Sunday, March 20, 2011

Almost (but not quite) Done!

Hi everyone!
At this point, I feel as if I'm writing to friends.  Thank you all who take the time to read this blog, comment and join as followers.  It's a thrill to log on and find a new comment and/or follower.  At first I thought blogging was a bit narcissistic, but I've come to realize from feedback that people enjoy reading and writing  about what they love.  It's no secret that Tom and I love, love, love Serenity and since I've become the designated spokesperson, I'm doing the telling.  Hope you continue to enjoy my posts.

As I write this, Tom and I are counting down the days until we're once again aboard the object of our hearts' desire.  On Wednesday, March 23rd around noon, we'll be climbing aboard Serenity for the first time since January 14th!  This time she'll actually be in the water and feel like a real boat!  I'm assured by all those who have been aboard that she is indeed, a very real boat.  Serenity played hostess at a KKY Open House 2 weeks ago - I understand she was much admired and fawned over.  When Tom and I read this reports, we smile like indulgent parents (which BTW we are)!

For those of you who are closely following this commissioning process, you will note the addition of the ladder on the starboard side.

Though this boat now has (beautifully) molded steps up to the flybridge, the captain wanted immediate access.

You have to understand why I love the new molded steps as an alternative to the ladder.  That's cause it's always me who goes up and down the ladder countless times during a cruise.  You see, the captain has needs he never anticipates until we're underway.....water, energy bar, sunscreen, reading glasses, snacks, etc.  Those needs arise AFTER I've already made several trips up and down the ladder BEFORE even leaving the dock.  Since we always ran our boat from the flybridge, that is where things needed to get to.  Picture this:  in order to safely navigate, one needs charts, so up the ladder I go with a huge chart under one arm while I climb the ladder holding onto one rail.  One needs to see distances, so up I go again with the binoculars around my neck, sunglasses for both of us under one arm - and again I shimmy up holding onto one rail.  Oh, oh, where's the autopilot? the captain impatiently asks.  Oops, down I go for the autopilot (luckily it can be hung around my neck) so I have a free hand to bring up a bottle of water with a cooler cozy stuck in my teeth.  Hopefully the addition of this creature comfort to the flybridge's summer kitchen will end that issue!
I'm picturing this frig stocked with water, soda and whatever else will keep me on the flybridge and not in the galley while underway!  BTW, the frig sits in a cabinet that is holding a BBQ grill (under the canvas cover).  Luckily the captain loves to grill.
Now we can enjoy a nice, relaxing day on the water.  I'm sure you understand my love affair with our new molded steps.  Who would have thought molded steps could bring such ecstasy?

Speaking of ecstasy, wait until you take a look at our brightwork (cap strip/rail).  Though some KKY owners elect to paint their brightwork (it saves hours of cleaning, wiping and polishing, not to mention  huge amounts of dollars on upkeep), there is nothing more beautiful and traditional than softly gleaming teak brightwork.  Teak captures the sun's rays like no other wood, casting a warm, mellow glow in all types of lighting.  Teak cap strips are evocative of the romance of transatlantic cruises on the famous grand ships of the past.   KKY has access to the finest wood craftspeople; their work is absolutely impeccable.  Take a look......
This picture was taken in full sunlight so you can see the wood's fine grain and the luster enhanced by the sun.
The next picture was taken in the shadow of the pilothouse to show off the sheen of perfectly varnished wood....
Needless to say, maintaining this glow requires lots (and lots) of good old fashioned "elbow grease".  We go nowhere until the wood is wiped and buffed with the countless chamois we keep aboard.  The captain has a very critical eye - need I say more?

Don't know if you remember reading in a previous post, but last season a sailboat in dire need of attention was docked next to us.  His brightwork looked as if the boat had crossed every ocean in the world under the most severe conditions.  When he saw me wiping our bright work for the second consecutive hour, he moaned that it was his misfortune to be docked next to us.  If he only knew!  I guess that's why we didn't see much of him last season.  Luckily for him, we've been given a different slip to accommodate our bigger boat.  It's my guess that whoever our new dock mates are, they will be gnashing their teeth when they see the captain in action.  They'll think he was born with a chamois cloth in one hand and a chamois mop in the other hand - and that's before all the other gadgets come out!  God, he loves that mop.  He even made a lanyard to attach it to the ladder - for immediate access!  I often considered hiding the stupid mop and pretending it went overboard, but I hate to see a grown man cry!

