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Old 07-05-2007, 22:23   #1
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Thanksgiving...

FThis post is duplicated in the sailing forum; I put it here because it's sort of a followup to earlier postings here...

Thanksgiving...

Isn't for quite some time, at least here in the good ol' U S of A. However,
as we round second base on our home run trot, I thought I'd set down some of
the thoughts which have been bouncing around in the last several weeks.

As I assume you all know, our adventure started off with rather more
excitement than we'd planned. At first glance (well, peek through fingers
over the eyes, at least), our "catastrophic grounding" had all the elements
for about as much catastrophe as could be imagined with our "comfortable"
(no bruises, broken bones, or other life endangerment) survival. Badly
hurt - maybe destroyed - boat, no home (nearly certainly the insurance would
be a total loss and we'd lose the boat), and everything we owned was either
on or tied up on/in that boat.

However... It's like the old bad news/ no! - good news stories. Examples
follow:

We were shipwrecked, truly. But not abandoned, nor alone. We were picked up
by the Coast Guard, deposited to dry (well, firm - it was still raining)
land, and fed, medically inspected, given a place to sleep for a while, fed
again, and then directed to the local Red Cross facility, which, due to
their telephone and internet, allowed us to immediately get on with getting
our lives back together. Thanksgiving came early this year...

We were homeless, and without transportation, having sold our homes, given
nearly everything away, including - on the day we left - our only remaining
vehicle, which had done heroic service in running up and down the road
between GA and FL during my initial refits and later for our mutal work on
the boat, and totally committed to the boat (which we expected to lose).
Yet, in less than a week, we were back aboard Flying Pig, had transportation
donated to our cause, and two trust funds set up in our interest, the latter
quite immediately and unknown to us. Since that less-than-a-week, we have
been inundated with support, love, interest and assistance of all kinds. To
try to enumerate them here would both be too long and impossible, as I'm
sure I'd miss someone or something. Suffice it to say that we're eternally
grateful and continue to "pay it forward" - except that in this case we're
also paying it back. The trust funds alone allowed our painless stay in the
repair facility - those donations covered the yard costs for the 3 weeks we
were there, for example - and the assistance of many folks to help us
restore our home has not only been the expected benefit it provided, but has
led to many new friends as we work alongside them. Thanksgiving came early
this year...

Many have wondered about our end results with the insurance side of things.
I had an entire message to a couple of the mailing lists and forums on which
I'm active about the subject but the short story of it is that Allstate gets
my vote. However, the good news/bad news stuff is a bit more telling...

* As expected, our boat adjuster's coverage decision totaled the boat
(the boat was determined to be a total loss, and they would not attempt
arranging repairs). Normally that would mean that we would have to give up
the boat, or, perhaps, accept a negotiated, lowered settlement, or, have to
buy back the boat as salvage, leaving little or nothing with which to
rebuild (after pre-existing commitment costs). However, in the course of
many email and telephone contacts, the adjuster became aware of all the work
we'd done in the last 3 years on our home, increasing the value of the boat.
The decision came down - we were under-insured. Bad news, right? No...
Because we were under-valued (the boat was worth more than it was insured
for), they had no salvage rights. Instead, the entire value of the policy
would be paid, and we'd retain ownership. Thanksgiving came early this
year...

* That means: The salvors - those many folks who got Flying Pig off the
dry rock it was banging around on - were paid off. The mortgage was paid
off. And there's enough left over to provide a boating kitty against future
disasters. Thanksgiving came early this year...

* Unfortunately, nobody will insure us - or, at least, the boat - as
there's been a wreck. However... We can't be insured. Many cruisers
self-insure, due to the costs of true bluewater (offshore, not covered in
coastal cruising)insurance. That is to say they are responsible for any and
all of their own losses, and have a good reserve for emergencies, but the
main reason cruisers self-insure is to save those considerable costs of
insurance. Because we can't be insured, we also don't have to spend that
considerable amount. Because the mortgage is paid off, we aren't required
to have that insurance, but we also don't have to pay that mortgage amount
each month. The difference in monthly income (insurance and mortgage
payments not made) may mean we won't have to work as we'd expected.
Thanksgiving came early this year...

Back to giving away the car, here, to one of the yard folks we felt could
benefit from having it. When we wrecked less than two days after leaving, we
called to ask if we could borrow it back for a while, as we were doing our
expected repairs. He'd already given it to his son (part of the reason we
chose him as the recipient), and it was unavailable. Within another 36
hours, one of our Morgan mailing list members - someone we'd never even had
correspondence with, let alone met - in the Marathon area had given us
another work-suitable vehicle. We'll pass it on. Thanksgiving came early
this year...

