is a fantastic place.

Cost to Date

Our budget for the trip is $5000/month for loop related expenses (everything on the loop) plus $1000/month for our ‘life’ expenses. Life expenses are anything not specifically loop dependent, such as: insurance, storage, cell phones, etc. Our spending up to date:

Boat Supplies -2072.8
Car/Bike Rental -727.39
Entertainment -1056.4
Food -2679.12
Fuel -735.61
Hotel -117.8
Maintenance -567.31
Marina -4145.59
Misc -415.08
Restaurant -2517.33
Recurring Bills -4277.19
Grand Total -19311.62

Some (random) thoughts:
1. Glad we have a boat that sips fuel. We go slow, but we don’t spend a lot of money on gas!!!

2. It appears that we eat a lot for three people. Our food budget at home was ~$200/week for four people (plus dog and cat). On the boat, we are down a person, we eat less and we spend a bit more. This figure is impacted by the cost of food in far off places (expensive). And by the amount of junk food we consume! But mostly the high cost driver is probably that we include beer/wine cost in our food bill.

3. Marina costs are killing me. First three months we averaged 1/3 of days at anchorage and 2/3 in marinas. But I counted wall time on the TSW as ‘marina’ since we paid for it up front. And it is going to be 30 out of 30 days going forward until we get to the gulf (or close enough). Next time we do the loop, we will anchor out more. Part of our reluctance to anchor out earlier was working through getting our dinghy up/down easily. We have it down now and that reduced the stress of anchorage.

4. Love to eat out. And we are and it is killing us–both financially and at the waist band. If I overlaid the hours conducting physical fitness over days on the loop you would see a line trending down (steeply) and ending sometime in June!

5. We should just buy some bikes.

6. Boat supplies is high and should go down. We bought things along the way that we didn’t know we would need or that we ran out of time to get prior to departure. For example, we bought an additional 50’ power cord (30 amp) because we got into situations where we were a long way from our box. Extra dock lines. Line for med mooring. Stern anchor and line. Extra prop.

7. Recurring bills are about where we expect. We had our insurance due in August which was paid in a lump sum and drove up the amount we spent, but we are within our budget over the long term.