Thursday, September 21, 2006

Preparation for Departure

Honestly, preparations for departure started eight or nine months ago when we began a serious for the boat which would carry us on an extended cruise. The ‘87 Cal 33 cost us less than a moderate SUV, was very well-maintained by the previous owner, but still required substantial work and expense to prepare. We also purchased an eight-foot dingy and a 2 1/2 hp Mercury outboard. Top speed for the dingy is about 5 1/2 knots (which for sailors doesn’t seem especially slow).
The Cal, named Peregrine, is beamy for its length with surprising space below decks. The draft is only 4’ 8”, which should serve well in he shallow waters of The Bahamas banks. Mary Ann and I will share the forward cabin; Annie has taken the aft berth (with privacy curtain), and Sam has the main salon with pullout double berth. The head is equipped with a hand-held shower, but we carry only 50 gal. of fresh water. Conditions below will require great consideration for, and patience with, the other crew members.
Eight months away from home has required substantial planning. We plan to eat most of our meals on board, so Mary Ann and I have been shopping bargains and stocking up. We’ve already stored several hundred pounds of: canned goods, pasta, rice, juice, cereal, and Diet Pepsi on board. Since we expect to be near stores most of the time, we can restock as we go along, but prices in The Bahamas are reputed to be much higher (perhaps 50% more) than in the States.
Except for various charters in Alaska, Florida, and the Chesapeake, all of our sailing has been in Lake Erie, so this trip represents a radical departure from our comfort zone. I think I now own the cruising guides and chart books we need, but we are sure to encounter new challenges every day. A disquieting fact, but how many chances for adventure do we get.