Friday, March 28, 2014

Finally Friday!

A grueling week ended with a bang - my tax return e-filing instructions - and the CPA's bill - greeted me in the mailbox tonight when I returned from having dinner with a friend.  Bad news is that I owe some hard earned money to Uncle Sam.  Good news, NY State cut me some slack and is returning some of the money it extracted from me.  No more on that subject, bad for digestion.  Good thing for the wine tasting that preceded dinner!

So we all knew I wouldn't get to this blog during the day, right?  To be honest, I thought it might happen several times, but that was not to be.  At least I'm not starting with the dreaded words, "sorry folks".  Tom B. and I did chat for about a half hour right before noon.  Though we worked through my list, not everything could be finalized or added to the "Completed" side of the build sheet.  Seems some items need more tweaking by some of the vendors.  Great thing about this build is that we're not up against the clock or a freighter waiting to load the boat and take off.  That would put me right over the edge.  This is not the time to rush through things, especially the items with big price tags that will be in place for awhile, if not forever.

So, here's what happened today:
-    confirmed that there will be one satellite dome on the mast.
-    16' VHF antennas will be on port and starboard sides of pilot house aft of the doors, towards the boat deck.  Other antenna will be placed on the pilot house roof as needed.  We had this conversation while I had the 55 brochure open on my desk so I  could actually look at where things would go.
-    AIS will be both transmit and receive.
-    Tom B. gave me some homework - I need to read up on the Garmin and icom radios.  Looking at what I printed from the internet gives me a headache, but I promised Tom B. I'd read enough to try to make sense of what we need to discuss in order to make a decision.
-    we initiated a discussion about canvas.  I eliminated hatches in the pilot house at the suggestion of several seasoned boaters.  Since the 55's pilot house is all windows, having the sun beat through hatches would be more of a liability than the light they afforded.  It will be bright enough in there.  So, one less location for canvas.  There will be canvas on the 2 wing stations, the BBQ grill cover, and I plan on having 2 bow cushions.  The big discussion up for thought is whether to put those pesky Textilene covers on the windows or coat them with the 3M filters that seem to be doing an awesome job on a couple of Krogens.  As one who often battled with the Textilene covers on both of our boats, I'm leaning towards the 3M filters.  No rush here, but do need to put it on the radar.  Since there is no flybridge on the 55, I can cross off the need for all that canvas up there.  Another item for me to think about is how to contain the cat while allowing her to get some fresh air.  I saw a 48 that had a nicely screened aft cockpit to accommodate several on board cats.  I like that idea - keeps the cat in and flying pests out.  Have to give that some more thought.  If anyone has suggestions, please don't be shy about sharing them.
-     big item - entertainment system!  We've pretty much discussed the components I want, but we are still tossing around several issues: the Home Theater system is the big one.  I know for sure there will be those cute little Bose cube speakers strategically placed throughout the boat to provide beautiful music in the areas most likely to be visited regularly - that's pretty much everywhere on a boat, but some areas are more conducive to kicking back with wine and music than others.  There will be speakers in the usual places, including the boat deck and aft cockpit.  I'm considering a Fusion system that will be unique to the pilot house and boat deck rather that have remotes below to control the pilot house components.  It will have the usual components of iPod/iPhone dock, will be Sirius XM ready, have an AM FM radio, etc. The spaces below will be powered by Bose components and include a 42" Samsung TV and Blu-Ray disc player.  Tom B. and I are doing a bit more research on the Bose Acoustimass System at the moment.

I think I'm spending more time on this entertainment system than we did on the generator selection (which by the way is a 16 kw Northern Lights with sound shield).  My Tom and Tom B. did discuss the generator for quite a few go-rounds.  For a while, we considered having 2, one large and a smaller 8 kw one.  Knowing how I will use the boat, one 16 kw will do the job just fine.

The struts for the salon table from the new manufacturer arrived and need to be inspected by Tom B.  I know the pedestal table is secure and functional, but I do like the look of the original table used on earlier boats - we had one on our 39.  It's more like a piece of furniture.  I'm going to just let this issue coast along until Tom B. makes a determination on the struts - and I make a determination on the cost.

I understand the yard is looking for the granite I liked and sent a picture of.  Good luck to them - not one of my favorite chores.

I may be really nit picking here, but I made a note to ask Laura if the dishwasher was quiet.  We had a Bosch at home and in the days immediately after it was installed, Tom and I used to argue about who forgot to turn it on, it was that quiet.  In contrast, the dishwasher in my apartment sounds like a cement mixer - with a block of cement caught in it.  I'll be happy with something on the quiet side with perhaps nothing more audible than a gentle swishing sound - and only when really listening for it.

Still many more decisions to make, but we are making consistent, definite progress.  Thanks to KKY's knowledge and patience, and the owners who are taking an interest in helping me navigate unfamiliar territory, my dream is becoming more of a reality with each decision made and each item selected.

In a couple of weeks, I will look forward to sharing pictures from the yard.  I have seen nothing since the pictures sent on September 12, so am looking forward to seeing the progress made since then.  Granted there was a 6 month work hiatus, but there has been a solid month of work since I decided to move forward with the build.  Much more fun to read with pictures sprinkled in.

Thanks for reading everyone.  The number of page views since March 11th is amazing - 1, 153!

Have an enjoyable weekend!  I'll be back on Monday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just a few email exchanges today

Sorry folks, but the call Tom B. and I were supposed to have couldn't take place today, despite 3 attempts to keep moving the time up.  Work started with a lot of drama and ended pretty much the same way.  I hate when work gets in the way of the things I really want to do!

However, we did manage to discuss a few things in emails.  Tom B. was able to clarify a question I had about chartplotter or radar/other display failure.  I managed to grasp that the way Garmin has its system set up is that if there is a failure on one screen, a cable (it has a number and letter designation I can't recall) automatically swaps the signal to the working screen.  If the other screen goes bad, well a prayer and a previously installed navigation iPad app to the rescue!  That was actually the justification I made to myself for buying an iPad Air - and that was before the boat became reality.

