February 1-14, 2009 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Feb 4 - We've really been spending most of our time on the boat for the last few days. The front that moved through here a couple of days ago was stronger than they predicted and we had over 35 knot winds which kept us up and down one night checking things were ok. We did get out on our bikes however some this weekend and and went out to the White Street Pier and by a sculpture display. Sunday we were able to work out again and both of our backs get better each day.The front that is going by as I write this on Tuesday is less than predicted and it is only blowing about 25 knots gusting higher. We are sticking it out on the boat since it would be a ROUGH ride in on the dinghy and not worth getting that wet. You can see to the lower right we had a great breakfast of smoked salmon, eggs, capers, tomato's, cucumbers and toasted cuban bread. During the afternoon I washed the cockpit. Since I knew this front was coming, I picked up 35 gallons of water in my Poor Man's Water Maker, thank you Garry. I ended up using lots of chemicals along with quite a bit of grease, elbow that is, and then finished it with Woody Wax. I'll have to let you know how it works. So far so good but that isn't a test.

I've taken the time to update my recipe page with a number of really good recipes so you might want to check that out here. You will even see where another Gemini owner has contributed a stew to the mix. If you have a recipe to "die for" that you cook on a boat let me know and I'll put it in my section. Of course I will give you credit too. In addition, I decided to put together a comprehensive list of anchorages with dinghy docks in the Florida Keys. To do so, I asked people on the Gemini List Serve to help out and some made great contributions. I have now completed that project as far as I can take it today. I'm still looking for more but it is time to get the information out there. To check that out you can visit the link of Anchorages and Dinghy Docks in the Florida Keys which is now part of my first page. It is really cool even if I do say so myself. I used screen shots from Chart Navigator Pro which is my navigation program and it shows good detail. I used a larger larger image size than normal so you can download the pictures and store them on your computer.

In addition, I got just got a call from the UPS store and my asymmetrical is in. Now to get the winds to die down Wednesday morning so I can pick up my new sail and update the website. Update on Feb 5 - Oops. I wrote that too soon. Winds won't be shifted and down until Thursday. Here is to more boat time.

Don't forget, you have to get the economy moving again so get out your check book and buy a boat. If you are interested in a 2005 Gemini 105Mc which was launched in August of 2005, you should look at Larry's before you purchase a Gemini. Larry has maintained "Skipper" professionally throughout it's life. You can see more information about the boat by clicking on Skipper.  

Feb 7 - So here I was running errands in town. You know, such mundane things as picking up mail, exchanging videos at the library, picking up the line I need to fly the new asymmetrical, also some wire to hook the GPS to the new DSC Radio, and of course buying some gas for the dinghy. Just a typical morning of errands. However, the day can become non-typical very quickly in Key West. As I headed out on the dinghy to return to our boat, I was stopped by a navy guy on a jet ski. Oh to be in naval law enforcement where you just have to ride a jet ski. He was making me aware that they had divers in the water and to make sure I was looking out for the floating markers that indicate where they were diving. Who knows what they were looking for? They had just finished a different exercise too. As it ends up, they had captured one of those semi-submersible subs the drug runners are using to run drugs into the states. They had just finished trying to get a radar reflection off of the windshield and plastic exhaust pipe that comes off of the deck and exits to the rear. Not to big of a target.

On top of all of that, literally, just as I was sitting in my dinghy hearing all of this, over came a flight of 10 RV's in formation as if they were attacking Key West. I'm sure they were down here practicing for Sun and Fun and making sure they kept their formation flying skills up-to-date so nobody would get hurt. Did that bring me back to wanting to be up in the air again? You betcha, as Sara Palin would say.


Every morning Deb has her routine. You really don't want to get in the way of Deb when she is doing her routine. It is like she is a woman possessed to accomplish her mission. Let me explain. Deb will first get up and heat up some pasta for her breakfast. By this time I've already eaten. After she finishes breakfast, she will do the dishes she just dirtied and then move the garbage can up so she can clean up Jimmy Buffett's cage. Once the cage is clean, she puts the new food in his cage and Jimmy heads back in for his breakfast. Then I start the generator and she vacuums the boat and the routine is complete with a clean boat and a happy wife.

On this particular morning Jimmy Buffett had another idea of what was going to happen. When Deb put Jimmy on the plastic box where Deb keeps his food, Jimmy decided it was time to explore even burrow into the kitty looking for something he could use for entertainment. The routine came to an end and we both ended up laughing on this particular morning. Ah the fun of cruising.




