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Old 06-04-2008, 15:57   #1
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March 5th - Rock and Roll, The Beat Generation, Perfect Pitch and swearing

March 5th - Rock and Roll, The Beat Generation, Perfect Pitch and
swearing

Wednesday morning rolled around earlier than we would have
liked - except for the first thing on the agenda for the day.

On Tuesday, Lydia and I went into Miami to receive our training
on, and certification for, Adult CPR and First Aid. As a general
statement, those are good skills to have, and many employers pay
the costs to have some of their personnel trained. Employers do
that on the basis that if there are knowledgeable people in the
workplace, in the event of an emergency, they could be first
responders. All of the others in our class were there on that
basis. For our purposes, though, these skills would be useful
were we to have a problem at sea, so there was an immediate
benefit to our training.

However, we were there to fulfill the last remaining obligations
to meet the requirements for our "OUPV Near Coastal" USCG
licenses. We got up early in order to get in line for our
fingerprinting and swearing-in ceremony (such as it was) at the
local Miami office. We wanted to be out of there as soon as
possible as we had tide and time issues, of which, more, later.

Fortunately, we were not among the throngs there for passports,
the IRS, immigration, or other offices there, resulting in a
long, snaking line to get in the door, admitted a few at a time
due to the security screening measures performed before letting
you into the lobby. When we arrived at the Coast Guard offices,
we were through our administrative reviews as quickly as
possible, being first in line. The Petty Officer read the Oath as
we raised our right hands, and swore us in. Thus, the first
instance of "swearing" in the title.

So, what is a "OUPV Near Coastal" USCG license, anyway, and why
did we want one? Most of the folks reading this are involved in
boating in one way or another, so could perhaps appreciate the
"why" part. I'll come to our reason(s) in a moment. However, in
case you were wondering, "OUPV" is Operator of Uninspected
Passenger Vessel, and "Near Coastal" means relatively close to
the coastline of the US. USCG, of course, is the Coast Guard.
OUPV licenses allow the holders to accept payment for being in
charge of a boat. "Uninspected" vessels are allowed to have up to
6 paying passengers. This gave rise to the nickname "6-Pack" for
this class of license. "Uninspected" vessels are ones which don't
have to meet the more stringent requirements for carrying paying
passengers, such as the boats which take folks out sightseeing,
fishing, or dinner cruises, for example, which undergo not only
inspection, but mandatory removal from the water on a periodic
basis. So, legally able to command certain vessels for hire, we
are now Captains Skip and Lydia :{))

So, why did we want these licenses? Long ago, when we first
explored, and then, committed to, full-time cruising, we expected
to have to work for a portion of our boat's expenses. Delivering
boats, or taking folks out for snorkeling, daysail, or moonlight
or other cruises, on our boat, were possibilities we explored for
income generation. Later, when we rejected the thought of doing
day-trip-type cruises, we found that the Boy Scouts had a very
interesting program as part of their ""Extreme Adventure" series.
In these, either we, on someone else' boat, or on our own, could
Captain their snorkeling program during a summer in the Florida
Keys. Any of those, done legally, require the sort of license
we've just received.

We also expected lots of practical training during our time in
our classes. In truth, while we are far better informed than we
were when we started, practical training requires time "out doing
it" - the part of our training we're doing now. What we're doing
now isn't part of the requirements for the license, other than
the time at sea. Being a long-standing boat owner, and Lydia, as
the owner of Flying Pig, the time was of absolutely no issue for
either of us, other than writing it down. Actually, just our time
aboard Flying Pig was more than sufficient, so that was the only
boat we used for documentation of sea time, as the owner of a
boat may certify time on duty for others on their boat. Those
times are also qualification for the required sea time for
various Mariner's licenses. I may use the added time from my
prior ownership(s) should I pursue my Master's license.

At the time we bought our 6-Pack training courses, I also signed
up for the Master's course, which has higher requirements, as
well as higher "cool" factor. In reality, it's unlikely that I'd
have a practical use for the advanced license, other than
"bragging rights" - but I paid for it during the St. Pete Sail
show when we bought our 6-Pack classes. Despite the provider
having said that the Master's class would be given shortly after
the 6-Pack training, and that they had many Master's applicants
in our 6-Pack training class alone, in addition to those in the
many other 6-Pack training classes they held in the area, they
never scheduled a Master's class.

So, I wasn't able to take it, let alone pass it. When I contacted
them for a refund, I was essentially passed around until finally,
after three phone calls, someone in authority said, not only no
refund, you have to take it online (so much for actual
classwork), and then go somewhere to take the test. Never mind
that we live on a boat, now, have no car, and are unlikely to be
in any area where the tests can be administered, regardless of
whether or not I'd receive the hands-on training paid for. At
this point, I need to do more research, but it's entirely
possible that the $400 prepaid is simply lost. Thus the second
instance of swearing.

However, life has frequently handed me lemons, and lemonade is my
usual end result. We'll see how this one plays out. In the
meantime, Lydia and I are USCG Licensed Captains, effective 9:38
EST March 5, 2008.

