The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins
Skinny Dippin'

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Cruise 2011 - Getting ready!

Planning the 2011 Spring Cruise!!!

Today we are sitting in the salon looking at charts planning our next big cruise!! We have a week to cruise with. We’re currently in Carolina Beach. Our old marina neighbors are having a party the weekend that we‘d be starting our cruise.. But should our first big cruise from here….be back there? No….we need to go somewhere new….somewhere south.. We’re both pretty sure we’ll be back on the Neuse again soon, so we need to do some cruising south of the Cape Fear and cover some new waters!

Charleston, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach….How much time do we have? How fast can we cruise? Charleston SC is approximately 175 miles down the ICW from where we are. At 7 or 8 kts…we’re looking easily at 2 to 3 days to get there and back…..that leaves us 1 day to spend there. That’s not enough. The weather would have to be absolutely perfect. And that never happens.

Georgetown SC. Still quaint and very historic. Lots of southern charm. Should we try going off shore? If the weather is good, we could go offshore on the way down, and back the ICW. How far is that, 80 miles….we can do it. Wait…it’s 97? That might be a little far for our first offshore run. Darn….that would have been so cool.

Myrtle Beach? We’ve been to Myrtle Beach, albeit a long long time ago and we have never arrived by water.

Planning a cruise for me, is almost as exciting as actually going on the cruise. We use paper charts and excel spread sheets. I create Float plans, back up plans and back up plans for the back up plan. We have in one document where we plan to go, how long it will take to get there, the tide expected and the marina contact information. Cruising itself is an exercise in being flexible. It’s important to always have a fall back plan, or just be ready to accept that the best laid plans don’t always work out. But when we take cruise vacations, we always have a plan that we’d like to follow if the weather is in our favor.

It seems float plans are a thing of the past. I posted a thread on one of the boating forums to see who else uses them and what do theirs look like. No one else uses them….not one other boater on our most frequented site. Interesting. While it’s true being a cruiser requires the ultimate flexibility, but the planning of a cruise is a fun part of the cruise itself. I’m sure once you get to cruising long distances and for months and months at a time, a float plan would totally not make sense. Certainly they are not needed for a day cruise or an overnight. For us, for now, it’s an important part of our cruise experience.
We had a new bimini made this spring. It’s just a simple five bow bimini. We went from the old forest green to a new linen tweed that looks somewhat bronze in the sunshine. Once the new bimini was installed…the old fly bridge cushions looked 100 times worse than they did the weekend before! I had ordered enough Sunbrella to make a window shade to snap across the front windshield. However, the cushions looked so bad to me, that the windshield was going to wait. I needed to jump right into my new canvas projects and tackle the cushions. I’ll be using that 5 yards of Sunbrella that was meant for the windshield. And I want them done before our cruise south!!

We decided on the closed cell waterproof foam. It’s insanely expensive compared to the non-waterproof…but the Beaty motto has always been “anything worth doing is worth over-doing”. We got the DVD from Sailrite on how to make your own cushions. (it’s available streaming online too) I sewed a lot when I was younger. Mom taught me. But there were some pretty neat little tricks on that DVD that I never would have thought of. The machine itself is a tank, and I think it would sew plywood if you asked it to.

I precut the patterns on Thursday night…so on Saturday we could get started. We started together…both stapling our piping to the plates….and then we fell into a nice team effort, of me preparing to sew, and Tom sewing. It went twice as fast as if I had to do all the prep work and sewing myself. We now have two of the three fly bridge cushions complete and the helm chair. We had to get more piping due to the splices in the material caused a little waste, and because we decided to use piping on the helm chair too.

Here’s an interesting story. The piping I ordered was called “neutral” in the paper catalog….but when it arrived it was more like a taupe. I emailed with Matt at Sailrite, and the “neutral” on the web catalog IS more taupe that cream. It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted off white, or cream colored to go with the darker linen tweed. I originally asked for some extra for free, since I got the wrong color, there were factory splices to deal with and he wouldn’t want to hold a precut length…but then decided that I wanted it anyway, and told him to charge me for it. He didn’t. He’s sending me enough to finish in the new color scheme ….for free. I love this company. They aren’t just a sewing machine store….they actually like their customers. How odd is that in this time?

We will have an all new fly bridge when we set sail. I can’t wait to see the cushions and helm chair on the boat. I will take pictures and post them for sure. Our “planned” cruise will take us to North Myrtle Beach on Day 1 for an overnight - no sightseeing this stop. Georgetown SC for Day 2 and 3, back to Myrtle Beach for Day 4 and maybe 5. There could be a stop at Bald Head Island on the way home as Day 5 or 6. Day 7 will have us driving back home with a ton of dirty laundry, hopefully a tan, and a ton of pictures to add to the blog.

See you on the water!!

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