Saturday, February 26, 2011

...more about Commissioning of Serenity

I told you this is a huge process, remember?  Not a day goes by that Tom and I don't bombard poor Gregg (and the other contractors working on Serenity) with a million questions and requests (thank goodness for them the requests are not as numerous as the questions).  Okay, so now we have our anchors, chain and rope rode, bottom paint, varnished capstrip (well, that's actually in progress).  Doing the capstrip the right way involves much sanding in between coat applications - while dealing with Mother Nature.  It can't be too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, etc.

Now we need to work on the flybridge canvas - where to put this canvas, what color, what fabric, what style, how many cushions, where to put those cushions, back vs just seat cushions, sunshades for the pilothouse vs. no shades, white shades or a choice of several shades of beige?  It really is enough to make you cry UNCLE!  However, the KKY pros don't let things get to this point.  We were able to discuss the canvas work in sections, so that everything was logical and never rushed.  KKY mailed us several fabric books with recommendations as to which fabrics stood up best to the elements (Sunbrella).  We decided on a navy background with thin yellow and red stripes - very much like a rep tie.  The Sunbrella designation for this design is Navy Regimental Stripe.  Get the picture?
We are delighted with the cushions.  These cushions are also on the flybridge settee.  Very comfy to have both seat and back cushions.  Now we don't have to have a bunch of cushions to take out and put away at the beginning and end of each trip.  As we found on For Us, the sunshades are an absolute must.  Not only do they provide invaluable respite from the strong rays of sun heating up the pilothouse, but they protect the wood and fabric from fading and drying out.  We opted for a huge piece to wrap over the windows (and windshield wipers) and separate pieces for the port and starboard windows.  Jim of G and G canvas (the master craftsman behind our canvas) recommended we attach the sunshades to the bridge doors with suction cups rather than drill holes into the doors (we hate anything drilled into anything that wasn't there initially).
In addition to the cushions, we also chose to have the instruments covered as well as the helm chair and BBQ grill in solid navy.  Over all these creature comforts is a solid navy bimini so that we can remain (fairly) cool while underway on the warmest days.

We're very excited about the expanded flybridge on this model.  Tom and I ran For Us exclusively from the flybridge - even on the one day it rained on our way back from a rafting trip.  When on board with friends, we often sat on the flybridge listening to music and one night, even danced to great music up there!  The cabinet the BBQ grill sits on actually houses a refrigerator with a small freezer section so that we can entertain without making countless trips to and from the galley below (it was always me making those trips, so I'm especially delighted)!   Having a grill, frig, plenty of seating and a table makes the flybridge an additional party locale (I didn't even mention the Bose HomeTheater system we installed throughout the boat).  Though we don't yet have a dinghy, it will be mounted athwartships (horizontally to the flybridge) and behind the entertainment area for yet more room for dancing!  We can even get another small table and some chairs up there!  Party Central!

Tom and I opted for the largest size ensign the teak flagpole can accommodate on the flybridge.  The captain is very much into flag protocol and supervises the flag's raising and lowering very carefully.

We always mount the KKY burgee (pennant) on the bow jackstaff (impressed with these terms? Me too!) when underway.  It's very "proper" to display your flags the captain has been heard to say.
There will be a halyard (sort of like a clothesline for those of you who grew up in an urban environment) on the flybridge for different flags and burgees.  Right now all we have is the Kadey Krogen Cruisers burgee to display, but we're thrilled to have that!  Some folks who have made the Great Loop (a trip through the Great Lakes) proudly display that accomplishment with a burgee.  I'm telling you, there is an unbelievable amount of information to be learned in the boating world.  The terminology alone is mind boggling.  When you add what you actually MUST know for safety, it's enough to keep folks dockside drinking Bloody Marys all day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Commissioning Serenity...