We also firmed up my need for 1 vs. 2 satellite domes.  Since I have no plans to be in an area so remote that a $25K satellite phone and its trappings is necessary, I am going with a single dome on the mast for the KVH satellite TV.  Done deal.  Next....

Lebroc came through with its quote for 2 helm chairs with stainless steel pedestals and accessories.  We are planning to discuss that item tomorrow in greater detail.  The color of the leather will match the pilothouse settee, which will also match the salon settee.  I'm crazy for a light, neutral look that carries throughout the boat.  I'll dress it up with boldly colored pillows and snazzy Persian rugs.  If you remember the rugs on Serenity, they were really wonderful!  A pair of leather club chairs similar to the ones on Serenity and we're in business.  This time, the chairs will be opposite the TV so that anyone in the chairs can comfortably watch the tube.

Also firmed up are the anchors - as mentioned earlier, a Super Max and a Delta.  They'll do the job just fine for the immediate and distant future.  Both anchors will have all chain rode (get me, will ya) and wildcats (thanks Betty) on either side of the windlass.  I even know to make sure the chain gets color coded for depth.  Volunteers?

Poor Tom B. - I sent a rather long list of the items I hope to discuss tomorrow.  Actually, not only hope, but plan to decide on and enter "completed" on the build sheet in that elusive extreme right hand column.  It's becoming a contest with myself to see how many items can make it into that column within a short period of time.

I was excited when the secretary brought me a fed ex package today.  She hung around while I opened it in hopes it was another "treat" from J. Crew.  She was clearly amazed at the joy I expressed when I held up my new treasures!  The package contained 2 lovely pieces of cherry wood.  Oh, do I loooove that beautiful wood.  So elegant and easy on the eyes!  These prizes will be my companion as I roam tile stores this weekend.  Right now on my not too spacious apartment kitchen counter, are the 2 wood pieces with 2 granite samples nuzzling up next to them.  It doesn't take much to pique my enthusiasm when it's boat-related.

So, I apologize for a not too exciting post, but will send more details after the call tomorrow.  Who knows, if I have time, I might post tomorrow at a more sane hour.  There is a method to my madness:  I'm going to a wine tasting, followed by dinner with 2 other friends tomorrow evening.  It depends on how good the wine tasting is if I can post.  Better to be on the safe side and try to get some words down in the afternoon.  I don't dare start tomorrow's post with the words, "sorry folks....."


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My head is spinning...

How can my head be spinning without a conference call to blame?  Email is a powerful tool, designed to evoke feelings of madness, loss of control and paranoia.

Such was the state of affairs today.  It all began with an email sent by yours truly to Tom at Kadey Krogen, the ever-patient, long-suffering principal, builder of dreams at 11:27 pm on Tuesday night.  This followed the call with Betty to discuss anchors.  Exciting life I lead, right?

So we discussed the virtues of Rocna anchors, including the idea that the Rocna might be the anchor du jour and not necessarily what we all need.  Since I really don't know what I might need at this juncture, I'm going with the Delta anchor we had on Serenity, which as I mentioned, did a great job for us.  For some misguided reason, I thought we also had a Super Max anchor on that wonderful girl, but alas, my mind deceived me.  So, since the 55' begs for 2 anchors, it'll be the Super Max and Delta.  End of story and discussion.  If the time comes that my travels require something different than what I have, I'll address that issue then.  Right now, my main concern is leaving the dock without drama.

With that in mind, we also discussed the communications dome(s).   I clearly remember having this discussion with my Tom and think I remember it going like this:  the satellite TV will be housed in a KVH dome.  We were thinking of adding a 2nd dome for aesthetic purposes since we knew we wouldn't be needing a satellite phone.  Heck, I'm just getting the hang of my iPhone 5S!  After going through what I actually need - and with the realization that no matter how many domes are on the mast, they will all occasionally be challenged "seeing through" the mast - I decided on one dome well placed on the mast.  Since no radar arch on this boat, no need for symmetrical domes.  Easy.  Done.  Sounds like I just blasted through these decisions, right?  Not right.  I spent quite a bit of time at work this morning reading about anchors.  Luckily, no one needed to come to me then 'cause it would have been hard to pretend the anchors on the screen somehow related to placing temporary nurses!

So at the mid-week mark, I've decided on most of the electronics, the anchors, the number of mast domes and various and other sundry items.  Not bad for 3 days of conversation and ensuing decisions - all while at work.

I'm not sure if you remember, but prior to September 17th, Tom and I had already made decisions on the "guts" of the boat:  bow thruster (yes), stern thruster (no), stabilizers (yes), generator, 1 vs 2, (1),  Reverso oil change system (yes), engine room and back up cameras (yes), engine room freezer (no).  There will be staples on the swim platform; right now I'm considering what to put on the swim platform to protect it from "mistakes".  We had a thru-hull placed for a future water maker.  Much more cost-effective to put the thru-hull in place now, rather than having to haul the boat to do it later.  The water maker won't be added until I have a Bahamas trip planned to minimize maintenance chores.

It's amazing reading over what was decided today that it took many, many emails and a phone call to get through everything.  I was reassured that even seasoned owners have extensive questions, especially about the electronics components.  Last night I dreamed that I didn't have a standard Richie compass mounted on the helm, so that when the data feed failed, I had no idea where I was.  You know that was my first question emailed to Tom B. while still in my pjs!  And yes of course, I do have that compass mounted exactly where I thought it was.  So much for visions of sugar plums!

I think next up are the helm chairs and maybe the salon table.   I know the granite and back splash questions are on the horizon (no pun intended), so I need to get a tile store worked into my extensive weekend plans.  I actually enjoy seeing the reactions of shop personnel when they hear what I'm planning to do with the granite and/or tile I'm considering.  I live in a boating community, so I can't imagine how folks in the landlocked areas react.

At this point, I don't know what will be discussed, if anything, tomorrow.  I have a 9:30 am conference call with my accountant to finalize my tax returns, so I may not be in the mood to discuss anything other than a move to outer space to avoid more taxes.  If I do wind up making even one decision, I'll be sure to share with you, don't worry.

