Relaxing in Corpus Christi – Finally!

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Man, being retired is a lot of work.

Since our going away party, we have had a huge garage sale, given a lot of things to Cory and Christy, packed up the remainder, sold the house, and moved on board our boat.  That took a lot less effort to type than to accomplish.

For those that are interested, I did not get my TR6 completely reassembled, but I got close.  I actually DROVE it to some dear friends’ house (Chris and Mark Jameson) to store it until we return in May.  It was great to actually drive the car again!

After leaving Fort Worth and arriving at our boat and new home, we spent a few days getting her ready for a trip down the Texas coast.  We sailed about 200 nautical miles in an overnight passage to Port Aransas, Texas where we met up with Bob, Julie, Ed, and Cindy for a rendezvous.  They had sailed down on Saturday, the day after we got to our boat.  Since we had things to do to get ready, they got there several days before us.  We hung out for a couple days until they had to return for work.  Laura and I then brought the boat on over to Corpus Christi, which is about a 3-1/2 hour sail due west.

The Corpus Christi Marina is very nice.  Good security on the docks, great bathhouse, free wi-fi in the club lounge (where I am sitting in air-conditioned comfort), and located right downtown.  We walked to the cathedral this morning for Mass, which was really nice.  The traditional choir was very impressive, and the pipe organ really filled the cathedral with sound.  The cathedral is beautiful.

The weather is a little unsettled right now, so we plan to stay here for several days.  We will see some of the sights in Corpus Christi, probably visit the USS Lexington aircraft carrier, and try to relax and enjoy ourselves.  While I am sitting here in air conditioned comfort, Laura is on deck doing some sewing repair on the mainsail.  Then she will do some boat cleaning and then start cooking dinner.  There are always things that need to be done!  Did I mention I am sitting here in air conditioned comfort?

Steve (Sunday April 27)

Going Away Party – A lot of fun, but a lot of goodbyes to friends

On April 5 we had our going away party in Aledo.  We had somewhere over 70 people and we had so much fun visiting with friends.  Despite our efforts, some friends could not bear to come without bearing gifts.  Judie and Sheila brought very cute decorated volleyballs (Wilson and Wilsonette) for us to talk to while at sea.  Sheila also brought a very nice bottle of Texas whiskey distilled in Fort Worth that I plan on sampling as soon as Lent is over. Gary brought a really nice bottle of scotch, the Williams’s brought a blessing for the boat, and Jim and Elizabeth a bottle of champagne.  The Sheridans brought us pets for the boat (sea monkeys!).  Tom Moore brought a bracelet with WWTD written on it (What Would Tom DO!!!).  The Speers also brought a nice bottle of wine.  Someone else brought wine, but we missed writing it down, so we owe that person an apology.

Cliff Valentine gave us a very special gift – he wrote a song for us titled “Let’s Sail Away Together”.  I have uploaded it to YouTube, and the link is here http://youtu.be/NzYhD49Q6C0.  And yes, I’m wearing a captain’s hat my brother David bought me for Christmas a few years back.

Our daughter Christy recorded this on her iPhone.  She and everyone else there was so surprised that I was actually singing that she missed the first few seconds while getting her phone out.  Ken Mican played bass and Edmund Gutierez played drums.  Thank goodness Cliff sings so well that he covered for me.  We were very touched with the song and them playing it for us.

The party was so much fun!  Lots of friends and neighbors that we are going to miss!

Steve (April 13, 2014)

About Us

Steve and Laura Brown were married in 1979 and have been enjoying life together ever since.  We took a one year sabbatical in 1997 to cruise the Caribbean on our Moody 40, Orontes.  Our children, then 14 and 4, cruised with us, of course.  Cory completed his sophomore year of high school on board, while Christy mastered crayons, playing with dolls, and eating mangos without losing too much of the juice.

We began sailing a long time ago on much smaller boats on inland lakes.  Steve learned the basics while in Scouts, and then learned a lot while on a one-week cruise to the Florida Keys on an ASA instructor’s boat, a beautiful Mason 48.  Having Captain Jay explain and demonstrate proper ways to stow lines, set sails, anchor, go aground (!), etc. was invaluable.  This was our first experience on a large boat and went a long way towards giving us experience we would need later.

We both took courses from the US Power Squadron, which we heartily recommend.  Laura completed through Piloting, while Steve completed through Advanced Piloting.  These courses gave us the knowledge we needed to plot courses and safely follow them.

All the book learning was great, but time on the water is where you really learn how to handle your boat.  During our one year cruise, we went from Texas to St. Lucia, stopping at a lot of beautiful places along the way.  Although neither of us are real history buffs it was very interesting to visit the old forts and scenes of sea battles between the English and French as they battled for supremacy of the Caribbean.

We bought Orontes 2, our present boat, in La Paz, Mexico.  We took several trips there to work on her and get her ready for the long trip to Texas.  Finally, we arranged to hire a captain and crew to bring her to Panama, where we would meet them and bring her the rest of the way home.  This didn’t work out as planned, and the delivery crew only made it as far as Ixtapa, Mexico before breaking down with transmission and prop shaft problems.  Laura, Cory, and Steve flew down, sorted out the problems, and prepared for the trip the rest of the way to Panama.  Laura flew home, Larry Mask, (a great friend!) flew down, and Steve, Cory, and Larry brought her to Panama.

Larry had to get back to work, so Laura and another great friend, Adam Gouge, flew down to take her through the canal.  After passing through the canal, Laura flew home, and Cory, Steve, and Adam sailed her from Panama to Isla Muerjes, Mexico.  After a great week-long stay, Adam had to leave and two more great friends, Griff Finkenaur and Mike Dempsey, flew in for the last leg across the Gulf of Mexico to Texas.

The delivery home gave us plenty of time to see how the boat performed at sea, and where some improvements may be made.  In short, Grahamme Shannon and Robert Perry did a fantastic job on the initial design and she sails like a dream.  I have another post on the boat description so I won’t repeat myself here.

Today, Laura and Steve are retired from our careers as a Physician Assistant and Electrical Engineer, respectively.  We have sold our house and moved aboard and are living the dream.  We left Texas in March 2015 to start cruising and are in the Mediterranean all of 2016.  Plans from now on are a bit fuzzy, but we will be in the Med for a while and then sail back across the Atlantic to spend a couple of years in the Caribbean.  We’ll update everyone when we start to finalize these plans.

 

Upgrades and Projects

I’m not sure how much room for data I have on this site, this topic could take a long time…..

Anyone who has outfitted a boat for full-time cruising realizes what a job this is.  Our boat was very well constructed and has tons of storage space.  That’s literal.  I am absolutely convinced I can stow over 4000 pounds of stores, parts, tools, personal belongings, etc. in the huge lockers we have.  The only problem we have is that we STILL have more stuff than storage space.  When we sold the house, we kept thinking of all that nice space onboard a 49 foot boat, and how we wanted to keep whatever it was we were looking at at the time.  The result is, we kept too much stuff.

So we are still winnowing our possessions, and stowing things in places we hope to remember so we can find them some day.

Orontes 2 came with a huge locker amidships that housed a combination washer/dryer.  The unit did not work, so we removed it to free up a great area for storage.  Steve is currently adding drawers for food and tool storage in this area.

I’ll come back to this and update it later.  Right now it’s time to get back to work!

Steve