Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Full Night and Day on Our New Boat

(Photo of yacht underway with prev. owner at helm, date unk.)

We have just spent our first night and very full day aboard our "yacht". (The name will be revealed after the renaming ceremony.) We're prepping our boat at Cooley's Landing Marina in downtown Fort Lauderdale, near the 7th Avenue bridge. 

Observation: Vehicles passing over the metal lift span make it "sing". Small, fast motorcycles make a high note; larger, heavier trucks make a low note! Also trains run through town 24/7 and sound their whistles overnight ("FAAAAAAAH!"), and ambulances and police cars make for a busy night. 

Even though we took possession of the boat just yesterday, Tues., we had a team of guys over **today**, Wed., to evaluate our standing (wire) and running (rope) rigging. Some items present a safety issue -- so they have to be replaced. 

The former owner has stopped by on his bike, and we chatted about details of the Miami-Bahams route. He's done the crossing many times single-handed (i.e., without other crew aboard). 

Leeson is disappointed to learn that Wi-Fi is not available everywhere.... Our days are starting earlier and ending earlier, too. 

We are sorry if the comments tool doesn't work easily. If you have questions, send us an email at Zee's email or via 3blondesandaboat We look forward to hearing from our many friends. Take care!!

Photo Album by the Yacht Broker: Picasaweb Album (While they are still online)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pre-Survey Jitters

We might have found our boat -- "the one" for us -- a 1984 Brewer 42' cutter (photo above).

We will have it surveyed on Wednesday -- Halloween! 
Click here to see all of the cool photos online!  We like this one better than the last yacht we looked at: more equipment, more homey. The last was a tough, well-built boat, a CSY 44', but this one is better equipped, so it's a better value. Value is our yacht broker's favorite word: Dave McCall of Maritime Yacht Sales (no promotional consideration was accepted for this mention).

It has room for Mom and Dad in the aft cabin, and our son will have the V-berth in the bow (front). He'll have room for Legos, books, etc. -- and of course even room for a friend to visit. We hope to get together by sea(!) with friends from Cleveland in late November. 

Let us know what you think of this post (article).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What it's like to live aboard a sailboat (HUMOR?)

Funny photo not related to  (

Lee found the "Liveaboard Simulator" essay on the Web. It made our sides hurt from laughing so hard! To appreciate what it takes to live aboard, read The Liveaboard Simulator (complete essay)

Here are the first few paragraphs:

Just for fun, park your cars in the lot of the convenience store at least 2 blocks from your house. (Make believe the sidewalk is a floating dock between your car and the house. 

Move yourself and your family (if applicable) into 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Measure the DECK space INSIDE your boat. Make sure the occupied house has no more space, or closet space, or drawer space.

Boats don't have room for beds, as such. Fold your Sealy Posturepedic up against a wall, it won't fit on a boat. Go to a hobby fabric store and buy a foam pad 5' 10" long and 4' wide AND NO MORE THAN 3" THICK. Cut it into a triangle so the little end is only 12" wide. This simulates the foam pad in the V-berth up in the pointy bow of the sailboat. Bring in the kitchen table from the kitchen you're not allowed to use. Put the pad UNDER the table, on the floor, so you can simulate the 3' of headroom over the pad.

(You'll want to read the whole thing!)

That little dohickey to the left of the steering wheel

BEST MOMENT ABOVE at 3:55: "I'm driving the speed limit" and everyone passes him. Compilation from YouTube.

Dear Floridians:

We have driven all over the world: France, U.K., L.A., Boston, D.C., Italy, San Francisco, Calif., even Australia, etc. But we have never seen such a bunch of reckless, fast, inconsiderate, boorish, dangerous drivers in our lives!

You probably won't believe this, but there's a little dohickey on the left side of your steering column that moves up and down. Drivers are taught to use this to signal lane changes, pulling away from the curb, etc. Is the use of the turn signal not taught in Florida "drivers ed" or the driving manual you may pick up at the DMV, or are all drivers in Florida self-taught? 

