Saturday, October 30, 2010

September 2010...Why isn't the Forward AC cooling?

Commodore Harry & Admiral Linda with mom.

Lynn groovin on the sunset, I am just enjoying the friends & beer!

A Broad Wing Hawk up Close at the Hawk Watch

The Admiral being Blessed by the Indian Leader at the Ceremony.

I am a bit behind on my post so this post will be a bit lengthy as I am playing catch up and get all of September in on 1 post:

We were sorta hoping September would find a little relief from the 100+ heat indexes & Humidity, at least one weekend we were punked by a forcasted cold front. Temps dropped 2 degrees and we continued to sweat. But we were actually much more tolerant of the heat and sweat. I guess you just expect to step off the boat at 0730 am and immediately begin to sweat. Those loose fitting fishing type shirts with built in vents are the only way to go. The month started out with a cruise to Ingelside. This was to be a three day event at Mud Island and I was very excited to get a chance to stretch the cruising legs. The cruise destination was changed to Ingelside since the anchorage would be protected from the forcasted North winds coming in with the "Cold Front". We were delayed getting out the 1st day and as we were getting ready to depart for Ingelside, a few storm cells developed over the Bay. So we decided to just join the fleet on Day2 and avoid questionable weather. The boats that left early on day 1 got into the anchorage just fine but they got a close up view of a water spout running down the channel near Ingelside in the late afternoon. Day 2 was great weather and we had a great sail towards Ingelside, but since the wind was on the nose we turned on the motor and cruised on over to the anchorage so we could enjoy hanging out with the other cruisers. We anchored near the back of the group as our anchoring skills are still developing and there was no need for any drama. After setting the new Rocna anchor we lowered the dingy and got the outboard on. The dingy & OB was part of the deal when we bought our boat. We have not named the dingy yet but I am thinking "Shooting Star" might be appropriate, but up till this cruise I could never get the dingy up on a plane. It is an AB Aluminum RIB (rigid inflatable boat). You do not see any aluminum RIB's here, the previous owner bought it since he expected to use it in the Pacific Northwest where the beaches are rocky. There is an advantage though since aluminum is lighter than fiberglass hulls. I took the dingy out to run the engine since we rarely have a chance to use it. This time the 9.8 hp Tohatsu engine did it's job and the RIB finally got up on a plane. It was fun. That evening the BYC Commodore Harry & Linda hosted a party on their Defever 40' trawler "Cabaret"and there was plenty of room on this boat for a grilling for approx 20+ or so. A great evening for sure, this is what these weekend cruises are all about. Around 2200 hours all started to get back to their boats and a great nights sleep at anchor for everyone. Next morning I got out the fishing gear, I had saved same sqid from a previous fishing attempt and I hoped to catch some lunch. I must have caught about 25 small to medium sized hard head cat fish...these you just throw back. I got tired of the activity since it becomes a bit messy of taking them off the hook and tossing them back in. Maybe next time. We dingied over to a nearby Island with Kevin and Kerry, The beach was a shell paradise since it is not exactly a public area. We walked the beach till we discovered a no trespassing sign and then back across the channel for grilled burgers on "Kerry Ann" for lunch. We later dingied into the Bahia marina to enjoy the swimming pool and a bit of conversation concerning a tropical storm that was brewing in the Gulf but was expected to come ashore South of Brownsville in Mexico. Everyone planned to get up early on Day 4 and head back to Corpus before the effects of the storm came into our area. When the Admiral and I got back to the boat we got a call from Jim Clower on H dock. They thought we should come back in due to the weather reports. The Admiral has great respect for such advice so we made plans to go ahead and depart back to Corpus that afternoon. As we were taking the anchor up and departing Ingelside Bay, the winds were already picking up. Soon the were 15-20, we would have a fast downwind run all the way back to Corpus. The bay had 4-5' short chop and occasional 25 knot gust. We got in around 1900 and with the help of our dock mates easily got back in the slip and tied up. Even though our cruise was cut short we felt good to be safe in the slip, the night was windy and we got almost an hour of heavy rains early the next morning. All the other cruisers did find a bit of a weather window to get back to Corpus without incident that morning.
Port A & Birding
The condo was much more available so we spit time in Port A and continued to develop our birding skills. We attended a "Hawk Watch" in Cal Allen just Northwest of Corpus where birders gather to sight and count the migrating Hawks and Falcons of all types. See: We learned what a "Kettle " is and saw several. The event was attended by a local Indian group who sang/chanted several songs celebrating the Hawk migration and several participated in a blessing ceremony by the female leader of the group. This brought tears to some eyes. We saw Broad Wing, White Tail, and red tail Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and Osprey + several more non raptor species.

