welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Monday, May 21, 2007

kickin it in the Keys....

Yup, we're still here in beautiful Key West. We keep meaning to write a nice long juicy post replete with tales of re-entry and journey planning details, but we're just having too much fun to slow down! We are happily reunited with Hebe after a year apart - she sailed in on Saturday night just in time for a beautiful Florida sunset and we spent most of the weekend swapping stories with them and catching up. Since we saw them last June, they've spent nine months backpacking through the Andes and two months sailing through the Caribbean, just a couple hundred miles behind us in some cases. So.....we're awfully happy that they caught up! They'll be with us until somewhere around Melbourne, Florida, where they plan to end their sailing journey, sell the boat, and join the ranks of Land People.

We'd planned to leave Key West before now, but figuring out our Northbound route and sailing strategies has proved a little trickier than we'd anticipated. We don't relish the idea of leaving here and getting pushed back by the very same current that made us take a 100-mile detour coming in here. So....this afternoon will find us at the nearest West Marine, poring over all the Florida Keys cruising guides available there. Hopefully we can get out of here by midweek; the next stop is Miami to hang out with a cousin of mine there. (To all of our cruiser friends who might read this blog, drop us a line if you have insight on weather and currents/countercurrents in the Hawk Channel! thanks).

Key West is really charming and we've enjoyed it so much more than we ever expected to....the downtown is pure Disneyland, and totally touristy, but the people here are so warm and the town is so damn cute and welcoming that you can't help but like it here. Our very first night in town, we started talking to a bunch of locals about what it was like living in Key West, and ended up getting invited over to one of their houses for stone crab, dinner, drinks, and a major dog fix (they had two super friendly pups). Let's face it, you can't help but go soft on a place where something like that happens your first day in town. Is it just Key West, or will we find that kind of hospitality in the rest of Florida? the Southeast? the East Coast? time will tell.... (We won't count on having a similar experience in Miami, that much is for sure!).

As for our plans beyond Miami, well, they're as vague as ever, but our basic goal is to be around the Chesapeake area by the end of June. June-ish. We'll make our way there via both the ICW and offshore routes - the combination will depend on weather. From there, we'll probably continue on as far as Connecticut, and reassess. We've long considered the spine of this trip to be roughly California-Connecticut (C to shining C?) so that's a good guideline. Of course, we are theoretically ready to sell the boat at anytime, if we find a buyer. Wanna buy a sailboat? Sure you do!

Naturally there are some big decisions looming on the horizon, especially as we look to the late summer and fall, but for now, we're still enjoying our trip to its fullest, and we're not even close to done with it - we still have at least a thousand miles to go! Being back in the US is fun, but not really a radical change -our days pass in similar ways, under similar conditions, on the same boat, with the same joys, challenges, freedoms, and limitations as before. And we still love it.

We've gotten some great questions lately in posts and emails - and the best one was "Why did Ray call Ute a 'plastic classic'?" Well, we're so glad somebody asked. Here's why - in the 60's, when boatbuilders figured out they could build boats out of this newfangled stuff called "fiberglass" (plastic) instead of wood, the first boats they built a lot tougher and thicker than they needed to be. Fiberglass doesn't have to be thick to be strong, the way wood might, but they didn't know that yet. So they made plastic boats as thick as wooden boats. Which means that boats built in the 60's and early 70's are built like the proverbial brick shithouse - they won't win any races but they'll take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. So when we went shopping for a tough cruising vessel, it wasn't just our budget that dictated we look for a boat at least as old as us - it was also our desire to survive this trip in one piece! The first time we had Ute out of the water to do some work on her, I went to drill a hole in the hull for the depth sounder. After about 5 minutes of drilling, I still hadn't broken through. I thought the drill was broken -but her hull was just so strong and so thick that I hadn't gotten through it yet! For those of you that can get your hands on a copy of the May issue of sail, be sure to read the article about the sailboat that got run over by a huge freighter in Brazil and survived: that boat was also built in 1967.

Anyway, it's time for the Ute-Hebe team to go be bums and see how long we can get away with reading sailing guides at West Marine without buying them. Wish us luck. Cheers, UTE

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Nice to see you are still writing blogs. Maybe there is a business in publishing a book for wannabe young sailors and boat buyers. June in Connecticut - wow. Does not seem possible you are so close already. hugs nancy