Monthly Archives: April 2012

Let the process begin

There are many nautical traditions, some would say superstitions, none more sacred than the naming tradition. The more conservative among us would shout sacrilege at the thought of changing the name of any vessel. We are of the more reformed persuasion and while we feel there are required elements to the renaming ceremony, we feel certain that there is only one correct name for a vessel and why should we have to suffer just because the previous owners screwed up and misnamed the boat.

Now I have to admit Chocobo was a great name for Roger and Danielle, considering their penchant for video games and how the mythical bird carried the player to the next world.
Just not for us.

Escape Velocity works for us and perfectly describes how difficult it’s been to achieve the speed needed to escape the sucking gravity of landlubber life.

How can the name change be accomplished, you ask? Well, first the incorrect name must be completely expunged from the vessel. Not an easy task because one writes the boat’s name on everything in the vessel, just in case. Doing this has actually saved lives by allowing SAR people to more accurately estimate drift and find survivors in case of a shipwreck. But how can one be sure you’ve found every example of that misguided name in your vessel?

Next there are incantations beseeching Neptune to forgive the errant name and asking forbearance in setting things right. Then the proper name is introduced and affixed to the vessel, once again beseeching Neptune, Thor, and Aeolus to moderate the path before this vessel. Smash the Champagne bottle and I say, close enough.

Come to think of it, a lot of the traditions are to calm the seas, which is why a comely lass bares her breasts to the sea (in the form of a figure head). A dollop of wine offered to Neptune attempts to safeguard a voyage while the crew gets the rest. It seems to help. Not enough wind? All one need do is to rub the foremast or whistle. Never start a journey on a Friday. There must be a thousand of them. It goes on and on, we’re not sure why we do it but we damn well do it. All I know is that while those Ralston sisters were scraping the name off the yacht, the largest manatee I ever saw surfaced inches from the dingy, and quietly swam around the boat.

Let the process begin!




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Floor plan of Escape Velocity

Several of you Escapees have asked for a floor plan of Escape Velocity. You ask, you receive.



by | April 29, 2012 · 8:06 am

A taste of things to come

We’re still waiting for our stuff to arrive by truck from Pittsburgh. These are mostly boat things and personal items, plus our bikes. And yes, we have too much stuff to fit on this boat without sinking it, but we had no idea when we started our search what kind of boat we’d end up with and what we’d need to outfit it for long-distance cruising.

Without our big load of possessions we moved onto the boat with just what we’ve been traveling with: a few changes of clothing, our computers, some books, the compact eating-on-the-road kit we’ve used for four months, a guitar, and of course Izzy and the full cat equipment package.

By the time we moved everything aboard and wandered around looking for the best places to stash things, it looked like we’d just about filled this thing up. The whole effect was enhanced by the fact that Danielle and Roger had apparently stocked the pantry with an eye toward another lap around the world. We think we can live off the food they left for months! What’s even better is that the foods are from many of the countries they visited on their trip, so rooting through the cupboard is like reading a travelogue. There’s honey from Australia, peas from Greece, tuna from Turkey. Good thing, too, since buying the boat put us on a beans and rice diet for a couple of months while our bank account recovers, and all these exotic goodies will keep us from dying of culinary boredom, not to mention remind us of the places we’ll see on our own journey.

There’s a bottle of drinking water with a label in a language we don’t recognize. Can anyone tell us what it is?



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Still Floating

Yes, Escape Velocity floats very well. Last night was a comedy of errors and second guessing but she looked after us and we woke up this morning well rested and dry. These are positive results.
Marce with the keys:
Our first dinner aboard. Many thanks to Roger & Danielle for the wine and flowers, very thoughtful. Izzy “Adventure Kitty” Katzenbaum is seen here practicing her nonchalant gaze, a born sailor if I ever saw one.

And now a new feature to the blog, we call it “The view from the back porch”

Our view of Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, Florida. We’ll try to keep you up to date with what we’re seeing with The View From the Back Porch. Our crack Tech Team will have the locater map up soon.

