Sunday, August 3, 2014

Leibster Award Recipients

My "Sexy" pose on the bow
Here is a treat for you: a rare posting from me, Tami - the better half to my husband who normally posts to this blog.  I was asked to try out my skills and reply to us being acknowledged for the Leibster Award.   We've seen this award being passed around to other bloggers we read and now have the fortune of being nominated for the award ourselves by the good people at Diving into Cruising.  At this time, we're only blogging friends but hope to someday meet them in person and share stories.  They have been hard at work for some time now on their own project boat down in Florida and wish them best of luck and want to thank them for the nomination.  

So what is The Leibster Award Its an award given from one blogger to another in hopes to recognize and spotlight hard working bloggers.  To accept the award, the nominee must link back to the nominating blogger, answer 10 questions that they asked, and nominate other bloggers to receive the award. 

The questions that we are to answer are as follows:

1. Introduce us to your crew. Who are they and what role do they play in your operation?

We are a crew of 4, myself 43, my husband 45 and 2 boys (grown boys, but still my boys) they are 20 and 25. We have always been a very close family and this is just another adventure that we are going to embark on.  The roles each of us play in the operation are still being decided as we continue to work some of that out since none of us have really sailed.  As of now my son Justin 25, is going to be the mechanic and help with maintenance of the boat, he also wants to get his captain license. My son Brandon 20, will be helping with the everyday maintenance and cleaning of the boat and cooking, he also wants to be a dive master. My husband Kevin 45, says he will be perfectly happy as the navigator for us. Tami 43, (thats me) do not have much of a role at this time. I am still recovering from the accident I had on 2/6/14, (check out the blog) and the outcome of my foot is still to be determined, but I am great at telling everyone else what to do and how they should do it - I guess that means I'll be captain :)

2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other adventurers hoping to live aboard?

We have a 42' catamaran, it has four double cabins, two heads, and 2 singles in the nose of the hulls. The single berths are currently being used for storage and for the A/C units.  But in the main cabin and berths, there is plenty of room for family and guests alike.  My recommendation for any other adventurer hoping to live aboard is to find the best boat you can for the best price (not really new information here) and we had our hearts set on a catamaran.  This fit the bill for us in size, engine location, condition, and price and I would most definitely recommend it for others.

3. Where are you now and what are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?

We are currently in Irving, TX waiting for November 1st and the 2014 hurricane season to be over-with. We currently have a few things we are talking about - but the plan right now is to get it in the water in November and hang around Key West for a bit until we get a few shake-down sails under our belt.  When we're comfortable with that, we'll start moving her up the coast of Florida and making our way to Miami.  From there, if all is going ok with the boat, we'll cross over to Bimini and make our way to Nassau. Then from there, we have no idea.  

The catch of it all is that we will be needing a licensed Captain (and/or a husband/wife team) to come aboard with us until we know the ropes and until he/she/they are convinced we can competently handle our own boat - any volunteers?? The Captain or the Captain Team would be able to live aboard while we're in Key West and would have the opportunity to travel along with us to who knows where.  They'd also be offered their own private cabin during this journey although they might have to share the head with one of my sons. So if you or if you know somebody that wants to help us out, tell them to contact us - we should be needing services sometime toward the end of November.  In the meantime, we'll be finishing up the refit in September and October and be hitting the Captain schools and the yacht clubs in search of our volunteers.

4. How do you support your lifestyle while sailing and cruising?

We have been planning this for about 8 yrs now and have been setting up for this adventure this whole time. Kevin went to nursing school to become an RN as this would allow him to work in different places or be a traveling nurse during hurricane season. He has been a nurse for almost 3 yrs now and just went PRN (as needed). The hospital he works at requires PRN nurses to work at lease 3 days a month so he tries to work his 3 days at the end of one month and at the beginning of the next one.  This allows him to have 6 weeks off at a time during which is spent down in Key West working on the boat for extended periods of time.  But our main source of income is our five rental properties. We plan to store the boat during the off season and stay in our motor home at which time Kevin can go back to work to build up the cruising kitty a bit before we take off again.

5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while living aboard?

The best experience/adventure I've had so far was when my son Justin and I originally drove from Texas to Florida without stopping (except for gas and food).  It was the first time we saw the boat after the purchase was completed and we knew we needed lots of tools and also a vehicle in Florida to complete the refit - so we loaded up our trailer with everything we could, and headed east.  We pulled up to the boat just after dark having no idea about how a boat worked. We went aboard found a power cord and plugged in.  Then we started turning on breakers and wallah! after some looking around and pushing buttons, we had lights. We threw some sleeping bags on the beds and went to sleep on some nasty mattresses.  It was definitely a weird experience  - how many times do you get to pull up to a 42' catamaran that's been sitting for years and say, "That's our home now."  It was quite the mini adventure but I still have to rank it as the best experience so far - at least until we put this puppy back in the water that is.

