Renne' (Sailady) Siewers

Renne' (Sailady) Siewers

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cruising Friends Off-shore, On-shore or Ashore

Passage Revelation:  You can't have too many friends.`
Lessons Learned:  To have a friend you have to be a friend.
 
You meet friends in many places while cruising (off-shore, on-shore and ashore).  Sometimes you give them a boat card and then never see them again.  You collect so many boat cards after years of cruising you don't know what to do with them.  I can never get rid of a boat card.  Boat cards are designed so many ways.  I like the ones that have the person's picture on it so I can remember them.  For me it's better than the boat's name.  I keep them and look at them every once and a while and wonder where the cruisers are now.  Are they safe?  Have they stopped cruising?  Are they land lovers?  What part of the country did they settle down or did they just go back home?
Sometimes, I keep up with fellow cruisers through social media.  This is a wonderful way to see other parts of the world through their pictures and adventures.  Their pictures show how happy the cruisers are in their cruising location.  Some of our friends have traveled around the world and are traveling around the world; crossing oceans and touring Europe and the far east.  These cruisers have another gene that causes them to follow in Columbus footsteps.  They have no fear  with adventures on the high seas. 
When you stay long enough at one location you often find cruisers who you can buddy boat.  These people may end up being your life long friends.  You protect them in any cruising situation and visa versa.  You may end up helping them fix their boat when needed and them yours.  Afterwards, you can have a drink of brew and laugh about the moments of terror and joy.
These friends will always be in your heart forever.  Life moves on and cruisers move ashore to be with family; mostly grandchildren who have won their hearts.  These little guys need guidance and cruisers have a wealth of knowledge that can serve them well.
Whether off-shore, on-shore or ashore always treasure your friendships.
 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bon Appetite on the High Seas

Passage Revelation:  A well-fed crew is a happy crew.

Lessons Learned:  Pressure cooker saves on fuel and time.

How do you provision a Boat for the High Seas?  I can tell you one thing; it is not a science, but research and a lot of planning.

First, determine the space for your food inventory, which includes refrigeration and storage.  Next, survey your crew for any food allergies, likes and dislikes.

It is prudent to make a preliminary menu to share with the crew.  This way you can revise your grocery list.  My lists always include meats, vegetables, fruits, drinks (rule of thumb is 10-8 oz. glasses of water a day) and snacks twice a day or more if doing night crossings.

One of the tall sea tales included a couple, who needed additional crew.  A local sailor volunteered to crew for only meals, “I will work for food”.  The first meal was prepared, and before it could be served, the hungry sailor had eaten the whole meal.  Did I say it was prepared for six crew members?   Surprised the ship’s cook had to prepare an additional dinner.  By the time they arrived at their destination the cupboards were bare.  All their food was depleted.

Here are some provisional tips I have discovered:

1.       Have the grocery store portion, wrap, and freeze your meat a few days before departure.  This will keep your meat frozen longer and use less refrigeration.

2.       Buy canned meats to supplement your frozen meat.  Always eat your fresh meats first.  If your refrigeration quits, then you will have your canned goods.  A canned ham will go a long way.

3.       Purchase Velveeta cheese since it does not require refrigeration, and will last a long time for the cheese lovers. Cheese is a premium (in third world countries), and generally costs 2-3 times the amount in the states.]

4.       Acquire staples such as; brown or white rice, beans, and vegetables that last a long time such as; cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic.  [Prepare the fresh vegetables first and then use the can goods.   If the can good has too much salt, rinse with water.]

5.       Procure oranges and apples, which also will last a long time.  If the apples begin to ripen make an apple crisp or pie-take the recipes.  [Buy canned fruit, and if it has too much sugar in the syrup, rinse the fruit with water.]

6.       Obtain snacks that your crew can enjoy.  Some examples are nuts, crackers, celery with peanut butter or pimento cheese spread, and granola bars.

7.       Keep eggs in a refrigerator, but if you do not have enough room, store in a cool place.  They should last  unrefrigerated at least 2 weeks. 

Remember when in third world countries food is a premium and costs sometimes  will double or triple the amount in the states.

