'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch


From holding to full steam ahead!

In my last entry, I told the story of the friend and fellow wanna-be cruiser who discovered during the course of pre-departure doctor’s visits that he had an ‘abnormal prostate condition” – possible cancer – and so his plans for cruising had suddenly become shaky pending a determination of his health.  Scary stuff.

And of course, the story was autobiographical, and the “friend” was really me.

Call it stress relief, call it therapy, call it artistic license.  I didn’t feel like dragging my health issues into the light of blog world while we waited to find out if there was even anything to be dealt with, but I did want to put the story out there for its “cautionary tale” value.  I’m all the time saying we should go do the things we want to do now, rather than waiting until “later’ because “later” too often doesn’t come. This situation was just too poignant and ironic to pass up.  I hope you’ll forgive me the little lie for that reason.

So no, I don’t have prostate cancer, and after the month of wondering, the sense of a weight lifted is indescribably delicious.

As is my new diet: I’m now a practical vegan.

If you’re not familiar, a vegan avoids pretty much all animal protein sources, relying instead on vegetable foods for their protein intake.   Beans, peas, nuts, and the products made from them all fill in the nutritional hole left when one swears off eggs, meat and dairy products. Why?

Because animal proteins – particularly eggs, poultry and dairy – are correlated by a fair body of research with higher rates of certain cancers, particularly breast and – you guessed it – prostate cancers.  That research isn’t as complete as one might wish, but the evidence I found was convincing enough to get me to make the change from confirmed carnivore (who also liked vegetables) to practical veganism – with a bit of seafood now and then, that being a lesser evil than the rest.

Why “Practical” vegan? Because I don’t panic if I end up at a potluck and someone put meat in the chili or made a pie crust with lard. I’m not here to tell anyone else how to eat (there are plenty of those sorts out there!) or act, (ditto!) – I’m just making a conscious choice to tailor my own intake toward a model that may result in my being healthier longer.  So far I have to say I feel better than I have in years, and I don’t think it’s just the relief of a negative diagnosis for cancer.

But enough about me – what about Sionna? What about cruising south? What about the interesting stuff?  Progress is being made!


Home!  During the summer, anyway.

First, Nicki and I moved to the RV – our northern summer home – on the 15th of May.


Sionna was launched on June 3rd, and now rides comfortably to her  mooring  in Rockland Harbor. Due to a cold, windy spring and my fun times with the medical industry, rigging her has been slow, but over the last two weeks we have managed to get the main mast stepped by a local marina, step the mizzen mast ourselves, tune the rig twice (boats always change shape when first put afloat), and bend on all three working sails – main, mizzen and genoa.  Friday I was out again to climb the mast as far as the spreaders and reeve the lazy-jack line that was accidentally pulled loose during the stepping of the main mast.  (Lazy jacks are a system of lines leading up from the boom to the mast, which help corral the sail as it’s lowered. Very handy, that.)

Outside of the actual boat preparation, there’s the packing up and moving, and there we’ve been equally productive.  The 30 cubic yard dumpster we had delivered to the house is nearly full, and we had three days of bonfires to clear out the scrap wood from all my projects. Several runs have been made to the local Goodwill store, and many of the higher value bits like tools and boat parts have been sold on Craigslist and the like. We’re not done yet, but it’s starting to look like we might actually escape from this process with our sanity intact.  Where the heck did all of this STUFF come from?!


Meanwhile I’ve tested systems aboard, including the new fridge (works great, and makes ice cubes!), the AIS (hey, that’s a ferry boat out there!) and the shower (ahh…)  I repainted the dinghy, and we found a sailing rig which should work once I get it modified and fine-tuned.

Now we just have to figure out where on a 32’ boat we’re going to store the 9-foot mast for the dinghy? Hmm…

We’re still on-track for an August 15th (or thereabouts) departure. WooHoo!