Apr 15-30, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Apr 24 - First, I just created a webpage for a friend who has his boat for sale. Garry and Shirline have put their Morgan 41 Out Island up for sale. Garry is obsessed about keeping everything on his boat working. So, he either fixes it immediately or replaces it. I really liked the 30 GPH watermaker installation he did off his engine and the fact that he repowered the boat with a new 56 hp Yanmar Diesel engine plus a new shaft and prop.  I know most of the discussion on my site is about Gemini's or cruising but I thought someone might be interested in a good value and mechanically sound boat. If you know someone looking for a boat that can go anywhere but doesn't have the resources to afford a Gemini, they might be interested in Zipadedoda. Afterall, in the May 08 issue of Latitudes and Attitudes, Woody took a Morgan 41 Out Island from Hawaii to Guam so they must be able to go places.

The picture to the right is when they were in Guatemala this last winter. The boat is currently located in South Carolina and you can read their adventure here.


 Apr 25 - I spent the day yesterday fixing the steaming light. It has never worked and to be truthful, I didn't even think I had one until I looked up about 6 months ago after reading, again, that they are required on sailboats. So, I went up the mast about a month ago to change the bulb. I first pulled out the screws and then I found out the bulb wasn't the problem, the wires had come loose from where they were crimped. That meant that what I had to do is to get a wire up there again.

I took the cover off of the wiring in the stateroom and tried to pull the old wire out but they must have knotted it so it won't come out. Next I pushed a solid wire (for a clothes line) up the 1 inch tube and up into the mast. I was able to hook this wire and tape it to the topping lift. Next I climbed the mast and pulled the line up the mast until I could hook the wire and pull it out the hole for the steaming light. Of course I found out the bulb was also bad so I had to go pick up a new bulb at West Marine too. Who would guess there would be two things wrong with the light? In the end, the light now works so I guess we are back to being legal again.

Of course that can't be the only excitement, there was also a boat interaction problem again. As you can see to the right, they are getting a bit close!

Below you can see that the parade celebrating the Conch Republic secession did happen last night. Of course it was supposed to start at 7 pm and actually started at about 8 pm. We are still on island time.


 People dressed up or in some cases, they didn't. They advertised this parade as one that anyone can just jump into and follow along. So I guess the old days of having lines and keeping out of the street just isn't the way Key West runs a parade.

Given the "rules," I just jumped out in the street too and got some pictures.


 Of course there are the obligatory pirates in pirate garb or at least what would be the garb if they were around today.

We ended up the night listening to a bit of an open mic evening and scooping out the other artists. I may play there next thursday for fun.


Apr 26 - Yesterday I started a boat project. I found a place on the boat that I can make a cabinet in so I pulled some plugs from the trim board to discover what was beneath it. Ends up, there is quite a bit of space and I just need to install a backing board, cut a board and put on a hinge. Perhaps a bit more but in the end, it will be a cool little project. Pictures and more details next week as I complete it.

The real fun thing we did was to go to the "Battle" between the Conch Republic and the United States Coast Guard. You can see below that I have gone completely overboard with the number of pictures I've taken.

To the right you can see much of the Conch Navy preparing for battle and below is part of the airforce.


There are supposed to be rules but I guess as in any battle, they change during the conflict. The rules today were that all you can throw is stale cuban bread. You aren't supposed to be using pumps for water hoses or throwing tomatoes or other things. Regardless, it was supposed be be a good time. By the way, the only thing the airplanes can drop is biodegradable toilet paper. Ok, enough with the rules, lets get on with the "Battle."

On schedule, the Coast Guard Cutter arrived on scene flying the colors. Of, course we had also heard that the Coast Guard isn't supposed to fire back so that is one of the reasons the Conchs (us) beat them every year.

Below you can see one of the schooners about to engage the cutter and below center you can also see they were taking fire from the shore side battery. Looks like firepower may be on our side this time. Of course one of the most pesky boats came in like a PT 109 and began attacking with a water cannon. He started getting the guys in the guard a bit wet.

This guy continued to "strafe" the cutter down the side and thy guys in the back were running for cover. Ok, the rules of engagement have been broken. Lets see how long everyone else stays within he rules.