Thanks for your continued interest.  Would love and appreciate more comments.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Anchors away..

Today's conference call had to be accomplished in 30 minutes to accommodate our schedules.  So we were done in 45 minutes, not bad for so many big topics.

I have to tell you that it is far easier to discuss granite and sinks than anchors and electronics.  My head has been spinning since noon today.  Thankfully, I have Serenity's commissioning in mind as I make decisions and discuss topics that were Tom's department in the old days.

Today's conversation centered around several items, one of which was anchors - which ones?  We had a Super Max and Delta on Serenity.  I don't think we ever got to use the Super Max, but we did use the Delta and were always pleased with its performance.  That anchor did a yeoman's job on several weekends when we rafted up with 3 other boats, all in excess of 50 feet.  All 4 boats were held by Serenity's Delta anchor. However, those in the know suggested I consider a Rocna anchor.  I consulted my boating guru Betty, who said she'd have a Rocna if she were to get a new anchor.  We giggled when we realized how our conversation was going.  Most women having an evening chat might be discussing their new spring wardrobe and here we were discussing anchors!  So guess what I'll be doing in whatever spare minutes I can eke out of my day tomorrow?  This is a decision I need to make sooner rather than later since the Rocna style necessitates a particular pulpit design.  But most of you already know that, right?

Once I had my assignment to research the properties of Delta and Rocna anchors, we tackled several electronics items.  I am going with Garmin as mentioned earlier, probably 2 15" screens.  I've abandoned Tom's glass bridge - way over the top for me at this point (in more ways than one).  We discussed VHF radios - Garmin or iCom?  We had iCom on Serenity, so I'm going to read up on both while I get a price quote for each.  At least I know there will be 2 radios so I can keep one on Channel 16 and the other monitoring what is going on "outside".

We tossed around an intercom.  No shouting on this boat.  Besides, I was wondering what to do if I was in the pilot house and I needed someone in the aft cockpit.  Well, that was put to bed in a hurry when I faced the reality that I will NOT be in the pilot house alone while "someone" is in the cockpit. That "someone" will be sitting right next to me at all times for the first 100 years I own this boat!  All joking aside, the intercom is still an open issue.  I hate open issues, but sometimes it has to be open while more research (calls to Betty) is being conducted.

I decided against a wi fi booster.  Besides costing some change, I'm not the sort that lives or dies by signal strength.  This is the whole purpose of adopting this new lifestyle.  Unless it turns out to be otherwise, I can make other arrangements if I find that wi fi rules.

The electronics quote includes AIS -both transmit and receive.  On Serenity, we could only receive which made for some frustrating moments.  The radar will be mounted on the radar arch - how novel.
The autopilot will be state-of-the-art.  Can't manage without one of those babies.  Of course there will be satellite TV, weather and all the other essentials a well equipped boat contains.

I know I sound somewhat vague.  Once the electronics are nailed down, I promise a listing of all the components - including the entertainment package.  If it was up to me, I wouldn't have a TV, but I might find it impossible to have folks come aboard to help move the boat without one.  So, don't worry, there will be a TV, probably a 42" Samsung on one of those Aritex lifts on the port side of the salon.

Now my head is spinning again - and right at bedtime.  These are the times I resolve to post here during the day, but with the KKY calls taking up an hour each day, I can't very well do any posting - and hope to remain employed.  No conference call tomorrow.  I have anchor research to do while Tom B. dives further into the electronics and entertainment packages.  We agreed to touch base again on Thursday.

So please don't be disappointed if I'm not here tomorrow night - unless I must share the exciting data I discover about anchor differences - pro and con.  Who would have thought I'd be excited to read about anchors?  In 2008, I barely knew what an anchor was!  Shows what a difference a few years of boating can do to one's mind.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Quiet Day

Today was quiet - regarding the boat that is.  One of the reasons today was quiet is because it was not quiet at work.  I have yet to master the art of really getting office work done while talking to the KKY build team about granite, spotlights, etc.

Several emails were exchanged today regarding the recently submitted electronics quote.  As mentioned in an earlier post, my trusted advisers came through (as expected) with excellent questions and suggestions for the quote.  I collected the comments and forwarded them to Tom B.  Some of those issues will be the basis for our lunchtime conference call tomorrow.

The galley and head(s) granite are the next topic for discussion.  To illustrate how far I'm into this build process, I mentioned my granite choices to my golf foursome at dinner tonight.  When I mentioned the color I had in mind, one of the ladies said her mom's kitchen was cherry with that color granite.  I asked her to call her mom on the spot and have her mom text me a picture of the kitchen.  She did - 2 of them in fact!  One picture showed the granite against the cabinets, the other was a close up of the granite.  The next project for this lovely person was to find her kitchen fabricator and see if anyone can remember the name of the granite.  I forwarded the granite pictures to Laura right from my restaurant chair.  There was a bit of eye rolling going on when they thought I wasn't looking, but not too much.  They don't want to forfeit future fun times aboard.  Smart ladies.

Although it can be overwhelming to build a boat, especially as a novice, the build team is helping me with the visuals, endlessly explaining guess what - yup, the plan views and just helping me keep priorities in focus.  Each day is more exciting than the previous one, so much so, that I find it hard to keep still when I look at the calendar.  September will be a bittersweet month.  The boat is scheduled for completion and it will be the first anniversary of Tom's passing.  I am determined to make it a very special and noteworthy month.

I apologize for the lack of photos at this point.  That's because other than the ones posted last September, there are none.  Tom B. is heading to Taiwan mid-April, so I'm sure there will be many photos to send after that trip.  Thank you for your patience.

Standby for the synopsis of our conference call tomorrow.  Besides being fun, they are incredibly productive and exciting.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Still doing "boat things" over the weekend

Just a quick note to let you know that there is really no rest for the weary.  Since I'm not weary, I'm not resting!

