Saturday, December 12, 2015


Key West has a large population of artists, and some have used their vehicle as their canvas. I wanted to share a few of the rolling art pieces. These are not digitized graphics, they have been brushed on... or glued on. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Over kill! They keep adding to it every week!

Boom box? I'm not sure.

Must like fish.

Floral design.

This is my favorite, it truly looks like a painting.

And the work is signed.

The wheels are painted too.

Friday, November 27, 2015


I haven't done a lot of work on the boat lately, but that has changed.

The rudder and leeboard needed weight. Chuck has this little electric pot that worked very well. He even donated a few fishing weights.

The leeboard guards are being made this week. Hopefully the weather will hold out for the next week. It's been very windy with a shower here and there.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Remember when you were a kid, you went on Spring Break, got crazy, went home... and thought nobody would ever know? With a camera in every hand, and the internet posts... you can't rely on that  now.

We went to the Fantasy Fest Parade last night. When some of these people walked by, my first thought was, "Before you walked out the door, did you look in the mirror and say to yourself "I LOOK GOOD!" My second thought was, "What would your mother think!" There were some that had well thought-out costumes that were really cool. There were some that just threw on a mask. There were many, like me, that didn't dress in a costume.

This year, the parade was taped and uploaded to YouTube. I could have just stayed home and watched! lol

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I am currently working on the leeboard, rudder, leeboard guards and mast partner.

The upper leeboard guard is ready for the slot to be cut to accommodate the leeboard. I want a good fit, so I need to finish the leeboard to get an exact measurement, because I will be glassing it. I want to pour the lead in the leeboard and rudder at the same time. It's been one of those, "before I can do this, I have to do that".

Well, I just this week cut out the rudder. Okay, let me correct that. I had started shaping a rudder. I stood back one day to admire it, when all the sudden, I realized I had beveled the wrong edge. I felt really stupid and went on to build something else. The time has come that I must re-make the rudder.

Next came the smelting lead for the weight. Chuck has made 5 lb fishing weights, and has this little handy dandy smelting pot. We pulled it down, dusted it off and plugged it in. It works! It's been several years since I've done this, but it I had no trouble, and was expecting the same experience this time. Boy was I wrong. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I had a frustrating afternoon.

After three attempts, I decided to go down the road to the beach and get me some sand. Then I put a layer of aluminum foil down, laid the rudder on top of this. The sand formed to the shape of the rudder, so there was no leaks. I was concerned that the pot was not big enough to hold the amount needed to fill the hole. There was lead to spare. I will have to do measuring and math to make sure the pot will hold enough lead for the leeboard.

Tomorrow I will tackle the leeboard.

Sunday, September 27, 2015



I've been asked to let everyone know what it's like to live in Key West, Florida. First thing that comes to mind, it's very expensive. As far as housing, you either have at least one roommate, or two jobs, or both.

When I first landed here, I was shocked at the price of rental property. The last house I rented in Texas, was a four bedroom, 2 bath home with a double car garage and carport... and I paid $995 a month. In Key West, I had to settle for a "room" with kitchen privileges for $800 a month. Two years later, a room will run you $900-$1000 a month. Location, location, location.

"If you have a waiting list for your extra bedroom, you live in Conch Country."

Shopping is not easy, Key West is geared for tourist... with tourist prices. Some shops do give locals a discount, and that helps. Most people I know do all their shopping online. Amazon is great for finding just about everything. In a couple weeks, I will be traveling to Lubbock, Texas to visit family. I have already started a list of things I want to get while I am there.

And don't even get me started on the cost of airfare from here to Lubbock, TX. I tried to get a flight for December, and the price when up $300 while I was on the phone trying to book the flight. I settled for going this month. I will be changing planes twice, and it will take me about 10 hours.

There are sacrifices to living in Key West, but the pros far outweigh the cons!

Sunday, September 20, 2015



For about a year now, Chuck has been after me to go into business for myself. The canvas and cushion business. My head knows that there is a lot of business out here, but I have a problem letting go of security. Security of knowing I have a paycheck next, and every wednesday direct deposited into my checking account. Do I like sitting behind a computer, calling people to pay their bill, relieving cashiers at the register, stocking shelves when I run out of things to do in the accounting department? NO.

Chuck travels a lot, and would like for me to go with him. At the present, I can't take off on a whim and fly to Costa Rica... yes, he is gone to Costa Rica and I was invited. But, this employee couldn't leave the country on a whim. Damn it!

Here is my dilemma; take a chance and go into business for myself and have the freedom to travel and go on sailing adventures ... or be stuck in an office and put in requests for vacations. I am only four years away from early retirement. I want to take two weeks off next June for the Texas 200,  go to Oklahoma next October... I want to enjoy life, have fun.

