Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Productive Week is in the Rearview Mirror

This past week culminated in the receipt of the drawings promised by KKY (they always deliver what they promise).  A hectic week at work prevented me from trying to scan a legible copy but I promise to try this week.  Though the pics I took just now are not that clear, you can at least get an idea.

The drawings are very exciting since they pretty clearly depict what the sink and galley faucet will look like in place.  I'm pleased that they work and that I don't have to go back to the websites and start over.

Hard to really see any detail, but you can see the faucet in the center.  This is the faucet up close...

We also received color drawings of what the accent and boot stripe colors look like.  The captain had a big smile on his face when he looked at the drawings.  The sheer stripe color in green looks awesome above the blue boot stripe.  Though I know the boot stripe is pretty much below the water line, it still looks fantastic!  Hey, we have to be excited about what we have so far - and the drawings are it!

This is not in color.  I don't understand why the background is so dark, but too late to figure out why.  I'll try to upload the color drawings to this computer since they're on the computer at work.  But again, you can get the idea...

Our Laura was kind enough to chat with me about granite colors during our many, many, many emails back and forth during the course of a week.  Not only did she chat with me, but after carefully listening about the granite colors we like, sent us a nice-sized chunk of the color (it's still available, yay)!  To go even further, she also sent a big piece of the cherry that will be used on the boat - and not just any cherry, but aged cherry so we could get the most precise idea of the combo over time.  Not sure if you can tell, but the granite is a gray-green, very cool against the cherry.  I'm not a fan of light colored granite with a lot of inclusions, too busy.  Tom and I both like a bit more contrast.  Not sure if the heads will have the same color, but for now, this color is coming out on top.  Nothing final yet, but we're on our way!

Though the photos are not great, it's better than having to wade through my rambling descriptions and deal with all those words on a page.  There will be more photos and better ones, as things start to take shape.

The captain and I have been talking names these past 2 weekends.  We both seem to tend towards a single name with 4-5 syllables.  Some of our suggestions have been in ending in "y".  Probably because we loved our signature blue star nestled in the "y" of Serenity so much.  I guess you guys are waiting for a prize to be announced since I have not received a single suggestion.  Come on, please help us out!

By the way, we still have not gotten a signed contract on the house.  We're hoping that happens this week.   Not too much going on....

Even though there wasn't too much to report in this post, I feel badly if I let a week go by with no updates.  So, I'll be back as soon as there are some interesting tidbits to share.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not too much going on now... boat land that is.

We accepted an offer on our home Friday and had the inspection today.  These folks appear to be serious.  Have 3 small things to fix, then hopefully, a signed contract.  Can't rush these things.  You can say Tom and I have been a bit busy with even more business on the horizon.

Came to several boat decisions last week:

Accent stripe and boot color.  As I mentioned, the bow on this boat is quite imposing.  We decided to create a nice visual by adding an accent stripe just below the capstrip.  The accent stripe will be Awlgrip Forest Green and the boot stripe will be Seahawk Blue.  That's it, blue.  No special words to describe this color, just blue (Seahawk is the paint manufacturer).  Thank goodness for this manufacturer's simplicity of only offering 5 basic colors.  If you're really curious about what these colors look like, you can go to the websites.  Awlgrip has a nice color chip chart while Seahawk just lists its colors down the side of the page.  The captain and I have always been partial to shades of blue and green on our boats.  Brings the outside in without getting wet.

Central vac system.  Luckily a new 52 owner took time to answer my very long list of questions, central vac vs. canister among them.  She is like us, 3 boats in under 5 years.  She has had central vac in all 3 of her boats and wouldn't consider doing without.  So, we're putting in a system by Intervac, specially designed for boats and RVs.  This system will be flush mounted in the machinery space so we don't have to look at it.  Though I'll have to go into the engine room to empty the bag, I don't plan to vacuum enough to make that an issue.  Besides, it's good to visit one's engine room with regularity, so I've been told.  The inlet will be centrally placed in the companionway leading to the staterooms to easily access the main floor and pilothouse.  I've been researching a retractable hose that coils up neatly into a mesh bag when not in use.  It's pricey, so more reading is needed.