Around the middle of the month I got a call from Cathy Colley from the BYC candidate search committee inquiring if I would be interested in being a Flag Officer for the club for the next year. She thought perhaps I might be interested in Vice Commodore or the Rear Commodore position. I said "Cathy, I barely know how to open the Yacht Club door much less be in Charge of such stuff, find me another job like keeping the place stocked with needed items like toilet paper or something." I was sure you needed to kind of work your way into such a position so you have a handle on what needs to be done etc. Later she called back and asked if I could be the Secretary for next year, all I would have to do is show up to monthly board meetings and take the notes and publish them. Well, I could do that & I wanted to support her Vice Commodore husband Chris who I thought would be moving into the Commodore's position. The last weekend of the month was the general membership meeting where the members vote on the slate for next years board. This is where I found out I was on the slate with all newbies except for the treasure Joann Robertson who would sign on for another term. This is good since there does need to be some level of experience to carry over to the new board and she is very good at what she does. The other good news was the person who accepted the Commodore's position is a very capable Woman and very good sailor. This might just be what the club needs to encourage some creative ideas for the new year. I will be filling some big shoes as the current secretary is part of the old guard and he has years of contributions to the club.
Projects: AC and Refrigeration
When you just weekend on a boat you never really stress out any of the systems since you are just there a couple of nights and then go away till the next opportunity to spend a weekend on the boat. But living aboard for weeks at a time will determine which of those systems that are older than 15 years will continue to function and perform in the summer heat. The first system to crash was the forward AC unit. No problem, I had installed a AC unit in the aft stateroom when we bought the boat so even though this would cost 1 & 1/2 boat units, I could get the old one out and the new one in less than 5 hours. I ordered one right away knowing we could stay inside our boat budget and not break our pledge to stay away from running up the credit card. The Admiral subtly agreed as neither of us wanted to deal with an uncomfortable interior at this point in our transition. AC install went great and the new unit was cooler, more efficient and quieter. Three days later the refrigeration died. Dad Gummit! This would take some research on a solution and would have to wait for the boat fund to refill with some fresh $$.. Free Ice is available both at the Yacht club and the Marina office so we would be hauling about 50 pounds of ice every three days or so to keep the frig cold. There is this dance that I have to negotiate with the Admiral on these larger projects to enlist her support. Since her father was a master with machines and such of all sorts she has a genetic pre-disposed intuition of all things mechanical and so any solution must pass muster with her review. After weeks of consultation with Google, Gulf Stream Marine, most of the Sea Gods and a few of the dock experts it was determined we would just replace the 20 year old unit with a 2010 version of the same machine. But we would have to wait until the 1 & 1/2 boat units were loaded into the boat fund as per the agreement with the Admiral. Haulin Ice when it is hot outside is not that bad, it is a cool thing to do. On the days when I did not have a boat project and was looking to just have a "retirement day" the Admiral seemed to find some "Corrosion" somewhere in the boat that needed my attention. Usually a 1 hour or less job that required the dremal tool to clean the offending corrosion off the metal object and a bit of corrosion control applied to hault any future corrosion. I can't seem to catch up to the Admiral's list but that's ok since I will have more time next month to take care of the list she has for me.

We did go out sailing a couple of times just in the Bay but I really can't remember much about all that now, just short 2-3 hour sails just the Admiral and I.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

August 2010 Moving Aboard...almost

Wand'rin Star at Corpus Christi Municipal Marina

Board Boat Sailing at it finest!

Yumm, those Bay Yacht club dinners..

