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It was the last weekend in May. Moving day! There were boxes everywhere. Some were labeled storage. Others were labeled boat. And, the rest were piled up for Richard’s repeated trips to Goodwill. We’d given some of our furniture to our adult kiddos and the rest was being picked up by a junk hauling outfit.
No Tan Lines (“Tanny” for short) was “on the hard” at Embree Marine Service (which is EXCELLENT, by the way) for repairs required by the insurance company, and we wouldn’t be getting her back for another 10 days or so. We packed our suitcases, and headed to a hotel with the kids, dog, and cat. It was the off-season here in Florida so we were able to get an oceanfront room for a very good rate. It was a “suite” (a tiny one) with a bedroom, two queen beds, a kitchenette, a small living room, and a fold-out couch. It was quite cozy and the view couldn’t be beat.
We decided to turn our transition period into a mini-vacation and we had a great time there!
During those 10 days, Max and Mason started their beginner sailing lessons at the The St. Petersburg Sailing Center and they LOVED IT! I was so happy! Max was so excited on the day he was able to sail out of the basin, and into the bay where he saw dolphins and a stingray! He developed a great camaraderie with his fellow students. Mason, because of his age, was stuck in the small boats so he wasn’t able to have as much adventure time. But, he learned how to sail a small boat all on his own!
During the last day of that class, the parents were invited to not only watch the kids, but to sail with them. I rode in the tiny boat with Mason while Richard rode in a larger boat with Max. We were so proud of everything they’d learned in just 10 days of class! We just got in for the ride and they did everything all by themselves! Sails up, rudder, keel, tacking, adjusting lines – the works! They have both moved on to the intermediate class. After that one, they’ll start the racing class!
On our official “moving-onto-the-boat” day, we packed up the kids and pets, and drove to the boatyard. Capt. Brian was already there, prepping the boat for the trip to our new “home,” the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina. I went upstairs to pay the boatyard bill. We’d had a ton of work done and all of it came in at or under the estimates they’d given. $11,200 total. I was THRILLED!
We settled into No Tan Lines, which was still on the lift, to wait for Capt. Stan, who was going to help us take her to the marina. It was beastly hot that day so Brian had the generator running, and turned on the air conditioners. And, a few seconds later, all the ACs turned off, flashing error messages on their panels. Oh NO! A quick inspection by Brian showed that there was air in the hose leading to the seacock – the NEW seacock. Chad at Embree promptly sent one of his guys down and it was fixed in no time. Brian turned the ACs back on and the boat started to cool down. Aaaaaahhh. We were finally about to be on our way! But, while we were sitting in the cockpit, talking to the nice gentleman who’d just fixed our AC problem, he suddenly said, “You’ve got smoke!”
TONS of smoke was coming through the outside vents. Brian literally jumped into the salon and turned off the generator, threw open the floor hatch, and started to investigate. The amount of smoke was quite impressive! I had already shooed the kids and pets out into the cockpit. There was no fire. Brian assumed it was a belt (and, later, we found out he was right). I was praying it wasn’t electrical. I was a bit nervous about the boat catching on fire once we plugged into shore power. But, Brian had been right. It was just a belt and it’s since been fixed.
Capt. Stan arrived, No Tan Lines was splashed, Stan easily backed her up, and turned her into the channel, and we were heading home! It as an easy trip to the marina, which was just around the corner. We were only in Tampa Bay for about 15 minutes. We had to stop by the marina office so we could be measured and inspected. Then, Stan steered her around the corner again, to our slip.
She was smoothly docked and Capt. Brian got busy hooking up the shore power and adjusting the lines. I sat nervously for about half an hour, hoping we wouldn’t have more smoke. And, we did not!
Richard and Max drove to our storage place for our “boat” boxes and we spent the rest of the day unpacking and settling in. That evening, we all sat in the cockpit, eating our dinner with plates on our laps, watching the gorgeous sunset, and feeling the stress of moving finally leave our shoulders.
It had taken about a year and a half of planning and a WHOLE LOT OF WORK but we were FINALLY LIVING IN OUR FLOATING HOME!!! My dream had come true!!!
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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.
Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.