Below you can see the sole helicopter of the Conch airforce making his bombing run. Center you can see that the bombs just might hit the ship.

The cutter went down, turn around and then came back at them again.

While the cutter was turning around, more boats brought out their "big" weapons. To the left you can see that little PT guy having it out with the Boat US guys. By the way, Boat US was on our side when there was a fight with the cutter but I think some people owed them towing fees because they were also the center of friendly fire too.

Of course, the Coast Guard adapted and out came their water cannons. It is time for some serious fighting.

In the picture to the right you can see that at this time, everyone is firing their "cannons" and what you can't see is that everyone is also throwing bread and other items which weren't really on the approved weapons list.

In the end, the cutter pulled down the colors and surrendered with the red smoke.

Now we will let the games begin. The pictures further down will show that the Conchs must have had a bit of extra ammunition so they celebrated in typical pirate fashion by having a food fight and hosing each other down.

To the far left you can meet Kelly and Eric. We met them later at Dante's and Eric was on the Boat US you see to the left engaging a schooner. One of the funny things about this is that Eric is part of the Coast Guard and he was off tonight. So it was time to have some fun.

Of course you should also look up to see that they have people in the crows nest who are using some of their ammunition from altitude. You have to use every asset you have when in a battle.

Below are more celebratory pictures.

And there must have been a boarding party to take over the cutter because on the way back, one of the Coast Guard inflatable's came along side and got plastered with water from what they thought was their own boat. I'm sure it was an honest mistake.

I had a hard time taking the 80 or so pictures because I was too busy laughing. As we walked back around the harbor, the Conch navy was coming back in. They were soaked and you could see signs of the ammunition expended on the decks. Of course the first order of business was to clean up the boats then they were able to go and party themselves.

 Apr 27 - First off, we spent quite a bit of time today on our boat with a bit of "discussion" about another boat that was trying to anchor near us. TOO near. I talked to him, chased him down in my dinghy when he left a derelict sailboat on two anchors, that were tied with overhand knots to 5 feet of chain, next to our boat. I, very patiently, explained that our boat is our home and according to maritime law he is the last boat in and is responsible for his boat. In addition, I pointed out that his ground tackle isn't up to our standard. He said he would be back in a half hour. Of course 2 hours later, we went to town after all, we had pictures that we had to take. The Bed Race is happening right now.

So, we locked up the boat and headed into town knowing that I had a discussion coming up when we returned. Oh boy!

We got to Duval just in time for the parade of contestants. However, the real interest is in the "race." We heard on the radio this morning it isn't just the fastest that wins, instead, it is also style.


 A number of these had style. Of course some of it was in the decorations and others it had to do with their attire.

As you can see in the picture in the middle below, there were also equipment failures. I think the "doctors" could use a course in mechanical dynamics. I hope they set arms and legs better than they construct rolling beds!

The race is right down Duval and comes past Sloppy Joe's. This is somewhat an institution in Key West since this is the place to be on New Years Eve with the Conch drop.


 The pirates were in the race again, although they had the slowest time. It seemed they just had to stop from time to time and have some grog.

And then there were more contestants. You might wonder how it is that some of the pictures seemed to be from the middle of the street with a race coming at me. I think it is because I was standing in the middle of the street with a race coming at me. Sometimes they were yelling at me and sometimes it was the police escort sirens that got me to move. Regardless, I just had to get the shots for the website - didn't I?

We headed down to Hogs Breath and saw a friend of ours who is Portside Tom. Portside lives on his boat too and normally is out here anchored. However, we just learned that he has engine problems and is now "on the hard." He may have to replace his engine. Regardless, he is still out in Key West participating in the events.

I just had to stop and take a picture of the Conch Republic Homeland Security car. I guess everyone now must have homeland security so why not the Conch Republic?

Ok, back to the anchoring thing. We came back early so I could have another discussion with the guy that was too close. Lucky for us, he moved. He is now about 200 yards south of us and that is just great. I primarily worry about the boats that are north because that is where the strong winds come from. The people south are another boaters problem. Sorry, but when you are out here, that is actually how you feel unless you know the people who are south of you. You can't save the world, you simply have to save your own home.

