Ooo this has been a long time coming… We make it to SALTWATER! After leaving the freshwater of Lake Michigan and traveling 1300 miles down the rivers (Mississippi and all the rest!), we’ve made it to the Gulf of Mexico!
Finally it’s time to turn our motorboat back into a SAILBOAT. Before leaving Chicago, we unstepped our mast and shipped it south via truck to Turner Marine in Mobile, Alabama. Our mast arrived way before we did, and was waiting for us at the boatyard. We were very happy to discover it it survived its own journey without as much as a scratch.
Hope you enjoy,
Lauren & Kirk
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P.S.S. For anyone who’s is interested or cares about video editing software…
We migrated from Adobe Premiere to Final Cut Pro on this episode. In short, that meant that this episode took a bit longer than exepected to produce since we were learning on the fly. There are also few things that are a little rougher than we’d hoped, but we’re already feeling and seeing the benefits of the switch. FCP is optimized to run efficiently on our laptops, while Adobe products absolutely burn through the batteries. While using our solar panels and living 100% off-grid for the past month, we quickly realized we couldn’t keep operating this way.
Now that we’ve got the first episode down, FCP is already feeling much more familiar. We’ll be able to edit more quickly and efficiently, because we’ve put an end to the unsustainable cycle of charging the computer for multiple hours to get an hour of editing in before having to start the charging cycle all over again. Whereas before we couldn’t edit video on the computer and charge it at the same time, and it would only last for a maximum of 1.5 hours while editing, now that we’ve switched to FCP we can charge and edit at the same time, and it lasts about 3+ hours. Huge improvement!
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Our camera gear:
On the other side of that wall is salt water.
[Kirk] That’s a crazy looking ship with a helicopter landing pad on its roof.
Feels like we’re comin’ home.
Oh my God. All right, let’s go find our mast .
We can sail again! Last time on Sailing Soulianis, we showed you our typical routine traveling down the river. That routine wouldn’t last long though, as we left you all with a little over a hundred miles to go before reaching the end of our journey from freshwater to salt water.
[Kirk] Okay so where are we?
We are at the last lock, on the other side of that wall, is salt water.
[Kirk] Brackish water.
It’s salty right?
[Kirk] It’s prolly a little salty.
Yeah, I mean, it’s salty water, let’s put it that way, it’s salty water. Look at that, it has no wheels.
[Kirk] Lauren is fascinated by the no wheeled bollard.
It doesn’t squeak at all.
[Kirk] Yeah, it’s pretty cool, check out the setup we have goin’ on here. We’re usin’ out spinnaker tie-down spot combined with our miniature little deck cleat to form a nice little U midship.
And a virtually maintenance-free, oh that’s not right, a virtually, what’s the word I’m looking for?
Effortless. Blocking situation . I haven’t had my breakfast yet.
[Kirk] You’s good at the words.
[Kirk] Ah, the sky.
We’re almost to the ocean!
[Kirk] That’s a crazy looking ship with a helicopter landing pad on it’s roof. Either that or it’s a spaceship teleportation station. Wow, to be able to pick up a tow like that, those tires are taller than that truck next to it. Holy crap! Lauren it’s the Gulf of Mexico! That’s the ocean! that’s the ocean!
Kirk that’s the ocean.
That’s the ocean. All the way from fresh water to salt water. From Michigan, to the Gulf of Mexico. We made it!
Feels like we’re comin’ home. I know we’ve never been here, and it looks weird right now, I shouldn’t say weird, it looks industrial and not like home at all. Looks completely uncomfortable and scary, but out there, just beyond that horizon, is palm trees, beaches, clear blue water, warm temperatures, that’s all I got.
We’re gonna be a sailboat soon.
That’s a big old mound of water. We are just about to pull into the marina that has been holding our mast for the past month, to be reunited so that we can turn back into a sailboat. That’s a sweet boat.
[Lauren] I took off the microphone to shoot photos but,
[Lauren] Tell me how happy you are right now.
So happy right now. We’re gonna have a beautiful sunset, then we’re gonna get a nice cool rain, which is gonna kill all the bugs, they’re all gonna go away, every one of ’em. We just washed all the salt, and dirt, and Mississippi mud, no, Tennessee mud off the boat. Drinking a boat beer. Stoked.
[Lauren] Oh hi boat.
I am a happy chappy.
[Lauren] Well the rain did come that first night, and the second night, came the snow.
[Kirk] Oh my God.
Morning. you like the snow?
