Cruising with Soggy Paws
Soggy Paws is a 44' CSY Sailboat. In 2007, we set sail on a 10 year around the world cruise.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tropical Storm Fay: Dodged Another One
We have been anxiously listening to the scarce reports (down here in Panama) on what Tropical Storm Fay was doing in Florida. It sat almost exactly on top of our house for 24 hours. It's always scary when "The Weather Channel" guys are standing in your back yard in their foul weather gear!

We heard that it dropped about 25 inches of rain, but the reports from friends indicate it wasn't too bad. Below are some email reports from our friends on how it was in the Satellite Beach area.
Everything's just fine here. There was some street flooding in the areas that flood; South Patrick down by DeSoto, Desoto itself, and some other minor interior roads. The river's up to the top of the lowest seawalls in my area, which is about 3' below the highest I've seen it, so you don't have anything to worry about. Highest winds we saw were only about 50 MPH, so that wasn't a problem either.
Reports are that Patrick AFB received 22 inches of rain, S Patrick Dr was flooded and closed. The river only came up to a foot below our dock, so I think everything is OK at your place. I tried calling Karen Miller but she was not home, will try again this evening. Here in Palm Bay our street was flooded about 30 inches deep and we could not get in or out, but no water in the condo. The kids all lived on islands but no water in their houses. The Lake Wash area was hit badly with Harlock, Aurora, John Rodes, Lake Wash all closed.
We are still here and our feet are DRY! not like a lot of Melbourne/Satellite Bch area. I haven't been over by the condos, so don't have a first hand report. But the water never got to the top of our sea wall and I'm sure yours is the same. The wind was not as bad as predicted. We only saw 40-50 mph and no trees were down, just branches and stuff.

The phone service and cable have been interrupted off and on, but now working. No power loss in this area, only momentary glitches.

It has been raining off and on since Tues, so the mold and cabin fever are settling in.

Today (Fri) looks like start of the clean up and un-tying of boats and stuff. We'll write more if we find the condos had a problem but don't expect that they did.


Friday, May 25, 2007
Getting Ready to Pull Away from the Dock
We have a few more hours of preps (mainly just moving the last of our bits out of the condo), but should be underway by about noon.

I forgot to put milk on the 'Last Publix Run' list when Dave took the rental car back, so I have to hoof it out to the 7-11 for a half gallon of milk before we leave. Yep, we're really cruising!

I think we'll anchor at Sebastian tonight, and perhaps even stay there tomorrow and finish getting organized. There's no big hurry because we can't (easily) go south of West Palm til the wind quits howling... about Mon or Tue.

We'll try to send in a position update via Winlink about every 8 hours or so.


Thursday, May 24, 2007
Leaving Tomorrow! (Friday)

Yes, we really are going to do it... soon.

The freezer is behaving nicely and full of food.

The Monitor wind vane is mounted

Dave's car is parked in Clermont at his friend Jim's house.

More Photos

The home phone is turned off, and newspaper delivery canceled

The water level has dropped about 6 inches

Looks like we're going to pull out of here tomorrow morning some time!

We could have made it out of here today, but it's blowing like stink, so we're stalling a little and watching the forecast. We can spend a day or two inside the waterway before the high winds will impede us, so our plan is to head south to about West Palm and wait for winds in the 10-15 kt range, to make an outside hop down to the Keys. Hopefully that will be Mon or Tue.


Monday, May 21, 2007
The Refer is ON!!!

Well, as usual, it took a *little* longer than the half a day that Dave estimated. But also as usual, he did a primo job, so everything went in better than it came out, and is all shiny and neat.

As of 5 minutes ago, with 5 minutes of running time, the compressor was running fine and the plates were cooling.

Here are some photos of the freezer going back together.

This is the removable plywood/epoxy box with the plates inside sitting on a heavily insulated box. The upper box slides down inside the blue insulation. This is so the system can be easily removed to be taken off and worked on.

To the right you can see the plywood box now down inside the insulated box. On the lower right is the hole that the pipes go thru to connect up to the compressor system.

Below, located on a shelf above the engine, in the engine room, is the compressor setup. In the foreground, the shiny silver thing is the evacuation pump (attached temporarily to pull a vacuum on the system). The compressor is behind the evacuation pump. The gauges provide readings on tempurature and vacuum status.

This was the last major project we had to complete before we could leave. Now we just have to finish up about 20 minor ones! (ie time to get off this stupid computer and keep working on my list!)


Friday, May 18, 2007
Long-range plans update

Our original schedule (when we were leaving 1 April) had an ambitious schedule to backtrack and enjoy some of the Western Caribbean before making the Panama Canal transit in the fall. Then enjoying the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica and Ecuador, doing some inland South American travel and launching across the Pacific in the April 2008 timeframe.