As promised, I have some more photos of our girl for you.  During our trip to see Serenity, many photos were taken - mainly to sustain us while we're here and she's there.  Also, while work was in progress, the good people of KKY took pictures of every happening.  The minute we arrived in our offices each day, Tom and I fired up the computers - not to check on what went on in the work world since the last time we were at our desks, but to check on the latest photos of Serenity!  I jumped so quickly to show her off that I forgot to tell you how we even got to this point!  It's called the commissioning process.

I know from many of your emails to me about Serenity, that you are most anxious to hear about how this process goes.  From what I've gathered from other new boat owners, it can be a wonderful experience (as in our case), or an absolute nightmare - as in the case of a boating acquaintance.  Our process began at 6 pm on December 13th, a Monday night.  Note the time here, because this is the time that Tom and I could get to the phone to begin this important dialog.  The folks we spoke to at KKY never once made us feel that they were now in the 10th or so hour of their workday.  Each detail of what needed to be discussed was patiently explained to us and from that patient explanation, Tom and I began to understand what decisions would be required of us and in what time frame.  Since we are not the only people for whom KKY is building a boat, we needed to reach certain decisions within a particular time frame to move the process along.  Our project manager Gregg was supremely adept in this area.  We were never rushed and our questions were carefully answered.

What is mind-boggling is that the (many) specs of a KKY boat are clearly communicated.  Each item the boat comes equipped with is outlined in full detail.  With so many items standard on a KKY boat, how could there be many decisions to be made? I asked myself.  That question was the doorway to the most comprehensive education in a condensed time frame I've had to date.  Starting from the outside in, there are hundreds of details to decide upon - the capstrip -varnish vs. paint (varnish for Serenity).
Swim ladder now or later - now.  When we put the swim ladder on For Us, we had to first find out where to buy one that would fit, then hire a diver to install it (at great expense) since we certainly weren't going to haul the boat to do this.

Every boat needs an anchor - or two!  Two for Serenity.  That's a whole other topic depending on where the anchor will be used.  Since we live on the North Shore of Long Island, we had to get an anchor suited for our type of underwater terrain (sandy).  Gregg guided our choice of anchors to a Super Max 20 (also suited to the type of Windlass on the boat) for the primary anchor and a Delta for the secondary.  Both anchors will have chain rode in sufficient quantity to keep us where we think we are in any weather.  This time around, we asked the KKY folks to use colored ties to mark off the chain length so we don't have to try to make that estimate under duress (as we did when the captain had the "incident" with the valve on the fuel polishing system).  You remember that, right?  Once this decision was made (there were additional conversations about chain vs. rope on the secondary anchor, length of this rope, etc).  More information than I thought I needed at this point.  After all, before all this talk of anchors, I thought you just hauled whatever was on the bow over the side and hoped for the best.  The captain would keel over if he reads this!

Once we had the anchor conversation, we moved onto the water filtration system, color of the bottom paint and whether to have a certain paint identify when it was time to repaint the bottom (yup, you read right).  Apparently, the bottom of the boat gets painted with a gray primer first (like the base coat of a manicure).
Then you can elect to have another coat put on so that when it begins to show through the final bottom color it means it's time to haul the boat and paint the bottom before the dreaded barnacles take hold.  No barnacles would dare attach to Serenity.  We chose to paint the middle coat green, followed by the classic KKY blue for the outside coat.  Very sharp!  Our girl is the envy of her fellow boat mates in the marina!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meeting Serenity for the First Time - OMG!

The day Tom and I had been counting down the days towards was finally here - January 14, 2011.  The alarm went off at 4:15 am for our 7 am flight to West Palm Beach.  We literally leaped out of bed and ran to our battle stations to get ready (well at least my battle station.  At this point in life, one just doesn't jump out of bed and run out the door)!  As usual, we arrived at the airport in time to help the cleaning crew mop the floors.  At least the security check-in line was quick -it was us and the TSA folks.  They actually seemed happy to see us!

After a lifetime of waiting and 2 Starbucks skinny lattes, our flight was called.  Luckily for us (and those around us), we purchased Early Bird boarding slots on the famed (and this time not inexpensive) Southwest Airlines.  This enabled us to board in an A slot so we could get on and off quickly.  After all, the sooner we boarded, the sooner we could leave, right?  Thankfully, the flight actually left 2 minutes early (someone probably told the captain Tom and I were on board).