Sink and faucets.  Things got so crazy in this department that the captain told me in no uncertain terms that he would delete without reading any emails making ANY reference to a sink or a faucet.  Tom Button is the most amazing man.  I've said this before and know I will be saying it again.  The man didn't flinch while I went on about corners, mountings, drain location, finish, etc.  To make things worse, I decided on different faucets than the ones KKY uses.  Same manufacturer because it's one of the best, but different styles.  I don't exaggerate when I say that I looked at websites and faucets for 3 days!  Drove myself nuts, that's how bad it got.  Though there are only 3 main faucet manufacturers that I had an interest in, they each make dozens of faucet styles.  Despite the fact that I had pretty much decided on Grohe (we have this one at home and have been very happy with it), I of course had to be sure I wasn't missing something.  So, I spent the next 2 lunch breaks poring over the Delta and Moen websites.  Nice faucets, but I was hung up on Grohe.  So another lunch break later, I narrowed my choice for the galley faucet down to a style called Ladylux Cafe (model # 33755 SDO).  This faucet features a high, arched neck with a pull-down sprayer and a single lever.  Very neat and clean and only 1 hole in the granite.  The high neck is essential for those huge pots of water for pasta I mentioned earlier.  The finish is some sort of stainless that will match the appliances.  The head faucets will be similar, of course scaled down since I won't be filling pasta pots in the head.  My selection for the head faucets is Allure Single Lever Basin Mixer, again very simple and elegant.
The sink was a maddening choice, I have no idea why.  We finally selected Elkay model number ELUH2317EK (KKY uses this one on their boats).  It's an undermount, has rounded corners, is 10" deep and has the drain off center to the left.  It's a sink, says the captain when I told him my great accomplishment.  The patient Tom Button will have my selections placed on a drawing.  If I can find a way to scan the drawing so it's legible, I'll be happy to share.  If not, you'll have to wait for pictures of the real thing.

While I'm prattling on about sinks and faucets, Tom, Tom Button and the electronics people are having really meaningful discussions.  Since I can't lend too much in this department, I'll focus on my strengths and keep my lack of knowledge about all things Garmin to myself.  Yes, we are going with Garmin again.  We absolutely loved the system we had on Serenity.  It worked beautifully, did the job without confusion and never failed us.  With the exception of a few more bells and whistles and bigger display screens tilt mounted, we're pretty much duplicating Serenity.  The electronics folks had the chance to come aboard Serenity during our last visit in June and were able to see exactly what we had so we're not starting from a blank slate.

Please forgive the lack of pictures.  I just looked over what I've written and don't know if I'd be inclined to wade through all these words without some comic relief from a picture.  If I had a different lifestyle and was home for more than 2 hours between the end of my day and bedtime, I could probably have uploaded some pictures from the website.  Alas and alack, that is not to be!

When we finally get to the pictures, just think of how sweet it will be.  Right now, I'd be thrilled with any pictures at all!  Tom Button promises some early pictures of KK55-005 in its fetal stages, in the mold.  I understand that's not too far off.

If you are the good followers I know you are, Tom and I would appreciate some name suggestions.  I've been asked to write a little piece for a KKY newsletter about the genesis of the name once we've selected one.  I want to make it a fun to read and interesting story, so please send me your suggestions.  I'd like to offer a prize but am too consumed with house and boat thoughts to think that one through.

I'll be back hopefully with the drawings of what I've selected so far.  You do notice I've been saying "I" all along right?  When we get to the electronics, the references will be "he" and "him".  Until then, happy reading and thanks for taking this amazing trip with us.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More details!

We're a bit closer to the central vacuum issue, but now mired down in sink choices!  Just pick one urges the captain.  How hard can this be?

Doesn't he know the difference between an under mount and top mount?   Composite, e-granite, Corian, stainless?  Single bowl?  Double bowl?  Rounded corners? Square corners?  Drain centered or off center?