The Commodores Cup on Adagio

Moving Aboard
Wow we sure packed a lot of stuff into our 42 foot boat. The V-Berth is full, one shower is full, all the lockers and storage spaces that are easy to get to are full. Gotta get some stuff off this boat but I just have to be patient as the Admiral needs time to figure this out. Our Condo is rented a lot in August so we spend a lot of time getting acclimated to living aboard a 42' boat that is stuffed with to much stuff. We have errands to do but we try to limit getting into the car to every three days or so but sometimes we just have to go do stuff, all related to the transition Part II. Some weekdays the condo is available and we escape the August heat and enjoy longer hours without Direct sun.
Corpus Christi Heat
We did not stop to check on the historical weather of Corpus Christi, did you know Corpus is the 6th hottest in the nation and it is also the 6th most HUMID, beating out Houston by 1 point? Why on earth did we make this move in August? We got out the deck covers after a couple of weeks and put them up to help shade the boat from the relentless sun. Sailboats are just made for Deck shades as the boom and all parts of the rigging can be used to support all types of canvas to shade the boat. Wand'rin Star however came with a custom set of canvas just for this purpose, but after putting it all up you are not really willing to take it down to just go sailing! The Air conditioning units and the refrigeration were working overtime. We were getting prepared for a huge electrical bill, About $45 worth come with the slip rental then anything over is charged to your monthly bill. So we conserved as much as possible.

Bay Yacht Club
Belonging to a yacht club has several advantages. Mainly it gets you away from the boat projects and dealing with Transition II issues. Right off the bat we were invited by Dena and Aleta to Cruise in the Navy Regatta on their 47' Irwin "Adagio". A great sail over and to the Navy base and a great dinner. We took the shuttle home that night with another invite to race back on Kevin and Kerry's 30' Cape Dorey "Kerry Ann". It was a great single tack downwind run back to the Corpus Marina. Another Saturday was spent learning to sail the yacht clubs Sun Fish Fleet. Yeah it was hot but just one mistake and you are in the drink cooling off. A couple of Saturday night dinners at the yacht club and we were in the thick of it. Another invitation on Adagio to crew for the Commodores Cup race rounded out the August fun.
Boat Projects
The best part of living on your boat is you have more time for boat projects, One of the first was to add a cooling fan to the refrigeration condenser. The frig was almost running full time and the small space where the condenser was located was getting up to 90 degrees. SO a cooling fan was added to draw cool air into that space. We added a Wi FI antenna so we could get the free Marina WIFI, and then started working on corrosion issues that will take lots more attention to get to it all. This is a constant n saltwater boats. You just have to put aside time each month for maintainence in this area. Several boat more projects were planned in August but would have to wait for more boat units to arrive and September time.

The Transition Part 2 is just beginning
My god, how long does this transition stuff last? We can't seem to get in a routine or groove. Every day is different and you have to watch your budget when your on a fixed income so you can't just go out and do anything anymore that results in spending money. We did find a really cool free pastime in Port A. Birding. On a whim we went to the Port A Birding Center one Wednesday morning at 9am where we found Nan Dietret and Lyndon. See They are naturalist who give free birding tours every Wed. in Port A. They have actually become friends, we have hung out with them several occasions and are truly enjoying not just sighting birds but gaining deep insight to the birds environments, nature all around and our responsibility to preserve natural habitats. We are also getting pretty good at using binoculars and finding birds in very camouflaged locations. Insects, alligators, crab, turtles, wetlands, marsh, mosquito's, and much more are part of this experience. Be sure to go to the Port A birding Center at 9am if you are there on a Wed..Do Not forget to bring binoculars.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Part they do not write about: Whole Lotta Shakin Going On

Holly Cow.

After the hundreds of articles I have read about couples who sold everything and moved aboard their dream boat to go cruising there was never a word about the transition from working careers and your land based home for over 30 years to living aboard a boat in a very humid location. As we neared the time to make a decision about either leasing or selling our home we had already shed a lot of stuff. But there was a whole lot more to get accomplished if we were to actually dig up the anchor that had been buried for over thirty years and shove off. First was the decision to either sell or lease the home. Well recent market conditions and a little fear of not having a backup plan just in case all of this did not work as as envisioned held the cards.I remember reading an article in AARP magazine that encouraged their readers to keep there home for at least a year just in case the move to their retirement destination did not work out. We were never ones to throw all our eggs in one basket and take the associated risk that comes along with losing it all. My Grandfather had a lot to do with the common sense side of my particular attitude on all this. This was however in direct conflict with my fathers way of getting through the fog, he would not hesitate to take off to California in an old car with a half tank of gas and no spare tire. Lessons learned for sure.

