Sorry for the long delay in getting my next post up, all will be explained. Lets start with the planned 3 to 4 day trip that Rich and I took.
Thursday after spending the better part of the morning getting gear ready and moving it onboard BeBop we slipped the lines about 2pm and started the 2 hour trek down the intercoastal waterway to the gulf with the tide. The wind was blowing a nice, 15 knots or so. No big deal and it was decided if the Gulf looked too ruff to go out we would just anchor behind Shell Island hang out with the live aboards there and check things out in the morning. As it turned out the Gulf looked real nice (waves under a foot) so I decided to head out anyway.
It took another hour to clear the last channel marker and we started heading NW about 5pm. Here's a picture of it. If you look close you can see the last channel markers, engine in the up position and Half Note being towed while we are making about 3.8 knots. She was a little close and about 15 minutes after this was taken we let some more tow line out.
Before I forget here is a nifty idea for mounting your depth sounder if you don't want to cut a hole in your bulkhead. It's a mini washboard that I made out of spare lexan. ^_^ If you ever buy more instruments it can be modified to add them easily too. Store when not needed. Ok getting back on track...
As the afternoon turned into evening and the sun began to set, the seas and wind were picking up. The plan was to get 20 or 30 miles offshore then come in the next day pretending that we had to find the pass (Hurricane Pass) out of sight of land but during daylight. Well, as the wind picked up around 20 knots or so and the seas built to 5 feet after dark, I decided to take a more northerly course that would parallel the coast between 8 and 10 miles....far enough that you can see taller buildings but not the beach and should make for a better night as the weather report was 7+ foot seas. Nothing BeBop can't handle but why beat yourself up right? So I reefed down the main while the deck was easy to see just to be safer. Still banged my wrist pretty good though.
About this point Rich is getting very very sea sick. Like here's the bucket and go lie down sea sick. Effectively from this point on in the story assume I'm singlehanding unless I mention otherwise cause he's lying down and throwing up every hour or two. I was fine, even took time out to make some ramen with the autopilot holding course.
Another hour and the winds picked up a little more now to about 25knots and time to reef down the big 150 to working jib size. This is how I ran for the next 6 hours, under reefed main and jib in 5 foot seas. Little Half Note was bouncing around behind us but hanged tuff without issue. Should of put her on deck before we left but I wanted to make the tide. Lesson learned. So with food in me, Rich being sick down below and not much to look at with no other boats being around at night, I myself curled up in the cockpit horizontal to the companionway and cat napped for a couple hours getting up every 15mins or so and taking a look around. I felt totally safe the entire time (I did have my vest on with a line attached to the boat) and very little water was coming into the cockpit over the bow thanks in large part to her design and the dodger. The GPS said we were making great time (for a Nomad) doing about 4 knots on a beam reach.
Around 3am we had made a lot more northerly progress than I had planned on because we didn't go as far offshore as I wanted to. So with Rich still very very seasick, I made the decision to make for Hurricane Pass in the dark. This wasn't done lightly as the pass is not lit at night and is very narrow. Leave the pass, smack a sandbar on one side the beach on the other. The pass runs that close to shore. Easy right? Well I booted up the laptop to use since it had the charts on it, furled the jib, doused the main (banging my wrist some more on a now bucking deck) and headed straight into the wind under engine power making 5 knots for the pass at full throttle. Remember the part in the movie "The Hunt for Red October" where they went though that underwater pass? That's what was going on in my head since you really really don't wanna miss this channel. I got lucky and the charts were accurate and we got in safely. (good thing as I can't see well at night) As we made the pass and boat quit rocking around Rich the zombie turned back into Rich the sailor and was able to help me drop anchor just off the channel in about 4 feet of water. There we went to sleep until about 9am.
After some needed sleep and morning coffee we upped anchor and got underway. With Rich still not doing so great, it was either go through drawbridge after drawbridge down the intercoastal back to port or go back into the Gulf with it being faster. I chose the Gulf but we stayed a lot closer to shore since the seas would be better. Rich still found that too much to take and ended up lying down for the entire trip until we got back into the intercoastal again, poor guy. Going back the wind all but died and I basically motored all the way back to port with not enough wind to move BeBop at more than a knot.
Now, for the not so great stuff.
Lets start with Rich, who had his own plans to buy a boat and go sailing. Well, 3 times out 3 times seasick each time in nothing more than one foot seas and he's calling it quits. Didn't used to be that way but he's got medical problems that seem to be the issue. He used to go offshore with his family and their boat all the time a couple of years back. Crazy guy once took a Hobie 16 into the Gulf during 10 foot seas cause he wanted to go sailing so bad. I know the details of his medical issues and I can't blame him. I'd do the same.
Now for me...
This is for all intents and purposes the end of what's become known to everybody simply as the "BeBop Project."
I've been depressed about it for the past two weeks and not just my normal melancholy with the pointless of life and everything.