I took a little jaunt to a local granite quarry to take a peek at some huge slabs of granite.  Infinitely easier than trying to imagine how an entire galley and 2 heads will look from a small square of granite!  Needless to say, the choices are beyond endless, but at least this time, I wasn't being threatened with an overnight stay.  I think I may be narrowing down my choices though.  Since we had a very dark grey granite counter top in our home, I'm steering far away from that color.  It showed every drop of water and dust mite that had the nerve to settle there.  Tom and I always loved deep, rich shades of green.  I especially love the way dark green looks against ivory and cherry.  There are 3 different green granites that have caught my eye.  One was actually from the Krogen samples I was sent; the other 2 are from the local quarry.  This quarry actually has a branch in Fort Lauderdale.  Since it's not time for that decision, I'll keep driving myself crazy with granite choices.  Wait, I haven't even gotten to the tile selection yet!  Oh boy!

Those of you who either own or are crazy about Kadey Krogen boats, can imagine the look on the quarry worker's faces when I showed them where the granite would be going.  Like me in the days before owning a boat, I couldn't even begin to fathom what an interior of a vessel capable of living aboard could offer.  Well apparently, neither could they!

I spent a very productive half hour with my trusted friend Betty this evening discussing the electronics quote.  It's a very scary looking document to the uninitiated, so off I ran to the one person who uses her boat the way I hope to.  I have another crackerjack to consult before even beginning to talk turkey.  How lucky am I to have such knowledgeable and wonderful friends to bounce ideas off of?  Not many owners-to-be have this opportunity to consult with the very owners of the same type of boat.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new week and a new round of conference calls to discuss the items of the day.  I look forward to every call and every decision to be made.  Each decision brings the boat one more step closer to completion.  Each decision brings Tom to the call.  Eventually all these decisions will lead to the boat being loaded on to a freighter and home to me!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Decided on a lot today (yesterday)

Sorry for the delayed post.  My days are so jam packed, that I seem to just run out of hours.  At 11:40 pm, I was still scurrying around and didn't want to rush my post.  I actually look forward to the time of night I can sit down and go over all the boat discussions of the day.  It's like having a dream with the ability to re-live it over and over with great clarity.  I'm closest to Tom when involved with the boat, so that makes the time especially precious.

Yesterday's updated build sheet introduced a whole set of questions and clarifications.  You notice I'm big on clarifications.  Don't forget I'm a girl from Brooklyn and when all is said and done, us girls know not too much about big boats.  It's a learning process - great fun, but still a learning process.

Yesterday I decided on using Prop Protector cutters on the props.  Not only is this product more cost effective initially, but will continue to be that way over time.  After extensive research and reading owner reviews, it came to light that a product with no moving parts to maintain and replace would serve my needs best in the long run.  Since this big girl has twin engines, every type of engine cost is doubled.  So Prop Protector it is.

Moving along, I confirmed with Tom B. that the entire cap strip forward of the aft cockpit (listen to me spout these nautical terms) will be painted with Snow White Awlgrip.  The cockpit cap strip will be left with traditional varnish.  Again, I love the look of an all teak cap strip, but on this boat, it would be difficult to maintain owing to the inaccessibility of the port and starboard sides.  I think just painting the sides would look ridiculous, hence the decision to include the bow.  Decided, finished, move on.

While on the subject of maintaining varnish, I'm eliminating the name boards and mounting the navigation lights above each pilothouse door as required.  Her name will be proudly displayed on the Portuguese bridge.  Oh, oh, I think I remember saying this before.  Oh well....

Big decision was made to extend the boat deck rails all around the tender.  I may have mentioned this, so bear with me.  To keep my blogs informative, I usually refer to my notes from that day's call, but in my usual fashion, I tend to jump around with excitement.  Anyway, though this set up will necessitate a smaller tender than what would fit, safety is more important to me.  We had a Boston Whaler 110 Sport on Serenity and it was just fine for our needs.  Will probably do the same when the time comes.  Just looking at that exposed area in drawings gives me goosebumps.  The extended railing also provides a perfect spot (center line) to place the oversize flag Tom wanted.  No flapping in one's face in the cockpit and no leaning precariously over the boat deck to furl and unfurl the flag.  Amen.

For now, I decided against adding a rub rail to the swim platform.  Stainless would be hard to keep looking pristine and a black rail would look plain ugly.  Not having that rub rail might help my docking lessons move along more quickly.  Lots of fenders......

To maximize the imposing bow on this beautiful boat, Tom and I decided to add a sheer stripe as a finishing touch.  I'm moving ahead with painting the sheer Forest Green (Tom's favorite color) with a small accent stripe directly below the sheer.  The picture I have is a PDF file, so once I figure out how to convert it to an image (if that can even be done), I'll send it along.  No promises here, you may just have to wait until the boat is here. LOL

I just received the electronics estimate from the vendor and need to spend (lots of) time digesting the information.  Though I was part of this discussion way back when, I'll need to have my hand held as we go through each component (what else is new? you ask).  At first glance, it's a fair and oh so functional package, even includes the Bose sound system Tom was so keen on having.  After all, during my many parties aboard, we need to be able to dance to great music!

Once I've reached a decision, I'll share that package with you.  I'm bouncing it off some trusted and loved KKY folks, so don't expect an update tomorrow.  If anyone would like to share ideas that have worked for them, I'm all ears.

Okay folks, gotta go.  I'm at work after all and can't possibly pretend to be doing something else while this blog is up on the screen.  Shhh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day Off Today

My decision-making activities got the day off today.  Well deserved, I might add.

Since there really is always something to think about where boat building is concerned, I did visit the Lebroc website and read up on all the styles of helm chairs offered.  I continue to like the Tradewinds model, which is listed as a series 2 chair.  I have no idea what that means, but it's a good-looking and functional chair, so that's all that matters.  Two of the many neutral colors caught my eye - silk and almond.  They're not white, but don't have the yellowish cast some neutrals have.  Amazing how many shades of white and beige exist with all sorts of exotic names!

Tom B. is waiting for manufacturer information on salon table struts.  I've recently discovered that cars are not the only things with struts.  There are gas struts in many places on the boat - master berth, lazarette door - and in the hi-lo tables under consideration - and probably other places yet to be identified.  So while he looks into struts, I'll amuse myself with the infinitely more exciting table designs.

