Shake, Rattle and Roll

Approach to St Augustine

Approach to St Augustine


Ah…land ho! The sight of St Augustine, Florida was just wonderful. We originally planned to be in St. Augustine for a week but we think we will stay two. During each leg of the journey from St. Petersburg to St. Augustine something on the boat simply decided it didn’t want to play anymore.

As we readied the boat to enter the tricky entrance to St Augustine I joked that our adventure so far has been mostly shake, rattle and roll—and in more ways than one.

As Mark has said in the blog posts before this one, we had to motor more than we wanted/expected. While we are motoring things on the boat are vibrating. The shaking can sometimes cause parts and equipment to vibrate loose or apart.

With the wave pattern we have had on the past few trips we have been crashing through waves. We had reefs on one side, the Gulf Stream on the other side, the winds almost on our nose and nowhere for Cream Puff to go so we were banging through waves—and things were rattling as the boat was rolling. This had me thinking about the other different shake, rattle and rolls we had going on since we left St Petersburg.

We decided a long time ago to write about not just the blue waters and sunny skies but the process and lifestyle as well. I have to say; even the bad days still beat fighting the rat race.

Shake: Shakedown Cruise: A nautical term used when the performance of a ship is being tested. Generally when the ship is new or refurbished. To test the boat’s equipment and crew.

We’ve been calling our first season as cruisers our shakedown cruises.  The boat is not a young pup anymore. Cream Puff is 15 years old. Our equipment ranges from brand new to 15 years old. We knew that the boat had not been worked hard in a long time (i.e.: engine, generator, pumps, rigging….). We did what we could in the few years before leaving on our adventure. We expected things would break along the way. We had no idea some of the brand new items we just replaced would break as well.

Rattle: It wasn’t just the rattling from the vibration of the engine or the bone rattling crashing over and through waves. The other type of rattling was of the nerves. Things were breaking on a regular basis and it was starting to get to us.

We know from experience that things are going to break. We’ve owned boats before. Since Mark’s post last week we have received a lot of emails from fellow cruisers that solidify this fact. The internet and cruisers blogs are full to the brim with just this truth. I’ve yet to be in a marina where there was not at least one transient boat stopped over for repairs.

This is one of the reasons we decided to spend the first part of our cruising life near the coast of the USA. We would not be too far from land if we needed to tuck in someplace quickly due to weather or repairs. We would still be near stores that are familiar so we can learn to provision. Parts or items we need would either be available nearby or arrive quickly when ordered. Once we leave the USA receiving shipments will be more expensive and a bigger ordeal. We have a lot of firsts and new things to learn as new cruisers. We hope being near the USA will be familiar and take a few of the unknowns out of the equation until we get settled into our new lifestyle.

Roll: Roll with it. Must haves for this lifestyle: A sense of humor, a sense of adventure, the ability to think and act quickly and the ability to do most of the repairs yourself. We learned a long time ago that with boats we just need to shake it off, whatever it is, and move on. Oh, and have a great network of boaters both on the internet and as friends for advice.

I am pretty sure Mother Nature and Murphy’s Law teamed up to have some fun. They got together in Key West for a long needed vacation, got a bit too drunk and decided to get into some mischief. They saw Cream Puff and her newbie cruising owners, smiled and said to one another, “Watch this!” As we entered the slip in St. Augustine they sobered up. I think they saw us sit down with a sigh of silent resignation, looking around the boat at the broken equipment and wondering what we should do first. They probably said, “Let’s let those kids have some fun” because St Augustine offers some of the best a cruiser (especially a new cruiser) could hope for in a marina and tourist destination. Please read our posts on St Augustine that will follow this post. Arriving at new and fun destinations like this makes the rest of the trip worth it.

Some sailing friends caught up with us on their boat while we were here. They will be buddy sailing with us for the next few legs. We also met some seasoned cruisers who reminded us why we chose this lifestyle. Once we are rejuvenated we will be ready to tackle the next leg of our adventure. Thank you St. Augustine!

Categories: Maintenance, USA

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