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In the bag

Posted in: Boat Improvements, Featured on Sunday, July 20th, 2014
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Our mainsail is now safely tucked away in it’s nice new navy sail bag, safe from water, UV rays and swallow infestations.

The old bag was deteriorating when we bought Tygress but the high winds of ex tropical cyclone Oswald finished it off, completely ripping the canvas away from the zipper and destroying other sections in large chunks. It’s been held together with rope ever since.  Not only did the ratty old bag give Tygress a slightly unloved look it was exposing our main sail to wind, rain and sun.

New Sail Cover

We engaged the services of G & S Marine Trimmers, our local trimmers here at the marina and once again we are extremely happy with the finished work.

Gary taking the old sail canvas off

Gary removing our deteriorating old grey sail bag.

The new sail bag marks the completion of the canvas replacement on Tygress and we love how she looks now. We may be biased, but we think she looks very smart with her red hull and navy canvas.

 

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It’s Curtains for bad Curtains

Posted in: Boat Improvements, Featured on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
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Psychedelic fish patterns aren’t for everyone…

and they weren’t for us.  These curtains were hanging when we bought Tygress and as much as I love bright colours I had trouble loving these. I feel bad saying that because obviously some one did love them at one point and took the time to sew them and hang them with pride in their home. But Ben couldn’t stand them and became increasingly determined to get rid of them.

 

Quirky and fun but not for us

Quirky and fun but not for us

 

Here they are in place, bright and colourful.

Here they are in place, bright and colourful.

One day after taking the time to wash them and painstakingly feed the elastic back through them Ben declares that he can bear them no longer, that they must go and I must make new ones. So despite my protests off we go to Spotlight where we became mired in indecision. Should we get that pattern, I like the spots. Or maybe this one with the curly swirls. But what about this colour. Oh this one over here is a bit cheaper. We settled on two fabrics and after going away and coming back we chose the taupe curly swirls.

Because he has a better head for it Ben took care of taking all the measurements and figured out how much fabric we needed which at under $7 a meter worked out very cheap. It’s thermal fabric designed to keep out 30% of heat from the windows without blocking too much light. The cabin still feels light and airy even with the curtains drawn.

To make the new curtains I simply used the old ones as a template. There’s a slight curve to the windows so all the hard work of making them fit the curve had already been done. The thought of redesigning them from scratch made my head hurt. The only issue I had and that held the project up was the lack of a large flat surface to spread the fabric out and trace the patterns. Lack of space is always an issue on a boat.

 

Our stylish new curtain fabric.

Our stylish new curtain fabric.

 

The new curtains hanging in the saloon.

The new curtains hanging in the saloon.

 

Eventually I got the fabric and curtains over to my folks place to take advantage of my mums huge sewing table. Patterns were made and my old Pfaff sewing machine (which incidentally is almost as old as I am) pulled out and set up on the saloon table. My Pfaff fits on the table perfectly and even though it weighs a tonne, and i’m pretty sure it causes the boat to list to starboard when I store it, i’m so glad I brought it with me.  Once I remembered how to thread it and fill a bobbin I was on my way. It wouldn’t have taken more than four hours in total to sew them up, and as straight lines are easy to sew I must say I’ve done a great job on them.

 

Tied back with matching fabric ties.

Tied back with matching fabric ties.

 

Tied back revealing our lovely big windows.

Tied back revealing our lovely big windows.

They are now hanging in the saloon generally just looking great and classin up the joint!

What do you think?

 

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2013: The Year that was

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Monday, January 13th, 2014

and we’re back!!

2013 was a big year for Tygress and her crew. The year seemed at times to fly by and at others to drag it ‘s feet frustratingly slow.  It was a year featuring contractors, boat improvements, ex tropical cyclones, fun with family and friends, countless metres of yarn and exciting, long awaited milestones!

 

Tygress

Tygress got a major face lift during 2013 which included shiny new windows, stylish blue navy canvas and comfy new cockpit cushions.  Also in a fortuitous twist of fate Tygress was reunited with her tender after a separation of a number of years and two owners. But most excitingly of all was the casting off of her dock lines for the first time in a long time. Tygress got to feel the waters of the bay rush past her hull and the wind fill her sails. No boat is truly happy tied in their berth and we were so pleased to be able to take her out, further deepening our bond with her. Even happier to be able to bring her back in safely.