Fair Winds, Escapees


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Moving day

I can clearly remember my ex-fighter pilot dad’s words when he asked me what was wrong, this is supposed to be fun. The whole gang, there must have been six chattering kids in the car, were being driven to the roller skating rink and I’m not saying a word. I pleaded, “Why do I feel so scared?” He told me I wasn’t really scared but it’s just the anticipation and excitement that fools you into thinking you’re scared.

I took a minute to process this new information and decided that he could just be right. I cheered up and joined in. By the time we arrived at the skating arena the buzz in the old Nash was palpable. With a “Thanks, Dad” over the shoulder we ran into the Thundering Wheels Roller Rink, made sure to get the cool skates where they can “fit anybody” and every Tuesday is “Kids Night. Half Off.”

With the coolest skates on I immediately proceeded to do about a five minute cartoon like backwards yada yada yada, double windmill with a remarkably crisp half pike dismount, falling on my ass whilst getting tangled up in Kitty Blokers’ long skinny legs who knocked over Cathy Baverian, the prettiest girl in my school, whose very short sequined outfit would never be the same, and bouncing my head off the well-waxed hard wooden floor. I got a 5.9. The Romanian judge had it in for me. One tenth off ’cause of the head bounce thing. As if that never happens!

Yeah, I was afraid of that.

It’s moving day and I’m filled with anticipation and excitement. I just hope the Romanian judge isn’t watching our first couple of dockings.

You know, come to think of it, after the nose bleed stopped I had a pretty good time at the Thundering Wheels Roller Rink, where they can fit anybody.


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It’s been a long time comin’

Today we became the owners of a beautiful 1998 Manta 40 catamaran.

If you recall we first saw a Manta last December at the end of our first and most hectic East Coast Boat Shopping Tour. We fell in love. We could easily imagine ourselves living on such a boat, even though we were well aware that the worst thing you can do is limit your boat search to one particular model. Pffft!

The boat we saw was older than we wanted to buy. It was missing some critical equipment that came standard on a new boat but had been removed by a previous owner. On the plus side, it was pristine and well taken care of and it had the largest solar array we ever saw and a massive high-quality battery bank. And it felt like home. While we were pondering, the boat was sold.

We searched the meager used boat market and found no more Mantas. We learned that only 128 were made, and of those only about 15-20 are of the age and version that we thought we could afford. So with typical obsession, I scoured the internet to find those 15-20 and see if we could shake one loose. Almost immediately I found this blog and spent hours reading it. What the heck, we said, and I wrote to the owners, who had just arrived in Antigua after crossing the Atlantic. Congrats on your circumnavigation, we said, and by the way, are you selling your boat?

A few days later we got a confused reply. No, they were keeping the boat. We were disappointed, but Christmas was coming and after that we decamped to New Jersey to hunker down for January and besides, we had other boats to see. To our surprise, a month after our first contact, we got another email from owners Danielle and Roger. They were considering selling! Well, well.

And so began a months-long low-speed off-and-on negotiation. They were still cruising in paradise and maybe not entirely certain about their future plans. We were getting desperate to find a home, and spending too much money wandering around looking for boats and living in cheap motels. They wanted to cruise until June. We wanted to start our cruise as soon as possible. There were times when we thought this just wasn’t going to work because we didn’t want to commit to a boat we couldn’t have for months and they didn’t want to cut short their cruise if we didn’t commit.

Our stress level rose and fell on a nearly daily basis. We did the best we could to keep ourselves distracted, and we kept looking at other boats. By this time the Manta community knew we were searching and we got several calls about later models just coming on the market. Those boats were out of our price range, but we were glad there were people looking out for us. Keep at it, they said, don’t give up. And so we waited.

Eventually, we couldn’t hang around Florida any more and headed back up north to sort through our stuff and arrange for a mover. On the way we looked at a couple more boats and even tried to paint ourselves into one. But we knew in our hearts that the Manta was the boat for us, and all we could do was wait some more.

Finally, four months after we first read their blog, Danielle and Roger arrived in Florida and we raced back down to Stuart to see the boat. She was everything we hoped for and we spent a whirlwind couple of days on surveys and estimates and last-minute negotiations and paperwork and all the dozens of other boat-buying details. And now finally, today, we are the owners of this fine vessel, our Escape Velocity.