And the speed limit signs? That's not a suggestion. We routinely see people going 15-20-25 MPH faster than the posted speeds, and posted speeds range from 65 to 70! Those little white signs with the BIG numbers that say SPEED LIMIT. Yeah, those signs!

Examples: We were at a stop light waiting for the green left turn arrow to light up. A guy two lanes to our right crosses our path and turns left in front of us. HELLOOO? Then the guy behind us turns left, also BEFORE our turn. 

We're going to start a driver improvement school. Lee suggests that it be called Driver Improvement and Education, Florida, or DIE, Florida for short. For a good time, check out YouTube's "Stupid car collisions" compilation. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Tribute to Packards at the Fort Lauderdale Car Museum

The oldest Packard in the collection: A1909 roadster with "monocle" windshield
We went to the Fort Lauderdale Car Museum filled with Packards. WOW! We love classic cars. The collection includes 39 cars, including one used by Pres. Coolidge, Dr. Albert Einstein, *and* Charles A. Lindbergh. The owner of these fantastic cars was Arthur O. Stone, a successful florist as an adult, who fell in love with Packards as a child. He swore that he would own one when he grew up, and he did! 

Unique examples include a Paddy Wagon with Fort Lauderdale Police Dept. graphics, a troop carrier from World War 1 that became a commercial delivery truck after the war, a convertible with two windshields, and a1909 roadster with "Monocle" windshield (driver only, please!) (last photo). When you go, don't forget to see the large collection of TOY VEHICLES and custom-made glass shift knobs (see photo). Truly a treat for the car lover!


Art You Can Use: Glass Shift Knobs

Packard Fire Truck used on the Packard Proving Grounds!

St. Augustine is Beautiful

We fell in love with St. Augustine. On the way back from Jacksonville we decided to stop and take a day off to explore this beautiful city. We toured the Old Jail -- very ominous, very scary. The warden and his family lived in a wing attached to the jail!

 Leeson and Dad home schooling! (Why, you...!)

What I want to do when they don't get along!

Leeson with the sheriff. (Kids, this only works in "Loony Tunes" cartoons.)

We toured the Pirate Museum which we highly recommend; check out the scavenger hunt for kids.


We then toured the old fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, learning about its history from one of the costumed volunteers.

(We assigned Leeson a 2-page essay about St. Augustine's history which he did a great job on. See his essay, elsewhere in this blog) 

The town has charming (NARROW) streets that remind one of European streets, since it was established and built by 16th Century Spaniards, after all... Very pretty! 

st augustine
Photo borrowed from

Thanks for visiting -- keep coming back. If you have any questions, please comment below.

The Search Continues... Base of Operation Established

We went to Jacksonville to see a boat. It was a long way from our home base in Pompano Beach, about a six-hour dive. We have a home base because many places won't take our cat, Ying Yang.

The boat search has taken longer than we thought. Partly because the east coast of Florida is more expensive than the west coast. We were originally planning on camping but (a) ran into stowage issues (too little room for tent, sleeping bags, etc.) and (b) didn't feel we could leave our cat at the campground unattended while we looked at boats. Same with our son(!). We stayed in two places in the Ft. Lauderdale area which gave me headaches from mold. Ugh! So, in three weeks, we lived three different places. Now 2 and 1/2 months living as gypsies. We all want to settle on a boat and I am sure it would be easier if we were loaded with dough...

Top: A Beach in South Florida
Above: Our slightly sunburned son

We have met some interesting people in our search. Boat brokers, yachties, landlords, etc. 

BTW, do you know the written works of "Cap'n Fatty"? He's a funny and wise guy -- sailing the briny depths for 40 years. 

Buy this book from Amazon and we'll make a few bucks -- could help us go one or two miles farther!!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Great quote from our son:

"I don't like water -- it's evil."

He has also said that he hates swimming and water. He may not be the ideal candidate to go sailing for a year or more. But he's going anyway. He'll thank us later. 