One of the cooking utensils, I found invaluable, is a pressure cooker.  It is a must buy in my book.  It allows you to prepare a meal in the one-third the amount of time.   This keeps the boat cool, and saves fuel, whether propane, alcohol or electricity.  Additionally, dishes can be layered in a pressure cooker.  Some ideas are:

1.       Layer rice or potatoes on the bottom

2.       Arrange a fresh or frozen vegetable

3.        Cover with meat

4.       Pour 2 cups of bouillon water over the dish

5.       Remember not to fill the pressure cooker more than 2/3 full.

No need to add seasoning until served.  You will find the bouillon and meat is enough.  Cook for 15 minutes and then let cool for 10 minutes.  If your crew is real hungry, place the pressure cooker in cool water until the top releases.

A well fed crew is a happy crew.  The crew may not remember high or treacherous seas, but they will remember the aroma of fresh baked bread or a hot delicious meal.   To top off your meal, serve your crew’s favorite adult beverage. 
Sailady salutes, “Cruisers, Bon Appetite on the High Seas”.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do Clothes Make the Sailor?

Passage Revelation:  Clothes do not make the sailor, but makes the woman a clothes horse.
Lessons Learned:  Limited space on a boat requires careful selection of clothes at all time during cruising. 

I've come to the inevitable conclusion, that I have too many clothes to fit the limited space available onboard our sailboat.  I tried to figure out how I can put as many clothes in a small drawer, hanging closet or anyplace else I could find.  I've even put outfits together in a plastic storage bags and found that didn't work either.  Then I separated the shirts, shorts, pants, etc. into the different storage bags.  It is a difficult situation but I'm now thinking about what I actually need for the tropics.  But what happens if I need to return home or have a special occasion.  My hanging closet is filled with 5 shoe hangers which have shoes, purses, and my underwear.  The shoe hanger idea was brilliant, but it has allowed me to keep way more shoes than I need.

Not sure if  I'm fooling myself or if I just don't want to rid myself of the last evidence of civilization of the life as I  knew it in Houston.  One of my boater friends said, "You don't look like a boat person."  How does a boat person look?  We don't have a home base anymore and I tell everyone that my home is where the boat is.  Where ever that may be at any moment of time.  It has my bed, my kitchen, my shower and ,yes, all of my clothes.

I was so proud of myself when I finally got rid of a garbage bag of clothes and donated them to the Navy Relief Society.  Then I walked into a West Marine who had women clothes 75 percent off.  Did I say they were Columbia?  I couldn't resist and proceeded to replace the bag of clothes I had just donated .  Now I had to re-address where I was going to put the new clothes and now what could I give up.

Again and again I have talked to women who are cruising.  Periodically they place their clothes across their stateroom bed and go into an elimination process.  How do you choose?  I can't get rid of my favorite tee shirts.  

One of my cruising buddies, Gina, selects clothes using her favorite color purple.  This way all her clothes can be mixed and matched.  She asked what my favorite color, but I like wearing clothes of all colors.  Then she advised me to categorize my clothes by selecting 4 pairs of jeans, 4 tee shirts, 4 shorts, 4 sailing shorts, etc.  I knew when it came to bathing suits, I could not only have 4.  Also my friend Dew said I needed jackets to wear with my jeans and it would dress up my wardrobe.  Thus, I have kept three jackets.

I am at a loss.  I can't give away my Harvest Moon shirts, NASA/USA shirts or my OLLU shirts.  The memories are too precious and definitely clothes tell stories.  How could I give them to a stranger?
I know one thing, I will not get rid of any of my bathing suits, because I plan on living in them soon.  I guess if I don't get rid of any clothes I could give them to the islanders.  This actually seems like a perfect solution in the spirit of Christmas.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Paradise in Key West, Florida - Boca Chica NAS Marina

Passage Revelation:  Life is full of new friends, old friends and boat friends.  Take the time to talk  or call your friends and say Hi!  You never know when they may need help or just a good listener.


Lessons Learned:  All marinas have rules and regulations.  These rules may be local, state or federal.  Rules are made to create harmony in society.  Follow the rules or if you don't understand the rules, ask the Harbour Master.

Sunset view from Boca Chica Navigation Bar & Grill
   

What a beautiful marina!!!  The sunsets are to die for...I continue to receive beautiful sunsets from my friend Rebecca Lacey on my cell phone.  I appreciate everyone I receive.  The sunsets and sunrises are incredible. 
 
