Baby on Board

We took the Buena Vista out for a quick afternoon cruise with our good friends The Fleegels and it was a huge success. Even little William was able to make the sail thanks to his new life vest. 

It might not look like it, but he was having a good time. 

We set out from Sail Harbor a little after low tide and once we made it past the shallow waters of Turner Creek there was no stopping us this time. We had the sail up and the motor silent in no time and with John's previous sailing skills we were even able to keep up a respectable cursing speed. 

A Natural. 

By this point things were going so well that we decided to go ahead and have our picnic dinner while we were underway. That's unheard of for us because typically we are frantically pulling lines and trying not to run into anything by this point. We had a fine dinner of shrimps, salads, dips, and other delectables while underway. Now this is sailing! 

In addition to fine dining, this sail had some entertainment as well. We found a nice slow spot, tossed the anchor (successfully this time), and commenced to have some fun in the water. We also learned that the top of the cabin makes a great impromptu diving platform. 

By this point the sun was getting lower in the sky so it was time to make way back into the marina. We touched the dock just as the sun was falling being the marsh. 

This is what sailing is all about...

2 Years, 10 Months, and 15 Days

It's been 2 years, 6 months, and 20 days since the Buena Vista last touched the water but she is back and is in better shape than ever. 

This has been a long time coming.
We did not get to this point without some very hard and sweaty work. Since making it to Savannah we have scrubbed every inch of her from the top of the mast to the bottom of the keel. We also made a few improvements along the way now that we've had a season (and then some) to figure her out. 

As you can see, she's got a fresh coat of bottom paint and is ready for the water. 

To give you an idea of what we were able to accomplish, here's a before and after the cleansing that really shows you how far she has come. 

Overall one of the biggest improvement came from one of the most unlikely of sources, the motor. 

Those of you who read this blog might remember the Shear Pin Incident of 2011, but for those of you who missed that glorious day let's just say that it did not end well thanks to this 50 pounds of metal. But since we have done everything short of an exorcism to this motor I can easily say that it's now one of the more solid pieces of equipment on the boat. Who knows, it might even make it away from the dock before it causes issues this time around. 

My old arch enemy & now trusted ally

Now that we had her in shipshape it was time to get her to the water. This turned out to be easy enough thanks to our pals at U-Haul and a few dollar bills. I have to say that you get some rather odd looks as you are towing at 22' sailboat through the historic streets of Savannah. I was not really sure if people were jealous, curious, or just concerned for our wellbeing, but at least they stayed out of our way for the most part. 

By the time we got her to the marina it was all downhill from there. It was almost like she knew we were getting closer and was doing her part to get home. All went well at the lift and before we could snap too many pictures it was once again time for her first few hundred yards upriver for the season to Sail Harbor Marina and her home for the season. Unlike the last few times she's made this trip, this one was quite enjoyable with everyone in a numb like state of disbelief that the Buena Vista was actually in salt water again. 

This amount of joy is typically not expressed at this stage of the process.

Once we got her safely to Sail Harbor all that was left to do was step the mast before she was ready for the open seas. This as we all know is much easier said than done, but thankfully my parents were able to make it down at the last minute for this momentous occasion. 

Our motley crew: Mike Crawley, Kristen Crawley, & Michelle Crawley
After a few tense minutes of lifting heavy objects covered with wire, finding parts, making parts due and some plan ole' rigging we had the mast vertical and to make things even better we still had a few good hours of light and weather. With all of these things lining up it was time to kick the tires and light the fires because "if something gonna' happen, it's gonna happen out there" to quote the great Captain Ron.

Before we were more than 100 yards from the dock the wonderful little motor that could made a familiar high pitched noise, it had sheared the pin on the prop. I am still not sure if this was the motor trying to remind me who was really the boss or if was just trying to throw up the last of her worn out parts, but she could not have done it at a better time. We easily drifted back into our slip and thanks to my (previous) hatred of the motor I had thought to buy a spare pin just in case. We had it replaced in no time and were back on our way to the deeper water. 

Once we made it past the dangers lurking just below the surface we killed the engine, hoisted the sail(s) and tried to catch the wind. We did not do a lot of sailing that day, but the most important part was that my father was able to sail for the first time since the Buena Vista has been around. He was finally able to see all of his hard work in action. 