I say all this after consuming half a bottle of wine. My son says, "In Vino Veritas"... In wine there is truth. I just watched a movie, and one of the lines, " You have to take chances for the things you care about." Is this an omen? LOL I do so wish I was in Costa Rica right now!  Security, or Freedom? What would you choose?

Saturday, September 12, 2015


I loved the yellow sail I had on iDuck, the Puddle Duck I built. I ordered the yellow polytarp to build the sail from. This is 3.3 oz polytarp, which was good in light winds. I will probably build another out of something heavier for those days with more wind.

I am going with yellow because it is very different than all the white sails I see on the water. I will stand out, and be easily recognized from afar.

Here are a few more pictures I took today. The decks are glued on and the back deck has been glassed (I didn't get a pic of it today).

Decided on a deck plate for the bow for easy access when I install running lights.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The dry fit.

I haven't worked on my boat much lately. Seems like other things are getting a higher priority. I did get the deck installed.

What other things have been given a higher priority? Well, scuba diving, fishing, making cushions for Chuck's boat.... and just LIFE.

Cockpit and storage were painted before the deck installed.

I love plants, and in my younger years, I always had a garden. I canned tomatoes, pumpkin, green beans, blackeyed peas, potatoes, okra, grape juice, pickles, jellies and jams. I haven't tried to grow anything in a few years, but I have a pineapple that I put in a pot. You just twist off the top, peel most of the leaves off and stick it in water. Mine has several roots now, so I stuck it in a pot. I've heard that it takes several years before you get a pineapple... I have time. Chuck has a planter in the back yard, but the boards have warped and it's coming apart. The growing season around here is the fall and winter months. This just does not seem right to me. BUT, it is way to hot in the summer months to grow anything. The sun is so intense that it literally fries the plants. I am thinking I will rebuild the planter and try my hand at some vegetables this winter. I love yellow squash. I wish I liked coconut... they are EVERYWHERE!  I'll let you guys know how the garden plan progresses.

Pineapple plant.

There are so many "projects" around here. We are always working on something, and never feel that we are caught up. We have a total of five boat projects going. We are trying to not take on anymore projects until we have all of these finished. That's hard for Chuck. A few weekends ago, Chuck and I went to an auction. There were three items in this auction: a skiff (hull only), 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible, and a 1984 25' McGregor Sailboat. We bought the car... another project. The sailboat did not sale, and we were told that if we would haul it away... we could HAVE the boat. If I had not been there to say NO... there would be another project tied to the seawall out back.

                                                      Chuck: "But it's free"
                                                      Me: "Take it home, and then what?"
                                                      Chuck: "Yeah, you're right"


Sunday, August 30, 2015


This was the first hurricane threat since I've been in Key West. Saturday morning we pulled the 19' skiff out and put her on the trailer. The water lever was too high for the sandy spot around the corner, so I had to take the trailer and meet Chuck at a real concrete ramp. We put away the coolers and light weight stuff so we wouldn't be fishing it out of canal later. Around noon, we heard that Erika had broken up over the mountains of Cuba. That was a relief. We do still have some wind and rain to deal with though. The winds are 20 -22, that's not bad. Right now, most of the worse rain is to the east and west of us. I hope it stays over there.

Some people say, "I would never live there, what about hurricanes?" When I list all the pros and cons on living in Key West, the pros far out weigh the cons.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Remember when you had to write a "What I did on my summer vacation" report? Well, I haven't had to write one of those in many years, but I thought I would write one tonight.

Eons ago, Chuck water skied at Cypress Gardens. He skied the shows and was a competitive skier. The ski club he belonged to in Philadelphia, called him a few months ago and asked him to come be a part of the show they were planning this month. He agreed, and I was able to be there for the show.

Getting ready to take off from the dock.

It was a great day at the river, and I met some really nice people. I learned to water ski when I was very young, four or five years old, but I haven't been on skis for about forty years. My cousin, Keith, asks me every time I see him, "Do you think you could still ski?"  I guess we will find out when Chuck gets his ski boat running again.

Neither Chuck or I had been to the Grand Ole Opry, until this past week. On our way home, we went to Nashville. We toured the Ryman Auditorium. I didn't know it had such a great history. The Grand Ole Opry performed there until 1974. The Ryman was getting old, so the show was moved to a new location.

The night we were there, we heard Vince Gill, Phil Vassar, Bill Anderson, A Thousand Horses, and a few more artists. Each artist sang three songs, but I would have liked to hear more from Vince Gill. It was a wonderful evening, and another thing checked off the bucket list.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Progress was made this weekend. The decks are cut, two out of three storage compartments are painted, and the seat braces are all installed and fillets done.