So, what about the musical references in the title? We, being
first in line at the Coast Guard offices, were in and out in as
short a time as could be done. We were concerned because we've
already established that we can't make it out of our anchorage at
low tide, and that was at 11:00 that morning.

We galloped aboard Flying Pig, already at the dock at the Miami
Yacht Club, and were under way at 10:15. We touched a couple of
times, but once under the bridge, scheduling and fortune smiled
at us as the cruise ship lineup, being the middle of the week,
was empty. Thus we could go directly to our turning point at the
end of the channel, and head north.

Our passage out the channel was uneventful, other than being in
the middle of a bunch of race boats getting ready to head out to
the starting line for their race later that day. We made our
turning point with no difficulty and settled in for our run
north.

The forecasts had all said that this would be an ideal time to be
in the Gulf Stream - especially if you wanted to go to the
Bahamas - but as we were going north, the wind would be at our
back, and, with the speed lift of the Gulf Stream, very
negligible in strength unless the wind were relatively strong.
Initially, it was reasonably strong, so we poled out the genoa
and set a prevented (so it wouldn't flop back as the boat rolled)
main, and headed north.

However, as expected, not long after, the wind died to the degree
that we were rolling more than we were sailing and the sails just
flopped. So, I rolled in the Genoa to the handkerchief position
in front of the inner forestay, centered the main and pulled it
blade-tight, both of which helped dampen the roll. And, speaking
of dampening, the rains were active at the time, so we left the
pole in place, and on came Perky, the faithful (well, useful,
anyway) auxiliary diesel engine, and we motorsailed. At the next
sunshine opportunity, I stowed the pole, and put up the staysail.
Despite our relatively low engine speed, we were making well over
10 knots to the good, north, in the first several hours. It would
prove to be an interesting first 24 hours.

Depending on the time, we rocked, we rolled, we pitched, and even
beat (going very close to the wind) our way north. Aside from the
discomfort in the motion for Lydia, and the nuisance value in the
noise of the diesel running, it would be difficult to fault our
first day in our passage. Sailing experiences ran the gamut. Wind
from every quarter, brilliant sun to umpteen squalls and
thunderstorms, and (apparent) winds from dead calm to over 20
knots. Waves from dead calm to pretty tall and right on our nose
(pitching motion), quartering (rocking motion) and dead abeam
(lots of rolling), most of the time with little to no wind to
help the sails stabilize against the motion. The good news on
that is that we started the fuel polisher before we left the
dock. With our engine running the entire time, there was plenty
of power, and our full tank no doubt has been fully exchanged
several times since we started. With all the sails set at
blade-tight, straight ahead, we could stop as much of the rolling
as could be done without mechanical stabilizers such as you'd
find on a cruise ship.

My night watch, ending at 2, was the most fun. It was full dark
and overcast, and much of the time it was raining, enhancing the
minimal visibility. As we were well offshore, I didn't bother
with the charts once we established our running room on all
sides, and, instead, just looked at the radar screen for
guidance. We had very little boat traffic, but one instance, well
north of Palm Beach, was notable. A cruise ship showed up on the
radar to our Starboard stern, and came alongside, about a mile
off. Curiously, it then slowed and paced us, for what might have
been an hour, getting slightly closer with every passing minute.
I attempted to hail them but received no response either on the
hailing or bridge-to-bridge (the channel used between boats'
command centers) channels. It was raining heavily, with active
lightning lighting up the side of their boat, so I got a pretty
good look at it, all lit up, as cruise ships usually are. Then,
as quickly as it had come, it was off, crossing our bow at a much
higher rate of speed, disappearing into the gloom.

Because we were in the Gulf Stream, we were making nearly 3 knots
more than our ticking-over motor provided, and had lots of room
to maneuver. Looking at the radar screen efficiently told me when
I'd be expecting weather, and its likely higher winds. So, when
each storm system hit, I just played the wind - kept it either
dead behind or in front of us, or nearly so, or, when possible,
let out the sails to allow a reach - and went in whatever
direction it took me. For those systems very close to our front,
I beat into them, keeping the wind within 30 degrees. With our
sails pulled tight, it was a perfect set to take advantage of a
very close wind, and from astern, we essentially were sailing on
bare poles with flopper-stoppers in the form of our blade-tight
sails. For those times, I did minor jibes, allowing the sails to
assist our progress, without having to worry about a crash jibe,
being tightly sheeted. When the winds were strong enough, and in
the appropriate position to assure no rolling into a position
where the sails might flop over, I eased the main and staysail to
allow a booming reach, pulling them blade-tight again as the
storm systems passed.

It was a gas to see the wind guage go from low single digits to
over 20, and feel Flying Pig accelerate, only to figuratively
sigh and slow down again as the storm cell passed. Early on, we
saw that we were making more than good time, and had to slow the
boat down. If we didn't, our pace (nearly 11 knots over ground)
would have put us at our channel entrance just after dark on
Thursday. As I was unfamiliar with our destination, I was
reluctant to do that. So, aside from managing the storms, where
we accelerated due to the wind, we fed Perky less after dark,
slowing the boat to about 7 knots, and settled in for our 2-day,
325-mile passage.

