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Michael Cooney
Apr 19, 2021
In Cruising
Day 1: Departure! Reverse? Iron Wind! Bridges, Bridges, Bridges! Longboat Key Moorings to Pelican Bay. 54nm, 9h 22m. The day before, Nikos and I took the dinghy and scouted out the fuel dock and the marina entrance as a way of testing the dink and the 2.5HP propane outboard. All went well. I woke up early to get ready to go and got a great sunrise over the marina. We soon got underway for the fuel dock and subsequent departure. Headed to the Fuel Dock On these boats, the outdrive hoists for sailing. When It’s down. There’s a kickback preventer to keep it from popping up in reverse. These are notorious for not clicking into place consistently and occasionally popping out under strain. As we maneuvered around the dock, ours popped up, effectively removing out reverse gear. Fortunately, we had a straight shot to the fuel dock and I was able to finesse her alongside. While Nikos supervised fueling, I set to fixing the kickback preventer. Lubricating the pin! Fueled up and ready, we got underway. Our course was south the entire day and, unfortunately, directly into the beautiful 10kt breeze. The conditions were similar out in the Gulf of Mexico so I decided to stay in the ICW. Heading out into Sarasota Bay! We rode the “Iron Wind,” AKA the Westerbeke Diesel. We discovered that she runs smoothest at full throttle, around 3200rpms and pushes us along at about 6.5-7Kts. The motor did amazingly well for 10 hours of continuous operations and I’m proud to say that the new water heater made hot water and did not leak! Being in the ICW meant we had to go under a lot of bridges and not all of them tall enough for our 49-foot mast. Bridges! As we headed south into Pine Island Bay, we thought we were going to get a bit of weather but we got lucky and it passed us by. The boat is an easy one to drive on the motor and gave me a good view when I got up on the hard bimini top. The Gemini has a full oven, broiler and 2-burner stovetop. Kim took advantage of our cruising to bake cornbread to go with our chili dinner! Despite the bridges and potential weather, it's great to be on the water! We found a lovely anchorage in Pelican Bay. Here's a shot of the chart: Our crew was handy with the anchor and then jumped into the bay to check the hull for any cleaning needs! And the sunset was lovely: The next morning, I was up with the sun and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the quiet bay: A fine day of crusing. Stay tuned for Chapter 04 where we put some wind in the sail and make our way up the Calachahoochee River on our way to Lake Okeechobee! --S/V Rita
Bringing "Rita" to PSA, Chapter 03 content media
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Michael Cooney
Apr 17, 2021
In Cruising
Day -2 to 0: Crew arrives, more work, better food. For the week I was alone, I was surviving largely on cold-cut sandwiches and grocery store salad bar. The resort here has a restaurant but its for members only. I did a little bit of cooking in the galley (because I had to test it out). The only facilities I could use were the showers, laundry, water and pumpout. We weren’t even allowed in the pool! It didn’t matter as I was working from sunrise to sunset, anxious about all the things that could go wrong if I didn’t get it all fixed. As well as adding things to make the boat more useful underway. Knife block in the kitchen On April 13th, I drove to the airport and picked up Nikos Cooper and my wife, Kim Kash. I still had some errands and jobs let on the list and I was glad to have help as my time at the marina was going to run out on the 15th. The crew arrives! With their help, I was able to focus on servicing the “Westy” Westerbeke diesel engine. It’s a 3 cylinder with almost 1200 hours on it. I changed the oil, coolant and filters for oil and fuel. While Kim and Nikos organized, cleaned and provisioned for the trip. Nikos did help me troubleshoot our deck light and put up some flag halyards so I can fly the PSA burgee, all while still attending classes online! Nikos Aloft PSA burgee! Nikos in the "classroom." While the "kid" is at school, I'm swapping filters. Kim was busy getting the galley and salon squared away and provisioned. When the work was done, It was time to have a cocktail or two with a bit of entertainment. The more you drink, the better I sound! The previous owner gave me a grill that he had used on the boat and I put it to the test for dinner the night before our departure. It works! Fine Dining! We hit the sack to rest up for our departure the next day! In the next chapter: We depart! Adventures with the reverse gear! Ride the Iron Wind! Bridges, Bridges, Bridges! Stay tuned! S/V Rita
Bringing Rita to PSA, Chapter 02 content media
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Michael Cooney
Apr 17, 2021
In Cruising
Day -7 to day -2: WORK WORK WORK Longboat Key, FL (April 7-12) On the 7th of April, I arrived in Sarasota, picked up my rental car and some items I had shipped and got right to the boat. The boat was very well kept by the previous owner who invested a lot of many into improvements but, due to an injury, he was out of commission for a year and the boat languished at the marina, unused. I was happy to see her anyway. I was by myself and living aboard for a week before anyone arrived and we got underway. It was a week of chaos! I cleaned out the freshwater tanks, failed to repair the AC, replaced the leaking water heater, sealed some deck and hatch leaks, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, tuned up the dinghy, changed the oil, oil filters and fuel filters in the Westerbeke diesel and a million other tiny jobs along the way. Time to get to work! The old, leaky water heater. Finally out! 19 years of gunk! (it all cleaned out in 5 minutes). The new Hotness! Part of the frustration was my location. Longboat Key accesses the mainland via two bridges. The entire key has a single lane road, and it takes about an hour to go the 9 miles from the marina to a West Marine on the mainland. Finding out that I’m missing a key part is frustrating way to make my workday longer. I had 2 days of rain to give me a chance to find a lot of the leaks from the deck. I fixed the worst ones (window over the queen berth) and have plans to address the other smaller leaks as time permits (hatch seals). I did find time to appreciate my new boat and quiet, cool evenings were a reward for a hard day's work. I'll be sailing her under "RaeAnna Gail" (named for the prev. owner's daughter) until the USCG Name change comes through and we have a renaming party at PSA. My view as I drive into the marina: Evenings are quite pleasant! Up next: The crew arrives and more work!
Bringing "Rita" to PSA, Chapter 01 content media
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Michael Cooney
Mar 20, 2021
In Sailor Match Maker
Howdy! I just bought a boat I'll be bringing up from Sarasota, FL to the club this April and May (2021). I've got crew for much of it thanks to Larry and Dominick Morris, Nikos Cooper and a few Coast Guard buddies. I don't have crew for the 4th week. That would be from around the 5th of May to the 12th. Where we'll be at that time will depend on if we can sail overnight on the outside or if the weather will keep us motoring at 5kts in the ICW during daylight hours. If we motor, we'll likely be in Myrtle beach. If the weather permits and we can get outside, I'd love to run all the way from Jacksonville, FL (Where Larry and Dom Get onboard) to either Wilmington or Beafort, NC. There are some logistical and transport considerations, too. If you choose to drive down and meet the boat, Larry, Dom and Nikos will be disembarking and can bring a car back. I'll be stopping in Yorktown, VA to pick up crew and if you'd like, you can disenbark there and get a ride back to home from whoever is dropping them off. if we have space and you have the time, you can stay onboard, too. Drop me a line or give me a call: Michael Cooney S/V "Reanna Gail" Soon be be renamed "Rita" mdcooney at mac.com 301-852-9449
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Michael Cooney

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