While I was carried away describing the commissioning process, I neglected to tell you about the award Serenity won in late January at the Fort Lauderdale TrawlerFest.  During the show as attendees tour the boats, they are asked to vote on the boat they think is "Best in Show".  You got it - Serenity was voted best in show, even though she had been stateside for only two weeks!  She was one of about 50 other trawlers and blew away the competition.  When Laura called to tell me the news, we were both in tears.  To think a boat could win this coveted award strictly on her lines, beautifully finished interior space and mechanical attributes, speaks volumes for this company and their unerring ability to build fantastic boats.   These are the wonderful KKY folks who accepted a Tiffany crystal bowl and beautiful wood covered log on Serenity's behalf.

It's very exciting to be the owners of a show stopping boat, right?

In the next post, I'm going to show you some pictures of the interior as I think the ladies have seen enough of the exterior, beautiful as it is.  Even though the interior is not yet decorated, some photos show the boat staged for the Fort Lauderdale and Miami boat shows so you'll have an idea of how she will look.  Later in the season, I'll give you peeks as we do our own decorating.

Think of us from Wednesday through Saturday this week as we feast our eyes on Serenity.  The KKY folks have been beyond wonderful sending us pictures of everything as it was either being done or completed, but there is no substitute for the real thing.  The advance forecast in Stuart is calling for temps in the low 80s during the day, low 60s at night.  We'll try to deal with it.  This is where we'll be enjoying some fine champagne Wednesday afternoon as we christen Serenity and welcome her into our family.
Talk to you next week!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

...and the masterpiece that is Serenity continues...

Yup, still at it folks.  Even though the world is in shock at the devastation in Japan, life as we know it here continues as usual (thank goodness).  Now that I'm an official boater, my heart sank as I watched beautiful boats tossed about like toys, very expensive toys representing the loss of millions of dollars.  My sympathy goes out to all.

On a lighter note, work on Serenity continues.  The electronics installation is still underway.  I have some photos showing the lengths to which the technicians are going to ensure a beautiful installation.  When they're done, no one (not even us) will know where the myriad of wires have been hidden.
The next photo is my shows the wiring for the flybridge sound system!  That translates into music for dancing my friends!
In my previous post, I mentioned how handy the radar arch was for antennae and domes.  This is one of the smaller data domes for WiFi and other neat devices.
After the last post, I received several emails complaining that I didn't provide enough specific information about the electronics.  I know you'll find it hard to believe, but those complaints came from the gentlemen.  Two ladies are anxious to see the interior and could care less about the 15" Garmin screens.  Can't please everyone, but I try.  I asked the captain to provide some more information on the electronics package he selected (remember I was selecting the flybridge cushion fabric while this was going on).  So for all you techno-wizards out there, here's a rundown of the package highlights:
The system is all Garmin and contains:
4 7215 chart plotters (GPS) - 2 on the flybridge; 2 in the pilothouse
2 300 series VHF radios
multi-gauge autopilot, depth sounder, sonar, 404 open array radar, satellite TV and weather, Sirius XM radio, WiFi, weather station for wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, water temperature
Other features:
Closed circuit TV for engine room and stern; video input to GPS and closed circuit TV
6 man Viking life raft
Class 1 EPIRB
BOSE surround sound base system with remote control, zoned audio output also with remote control in stern, salon, pilot house and flybridge
This boat has a fire suppression system in the engine room, a fuel polishing system, Reverso oil change system and all the other bells and whistles one would expect to find in a boat of this size and caliber.

Although commissioning is a careful and thoughtful process, the KKY folks have made it a fun and exciting experience - even though we're a few miles away.  The daily emails with accompanying photos keep Tom and I going when the days seem too long.  Now that our trip is only 11 days away, our project manager and I are having fun counting down the days and hours.  The staff is helping us plan Serenity's christening, which will occur on Wednesday, March 23rd.  We've invited the KKY team to join us in naming our newest family member and wishing her well with some excellent champagne.  What more perfect way to celebrate such a momentous event?  Those folks helped turn our dream into reality!

Another aspect of the commissioning process is the unbelievable process of selecting a name.  Once that hurdle is mastered, then comes the decision of how to apply that name to the boat: decal vs. paint.  We chose the decal route since it worked so well on For Us.  In fact, the same husband-wife team who worked on For Us was invited to work on Serenity - they are artists!  So what's so tough about choosing a decal you ask?  About a gazillion different scripts, fonts, finishes, colors, etc.  - that's what!  We chose a 24 carat gold leaf for the background of the name, and added navy blue shadowing.  The script was eventually selected from about 36 different fonts - 36 because the couple already knew our preferences from our other boat.  Believe it or not, this process took a bit over 2 weeks.