So also to make the Admiral feel secure in a bail out plan, we decided to lease the house. In preparation for either sell or lease I had already begun to get some remodeling projects done. After living comfortably in a home where we had some remodeling through the years the old homestead would need more than we first thought to get her ready to lease.The plan was to paint and put new flooring in the 3 bedrooms and the den area. All of the other rooms had been remodeled in recent years and seemed good to go. After meeting with Troy who would be our broker and manage the house for 8% he gave us a few tips: Dumb proof your home, whoever moved in would not have the wherewithall or motivation to take care of anything so any new installation of items in the home had to be durable and simple to replace in the event they were damaged in the course of leasing to young or carefree, or careless persons. Also as you begin to repair and make things new, other stuff jumps out at you and the remodeling becomes three times more the effort and expense than you originally thought. When the Dry wall people came to fix all the dry wall cracks We thought we could just stay there and hole up in our bedroom, we made it through but that was a huge mistake, we should have just got out for a week and let them get it done. All those old trees had to go and new ones planted. The last thing we needed was a huge limb through the roof or falling on someone and having some kind of liability claim. It went on and on and since we had signed a contract with the Broker we had to be ready to get out by July when most people are moving and leasing. And sure enough it leased and we had to be out before July 1.

We still had a lot of stuff, stuff we thought we would need for a while went into a 5x10 storage in Corpus one car or truck load at a time, All the rest went into a 5x5 unit in Austin, stacked up to the roof. We bought a lot of those plastic 56 quart stackable storage containers at Home Depot. The worst of my worries was changing our address and accounts including online accounts, investment accounts , and on and on. I made a spread sheet and had approximately 75 different accounts to notify for address, phone and email changes. I wondered how do people cope with this who move frequently??? I would tell techie people I knew how they could become the next .com billioners by simply coming up with a web site where people could goto and just put in their old contact info and their new contact info and all their accounts would change overnight. This would of course include contacting all the government agencies as well. There is no wonder there is so much identity fraud going on, everyone else is getting somebody else's mail! Shinola!!

So we finally had the house renovated, had it leased, tenets moved in, stuff in storage. most of the address changes, and we had rented a condo in Austin for July so we could have one more month to complete the transition to Austin. July gave us time to take the rest of our stuff to the Corpus Storage unit one packed car at a time. We actually avoided renting one of those big U-Haul trucks and dealing with all that. We also both had laptops now, a friend graciously gave me an old HP that would do for a while & the Admiral got a early birthday gift with a new Dell. I still had the old desktop and I would need to get all the stuff off the hard drive before I donated it to the Goodwill. We had planned a retirement celebration vacation for Lynn by taking a Alaska Cruise in the middle of all this, it was a great diversion and a wonderful trip. We had a chance to visit our daughter and son in law in Seattle as well and the point to all this is our son in law Russell had just bought the latest IPhone, and he gave his not so old one to Lynn. We now had a great communication tool and it was perfect to satisfy Lynn's need to stay in contact with family. Thank you Russell!

We had an Ace up the sleeve as we approached our move to the boat. We owned a great vacation rental condo with our son's family in Port Aransas so if we needed a place off the water we could always go there when it was not rented. This proved to be a huge transition buffer. In fact we are staying there now for a few days and this is where I find time to write these blogs since I am away from boat projects for a while.

Today I will return to the boat to install new refrigeration, the old unit died. But before that I will call three accounts that just seemed to slip through the net and get our address and contact information change, God I hope this is the last of it...

October has brought great weather and we seem to be moving into a rhythm of coastal living.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Buying The Yacht

The Pic is a Pacific Seacraft 40, if we had an extra $200K in the boat budget this would have been the boat.

I planned on titling this post "Buying The Boat" but then I read the first chapter of the latest edition of "Chapman's Piloting: Seamanship and Small boat Handeling". In the first chapter it clearly states that a boat is any vessel up to 40 feet in length and a Yacht is over 40 feet. Wand'rin Star is 42' so our little boat is a "Yacht". The average length of vessels who are out there cruising with a couple on board is 40'. I started the search for our boat by setting 38' as a minimum and 44' as a maximum. There are a lot of factors to consider when you are trying to determine the best boat for your particular purpose. Our search for The Boat took about 3 years, but I started organizing the search almost 4 years before we planned to buy the boat. This is a common past time of boat owners to get on the Internet or just walk the docks to check out bigger boats. I have organized the our particular process into about 16 different categories :

1. Dream the dream, subscribe and read the sailing magazines that cater to the type of sailing you are interested in. There are lots to choose from and I usually had about 4 subscriptions to magazines like Practical Sailor, Sailing, Cruising, Latitudes and Attitudes, This Old Boat are a few.

2.Estimate the range in terms of size of boats that you will include in your search and a maximum you are willing to pay.Next research This is the ultimate boat site that has thousands of boats used and new to dream about.

