Our First Night on the Hook

So marina life is great and all, but it’s not what a blue-water-capable sail boat is designed for. Plus you can get pretty complacent with all that 120V shore power, unlimited potable water, showers and grocery stores a short walk away…. so it is time to test Sanitas’s systems while at anchor off the grid!

We decided to spend a night anchored off Eggmont Key State Park and wildlife preserve. Better yet, we planned to spend it with our new friends Drew and Sharon. We met Drew way back at the St Pete boat-show, when he captained our free sail on Tampa Bay. When introducing ourselves, we realized both our boats were currently located three boat-lengths apart in the Salt Creek Marina! By the end of our three hour tour, we were fast friends and all booked to set sail together for Key West as “buddy boats” on Jan 19th. Crazy! Since then, we have spent several evenings together talking and planning and getting excited for cruising. We even spent Christmas dinner together, and really felt welcomed in their family and home. So the prospect of anchoring out was more exciting knowing that we’d have wine and Euchre waiting for us in the harbor.

Winds were super light, so after a couple of hours of attempting to sail south, we gave up and started the motor. Still fun to ride under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge! (I told Mike, I could have jogged from downtown St Pete to the bridge faster than we sailed there) we had the chance to try lots of boat systems for the first time on this trip:

  • We laid the anchor, and ensured that the 25 ft markings were still in place, and that the windlass worked
  • We used our house battery banks and solar to power our electrical needs. Well mostly. One of the three solar panels never did function.
  • We used our insanely expensive marine quality propane grill for the first time.
  • We used the water maker, aka desalinator, for the first time. Coolest boat gear ever!
  • We hoisted our dinghy, Bug, off the foredeck and into the water and back. And putted a whole 25 yards over to Drew’s boat and back. This was not a graceful project.

A successful trip, if I do say so myself!

Tool of the Day…. The Bosun’s Chair

Sometimes you gotta climb…. although Sanitas is only 37ft long, she’s tall! About 49 ft tall (planning for 50 feet, just to be safe) And sometimes, something way up high on that mast will break. When that happens, someone has to climb the mast to fix it. We don’t have anything too seriously wrong with our mast, but just in case, we bought a harness, and a chair to let Mike or me get raised up the mast using a spare halyard and the winches. Today was a shakedown, to make sure we knew how to use all of this cool new gear, to make sure Jenn knew how to lift Mike up and down safely with her wimpy little arms, and to inspect the mast while we’re at it. And why not enjoy the view?

SV Sanitas is Named and Celebrated

Have you noticed while reading these blog posts that I keep referring to “our boat” and “the sail boat”? Have you felt a little bit insulted on her behalf that she isn’t being referred to with a more appropriate level of respect? Well, I shall remedy that today. Upon arrival at the St Petersburg Municipal Marina, we set out to throw one huge shindig to officially rename our new home, and to ensure that Neptune, god of the oceans, and Aeolus, god of the winds, treat her well forever onward.

Tradition has it, that you must throw a big party to celebrate the renaming of a vessel, inviting everyone in the marina, and showing your sailboat that you are proud of her, respect her, and are willing to lavish money on her (as if we haven’t been doing that already, see “Tool of the Day” posts.) So we set out to do just that. We stocked up on red wine, champagne (or a reasonably priced facsimile from Costco), snacks, burgers, and all the fixings, and we invited everyone who walked by to help us curry the favors of the gods.

Mike rang the ship’s bell and gave a toast to her previous captain Jock, and all of her previous adventures. Then we dropped an ingot inscribed with her previous name into the water, asking Neptune to erase that name from his records. We offered toasts to the North, South, East, and West winds, and poured wine over her bow. I offered a toast to Captain Mike and the hard work he has performed to get us to this point. And FINALLY, after much toasting and bell ringing, we unveiled the new name of Sanitas.

Sanitas means “healthy or sane” in Spanish, and is sometimes used as a girl’s name. We hope that this small life on the water will bring us sanity and peace of mind. Our home in Boulder, CO was at the base of Mount Sanitas – one of our favorite local hiking trails. So we love having this tie back to an important part of our old lives.

I hope that we followed the rituals correctly to ensure good luck and safety for SV Sanitas and her crew. I do know that we met and befriended many people that night, both fellow transients passing through the marina, and folks who live there full time. So I feel that we have already felt the benefit of good luck and a successful naming ceremony!