Today is going to be a wonderfully mundane day. Clean the hull in preparation for our sail trip on Monday and shopping. It is about time we rode our bikes up to a grocery store for a few supplies. Not a bunch to report so don't get too spoiled by all the pictures day after day. We won't have any today.

 Apr 29 - Sunday was the wreckers race. Key West has a history steeped in uniqueness therefore what better way to end succession week than to go back to history and race to the reef for a simulated salvage. In the past, people would stand watch in their highest rooms looking out at the reef and if a boat would hit the reef otherwise known as "go aground," the race would be on to see who could get there fast enough to salvage the contents. Therefore came the name, wreckers race.

We had a boat pull the small boat to the right out by our anchorage and they immediately hopped in and cleaned the bottom of the hull. Next, they rigged the sails and were off to join in the race. They were one of the smallest "wreckers" out there racing.

Below you can see there were lots of boats who decided to join in on the race. It was very organized with their own race channel on the radio. The schooners were given a start time of 1:00 pm and the rest of the boats left at 1:05 p.m. We were watching from our anchorage and listening in on the radio for the activity. We were hearing the announcements counting down to the race.


In addition to announcements, there were also reports of problems. The first problem came when we heard the schooner Liberty Clipper call in that they had lost their top mast and a sail. In the picture to the left you can see some of the rigging hanging down on the left hand side.

On the picture to the lower left, you can see where the mast had broken or I guess it could be better described as shattered. Someone came out and tied a line onto the upper mast and then drug it back into the dock.

Next, 15 minutes after the start of the all class race, someone called in with a lost rudder. Now that is a problem. So, they dealt with that one and the race went on uneventfully after that.

After we took these pictures, we took off for Island Dogs to hear my friend George Victory play guitar. On the way, we captured another picture of a mother and her baby chicks.

George was down at Island Dogs and stopped by to see us on his first break. We talked throughout the break and found out he has been doing doubles all last week. That means that he has been playing in the afternoon at a bar for 3-4 hours and then playing again at night for another 3-4 hours. The night gigs typically start at 9 pm so I can see why he's been tied up and is a bit tired. Regardless, I always like hearing him play because it really doesn't matter how many people are in attendance, he gives a professional performance.
George and I are making plans as to when to get those pictures to finish up his website and he also invited me to play a few songs with him on Thursday night. I will have to practice!

Monday we were off on another sailing/fishing trip. I really enjoy taking our boat out while we are down here to make sure everything keeps working. I believe that the more you use the systems, the better off things will continue to work. It has to do with keeping things lubricated.

We picked up our friends on the dock and were away at about 10:50 am for the Atlantic. On the way out, we had to motor into the seas and they ranged from 2-3 feet and when we got past the reef they were higher. It was rough because we were motoring into it all. We got out to the 250 feet line and were still motoring into the seas when I got my old seasick feeling. Fortunately, I was experienced it throwing up over the side! Sounds fun doesn't it. I told everyone not to watch because I know that just generates more throwing up. I got ride of my stomach and we continued on. After another half hour, we still hadn't caught anything even with my "chumming" so we raised the sails, cut the motor and headed off the wind. The boat immediately settled down and it became a great sailing day.

Jack, right and lower left, kept up the fishing trailing ballyhoo and we even had a few strikes where they bit off the back of the bait.

Lower right is Jason with Deb. Jason is on the bocci team that Jack, Chris, and Jo play on each Monday night.

To the left is Jo. I think she's the organizer of the bocci team.

We had a great time sailing back and I didn't get a picture of Chris. You remember her from last Monday's trip. This time, she stayed in the back and put on quite a bit of sunscreen. She got a bad sunburn last week.

On the way back, we saw the Coast Guard guys out practicing their techniques of air rescue. I ultimately caught the picture to the lower right where they had a guy half way up on the hoist.

We headed back to our anchorage and once again, we had too much food for a late lunch. After some fun conversation, we took everyone into the dock and dropped them off so they could make the bocci league. Deb and I headed back to the anchorage for a quite evening aboard.

By the way, my friend Paul sent in a few more pictures so now you can see the entire progression of him building his boat to date on his page.

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