This day has been coming for 2 years, 10 months, and 15 days but who's counting?

Grab a Brush...

The good news....

The Buena Vista is closer to the water than it's been in three years. It's so close that it's less than five miles form the open seas!

The not so good news...

She looks like she's been sitting under an oak tree for the past three years, because she has.

We've got our work cut out for us, but with a little elbow grease, some bleach, more elbow grease and a lot of sweat she'll be underway in no time.

So in order to prep I'll be watching Captain Ron tonight to learn a few tips and tricks on getting an old lady back on the water.

"Welp, let's check this thing out and see what kind of trouble it's really in"
- Captain Ron
Location:Savannah, GA

Headed Home

The sailing year (and the year in general) has come to an end for 2011. On December 30th the Buena Vista was pulled from the water and headed for home. Dad came into town that morning and the plan was to take her out for a quick sail, pull the mast down, motor to Hogan’s Marina, wash the bottom, and head home before the sun went down. Sounds easy right? By now we should have known that nothing on a boat is easy…

We got to the Buena Vista just before noon and it was a wonderful day for sailing with a light wind, sunny, and warm temps. It was looking so great that we made the decision that we would unload our gear and ride up to Hogan’s then grab some lunch before the sail. We were confident. After talking with Bubba (owner of Hogan’s) we decided that it might be best to skip the fun and get right to work. When we got back to the Buena Vista we packed, cleaned, pulled the sails down, and then sealed the cabin. We then pulled the rutter up and O.M.G. This thing looked like an episode of National Geographic was stuck to it and it weighed a ton with almost 5” of creatures growing on it. After a few minutes of scraping the sea life off we were glad that we skipped the sail and went to work. This was not going to be as easy as we thought.

Not easy or fun or nice.

One we scrapped the rutter clean the only thing left to do was to pull the mast down. If you’re not a trailer sailor or if you’ve never been on a boat then you need to know that there is NOT an easy way to do this. Long story short, it’s a pain. We unhooked everything possible and after a few tries we successfully got the mast on deck without knocking ourselves unconscious and/or dropping it overboard. Win for us! Once we had the mess on deck it was time to tie it down so we did not lose it going down the road. Thanks to our Mother we had a perfect “U” shaped piece to metal to hold the mast in place and all we had to do was tie back the leads, halyards, and wires but this seemed to take forever.

The first time Dad has been on board since the launching.
With everything secured we pushed off from the Sail Harbor dock for the last time in 2011 and started motoring up to Hogan’s. Within a few minutes Dad noticed that the motor was not cooling itself and the fun began. At one point the motor stopped and we were spinning around and around in the small creek and at another point we were pouring water on the hot engine. But, thankfully she got us to the lift and all was safe for now.

Stupid motor.
Once we hit the docks at Hogan’s the crackpot staff (all of which were younger than the Buena Vista) went to work with Bubba supervising. Once strapped in it was time for the show, the Buena Vista was coming out of the water.

That's a lot of scraping.

As soon as she was in the air the comments started flying. Per Bubba, this was in the “Top 10” for the year in terms of crustyness, but nonetheless we had to clean it. Thankfully everyone pitched in, at one point the entire staff of Hogan’s, me, and Dad were scrapping gunk off the boat. Per Bubba we were lucky because the gunk was coming off in sheets so within an hour the big chunks were gone and the boat weighted about 1,000 lbs less. Now that she was “clean” we put her on the trailer and pulled it around back to pressure wash. I can’t say enough about the staff at Hogan’s because they let us use their washer for more than an hour while we blasted every square inch of the Buena Vista to try to clean her before the trip home.  It was a wet, disgusting job but once we were finished I’m sure we saved hours of work in the long run.

Back where we started

By this time it was getting closer to dark. If Dad was lucky he might make it out of Savannah before the last bit of sun was behind the horizon. We thanked the staff at Hogan’s and hit the road. The Buena Vista was headed home to Lyons, GA.

Looking back, some of the most exciting and the most frustrating parts of my year were spent on the deck of the Buena Vista. It was a somber moment for me when she came out of the water, but it made me realize just how great life can be when you’re on the water. We’ve got a lot of work to get ready for next year, but I’m looking forward to it and the good times to come.

Here’s to 2012, Happy New Years.