Unstepping the Mast #61

Wednesday, July 10

Tuesday we took Dolce Vitaville out for her final sail on Galveston Bay. Our friend, Lyse, came with us and it was a great day for sailing. We were among the few folks out sailing that day. There was a lovely southeast breeze and we enjoyed sailing all morning and long into the afternoon.

Wednesday morning we were up early ready to greet the guys from Stix N'Rign at 7a.m. They went to work dismantling the wiring and lines about the mast. They put away the screecher and jib sail. They marked and labeled each of the lines and wires as they disconnected them.





About 9 a.m, we drove the boat over to the shipyard where they began the process of taking down the jib furler, the boom and finally the mast itself. They used a crane and a large rope attached by a guy who went up the mast in a boson's chair. It was fun to watch. The guys at the Seabrook Shipyard really knew how to do it. The Stix N Rign crew along with the shipyard guys did a great job. We were impressed with their skill and expertise.


They labeled things and took pictures.

They took down the sails, then the boom and the mast.


Viewing was good in the shade.

The guys from Stix N'Rign would go on to wrap the mast and other parts in plastic wrap. They took apart the radar and shrouds and wrapped them safely in bubble wrap and delivered them back to the boat ready for the long adventure ahead. We were impressed with the thoroughness of the job. By Friday, everything would be wrapped and ready for transport.

After the mast was done, we enjoyed an afternoon by the pool and leftovers on the boat for dinner.

Life is good,

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen


First encounter with unstepping a mast. #60

June 27, 2013


Recently our good friends, Jim Neece, and his lovely wife, Nancy, bought a new boat. Jim and Nancy are our long time friends who invited us to join them on their honeymoon in the BVI's back in 2009. We've been hooked on sailboat charters ever since. Jim and Nancy recently sold their sailboat on Lake Travis (27 foot monohull) and bought a 32' O'Day sailboat. Our friends from Houston, Helyn and Gary Mack, bought the 27 ft boat not realizing that all parties involved were friends of ours. Soon both parties discovered that they shared our friendship in common.

When the day came to unstep the mast of the boat and put it on a trailer for transport to Houston we could not resist attending the event. We had also learned that they had hired the same rigger and transporter who would soon be moving our boat from Seabrook to Lake Travis. What an opportunity. Here are few photos from that June morning at Lake Travis.






We only stayed for the taking down of the mast. We had other things to do that afternoon but it was a good introduction for the adventure ahead.

Life is good,

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen


Galveston Bay Tues. 7.9.13


We could not resist one more sail on the bay so today we went out. The mast comes down on Wed. The the boat goes on the trailer Friday. It trucks to Lake Travis on Sunday with launch Monday the 15th. It sounds simpler than it probably will be. Hope you enjoy these short videos.




Welcome Home #59

Saturday, June 15 –

We arrived at Seabrook Marina at 2 p.m. Our friends Steve and Sherry were waiting for us on the dock. Steve had been up at 4:30 a.m. tracking our progress and was the first to notice when the SPOT went off between 4:45 and 6:00 a.m. Apparently it needs to be reset every 24 hours. We had traveled through the night and Ralph did not remember to reset it until 6 a.m. They even noticed when our speed picked up to 10 knots later in the morning and began to move quicker themselves. Also at the dock was Dean, the harbor master at Seabrook Marina, showing us to the dock space that may be the home for Dolce Vitaville for the next month.


Steve and Sherry tended to our immediate needs. Priority one was to make a trip to the West Marine for an adapter to make our electrical cord work. AC is after all a priority item here in Texas where mosquitos are large and aggressive. Priority two was a trip to the liquor store for adult beverages. After that we were ready to go back to the boat, take showers, settle in and party for awhile.

Steve and Sherry brought numerous musical instruments and it was not long before we were jamming and singing. We had a blast. We made one recording and this one we would like to dedicate once again to the folks in Delcambre, Louisiana who were so very warm and welcoming to us. We still want to return to Delcambre someday when we can stay longer.



At some point we had to take a break and go seek food. We ate at Skipper's, a Greek restaurant that would become our favorite. We ate every meal there for the next three days except Sunday night when they were closed. After dinner we went back to the boat for more musical fun. Thanks to Steve and Sherry for bringing the instruments and the energy to make this possible. Ralph and Arlene taught us how to toast King Neptune for the successful end to a successful journey. We were pretty much glassy eyed after our all night adventure the day before, but it was a wonderful welcome home occasion. The aloha party had begun.

On Sunday more folks came to welcome us home. Our friend and neighbor Sharon came along with her son, Ray, and our son, Ben. They brought our van to us so we could now have land transportation. It was Father's Day and a great day to be celebrating. Our friends Eric and Alicia showed up and they ultimately took Sharon and the boys back to Austin along with six gerry cans that needed to go as well. What heroes. We have wonderful friends. We had eleven people on Dolce Vitaville. What an ahoha party it was. Alicia and Franci christened the boat by drinking a bottle of champagne. King Neptune appropriately got most of it as the glasses would spill in the wind sometimes before even a sip was taken. Early evening we all went to dinner at Valdos, a great seafood restaurant we like to go to when Skipper's is closed. After that the party dispersed and we went to bed early that evening. Ralph and Arlene were excited to be staying at a motel for the night. They had moved out so as to make the boat clear and ready for clean up the next day.

