Should We Take the Leap?

Hey guys. So, yeah, apparently my vow to write a blog post every week went out the window this month. We’ve just been SO busy lately with boat projects and planning a potential move to the Puget Sound, on top of our normal jobs, that I haven’t taken the time to sit down and update you all.

In fact, it’s been so long that I had to go back and read the last blog that I posted to see what all I need to update you on!

We still haven’t gotten Mosaic out to sail BUT we’re really almost ready.

Project Update

Brenden and I spent several weekends and evenings wiring up the mast lights and new electronics. We’ve got all the lights figured out and functional, except for a stern light that we need to source and install. I actually quite enjoyed the wiring process. We took a TON of old useless wiring out of the boat and I found that very satisfying. It definitely made me think about how interesting it would be to design and build a system from the ground up. Unfortunately, with older boats such as Mosaic, most owners will face the roadblocks that we did in terms of old terrible, and sometimes even dangerous, wiring systems.

boat wiring and electrical systems

Our primary AC/DC power panel.

We need to finish the install of one of our chart plotters and then we can call that project done. We’ve got 2 new chart plotters and we’ll install and wire in the second one probably this winter.

Brenden also worked pretty hard for several days on installing our new multi-function displays in the cockpit. That was a pretty difficult and messy job but we finally got them in.

On top of all the wiring, we also just last night finally finished up installation of our new outhaul system which we designed from scratch. With the help of our coaches over at Sailing Totem, we designed a 4-to-1 purchase outhaul system that was installed internally in the boom.

sailboat outhaul system

The outhaul system before installation inside the boom.

This project required several splices which I did. Four of them were simple Brummel lock Dyneema eye splices which still took some research and planning as two needed to be spliced onto the block fittings and the other two then needed to be spliced with only one end of the line available. But, the hardest splice was the Warpspeed line that is constructed of a Dyneema core but has a protective cover on it. The two layers add tons of complication but the hardest part is just getting the cover opened up enough to pull the core through to splice. This line is a very tight weave and this splice alone probably took as long as the other four to manage.

But I got it and we spent a couple hours last night completing the install of the outhaul system which actually went well. It is so nice to check things off the project list!

Remaining on the list before we can take the boat out to sail is splicing a big Dyneema loop to create our mainsail clew strop. We’ve got the line for this and the actual splicing shouldn’t take very much time. As I spent quite a bit of time researching the creation of a strop for our new loose-footed main, and couldn’t find many good articles about it, I am considering doing a full blog post on this project. Let me know if that would be of interest to you!

In addition to the strop project, we need to get the mainsail on and design and install a new reefing system. We’ve got this planned out and parts purchased, but we need to bend the sail on and see where the reef points lay before we’ll know exactly if what we’ve got planned will work. We’re hoping to get the sail on the boat in the next day or two so that we can get going on that.

We also need to re-install our windlass after we cleaned and repainted it a month or two ago, then we should be able to consider anchoring out from time to time! Of course, we also need to do a thorough inspection of our anchor chain and rode. But I’m pretty excited for the first time that we anchor overnight with Mosaic. I think that will be a cool feeling.

Dinghy Update

We FINALLY got our new dinghy!

Family swimming hole, reached by dinghy

The view from our regular swimming spot on the marina’s shelter island

Amazingly, despite two years sitting in Brenden’s dad’s garage, and who knows how long since it was run before we purchased Mosaic, the old outboard actually started up when we got it on the new dinghy. We’ve taken several dinghy trips around the marina, up and down the river a little to explore, and several times over to various swimming spots over the past couple weeks. The weather has been trending pretty hot lately so it has been really nice to have this option for cooling down every afternoon.

Of course, we can’t have anything just work the way it should, so the outboard engine has decided to start giving us trouble. After probably 4-5 hours of run time without problem, the engine died on me one afternoon coming back into the marina with the kids after a swim. I discovered that I had just run it out of gas and didn’t have any issue just rowing back to the slip. That evening I filled it again with gasoline and got it started up so I thought it was fine. But, the next day, it died again several times during our trip to the shelter island to go swimming. It seems to be OK at low throttle or idle but when given more throttle to power up it fades and dies.