As if these choices aren't enough to cause a few lost eyebrow hairs, we need to select faucets!  Again the bewildered look from the captain when I show him my inch-thick printout of faucets.  Mind you, these are marine-grade faucets, so the choices should be a bit less awesome, no?  No!  I can't even begin to describe the different faucets out there.  So that you don't think I can't make up my mind (I do an nice job, thank you very much when pressed against the wall), but I am having a bit of fun here if you don't mind.  We've narrowed the field down to a faucet with a single lever that has an arched neck.  Those of you who are Italian know this sort of faucet is essential for getting a pot of water filled to boil enough pasta for the army that might arrive on the dock when Sunday dinner is being prepared.  The faucet will be stainless and swivel so that the entire sink can be rinsed without going through contortions.  So what's so bad about that choice so far?  Brushed stainless or shiny? the captain asks.  Can't you see I've already moved on to that mile high stack of sink information I ask with just a touch of impatience.

Sorry I don't have any pictures yet.  I'd crash my Mac and surely run out of gigabytes if I showed you what I'm wrestling with.  It will be worth the wait when the sink/faucet saga comes to an end.  But wait, there are the faucets for the master and guest heads!  Oh oh, I think I just heard the captain hit the deck.  I may need to make these choices on my own...

We've now tiptoed into color selection for the bow stripe and bottom.  Thankfully, the paint manufacturer is wise and offers less than 25 color choices.  Nevertheless, there are MANY shades of blue and green (which is where we're leaning) to consider.  Who would have guessed?  At 8 am yesterday, the captain and I were tossing around names of colors like we've done this before. If I were a fly on the wall, I would fall down laughing at the absurdity of it.  But, since we're not flies, we continue to ponder, fret, sweat and best of all, laugh.

The electronics package we're considering would make NASA smile.  From what I can see, if 55-005 were a rocket, we could get it to the moon and back just on what will go in the pilothouse.  If you think the sink and faucet decision is a tough one, the electronics decision will put goosebumps on your entire body.  Fortunately there is a limiting factor in this decision - THE PRICE!!!  This is one area where sanity MUST prevail or we will be on the dock with a cup begging for alms.  The captain has volunteered (stated strongly) that this is his baby and he will "suggest" what we will have.  I may step to the side here since I just want the helm to look nice and have the instrument panel give us the information we need to get places.  I did ask for a remote control for the Sirius radio though.  On Serenity, we had to go to the helm to change stations. Not a big deal by any stretch, but when we're 100, it might prove to be an inconvenience to keep getting up and down to change those dance tunes.

So to sum this week's decisions up:  central vac or not, sinks, faucets, paint color, and whatever else we are blissfully unaware of at this point.  The electronics package is a work in progress, as is a host of a 100 other things.

Since we're trying to get our house sold while these decisions are pending, we're a bit busy these days.  It's all good, so please hang in there with us.

The best is yet to come!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Details Galore!

Nothing too exciting happening yet.  Our assignment is to research central vacuum systems, including canister size, possible locations, retractable hoses and where to store them, etc.  I had no idea there was so much information out there.  I've gone through a ream of printer paper gathering the stuff!

The wonderful thing about building a Kadey Krogen is that there is a "family" of cruisers out there ready and willing to help.  There is actually a group to which we proudly belong - the Krogen Cruisers.  We have a website and are connected by group talks if we choose.  Our annual Rendezvous in Solomons, MD is coming up in October.

I recently reached out to a favorite cruiser who not too long ago had the first 52 built.  Heck, I'm being modest in saying I "reached out".  I'm torturing and bombarding the man with incessant questions about things I didn't even think I knew about last week!

My emails go something like: " Hey Mike, what do you think of your 3M filters on the pilot house windows"?  Before he can answer, I'm asking about the pad eyes on the bow (whaaaat are those? I asked myself last week).   Next I wildly skip over to where to put a spice rack and what about the extra AC outlets.  These are a very small example of the questions Mike finds in his email "in" box nearly every day.  Seeing that we're barely into the 1st week of the build,  I think I feel sorry for him.