Monday we worked hard washing the boat and doing last minute things. Ralph installed another set of holders for the second boat hook. He also briefed us as best he could on things we will be needing to do for Dolce Vitaville. We have much to learn about properly maintaining our new water home. Arlene, Franci and Stephen washed the boat inside and out. It was a high energy day and everyone did as much as they could.


That evening we had our last dinner at Skipper's and the following morning we would have our last breakfast at Skipper's. We left at noon on Tuesday, June 18, to take Ralph and Arlene to the airport after which we drove home ourselves.

Blackened Fish of the Day

Gyro sandwich and Greek salad

Greek salad with chicken.
Spanakopita (spinach pie)

We arrived home to find house and yard impeccably kept. Our friends (our neighbors) had done a marvelous job with everything, There were flowers on the table to greet us. The house was spotless, at least until we off loaded all of our stuff everywhere.

The pool looked inviting.

The vegetable garden was absolutely incredible and is currently producing squash. peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, chard, malabar spinach, basil and other herbs and flowers. Tomatoes are just around the corner.

We are so very blessed. It's been a joy having each of you with us on this journey. The blog was created to document this adventure of a lifetime and there will still be one more chapter coming when we finally transport the boat from Seabrook to Lake Travis which is to be its final destination. Thanks for taking the journey with us. We look forward to many good times on Dolce Vitaville and hope to someday share it with you.

I awoke early this morning, looked up at the high ceiling above me and thought, “We must be sleeping in the cockpit.” Moments later I realized that we were back at our land home in Elgin. The washer/ dryer has run constantly since we returned. We are also catching up on office things that are behind and need to be done. We hope to get back to our new water home, Dolce Vitaville, by the weekend.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen



Homeward Bound # 58

Friday – Saturday, June 14-15


We left Delcambre at 5 a.m. This day was destined to be a long day of travel.


We stopped at Shell Morgan for our last fuel stop of the journey. We restocked with plenty of ice in both coolers.

We passed through the Leland Bowman Lock. The gates were open on both sides. No waiting there.

Later in the day we would pass under a lift bridge with only 50 foot clearance. Our mast is 49'. We proceeded very slowly. There was a four hour wait if you had to ask them to open it.


Here's Stephen making a video of the event.

We passed farmland with rice fields. We saw a few homes along the ICW. We saw lots of wildlife…..alligators, snakes and birds mostly.

We had a wonderful breakfast with scrambled eggs and the homemade sausage we received in our gift basket in Delcambre. Yum. The sausage was very good and very different…..sorta sweet but with a bit of a bite. Great breakfast.

All afternoon we just drove on through the marshes of Louisiana. We planed to travel over 130 miles on Friday. Our destination was close to the Sabine River near Orange, just across the border into Texas. It's the first marina we saw with electricity and water. We planned to arrive about 11 p.m. and take off again around 4 a.m. We were on the final push.

Everyone took a turn at the helm that day.

Ralph catches up on paper work.


Ralph refuels.

For dinner we had fried catfish sandwiches and French fries. We had bought an extra dinner the night before iin Delcambre just for that specific purpose. It was delicious. We were so hungry we forgot to take photos.

Just before sunset we went through a pontoon bridge and a lock. No waiting for either.

Around sunset we saw the most traffic we saw all day. We crossed the Calcasieu intersection of the ICW coming from Calcasieu Lake into the Calcasieu River headed north to Lake Charles.. We were glad to be there before dark. There were lots of barges and tug boats, many moving and even more parked. We saw another sailboat that had been anchored for four hours waiting for the 50 ft. bridge to open. We were happy to have made it under ourselves with inches to spare. Ralph helped the sailboat communicate with the bridge operators. They were anchored in a bad spot in a busy intersection. All were glad to see them get through the bridge.


Eight o'clock sunset and 20 miles to go to the Texas border. Yeee Haw!


Then the adventure began. First a storm hit with lots of lightning and winds up to 40 or 50 mph. Soon after that the decision was made to continue on through the night. We had only planned to stop for a few hours anyway and somehow the thought of messing with docking and lines in the rain was not appealing. We also had made friends with a tug, Miss Kelly, and had arranged to follow him through the night.

All went well until the mosquito invasion began. Hard to believe but we couldn't find any deet when we needed it. None of the herbal products we had were any help with aggressive Texas Mosquitos. We dug out the mosquito netting and crawled under. We looked like Casper and his sweetie. That seemed to work. Captain Ralph and Arlene just roughed it out.

There are no photos of any of this fun because it was night time.

Sunrise was spectacular.

Ralph gets a little well deserved rest.

For breakfast we had shrimp wrapped in bacon plus peas and rice with shrimp. The shrimp were all part of the gift basket we were given in Delcambre.

The last few hours we have been going down Bolivar Peninsula. We just passed Galveaton Island and turned right into the ship channel headed to Kemah (Clear Lake) where Seabrook Marina is located. We will be there in a mere couple of hours. This is the final stop for this leg of the journey. We will have traveled a total of 37 days since leaving Maine and covered over 2500 miles. Thank you Ralph and Arlene. We could not have done it withou you.

Icons of Texas…….pelicans and refineries.

The bank building in Galveston which is a landmark for us because the Old Quarter is located right across the street. The Hemmeridge Mountain Boys are having a reunion there this very evening. Wish we could be there……almost!

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen