Tuesday, November 28, 2017


As we head out tomorrow, we'll be depending on a LOT of equipment.

I thought I'd share a bit -

We have a satellite based weather program that shows us 36 hours of wind/waves/radar/frontal activity.   Since it's XM based, we don't need internet or cell coverage to receive it.

We also have our own radar system to help us with knowing immediate weather and objects (boats, oil platforms!)  Note that we also have satellite TV!  It's hooked to Dish network - pretty cool and totally unnecessary!

And we have a very nice chartplotter that shows not only navigation maps but overlays the radar.

We also have 3 different EPIRB's (Emergency Position Indicationg Radio Beacons).   If activated, they will send signals over a satellite system to bring rescue to our exact location.

 One is located just inside the cabin door.  It's registered by NOAA  to identify the boat - Robert and Richard are the registered emergency contacts and would be immediately notified if the beacon were activated.

In addition, we each have the life vests that we wear in the airplane when flying over water.  These jackets have  CO2 fill cartridges and we each have our own beacon in a zippered pocket.  These are registered by NOAA to each of us.   So, worst case, if we were to be separated from the boat, we could call rescue from anywhere in the world.  (All of these beacons are waterproof, of course!)

(The pink ribbon means this is my life vest, Duane's has a blue ribbon)

In addition, we have tether straps that we will use if we need to leave the cockpit in rough seas.

So don't be concerned about us out there!  We will be out of contact for possibly days but you should be able to see us on the  Vessel Tracking system. 

Current plans are to head out the Galveston Jetty and turn generally eastbound.  We don't plan to get too far offshore - probably within 40-50 miles out.  This way, we can tuck back into the Intercoastal Waterway if we want to.  We'll likely do a couple of overnight sails and see how things are going. 

If I have time tomorrow when we still have cell signal, I'll send one last blog post! 

Hope to leave tomorrow

We had a little delay because the windshield wasn't finished....but the folks at David's Upholstery showed up this morning with everything.

A reminder of what it looked like before - yellowed and not clear at all!

And this is the new view!

Should keep us dry and out of the wind when we want to be. 

Plans are to take the rental car back this afternoon - and shove off tomorrow morning!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Boat renaming ceremony

The boat needed to be renamed.....and you MUST please the sea gods to do this!  This is serious business!

The previous name (which, according to marine lore should never be mentioned again!) had already been removed from the boat.

This is the step at the back of the boat.  Perfect place to put the US Coast Guard required name and home port.

We had the appropriate label shipped to us.

All done with the actual labeling.....it was time for a small party!!

Fellow Manta owners came over -  James and Crystal from Tex Pie and Cookie from Cool Change helped us celebrate.  (Sorry to have missed Jay from Cool Change - he was out of town).  Ready to toast the "Sea Gods" and ask forgiveness for renaming the boat.

Here is the text that was read and toasted.  Hopefully we'll be safe in our travels now!

Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as Sojourn, guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.

In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation and in honor of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.

(open the bottle of wine, pour one glass for the Captain and one glass for the First Mate but don't drink yet, now pour a portion over the bow into the sea from West to East, then drink your wine, attendees can also toast the boat at this point)

For this part you will need another bottle of wine and a small glass.
Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel Sojourn the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.

--(Facing north, pour wine into the glass and fling to the North as you intone.)
Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the North Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your frigid breath.
- (Facing west, repeat and fling to the West.)
Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the West Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.
- (Facing east, repeat and fling to the East.)
Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.
- (Facing south, repeat and fling to the South.)
Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.
And to the greatest of all, mighty Aeolus guardian of all winds and all that blows before them, we ask your favor and kindness for fair winds and smooth seas in our endeavors as we humbly pass through your kingdom

 After we all had our toasts, it was time to "reveal" the name on the boat! 

Duane did the honors.

Ta'Da!!!   Sojourn.....

a temporary stay:
verb (used without object)
to stay for a time in a place; live temporarily:

Fun to have a boat name that's "ours"....

In case you're interested...here's a few shots during the installation of the lettering on the side of the boat.  Simple process, but a bit tedious.  Tape the label in place, peel off the "sticky" side....press carefully in place trying to avoid any "air bubbles".

Then peel the backing away - all done!   

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Just a few more chores

Getting really close to finishing the list of items required before we shove off! 