I've pored through the 55' brochure so many times, the pages are starting to fray.  I'd better hurry up with these decisions before the booklet falls apart and - there goes my security blanket.  I've taken to actually carrying a manila folder with my latest notes (and plan views) in my purse.  Of course that necessitated upgrading to a larger purse, but it's always wonderful to upgrade one's purse.

I'm sorry this blog isn't more newsworthy and exciting, but I didn't want to go silent just as you were starting to make this blog part of your nightly read (judging from the huge increase in page views since last Tuesday, there is quite a bit of reading going on).  Thank you for that.

I promise to report back on the next round of decisions.  New drawings are in the works, so I'll try to get some snapshots of anything I think might be of interest to you.  If you need to know about something specific or want to see something special, just let me know and I'll try to oblige.  I love to read your comments, so please keep them coming.

Cruising Right Along

Another successful conference call today with a most patient and encouraging KKY guru.

Somehow, with the help of plan drawings (they give me the hiccups), pictures of other boats and a lot of help from Tom B., the following decisions were made today - and in under 35 minutes.  I'm really getting the hang of this whole project (not a minute too soon I might add).  Do I hear a collective sigh of relief and "it's about time" being muttered?

As mentioned yesterday, today was the day to decide on the galley counter top.  In the all-important galley, we finally decided to sweep the one level counter into the salon so that 2 people can sit comfortably at the "breakfast/cocktail bar" without needing knee surgery after the event.  I'm a neat nut, so keeping the counter free of kitchen gadgetry isn't a problem for me.  In fact, although I live alone in this lovely apartment, there is not one extra thing out on the counter, or anywhere else for that matter.  This "bar" will have a bull nose edge while the inboard facing counters will have a granite fiddle.  We decided that the galley is so nice to look at, including the lit glass fronted cabinets facing the salon and the tiled stove back splash, why block the view with a shelf?  Just another place to acquire clutter.

I gave my approval to switch out the reading lamps in pilot house, guest and master staterooms for the wonderful Cygnus single-arm wall lamps.  We also added 2 of those lamps to the salon - one on the port bulkhead, the other above the wine fridge adjacent to the galley ( on this boat, the wine fridge will be across the room on the port side facing inboard to allow for the new pilot house access steps on the starboard side).

Tom B. sent me some drawings of a 58' with the steps to the flybridge cleverly blended in with the bookcase in the guest stateroom to give me an idea of how my guest stateroom will look with the steps to the pilot house.  There are also 3 solid paneled doors in the wall looking aft to allow for some storage in addition to drawers under each of the 2 twin beds.  Though I won't encourage excessively long visits, a guest can comfortably stay aboard with plenty of room to spread out.

Under review are the 2 helm chairs for the pilot house.  We had a Lebroc helm chair on Serenity and loved it for its good looks, comfort and price.  I'm looking at the Tradewinds model in ultra leather to match the settee (color TBD).  I'm opting for stainless components instead of the white or black powder coat option.  Since trim on the boat is stainless, I like to maintain continuity throughout the spaces.  Since I'm not a big person, the regular width seats will be just fine for me and fit nicely in the area behind the helm.

Speaking of the helm, I'm keeping the oversize destroyer wheel Tom had to have.  It'll be nice having it in my hands, knowing this wheel was so important to him.  You've by now noticed the obvious lack of conversation about the electronics.  Tom had made many decisions on what this boat would have in the pilot house.  Some will stay, others will be modified.  That is where I am now.  I'm getting new quotes and new ideas, so no news for you right now.  In my mind, the electronics and name share a rarified position in this build process, so no conversation about either for now.

Another important decision coming up is the salon table.  Though I love the one KKY puts on the boats, I'm not wild about the stainless pedestal in a room rich with the warmth of cherry and leather.  I spent a considerable amount of time (at work) today looking at a dizzying array of tables.  I loved the movable tables on earlier KKY models, but understand they were not very stable when underway.  So I continue to weigh my options for a hi-lo table that can fold out to accommodate about 6 people for a seated, served meal and still look like a beautiful piece of furniture - oh, and also somewhat reasonably priced.  Therein  lies the challenge.

Mentioned in an earlier post was the idea of using cherry blinds (not real wood of course) in the rooms needing something on the windows.  KKY would build a frame in cherry around each window for a custom and sleek built-in look.  This seems to be de riguer (sp?) on the mega yachts that I've seen in magazines.  To be determined is the width of these blinds: 1, 2 or 3".  I'm leaning towards the 1" size - less surface to collect dust and more visibility when in the down/open position.  This size will also present a smaller stack and therefore, disappear inside the valance when pulled up.

Every time I read what I've just written, I have to chuckle - sounds like I actually know what I'm going on about!  LOL.  For those of you contemplating building a brand new boat, you need to be strong- minded,strong-willed, decisive and have some basic understanding of how to read a plan view (I'm ok with the former, but oh dear, those plan views kill me!).

Despite the very important decisions needed (lucky for me and the boat that Tom spent a VERY long time in the engine room and in the other interior/exterior important boat spaces), I'm having a wonderful time building this boat with the KKY team.  It's a bittersweet process for all of us, but everyone is determined to give me the experience of a lifetime while making prudent and fun decisions in a timely, calm environment.

I'm amazed that so much has been accomplished in a week.  I don't feel overwhelmed (only when I have to look at those plan views) and I'm happy with the decisions made.  I've second-guessed myself on a couple of occasions, but with the help of more experienced, saner minds, reason prevailed.

I'll be watching the mail for the ultra leather color cards Tom B. will be sending so that I can select the color of salon and pilot house settees (they'll probably be the same color - I'm thinking a light neutral) and the helm chairs.  Big doings!  Woo hoo!

That's all for tonight folks.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day off from boat decisions

Though I didn't make any boat decisions today, a 6 pm email from KKY set my thought processes in motion.

