Friday, October 31, 2014

Just a Drop in the Bucket.

Drip... Drip... Drip.
I'm looking out my window as I work this afternoon. The downpour has lessened to what might be defined as a steady drizzle. ...Nope. I take that back, it's just plain raining.
We've experienced heavier than usual rainfall for October--and November is historically the wettest month of the year. (Just two more winters until the youngest kid graduates--not that anybody's really counting or anything).

After an extensive haul-out last July, we were pleased with the relative water-tightness of our 92-year-old boat (and when speaking about old wooden boats, the term "relative" is always included).

However, four months of sunshine and a relatively dry summer, (and when speaking about summers in the Pacific Northwest, the term "relative" is always included)... Our deck planks were pretty shrunken.
                         Cue rain: drip, drip, drip...

 It's pretty easy to locate the problems below Kwaietek's decks. After living aboard for four years now, we've developed a decent system. And the solutions? Well, they get the job done. Practical? Yes. Elegant? Nope.

Chris: "Hey--has anybody seen any of the dishtowels?"
Juliet: "Well, I've got about four of them in my room. Dad's used a few too."
Chris: "Guys! What the hell?!"
Jeff: (silently leaving the galley).

Good use of blue-tape and dish towels: (overhead of Juliet's bunk).
The decision was made at last to do something about this situation. We'd been avoiding it for the past few winters because, well because yccchh. You know...  It's the same as the old farmer who, when asked why he didn't fix his leaky roof, replied, "In the winter, it's just too wet to fix it and when it ain't rainin' it's as good as any man's roof."

Every November, our marina pals over on the David B always erect a winter cover on their boat. It allows them to work on her all winter and stay dry. It's a practice that is starting to catch on, as I'm seeing the tent-caterpillar-cocoons pop up in several other slips nearby.
Another boat shrink-wrapped for winter

The process entails building a framework for the plastic to cover. Jeff has priced out PVC pipes and a few 2x6's and some 2x4's. The framing will cost about $110. We will label everything so we can re-use it next winter. The heat-shrink plastic will run about $240 to cover our entire 63-foot boat. It comes in one big sheet. The trick is to run a line of rope around the bulwarks; wrap the plastic up and around it and use a heat gun to adhere the plastic to itself, around the line... then you use the heat to tighten the entire cover around the skeleton frame. There are lots of little optional extras, like vents and plastic zipper-doors that can be incorporated into the cover.
Jeff Smith has done this on David B so many times, he could probably do it in his sleep. All in all, it takes about two days--one day for the structure and one day for the plastic shrink-wrap.

David B's structure is in place.

Most of the other boats are using the white plastic, but we are opting for the clear plastic. Since we live on our boat, the extra light and visibility will be a benefit.

Jeffery has big plans for installing a 300-gal. polyethelene livestock trough on the foredeck and using a portable water heater to make a winter-time hot tub for us. That might very well make winters in the marina a wee bit more tolerable...

Anyways, tomorrow we'll head over to Hardware Sales and pick up all of our supplies. By Sunday we should have the skeleton finished and will purchase our plastic. I hope that these howling winds will give us a break long enough to work on deck.

Photos to come!

                                                  ~ Chris

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Prepare to Come About" is finally in print!

It's been a long and winding road, (or should I say a lot of tacking and jibing)? But my book Prepare to Come About is finally published!

You can purchase it today through Amazon or the Createspace e-store

 About the Book

     Christine Wallace writes with great clarity and honesty--and at times, with humor--about navigating the highs and lows of family, career and love in her gripping memoir Prepare to Come About. 
     "Wallace chronicles her wildly successful business that brought her accolades and awards, radio and TV interviews. However, as her professional life skyrockets, her family's lives spiraled downward. She unflinchingly shares tales of teenage children in crisis, family pressures and chaos that illuminate the struggles of many working families. 
     As the economic tides turn, her full-throttle lifestyle founders and uncontrollable events broadside her business causing a devastating professional aftershock that amplifies her personal heartaches. Wallace and her family struggle with a loss of control of everything in their lives. The fractured family makes an unconventional choice that pivots them all into unfamiliar waters. Their lifeline comes in the form of a tall ship named Zodiac and its enigmatic captain.
    Share Prepare to Come About with Christine Wallace as she, along with her family, weathers rough seas and resets her sails for a new course."