Finally received a shipment that included a replacement bulb for the steaming light.  So, up the mast we sent Duane again!  

While he was up there, he installed a couple of flag halyards.   Now I can fly my American flag!

The upholstery folks (David's Upholstery) have been to the boat several times - hopefully they will finish up with the windshield tomorrow. 

Nice folks but a little hard to communicate since my Spanish is about zippo!  We make do by pointing and smiling!

Beautiful weather here - will probably head out to sea on Tuesday after just a few more items are complete. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Making jerry can sun-covers from Sunbrella

We have a couple of "jerry cans" to carry extra diesel.  I read about why they're called "jerry cans"....apparently it refers to it's origins in war-time Germany.  And the nickname for Germans was "jerry".  I didn't know that!

For safety, we don't want the cans full of fuel anywhere near us inside the boat....so we need to store them tied out on the deck of the boat.  But the sun is terribly harsh on everything, plastic in particular.  So I see lots of folks with covers to block the sun.

Trusty sewing machine was whipped out again and the design began.

Just made a paper pattern.  Again, just had to be functional, not an exact fit.

The sewing setup - using special UV resistant thread.

Basically, I just started with a simple bag.  Fabric folded and straight seams up the sides.

Then I loosely fit it inside-out - and made a seam on either side to take up the "slack" and make the bag "boxy".

Slipped on correctly now.  (The sun must have been at a different angle since the color looks washed out on this photo...weird).

 Then trimmed the bottom and  added a nice zigzag hem.   I added the patches on both side to reinforce where we are going to put grommets.

All tied in place for the voyage!

Each one tied to a life-line stanchion. 

And while I was at it, I decided that the dinghy gasoline spare tank needed to be covered too.  For this one, I really did just make a bag.  Again, precision is not required.

The spare tank just sets in the dinghy (the actual fuel tank for the dinghy motor is in the compartment under the steering wheel. 

That's it for the sewing ventures for now!!

Tracking feature

I've added a map showing our real time location to the blog.  I don't know how it will work out - we'll see as we start moving.   It's currently showing the old boat name "Double Wide".  We're trying to get that changed with the authorities.  The signal is being sent from our on board radio's AIS (Automatic Identification System) so that other boats (everyone, including cargo ships will be able to see us).  It sends a signal every few minutes.

So until the radio is changed, the name is probably going to show "Double Wide".  But rest assured it's actually us!  You can hit "More Info" and it will let you pan in/out on the map.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Storage bag for extra line

We have too many lines on this boat!!  We had brought some from home since we weren't really sure what was left on the boat.  We really shouldn't have!!  There are many sets of dock lines and old halyards, etc on board.

So this box of lines really didn't have a "home" on the boat.  And space is at a premium!

There is a space at the aft end of the boat, but this box is too big to fit....the solution would be something more flexible.  Like a bag.

Fortunately, the previous owner left some old mesh material window covers on the boat.  I was going to throw them out, but they were perfect for making a big bag for these lines!

Duane gave me the approximate measurements.  I took a couple of the old window covers and just started cutting out rectangle pieces.  Nothing had to be precise since this is just a utility bag.

 I just started sewing the pieces together using my heavy duty sewing machine and extra strong thread.

Making the "box".

I doubled the zig-zag seams for durability.

Turned inside-out

And installed some beefy handles.

The finished bag in use.   It worked well and best of all, it was basically free!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

More chores!

Progress is being made! 

We spend every day getting things checked off the list....

Loading up the boat with groceries is quite a chore!   We're trying to have staple provisions on board for a couple of months.  It will be a pain to lug groceries to the boat as we travel without a rental car.

This is the first of 3 cartloads!

This is the picture of the dinghy from the ad for the boat.  We were given the bare dinghy without the "chaps" (the sunbrella fabric UV cover).  The chaps were in a cabinet on the boat. 

So I pulled out the chaps and looked them over.  Unfortunately, they're a little worse for wear since this photo! 

There was a large area that was worn thru. 

Fortunately, the previous owners had left some extra matching sunbrella fabric on board.  I made a long narrow patch.

And sewed it in place.  I'm sure I'll be doing more of that as some of the fabric looks pretty worn.

But overall, it will be a nice method of transport!