In addition to researching central vacuums, the captain and I had a serious discussion over cocktails today.  Topic?  Generators!  Two vs. one, 16 kw, 12kw, 8kw - it was a conversation any engineer would have been glad to be a part of.  We discussed using the generator at anchor, while docking, operating the windlass while dropping the hook and while operating the stabilizers and bow thrusters.  Wow, we've had some wild conversations at cocktail time, but this one was a doozy!

Onto a more fun topic - the dinghy.  We were so pleased with our little 11' Whaler sport, that we're deciding very heavily in favor of her bigger sister, the 13' Whaler Supersport.  Same basic concept, but a bit bigger.  The davit on the 55 will support 1200 lbs, so even with the bigger Whaler and a bigger engine, we're nowhere near maximum capacity.  This Whaler comes with some interesting options like a color wrap for the hull, different colored lettering, etc.  We're a bit ahead of ourselves here, but had to add some levity to the generator discussion if you know what I mean.  I already set up the salesperson I used last year to come up with competitive pricing for a "returning customer".  In our neck of the woods, it's considered insane to pay sticker price on anything.  Haggling for a maximum discount is expected and part of the fun of buying a big ticket item.  I love it!

Obviously absent is the discussion of names.  We keep going back to one, but welcome any input from you.  This is a huge decision, especially since this will probably be our last boat for a while.  The 55 will be our 3rd Krogen since November, 2009.  I keep saying good thing I held off on buying those 1000 boat cards and the 5000 personalized cocktail napkins I had my heart set on!  The new boat will have mementos from her sisters: towels, pillows, canvas totes, cozy blankets, etc.  After all, these were gifts from cherished friends and family, they were not about to be left behind!

The scroll work that characterized the 55's sisters will also be different.  Tom has come up with some sketches that are a class act and befitting of the 55's imposing bow.  Don't worry, you'll get to see the final artwork at some point in 2014.  The folks in Stuart that do this sort of artwork are incredibly talented at taking an idea to the finished product.  They also have the patience of Job.  While For Us was being created for the transom, we actually apologized for being such nit picking PITAs.  These folks thought nothing of the MANY emails and drawings that went back and forth, they just wanted us to be happy.  Since many other Krogens use these wonderful people, we already know they are made of special "stuff".

Since we left those gorgeous red leather chairs and Persian rugs behind (how could we leave Serenity undressed?), that is another area we need to delve into.  The truth is that the chairs might need to be a tad bigger and the rugs probably would have been the wrong size.  Since they were so perfect on Serenity and the new owners loved everything, it was a no brainer to leave them with the boat.  Lucky new owners in so many ways!

As promised, I'm posting updates, unexciting or otherwise.  There's a bit of selfishness here, believe me.  These ramblings of a Krogen-crazed boater will serve as a very nice history of the creation and birth of our new boat.  Who knows, some magazine might be crazy enough to want to buy these notes! Crazier things have happened.

Hang in there til I'm back with who knows what's next!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Just Beginning

The ink was no sooner dry on the closing statement when the process of building a brand new boat began.

I mentioned spending about 4 hours with the very talented (and patient) naval architect who is the  "artist" within the bones of every Kadey Krogen yacht.  These 4 hours barely scratched the surface of the decisions to be made, additional questions to be asked and answered, etc.  Since our deal closed Monday, my emails have been very un-work related to say the least.  One astounding thing about buying a KK boat, is that one of the owners is the project manager.  He is the one who just built an awesome spread sheet for us with just about every detail that goes into building a boat of this caliber.  There's are columns for the item in question, whether or not that item is a change order, the cost, and when a decision is required.  Items are in bold that have been discussed, but not firmly decided upon at this point.  It is a fantastic way to keep track of every idea that pops into our heads and the status of those ideas.

For all of us in this country, July 4th is an important holiday.  Many offices closed early today but I know 2 who did not - mine and Kadey Krogen.  Tom B. was still answering my questions at 5:48 this evening (and mind you, he just returned from one of his many trips to Taiwan).  For those of us who have never built a boat, let alone their dream boat that would also serve as a permanent home, having this kind of expert attention by a KKY owner is the next best thing to Utopia.

