Retire Early, Go Sailing, and Enjoy Life!

Retire Early, Go Sailing, and Enjoy Life!

Countdown to Year 4 of Cruising!

Countdown to Year 4 of Cruising!
Ethan, age 4, Aug 2015

In a few more weeks, Joe, Ethan and I fly back to our sailboat, Mahi, in the Bahamas.  We are now in our 4th year of cruising.  Wow! The time has sure flown by!  Hard to believe Ethan was only 4 when we bought our boat and moved aboard (see picture on left when we drove to Florida and arrived to our new boat)- and now he is 7!

At home in California, we are finishing up annual physicals, dental visits, and any necessary medical tests.  Joe had his 10 year colonoscopy (oh fun!) and I had my annual mammogram.  We are also stocking up on needed prescriptions.  Last year I wrote a detailed post for cruisers on how to manage prescriptions while cruising.

Capt. Joe had been complaining that my hearing needed testing, turns out I just needed some wax removal to improve things.   Guess it wasn’t selective hearing after all- 😂


Ethan and good friend, Rowan

Hardest part of resuming our sail cruising is saying goodbye to family and friends.  Ethan will especially miss his friend, Rowan, and his cousins, Jack and Kate.  He has also made some terrific friends this summer by networking with the local homeschool group.

This year, I am trying out a new app called Touch Note, which will allow me to upload pictures  to their site and the app will turn the photos into postcards.   For a fee, it will mail the postcard for you, and include a map if you wish of your location for the recipient to see.  You can also write a message on the back of the postcard.  Perfect for cruisers to stay in touch when traveling internationally.

Traveling out to Mahi takes two days of flying.  We are first flying out to Ft. Lauderdale, running around to pick up a few items and see friends.  Next leg is flying into Nassau and then catching a small plane to Great Harbour Cay.  Looking forward to seeing all our friends on the islands and seeing our boat.  This is the longest we have ever been away from Mahi and cruising.  The reason for our absence had to do with an ill family member battling cancer.    This loved one is holding steady thanks to modern treatment- targeted therapy.

Once we arrive back to the boat, first order of business is to unpack and put the sails back on.  We typically fly out with 4-6 duffle bags.  By far, the heaviest things we are flying out with are Ethan’s school books and supplies.  Next are new dock lines and spare boat parts.  Add in new swimsuits, clothes and a variety of other items.

Once the boat is ready, first weather window we sail to Marathon, Florida to obtain some provisions and new equipment.  What are we adding to the boat this year?

New Radar– our older Radar unit was original to the boat, so time to get a Garmin Radar to work with our Garmin Chart plotter.  I am excited to get this as it will help identify nasty squalls approaching and allow us to see other boats in a variety of weather conditions.

Photo by SV Comfortably Numb

New Cockpit Cushions–  A company called C-Cushions makes custom cockpit cushions that do not absorb water and are very comfortable. We discovered this by networking with our sister ships this last season.  I am all about the comfort!

Asymmetrical Spinnaker–  Joe and I really needed a light air downwind sail, so are very excited to finally get one!  Our talented sailmaker, Peter Grimm, is working with us to make this happen.  Peter also helped us with our other three sails we replaced back in 2015.

I also remember our friend, Pam Wall, once mentioning her wonderful ATN Spinnaker Sleeve on her boat Kandarik   It allows one person to easily raise and lower the spinnaker sleeve, which is perfect for a cruising couple.  Joe and I appreciate products that will make our lives easier.

Fun Boat Toys– Earlier this year, we discovered this small kayak that Ethan borrowed from Ouest on Bumfuzzle boat when we met them in Georgetown.  We plan to get a blue or lime green one in Florida, also an anchor so it doesn’t float away.  Thinking of a paddleboard, too, for boat fun.

Towable Toy- we want to find a good towing toy so that we can take Ethan and friends out having fun behind our dinghy.  Haven’t narrowed it down yet, so if you have a suggestion, please leave me a comment.