     --Chantlicleer Book Reviews

 About the Author
      Christine Wallace is the author of two books including The Pocket Doula and Prepare to Come About. Her work has appeared in the literary journal Clover (vol. 3, 2012, vol. 6, 2014). Christine was founder and CEO of “Gracewinds Perinatal”, a nationally award winning business. She is the mother of five children and a grandmother of six. Recently retired first mate on the schooner Zodiac, Christine holds a USCG 200-ton captain’s license. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest onboard an ex-forestry boat with her husband, youngest daughter and a seaworthy tabby named Lucky Jack.
The new website for all things book-related is    
However, I still plan to contribute my nautically-themed musings to Flota-Navium, along with the posts that emanate from my esteemed partner, Mr Jeffery Carson.

Thanks for the interest--and please let me know how you like the book!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Of Old Dogs and New Tricks

      The howls from the old boat next to our slip had increased dramatically by the second day. “Do you think we should go over and investigate?”  Jeffery asked.
      “I dunno. Nobody’s been on that boat for months–ever since we complained about the constant parties. How’d they end up with a dog onboard I wonder.”
      “Well, we either need to let it out or check to see if somebody has died. I can’t stand listening to it bark and howl.”
       With that, my husband walked across our dock and climbed aboard the listing old workboat--rescuing a frightened old dog and changing the course of our life in the marina.

I didn't want a dog on a boat--I mean, If I wanted the hassles of living with a dog in the marina, I would have brought my pitbull Sasha onboard. And to top it off, this was an elderly dog, with elderly dog issues: she scratched incessantly at her dry skin and needed help up our steep companionways. Nevertheless, with much pleading from Juliet and rationalizations from Jeffery, I eventually agreed to allow her to stay--until we could find her owners.


Five months later, we have pretty much adjusted to dog-on-boat-life... OK, well, the cat just tolerates it most of the time. I've stopped complaining about hair on the cushions, losing my place on the settee, late-night walks up the ramp and another animal underfoot as I cook our meals. I still wake up at 3 AM when she noisily licks all of her hot-spots... but hell, I figure when I get to be an 84-year-old-lady, I'll likely have hot-spots of my own to tend to.

It seems that the trade-off is that we are privileged to share our home with an older dog--one who has spent a lot of time fending for herself. She's a well behaved, smart old girl. Her Dingo/Blue-Heeler breed characteristics make her somewhat of a herder, and she prefers us to stay on top of things--to keep moving once we're in motion. She deplores violence--or even the slightest hints of aggression. She'll bark sharply at Juliet and Jeffery if they start to wrestle or tease each other. (This makes me wonder what she was exposed to in her younger days).

I find myself admiring her willingness to adapt. It reminds me to be more flexible with my own little challenges. I watch her take to new situations and experiences and think, Damn, if she can do it then so can I!

I only hope that when I reach the senior citizen "golden years", I'll bravely jump into unfamiliar adventures as willingly as this old girl does. After her first week as a family member, Jeffery called for her to join him in our little tender. She blithely hopped in and positioned herself up in the bow. What a gal!

Since then, she routinely jumps from Kwaietek's deck onto the foredeck of Zeta--our little daysailer. We take her out for short sails in the marina and let her climb out on the bow, pulling her inboard when the wind picks up.

When Jeff is here, she goes to work with him during the day. However he left for Alaska recently and I've resigned myself to a 24/7 companion. My former dog Sasha, allowed me at least a few hours of personal space, but Calypso can't be alone for more than two or three minutes. A dog's devotion and sense of loyalty is humbling, (even when you would appreciate a little less of it now and then).

We aren't sure how much longer she'll share our life on the water. Her hips are arthritic at times and we must lift her up the companionways. She moves a little slowly in the morning (as do I more often), but I do love to watch her prance around like a Lipizzaner after her morning pee.

 The fact of the matter is, we are all learning a great deal from this dog. She sort of fits in well with a family that has chosen to live aboard an old wooden boat. I am reminded to appreciate the 'well-worn' creatures and celebrate those things around me that retain their use and their wisdom.  After all, in a world where the newest iPhone release causes internet hysteria and lines around the block, a vintage ship and an elderly dog are much-needed nods to a slower and more thoughtful time.

                                             ~ Thanks Calypso.