The schedule has now slipped about 2 months, and we've finally admitted we can no longer 'suck it up' without making some hard decisions. It's not possible to just push the entire schedule as is back by 2 months, because there's a 'Pacific crossing window' we have to make(April/May). So the choice is either to skip some of the Western Caribbean and get back on schedule, or lolly-gag a little and push the 'cross the Pacific' date out another year.

I think we've decided that we're tired of hurrying, really do want to spend some time diving Mexico, Belize, and Honduras, and don't mind letting the whole schedule slip some. Haven't updated the Cruising Plans page yet, but will do that soon.



Well, we’re not ready to leave today. Dave told a friend in an email last night ‘maybe Tuesday’, and we’ve started having anything we order sent to the Keys instead of here. We have made a lot of progress in the last week.

The first thing we did was cut Dave's '3 Major Projects To Complete' down to 2 by putting off the head bolt issue til we get to the Keys. Dave's friend Jim (another CSYer) has volunteered to help him pull the head and re-tap the one bolt that has the garbled threads.

I got all the food stowed yesterday (except the cold stuff, which is still in the house freezer). Provisioning is all done except for the last trip for fresh veggies and eggs. We have just one more prescription to pick up at the pharmacy today, and the medical stuff is done (I even got the sutures I’ve been whining about from friend, Donna from ECSA, who's a nurse. Plus she gave us some 'Dermabond' so we don't have to SuperGlue our cuts.)

Dave's first project, to make sure he has all the pieces parts for assembling a new watermaker when we get to the Rio Dulce, is nearly complete. One more stop for a couple of small items at Advanced Water Systems will finish this task.

Dave got the 2nd cold plate installed in the fridge in yesterday, and he was smilingas he finished up. Today’s job is to swap out the freezer plate (with a bigger one). He thinks this will be the easier of the two jobs. (but we probably won’t know until we turn the whole system on). Then we have to pump the refer system down and check for leaks and let it stabilize out. Then we can load it with all the food I bought. And then leave!

While we’re waiting for the freezer to freeze, we have to mount the wind vane and get the 15HP motor aboard. And I have to collect up all my electronic bits and pieces laying all over the floor and stow them.

I have a date with the insurance man this morning (insurance for my 2 rental properties, which have been non-renewed by USAA).

No more going away parties allowed! I think they’re bad luck at this point.

One final thing we're worrying about is the water level in the Indian River. Our mast height is 64', meaning we just barely fit under the bridges when the water is 'normal'. A few weeks ago the water level was low and we cleared easily. The last 2 weeks of wind has pushed the water level up about 18" higher than it was... it is within 1 inch of our 'no clearance' level, and we are holding our breaths and hoping it will go down soon!! (but it hasn't much in the last few days).

FYI anyone who knows Tom and Jean on our sistership Jean Marie... they have been getting ready for their circumnavigation (via the '5 Great Capes') and Tom and Dave have collaborated and commiserated on many projects.. (and Jean has given me lots of sympathy and advice)... they pulled out of the Dragon anchorage 2 days ago and are up in the Cocoa area ‘waiting for weather’. Tom wants something mild and ‘not North’ for the first day—to get across the Gulfstream. Their path is east and south, with a first landfall in Guadeloupe (and ultimately Trinidad for a haulout). Yesterday would have been a good one, but he had ‘one more project to do’. (sound familiar?)


Sunday, May 13, 2007
Last day in our old house in the Keys with the family still here...

We've spent the weekend helping Dad get packed up and sorting family treasures. We've had some fun, had some disagreements, and shed some tears over a few items. But it's nearly done now. Dad and my sister and brothers and the truck pull out this afternoon. Dave and I and Nicki will stay over until tomorrow so we can noodle around Marathon a little without feeling like we're shirking our family responsibilities.

Then we're back to Satellite Beach by late Monday, for the last push to get our To Do list finished up, and off on Soggy Paws by the end of the week.


Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wow, it's February, and getting well on toward the end of February.

I have less than 4 weeks left to work. We are already interviewing for my replacement at work. The boss has finally figured out that I'm really going to do this thing. (I told him 6 months ago that I was leaving but he didn't really believe me).

Here at the house (with Soggy Paws right out the back), things are zooming along. Every minute of every day is jam packed, for both Dave and I.

Dave is finishing putting the engine back together. The head goes on today, with the help of Don from Tackless II, who is visiting here in his RV for a couple of days. Their CSY is currently in Fiji. See their travel log here:

Our new 'hard dodger' project is mostly done. Dave got the frame done and it looks great (see pics on the website here). The canvas work is being done by a local Melbourne company, Canvas Connections. They should be finishing up soon. I think Dave also plans to have them do some interior cushions for us.

