In my last blog post which was, sadly enough, almost five months ago (if you don’t remember or didn’t read it you can go back and read it here: Life Goes On); I pointed out that we headed back east earlier than we had originally planned for three reasons. The top two reasons have taken over our lives ever since, well mostly the first one. And it is…. Reason #1: FAMILY! That has been followed up by Reason #2: SAILBOAT, which has actually taken quite the backseat lately (and rightly so) to Reason #1. Add to these two reasons + WORK, which Greg has been super busy with lately, and for me health and stress management, and you now know why it is that I haven’t blogged at all these past few months. We’ve all been in a bit of a survival mode phase. At least I, Pamela, have! Let me explain…
We initially landed in Alabama in June of this *crazy* year called 2020, for the first of the grown kid and grandkid visits. After four weeks in Alabama we headed further east to South Carolina for time and visits with the rest of the grown kids and grandkids. We immediately realized that our grown kids were all struggling in various ways more than we knew. This Covid craziness has affected so many people in so many ways that everyone reading this is already nodding their heads in agreement. At the very least it has messed up everyone’s former sense of normalcy, but it’s also messed up streams of incomes, daily routines, and so much more. I won’t get into my views about the Covid craziness, but I will say that it has successfully turned most everyone’s world upside down – with no apparent end in sight.
The various struggles of our grown kids has resulted in Greg and I being hyper-focused on and spending most of our (lately what feels like limited) energies on our grown kids since June – again with no end in sight. Basically Reason #1 has been our driving force of late, with all else falling by the wayside. And that is fine – we certainly aren’t complaining, it just also meant that our serious sailboat search itself has been put on a pause status for the most part.
At some point in the process Greg and I both realized that looking for the sailboat in the midst of everything else going on was no longer fun. It had actually become a stressful and overwhelming task instead of it being the fun next step in our adventure that we both knew it should be. All TMI except to explain why we have called a temporary “pause for now” on our sailboat search. So, our search is on hold until we get farther south; life begins to calm down a bit; my health begins to improve a bit; the process can become enjoyable again as it should be; and God gives us the peace to proceed.
That said, before we called a pause we (mostly me, Pamela) were able to look at quite a few sailboats since we dropped anchor (pardon the pun) here in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia. This process has helped us further hone and fine tune what we like, what we need, what we want, as well as what we don’t want when it comes to our next sailboat. We found a couple boats that we really liked and a few boats that we could live with, but we have yet to find “the one”. We are using this time to continue to grow our knowledge and experience as we fine-tune our hunt for the perfect boat and during this process one thing has become crystal clear. That is the fact that we will need a relatively new, reliable, not too big yet not too small dinghy as well as a reliable outboard to power it, for whatever sailboat that we do end up getting.
A dinghy is to a sailboat what our Fiat, Zippy, is to our 5th wheel. It is our daily driver. Our way of zipping around and exploring whatever area we find ourselves in. According to Wikipedia, A dinghy is a type of small boat, often carried or towed by a larger vessel for use as a lifeboat or tender. Utility dinghies are usually rowboats or have an outboard motor. Our goal is to stay as often as possible “on the hook” (which means on anchor), rather than always being in a marina when we are on the sailboat, so our dinghy will be a vital piece to that puzzle. We knew from the beginning how important a good dinghy will be to us, but we came to realize after looking at a good number of sailboats in our price range that very few of them come with a dinghy at all; and those that do are more often than not crappy, old, dinghies that would need to be replaced soon anyway. Same goes for the outboard to power a dinghy.
One day we were watching one of the many YouTube sailing channels that we follow and the man was talking about things that he wished he had known before they initially set off on their own full-time adventures living on their sailboat . One of the things that he specifically stressed was how important a good reliable dinghy is. He then said in an almost joking way, “First buy your dinghy and then find a sailboat to fit it.” Greg looked at me and I looked at him. This resulted in Greg having his own epiphany over the course of the next few days that we should indeed buy ourselves a nice dinghy… first. Since it’s not likely that one (or a decent one) will come with a sailboat in our price range anyway, buying one sooner rather than later would not only meet that need, but also will provide us a way to get out and explore all these bodies of water that we are near (and always seem to be near) sooner rather than later. Then when we do find “our” sailboat, we will already have the perfect dinghy for it – so that will put us one step ahead. As Greg says… one step closer to our dream.
Meet ZipZip. A 9 ft. hard floor inflatable dinghy by Newport Vessels with a carrying capacity of 3 people and a total weight capacity of just over 1,000 lbs. The perfect size for us and our needs. Big enough to carry both of us plus one more guest in addition to Popeye and our gear and even groceries when that time comes; yet small enough for Greg to be able to lift it into and out of the truck and later the sailboat even when fully inflated – without my help (since I have serious back issues and am not supposed to lift more than 2 lbs. – yea right!?!?!)
Every good dinghy needs a good outboard motor to push it, so after much research Greg settled on a newer technology propane outboard. We ended up getting a Mercury Marine Propane Powered 5HP Outboard. There are many reasons why he chose to go with a propane motor as opposed to a traditional gasoline motor. Not only is it a cleaner, safer, less smelly, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than a gasoline powered outboard, but it is also easier for us to transport in the truck without worrying about fumes or smell or gas leaking out until we are able to get our sailboat and have a mount for it on the transom. It is also light enough at 59.5 lbs. for Greg to be able to pick it up and mount it himself as needed. In comparison, a 10HP motor is 90 lbs. = Too Heavy! As we said, propane motors are a brand new and exciting technology – you can read and learn more by clicking here: benefits of propane outboards.
We went on our maiden ZipZip voyage just this past week to test her out and to perform the initial necessary break-in period with the outboard and we were both quite pleased. Greg is like “Yay! We have a boat!!!” And I am looked at him and said, “Yay! This is great! But…
That said, it is super fun to get out on the water and explore in the meantime and it’s beneficial for us to become accustomed to driving ZipZip around and getting to know her better before we are fully reliant on her for our water to land transportation. It’s truly a win-win (and a perky pick me up!) in our new ZipZip. Here we are exploring the Plankatank River right from our campground. We will explore more soon after this endless rain stops and after our new outboard is fully broken in as this is a beautiful river that leads out to the Chesapeake Bay… and beyond.
Greg wants to do some drone footage from the dinghy so keep an eye on our videos link for that. Until then…
Happy Trails, Sunny Sails, and Blessings Beyond Measure!