[Kirk] This is kind of messed up.
Snow and palm trees, this is really strange. It does make it feel sorta Christmasy though, which is kinda cool.
[Lauren] By the third day, most of the snow was gone.
[Kirk] Where are we headed?
We’re gonna go see our mast.
We’re on the most southern part of our journey thus far, and it is the coldest. Oh look it, there’s Mike and Cindy leaving.
[Lauren] Oh yeah.
All right, let’s go find our mast.
[Lauren] someone’s happy.
[Kirk] There she is.
We can sail again! She doesn’t look too bad though.
[Kirk] No, everything’s still all wrapped up.
[Kirk] Cool, think we’re gonna remember how to put everything back together?
That remains to be seen, that’s a big question mark. I mean you took a lot of photos, right?
[Kirk] No you were taking the photos!
Oh right .
[Kirk] You took a lot of photos, right?
Yeah, but you took a bunch before we even left Wisconsin I thought.
Mmm not really.
Mmm. Yeah I took a bunch of photos.
We have four days until we’re scheduled to have our mast re-stepped. What do we have to attach to it before it actually goes up?
[Kirk] Our wind vane, our VHF, and our wind indicator.
Oh that’s it?
[Kirk] Well, and all the halyards and stuff. And I also want to figure out if we can put a different block up here for running our spinnaker halyard internally. So yeah, we got some work to do. Jeez I almost forgot about our boom. that’s an important piece, that’s over here.
It looks perfect.
Yeah. All right well, at least it’s all here.
[Kirk] Look at that, that’s pretty good.
They put foam over the whole thing.
All the way over, yeah.
[Kirk] Well, I think we did a pretty decent job.
Yeah, yeah look at this carpet on the end. The sun feels good.
In this 40 degree temperatures.
[Kirk] Shall we get breakfast?
Breakfast, I’m hungry.
And the mast.
Breakfast and mast.
Sunday morning mast. So, I’m going to be unwrapping our mast here, gettin’ everything ready to get put back on the boat, get it re-stepped. We’re gonna maybe do a few upgrades. We’re gonna look at replacing our mast headlight with an LED, and our deck light with an LED. And then we’re also going to try and get the halyard for the spinnaker run internally. But first things first, we gotta get this thing unwrapped. ♪ And I don’t know ♪ ♪ What to say ♪ ♪ What to say to you ♪ ♪ It’s always sunny where ♪ Well I got everything off, and I still have all the rigging tied up ’cause I need to come back with the spreaders, and all the other tools and things to get everything sorted. She looks okay, not too worse for the wear. ♪ So bright so bright ♪ ♪ You can stare at the sun ♪ ♪ You can tell me anything you like ♪ The next day we gave the mast a good bath. We used soapy water and Simple Green, and ran the entire length of each stay as well. We wanted to make sure we got the mast as clean as possible because we weren’t sure when we were gonna have an opportunity like this again. After the bath, it was time to install the new exit sheath for our spinnaker halyard.
That’s going to be the end of that basically, so I’m gonna put a hole there,
And then I’m gonna cut,
Oh that entire,
[Lauren] You’re basically cutting a giant almond shape,
[Kirk] Hole, yeah. All right just watch the, there’s gonna be,
[Lauren] Holy hell Kirk. You’re cutting a hole in our mast.
Cut a big hole in the mast.
Yeah, it’s a little scary.
[Lauren] Look at that, brand new VHF antenna, pretty snazzy. ♪ You can stare at the sun ♪ ♪ You can tell me anything you like ♪ ♪ I’ll take you away to the sunshine ♪
[Kirk] After completing the work on the lower part of the mast, we had to install an identical exit sheath at the top. ♪ You can tell me anything you like ♪ So, when you’re tapping the screws, you want to go forward, like a quarter turn, and then back a little, and then forward a quarter turn, and then back a little, ’cause you don’t want to build up too much pressure, or else you’re just gonna rip the threads out, ’cause you’re literally cutting metal, but it’s like really fine, you know? Bruce taught me that. So thank you Bruce. Sweet.
[Man] So basically it goes around my finger, coming from the opposite direction around, and I can pull both the standing part, and the working end to tighten the knot.
That’ll work, okay. All right so now, what I want you to do is, where’d that other end go?
It’s right here.
Right here, okay. I want you to take that end and pull on that from here, and you can start to coil it up.
[Lauren] We’re running on the lines on the mast before it gets stepped this afternoon, when we become a sailboat again!