BeBop Around The World

Even though the trip has been called off, I'm leaving this site up to read for anybody interesting in refitting a boat or sailing in general.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Success! (or BeBop is Born)

Finally after 9 months of refit on the hard BeBop is floating peacefully at her slip. It's been a insane past 7 days and the next 3 are going to be a nail biter too with Hurricane Ernesto bearing down on Tampa Bay where I live. On Friday when I hauled in the storm was tracked 500 miles to the west of here. Go figure eh? We'll see if I still have a boat (and something to write about for that matter) in another 4 days.

Ok where to start...where to start....

Tuesday I was fired from my job of more than 2 years. I guess the best attendance in the dept and best performance record in the department don't mean squat when you refuse to kiss ass to your manager. It's no big deal and I totally saw it coming months ago. Being the contingency planner that you all know me to be.....I planned ahead hehehe. So for those of you still in the world of cubicle slavery, I'm doing just fine without the stress. I say quit and do what you want...It's very liberating. To my former manager whom will no doubt check my blog....Hey man!! Thanks for setting me free. ^_^ I'll still send you photos from all the cool places I travel to...While year after year you are still sitting in a windowless, colorless office working to make somebody else rich instead of enriching your own life.

After getting fired I spent the rest of the week doing the final preparation to launch BeBop. I tried to get Half Note ready for the trip but just didn't have quite enough time, so I decided to launch anyway without a dinghy available if need be. I'd have to swim to shore. Thursday all day was spent rigging up the mast and with Rich's help moving it onto BeBop into it's storage position for transport. I had the S$^& scared outta me too by a lighting strike that hit only one house away and set a palm tree on fire. It was so close that I felt the electricity pass through me. (wow) Lets do some before and after pictures.

Nine months ago the day I bought her.

This past Friday. Lot's of blood, sweat and tears.

The big launch day. You guys are going to have to forgive me now as I don't have nearly the number of photos that I wanted to due to the weather. Lack of a dinghy means no exterior pictures outside the ones taken from her slip. But it's will give me some more pictures to post in the future.

Friday early, Brolly a friend of Rich and I and long time follower of my blog volunteered to help launch BeBop. He came over at about 8:45 am and off we went to N.O.A. by the Gandy Bridge where I scheduled the haul in. At 6 bucks a foot it was cheaper by 50% than what I paid at Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia to get her out. All was going well until they had just lifted BeBop off the trailer and a storm squall hit and left her on the travel lift for 15 minutes until it stopped. Sorry no pictures here..the camera was onboard the boat safe and dry. After hauling in when the rain slowed down to a drizzle we hopped onboard, checked the through hulls and once it was apparent we didn't have any leaks we motored about a mile down the channel and anchored in about 5 feet of water close to shore. There we spend the next 2 hours raising the mast while at anchor, tighting down the standing rigging and setting up the running rigging. Off in the distance we could see the next squall line comming in. We thought that we would have to sit it out inside but it remained calm long enough to get it up.

About noon we upped anchor and got underway via the kicker until we pasted the main channel marker for Tampa Bay and raised the Mainsail. No more than 5 minutes after that the storm squall hit us with 25 knot very gusty winds and lots of rain. The seas were pretty calm for the wind but one accidental jibe later it was apparent that sailing a monohull is way different than the hobie cats I'm used to. Brolly and Rich took turns going down below while I manned the helm. Here is a good picture of Brolly and I in the cockpit during the squall. Notice he's smiling while I'm trying like hell not to have another accidental jibe, run into something, balance the boat, hold a course and adjust the mainsail lol. It was raining very hard and we all got soaking wet. Take a note...foul weather gear is a very important piece of gear to have onboard.

After the squall passed and we could see where we were going again, Rich took the helm for a bit as well as Brolly and we made ok time through Tampa Bay with only one incident of a near accidental grounding. Tampa Bay is pretty big but shallow and even a mile or more from shore it can be less than 2 feet deep so even BeBop can't go into all areas around here. That was a minor scare with misreading the chart and in less than 5 minutes we found deep water again and continued on our way.

Rich at the helm.

Brolly at the bow.

After passing under a secondary span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which had a vertical clearance of 65 feet, we approached the first of two drawbridges that we had to go through on the way to BeBop's slip. On the approach I called on Channel 9 to the bridge tender with no answer twice on the VHF. As I started to do a ring around the rosie maneuver and signal with the horn, I throttled back the outboard to idle speed and it quit running! It was quickly apparent that there was about a 6 knot current dragging us towards the bridge and BeBop's doom. I quickly told Rich to deploy the dansforth on the bow while I tried like hell to get the engine to start again. Rich got the anchor deployed just as we were about to smash into the bridge pilings. As soon as he felt the anchor dig in he started yanking on the anchor rode trying to keep BeBop from hitting. We just caught the outboard which was knocked sideways by the piling. Another inch and the engine and mount would of been gone. Close, too close. It later turned out that my VHF handheld couldn't transmit and the main VHF couldn't receive. The outboard was also later discovered to not idle while in gear. How messed up is all that? Using one radio to transmit and the other to receive we navigated the second drawbridge without incident and arrived at BeBop's new slip about 50 miles, 1 storm, 1 near grounding, 1 near sinking (and heart attack) later. Here is a before and after shot. The first is just before haul out in Georgia 9 months ago.