 

Me at the helm on our first solo sail.

Me at the helm on our first solo sail.

 

Shiny new windows!

Shiny new windows!

 

Stylish new navy canvas

Stylish new navy canvas

 

Our comfy cockpit cushions and super cute kitty

Our comfy cockpit cushions and super cute kitty

 

Personal Lives

The defining moment of the year was in October which saw Ben and I celebrate our 12 year anniversary with an ENGAGEMENT! Ben proposed on board in a display of candle lit romance that was totally unexpected, tender, thoughtful and completely romantic. How could I say no. So now for the fun of planning and paying for a wedding while fixing up a boat…did I just say fun?

 

He put a ring on it!
He put a ring on it!

This Blog

The last year saw Blue Water Dreaming reach new heights proving the old adage persistence does pay off. We participated in the WordCount 2013 Blogathon and were nominated for Australia’s Best Blog 2013. Thanks to that nomination we have since partnered with Boom Video to provide customised add content to the site.

Providing the content is only half the challenge, attracting and more importantly retaining readers is the other half. So a big thank you to all our readers for sticking with us as we’ve been growing and improving. Thank you for reading, for commenting and for sharing in our journey. It’s not over yet so stay tuned.

 

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Boat bonding

Posted in: Uncategorized on Saturday, June 15th, 2013

It’s finally happening, the boat and I are bonding, we’re becoming friends.

While my best ‘people’ friends and I would bond over drinks and meaningful conversation, laughter and hugs, for my boat and I bonding has been a different and somewhat slower process. To my surprise it has taken place through acts of physical labour. Through physical expressions of devotion.

I’ve been living aboard her now for close to a year and have been dutifully cleaning and looking after our living space each day. But it’s not been until I’ve actually picked up some tools and done some real maintenance that I’ve started to feel a bond developing with our boat. I feel more protective of her, and I feel more pride. I sweep her decks with love, and accept the chips in her paint and feel sorrow for her that she cannot yet feel the wind in her sails. I know that she’s not the newest or grandest boat around. She has her foibles like the rest of us, but through these small acts of improvement and repair I’ve come to feel pride in the fact that she’s our boat. Besides some of the newest and grandest boats around here sit lonely in their berths for months at a time. At least Tygress has people, and a ships cat to be with her each day and give her life.

Those who own boats, live on boats or sail on them will know that it is completely possible to form a deep and affectionate bond with them.  They are almost living things in my opinion.  The respond to the wind and water and are constantly in some form of motion. While a house stands fast against the elements, unmoved by wind or rain, boats roll with the punches, sometimes literally. Unless it is totally calm, a boat is always making some form of sound. Whether it be her mooring lines creaking, water gently lapping at the hull, fenders rubbing, wind through the rigging, she is always talking to you, communicating with you. After a while you learn to recognise the sounds she makes to let you know something is not right, when she is in distress.  Most of the time though, the sounds are simply happy, contended ‘I’m a boat that still floats’ sounds.

Regular readers, dear friends and followers will know that we’re in the process of having all of our windows replaced and the hatches serviced. As I’m home during the day I’ve been helping the contractor get the work done. Mostly that entails cleaning off the old silicone after the windows have been removed. It’s a messy and at times, hard job to do. But it’s one of the few times I’ve been able to contribute something more substantial to improving Tygress, other than my usual ‘housework’. And despite the dirty hands and constant worry i’m going to break the boat, i’m really enjoying it. I do at times feel like a fish out of water using power tools but i’m proud that I’ve had a go and done my best. As for the contractor, well dear readers, that is another story.

 

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May – Does not compute

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Saturday, June 1st, 2013

We’re slipping further and further into Winter weather as evidenced by the year’s first appearance of tracky daks (or tracksuit pants) and ugg boots. Ah happy days.  I love a comfy pair of tracky daks and big warm slippers, who doesn’t? Hey i’m in my 30’s, I live on a boat, style is becoming less and less of a priority.

