S/V SUSANA Our goal for Cruising is 2013

This is Susana. A Bruce Roberts "Spray", steel-hull, gaff rigged Ketch.
In 1895, Joshua Slocum departed Boston in his tiny sloop Spray and sailed around the world single-handed. This historic achievement made him the patron saint of small-boat voyagers, navigators and adventurers all over the world

Susana is our Spray and will guide us where the wind meets the sea on our safe navigations. We are just a little behind our 5 year plan for retirement cruising. It looks like we'll be ready in 2014.....Follow us while we prepare Susana to take us on our Journey.

Sep 4, 2013

Winter 2012-13 Diesel Heater Installed and New Bow Sprit Designed & Manufactured

Note: Kevin and I have both been so busy, I've not had anytime to post last winters projects, so here is a (belated) update:
Last summer (2012) while sanding the topsides, we discovered a some rust spots around the bow sprit. So our project during the nice days of winter, was to remove the old sprit. Beneath there was definitely rust and the wood was beginning to rot. We carefully measured for a new Sprit and Kevin designed a new one in stainless steel. Once designed, we purchased the stainless steel and took it to a local welder in Southern Maryland to complete the project. We will wait until the topsides are completed before installing the new bow sprit.  
While Kevin was working on the inside of the boat over the winter, he decided to add some real heat. By plumbing a gravity feed line from our diesel tanks to a diesel heater, he was able to stay warm throughout the winter.

Jan 7, 2013

New Year, New Approach to our Timeline

After facing the latest fall 2012 project, and 2 other major projects this spring and summer: the rigging and  the replacement of 14 ports; we had to rethink our time line and move it back a year. 

Last Fall it took over 3 months to get the Hull to bare metal for a complete inspection. This was a major project, but really needed to be done in order to inspect the hull and get qualified for insurance for cruising. 

Kevin filling the pot with Black Oxide.
The whole boat was tented to maintain
the dust and grit.
Just a little dust!
April in her gear, ready
for clean-up.
Kevin in tight places and confined to a tent even when
the temperatures soared to 85 degrees.
Finally the last side
to paint working under
lights at night.
Kevin worked every day after work and on weekends to grind off the old barrier paint and sandblast that steel to bare metal. Each night upon completing a small section, he would have to lightly spray it with primer to prevent any rust starting and light enough  that it could easily be removed once the whole hull was ready for its aluminum-based RustLok coating.). It was a tedious job, but he worked tirelessly on the project.
April "clean-up" Crew
recycling the Black

I was the "go for" at hand. I took weekly 1-1/2 hr.  trips to Tractor Supply (the best price) to load up my  9 year old, 160,000+ miles Avant Audi, with as many bags of black oxide it could carry.  I ran for face masks, ball valves, Gatorade, gloves, buckets, lunch to keep the equipment & my captain happy. After a few runs for cans of spray primer i eventually negotiated a better price on a case with ACE hardware. Thank goodness for Harbor Freight and Tool as a source for inexpensive supplies, too. And my discount at West marine came in handy when we decided to use paper dust proof suits and 3M breathing masks. Those suits cost almost $4, my price was a $1.50. At that price it was cheaper than buying clothing or a work suit that had to be washed everyday.
Susana with her brand new hull, ready for barrier paint
in the Spring.
Expenses tallied info to come. 

Aug 19, 2012

Bottom and Topsides Paint Prep

Bottom Work Begins on Susana!

Tenting to capture the debris

Kevin works so hard... and now he's got a BIG JOB of stripping the epoxy and bottom paint all the way down to bare metal. But he's soooooo excited about all the work ahead of him because he's working on his second love Susana (or is it his first???)She's got a big bottom and needs lot's of work.

Kevin's portable sandblasting workshop.
Gotta love that truck again! 

I keep saying "we" when it's really Kevin that does all the hard work. I just provide the nightly back massages, positive support and healthy dinners. And since March I have managed to get so much canvas work that I haven't had time to work on Susana's cushions!

We may be a little behind on our 5 year plan, but we are definitely making progress. Oh! and we managed to become totally debt free....that's a huge step towards early retirement and cruising.
Well, I asked and now I got a job to do on Susana....I get to sand the topside and prep it for painting.
 Hey...if it gets us closer to our goal...I'm all for it!

Jul 21, 2012

After a few sidetracks.....we're back to Susana!!

Kitchen Remodeling
Before and After
Seems like everything goes in 3-6 months.This winter...since Susana was on the hard, we decided to upgrade the kitchen, which included tearing out walls between the kitchen, dining and living room, adding cabinets and laying hardwood flooring throughout this newly opened space. This is the last remodeling we'll be doing on the house. Now it's time to really focus on Susana.