What do you do when you end up with a number of dinghies parked illegally? How did they get there and who do they belong to? These are the tough questions that make or break a dock master. Of course being a website author in need of new material, it was time for me to find out some answers.

The first "rumor" heard was, the dinghy's being hauled away on the tow truck probably belong to people currently in the city/county jail. How did they get into jail? Are you sure they weren't just impounded for non-payment of dinghy dock fees? I mean a true investigative website author should ask tough questions too don't you think? I was now into "hard" journalism and I wasn't backing down. I began with an interview of a local who lives on a boat by Christmas Tree Island - the low rent district. He said they weren't impounded, more than likely they came into town for a night on Duval, got drunk and then got arrested. Could it be that simple? I was off to talk to the dock master. She said, "they probably came in, parked where they shouldn't have, went to Duval, got drunk and then got arrested." Perhaps it is that simple. At lunch, I asked Kevin whom we know as a server at one of our favorite places. Kevin said, "I didn't know they were getting removed today. I have a friend who came in, went to Duval, got drunk and then got arrested." My bet is that this wasn't the first arrest for the owners of these dinghy's. However, that is speculation rather than "hard journalism."

You see, it isn't just all fun and games down here in Key West. Sometimes there are important things you just have to investigate so you can get to the bottom of the story. After all, inquiring website readers want to know!


For those who know Deb in her "old life," you know she LOVED garage sales. She was starting to have withdraw symptoms so she convinced me that she would need my navigation skills on her Saturday garage/yard sale adventure. She also said there would be plenty of fishing gear for sale too. Our first problem was to find a newspaper. You see, I read the paper at the Library and I don't pay the 75 cents for a 10 page paper. We needed quarters and a newspaper stand. Deb, on a mission, found both providing us with a copy of the Key West Citizen. The Citizen has a map of all the garage sales on the island in the paper each Saturday morning. Off we went riding all over this rock they call Key West. The excitement was almost too much to contain. We ended up spending a total of $14. Just think, we may have ended the recession since we are putting "so much money" back into the system. I may need a bailout soon. Deb found a pair of sunglasses, just the thing she needed - the 15th pair, five new videos, and I actually found a new camera stand but no fishing equipment. So much for our "take" after seven garage sale stops.

I think we rode about 3 miles and when Deb said we were done, we were off to the gym for our workout and wonderful shower with endless water.


Next we were off to lunch followed by a trip to the library and finally back to Dante's to meet some people who have been following our website for about a year and a half. You will meet them on Thursday when we take them sailing.

We had a great conversation about the pluses and minuses of cruising along with the Gemini. These folks love cats and have pretty much decided on the Gemini as the boat they want. They were even able to tour Larry's since he is in Key West at a dock for the cold weather. Of course they will see how one sails later in the week.

So what's up with the picture to the right? Look at his hands. That is how you can tell he is a local. You see, the temperature is 68 degrees. The locals will be wearing a coat, gloves, and sock hat while the tourists will be wearing shorts and t-shirts. I was wearing a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and jacket which almost makes me a local.


Am I trying to learn "new math?" Or perhaps it is remedial binary 1011101 or something like that. The picture is actually one of our OLD autohelm. That's right, our OLD autohelm. Here was the problem. The display on this unit has had a problem since I've owned the boat. As a matter of fact, the unit had a problem when Paul owned the boat too. The problem was, the display just didn't read properly although the autohelm worked just fine. I couldn't find the place in the circuit board where the crack was which meant I couldn't properly repair the unit with a soldering iron. However, I did find that by putting a toothpick, that's right I said toothpick, inside the case pressing on the display it would work 99.99 percent of the time. If you look closely, you can see the partial toothpick on the right hand side of the display. I never liked the fix but it worked.

Let me back up about six months. Before I left Kentucky Lake I fixed all the side windows on a friends boat after a contractor messed up the sealant two different times. I spent several hours cleaning up the contractors mess and then taped everything off and provided a nice clean installation for my friend on four different windows. As we came down the waterway I told him about my autohelm starting to act up again and guess what? He just happened to have a NEW Autohelm that was a ST4000+ which he didn't need. He just gave it to me. Of course we ended up buying them a couple of dinners but it wasn't near the price of the new autohelm.

Fast forward to today. We've been spending some of our days on the boat accomplishing boat projects and today's project was the installation of the new autohelm. Of course the new and improved model was physically larger and I had to enlarge the access hole which you can see above. In addition, the wires are numerous so they had to be labeled first and then reinstalled. Once it was in place, I powered it up and it worked perfectly. Now all I have to do is to take the boat out and calibrate the unit with the compass. That should only take a couple of minutes of driving in a slow circle while the unit does an automatic compass correction routine.