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather making me inactive or just a plain old case of burnout but I’ve barely touched the computer this month.  I’ve let my blogging fall by the wayside. I’ve hardly tweeted (but oddly enough have been gaining followers). Facebook and Google+ have rarely been updated.    That doesn’t mean nothing has happened this month.  Let’s review the month that has been May…

1. May like all the months before it was a month rich in the bounty of fish n chips. Although due to our lack of vehicular transport we could not get to our usual fish n chip place, Corner House Fish and Chips. Thankfully though there is a place within walking distance that fry’s up an equally delicious feast, Baywatch Cafe. Sadly though for the men out there, despite it’s name it is not staffed by busty blondes in red swimsuits. Hot tip – order their tartare sauce and avoid the garlic chicken balls!

 

Baywatch Cafe - a good feed

2. My knitting project deadline is fast approaching  but I have found myself stumped by broken rib edging.  A simple enough stitch but proving hard to master with increases on each end. So May was spent perfecting mattress stitch, picking up stitches, increasing stitches left, increasing stitches right and broken rib stitch.  Thank goodness for YouTube! Below is my successful attempt, I love love love the rainbow wool. (An in depth account of my latest project will be posted on Blue Water Dreaming’s sister site, Stitches and Sails).

 

Broken rib edging

 

3. Mother’s Day was in May and resulted in our first photo canvas order.  We hope the first of many. Eventually we’ll have the facilities on our site to order any of our photos on canvas.  These ones pictured are 30cm x 20cm and cost $35, a great gift for mothers day.

 

Our first photo canvas order

 

4. Boat improvements continued on through May with the laying of our new carpet.  We finally replaced the crappy old off cut that was there when we bought Tygress (before and after post coming soon). Granted carpet is not the most practical choice for a boat but we couldn’t afford the imitation teak flooring that my heart so desired.  And with a steel boat we feel that carpet will provide extra insulation from the cold during winter and also provide some sound insulation as we live loud.  The new carpet feels wonderful underfoot, only cost us approx $120, has a 5 year warranty, and is heavy duty stain resistant. But most importantly it’s blue!

 

5 year warranty, stain resistant, heavy duty and a pretty blue!

 

5. May was a month for making new friends of the feathered squawking variety.  One of the fun things about boat living for me has been feeding the fish with our left over bread but recently the local seagulls have cottoned onto the free feed and have joined in.  These brazen fellas unhappy with their share started muscling in on the bread thrown into the water for the fish.  Gross if you ask me, soggy bread is the worst!

 

 

6. Not only a month for new feathered friends, May was also a month for visits from old family friends and meeting new online friends in person.  We caught up with the lovely family from Adventure of a Lifetime one sunny Sunday and spent a few hours getting to know them, hearing first hand about their adventures here in Queensland and sharing stories of our boat life and our big plans with them.  Blog post to come.

7. I also got creative in the kitchen and tried a new recipe I found on Pinterest which I’ll post in our From the Galley section later this month. Behold my Lemon and Red Onion Pork!

 

Red Onion and Lemon Pork

May held it’s frustrations and disappointments also

a) Our more-trouble-than-it’s-worth car needed to have it’s engine replaced at a cry-in-your-pillow-at-night cost.  So that takes the tally up to two accidents and one new engine. Fortunately though our potential buyer remains keen and we’re on track to sell her come end of June.

b) The wretched weather!  Never before in my life has the weather held so much of my life to ransom. Weeks of sun before we could afford to have the windows replaced and hatches serviced.  Of course now that we have the money and paid the deposit we’ve had nothing but showers and unpredictable grey skies. It’s enough to make you cry, curse the Gods and seriously consider becoming a land lubber again….well I may have overstated that last part.

If (1) is considered a complete cluster-whoopsie of a month and (10) is considered a month full of happiness, sunshine and success then I’d rate May an 7.

How was your May?

 

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New Navy

Posted in: Boat Improvements on Sunday, April 14th, 2013
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Tygress is looking great in her new navy cockpit canvas.  We’re so happy with it. We can’t stop looking at it. It’s such a massive improvement on what she had before and the navy blue works so well with the red hull. I’m not usually one to blow my own horn, but I feel it should be noted that the navy colour choice was my idea. Ben would probably call it more of a demand than an idea, but I wouldn’t budge, it had to be navy.

Before she had a badly deteriorating, lifeless grey spray dodger and a moldy lashed on canvas panel that, lets by honest here, was an eyesore. Ben and I hated it, we spent a lot of time looking forward to the day we could get rid of it.  And here is where I’m really proud of myself, who knew I was so talented with screwdrivers and spanners. All that was required was a determined attitude, a small pep talk followed by the unscrewing a few a bolts in the corners and slashing the rope lashing and presto it was gone! With no serious injury to myself or the boat and no tools lost over the side.