It's a devastating realization after having two years of unusual clarity as to the direction I wanted my life to go.
The last two times I took BeBop out, the boat was a lot tuffer than I was. In fact is tuffer than me by a good margin. For my long time readers you will probably recall about every other entry I ended it about being in pain of some sort or another. Neck, Wrist etc. I never gave it much thought cause after working on BeBop I could clean up, walk into the house, pour drink after drink until the pain went away. Not a option when your bouncing around offshore, your stuck with it day after day and perhaps in my excitement to get her finished and floating it never crossed my mind. It did for my friend Brolly (who has seen my xrays) but I wouldn't hear of it and pushed on with the project being excited about it.
It's like this. I have this love affair with motorcycles and I've wrecked 3 of them because of it. The last one nearly killed me and the thought crossed my mind as I left the road and went 300 feet down the cliff that I was a dead man. I woke in the ER with two broken wrists, a shoulder, knee, nose, a concussion, 5 broken teeth that had to be extracted and neck and back trauma even though I had full gear on. I thought I would recover just like I would from the first two accidents but would take a little bit longer. 1 year on disability, pins in my wrists and daily pain told me otherwise. 4 years later it's still something I deal with. What you don't know is for the past 2 years whenever I'm in front of a computer I wear a brace on my right wrist. More recently it's gotten worse and I wear it about half the time now no matter what I do. Doctors say the pins looks great and the pain and loss of motion is just something I have to deal with.
But I have to be honest with myself, it's not something I can push through everyday for the years it takes to sail a small boat around the world. You can't just pull over and stop like you can during a road trip if things get bad.
I waited too long to live the dream and it's passed me up. I should of done it years ago like I wanted, but I was too stupid to realize you didn't need a million bucks with a new boat with the XYZ wonder part complete with kung fu grip. Heh, I try and be funny and to pick up my mood but it falls flat doesn't it? As they say it's "not the years, it's the mileage."
Now, BeBop is complete, best I could make her, with all the heart I have. Best Nomad in all of north america if I say so myself. Ready for the trip around the world. But sadly her Captain isn't.
I can't afford the crazy costs associated with keeping a boat in a slip for a long time. Perhaps if I could afford the $1,000 a month for 10 minute gulf access I would keep her but obviously I can't. So much as it breaks my heart, I'm listing her up for sale, effective immediately for $9,500. Complete with all her gear, the nesting dinghy half note, solar panels etc...all of it ready to take someone on a dream trip.
Perhaps after I lift my chin back up and feel like facing the world again I'll build a little boat to play with, a Birdwatcher II or something that I can put in and out of the water easily on a trailer. But not for now, it would be too painful. If your interested in taking over where I left off, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org She's so ready all you'd have to do is show up with your personal effects, food and leave. Makes me sick to my stomach, but I've had two weeks to think about it.
Now for some thank you's.....
Rich, I couldn't of done it without your help. Sanding on the hull, helping install the ports, figuring out the wiring issues and providing motivation on those days when things weren't going right. You set new standards to what friendship means.
Hawkeye, for all the wisdom you gave me, for being so funny, how to do things on a sailboat, and the gear you gave me to outfit BeBop with. It's staying with her where ever she might roam.
Brolly, for taking time off from work to help put her in the water, putting up the mast and taking her to port the first time
Geert, from Belgium for being a funny guy and another Nomad owner just beginning his refit, I'll be happy to give any advice I can to you..all you need do is ask.
Gator, just fun talking to you back and forth via email this past year and allowing me to bounce ideas off you. I'm sure you'll go far with whatever boat you end up buying. Still like to meet you in person one day.
Everybody else, and there are a lot of you, I would like to say thank you. Thanks to the gentleman who gave a small donation, thanks to the guy from Brazil just for saying hi, the woman in the cubicle for taking time out of her life to read my website. All of you, you know who you are, Thank you and I'm sorry that I find myself unable to continue.
As for the website, I plan on keeping it up for now working on the assumption it doesn't get slammed with negative comments. I feel it would be a nice pool of knowledge to pull from about how to refit a boat on the cheap, Nomad or otherwise. I don't consider any of this a waste of time. I learned so much, from knowing nothing about fiberglass to being a expert with the stuff all the way to my writing skills. I look at the early posts and just sorta cringe.
As for me, well....seems since I'm not going anywhere, I'll be looking to cause chaos in the ranks of the corporate slave masters since I'm a computer guy. Something I'm not happy about. But one does what one has to do. I'd rather get a job doing something beneficial to mankind, save the animals or environment or something, but that doesn't seem to pay the bills even if it makes you feel good about yourself. Just living day by day right now, like you, doing the best I can in this matrix of life.
One last picture to share in closing, with tears in my eyes, a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of my tuff little BeBop.
Thank you all, where ever you might be around our small blue world and of course Fair Winds.....