Apr 12, 2012

Some things just get in the Way!

Here it is April 2012 and we haven't been working on Susana since the fall. She's "on the hard" patiently waiting for us to finish our work on the house. We visit her, pat her fat belly and remind her we'll be back, very soon!
April's been taking on more "paid" canvas work, so  Susana's cushions are still waiting to be done! Also the plant outage lasted 2 months this year, meaning Kevin worked 12-13 hours a day, 6 days a week with barely any breaks. Except for one....Kristi and Paul's wedding!
Even though we've had a few other items to get through. Our main goal is to  be completely debt free and everything finished at home...we're still keeping our eye on the goal. We talk about Susana''s refit, read books/magazines, download information and talk to other people that are doing the same thing. We've begun changing our diet & food preparation that is more suitable to cruising and has reduced our weight "a little". We're essentially downsizing and living simply! Once Susana is done, she'll be totally self-sustainable.
For me, working at West Marine and around marinas and private docks on canvas work, I feel I am totally immersed in boating. This summer I think I will hone my fishing & crabbing skills!
Kristi & Paul

Kitchen is getting a major overhaul.....I guess we eat out for the next few weeks!!

Jan 2, 2012

Time Flies When You Have Work To Do!

Gee Whiz, Here it is January 2 2012 and we really haven't been doing too much on Susana. BUT .....Kevin has been busy finishing up the patios & walkways around the house. We can now say THEY'RE DONE! Of Course, April chose September to have her THR (Total Hip Replacement).  (Anything to get out of work ;o)
THR went well, until after 3 months when my doctor told me to slow down because my recovery wasn't catching up to the physical activity I was doing and I had a relapse. Walking 2 miles a day after 10 weeks seemed appropriate to me! I was FEELING GOOD, with no original pain in my hip. I could now get on and off the boat without grunting and groaning because of the pain!! HIP HIP HOORAY!
I did make good of that time to get my General Class FCC Ham Radio License upgrade and my new Icom 7000 rig and antenna strung across the yard. This rig will be used on the boat for email, weather and other FREE communications! Right now I'm listening to the Waterway Net.
Front Walkway & Back Patio Completed October 2011
Kevin was getting burned out at work and needed some physical exercise,
 so he decided to pour cement and lay brick!

Jul 4, 2011

Transporting 2 Masts, Ham License, Tear Down the Headliner, Finished Canvas

Hmm...25 ft truck 40 & 32  ft masts - 4 hours from Norfolk under cover at night!
It was no surprise Susana's wooden masts would be replaced. The challenge was finding 2 aluminum mast (40 & 32 ft) to be deck stepped & fit into the existing tabernacle (used to lower the masts when necessary). After much inquiring on Masts from Ohio to Annapolis, we found EXACTLY what we needed (and for a reasonable price of less than $2500) at a marina in Norfolk. Off we go in Kevin's dump truck (I love that truck!!) to pick up 2 masts, 2 booms, mast head, various spars and more rigging than we need.

We'll wait to do the masts during the fall when it's much cooler. It's been consistently 85-95 and humid for the last week. So Kevin is working in the air conditioned salon, tearing down the ceiling, adding his wiring for LED lights, outlets, etc. I'll be working on removing some UGLY wallpaper from the sides which will probably be replaced with stain, mildew and abrasive resistant naugahyde (material costs ~ $150.00). Photos to come on that inside project. Goal is to be done with inside (head included--I hope!) so we can work on the OUTSIDE in the cool months to come. ~sigh~

After 5 months of canvas work, April finished the Bimini and Dodger on her newly purchased Sailrite LZ1 (portable, easily adapted to manual no AC/DC required) HD  sewing machine. We estimate costs for 2 sailcovers, 3 sailbags, dodger, bimini, winch covers, ditty bag to be $3500 incl. machine, Savings ~$5000-$7000. I used my LLC, created a website www.holkomarineservice.com and called my service Canvas Works so that I could get wholesale pricing .

I enjoyed these projects so much, I decided to make up some business cards, put them in our "vendor resource" book at West Marine to see if I can get some Canvas Repair business. Wow! To my amazement, I had 5 calls in the first 2 weeks. I've finished one and  I'm currently working on a couple more projects...I'll have that LZ1 paid off in no time!! I guess my cushions will have to wait till winter.

Upon completion we each got a 2 meter handheld radio!

In the meantime, I just got my Ham license (will have to get my general next month) NEXT PROJECT: working on my SSB, VHF/AIS radio setup next....And trying to coordinate everything with the Raymarine GPS, laptop, etc.etc.etc.