It took us 21 years, 7 months and 27 days to get here.  And Jack looks right at home already.

Danielle and Roger’s circumnavigation is a good read, especially their convoy passage through the pirate-infested waters of the Arabian Sea. Start here. We’re grateful to them for taking such good care of their boat, and for putting us through a pretty intensive boot camp that took the edge off the steep learning curve we face aboard our new home.


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No Name

Oh yeah, I can hear The Blind Owl warming up again, turning up the Fuzz-Box to 11. The Humble Hyundai is pumping out that universal boogie beat and along with Yr. Humbl. Svt. and Magnificent Marce we have Izzy “Adventure Kitty” Katzenbaum joining the crew.

This run down south has a different vibe and energy. The urgency is caused by the fact that instead of heading south to try to find our new home, we’re heading south to see our new home. Izzy is beside herself with excitement, but as always she plays it cool, lollygagging about, dozing in her private condo in the back seat.

We had a busy last Reunion Tour back up north, staying with great friends and family while collecting our boat gear. Dingy here, bikes there, a storage unit full of…stuff. It’s been a logistical nightmare but we pulled it off almost like we always go from 4 floors of stuff to a 40’X21′ catamaran. The mover showing up 6 days late and then telling us we have too much stuff in our storage unit, didn’t help. Like we didn’t know we have too much stuff. Everybody has too much stuff. Apparently their fees are based on 90 percent capacity and we’re way over that! I wouldn’t trust anybody that couldn’t stuff a storage unit better than that, like he never moved an 8′ dingy before, I mean really!

Like I said, we had a real sense of urgency this trip because suddenly our boat really started to make progress toward Florida and we were over 1,200 miles away. We had to change all of our carefully planned arrangements for the marina and haul out, survey and the rigging guys, while making sure our stuff was really getting picked up in the Burgh and on the way to Florida, while trying to find pet friendly, cheap motels, (its not very friendly to charge $25 extra a night) while finding a place to mail our roof racks for our 8′ dingy cause we’re going to have to move it once we’re in Florida but we don’t have an address in Florida, but then we really don’t have an address anywhere, all while on the road.

Marce was really busy!

So…no we haven’t named the boat yet.



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Pigs fly

-Hell freezes over
-Pigs fly
-We find a boat

It’s hard to explain to your brain that it’s ok, you’re in control. You’ve heard that last clack at the apogee of the first big hill. You seem to hang there. And then the bottom falls out beneath you and you’re plummeting into the abyss. Control is the last thing on your mind. It’s more like will I survive this?

Finding a blue water cruising catamaran is like riding some kind of malevolent roller coaster.

Take our friends’ ride for example. Before we met them last summer, circumnavigating Florida counter clockwise while we were circumnavigating clockwise, they found a catamaran in the panhandle of Florida. Clean decent example of the breed. Reasonable asking price, well known brand. They negotiate a deal, fork over the hand money, everybody signs. Smiles all around, but they don’t hug it out. Why? The survey and sea trial, that’s why. Survey went well but during the sea trial our friends noticed some strange maneuvering on just one engine. The broker was trying to cover for a bad transmission! Once the cards were on the table, the owners would only pay for half. Our friends pulled out and left. This is not easy to do. I mean once you’ve measured for drapes it’s hard to walk. There’s an emotional attachment between you and your boat and it happens fast. It’s like the puppy dog close, on a very expensive level.

We’ve emailed them recently and they’re back buying the same boat a year later with a new broker. Yes, it’s a roller coaster alright.

We’ve negotiated the first drop off the big hill. We have a signed deal, hand money in hand, and if the survey and sea trial go well we have a new home.

Marce has been treating this like a pregnancy. Apparently you just don’t speak of it until you see it. Kind of like the malocchio. I just don’t roll that way.

Meet our new home.


Oh…one last thing. Did I mention we’ve been on several Mantas of various sizes but we haven’t been on ours yet. It happens. As a matter of fact she’s not even in the country yet. Which is why we’ve been waiting around Florida for months.

How she came to us is strictly Marce’s story and she’s not talking until the keys are in her hand! Stay tuned.


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