All marinas are similar to living in a small town or going to high school except for one criteria.  In high school you have the popular, the geeks, the jocks and the others.  In small towns you have the rich, the other side of the track and the society.  In military marinas you have officers and enlisted, which boundaries merged into partiers and non-partiers.


All of these groups are separate, but have a goal to establish their place in society.  Boat people have no predefined criteria of social snobbishness; boat type, yacht size, or your occupation or prior occupation.

In all these groups you have written or unwritten rules, which keep peace in a society, however;  small or large.  All marinas have rules to follow.


Doug & Susan from Chicago Sandbar Friends

The common denominator is the passion for boating, whether it is sailing or motoring.  As long as it floats you are part of the overall group.  When you walk down the pier you see a smiling face and quick "Hi'" is generally the norm.  How is your boat? is asked before How are you?  When available you get an offer of How can I help?  No where in any other society will you find such willingness to assist, even with the question; Can I help you with your Head (Pottie, Loo, Bathroom, Jon (I mean John) etc)? problem. 

Boat life is GREAT and you meet WONDERFUL life long friends.  Your new friends will sail or buddy sail with you, teach you about boating and listen to your tall tales sailing adventures.


Rebecca & Lou from Key West at Mallory Square
 

Yvonne Guy visiting from Houston & Renne' in Key West
 

Karen & Ron Parsonsn from Houston & cruising  Key West - Jewelry Show


 






 

 

Kent Brownhill Houston & Crew at Mallory Square



Jon & Renne at Mallory Square
 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pirates – Unknown-Known

Passage Revelation:  Listen to the warnings and stay alert of suspicious surroundings. Trust your instincts and use good judgment, danger can be anywhere and everywhere.
Lessons Learned:  Always be prepared against unknown-knowns.  Use your electronics for safety notification and information. Document your float plan with Tow Boat US.  When suspicious intruders are nearby call Tow Boat US with your location or any change of plans.  This notification alerts nearby boaters and pirates the fact you are not alone out at sea.
The first time I heard the term unknown-known was after the Space Shuttle Columbia came apart on descent to Cape Canaveral over eastern Texas.  NASA engineers were aware of foam chunks striking the Space Shuttle on takeoff, but did not understand the ramifications or dangers.

Next to Last Shuttle Flight with my Dad and Mom






 This is how I felt when I noticed a new marker indicated on the radar.  It would appear, disappear and then re-appear.  In the distance, I finally saw a boat approaching the JonNe’.  Of course, the boat would stop its approach and then begin again.  It seemed to be monitoring our speed and distance.  It was a power yacht who had more speed and maneuverability than our 42 foot sailboat.  Now it motored toward our bow.  Then it turned to the center of the boat.  Suddenly it stopped and started toward our bow again.   Their approach made me nervous. 
 After discussing the unusual situation with our crew, Kent Brownhill, I woke up Captain Jon, who was sleeping in the aft cabin, and requested he bring his gun for our protection.  He was startled to say the least, but promptly retrieved the gun with and ammunition. 
We all have a predefined description of a pirate.  Some think a pirate wears a big black hat with a ruffled white shirt and a large knife attached to their belt scarf.  Pirates can be anywhere but their apparel may be just like fellow sailors, or a tourist or even Kemah, Texas dress code.  They don’t sail the skull and bones for warning. Pirates certainly are unknown-known, but you can’t tell by their appearance or behavior.
The ominous boat could have been potential pirates.  Their erratic behavior led us to believe their intentions were not honorable.   Jon’s preparation and plan proved to be invaluable.   He immediately called Tow Boat US and reported our position.  This information alerted the Pirates, Tow Boat US knew our location.  Upon the transmission the pirates turned and paralleled the JonNe’ for miles.  Then after a while the Pirate Yacht anchored at our stern.  Possibly, the pirates were waiting for an unsuspected ship without a plan.
The JonNe’ continued their course in the calm beautiful Gulf of Mexico leaving the unknown-known boat on the horizon.