To bring you up to date, one of the items up for discussion (and needing a decision soon) is whether or not we want stern thrusters.  Since this is a very costly piece of equipment, we had to carefully consider the pros and cons.  Tom B. was able to give us a detailed explanation of how the stern thrusters are fit on the 55, how deep they will sit in the water depending on things like fuel load, etc.  Instead of trying to sell every conceivable option, Tom objectively presented the information we needed to make an informed decision.

To answer the question you're dying to know the answer to, we opted to not have the stern thrusters.  With twin John Deere engines and very effective bow thrusters they  move from the "must have" column to the "not necessary" column.  Just to show off a bit, another reason we decided against stern thrusters is the unique "wineglass" design of every KKY stern.  This shape actually lifts the stern a bit thereby giving the stern thrusters less water to bite into.  A simple explanation which I understood the first time around.  The captain of course knew this before it was discussed, but then he's supposed to know these things, right?

Since we plan to cruise the Caribbean, other seasoned KKY owners have suggested we put a water maker aboard.  At first we thought this was a waste of money since we always have cases of bottled water aboard.  What we didn't realize is that we drink cases of bottled water during the short trips we've made to date.  That is considerably different from being in the Caribbean at anchor for perhaps weeks at a time.  We are told that the most successful (and comfortable) way to cruise islands anywhere is to provision the boat to be its own power and sustenance plant.  The Caribbean is not like living in Huntington where every imaginable creature comfort is either a short drive or a phone call away.  So at this point, we are considering having the fixture for this apparatus installed as a through hull during the build and put the water maker in when we are ready to take on the Caribbean.  Doing it this way will avoid a stateside haul out, drilling a hole in the boat and other issues that are sure to arise.

On the table for discussion right now is a central vacuum system vs. a traditional vacuum.  It's hard to believe that this discussion is taking longer than the water maker.  Issues to consider are 1 central station which is less expensive, but entails dragging many feet of hose around and through the boat vs. several stations which would be more expensive, but worth it.  Who would have thought the location of the collection canister would create such lively discussion?  My plan is to chat with the person who we trusted to clean the interior of both For Us and Serenity and ask her about the back pack she uses.  Hopefully we can put this discussion to bed by this time next week.

What we're trying to do is conduct our research and make a decision as things come up, rather than trying to tackle several things at once.  It's daunting enough to build a new boat, but to build a boat that will also be home is even more so.

So you don't think this project is all work and no play, Tom and I are having fun thinking of names.  We're thinking of doing something different on the bow that will be a departure from the artwork on the bows of our other two boats.  Tom has sketched out some designs that look very interesting.  Once we come up with the final design, I'll be happy to share a picture with everyone.

We exchanged congratulatory emails with Serenity's new owners.  They so love her name - and fear Neptune's wrath if they change it - that they decided to keep the name.  We're happy to know that - the name so suits her.

Even as I type these words, there is still an air of unreality about selling her.  At the time we bought and furnished her with the best of everything we could afford, we thought she would be our forever boat.  She certainly had the capability, safety, range and comfort of a home, so what changed our minds?  Now that we've decided to actually move aboard, the idea of the one level living design and the walk-in engine room was a major motivating force.  That coupled with the re-designed approach to the pilot house sealed the deal in our minds.

I know we'll see her again, just as we saw For Us in Stuart this past January.  We Krogen folks certainly have wanderlust.  I'm trusting that will enable us to say hello to Serenity at some point in the future.  In fact, I'm counting on that.

More to follow as we move down the build list.  Feel free to ask questions as we go along.  Reading comments is what makes writing a blog so much fun.  I'll be waiting to hear from you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Deal is Done!

For all my loyal followers who have been making do with my old posts, I have some very exciting news to share!  We've been keeping our news a secret until now, but now that the deal is done, I'm thrilled to share!!!

Tom and I put Serenity on the market through Kadey Krogen Yachts in December.  She was viewed by many until the perfect couple came to see her.  They fell in love with her last month (it was love at first sight), made an offer and the deal closed today at around 3:00 NY time.