The engine *must* be back together and running smoothly by Monday (3 days from now), when we're scheduled to take the boat to the yard in Port Canaveral and haul it out. Dave hopes to be in the yard for about 10 days. He has a finite list of things to do, and has a couple of friends lined up to help in the yard on projects that require 2 people to do them, as I'm still working.

After the haulout, the next major project is the watermaker. Dave says he has all the parts for it, except the membranes. He will buy them just before he commissions the watermaker.

We have slipped the target departure date from 'April Fools Day' until mid-April. This is mainly because, to fix my broken oven in the condo, we've decided to do a $15,000 renovation project. There is no 'drop in' replacement for my oven, so that means cabinet work, and the 25 year old cabinets in my kitchen look like they're 25 years old, and one thing led to another and here we are...

My brother Jimmy is a renovation contractor, and he's giving us the deal of a lifetime so we can't pass it up. He is sending a crew of 3-4 guys and a trailer down from his home base in St. Augustine, and promises to be done in a week. We'll see. We are allowing another week to put the finishing touches (and the carpet) on. We acknowledge this is a very ambitious schedule, but we're trying really hard to make it happen.

We've already had 2 marine flea markets so we are whittling down the duplicate boat stuff. The 'get rid of' pile in my living room is getting pretty small (having been replaced by the 'load on the boat' pile.

The next big thing is a house garage sale. But first I have to figure out the rental plan for my house... so we know whether the furniture has to go too. I am currently going down a list of friends who have expressed an interest in living in my convenient waterfront-with-a-dock condo, looking for a commitment to live here, share the expenses, and handle my mail.


Monday, November 20, 2006
The SSCA Gam is over with for another year (last weekend). We had a great time especially with the CSY Breakfast at MeMaws BBQ on Sunday (see photo). I particularly enjoyed meeting all of Dave's rabid CSY friends. It's a great group and I'm proud to be a 'member'.

We sold a lot of "stuff" at the flea market on Saturday--we got rid of everything major except the outboard motor. And I'm sure we'll find a loving home for it, too, eventually.

My 'Options for Cruising Websites' roundtable was very well received. And we in turn got some good info from several of the seminars we went to... especially the Heavy Weather Sailing presentation by Beth Leonard.

I entered a drawing with the 'Kids Aboard' people (a raffle to raise money for their projects). I specifically entered to win a 'Master's Upgrade' class from Sea School. And I won! I have registered for a class in mid-December to upgrade my 6-pack license to a 100 Ton Masters license.

There were a few unexpected people I saw at the Gam... friends I have lost touch with in the last 2-3 years, so it was very good to see them and re-establish contact. Some, like Mary and Christian from IWANDA, I am amazed to do the math and find out I've known them now for 13 years!! (since our first SSCA rendezvous in Maine in '93).

Everyone I ran into is thrilled to hear my news that I'm going cruising again. (yippee!) And, of course Dave's friends are thrilled for him too... (I heard "what a great match" a few times over the weekend). And Dave and I are still smiling at each other like silly teenagers.


Sunday, October 22, 2006
Progress this week: 3 outboards, 4 closets and (maybe) the autopilot.

Dave enlisted our friend Wes Whitley's electronic expertise and Wes thinks he may have solved the CPT autopilot 'runaway left' problem. We also received the new relays in the mail Saturday, so we'll put them in too, and maybe, just maybe, the darned thing will work reliably.

After last weekend's cruise, Dave has done maintenance on all 3 outboard motors... the old 15hp is ready to sell. The 'new' 15hp, which we found to not work at high speed, has had the fuel system cleaned and it's working well now. The 5hp, our 'close around the harbor' motor just needed some TLC.

The closets... ugh. Dave made me promise to stay home this weekend and 'clean out the closets'. I have done 4 of them. The 'sell at the flea market' pile is getting so big we can hardly get around in the living room any more. We took a lot of stuff out to the trash. More stuff is in my car to donate to the MYC Junior Sailing Progam. I have a box for my ex-husband Lenny. So progress is being made (but it sure woulda been a great weekend to sail in the MYC Small Boat Regatta).


Wednesday, October 11, 2006
This post is specifically for my cousin Bryan, who's been complaining that we haven't posted in some time.

Well the truth is, we've been REALLY BUSY.

Between all the social and sailing events that Sherry is involved in, and the work on the boat, there's not been much time to spend on the computer. And, of course, getting Soggy Paws ready for our April 1 departure is my first priority.