 
Kemah, Texas Pirates

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Changing Weather - No Sight of Land

Passage Revelation:  God  made an incredible ocean and sky for us to enjoy it's majestic beauty. Be grateful for all weather in your life; even in doldrums, fog or storms.  Eventually, the weather changes, bringing clear skies and smooth sailing.


Lesson Learned:  Use radar to navigate through bad weather, whether in storms or fog.  If you don't have radar, hove to and wait until fair weather.

No wind.  The ocean's water was crystal, dark, and deep royal blue.  It was as smooth as an ice pond frozen in the cold northeast.  The difference is the hot sun that beat against the Bimini.  

The only sound was the engine and the almost non-existent waves splashing intermittently against the hull.  Yes, we were in the doldrums.  Looking up, the sky matched the sea; crystal, dark, and deep royal blue with no clouds. 

Since there were no clouds, the night sky is covered with sparkling bright stars.  It is incredible seeing the stars without the interference of city lights.  We saw falling stars, satellites, and the International Space Station.  Unfortunately, we did not see the Space Shuttle, nor will we ever have another opportunity.  The Space Shuttle has been non-commissioned; retired after only 30 missions.  Did anyone tell you the Space Shuttle was built to fly 100 times?

Yes, the doldrums were upon us with no wind.  In times long ago, sailors would sit, and wait until the wind returned.  During this time, the Captain assigned sailors work to keep them busy.  This would occupy their minds, and keep their hands busy until the winds returned.   They had no weather reports on VHF, and no engine to propel them through the water.  For us, we had the motor to continue our journey across the Gulf of Mexico, even without wind.

The next night contrasted from the clear beautiful night.  Fog covered the sparkling stars in the sky and engulfed the boat.  It was eerie looking out in space and seeing nothing.  Darkness had fallen over our safe haven.  We were now motor sailing with the assistance of radar.   My fear somewhat diminished as the radar electronic circle surrounded the boat.  Again, our safe haven returned against the thick-as-thief fog to alert us of any ship or rocky shore coming into our path within 12 miles.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Running Aground – From Pensacola to Clearwater, Florida

Passage Revelation:  There are only two types of boaters, the ones who have run aground, and the others who will.
Lessons Learned:  Know tribal knowledge in navigating through new seafaring territories.   Ask directions from local sailors, before leaving the dock.

It is very tricky leaving the Pensacola Bayou Grande Marina.  The markers are confusing; yes I went aground, but recovered very quickly.  Over the years I have found the best solution to running aground is to re-track your boat steps.  This was especially important, as I had followed a local sailor, in a sister Vancouver 42-foot Tayana sailboat, into the marina.    The only difference in our boats; he was the original owner and bought an aft cockpit; whereas, we are the second owner and bought a center cockpit.
When I ran aground, I put the boat in reverse, and returned the way I had come, and backed into deeper waters.  Come to find out my husband and crew previously had run aground, but recovered by flying the spinnaker (whopper), in another area of Pensacola Bay.  The spinnaker provided the propulsion to ease the boat off the bottom.  So after 2 weeks, the JonNe’ had run aground 3 times; once in Portofino Marina, Houston and twice in Pensacola, Florida.  Fortunately this time, TowBoatUS is not required for the Pensacola groundings. 
After the almost running aground incident, we set our course to open seas heading toward Clearwater, Florida.  As night approached, the sky darkened with no moon to guide the way.  Previously we had 14 days of moonlight, with clear skies all the way.  Tonight the moon did not appear until midnight.  Out in the darkness, I heard whistling and blowing noises.  I searched for the sound, but nothing was over the side, except a phosphorescent illumination on the water’s surface.  This beautiful glowing light had replaced the moon and was guiding the boat through the ocean.  Then I heard the noise again, and saw magnificent dolphins gracefully diving in and out of the waves.  The dolphins were the culprits responsible for the magical seafaring sounds. 
The translucent light sparkled against the boat and dolphins as if fireworks on the fourth of July.  This brightly speckled light is plankton on the surface.   The dolphins were feeding on the micro -organisms available for other sea mammals.  The shimmering iridescent light accompanied our sailboat for hours, but soon the dolphins disappeared into the darkness.   This light had served two purposes:  one to light our sailing course; two, and the most important, as a food source, instrumental to the ocean’s Eco life cycle.