3. Create a spreadsheet and list every boat that catches your fancy. The spreadsheet will develop over time as you begin to understand the characteristics in a boat that are most important to your planned use. We had over 50 different boats listed on our spread sheet after the initial research on We would add 15 more through other sources.

4. Find a good broker and stay with him. We went through two brokers before we found one that actually listened to us and was always available and patient enough to work with us for over two years.Kent Little at Sealake Yachts in Kemah was our man. He actually sold us our second boat, that was not exactly a smooth experience but it turned out well so we returned to him for our third boat and we really put him through the paces for this round.

5.Step on a lot of boats, this process will narrow down the list as you become familiar with aspects you dream about. Always go back and add your new found data to the spreadsheet, list why you are eliminating a particular choice. Move it to the bottom of the list and create a rejected category.

6. Read everything you can get your hands on: "The complete Guide to Choosing a Cruising Sailboat" by Marshall, and "Sailboat Design" I and II by Robert Perry are must reads.

7.Research design Ratios and add this information to the spreadsheet. Understanding design ratios helps to take the subjectivity out of the process and help you make a more objective decision. You will not buy a boat just because it is "Pretty" Goto

8.Seek training and gain experience: Experience means sailing as often as possible in as many different settings or boats as possible. make lots of sailing friends and go out on their boats in their environments. Take all the ASA sailing courses or just jump in and get your Captains License.

9. Prepare a boat budget. Know exactly your limit financially and save 3 times more money than you think you will need. This will leave a comfortable cushion for all the "unexpected cost" and keep the Admiral on board.

10. Charter one or more of the type of boat you are interested in. We had the opportunity to go on three charters before we purchased our Yacht, and one of the Chartered boats was in the Top Ten List on the spreadsheet.

11 .Narrow the list to a Top Ten list and go wherever they are for sale to step on them. This process will definitely re-sort the list.

12. See the vision, make the dream a reality. If you haven't already created a vision board to view several times everyday, then this is the time to do it. Make your" Ten Step Plan" listing what is left to do in your life to actually get to the point of owning the boat of your dreams.

13. Prepare your financing early. Now that you have done all the above the rest moves quickly and you need to be prepared if one of your top three choices all of a sudden becomes available for a better than expected deal.

14. Monitor the market and re-visits boats on the web often to check for price reductions.

15. You will now know it when you see it. Through this process by the time you step on the boat you make an offer on you will know as much or more then the present owner, broker or surveyor. The things that you will not know are hidden to everyone except perhaps the present owner. These are your future boat projects. Thus #16 is very important.

16. Hire a independent surveyor, this is the guy that the local boat brokers are not fond of, he causes consternation for them and the present owner. He will at least make sure you are not about to buy a vessel that could sink next week and help you get a fair price for the vessel. There might not be such a surveyor in the local area so it would pay to have one brought in from another area who is so respected.

I could easily write chapters on all of this, but I am not sure when I would find the time to do so, there is a lot of work to be done on Wand'rin Star as it is. One last Word of Caution: If you follow this process you will get what you want.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Captains License

I was on the Internet checking out courses for what is known as the OUPV SixPack Captains License. The nearest location to Austin to earn this license was in Houston. It would require 3 three day weekends in Houston plus a testing date to take the course. This meant I would not only have the expense of the course but I would also have the hotel expenses as well. The SixPack license is what most charter sport fishing captains get since it limits the boat to 6 paid customers. Most Sport fisherman just charter their boat for 4 and sometimes up to 6 people. I wanted the license for two reasons. One was to take the course for the knowledge to help me be a more competent and safe sailor. The other was to have the credential just in case I needed to find some paid boat work in the event our retirement income was not enough to cover our cruising expenses. One night when I was close to committing to the course in Houston I found a course coming to Lake Travis. I was immediately sold since I would be able to easily get out to Lake Travis and avoid the travel to Houston and all the associated hotel expenses. I signed up that night with the Mariners School:

Captain Richard Staggs was our instructor, he actually lived aboard his MainShip trawler in the Kemah area and was responsible for conducting classes in Texas and Louisiana. The Mariners school has obviously created a curriculum that has a high success rate for their students and I would highly recommend them if a Captains license is something you would like to pursue. There were about 15 people in the course from all over the state. This added to the course since there was a wide range of experiences to draw from. There is no in the water instruction, it is all classroom work.