Not exactly in sequence but another boat project was completed a couple of days ago. I still had the original radio on our boat which meant the old radio was made in 1996 before the days of Digital Selective Calling. Another friend of mine happened to have an extra radio and after I fixed some things on his boat, the radio just happened to be mine. Thank you very much. Of course it didn't fit and I had to not only cut out the hole through the nice black Plexiglas and the fiberglass backing but also through some fiberglass behind the radio. All of this required lots of garbage bags stuffed in the right areas to control dust along with some patience. In the end, I rewired the power and then ran my cable from the radio to the other side of the boat where I connected it to the output on the GPS that sends the NEMA data to the radio telling the radio where we are. You see the cool part about this radio is that when I have a MMSI number then with one push of a button, we can send a distress signal which will tell everyone with a radio similar to this where we are and that we are sinking or whatever the emergency happens to be.

Now for that MMSI number! Oh yeah, I remember. I have a ships station license which I got for the boat so we would be legal before I headed off to the Bahamas. I wonder if they already assigned me a number? Yes they did! I entered it into the radio and we are now part of the Digital Selective Calling cruising boaters.

The reason this is so cool is that when we know other people's MMSI number we can send them a call without calling them on channel 16. That means nobody except the people we call will know we've called. Then they can call us back on a prearranged frequency without everyone with a radio listening in. In addition, if they are within about 10-15 miles of us, we can ask their radios where they are. Their radio will send us back a message with the Lat and Long so we will know exactly where they are and they won't have to do anything. Isn't that cool?  I think it is especially cool when you want to know where your friends are. Of course you may want your enemies numbers too so you will know where you don't want to anchor. I wonder if they have a group MMSI number for loud and obnoxious boaters?

Feb 11 -  The winds are finally, and I mean finally, starting to decrease. Today they are supposed to blow at about 15 knots and tomorrow they will be light. Can you see an asymmetrical flying on our boat tomorrow? In addition, we may or may not have friends aboard too. You will see it all on Friday after I take the pictures tomorrow. In addition, you will find out how I measured and the theory behind sizing an asymmetrical.

I took the picture to the right for my friend Paul and anyone else that likes homebuilt boats. The lady who owns this boat didn't do it all herself. Instead, she contracted with a yard who built most of it. Her goal was to have a studio apartment on the water. She is an artist and loves the back country. This shallow draft cat is perfect for her wishes. The front, as you may see, is squared off. I think it is a cool concept I just don't like the lines. Deb can't see past the lines. I guess to make a boat that we would like would require the boat to be about 10 feet longer so we could have an enclosed bedroom and also to get some nice lines up front. The positive of this design is simplicity. I'm sure it would have quite a wind load when a storm comes up however.


One thing about the docks at Key West is you see some big boats. The Cat to the left is a Privilege 615. That is a 61 foot long cat and my guess is it is about 28 feet or so wide. If you think that is big, the one below is a Privilege 745 so that makes it a 74 foot boat and equally wide. To say these are huge boats is an understatement in the cat world. My guess is they are heading north for the Miami Boat Show but I may be wrong and they may just have stopped by Key West to help out the economy at the 3 dollar per foot dockage rates.

Speaking of really large boats, the one to the right just happened by the other day too. This is a four yes, four story boat or should I say ship. I was thinking it was around 120 feet long. Now that is a nice dockage rate don't you think? 120 X 3 = $360 per night - plus tax of course.

To the left you can meet some people from Pittsburgh. From left to right, Judy, Kenwyn, me of course, Bob, and Andy. We met them yesterday evening at Dante's and enjoyed talking with them. Bob and Judy come to Key West each winter for a month or so. Since Bob is retired Air Force, he can stay at the naval base in visitors quarters. Bob was in radiology while he was serving our country. We appreciate your service.

I hope they have as much fun as we do while in Key West.

Today, Wednesday, we are back to the mundane. This morning I replace the zinc in my heat exchanger, cleaned up the end of the heat exchanger and found a couple of impeller blades so that required the replacement of the impeller. The good news is that almost all of our maintenance if finished and the boat is almost ready to take off up the coast at the end of next month. This afternoon it is laundry and a bike ride up to K-Mart for some storage bins along with a new pan to replace one that has gone bad. I told you mundane. The fun pictures of our sailing adventure tomorrow with our first flight of an asymmetrical will be up on Friday afternoon.

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