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2007-03-21

Lost and Found at Sea...or at least Lake.


I said I wouldn't succumb to the temptation of starting a blog, because the potential for self-indulgent wankery and time-wastage is high. But it did occur to me that not only would it be handy to have a place to record my thoughts as me and my family prepare for a life at sea, but getting feedback from others on this very topic might be....educational.

I've also come to the realization that I personally have benefitted from reading of the experiences, trials and hard-won knowledge of other sailors who have already boldly gone, etc. etc. So this is a way to participate in that process, and perhaps to give something back.

So when I have spare moments, I'll attempt to explain to whoever dares read this just why we are bent on taking a mid-life sabbatical without benefit of years of salty seamanship, or the plush excesses of a lottery win, or with little prospect of employment underway.

I'll try to explain why we are taking our small son, and what we hope to show him of a world that has the potential to rapidly change during his lifetime.

And I'll try to give the benefit of my small but growing experience on how those who stumble onto this site can consider this life path for themselves. Hint: Bring money. There is plenty to do, but thankfully, not a lot to undo. The boat is sound and up to the task, we sincerely hope, of travelling the world's seas in a measure of comfort and in a good deal of safety. The rest, of course, is up to the crew.

Details of the boat:

S/V Alchemy is a Canadian registered yacht of steel construction, with a pilot house and a cutter rig. She was custom designed by Phil Friedman, N.A. as a "Kodiak 41" and is hull no. 1. Phil himself has hull no. 2 and that's all that have been built.

We are the third owners. The fellow who had her built in 1988 sold her in 2002 to a fellow who worked in a chandlery and used his employee discount to good effect. We bought her in July, 2006, when changing life circumstances put paid to the previous owner's dream of going south. Unusually for a vessel so obviously constructed not for freshwater daysailing, but rather for the open ocean, Alchemy has never seen salt water, having spent her 18 year existence on the Great Lakes.

Length: 41' 10" feet LOA, 31' 6" LWL
Beam: 12 feet six inches
Draft: Five feet, eight inches.
Displacement: Approximately 29,500 lbs. light load (full fuel tanks, empty of water and much gear), probably 33,000 lbs. fully loaded (Metric to come).
Engine: Westerbeke W-52, 52 HP engine.
Prop: 18 x 13 three-blade fixed...shortly to become a 19 x 15 four-blade feathering.

That's all for tonight. More to come.

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