APPROVED BY LEESON, a boy and his (Samsung) tablet.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

candy for sailors by Zee and Lee

Today we went to West Marine (a chain of giant marine equipment stores coast to coast) for the first time ever...
Heaven, I'm in Heaven, lifeboats, hats, forestays, 
anchors aweigh! 

BTW, this anchor is available in sizes 100 lb. to 10,000 lbs. Whew. (Husband only available in 172 lbs.) Don't forget your Zodiac "yacht dinghy" for $41,000!

This intelligent shopper is careful with her money: "No, this one's too expensive, dear!" (True caption: "What's this thingamajig for?")

tick, tick, tick

Time...keeps on ticking...
and we're still looking...

Once in a while, we have to take a break we are at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park...  Ninety degrees Farenheit and muggy.

Lee is checking Leeson's brain for ripeness (Nope, not ripe yet).

scary things by Zee

Who knew the boat search would take this long??? We found a couple boats we really liked but they were too expensive or had a "problem" which could have led to major problems. In one yard we saw a CSY walk thru -- a very strong and capable sailing vessel. The owner had customized the boat which is great but *this* was strange....using Italian halogen house-type lights on the ceiling, but the scariest thing was this black bumpy thing about the size of a lemon attached to the wall opposite the galley. It was black with another bit hanging below the main body the size of a grape. What was it?? 

Ugh! It was black mold.

Scary stuff, especially if it's not cleaned up ASAP. You would think if you're going to sell a yacht worth several hundred thousand dollars you might CLEAN it! My free tip to yacht brokers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Not to Captain a Boat (Thanks, YouTube)

(by Lee) 

You won't believe this video. Now you can watch two ships' captains crash their vessels together over and over in slow-motion. How I pray this never happens to me! 

What is... National Liquidators?

We were told about an auction house in Fort Lauderdale, where we are staying temporarily, called National Liquidators -- it's massive. They sell both boats, sail and power, and airplanes. We're going to go see it on Friday. We are still looking at boats and getting advice from a trusted advisor. It's a pain to live out of rented apartments, even when they're not expensive, and I promise that we're getting closer to making a bid...

View Larger Map

Still not our boat:

Why not? It's a little crowded -- terrible for storage of dry goods, food, etc. 


So, don't cry for us, but it is truly not easy finding a boat that fits. There are lots of boats, but many don't work out for various reasons -- real versus perceived problems, cost of repairs, performance, etc. We'll keep you informed. I'll ask Zaneta to author the next post, and invite Leeson to write as well. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Downed Light Plane Spotted *On* Fla Hiway

Driving on I-75 north of Sarasota, we noticed a traffic tie up -- then we saw a helicopter hovering in the distance, then fire trucks: 1, 2, 3, 4, and a CRANE? The crane was hoisting a low-wing Cessna-type single-engine plane off the grass between northbound and southbound lanes!

We don't see that every day. Two local TV trucks covered the incident. We hope no one was hurt!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


[By Lee]

Ah... the infinite variety of boats... Hard to believe how many variations they embody! Made in Europe, South Africa, Asia, and the Americas of course: New England, Florida, California, etc. Many hull sizes and body types, now with equipment unimaginable to the "old salts" of olden days: Watermakers! Self-steering! Solar cells! Wind generators! We're looking at them in Florida, in Georgia too, as well as Maryland. We might go see some in Virginia as well. Wish us luck to get a good one

Below: NOT our boat

For more info on this boat, Google "Larry Ellison yacht"

More later!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Memoriam -- by Leeson


My grandpa died today.

Reverend Kenneth M. died at 6:55 pm Eastern Time, August 8, 2012.

Monday, August 6, 2012

You Will Not Believe This Twist... by Lee

Ermahgerd! Sunday, we found a boat to check out as a possible, and talked to the boat broker's agent to look at it. So... Monday morn, we drove TWO hours one way to meet him, and he drove 45 min. one way to meet us at the boat. 