Since the interior of this boat will be a brand new design, there are some changes that will occur without precedent.  Since I am totally inept at conceptualizing plane drawings, we have some challenges ahead.  For example, I was asked to look at the guest stateroom which I will configure with twin beds to accommodate the different types of passengers that will be aboard.  Since the new steps to the pilot house will be above this room, we have to account for them overhead.  Additionally, I'm planning to place the entertainment system components in an electronics cabinet that will be at eye level in a cabinet that will front into the starboard companionway and protrude into the guest stateroom.  After my first thought that this would look awful, I was brought to my senses with a drawing that showed the bookcase above one of the beds blending into a header, soffit, whatever, that would hide the steps and cabinet protrusion.  I should have known better that KKY would build anything in a boat that didn't elicit sighs of contentment.

Next on deck for tomorrow (pun intended), is to decide on the sweep of the galley counter.  Translation: I've asked that the counter overhang into the salon a bit so that bar stools could be placed at the counter looking into the galley for impromptu cocktails while dinner is being prepared, a quick breakfast when the weather doesn't permit al fresco dining, or whatever else occurs in that area.  As we boaters know, there is never enough seating space - especially on a party boat.

Since good lighting is so important on a boat, I am in the process of changing out the standard reading lights in various places for the single arm Cygnus lamps I had and loved on Serenity.  Instead of having a bunch of lamps around that need to be stowed during trips, these sweet wall lamps are classy, neat and out of the way but provide the perfect light at the right height for reading wherever one may be sitting.  So, you'll probably see these lamps in the salon, guest and master staterooms and in the pilot house.  I'll still have room for a decorative lamp or two, but they won't be a necessity.

So this is where I am right now.  Making all these decisions and selecting furnishings is fun and exciting but also a bit stressful at the same time.  Since this boat will be my home, I want to put the best I can afford into every detail, knowing full well that I will have to make choices when necessary.  I'm getting excellent, objective advice from the very people that build people's dream boats, so I'm in good hands.

Looking forward to tomorrow's ideas, decisions and continuing the dream.

Friday, March 14, 2014

More boat conversations today

Even though there was no scheduled conference call today, I managed to stay on the phone for close to an hour with one of my very favorite KKY folks discussing many fine details.  As a woman who will soon need to start cooking before real starvation sets in, my interest in the galley appointments has been tweaked.  Amazing what necessity does to one's outlook on things.

If you've been reading my previous posts, you certainly know that my Tom was the cook in the family. He was such a good cook (without benefit of recipes), that I gladly retreated to other parts of the boat/house while dinner was being prepared.  I would secretly giggle to myself when Tom announced that he didn't feel like cooking.  As soon as I heard those words, I flew to the Chart Guides if we were in an unfamiliar marina to see which nearby restaurant took reservations.  Hardly very Italian wife of me, but this is a whole new generation, right?

I digress.  Today's conversation concerned the galley and some parts of the salon.  Many minutes were devoted to the inboard corner cabinet facing aft in the galley, the one at the end.  In the 55 brochure, 2 different styles of this cabinet are featured on the 2nd facing page.  The upper photo features the cabinet with 2 glass doors, the bottom photo features a closed fronted cabinet with louvered doors.   I've decided to go with my heart and opted for the glass fronted cabinets.  Though I'm giving up some storage for beauty, this is not such a big sacrifice on this boat since there is a LOT of storage, especially with the new interior design.  I have some beautiful crystal pieces that mean a lot to me.  So, with the help of museum putty and the glass doors, I'll be able to enjoy looking at these pieces every day.  Besides, the lighted cabinets in the evening lend a soft glow to not only the galley and salon, but also to the companionway, since the cabinets are glass on both sides.  Neat, right?

Next huge topic is the backsplash behind the stove - what material to put there?  Stainless steel is standard, but to those of us who have battled with stainless refrigerator doors and other equally impossible to clean appliances, I have absolutely no interest in trying to clean a stainless steel backsplash, behind a stove of all places!  My assignment is to haunt tile stores to get some ideas of what is out there.  I'm thinking of doing something that is easy to care for but beautiful to look at.  Mosaic, tile, travertine, granite, tile with a center pattern, on and on, the choices are endless.  Since I've already decided to go with granite on the countertops, I now need to visit a quarry to attempt to make a decision while we're still in this century.  When we did the kitchen counters in our house, I was in the quarry til they told me they had to close.  When Tom heard I still hadn't made a decision, he said he would call the quarry and have them lock me inside until they opened the next day.  This is a huge decision folks.  Since it's sort of permanent and will be seen every second I'm on the boat, it's important to get it right the first time!

Since I'm absolutely wild about cherry, I decided to wrap most of the boat in this gorgeous wood, including the walls of the galley.  I'm not a fan of formica and dislike the abrupt ending of wood between the salon and galley.  Besides, the window in the galley is huge and oddly shaped, so will  blend in better with the cherry.  Since cherry is a light wood and the boat light-infused, there is no problem with the wood making the boat's interior look too dark.  So another decision made on a Friday afternoon in which absolutely no office work was accomplished.

For those of you who are concerned about how "custom" you can make your Krogen, have no fear.  When I'm finished with this blog, I will do 2 unusual things:  measure my cat (yep) and measure the length and height of her litter box.  Among the discussions of bow thrusters, stabilizers and dishwashers, was the one concerning the location of my adorable tuxedo cat's litter box.  Since I will most likely always have company on this boat (call early for your reservation), my cat needs a comfortable place to get away from the lack of privacy she is now used to.  Cats can be finicky, so to forestall any "bad" litter box behavior, I'm being proactive here.  We've narrowed the litter box location to the master stateroom since that is the one place Zoe (my cat) can be alone to do her business.  Now we need to figure out just where in the stateroom to put that box.  Not a huge amount of choices.  One was to take the bottom 2 drawers out of the vanity and coat it with epoxy to present a smooth, easy space to clean.  Another was to put a removable piece of plastic on the bottom of the shower stall and just plop the box in there.  If anyone has any other ideas, I'd be thrilled to hear them.

Whew, I've exhausted myself just thinking about all the decisions that have been made and are still to be made.  So far, this has been an exhilarating process peppered with a sense of disbelief that I'm really going ahead with building this boat after all I've been through in not quite 6 months (Monday the 17th will be exactly 6 months since I lost Tom).  At the end of the day, this boat is all about Tom and honoring his memory all the days I own the boat.  He will be aboard with me always.