We arrived on time in West Palm and were greeted by sunny skies with temps in the high 50s.  Heaven!
The wheels were still being deployed when I texted Laura at KKY that the eagle had landed!  Poor Laura - that was the first of nearly a dozen texts reporting our every move.
After what seemed like an excruciating eternity, we arrived in KKY's office.  Like family, we were greeted with hugs, handshakes and hearty congratulations.  Now, we were ready to see HER.
We all piled into cars and were off to Four Fish Marina in Jensen Beach where Serenity had just been hauled out for her bottom work to be done.  The ride was mercifully short; good thing 'cause by now, my heart rate had accelerated to the 100s and was climbing.  Tom wasn't saying much, but the look on his face pretty much summed up his thoughts.

As we drove into the marina's parking area, I realized that the object of our dreams, our life's new beginnings and the subject of hours of conversation was just around the corner and would be in view in a matter of seconds.  I hope all of you reading this blog get to experience this feeling at some point in your life.  It is indescribable!  If you allow yourself to dream of things out of your area of comfort, if you challenge yourself to take a risk simply because your heart tells you to, then you will understand what we were feeling at the moment.

We rounded a corner...backed up a bit... AND THERE SHE WAS!  Serenity sat there shining brightly under cerulean skies, seeming to be waiting for her adoring new family to greet her.

I cried and Tom cleared his throat before either of us could say a word.  In fact, I had seen that look in Tom's eyes just 2 times before this - when our daughter was born and again when she was married.  Serenity didn't disappoint us as we gazed at this unbelievable boat that was now ours.  As soon as we could pull our eyes away from her we were led to (a very tall) boarding ladder.  In order to see our girl's interior, we needed to climb the ladder (gulp), somehow reach over to the swim platform, hook our fingers into the slats and roll onto the platform.  Once that was accomplished, we had to try to get up from a kneeling, sort of fetal position (gracefully) and calmly walk into the cockpit as if this is an everyday occurrence.  I was worried about Tom since he hates ladders and has a bad knee.  I needn't have worried; he was up the ladder and on the boat like a gazelle.  I'll have to remind him of this the next time I have a "Honey Do" list for him.

Once inside the boat, the tears really flowed (and there was much throat clearing).  The interior of this boat is not to be believed.  We were sent photos of the interior as work was progressing, but we were completely unprepared for what we saw.  The gleaming wood perfectly matched, rounded corners, gorgeous teak and spruce floors, sturdy hand rails, STORAGE everywhere in cabinets and drawers, granite counters, soft leather on the settees, I could go on and on (and I will, don't worry).  Even though I don't count cooking among my heart's desires, I do appreciate the creature comforts of a well-appointed galley.  How about a 4 burner Viking range with full oven, a micro convection oven, stainless steel sink with spray faucet, full size frig with icemaker in the freezer, dishwasher and happy day, a wine frig with separate shelves for red and white wine!!! No more drinking hot cabernet savignon on a summer's evening for us!

The green stuff is just the protective covering over the granite and floors.  The galley looks into the saloon where we can seat 8 for dinner on a U-shaped settee covered in a wheat-tone leather.  The table has bird's eye maple edges, raises up for dining table height and lowers for cocktails - while sitting atop a pedestal that keeps things from moving around.
There will be many parties around that table, I can assure you!  Across from this seating area, we'll have 2 leather club chairs for comfortable indoor reading.  Behind the chairs is a cabinet hiding a 42" flat screen TV on a lift.  At the touch of a button, the TV rises up for viewing encased in its own teak frame.  Pretty cool, huh?

Serenity.  As you can see, even right from the yard without benefit of any decorations, she is a true beauty.  Wait til you see the other pictures I have for you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Star is Born! Introducing Serenity, KK AE Hull Number 4850

Hi friends!  Sorry for the long interlude between posts, but it was very hard to say good-bye to For Us.   I'm a person with fierce loyalties and can't just walk away after saying my farewells.

