It’s the end of our life as we know it…

It’s the end of our life as we know it…

… and I feel fine. Inspired by an R.E.M. song describes this our current situation, but without earthquakes so far.

We are sitting in the train which brings us from our former home Wiesbaden to our new home, sailing yacht Luna Mare.

This is the start of our long journey, which might bring us to a lot of great places all over the world.

Last day in the office

Last day in the office

Today was my last working day or to be more precise the last paid one. Work is still a lot ahead of us, boat owners know what I’m talking about.

Throughout my whole business life I had so many great colleagues so also at my last working place. It was a wonderful farewell party with some drinks, food, speeches and presents for me.

Since I’m originally from Bavaria I got around 40 bottles of different kinds of bavarian beer. Of course no phote for the public 😉

I got also a survival box with some instructions how to use them:

The most important item: Captain’s hat!

It is very important to distinguish between captain and crew especially in case you travel as a couple.

So my wife said in case I behave properly I might be allowed to wear it also, every now and then.

She is simply the most wonderful captain you can imagine. LOVE.

Breaking up of our household

Breaking up of our household

Only three weeks remaining till we’ll start our circumnavigation. So it’s time for breaking up of our household. Today we got rid of furniture our family/friends can still use.

So our apartment is getting empty and we’ll have a kind of camping on 120 m², but luckily still with a kitchen 😉 before we reduce our living space to about 10 m² in three weeks.

Your Visa is approved

Your Visa is approved….

a nice lady at the US embassy told us.

I heard already that visa-waiver-program doesn’t work in case you enter the US by sailing yacht. Some used the visa-waver-program by using a ferry, I guess from for example Canada, got a 90 days visa, traveled back and came back with their own boat.

Somewhere else I read that sailors were happy about getting a B2-Visa. Searched in the internet to get to know what this is about and considered it as something we need. Filled in a form on the internet (bit complicated for me due to my “US-History” with SSN, driver licence number, contact person in the US – thanks Angela), service fee paid, appointment made for an interview at the us-embassy in Frankfurt.

Photo taken during my first US visit 1998

Then Thursday last week seven thirty in front of the us embassy. 15 minutes later within the area. Little surprise, our visa pictures are not valid due to eyeglasses. These are not allowed on visa-pictures. But there was an photo booth with instructions to get a proper visa picture (don’t smile etc.).

Then first counter, taking fingerprints and some questions. Why do you need a visa? We will arrive on our own sailing yacht. Ok, then you need one. Ready. Next counter, next brief interview, basically same question. And eventually “your visa is approved”.

Great. Now we can theoretically for 10 years as often as we want visit the wonderful United States of America, each time for up to 180 days. Theoretically, because entrance can still be refused. But now we can set way-points already for spring 2018, either golf of mexico with for example New Orleans or east coast (New Bern, NC, where I used to work in 2004 for a couple of months).

Howdy.

From now on we can say……

From now on we can say……

next year we will start. That sounds really great.

All of you who are visiting here every now and then we will wish a happy new year and all the best for 2016.

2016

Changing plans

Changing plans.

In August 2014, our recently acquired Luna Mare arrived in Frankfurt am Main:

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In the meantime, we have done a lot of work. According to the current plan we would have continued this way until we would have went in June 2016 on Main / Rhine and misc. Channels to the Baltic Sea after having a motor installed. Then getting arig and probably the sailing season 2016 would have been already over.

New plan: The Luna Mare transported in a yard near the coast. The previous place 40 miles from here was well good for doing work by our own. Over and about this the service was however rather poor. They were theoretically prepared to built in an engine for us, according to the motto: Order one, then we’ll see. But simply get an engine costing around € 10,000 and then see what is hasn’t really convinced us.

And because the service at all was not convincing, I guess they probably enough customers with whom they can make money much easer, we liked the plan of departure and in particular the idea that the Luna Mare then could possibly be ready for sailing at the beginning of the season 2016.

That would give us the chance to check our boat and it’s sailing capabilities for a few weeks in 2016, and with this the possibility to see whether everything is ok for the great journey from 2017 on.

Now the Luna Mare is since Thursday last week in a shipyard in Heiligenhafen and can already breathe some sea air. In early January we will be the first time there to make plans with the shipyard owner about the work to be performed early next year there:

Luna Mare in Heiligenhafen

 

Wind Vane Gear

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Aries Wind Vane Gear

These are the parts of our wind vane:

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For disassemble it there are several reasons. One is, that a holding is broken (in the picture above to see the new, unbroken one) and the broken part as you can see also on the picture above is still “in place”.

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With the help of best craftsman on earth, we have managed by drilling and using “metal plasticine” (knew by then not that there is such a thing) to repair it in a way that the new part can now be screwed in.

That’s about the way looks a wind vane control when assembled:

aries wind vane

To mount the vane gear to our “Luna Mare”, we need new, longer mounting tubes. In addition, a few more fastening pins needs to be renewed.

Though over 30 years old, there are still parts available. This has worked around 2 years ago with above mentioned holdint. Has taken a while until the part was here, but the main thing is, it came.

The granddaughter of the inventor of this device, Helen Franklin, this is (hopefully) still in business. I hope so, because I have not received an answer to my e-mail I wrote a couple of weeks ago yet and she is not reachable by phone neither. Can possibly install the device without original parts, but of course I would prefer original ones.

Cooking facilities

Cooking facilities

We want to replace the spirit stove by a diesel stove. For this I have to start with preparing its compartment. It lacks fortunately just a few millimeters, so the installation of diesel stove can be done with reasonable effort.

The spirit stove iss basically okay, but we intend to have one form of energy source. This makes the supply easier, especially since diesel is normally widely available, but for spirit you may have a long way to shops providing spirit.

Adjusting the compartment is of course only the beginning. A power supply cable was already installed by the previous owner. Something more complex is likely the connection to the fuel tank but there are possibilites to find a way.

The most difficult part will be the installation of the exhaust hose. We intend a deck passage, to avoid water entering the stove. The space behind the stove, however, is narrow and so it will probably not be easy to install the hose incl. gooseneck and the condensation drain. We will see.

 

Heating cover panel

Heating cover panel

The most wonderful wife of all and skipper is also a exceptionally gifted carpenter. In a wonderful way she has covered heating tubes passing through the bunk. Now the heater is actually finally installed and how the first tests showed, it works quite well. And this chic wood paneling can also be used simultaneously as a foot warmer. With this the often shivering skipper then even can sail to somewhat colder regions;-)

Helmstand

Helmstand – The inner cockpit is almost ready

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The voltmeter is set to a different location and a sonar display installed at its previous location, Philippi System Monitor makes the previous display at the left side unnecessary and I’ve also installed the switch for the charger and for heating. And basic installation of the plotter(still without the many accessories such as radar, autopilot and AIS, which can be connected thereto and controlled from there or read).

On the small black part next to the plotter is the ground plate for a small compass. But no idea where I have it currently stored. I’m sure I’ll find it by accident eventually.