We like Sarasota. We feel comfortable here. We know our way around. It’s a pretty cool place. Actually it’s been a pretty warm place with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid eighties. That certainly works for us!
We've been pretty busy, too. There is surprisingly a lot to do when one leaves their boat for any length of time. There is a lot of cleaning to be done and when you look at some object your mind instantly runs its image through an internal filter that categorizes something as to whether it stays on the boat or makes the trip home.
We have also spent a lot of time thinking about work that needs to be done on the boat during our absence. We have decided that we are going to have the exterior of the boat detailed. The marina has highly recommended a guy that does a lot of work in the marina. He came by the boat and gave us a quote that is that kind of dollar amount that drives you crazy – it’s not so high as to immediately dismiss it as unreasonable but you would like it to be less and you don’t really know if it’s too high, just right or an incredible bargain. It was never in our budget but we both think that it’s a good idea. The exterior of the boat is not shabby looking by any means but it needs treatment now so that it will not become a problem later on. So we’re going ahead with it. This does mean though that some other projects of the would-like-to variety (in contrast to the must-do variety) will be deferred. These include new carpeting in the salon and aft-cabin, new linoleum flooring in the galley, new custom bench cushions also in the galley and new canvas on the sun deck and fly bridge canopies.
The other area that we are looking at is our dinghy situation. We would like to anchor out more the next time around the loop and do more exploring but our dinghy makes that a bit difficult. Our dinghy, a Walker Bay poly resin rigid dinghy, is best described as an eight foot long rowboat. It’s not terribly heavy but it is very awkward to handle when deploying it or stowing back on the boat. This is because we do not have a davit (wench, crane) to help us. We have to literally pick it up out of the water and heave it up over the rail and onto the deck. The thought of having to do this has been a de-motivator to us. So we have become determined to find a solution.
The dinghy itself tends to be a bit unstable in the water. It’s very roll-y and that is unpleasant at best and unsafe at worst. We don’t want to buy an inflatable dinghy as we already own this one and we never have been convinced that an inflatable dinghy is that much better. Our dinghy does have its virtues though. It does hold a ton of stuff and it’s a good boat underway with a bit of a keel that keeps it steady on the direction it gets pointed into. The solution we are going with is a retrofit inflatable collar that Walker Bay sells. By all accounts this adds a great deal of stability to the boat. We like that. And it is at a price point that makes it doable. The other challenge is making it so we can deploy and retrieve it off the back of Why Knot more easily. We don’t want to add davits to the boat – they’re very expensive and would likely mean we would have to add a swim platform to Why Knot upping the price tag of the project a whole bunch. I found an interesting product that looks like it could do the trick. It is basically a big net that attaches to the transom of the boat on the rails that wraps around the bottom of the dinghy, lifts it up and secures it to the transom. Not bad. The reviews of the products have generally been positive. This then got me to thinking of how I might be able to accomplish the same thing with some strapping and pulleys without buying the net product. I am still rolling that through my mind, but I think we are well on our way to making our dinghy more user-friendly which will add to our enjoyment of anchoring out.
Of course there is shopping to be done. Our dvd player crapped out so we had to buy a replacement for that. Lisa has put together lists of things to get so we have been spending at least three to four hours every day running up and down Hwy. 41, which is a major north/south thoroughfare, stopping at a variety of stores picking up everything from crochet hooks to area rugs.
Our rental car for here around town is a Ford Escape crossover. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I don’t have to high opinion about it. It drives fine and all that but it the most damned uncomfortable car to sit in that I have experienced in a long time. I’m just saying.
So Wednesday is upon us. I am going to do the routine maintenance on the engine this morning. Lisa always has something to do. And I am sure there is some kind of shopping on the agenda. Ross and Laura on the Zone are going to make their way down here sometime today if the weather allows. It’s supposed to be clear but very windy as a cold front approaches. (Good-bye 80 degree temperatures) The seas, of greatest importance being the open waters of Tampa Bay, are predicted to be choppy. I would think going across Tampa Bay today is going to be a bit rough.
Postscript – It has turned out to be a very windy day indeed! I measured the wind on our bow and it is sustained at around 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots…and the NWS says the winds will increase as the day progresses. The Manatee River is very choppy and we can easily imagine Tampa Bay being very rough. Ross and Laura decided to stay put for another day – a very good idea. I am putting off doing engine maintenance until tomorrow as the boat is rocking pretty good. Lisa and I have started packing our stuff for the trip home.