 Hold on there, we're not done yet!  Serenity has name boards! Beautiful varnished, teak name boards, one on each side of the boat.  So back to the drawing board for the font, size, color, etc we went.  This choice was a bit easier since the size of the name boards limited our choices somewhat.  If you look closely at the name on the stern, you'll see a little blue star in the swirl of the "y".  That swirl and star are actually part of our signature design.  Tom designed a decal for the bow that truly is exquisite.  Though he designed it for our other boat, we decided to carry it onto Serenity.  This scroll appears not only on the bow.....

....but on the name boards as well.

Tom and I couldn't be happier with our selections to date.  Though we didn't go overboard (no pun intended), we did select the highest quality we could manage.  With the solid guidance of the KKY team, we put the most essential items first on our list, were helped to establish priorities and were never steered to purchase one particular item over another - we were given choices every step of the way.  As previous Krogen owners, we knew from experience that both the vendors and equipment brands suggested were top notch - we haven't been disappointed.  Believe me, the captain is not an easy man to please when things are not going according to plan - and he has been delighted.  If there are any doubts about our state of bliss, take a look at this smile (photo taken in January, our first day aboard Serenity while she was out of the water).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Commissioning - A Masterpiece in Progress

If you're like me and never experienced the commissioning of a new boat, you must be asking yourself at this point, "aren't they done yet?"  On Friday, Serenity will be in Florida for 2 months - for 2 long weekends, one in January and one last month, she was being "shown off" at boat shows in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.   Of course no work could be done then.  This past weekend, KKY held an open house at their Stuart headquarters, so again, no work got done.  However, since the KKY folks have built and commissioned quite a few boats before Serenity came along, they pretty much know how the timing goes.

 All the "big" items have been completed with the exception of the electronics installation.  Since the electronics are the "brains" of the boat, extreme care and precision are needed here.  We engaged the services of a top-notch Florida-based technology wizard whose bid was not only fair, but presented on time and addressed all the issues of importance to us.  Though the work on For Us was well done, the customer service portion of the job was found lacking.  There were several work overruns which wound up costing us a bit more than we bargained for.  The company's owner became elusive; our questions were bounced to his assistant, who was often busy on other jobs, thus delaying the answers to our questions.   Needless to say, this company was not invited to bid on Serenity's electronics package.

I don't know if you noticed in other photos, but Serenity has a radar arch instead of the traditional mast and boom.  Though the mast and boom present a more typical "salty" profile, the arch is sexier and provides a perfect platform for various antennae and little domes.
Though the captain might not like to read this, the absence of the mast and boom gives me more room to entertain on the flybridge - more room to dance!  Also, when we eventually get our dinghy, it'll be mounted behind the main part of the flybridge, so I can even get a little bistro set up there.

Okay, back to the electronics.  Many of you have emailed me asking me what we finally selected.  There are pages of the stuff, but I can give you the basics here.   We considered several options: Raymarine, Furuno and Garmin.  The captain did much research on this topic (while I was busy selecting cushion fabrics).  After consulting with other KKY owners, long-time boating buddies, friends in the marine transportation business, Coast Guard Auxiliary friends, Tom decided on Garmin, same choice we installed on For Us.  Thanks to a larger pilothouse, the electronics panel on Serenity is huge, big enough for 3 different screens.
As you can see from the naked electronics panel, there is plenty of room to have things visible on their own, without having to be part of a main screen.  The visibility is incredible, no?

This is a view of the electronics panel as of last week.  You can see we have 2 separate 15" screens for chart plotting, GPS and weather, separate smaller screens for autopilot and rudder angle display.  If he is so inclined, the captain can watch a football game on one of the screens while navigating (he better not)! If you notice, over to the right, there is a whole panel we've not yet used.  For now, we'll use it to display pictures of the grandbaby due in early May!  There's a Ritchie compass mounted where we can see it without standing on tiptoe.  The radio is not yet installed, but very important - the speaker for the Bose system is already there, above the instrument panel.  First things, first.
We'll hopefully have more detailed pictures to share after our trip in a couple of weeks.  Work is moving along steadily now that the shows are over and I'm told things are right on time.  Would KKY have it any other way?