Have a great weekend everyone!  More to come on Monday I 'm sure.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Our conference call today was quite productive.  We actually have learned not to all talk at once and to try to stay on the topic under discussion until we get resolution.   Sometimes I get overwhelmed and forget if we actually did get resolution or if we need to continue the discussion thread.  For example, I woke up 3 times last night thinking about the build out for the blinds.  Try as I might, tossed around like a fish and tried to meditate, those cherry valences and blinds would not go away.  So take a wild guess on one of the first topics of our call today - brilliant, yes it was about the blinds!

We decided to create a visual border on all 4 sides for the blinds in the salon, guest stateroom and pilot house to give a built-in appearance.  They would look silly in the galley with the way the window is positioned, so we decided to build out the valence a bit.  This way, if I decided to put something there, maybe a pleated shade that would only be down while in a slip, the shade would be hidden while up.  Big move in the right direction!

Second huge decision was whether or not to retain a varnished capstrip around the entire boat or paint some or all of it.  Because of this boat's unique widebody design, it is impossible to get to the port and starboard sides at the waist.  That would require a worker alongside in a boat, not only expensive, but not practical.  I thought it might look odd to just have the sides painted, so we decided to paint the bow and sides using Awlgrip Snow White and leave the capstrip varnished in the aft cockpit.  That would retain the classic look while leaving me more time (and money) to romp and play.

We also discussed extending the boat deck railings to encircle the tender.  This conversation grew out of 2 issues:  where to put the flag, since it was a pain to position on Serenity.  I had to uncover the Whaler and actually climb into it in order to put out or retire the flag.  The other more serious issue is my fear of working on the dinghy in an unprotected area.  My clumsiness and lack of cat-like reflexes is legendary - ask the local hospital who has fixed each of my four limbs.  Though extending these railings would limit me to an 11' tender (same as on Serenity), it will be a small price to pay in comparison to the security it will afford me.  We also just found a great spot for the flag!  Another enormous decision made.

The balance of the call was devoted to the sound/entertainment system.  Though we still need to move this discussion along, it looks like I'll do a Bose sound system in the salon, galley, aft cockpit and guest stateroom and perhaps a Fusion system in the pilot house and boat deck.  Serenity had a sophisticated system set up so that Tom could watch TV in the salon or pilot house while I listened to music in the cockpit.  Since I'm into music more than TV, that won't be a very difficult issue to decide on.

We also VERY briefly discussed the electronics.  They had already been specked out by local folks while we still had Serenity.  Tom pretty much had things laid out, so there won't be too much work there.  I did decide to do a stateside installation however since I'm going with Garmin again and Garmin is best done here.  The helm will be state-of-the-art of course, with a few less bells and whistles than Tom had planned for, but impressive nonetheless.

Also decided was to go with line cutters in light of the mess our waters are in, not to mention those damn crab and lobster pots in the most unlikely places.  We had already planned for them, but it was still a discussion that had to be had.

I have to look at my notes (which are in my office) to let you know the exact names of the colors selected for the bottom and bow sheer stripe.  Though the sheer stripe is an extra, it will look very sharp on the bow.  It's a big bow to go naked.

All this was decided in a smidge under an hour.  This is one focused group.  We actually discussed a few other things, but nothing of great note to anyone but me.  The level of detail is absolutely amazing. Tom and I built our first home in Houston.  Though I did have some meltdowns during that process, this build is far more intricate, needing many more decisions.  After all, homes don't propel themselves through water.

In any case, I'm amazed at the progress made in the past 3 days!  A detailed build sheet, dedicated and tireless people who want nothing more than to build my dream boat and a time line to work within, is getting us to where we need to be while still having fun and enjoying the whole, exciting process.

No conference call tomorrow, so I'm taking the night off to have dinner after work with friends.  Have a great weekend everyone.  I'll be back with more of the build process next week.  Hope you're enjoying the reading.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The latest decisions to be made

I almost went into withdrawal without our conference call today about boat "things".  The feeling was short-lived though.  Around 4 pm, in came a message itemizing several topics that had been discussed, but not decided on.  Here's what's on the radar:

Name boards or not?  If yes, painted or varnished? If not, where will name go in addition to transom?
Cockpit cabinet or not?  Considerable add-on
Cap strip varnished or painted with Awlgrip paint?  If varnished, just cockpit, or entire boat?
Wood window trim for blinds in salon, guest stateroom, galley and pilot house?  Another considerable add-on, but I really love the way cherry wooden blinds look when they're encased in built-out window trim.

I equate these decisions to those one makes when going shopping for big ticket items.  Somewhere along the way (unless one has just hit the lottery), the real cost must be weighed against the "wish list" and choices made.  Dreams can be expensive, but with careful planning, it's possible to have it all without breaking the bank.  I'm at this point now.  What I always keep right in front of me is that a week ago, I wasn't sure the bank would agree with my idea of buying this boat at all.  A week later, I'm discussing whether or not to have name boards!  Holy cow!

Speaking of name boards, I think I've selected a name for the new lady.  I'm calling her a lady cause she is so much more than a girl.  Though you're welcome to offer your suggestions and even take wild guesses, I'm going to leave that a secret until later.  How much later? you ask.  Well, you'll have to just hang in there with me to find out.

I'm sure you're finding these endless paragraphs tough going without pictures, but the only pictures I have were shared with you on September 12th (a lifetime ago for me).  I don't know about you, but I am in my glory recounting all the details and planning that is going into this magnificent boat, the boat I refer to as the boat of dreams come true.  Unless one is fortunate enough to build their dream home, this is as close as I will get to that.  Right now, I have zero interest in a land-based home and actually love the apartment I'm in.  Not having a house, property and all the headaches that go with such ownership is wonderfully liberating.  Though a boat requires endless care and tons of work, it will gladly be a labor of love and devotion.   Besides Tom had tough standards I'm going to have to continue, otherwise......