Then by chance, we learned on the spot that the boat was SOLD and the agent was never informed. Grrrrrr. No way to treat a boat agent, is it? 

We were all justifiably ticked off. Hours wasted, hopes dashed. Par for the course? We'll see. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Finally Homeless! by Zee

We sold our home. We weeded through years of STUFF! I never want to own so much STUFF again. What a great feeling to get rid of it. Now we have one car to sell and various paperwork to take care of. We now intensify our boat search.

We have a limited budget since we would like to stay out cruising as long as possible. Our goal is to find a boat which will be safe for our family and won't need tons of money to fix up.

We have looked a lot on the internet and now we actually go visit some yachts we are interested in, and to narrow down the field and put in our bid on the one we want.

I think more people don't do this because it is so much work! Unless you can afford the above.

Let the fun begin!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Moving Sale Down; Craigslist Vending and Charity Pickup(s) Next

Wow! Big moving sale behind us. Sore shoulders, backs, thighs, etc. But we did get rid of some things. We also have lots left over: Furniture, books, decorative items including a pre-wired/pre-lighted nylon and steel Christmas tree! Our son sold lemonade and brownies; way to go, son!


Even though it rained all day, we had people show up and HAGGLE with us. If an item was $3.00, they'd ask for $1.00. If something was $30.00, they'd ask for $15.00. If their items totaled $17.00, they'd ask for a discount to $15.00. Good practice for going to Central America -- if we choose to go there... 

More updates to come later! Closing is set for July 31st. Movers here on July 30th. Woo boy, are we excited? Yes, we are!


Bonus YouTube video: 3-D Mandelbrot Zoom 


[Post by Lee]

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Update -- About Two Weeks From Closing

[Post by Lee]


It's now halfway through July. The closing on our house is set for July 31st. We're still working on getting moving estimates... We're moving about 60-70 percent of our personal items into storage in Florida ("The Sunshine State"), and selling a lot of things at a yard sale in about one week.


It's been very busy: discarding photos, weeding through files, emptying file cabinets, etc.


Leeson will miss his friends here in the D.C. area, but we've suggested that he write them letters or postcards or point them to this blog.  


The selling/negotiation process is nerve-wracking sometimes, but we'll get through it!


Thanks for reading 3 Blondes and a Boat (subscribe to our RSS feed; see below).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

[Post by Lee]


 I found an interesting essay from a Cruising World blog. It's about returning from a sailing adventure. 


"A Tough Act to Follow" from Herb's Watch, courtesy Cruising World online


Zee and I are working to sell our house and downsize. On another blog, they talked about getting rid of X percent of your possessions, then getting rid of more. That's us... It's a challenge when we humans have some innate tendency to accumulate... Thanks for reading 3 Blondes and a Boat.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why "Three Blondes and a Boat"? by Lee

[Post by Lee]

Another new blog? We are launching our first group/family blog.... We -- Zaneta, Lee, and Leeson -- ARE three blondes in search of a boat to make our dreams of travel (maybe even...adventure?) a reality...


BTW: I thought that icebreaker launch video above was amazing! Such a violent yet controlled event! That's why good engineers and naval architects are modern miracle workers... 


We've thought of taking a sabbatical for a while; I give credit to my wife Zee for that idea. We've been both in the rat race for a while, and are becoming  more sensitive to our own mortality. In 2010, I had a kidney transplant on Father's Day (June 20), thanks to the gift of life from a friendly family at church. I'm doing great, in case you wondered.


We also know people who didn't live into their "golden years" and who didn't get a chance to go traveling. So we're taking a risk to do it now -- in an economic downturn, when jobs are scarce -- to see a bit of the world. The original idea was to buy a boat... You can live on a boat and travel on a boat, too, at the lowest cost to many (coastal) destinations. Our minds grew feverish with imaginings: England, France, Greece, the Caribbean... Why not? We thought of going by RV but we took a loooooong drive to the Midwest this summer, and driving is a chore. So maybe we'll go by boat after all. Maybe Zaneta can polish this post once I've published it.