At her slip Saturday afternoon.

Another shot.

As you can see it's been a rather exicting week here. I'm falling asleep as I'm writing this so I hope it all makes some sense. I'd like to say once again sorry for the lack of pictures like going through a drawbridge etc but me and the crew were just too busy to get to it. No worries there will be plenty of pictures to come in the future.

This about wraps up Phase I of the project. Starting with the next entry I'll be into Phase II which includes getting the trailer sold so I can put something resembling a power grid onboard, learning how to sail a monohull vs a hobie cat and some overnight voyages to get used to her underway and develop some new skills. Stick around. Still plenty to do. Until next time...Fair Winds....


Blogger Geert said...

Congratulations Jammer!!!
Pitty about the weather, but there will be plenty of years of good weather ahead !! ^v^!!
This week I'm going to check on a trailer for TIE. It's a very good price, but I hope that the quality is also perfect 'caus eit was built in 1974...
But I take that you have to transport an old timer in the 'old times' way ... hahahaha ....!!
I'll send you some pics this evening ...
I hope you keep on publishing a while now so we can enjoy your experiences with Bebop here in Belgium also ...

Sail ye !!

yes, yes ... the translation is on it's way ... Been to Normandy this weekend, and I guess all german troops are gone now ...

7:27 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Hey Geert,

Thanks and the weather is weather ya know? (that's what I say now lol) If the trailer doesn't work out you can transport her on a 6x16 dual axel flatbed trailer. That's what I ended up doing.

Saw you have a new entry up on your blog..nice bottom wait that doesn't sound right. ^_^

I've added a link to your site from mine today too...btw the translation for the Dutch challenged would be nice hahaha. Bablefish don't cut it.

Looking forward to seeing the new pictures.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Geert said...

you won't believe it Jammer ....
but those are very close friends of mine ...

even more .... just go to the shop, say : "Hey, it's Geert who sent me ..." and you'll have belgian chocolates for free ...

I'll send Lesly and Ingo a mail they have to contact you ... Otherwise, you won't believe me .... ^v^!!!

The spanish cooking was a big succes !!! Now part two .... ^v^!!!!!

Sail ye !!!

5:35 PM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Hey totally cool, they are in Naples Florida. Still a pretty good road trip for me since I'm in Tampa Bay. I'll certainly have to stop by on the way outta the gulf and say hi. (and gain a few pounds lol) ^_^ Glad to hear the Spanish dinner was a success.

BTW Valerie sent me a email a couple of hours Dutch. No idea what she said lol. Bablefish doesn't do such a great job and Rich's German didn't help much either.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well, well...

Look at you! Congrats on a HUGE step towards the adventures that await. It is the journey only most of us can dream of. While you are out cussing the weather, or a broken stay, perhaps a spilled dinner on the high seas... think of me in my cubicle, selling my soul to the corporate beast. Well done Jammer.

Best of luck!


12:03 AM  
Blogger Geert said...

^v^!!! That mail came from me Jammer ... But you know, after a spaish dinner, sight and focussing isn't that weel anymore, so I couldn't find my gmail-box, so I used Valérie's mail ... ^
I sent this mail to Ingo and Lesly asking them they would contact you (I guess .... lol ....) So hopefully one of these days ...
Wish you lots of fun on 'wet-bebop'n' !!!

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATZ JAMMER! Bebop looks great on the water, she sure is bright with that shiny new paint! Too bad the weather sucked so bad, I hope Ernesto takes it easy on her, I'm sure you are pretty worried about that. But I think Tampa is in the clear. Sounds like you had some scary manuevering out there but it can only get better tho right? Now just get the VHF fixed, get your electrical systems in place and set sail! Nice work telling your manager what's up.. that was funny. Take that Corporate America! Just gives you more time to learn monohull sailing and start your trip right?

Wish you the best of luck, Sloth.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Hawkeye said...

Awesome Jammer. Boats on land are like horses being lifted in slings - it just ain't natural. Bebop looks great in the water.

You guys are all so nautical!! You look so natural sailing along in the bay. Sorry about the radio turning punk on you. Luckily, Rich brought two tin cans and some string so you could communicate.

Talk to you soon and will come to visit.


9:33 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Hey Rayce

Thank you very much! ^_^ I must encourage you to take your own adventure even if it's only on the weekends. Get a little trailer sailer and head out the lake and do some camp sailing if you can't break away for good.