Some of the boat things we've accomplished this month... retrieved the spare engine head from someone I loaned it to this summer and sent it off to get the crack repaired... pulled off the injectors and injection pump and had them rebuilt... repaired the CPT autopilot... repaired the fishfinder... repaired the old Tohatsu motor (now ready to sell)... removed and overhauled the old Monitor wind vane (now ready to sell).

We found that the canal behind Sherry's condo gets a little shallow at times. Soggy Paws was hard aground for awhile. The water levels here in the Indian River estuary are not generally tide based, but more related to what the wind and rainfall are doing. With a change in the wind direction last weekend, the water level came back up again, and she finally floated free. I have now rigged a 2x4 as a gentle pusher to help keep her far enough off the dock to stay in the deeper water toward the center of the canal.

The weather's cooling off here in Central Florida... it's actually almost Fall-like here. We're going to take a weekend off from boat and house chores and racing events and actually go cruising this weekend. We're headed out for a 2 day cruise to 'Boy Scout Island' with the East Coast Sailing Association. (actually, the primary purpose is to check out the repairs to the autopilot, fishfinder, outboard motor, and to do a little bottom scrubbing before the weather gets too cold).


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Well, we made it to Sherry's dock in Satellite Beach.

The weather for the trip was pretty good, though the winds were too light for much sailing. We stopped the first night behind Rodriguez Key (off southern Key Largo). The auto pilot was acting up again and Dave wanted to rig his wind vane/tiller pilot arrangement.

We finally got away about 11am on Wednesday 9/6, and planned to go all the way to Port Canaveral.

It was a mostly uneventful trip... motorsailing the whole way in mostly mild conditions. There was a nice full moon for most of the night (except for Sherry's watch, in which she spent the whole watch with the radar on dodging thunderstorms). The Gulfstream gave us a 2-3 knot boost... giving us many hours of 9-10kt ground speed, according to the GPS.

By early Thursday morning we were off Ft. Pierce still doing about 9.5 kts. Sherry was on watch with a beautiful sunrise, with thunderstorms out on the Gulfstream.

As soon as we turned NW for Port Canaveral (at Ft. Pierce) we lost the current and our speed dropped down to 5-6 Kt.

We finally made the outer bouy at Port Canaveral at 3:30pm on Thursday. We were eagerly anticipating anchor down soon after, but then remembered that the 401 Highway bridge into the Banana River was closed from 3:30 to 5:15 (due to evening rush hour traffic). So we stopped at Cape Marina to top off fuel and so Dave could get a look at the haulout facility there.

We were able to get quickly thru the bridge and the lock and get our anchor down finally at about 6pm, with a huge big black thundercloud looming to the west. We set the anchor firmly in anticipation of high winds, and were 'rewarded' when 10 minutes later we were blasted with gusts to 40 knots. (the anchor held fine, and we had a nice shower, dinner, and off to bed).

On Friday, Jim and Nancy came up to meet us in Jim's ski boat, to make the trip down the river and under the bridges. We managed to get Soggy Paws under all 3 bridges... with about 12" to spare on the lowest bridge.

The final step was to get Soggy Paws alongside Sherry's dock behind her condo. It was no problem up to the last 5 feet... we already knew it was a little too shallow to get SP alongside. For now we have put a ladder across as a temporary gangplank--we'll work out a better solution soon.

Today was spent watching the Space Shuttle launch, exploring Patrick Air Force Base facilities, retrieving the cats from the cat sitter (Thanks Rochelle!) and a little grocery shopping.


Sunday, August 20, 2006
Dave is retired (again)!
Dave called tonight and declared himself officially retired. It has been a good summer, but he's glad his Sea Base days are over... and is really looking forward to having the time to get Soggy Paws ready for new adventures.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Dave sets out on his last Sea Base cruise today. He is very happy this is his last.

After this trip is finished, he plans to move to a mooring in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, for about 10 days.

We are anxiously watching the tropics... keeping an eye on those 'fireballs' that Africa keeps throwing off towards us. Fortunately nothing major is developing yet.

Plans are well underway to move Soggy Paws to Sherry's dock in Satellite Beach (near Melbourne, Florida) the first week in September. Then we'll start 'serious prep' for a departure April 1-ish.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Testing Email Publishing
My first attempt at publishing to my blog via email.
Isn't this cool! (and a simple way to keep a cruising log).


Monday, August 07, 2006
Posting to my own website!
Wow, I am so psyched! I just figured out how to post my blog to my real website. This is very cool. This means I can email log updates from mid-ocean when we are cruising.


Thursday, July 27, 2006
First blog ever!
This is my first blog. Just trying out the blog scene. This could be a really good way to post cruising information. Here is the boat I'll be cruising on, Soggy Paws. Soggy Paws is a CSY 44 Walkthru model.


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