6. Name the most challenging experience you have had while living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?

The most challenging experience that I've had since the purchase is obviously falling off a ladder and breaking my heel.  But that should have only kept me away from the boat about 2 months max - then I could have rehabbed back on the boat.  But the allergic reaction that necrotized my skin is what has been the most challenging thing for me to overcome in my life.  If you've kept up with this blog you know its been quite a challenge for me and my family.  I still don't have skin on some of my foot and I'm not sure I'll ever have complete use of it again - but whatever the degree of use it ends up having, or no matter how much of the constant pain still exists after my wound has healed, I will be doing the best I can aboard Catchin' Rays.  My family has been extremely encouraging during this whole ordeal and we've never really focused on the negatives too much. We're all still alive and still pretty capable of operating a sailboat - and then you do the best you can.

7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?

This is a hard one to answer because the truth is we have no idea if this is a temporary adventure or not.  On one hand, we have a tendency to be realistic and know that most sailing adventures last between 2-5 years - we hope to get about 4 years out of it, but it could be longer or it could be shorter.  It really just depends on if we enjoy it and if we can afford it.  Its definitely not an escape from the system - we don't really have a problem with the system its much more about going on an adventure while we are still able to do so and while the opportunity presents itself.

8. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?

The biggest mistake that we've made so far is not using scaffolding while working on the hard.  I was working on the boat at the top of the ladder when I fell and broke my heel and then all the complications ensued.  We vowed to only work from scaffolding from that point on and are a little disappointed in ourselves for not making this decision prior to the accident.  The truth is, we've worked on numerous rent houses and renovations and have always worked from ladders of all sizes - at heights much taller than when I fell, and we took for granted that nothing ever went wrong.  But you learn that it only takes a second to change your life permanently.  So for those out there doing their own work on the hard, don't be afraid to ask somebody in the yard if you can borrow some scaffolding and if not, worst case scenario you have to go buy some yourself.  If it keeps you from having an accident like I had, you'll be glad you spent the money.

9. What advice would you give to youngsters just finding their place in the world? College, skill/trade, world travel on the graces of good luck?

We've always  been advocates for young people going to college.  When my husband and I were making our way in our early 20's, a degree didn't seem as necessary back then as it does now - it was a different time.  My husband had a good job straight our of high school that his father helped him get and I always did clerical work at mortgage companies and such.  It made enough to build a good life for ourselves and our children.  But we learned later in life that the truly successful people in this world are the ones that went and got a degree and we also learned that the degrees in the medical field were the most flexible and secure ones out there.  Although neither of our children have gone to college or plan to go to college (they don't listen to us very well) they've also been waiting on the "adventure".   But as far as the young people making their way:  go get a medical degree of some kind - you'll always have it, its flexible, and it will always be able to fund any kind of adventure you'll ever want to do.

10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow yachty bloggers?

Actually my husband is the one who created this blog - he asked me to do this one because he is starting to enjoy making the YouTube videos much more and wanted to get my perspective on the answers. But what motivated him in doing this blog is that he has always enjoyed writing even though he doesn't consider himself a good writer.  But I asked him this question and his answer was that ever since he read Bumfuzzle's journal, it motivated him to try and follow through with this sailing adventure, but it also inspired him to write down his own story if we ever made it to this point.  Even if people don't read it, it's something that the kids or grandchildren may be able to look back on and get a kick out of it.  It's telling a story - and my husband has always liked telling stories (even if nobody was listening.)

For other bloggers out there:  make the blog easy to navigate, make it easy to read, and have enough pictures to tell the story.

Now for our own nominations, but to be honest, most of the bloggers that my husband and I read have already been nominated/awarded the Leibster Award.  So I had to refer to my husband on this list as he reads more of them than do I. 

Here are the ones we would nominate for this award:

This Rat Sailed  (previously nominated)
Cream Puff
The Nomad Trip 

The questions we have for the ones we've nominated are the following:

1.  Who's on board, how old is each of the crew, and how much sailing experience do each of you have?
2.  Do you sail full time or part time and how do you afford to sail? 
3.  How long do you plan to sail?  And if the answer isn't "forever" what are your plans after you get done sailing?
4.  What's the best method you use to make people aware of your blog?
5.  What gave you the idea to sail in the first place?
6.  What made you decide on the type and brand of the boat you own?
7.  This one is for the guys and the girls to answer:  if you had to pick one crush or man-crush, who would you choose?  Brad Pitt, Zach Efron, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Johnny Depp
8.  What are your favorite meals to cook while sailing?
9.  Do you or have you sailed with dogs?  and if so, where do they potty?
10.  What method do you use to track and forecast weather?


  1. Hey Tami, good to hear from the better half...the Captain! Good luck with that foot. You're tough...that doesn't look like it's been much fun and I feel for you.

  2. Thanks Britton, and you're right, this has been no fun at all. But the good news is that the wound is probably just a few weeks away from being completely closed up - which has been a long road since the March 6th debridement!! Then I get to start a little bit more intense rehabbing - which actually doesn't sound like much fun either!! Ha ha :(

  3. Yikes! Just saw the post about the Leibster Award. Sorry if you notified us via the blog and we missed it. However, challenge accepted.

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

  4. Mark and Cindy, no we didn't notify you because we didn't know if we were supposed to or not. But we really wouldn't have mentioned anybody that we didn't think read our blog - so this was actually a test in seeing who is reading our blog or not!! ha ha You guys were a little late, but better late than never. We look forward to reading your answers - have fun.