For those of you who know how much Tom and I loved that sweet girl and the material comforts we showered on her, I know you are scratching your collective heads, thinking we really did lose our minds this time.  We did, sort of.  The absolute ONLY reason to sell Serenity was to BUY A BIGGER VERSION TO LIVE ON!!!  Sooo, we ordered what is now known as 5505, the Expedition model which has a beam of 18 feet, overall length of 60 feet, 11 3/4 inches, weighs nearly 89,000 lbs. and has captured our dreams to live aboard and see the world.  Oh, did I mention we put our home on the market at the end of March too??  We're still waiting for the perfect person(s) to come along, but have faith that the day will soon come.  Since our new boat won't be ready for a year, we're ok to wait a bit.

5505 (which we didn't feel free to discuss names for until Saturday - that will be another surprise) will be newly configured for easier access to the spacious, 360 degree view pilot house, have a walk in, full height engine room and since it is all on one level, will be easier for us to get around on when we're 100.  The idea to buy this boat was born last October after I was a guest on 5501 during the Krogen Rendezvous in Solomons, MD.  I loved the boat, though struggled a bit with the pilot house access.  During the event, a KKY partner presented plans for the newly configured Expedition series.  That was it.  I was barely in the door upon returning home when I hit poor, unsuspecting Tom with my idea.  To his credit, he didn't wave me off.  His mistake was to take me seriously.  By November, we were talking to the KKY folks and in December, Serenity was put on the market.  That's how we do things.  I not only believe in carpe diem, I live it!

Since you've all been so patient, this is a sneak peak of the 55 Expedition model as it sits in the KKY office conference room.  The outside will remain the same; only the interior will be different.

Since we plan to really travel in this boat, we are thrilled that it has twin John Deere engines.  The fuel-sipping qualities of a trawler will take us thousands of miles before we need to top off the tanks.  Pretty neat when you're in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Bermuda!

We flew down to Stuart this past Wednesday to begin the bittersweet process of taking our belongings off Serenity.  It took 3 full days and the help of 2 people, but I put the last load into storage 4 hours before leaving for the airport on Saturday afternoon.  As I approached this favorite landmark on the way to see Serenity, I began to feel butterflies in my stomach.

Though I wasn't second guessing our decision, I was feeling guilty for leaving Serenity after only 2 years of ownership.  But if you remember, we only owned For Us for a year before deciding to move up to Serenity, so I guess we were acting pretty much according to our norm.  Even though this was our last visit to Serenity, the sight of her warmed our hearts.
The blue sign you can see on the boat deck railing is the For Sale sign I had so much trouble looking at during our visit in March.  I (somewhat) happily took the sign down before leaving for home on Saturday.
She looks better now.

This photo is actually the last photo I took as I walked toward the car for the last time.  I had a lump in my throat the size of Rhode Island, my eyes were streaming and my heart was pounding, but I managed to walk away with only a few backward looks.  She is living up to her name - the picture of serenity sitting in slip B21.

Since Tom went to the car ahead of me, I whispered a few last words of gratitude to the boat who had been the scene of many wonderful times with good friends.  She often resonated with the laughter of friends enjoying each other's company.  Our grandson was aboard when he was just months old - Serenity sported a portable crib, swing, and a supply of diapers in addition to her always full wine cooler and pantry.  She took us safely to fun-filled adventures and always made us proud of her.  As I patted her goodbye, I asked her to do the same for her new owners, to show them what owning a boat like her would mean to them and to enable them to realize their dreams the way we had.

Fair winds and following seas sweet girl.  We will never forget you and will always carry you in our hearts with love.

As 5505 takes shape (she is due to go into the mold shortly), I promise to share her early (sonogram-like) pictures.  For those of you who choose to, I will take you with me on 5505's saga, from pictures in the mold, to the beginning of the interior design, to the selection of fixtures, finishes, etc.  It was fun to do that with Serenity; I'll do it again with 5505.  As the months unfold, she will soon have a name and we can all get familiar with the boat of our dreams.

Happy Reading!