Tomorrow, we should see shore, again.

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 06-04-2008, 16:04   #2
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I actually read all that. Congrats on your licenses!

Was what they call Masters license a 100 ton license? A real Masters license takes years to obtain because you have to obtain a number of licenses beforehand to work yourself up to that level.
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Old 06-04-2008, 17:43   #3
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100 Ton Masters only requires completing the test and showing the required number of hours.
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Old 06-04-2008, 17:54   #4
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USCG master's licenses

Hi, Y'all,

A master's license is based on additional hours and the tonnage is related to the size of the boat in which you have those hours.

Tonnage doesn't relate to weight, but to interior displacement, so lighter boats may have more tonnage than they would appear. If yours is a documented boat, likely, from the manufacturers specs, it will show the tonnage in the documentation.

We should be able to qualify for a 50 ton license.

As to taking the tests, that is a correct assertion, assuming you have the other qualifications of sea time in the appropriately sized boat. The kicker for the folks doing the classes, however, is that they are authorized to administer the test, and use their own question pool, which is smaller than the USCG's. As such, they typically will teach to the test, and in a day, for the master's, you'll have it knocked, easily. Likewise, the various endorsements, usually done as add-ons at the same day. It is that simplicity I sought in signing up. Doing it on the internet isn't at all the same as in a classroom with supplied materials and direct guidance. Then, there's the going off to someplace where the USCG is administering tests...


L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig
and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 06-04-2008, 18:24   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Tomorrow, we should see shore, again.
Congrats on the OUPV. You two have come a long way in a short time ramping up to the new lifestyle. Nice work.


Question regarding the quoted sentence above:

You are in the Gulf Stream, in these storms we are having in FL, doing 24 hr sailing (rotating watches with only 2 people) and you wrote this and pasted it into the forum while you were doing that?
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Old 07-04-2008, 10:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
Congrats on the OUPV. You two have come a long way in a short time ramping up to the new lifestyle. Nice work.


Question regarding the quoted sentence above:

You are in the Gulf Stream, in these storms we are having in FL, doing 24 hr sailing (rotating watches with only 2 people) and you wrote this and pasted it into the forum while you were doing that?
Hi, Sean, and group,

You're a month off - that was last month. Meanwhile, what are you doing, still in FL??

No, I did that during the day when Lydia was topsides, and it stayed in the computer until I had time to stick it up. There have been times where our wifi setup will accommodate brief latches, but not long enough to browse the web and do postings, under way, but, even then, only within a few miles of shore.

We were well offshore (thus my disregard for anything other than radar and eyeball 1.0, and wind direction to put us in the approximate direction we were going) and it had to wait until just now to post :{))

Actually, I have the balance of the trip in the can as well, but will space them out. They are primarily our (well, in my case, my, the yahoo one) logs and as such I just put them up here for those who aren't on our list (one can join with a click on the list in my sig) but who may have an interest in our adventures and/or stupidities :{)) In order to prevent overload in my loglist for those who may not be as fully engaged, or want to be, in the cruising lifestyle, and/or have limited bandwidth, I try to keep their appearances spaced, unless, as during our wreck, there were so many developments that to have them wait would result in many in a day, or very stale info.

Thanks for your enthusiasm. We'll be in Maine this summer once we finish with our shoreside duties...

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !
Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog
and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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Old 07-04-2008, 15:16   #7
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Ahhhhh!!! I didn't read your title closely enough!

I can never really type anything that lengthy up while there are any sort of seas happening (and I mean any... even a few feet). I get motion sickness when reading in cars, boats, planes, etc... only when reading. That's why I so surprised at your lengthy post - written from the Gulf Stream.

See you in Maine. I'm playing catch up to your current location, apparently. I'm singlehanding... exiting FL in a few days. I didn't rush north because I have no heat. Can't figure out how to heat a catamaran well with wood... still trying to figure that one out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Hi, Sean, and group,

You're a month off - that was last month. Meanwhile, what are you doing, still in FL??

No, I did that during the day when Lydia was topsides, and it stayed in the computer until I had time to stick it up. There have been times where our wifi setup will accommodate brief latches, but not long enough to browse the web and do postings, under way, but, even then, only within a few miles of shore.

We were well offshore (thus my disregard for anything other than radar and eyeball 1.0, and wind direction to put us in the approximate direction we were going) and it had to wait until just now to post :{))

Actually, I have the balance of the trip in the can as well, but will space them out. They are primarily our (well, in my case, my, the yahoo one) logs and as such I just put them up here for those who aren't on our list (one can join with a click on the list in my sig) but who may have an interest in our adventures and/or stupidities :{)) In order to prevent overload in my loglist for those who may not be as fully engaged, or want to be, in the cruising lifestyle, and/or have limited bandwidth, I try to keep their appearances spaced, unless, as during our wreck, there were so many developments that to have them wait would result in many in a day, or very stale info.

Thanks for your enthusiasm. We'll be in Maine this summer once we finish with our shoreside duties...

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery !
Follow us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFlyingPigLog
and/or http://groups.google.com/group/flyingpiglog

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
(and)
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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