Awful, just awful, the window plastic had completely fallen out at this point.

 

The old lashed on canvas set up

The next day Ben and I removed the solar panels in a perfectly coordinated display of teamwork – Go Team! We needed to work together and move carefully because the panels were still wired up and joined together.

With the panels removed everything was ready for the trimmers to get started on our canvas. They started on the Thursday before Easter.

First they took our old spray dodger off for a pattern and by Saturday a new navy spray dodger was in it’s place.  We were so surprised to see it when we returned from visiting friends that I raced down the dock with a fully loaded trolley and almost squealed in delight.  Even that small part of the job made a big difference to Tygress’s appearance.  Because it was Easter the trimmers were having the following week off so no progress could me made until the following Monday.

The next step for the trimmers was taking a pattern for our new Bimini which was a more involved process than the spray dodger as we didn’t have existing canvas to make a pattern from.  Gary instead put a large piece of blue plastic sheeting up over the stainless steel frame and cut it to size.

The bimini pattern being made

Three days later he returned with the Bimini canvas which after a few small adjustments was ready to install. Not an easy task considering how many different things we had attached to our frame; two anntanae, GPS and two protruding fittings from the section of frame holding up the solar panels (more on those later).

The canvas being adjusted and fitted

By Thursday afternoon the canvas was in place and a pattern for the infill panel (the canvas panel connecting the spray dodger and Bimini) was taken. Friday morning saw the infill panel installed and the job completed.

The finished job!

We had gotten quotes from a few different trimmers around the place but decided to go with G&S Marine Trimmers Aust Pty Ltd which are based here at East Coast Marina. The three deciding factors in making the choice to go with G&S were a) the gave the best priced quote b) we’d heard good things about them and c) they are close by.

We are really satisfied with our choice and happily recommend them to anyone in the Brisbane area wanting to have their canvas replaced.  Gary and I had a couple of meetings at the boat to go over what we wanted done, our regular readers will know that I was a little nervous about meeting with contractors, but Gary was great. Very friendly and easy to talk to, I had no problems telling him what we wanted or asking questions.  When the issue of the protruding fittings was brought up, I explained that Ben probably wouldn’t have the time to make the changes himself, so Gary offered to have the old fittings removed and flush fittings installed for us.  We were happy to pay for that little extra service.

It’s designed so that we can remove it if need be. The quality of the stitching and other fittings is great and the work is guaranteed. If we have any problems, which I’m sure we won’t, it’s just a short walk through the marina to the trimmers.

Looking at the canvas now we’re just so happy with it. Having the newer darker canvas makes a big difference to the feel of being out in the cockpit and once the seat cushions are finished it’s going to look amazing and be a much more comfortable place to be.  The only sad thing about this whole process has been that we’ve weren’t able to get the mesh side panels that I really wanted.  They’ll have to wait until we have more money. As it was the work we had done cost just over 3 boat bucks, but it was definitely money well spent. What do you think? She looks great hey?

 

 

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March – So far so good

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Thursday, April 4th, 2013

March has been a good month. Lots of sunshine, chocolate and progress with the boat.  The morning and evenings are getting cooler which is lovely, although some days have surprised us with their summer heat. It’s almost as if summer is refusing to let go and give way to autumn. But it’s not bad, it makes night time cozy to snuggle up together and days nice to be outside in the sun.

1. We bought a Kayak. If you haven’t got one I highly recommend getting one! Get two! Get three! I can’t believe I fought Ben for so many months about spending the money! They’re so much fun and it has given me the chance to get out and explore the harbour more, and provided another way for me to get active. Judging by my weight gain since moving aboard that’s something I need.   After an initial ‘whoopsie’ moment (blog post to come) i’m turning into a competent paddler.

2. We’ve tried out a few new recipes which will be featured on the blog soon. We’re always looking for healthy recipes. Ones that are suitable for cooking in a small galley, ones the don’t require a lot of fresh produce, ones using non-refrigerated ingredients. And we’ve found a couple of good ones but Ben was a little disappointed with the lack of meat in the trolley when we went shopping.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

3. Added a some new books to my stash. Have I mentioned how much I love our local book exchange. And books. Real books, not ebooks.

