Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Au Naturel

Harnessing the wind for natural air conditioning

One of the big changes of our new life aboard Me Voy is the lack of air conditioning. We have used air conditioning aboard Tara, and often looked out from our cool bubble and wondered how people live without a.c. especially during the heat waves that sometimes descend on our city. Its one thing if you're bobbing at anchor somewhere surrounded by beautiful water you can jump into to cool off, and quite another when you're in a marina with no shade anywhere, surrounded by the filthy water of a busy harbor. The latter is where we find ourselves today.

We already don't like this new marina very much, but when it gets hot its doubly miserable. The long docks seems even longer and even Chopper doesn't want to go for a walk in this concrete jungle.  We are leaving here today to go to our old marina, which in comparison seems like an oasis of trees, and swimming holes. I wish we could anchor somewhere secluded and enjoy some quality swimming and chilling time, but the lack of a proper dinghy weighs heavily on our plans.

We have a couple of showings scheduled this weekend aboard Tara, and so the work also never seems to end. There is more painting and sprucing to do , so I suppose even if we did have all the necessary ingredients, the recipe for a getaway would have to wait.

What I wanted to talk about however was air conditioning. We have shade on deck thanks to the boomfly I made at work, and that works wonders for lowering the inside temperature. And of course we have fans, but neither of those is a miracle. Some sailors have the carry on type of a.c that we have considered. The problem with it is where to keep it when its not in use. Its big, bulky and ugly, and can only be used in a marina, or with a generator. So the question becomes, is it worth it. Have we just gotten soft and whiny, trained to accept only the most perfect of conditions? Or is it stupid to make your life harder then it has to be?

I keep thinking about this new life in terms of gain vs. loss. What am I willing to give up vs. what do I gain for giving it up.  Taking the a.c example, I have given up the comfort of chilly air in the heat of the day, for the independence of living off the grid. We are currently charging batteries with 2 135w solar panels that are temporarily installed on the deck, and running our fridge, lights and computers on sunshine. To me that feels good. Better then a cold room? For me, yes. Somehow it makes life more real.
I'm not into creating suffering, but the chase for comfort and ease has gotten us to where we are today, fat and lazy, with a sense of entitlement. No no I'm not a Republican (not a Democrat either)!  My  editing fuse is a bit fried from all this heat, and I have a little river of sweat dripping down my back. This is no time to be diplomatic.

We have a few days of heat to experience this natural living, as the temps are only going to climb in the next four days. Lots of cold showers, and baths for all of us, and hopefully a day of doing nothing but hosing ourselves on deck and laying around in the shade of the boomfly. I'll also be monitoring the gain vs. loss meter and keep you posted.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

War of 1812 on Friday

Awsome teak cleaner, works great and is environmentally friendly!
Seems like everyone had one thing in mind yesterday morning, cleaning....

Well maybe not everyone...

After Me Voy eas shiny and preperations were made for Saturday, we took a dinghy ride into the Inner Harbor, where we felt very very small.

Our battery didn't charge fully and we were left to row our way back. Since I am the stronger rower, I took the oars, and got heckled the whole way home with remarks like " Hey he should be doing that!" And here I thought we were living in a post-sexist society!

 On the Billy front, he's being very mellow. In fact he spent most of the day snoozing under the nav. station with Chopper not far behind him in the napping .

Today... friends, airshow, food, drink, and general debauchery. Let the festivities begin!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

War of 1812 on Thursday

Historical vessels from all over the country are coming to Baltimore and some of them are our new neighbors.

It has already begun! The big "Sailabration", a  huge event, in honor of the 200 year anniversary of the War of 1812 which inspired the US national anthem, is is already underway and its only Thurs.

Normally we tend to shun these big events, but Me Voy seems to be a party girl, and she brought us smack into the middle of all the hoopla. So here we are, at Anchorage Marina, in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, where 200 years ago Francis Scott Key bobbed on a boat 300 yards away and wrote a poem while watching the defense/attack of Fort McHenry, here in Baltimore. This poem would later become the US national anthem. Right now Blue Angles have already begun their practice flights, and Billy is already disapproving of this whole noisy thing. You just wait Buddy. You're really going to hate this weekend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TARA (Tuttare Ture Svaha)


Your name means "star" or "she who ferries". You are the compassionate mother of the Buddhists, and a sea fairing Goddess of the Polynesians. You are a Star Goddess of the Hindus and your celestial ties make you the perfect name sake for this "Constellation". May you guide and protect this vessel and all who dwell here...AUM

Tell your friends...TARA is now officially for sale. You can see all the specs at  If anyone out there has a favorite place to shop for boats, or tips on selling a boat, now is the time to share.

For those who have been with us on this journey a sincere thank you! Even though we are strangers here, your kind words have encouraged us in times of boat-fatigue and bouyed us to keep going. We are not ending the blog, and there is much more boat fatigue to come. So keep your comments coming, we enjoy every one of them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Billy Sets Sail

Back and forth we ride, transiting betwen our old marina where Tara is and our new marina in the Inner Harbor. Its a great set up that is getting everyone used to the boat moving, the motor running and docking without too much of a fuss. In fact we are having so much fun with MeVoy, that the sting of leaving TARA is nearly forgotten.

A big milestone for us was to sail as a family. We planned on a short trip in light winds to test Billy's sea legs. We strapped and bungeed everything and set off with our Genoa hanked on.

Notice the two bikes on board. We were wondering if they would clear the sheets but decided they probably would and left the dock. Billy who has gotten pretty used to the motor made himself  comfortable in the crew bunks and napped. Everything was going well.

It was about our second tack that things went badly. The sheets of the Genoa got caught on T's bike rack and lifted the bike high into the air. I was at the helm and seeing the bike dangling from the sail sheet, I felt my brain tick tocking at this new development. Somehow, perhaps I'm a natural after all, or perhaps T's yelling"turn into the wind!" as he wrangled the hanging bike, made me turn the wheel into the wind, which let off the pressure of the sail and set the bike on deck.

You would think, that after taking one bike down the companionway and into the crew berth, where Billy was no longer napping, we would immediately take the other bike down as well. No. We continued to sail along, until the next tack where my bike got tangled in the sheets, lifted into the air and the whole thing was repeated again this time with T at the helm, and me draggin the bike below. So far this was not the uneventful sailing adventure I had hoped for Billy.

one bike...
...two bikes
We continued to sail in a wind that filled our Genoa (the biggest sail on board) with enough power to cruise between 5-7 knots. We raced a Beneteu and left him far behind us.

 Even though I know very little about sailing, I can tell that MeVoy loves being a boat. The designers Holman and Pye, designed her for circumnavigation, and despite being so beamy and roomy she just flies thru the water. Being a cutter, we also have many sail options. The above picture is when we were flying the Genoa and the mainsail and the rig was perfectly balanced, which meant the boat stayed on course without anyone holding the wheel.

I kept checking in on Billy who seemed mildly displeased with this whole sailing thing.  He dug his way from under the bikes and laid under the table in the salon. A pretty good spot. All in all, he only pooped three times to voice his displeasure, and the third one was tiny. I think the old lady with the window (our plan B for Billy) will have to wait still.

The way back to the old marina was much calmer. Downwind all the way, with coffee and goose wings.
A pretty sweet way to spend the day!