About that corporate beast..they are cold and unforgiving. The machine will chew you up and spit you out with no mercy. Break free, come up with a plan..there are always ways and means of escape. It's just a matter of how bad you want it.

The broken stay part....I certainly hope not....that's enough to wake me up at night in a cold sweat hehe.

Geert, hacking Valeries email account are we? lol. Haven't got anything from Ingo and Lesly yet but I'll let you know if I do. ^_^

9:26 PM  
Blogger Jammer said...


Aye the weather is a non issue now, it rained a bit today and wasn't even windy enough to go sailing here in Saint Pete.

The drawbridge incident was very close...closer than the story Brolly is telling but he was on the bow when the engine hit...I saw it hit. First thing I did Saturday was go out and buy a new VHF radio, install it and test it.

Wish I could give you some more details about what happened in Cubical Slave Land but I don't need to get sued by my former employer. Perhaps if we meet in person one day I can share the whole story.

Aye to having more time to practice...I have much to learn and I admit it...this ain't like launching Hobie Cat's off the beach. Hoping to get some decent weather and head out into the gulf for the first time Friday or Saturday. Arrrrrr Matey!!


Thanks man, and no worries about that radio, nothing lost or gained. Let me know when you and Donny wanna come up and see BeBop in person. Love to get your experienced eyes to look things over and make sure I mounted the outboard on the right end hehehe ^_^

9:41 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Nice work!

This is the post we have all been waiting for. If you ever have BeBop tied up on the west coast, I definitely need to come down and take a look!
Congrats on a job well done.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Thank you Ted, if I get to the west coast, I'll be happy to show you around BeBop. ^_^


11:32 PM  
Anonymous Alex Rooker said...

Great adventure on a small boat.

Do you have a passion for dockside happy hour places? If so, please post some reviews at We are developing a web based travel guide for boaters to share recommendations ( and cautions for that matter) of marinas, restaurants, bars, etc.



9:47 AM  
Anonymous skylark said...

Jammer, way to go on getting the boat in the water and sailing! You are primed and ready for the Bahamas now. I wish I was in the same situation, I have been working towards being able to take off in my boat for years.

I just found your page and am reading back through the archives.

Do you have a wish list? Maybe readers of the blog can help you out, lots of us sailors have extra gear they are not using so let your readers know what you need.

i have been working on how to cook on board without refrigeration and put my "theories" on a web page:

Maybe that will be helpful. I think that I could get my basic food budget down to under $30 a week and still eat pretty well.

Fair winds!

PS: What is geert's website?

11:37 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...


hey there and welcome to my blog. Like your recipe list and I think I'll give a couple of them a try in the near future.

Don't know about the Bahamas. That's very expensive and would take just about as long to get there from Tampa Bay as Mexico..which is far far cheaper. We'll see how it all goes, figure I'm 2 to 4 months from setting out for real now.

I took your advice and in my latest post I put up some wish list items, I just hate to sound needy even if I am.

I have Geert's website in my sailing links. It's listed as another nomad owners site in Dutch. Great guy, I talk to him frequently via email.


12:47 PM  
Blogger Zen said...

Nice looking boat!
I just found your page via someone on (a lil plug)

I will read your backlogged stuff and look forward to the rest of the story.

I've linked you up to my site for easy access.

blog-on and fair winds

11:36 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Hey Zen,

Like your site you lucky guy! You've got a beautiful japanese wife, a cool sailboat and play in a band. Certainly have me beat on 2 out of the 3. I miss playing bass, gonna pick up a acoustical one if I can shoe horn it into BeBop.

I've put up a link on my site to yours. I won't even hold it against you that you spelled BeBop wrong on the link to my site from Zensekai hehehe. ^_^

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Hawkeye said...

Hey Jammer. Great googely moogely man! You're getting world famous! Das Goot! Always good to have friends waiting at so many locations because no-one gets you around new ports better than a local, and meeting new friends and talking with them long into the night is one of the great riches of cruising.
I've decided to take your advise and go ahead and start blogging the story of building Falcon. Why not? It's raining and I can't do anything else. It's fun anyway.
I have a brand new storm jib you can have, as well as (I think) another Catalina 22 mainsail. The storm jib is perfect for Bebop, though I think it's dirty from storage and will need cleaning.
I finally figured how to put links on my blog and have started with yours.
Catch you later, Hawk

10:16 AM  
Blogger Jammer said...

Hey hey Hawkeye,

Totally cool on the storm gib! ^_^ Thanks a bunch! I'll give you a call this afternoon and catch you up to speed with what's going on.


12:57 PM  
Anonymous AdriftAtSea said...

Congrats on getting BeBop launched... i'm hoping to be casting the lines off some time next year, hopefully before I turn 40. :D

Where are you planning on sailing her?

10:18 AM  

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