Robinson Crusoe, Fatal Storm, Confessions of a Beachcomber, Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, Commander of the Mists and Reading I've Liked.

4. Brightened up the saloon with some wildflowers picked by the side of the road. Australia has beautiful native flowering trees which it just so happens I can reach if I stand on my toes with a pair of scissors.

Yellow and pink native flowers and my hand painted jar for a vase.

5. Embarked on a chocolate eating odyssey by biting the head off of this cute little fella and am presently working on eating this beautiful, shiny family of rabbits!

Cute, but not too cute to eat! Head first.

Shiny, edible bunnies and the delicious gold eggs they lay.

6. We helped friends move into their wonderful brand new house and what new house would be complete without a trip through IKEA. Oh my poor feet and all those glorious home wares I no longer have space for, but it was still fun getting to hang with friends.  And even though we no longer have a house I could still find some goodies to take home.

A slap chop, bag clips, scented candles, tea towels, clothes hanger and hooks for our pot rack.

7. Celebrated Easter with my family by gathering together, drinking and eating a delicious baked lunch followed by the family classic two tone rum pie dessert (not pictured, eaten too quickly)

A home cooked baked lunch - is there anything better??

8. We got a new spray dodger! The first part of the cockpit canvas replacement was the spray dodger and it got done just before Easter. It’s beautiful, the navy goes so well with the red hull!

Our new navy spray dodger. Ain't she pretty!

At the end of these little wrap ups I try and balance things out by noting some less than positive things that have happened during the month. But March has been a pretty good month so I can only think of two.

1) We found some more rust on the hull. Ben thinks that rust is becoming more of an issue because of electrolysis in the marina.

2) Due to financial constraints we couldn’t order the mesh sides for the cockpit that I so badly wanted.

If (1) is considered a complete cluster-whoopsie of a month and (10) is considered a month full of happiness, sunshine and success then I’d rate March 7/10. New spray dodger WHOOO!

How was your March?

 

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Time for this woman to ‘Man up’

Posted in: Uncategorized on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Man up as defined by the Urban Dictionary is the process of strapping on a pair, of growing some balls, and putting a stop being such a complete and utter wuss.

Eloquent, accurate and most of all relevant.

The time has come for me to man up, to strap on a pair and stop being a complete and utter wuss.  I’m referring to the fact that over the coming weeks I’ll have to be dealing with boating contractors, most likely on my own while Ben is at work.

The boating industry, and surely i’m not the only woman who has noticed this, is dominated by Men. Dominated usually by gruff and intimidating men. Men who make me acutely aware of how little I know about boats and sea-faring things in general.

If given a choice I’m an email or text kind of girl, online enquiries and the like.  Phone calls and talking face to face with people I don’t know, let alone male contractors make me more than a little nervous.  Not to mention the fact that my more than adequate vocabulary deserts me, leaving me with ums and ahs and unable to communicate what I want in a coherent, intelligent fashion. Sometimes even with Ben it comes down to drawing pictures to get my point across.

Time to man up and be brave

Which on reflection is silly considering i’m a grown woman of 30 years.

It may be silly, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s how I feel…and I need to get over it if we’re going to get anything done to Tygress.  Ben’s out there earning the money, bringing in the bacon so to speak which means he’s not here to do the talking. He’s not here to be the point of contact.  He’s not here to be my comfort zone.

So not only should I be cooking him bacon (what man doesn’t love bacon?…Mmmm bacon), I need to be brave, man up, strap on a pair or whatever you want to call it and start getting things done.

Last week I finally called The Hatch Man after my emails went unanswered and made an appointment for him to come out and inspect our windows and hatches, some of which need replacing and resealing.  Thankfully Ben was home for that meeting.  Although we’re not so thankful for the shock and subsequent disillusion we got when opening his quote a few days later.

Today in what were’ hoping will be a cheaper endeavour, I’m meeting with the marine trimmer to start the process of getting a quote for the replacement of our spray dodger and cockpit canvas.

My plan? Put on my best ‘assertive, I-know-what-i’m-talking-about’ hat, smile nicely but not too ditzily, tell him straight out what our budget is and then do my best to communicate what bang we want for our buck.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have you ever had to man up, be bold, be brave, be fearless? When have you had to push outside of your comfort zone?

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