As if the conference calls didn't make this endeavor real enough, I called Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, FL today to book a slip for January, 2015.  Though it might as well be a century away, in reality, it's only 10 months away and when you're building a boat, 10 months is nothing.  Due to Sunset's popularity with the Krogen set and because Serenity was there in the winter of 2012, I was able to charm Sam into putting me on C dock with other Krogens and give me slip C-8 (I actually asked for B-8 since that was the slip Serenity was initially assigned until we were delayed by Hurricane Sandy).  I am so excited about this little nugget of gold I was able to secure.  Sunset is a beautiful marina, conveniently located in walking distance of a charming downtown with great shops, restaurants, museums and a waterfront park that offers Sunday concerts in season.  Yay!!!  Now I just have to hope C-8 is as wide as I remember B-8 was.  18 ft. of beam is a lot of boat to snuggle into a slip.  I do intend to do the snuggling by the way, so you might want to get your deck chairs out, pour the wine and watch the show.  I promise entertainment.

Speaking of entertainment, that's all for tonight folks.  Nite nite.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Off and Running

Today is only Tuesday, and since yesterday, I've already spent nearly 3 1/2 hours on the phone with the KKY build team.  We had back to back conference calls to discuss the issues KKY was patiently waiting for me to address.

With a virtual tour of the other 55s up on the computer, we went to work.  Since 55-005 will be the first with the new steps to the pilot house and engine room access configuration, there is no other boat to look at.  The new design will move the pilot house access staircase to the starboard side and allow for a "landing" to decrease the pitch and size of the original staircase.  As if that is not wonderful enough, access to the engine room will now be through a regular door in the guest head.  That room will be moved forward, making the room bigger to allow a door with steps down to the engine room.  All steps will be household size, making for comfortable movement up and down the steps.

As in other Kadey Krogens, there is ample storage, even for a liveaboard.  Every inch of the boat is cleverly planned to accommodate one's "stuff".  I was amazed at all the areas designed to store things of all sizes.  I was even able to plan for shelf height to account for my "bar" items.  Can't forget those bottles of scotch, vodka and other libations that make living aboard a boat pure bliss.

Though Tom and I had spent many hours planning the boat's interior features, we went back to each item and discussed the living spaces inch by inch, outlet by outlet.  There is something so satisfying about being able to have exactly what one wants - within reason, of course.  Since I've never lived aboard anything, I do have some challenges thinking about how the boat will be used during all my life stages.

What makes building a boat home so exciting, is the advice so generously offered by other Krogen owners.  It is comforting to know folks have my back and will do everything possible to help me avoid mistakes or overlook something I didn't know to look for in the first place.

Luckily for me, my office is fantastic about how I move through these days.  Since Tom's passing, they have been understanding and thoughtful, giving me the time and space I need to do what I need to do these days.  I don't think they planned to have me build a boat while this generosity was being doled out, but that's where we are now.  These past 2 conference calls were held at lunchtime, but I know my co-workers can hear every word I whisper.  Anyone passing my desk took a second look at the notes, brochure and virtual tour on my screen - few have ever been around someone building a boat, so it is quite a novelty - hey wait, that includes me too!

I'm quietly excited (well, as quiet as I can be) about this new turn of events.  It's not even a week since that life-changing call from the underwriter, but I'm already entrenched in all things marine.  I still find it hard to believe that this magnificent boat will be mine, not only to spend fun weekends on, but to actually live on full-time.  To think I won't have to drag myself off the boat Sunday nights makes me giggle with glee.  On a more solemn note, Tom will be a very real presence with me on the boat since so much of his knowledge and experience went into selecting the boats running parts.  My very safety has already been ensured by my beloved captain.  For that reason, this won't be an ordinary boat to call home.  It will always mean so much more to me.

Please stay tuned as the plans continue to evolve.  As soon as there is something to show you, you can be sure I will be showing off this new lady in my life.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm Back

Thank you everyone for continuing to read my posts during my absence.  As promised, I'm back.

Here we go.....

Friday, March 7th, 2014 dawned sunny and not so frigid, for a welcome change.  I knew it would be a special day the minute my eyes flew open.  The workday morning raced by, pretty much the way it usually does.

A little before 3 pm, the call I've been waiting for finally lit up the caller ID on my desk phone.  With trembling hands, a catch in my throat and butterflies in my stomach, I managed to say, "Hello, this is Rosemarie" (my work/real name).  The person at the other end asked how I was - I managed to say that would depend on what message was about to be delivered.

This call was about to transform my life yet one more time since September 17, 2013.  For those of you who only know me through this blog, you may not know that on that horrific Tuesday, Tom, my husband of nearly my whole life, my soul mate and beloved captain of the ship we call life, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at 10:05 am.  This is not the platform to discuss this tragic event in my life, but suffice it to say, my entire world as I knew it came to a crashing, heartbreaking end.

The following weeks passed in a blur of attorney and financial planner meetings, decisions to make, documents to sign and a house to dismantle.  If you recall, Tom and I had sold our home and were anticipating a closing on November 8th.  With the help of dear friends, I got the house emptied, contents packed/disposed of - including close to 900 hardcover books - and moved out of the now silent house and into a nice apartment town home.  I know popular advice is not to do anything the first year after a loss, but this was not the time to wait.

While I was trying to make sense of my new circumstances without my life's partner, I had a monumental decision to make - alone: to continue building our dream boat, KKY 55-005, or make alternate plans for the boat.  At this point, I felt as if my heart was being ripped apart one more time.

They say it takes a village to help make dreams come true; my situation was no different.  In my case, the village was populated by those who have guided Tom and I in many of our ventures, and by those who truly care.  From October to January, I wrestled with this huge decision until one evening when I was looking through my 55' paperwork, a little yellow sheet of paper fluttered out of one of the files.  The sheet was filled with figures in Tom's handwriting - figures relating to our purchase of the boat.
That was it!  Tom helped me reach a decision there and then.  With all that was in my power, I decided to try to continue on with the building of the 55' and take delivery - maybe a bit later than planned, but try to take delivery nonetheless.

Fast forward to Friday, March 7th - the call I was waiting for came from the underwriter who had just secured my financing approval to move forward with the boat purchase.


KKY -55-005 is mine!