It’s possible we’ve got the ratio of gasoline to oil wrong (it’s a two-stroke engine), or maybe we’re gumming up the spark plug or the carburetor is having issues. We haven’t explored diagnoses yet as we’ve been focused on other things. But it is a priority as it has been VERY nice to have the dinghy to play around with. The kids love going for dinghy rides and the swimming has been very nice on these hot days.

Future Plans Update

A couple weeks ago, Brenden had a trial week working from home as a test to see about him being able to begin working remotely. This is our major obstacle in being able to possibly get moved up to the Puget Sound this year.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that his test week went exceptionally well, we haven’t gotten a commitment from his bosses on being approved to work remotely. They want to do another test week so we’ll probably be doing that in hopes of appeasing them.

But, we’re coming to the conclusion that we just need to decide if we’re going to do this or not. Whether his work gets on board or not.

So, last weekend, we took a day trip up to Olympia to visit the marina (Swantown) we want to get into and get on their waitlist. Unfortunately, we should have gotten on the list for them when we checked it out in May, but we didn’t know that we would be so seriously considering this move this year, at that time.

Swantown Marina - our first choice for living aboard this winter in Olympia

Swantown Marina – our first choice for living aboard this winter in Olympia

We’re #5 on their list for a 42’ slip and about #20 on their waitlist for liveaboard status. So that makes things a bit complicated as we could potentially be called to move up there and get a slip before we get called in for a liveaboard spot. Additionally, there’s no way of knowing how quickly the lists will advance. It could be a couple months or it could be a year or more before we can actually get in at Swantown.

But Swantown is just one marina in the area that we could see ourselves at. It is probably our #1 choice at this point, but we’re on waitlists at a couple other marinas in the area, including one in Tacoma that could be pretty cool if we could get in.

Looking for a marina to live aboard in Olympia

Olympia WA – You can see Swantown Marina here and West Bay Marina

We’re thinking South Sound at this point because, if he had to, Brenden could commute to work in Portland until he could find a new job. Which, if he did that, he would be searching specifically for something that would allow him remote work from the start.

Compounding all of these decisions is the fact that, IF we’re going to make the jump from the Columbia River up to the Puget Sound this year, we need to plan on doing it by the end of August or the middle of September at the very latest. Depending, of course, on the weather.

We’re working closely with our mentors on Totem and also with a professional captain, Stephen Frankland of Agwe Sailing, who did several sailing lessons with us last year aboard Mosaic, to plan this jump from Astoria up to the sound. Neither Brenden or I have ever sailed on the ocean before so we feel it is critical to have somebody experienced along to help up take this step.

Captain Stephen coaching with Rachel at the helm last summer aboard the sailboat Mosaic

Captain Stephen coaching with Rachel at the helm last summer aboard Mosaic

Captain Stephen has years of sailing experience, has crossed the Columbia River bar several times before (which may be the hardest part of the jump up north), and we’re comfortable with him as we’ve sailed with him several times over the past year and a half.

We won’t take the children with us on this trip, as we want to be able to focus 100% on what we’re doing and maintain the safety of the boat and all aboard, so we’ll be calling on friends and family to help with watching the children when the time comes to take the leap.

Meeting Our Idols

Yesterday, we took a break from boat projects to head up to Seattle for an opportunity to meet in person and mingle with the family that lives and sails aboard SV Totem.

This family of five has been sailing around the world for 10 years. I’ve gushed about them for years- they’re arguably our most influential sailors. We were over the moon excited to meet them in person and get a chance to hang out at a small, intimate potluck being hosted by some of their cruising coaching clients and several other families that are in various stages of prepping to cruise.

Getting to hang out with the Gifford family and so many others, chat, swap stories and dreams of life on the water, was so amazing. Another motivational factor in making us really want to get the boat up to the Puget Sound this year.

As always, please feel free to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for more frequent and current updates. I promise not to let another month go by before I post again.

Thanks for reading!  ~Rachel

One thought on “Should We Take the Leap?

  1. Pingback: Mosaic Crew Boat Budget: July 2018 | Mosaic Voyage

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