There are 4 basic Modules you are instructed in and must prepare for comprehensive testing:

1. Navigation and rules of the Road

2. Deck Safety
3. Deck General

4. Piloting and General Navigation

Once you begin to get into the curriculum you realize this is not just about sailing around the bay. The License is a US Coast Guard Merchant Marine License and you learn everything you need to know to go to work on a large merchant marine vessel. If you check out the above website you can get more details on the curriculum. We took the exams and all but one student passed all 4 test. The navigation section was the toughest part since you had to plot out very specific navigation problems on a chart and provide your Latitude/ Longtitude answer. Just a small error with your pencil, or straight edge would throw you off just enough to have to repeat the process 2-3 times. We were doing this in a classroom that was not moving, the tables were large and flat and you could spread out the entire chart, of course we had more than adequate lighting. I have yet to duplicate this on my own boat in a seaway where everything is moving and you do n't always have the best lighting. We do chart out our course before hand when the boat is in the slip and relatively still. we use a GPS chart plotter to guide us keeping the paper chart handy in the cockpit just as a back up to our GPS navigation. Lynn regularly marks the paper chart to update our position just in the event our electronics die on us.

Of course the school is in it to make money so they offer certain upgrades to your License. Two of the upgrades I was interested in was a Sailing Endorsement and a Masters. During the course I met a couple of people who worked for Just For Fun, a company at Lake Travis that rented boats of all sorts and they had party boats, house boats, and Seatow which all required some level of Captain experience. Since I needed additional sea time to qualify for the captains license I took a summer job at Just For fun to acquire commercial experience and since they were the only game in town I worked as much as possible in all the opportunities they had. I worked with Seatow towing boats that had broken down on the lake, I drove Party barges all over the lake with a maximum of 50 passengers and I drove the big 80' houseboats so I could qualify for the 50 Ton Masters License. Since I had the Seatow experience I could add the Towing Endorsement to my license.

After working a couple of months I went to Houston to take the Masters, Sailing, and towing endorsement classes and exams. This was just a three day weekend and this time the students were all much more experienced and were from all over the Southern US. Just passing the test does not get you the License. You have several more hoops to jump through, after all this is the USCG and you have to meet Federal Government requirements. Now that I had passed the academic requirements it was time to get the Physical part done. So a visit to the primary care physician for a physical and eye exam. When presented the USCG form for her signature she hesitated, looked at the form hard and since she had given me a clean bill of health I could not understand her hesitation to sign the form. I guess it must be due to all the litigation in the world. If I went out and had a disaster on a boat then she would be the responsible physician that said I was in proper health to do the job. She signed the form and Iwent off to the next hoop. Since your doctor does not have an audiologist in the office I would be paying $100 out of pocket for my hearing exam. This I passed to even though there are some frequencies/tones that I was deficient in (could be why sometimes I do not hear the Admiral). The last test is the drug and alcohol test. I saved this for last since I would be fasting from my favorite beverage a couple of weeks to make sure nothing would destroy all of my efforts to get this done. Yes, I know alcohol washes out in just a couple of days but I was not going to gamble with all the effort. Five days later I got the call that I was clean as a whistle. All that was left was to organize all my documents, make a copy of them all and find a weekday to drive back to Houston to turn it all in to the Coast Guards regional office.

I arrived around 1000 hours at the bland looking office structure off of one of Houston's giant freeways. Went up a few flights and stepped into a small office waiting room where there were about 5 other guys waiting their turn to be processed. The windows where the women were sitting were protected by very heavy glass that appeared to be bullet proof. Two guys went to the windows and after the clerks asked them some questions regarding their paperwork they were sent off since they did not have everything in order. I was next and after several questions and even though I had made a complete set of copies to turn in, they made their own set of copies. She stamped everything and asked me to sit down, after a few minutes another clerk opened a door and asked me to follow her, just a few steps away was her desk. There were several employees on this side of the door in a huge office space. She asked me to raise my right hand and repeat the Merchant Marine Oath. Here is where you find out that if the Federal Government ever needs your service then you have just given an oath to put yourself and/or your boat into the service of the military in time of war or disaster. About 6 weeks later I got my 50 Ton Masters license in the mail with my Sailing endorsement...hey wait, where was my towing endorsement?..a quick call to the office in Houston and a coastie quickly identified the problem and he said it would be in the mail in a couple of days.

Just because you have jumped through all the hoops to get the License does not mean you are ready to go across oceans. Only practical experience can prepare anyone for the task. We have a lot to learn and we look forward to everyday spent on the boat here in Corpus for our next little adventure. One step at a time.