Now that For Us has a new family, I now feel free to welcome our new boat, Serenity.
Since nothing we do is done simply, you need to know that once we decided to purchase Serenity, we soon had everyone at Kadey Krogen Yachts following her every movement and I mean every movement!  We have photos of workers in their socks hanging curtains, finishing the teakwork and making final checks of everything.  But I digress....

Serenity was "born" in Asia Harbor Yard in Taiwan in mid-2010.  She was crafted to KKY's finest standards, just waiting for the right family to come along.  As I mentioned in a previous post, deciding to buy her was arrived at in 2 ways: by intelligence and by our hearts' desire.  Let's face it, one never wakes up one day and decides to buy a boat - a big, expensive boat at that.  Since we we've been guided by our dreams to this point, some honest conversation with the folks at KKY helped us take this leap of faith.  

Since Serenity was due to sail from Taiwan to Washington State in late November, we had to move quickly to make our dream a reality.  With the help of the KKY team (who now seemed like family), the deal was made following a long conference call on Monday night, October 11th.  Ironically, this magical moment arrived one night after our 39th anniversary ( I was married right out of the cradle - I know you're calculating here).  That night and the next days passed in a blur of frantic activity.  Tom and I were flying high and scared at the same time.  Who were we to be buying this fabulous boat?  How did we get so lucky that this opportunity of a lifetime landed at our feet at this moment in time?

Within a matter of weeks on November 22nd, Serenity was completed and loaded onto a cargo ship, The Beluga Favourisation, for her trip across the ocean to the US.  What a thrill to actually see photos of our new baby sitting atop a giant freighter heading for her new home!

 Every couple of days we received a progress report from the ship as it headed for Seattle. It seemed to be going sooo slowly.  Then came the report we had all been waiting for - the ship was docking in Seattle the next day.  After about 18 hours in Seattle, the ship was once again underway and heading for the Panama Canal.  Since Tom has a friend still actively involved in marine transportation, he kindly offered to try to capture photos of the ship carrying Serenity as she transited the Canal.  On a Friday night in early January, we got the call that Serenity would be going through the Canal late that night.  True to his word, our friend called us, told us to log onto to a particular website and there she was - our girl sitting like a spun sugar flower atop a giant birthday cake going through the Canal on the cargo ship.  What a thrill to see her.  Luckily for us, her position on the ship gave us a clear view of her starboard side and stern.  We were told that though many owners try to catch a glimpse of their new boat at this point, they are successful only 50% of the time.

Now that Serenity was through the Canal, she was scheduled for arrival in Port Everglades 4 days later.  Tom and I could talk of nothing else.  I was on the phone with my friend Laura from KKY several times a day.  Finally, on January 11th, Laura called to tell me that the ship could be tracked on a website that included a live webcam view of the inlet.  Several minutes later, Laura called to tell me to maximize my screen, that I would be able to see Beluga Favourisation enter the harbor with our girl in clear view!  Moments later as everything in the office came to a halt, the ship entered the webcam's range and THERE SHE WAS!  I had my first stateside view of the newest member of our family!
The excitement of seeing our girl for the first time was too much!  I jumped up yelling and crying and trying to get Tom on the phone.  To experience such excitement at this point in life is truly a gift!
Now the craziness really began in earnest.  Serenity was going to be offloaded that very day.  She would be wet for the first time since her "birth" and sailed to her temporary home at Four Fish Marina in Jensen Beach, FL by one of KKY's very competent (and brave) captains.  She finally splashed down (well not splashed, but daintily entered) the water around 9:30 that night.  Sharing in our excitement to date, KKY didn't fail us now.  Her welcoming committee was there (after waiting hours) to not only greet her, but take pictures with cellphones to send me the very moment she was floating.

After all this excitement, more was on the way for us!  Now that Serenity had safely arrived in Florida, Tom and I could book our flight to finally meet her - in just 3 more days!