In our pounding on the rocks, we fully expected to find great holes in our
side when we returned for the salvage removal of the hull. Instead, the only
water intrusion was next to a fitting which had been bashed loose. The
bilge pump very easily kept up with it. Literally every one of the team of
salvors expected us to have to gather up the pieces and put Flying Pig on
the equivalent of air mattresses in order to tow it to the yard for
insurance review. Instead, she was towed on her own bottom, with her own
steering. To a man, they were astounded, and hugely complimentary to Morgan
Yachts and Flying Pig. Thanksgiving came early this year...

The boat was pounded on the rocks by the surf for 36 hours. During that
time it must have been lifted and dropped, and rocked, not less than 5000
times. As the fuel tank was about half empty, if there was any crud
remaining after my months of fuel polishing prior to our departure, it
certainly was dispersed by the time we were removed. Sure enough, when I
changed the fuel polisher filters after running them for the three weeks we
were ashore, there was a large accumulation of debris in the bottom of the
primary filter. Then, just to make sure, we ran the pumps for the entire
time of our return to Salt Creek. During that trip, there was a 36 hour
period where we swung between a 40-45 degree arc in the waves, and got
pitched (forward and aft) as well due to our heading. If there were any
remaining particles not suspended before, there weren't any left after that
trip. As we ran the polishing system the entire time, and very rarely turned
on the engine, we are confident that we have a clean fuel tank and clean
fuel. Thanksgiving came early this year...

Among the friends we've made in this adventure is a salvage operations owner
(not the one who pulled us off), here in Salt Creek Marina. He, too, pays
it forward. Among his adventures was a charity boat donation which was
located in Ft. Lauderdale. He was leaving the next day after we arrived
here, with a crew, to sail it back, as his donation (a delivery captain and
crew would be thousands of dollars for that trip). He agreed to give me a
ride to Marathon as part of that trip, so I could pick up the car above.
Making a long story short, this donation wasn't nearly ready to sail home.
So, for the next two weeks, he and I went down and worked on the boat,
essentially rebuilding the engine (in place!) and preparing to rebuild the
fuel system. Trading time, this very experienced boatwright is working with
me in the restoration of the interior structural integrity. I couldn't buy
his experience, let alone afford it. Thanksgiving came early this year...

On which subject (interior structural integrity)... The exterior/hull of
the boat was repaired fully, with the exception of the rudder, which I've
just finished fairing out to make a symmetrical shape so water flows more
smoothly, before we even left Marathon. That the hull was as strong as it
was allowed a quick repair. Thanksgiving came early this year...

As to the interior, however, with some inspection and adjustment, we're
proceeding to what will be a very strong restoration. It's more technical
than most of you want to hear about, but it suffices to say that instead of
being nearly impossible, we'll have Flying Pig put back together such that
even the most picky of surveyors, the quality control and service manager at
Morgan Yachts during the entire production run of our model boat, will give
her a clean bill of health. All this at little cost to us. Thanksgiving came
early this year...

In the course of doing the reattachment of reinforcing points, to get to
some of them, I had to do some disassembly in the engine room. As is common
on boats of this age with wooden components, there were some parts which
were rotten. I've since finished making those repairs, but without this
accident and the required disassembly, we'd never have found those until
they failed. Thanksgiving came early this year...

Back to the exterior, the new bottom paint has been applied. However, as
some of the October 06 launch pix show, our waterline has crept upward as we
have continued to add gear and live-aboard materials of all kinds. It got
worse as we provisioned her for months in the Bahamas. As such, we were not
adequately protected from sea critters' taking up residence at the
waterline. However, we had to come out of the water to finish our repairs.
That made altering the waterline very easy. Along the way, we made some
cosmetic improvements along with correcting some prior paint alignment
errors. The new work will look better, and perform better, at a minimal
cost. And, Lydia's getting pretty skilled as a painter. We have no doubt
that were she not already committed, if she wanted a new sailing partner,
all she'd have to do would be put on her shorts, get the stepladder, and
grab a brush. The men flocked around! Not to help, of course :{)) But, we
continue to acquire new skills and confidence as a result of our "disaster."
Thanksgiving came early this year...

In our rush to get on the way with our adventure, we made the decision to go
immediately to the Bahamas, and work our way down island, eventually getting
to the Eastern Caribbean, and then cruising up and down that chain. This
adventure (as it has unfolded) has provided the wakeup call to suggest that
perhaps it would be effective to gain much more experience with the boat and
its systems before starting over on our long-term plans. So, instead, we've
taken the decision to do the US East coast, following/chasing the warm, but
not hot, weather as we go. In exchange, we'll be: Within range of our tow
service should we ever need that kind of help; Within range of umpteen
different chandleries (boat parts supply houses), should we ever need parts;
Within the US so we can receive some benefit, should it be needed, from our
COBRA health insurance continuation following Lydia's retirement; Able to
explore and enjoy literally hundreds of US locations and attractions, as we
may choose; Within easy transport of family and friends who may wish to come
cruise with us for a time, and, not least; When it's time to head to the
tropics, very experienced sailors, comfortable with our boat and systems,
with most of the inevitable bugs worked out and/or killed. Thanksgiving
came early this year...

And, finally, but hardly least, our enforced time ashore allowed us to move
up our USCoastGuard Captain's school training from June, when we expected to
have to come back to St. Petersburg, requiring not only that we find
someplace to keep the boat (originally assumed to be the Bahamas), arrange
local housing, arrange local transportation, and try to find employment in
the 4 weeks when we weren't in classes other than the weekends. Instead, we
finished the classes last week, and tonight, following our exhaustive
4-hours' testing, we're both Licensed members of the Merchant Marine - USCG
Captains. Thanksgiving came early this year...

We're still ashore, as there are many things yet to be done. But the
structural repairs are complete, and we're creeping up on the remainder of
the wreck-related repairs/replacements. Soon we'll be in the water again,
doing sea trials, and then it's off to the races as we leave the state, this
time to head to New York City in late August, enjoying the US east coast
along the way, and then heading back south, chasing/keeping up with the warm
weather. We're incredibly blessed. Thanksgiving came early this year...

L8R

Captains Skip and Lydia

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.

You seek problems because you need their gifts.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:24   #2
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Thanks for sharing that, Captains.
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:35   #3
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We were homeless, and without transportation, having sold our homes, given nearly everything away
Bearing in mind you clearly didn't have a pot to piss in $$$$ wise, please do share how you were planning to finance your trip.

For many folk (me included) learning the secret of cruising with an empty bank account would be like Christmas coming early every year........
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:37   #4
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So now the boat's paid off, you have a bigger cruising kitty, and all of our insurance rates just went up a little more.

I'm glad you took *some* responsibility in learning how to navigate before you set out again.

Relying on "pay it forward" is a copout. Taking responsibility for one's own actions is what should have been done. There certainly are poor people who could have benefited from your donations.

See you in the Northeast.
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:43   #5
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We need to refrain from personal character assaults, and vituperative language.
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Old 08-05-2007, 13:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
We need to refrain from personal character assaults, and vituperative language.
WordNet - Cite This Source vituperative
adjectivemarked by harshly abusive criticism; "his scathing remarks about silly lady novelists"; "her vituperative railing"

Do I win anything for being the first to decipher Gordy's prose ???

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Old 11-05-2007, 03:07   #7
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Happy Birthday, Skip!
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:46   #8
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Skip & Lydia,Im happy that "Thanks giving came early"In so many ways for you.What you recieved from sailing folk in your efforts to regain your sailing adventures is,in effect,what sailing folk are about.

I personly diddn't follow the original "Flying Pig" thread that caused some sort of Kafuffle with the posts on Cruisers Forum,don't really care about that anyway,but what I did read was nasty.

If ya just humour me for a tick,In the Off Topic forum there is a new thread entittled "Does the world get any better",by unbusted67.After reading the replies on that Question and,hearing the repies so far on this thread.I do have an answer for unbusted67."No it dosen't"Aparently,"Paying it forward" only applies to some people in the "Sailing comunity line"And if ya choose to go that way on your own then it's a"Cop out".

I personly liked your rite of reply and hope that anyone in need would get the same result.I never think of someones financial status as a criteria for whether to help or not.Mudnut.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey
Bearing in mind you clearly didn't have a pot to piss in $$$$ wise, please do share how you were planning to finance your trip.

For many folk (me included) learning the secret of cruising with an empty bank account would be like Christmas coming early every year........
Hi, David, and group,

Did I say we didn't have a pot to piss in? I said we were homeless - all of our worldly goods were tied up in/and-or on that boat.

Your quote should have given you a clue: we sold our homes.

As to ongoing income, and the cost of cruising, either you've not done it, or not talked to very many who have, but living aboard doesn't have to be particularly expensive.

In our case, we expected to work 6 months of each year. That's why we home-ported in St. Thomas, where we expected to work the season, and cruise the chain in the other 6 months.

The further we go, the more we learn that there are a myriad of opportunities to make the financial realities less painful. Just a single case in point is the BSA's "extreme adventure" series, where, among the many they have at the three locations in the US where they are done, is a "Sail the Keys" program for scouts.

For those who are willing to commit to the season, a program vessel (yours, or someone who puts theirs in charter for the program) is provided with everything other than normal maintenance (fuel, food, propane, oil change, etc.), and a 5-day adventure (two days off per week, with dockage provided at the headquarters if you like) compensates the vessel $2200. The season (hurricanes cooperating) is a minimum of 9 to a maximum of 11 trips.

Vessels can be captained by the owners, or made available to other captains. Typical captain compensation is $750-1000 per trip, all negotiated with the owner.

Doing the math, a minimum of ~$3000 (one of us on our boat and another on someone else') per week, at 9-11x per short summer period yields an average of $30K per year - with more than 9 months left to sail and cruise on.

Don't be so hard on yourselves, those who may have thought it couldn't be done, and are envious. There are many ways to cruise on a budget.

We've met considerably more than a few (meaning not just a couple) full-time cruisers, most of whom are self-insured, who very successfully get by on (maintenance included, but not including the one instance of a dismasting in a hurricane; that one was solved with a salvaged mast and some joinery at the break - and this couple also did work along the way for their incomes, including the $14k that adventure cost them) $500 or less a month. One couple we met in the BVI (who helped us off an overnight-anchored tidal grounding [the water disappeared out from under us overnight in a full moon]) had been out for over two years and their average cost had been just over a dollar a day.

If you didn't get the sense from my post that I'm creative and more than a little difficult to discourage, I'm sure it's lost on you that one needn't accept, blindly, that an event has to be a misfortune. All my life, I've considered that an adventure is merely an inconvenience reimagined. If it didn't kill me, it's probably something which will be retold as an adventure later - so I think of it, as it's happening, with that set of rose-colored glasses on.

It was thus, as I was being hoisted in the lovely stainless steel basket, that I looked down at Flying Pig, rocking on her side, in the surf, on the rock, at 3:15AM, harshly illuminated in the monster spotlights of the USCG helo, and thought, "Wow! I wish I had my camera!" - at the same time I thought she'd never survive the pounding she was taking.

For the same reason (the adventure), I was intensely interested in the process of my personal chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy, to the point of attending the auction on the courthouse steps, just to see how it was done, when the bank foreclosed on my home. That particular adventure (house foreclosure - long story) within my bankruptcy, in the midst of the '91-'93 recession, deprived me of about $200k of equity and the only reason the business (real estate property management) survived is because I had a negotiated settlement (had to pay them back) with another bank of over another $100k. I can tell you that it wasn't fun - but I survived, and managed to build it all again - but it certainly was an adventure.

In the end, all things considered, this wreck was probably the best thing which has happened to us, as we hoped to convey in this message. I'm fairly experienced at making lemonade when handed lemons. Where there's a will, there's a way, so to speak.

The same is true of cruising. Today, I'm 62, and on the way for the last of the stress tests related to my heart's health (which so far appear to be good - but a year ago I had 3 stents put in). Had I known what I do today, I'd have started down this road (cruising) many years earlier.

This got to be an awfully long response to why one needn't have a pot to piss in $$$$wise, for which I apologize. But I certainly don't apologize for refusing to let a wreck, and a subsequent several months working to repair same, get me down...

L8R

Skip

PS Why is it all about money? If you've not yet seen it, I highly recommend you rent "The Secret" and practice it. Ask around among your friends and acquaintances for those who either have (seen it) and are now doing it, or, as I, 50+ years before I knew what it was, have been doing it for a while. You bring on yourself what you believe...


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Old 11-05-2007, 08:19   #10
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Skip and Lydia - thank you for putting a human expression on an event which too many of us on this forum coldly analyzed as your lack of knowledge, prepardness, etc. Too many times some are quick to critisize and forget that they too could be in an overwhelming situation due not so much to lack of ability but to a culmination of events.

It is heartwarming to see that there are so many out there who helped you with your problems and that many initially negative consequences of the wrecking went well for you. I think we all need to refect on our good fortunes no matter what our current income level or net worth and be thankfull we are able to enjoy them - many in the world can't.

Some believe the donations you received should have been given to the poor instead - I believe that people who give are guided by their conscience and they may also give to charities but believed that helping you was an equally worthwhile cause. Probably we would all like to know that others cared enough to help if we found ourselves in similar circumstances. It is a virtue that I hope is always part of the human spirit and gives as much satisfaction to the giver as it helps the receiver.

I wish you both a speedy return to your cruising plans and thank you for
helping me to appreciate my good fortune and help restore a little faith in the good of others.

Fair Winds, Randy
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