“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


39 and 15

So yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 39.  I didn’t spend it doing anything too exciting.  For the first time in a couple of weeks I spent less than 12 hours in the office.  It’s sad when leaving before 6PM seems like a reward.  I didn’t want to do anything too exciting.  The weather was off and I just wanted to spend some time with my Bride and pup.  I splurged on myself for two things yesterday.  First I started the day with an Iced Redeye from Redeye Roasters; it’s an ice coffee with a shot of their in-house roasted espresso.  Then on the way home I stopped and bought a decent brand cigar (I normally smoke factory seconds that cost less than $1 each, this was a $10 cigar).  It’s funny, before the cruising thing caught hold I wouldn’t think twice about spending $15 on an iced coffee and cigar.  Now they seem like splurges.  I guess my Bride’s influence regarding money is taking hold.  I also will throw a little blame to Stormy, who’s great writing makes the minimalist approach appealing.

When I got back to the boat, I jumped into the dinghy with my pup and cigar.  We had some time to kill before my Bride’s commuter boat got in and I just wanted to relax.  I motored out to Grape Island and then just let the tide carry me back in towards the commuter boat dock.

As I enjoyed my cigar while bobbing with the wake from passing boats I thought about our plan: 15 months.  I have 15 months, give or take a couple of weeks depending on when we actually give notice, more of this.  It doesn’t seem long when you consider we have been dreaming of going cruising for over 12 years every since we first sailed on the Heavenly Days in St. Thomas.  It also doesn’t seem that long when you consider if we wait for retirement, like many do, that would be another 23 and a half years or so.  But as I floated on the current past Webb Park, 15 months seemed like an unimaginable amount of time.  It’s 15 more months of getting up earlier than I want, to go sit in traffic, to sit in a box for 50 to 70 hours per week and deal with contractors, regulators and clients I don’t like.  15 more months of trying to fit my real life into the two days off I hopefully get each week with the occasional vacation time mixed in. I wished we could go now and can’t imagine how I will get through the next 15 months.

Rereading this post it seems like I am bitching.  I guess I am and I should be more grateful that it’s only 15 months away.  I have plenty to do: a nice vacation cruise coming up next week, upgrades to the boat to plan and execute, plenty of things to do with my Bride and Summer, prepare for living aboard during the winter in Boston, etc.  I’ve read that the last 10% of leaving to go cruising is the hardest part.  I guess I am feeling that now.

Oh well.  It’s Friday morning.  The weather looks good this weekend and we should be able to get out sailing and spend the night away from the dock.  The U.S. team has made it to the next round in the World Cup (thanks Tom and Nancy for making me care about this) and that should be a welcome distraction for a little while.

Fair winds



The Painkiller

To start posting about some more fun things (it can’t be all upgrades and repairs) I thought I would add some cocktail recipes.  While this one is tagged in the category “Sundowner” it’s actually more of a “Sunupper”.  The perfect morning drink for having friends over for breakfast before going for a sail.

So this Sunday I made a pitcher of Painkillers.  A great tropical fruity drink that is claimed to have been invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.  My Bride and I were first introduced to this drink on a cruise from St. Thomas to the BVIs shortly after we were married in April of 2002.  Since then we have enjoyed them in many places, including the Soggy Dollar Bar.

Enjoying some Painkillers in the waters of White Bay in front of the Soggy Dollar Bar with some newly acquired friends

Enjoying some Painkillers in the waters of White Bay in front of the Soggy Dollar Bar with some newly acquired friends

But don’t be mistaken by this sweat mix, these can creep up on you very quick.


Our friend Chris after at least 7 Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar

For the ingredients you will need some orange juice, pineapple juice, cream de coconut, rum, nutmeg (fresh, whole nutmeg that you grate yourself is preferred) and ice.  The ratios for the mix are a bit disputed.  Pusser’s Rum, a great rum for making painkillers and staple of the BVIs, claims you put 2 ounces of rum, 4 ounces of pineapple juice, 1 ounce of orange juice and 1 ounce of cream de coconut.  The founder of Pusser’s, Chales Tobias, claims to have stolen this from Daphne Henderson, owner of the Soggy Dollar and inventor of the painkiller.  However I think the 4-1-1 ratio is off.  Others claim a 1-1-1 ratio is correct.  It took me a lot of experimenting to get my ratio down (I know, such tough, unrewarding work) but I think I have it just about perfect.

I prefer to make the non-alcoholic portion of the mix separate from the rum.  I do this in the ratio of 2 parts pineapple juice, 1 part cream de coconut and 2 parts orange juice.  Then you can decide how strong you want to make your painkillers for each person.  My Bride prefers hers with about one and half ounces of rum while I like mine with about 4 ounces of rum.  But to me, rum choice makes a big difference.  My first choice is Pusser’s, but I don’t like this rum for other cocktails so I don’t typically have this one on the boat.  Other good choices include Captain Morgan Black (I only use about 2 ounces of this rum) or Cruzan Spiced Rum.  Once you are mixed, top it off with some nutmeg and you have a perfect cocktail for a warm day on the water.


Two painkillers made to start off Sunday morning this week. These are made with about 1.5 ounces of Cruzan Spiced Rum

Now go sailing!


I took this photo while letting the autopilot steer in light wind with the panorama feature on my iPhone





Reading an article on fellow boater’s/blogger’s page on Sprouting by the Seaside by the Red Thread, inspired me to finish a project that has been on my to-do list and my Bride has been asking me to finish.  Some of my friends know that I am a closet “prepper”.  I really like the idea of being as self-sufficient as possible.  When we had a house I would periodically grow some vegetables.  This is something I grew up with as my dad and grandfather both used to regularly keep vegetable gardens.  When we started spending most of our time during the summer on the boat, I couldn’t continue gardening because we were never home to take care of the garden.  The last couple of years we kept a mint plant on board so I could make mojitos with fresh mint, but that is about it for my recent gardening experience.

Last summer while visiting my dad, I saw this system he had for growing tomatoes on his porch.  It was a very cool, self-contained system called the EarthBox.  My dad had been using it for a couple of years and really liked the way it was set up.

After talking about the EarthBox and how well it worked for him, we decided it could work for growing some vegetables and herbs at the dock and possibly on the boat when we leave to go cruising.  My dad bought me one as a Christmas gift last year.

Last week I found a way to mount the box to the dock so that it wouldn’t blow off in a gale but I could remove it if it was going to really blow.  I added some stainless steal handles to the narrow sides of the box with large fender washers to back the screws so they wouldn’t pull through the sides of the plastic box.  I then mounted another set of the same handles to the dock.  I tied the handles on the box to the ones on the dock using some 330 paracord.  I also mounted a small flower pot that my Bride had kept so she could grow some flowers near the boat but not on because flowers on a boat are bad luck. 

On Saturday we went down to the Hingham Farmers Market, which they do right on the beach every Saturday from May through November.  Picked up some of the world’s best pasture raised beef burgers from River Rock Farms and some vegetable seedlings and herb plants.  We then visited the local box store and got some planting media, flowers and pet grass.  Back to the boat to get strange looks while I carried bags of potting soil up the dock and finish the planting project.


Front row: hot & spicy oregano; chive; mint Back row: jalapeno peppers; sweet yellow peppers

Front row: hot & spicy oregano; chive; mint
Back row: jalapeno peppers; sweet yellow peppers


The grass is pet grass that would could cut and feed to Summer

And since I took these pictures while cooking dinner last night, here is a little life is good as a live aboard pic.  Cooking fresh caught cod with summer squash while watching the sun set behind Smitty.