Provisions– Trips to Publix will load us up until we get to a country with good provisioning opportunities.  We carefully store items in bins, keeping track on an Excel spreadsheet, then divide and vacuum seal meats for the freezer.  We are thinking of adding on an extra 12 volt freezer for the boat.  I will need the extra space when I catch some fish.

This year should be a very exciting, interesting cruising year.  New countries, new adventures, and I am itching to get to Panama  so we can finally transit the canal and sail on to the South Pacific.  Joe is pushing for seeing more of the Caribbean first, which does make sense.  Stay tuned!

5 thoughts on “Countdown to Year 4 of Cruising!”

  • I am considering the purchase of a Taswell 43. Your web posts are very informative. However I wonder if you could include more detailed information concerning equipment . Two examples: Before you replaced your old anchor with the new Rocna, which anchor did you have, and what were the experiences did you drag, did it have problems resetting etc.
    A picture of the new anchor at the bow does not show a readily identifiable Tack point for your new Aysmetric. How did you accomplish this?

    Thanking you in advance.


    • Hi Robert, good to hear from you. Mahi initially came with a CQR, which we changed to a Rocna 25. We initially needed to modify our bow roller, which we have shared pictures on the Facebook Taswell page (have you joined yet?) This Rocna 25 worked great, but I wanted to upsize and add more chain in year 3 to a Rocna 33. Reason for this was due to a nasty microburst in a crummy anchorage where everyone was dragging- including us. We later learned that holding was sand over construction fill muck, so when we back down on the anchor, it held just fine, but later sliced through like butter in high winds. This was our only dragging incident with the Rocna 25. The upsizing the anchor was frankly, Joe appeasing my wishes. The extra chain was in preparation for deeper anchorages in the Pacific.

      The picture of the asymmetrical spinnaker was uhm, borrowed from the boat listed in the credit, since ours is still being made. When I talked with Peter Grimm, who has done our previous three sails in our first refit, he didn’t think a tack point was an issue. When we re-rigged after our initial purchase, we also raised our genoa roller on the bow to avoid sail chafe on the lifelines. Once we receive the sail, I can certainly post pics for the new asymm and the tack point we plan to use.

      Would be happy to share technical detail on any other equipment we have. I try to get Joe to write technical posts, but he would rather just enjoy the cruising lifestyle and leave the writing to me. I post lots of images on our boat FB page and my Carla Barrett instagram page.

      We love our Taswell 43, and this is a solid, offshore cruising boat. After a few refits, we now are ready to head off to more serious cruising this next year. We wish you the best on your boat search.

    • Robert, if you look under the page “Our Boat,” I updated refit links at the bottom so you can easily find all the changes we made to our Taswell. The first refit was the biggest, started in Aug, 2015 and ended in Jan, 2016. In hindsight, I wish we had done the refridgeration conversion and solar panels in the initial refit. At the time, we were tired of refits, and needed to just get out there and have some fun.

  • Hi, Carla. We have an asymmetrical spinnaker with an ATN tacker. Had a lot of fun with it on the East Coast USA, but have found we are not using it much in the northern Bahamas. Mostly because it is rated for winds 13 knots and under, and we see more 18 to 22 knot winds (and up) during the winter. Instead we use our 120% genoa, which on a cutter rig is a nice big headsail. I do remember how much fun the family had working together on a color scheme for the spinnaker — my daughter colored many versions for our family contest! 😊 Might be cruising the Chesapeke next spring so I know we will fly the spinnaker again. Btw, I recommend playing a Brahms viola concerto while flying the asymmetrical — it’s a trip!

    • Hi Val, yes, we figured that using the asymmetrical spinnaker in Bahamas will be rare. Heading further afield and figured we will use it especially in the So Pacific.

      Will play your suggestion- Fun!! Appreciate your thoughtful comment!

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