If you notice, under the port seat brace, there is a PVC fitting going through the bulkhead. I am using PVC as my conduit for my wiring. I will install it after I paint the cockpit. I'm almost certain I will get caught out after dark, so I am installing lights.

It's been so hot lately. Instead of going to work on the boat after I get off work, I whine about the heat and just go home. But, it build is getting more exciting, so it will go faster now.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

UPDATE... It's been a while

I haven't posted anything in over a month, so I thought it was time I did an update.

The leeboard is shaped and ready to weight.

The seats are cut out and one side has two coats of epoxy. I want to install running lights. In order to ensure that the storage compartments stay dry, I am using PVC as a conduit for the wiring under the port seat.

Besides the beautifully clear water with it's colorful coral and fish, the thing I love about Key West is it's tropical plants. I have never seen so much beautiful foliage.

I had never seen a pineapple before it was harvested. I tried to start a pineapple plant last year, but the iguanas ate it. Iguanas are interesting to the tourist, but they are a pest, eating your ornamental plants.

The poinciana trees are blooming. Last year, my parents flew into Key West about this time of year. My mother asked me what all those red trees were. From above, you can see hundreds of red spots on our little island. Those are our poinciana trees.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


All of the snowbirds have gone back to their homes up north, and the Key West Community Sailing Club is like a ghost town. Since there were no strong abled bodies there, I had to recruit help from outside to turn the boat back right-side up. My boyfriend Chuck, and three of his friends came over to  do the deed.

The outside of the hull has been fiberglassed, and since I had plenty of fiberglass left, I fiberglassed the bottom of the cockpit and the storage compartments also.

Today I got most of the fillets done. I have read of many different ways to make pretty fillets that require very little sanding to make them smooth. I have tried several of them, but have not had the success that they claimed. Today, I couldn't find a jig that I had made (that really didn't work very well), and since I was doing the fillets in the storage compartment, I grabbed a piece of cardboard from the box of gloves that was on the bench. If they aren't pretty it doesn't matter because no one will ever see them after the deck is on. I was amazed at how they looked. They are almost perfect.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


 The bottom has primer.

And then it was blue. She will get about three coats of paint and the bottom will be finished.

The weather is beautiful, so I went to the beach with my daughter and two of the grandkids (Aiden was in school). They had fun in the sand. Chuck took a break from the office and joined me for a little time snorkeling. We saw pretty fish and one stingray. A good time was had by all. Rinse and repeat.


"If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story."    ~ Terry Pratchett

Thursday, April 16, 2015


If one layer is good, then two is better! I put down two layers of 18 oz woven roving on the bottom.

The stiffener is made from two scarfed 1x4s. 

The chine logs and hull sides have one layer of 6 oz glass. I now have the stiffener glued down, but didn't get a picture of it. Use your imagination until the next post. :-)

One more layer of epoxy, and her bottom will be ready for paint. Can't wait to turn her over. But, it will take more guys to turn her upright, than it did to get her upside down. That fiberglass and epoxy is not light.

I did mention that I wanted a figurehead, and the popular vote was for a naked lady. Today, I was thumbing through a catalog at work. At first, I thought I could make one of these work... but then I looked at the price. Holy Crap! Over $100, I'm doubtful that any of these will make it as my figurehead. We'll see if a naked lady makes it on the bow.

Here is a mermaid, that's one option.
A dragon came in second place in the figurehead survey.

Or, how about this guy...

Or maybe a stoic face....I've been called that!

Enough of all this, I'm going to go have a nice steak dinner with my boyfriend. He's a CPA, tax season is over, and I want to celebrate! I hate tax season, for many reasons, but the first on my list is that I don't get to see Chuck much because he's always working!!! 

Next week, we are taking a vacation! And we both need it!

Monday, March 30, 2015


The plans call for an exterior chine log. They are on and everything has been faired. The bottom goes on in two sections, with a butt plate holding them together. Done! It went on very easy, I didn't need help.

The bottom is 1/2 inch plywood. I want this boat to last and to be durable. So, I am putting two layers of glass on the bottom. Paradox called for three layers, but I think two will be fine for this boat. The plans also call for a stiffener to be fastened to the bottom. I will attach that over the glass.

It is almost April, which means the "snowbirds" start to head back home. They usually show up in November and December, and stay until April. Nearly everyone I have met at the Sailing Club, is a snowbird. I was told the place is like a ghost town in the summer.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The wales were attached, and it was time to roll her over to work on the bottom. There happen to be several guys working on the roof of the clubhouse. Walter gathered three of them and headed over to my little corner. Within seconds they had her turned upside down. At this point, she is not very heavy.

Tomorrow, the bottom work begins.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


When your build location is a little cramped and the ground not perfectly even, you have to get creative. I do not have 16' of level ground area to glue the scarphs on the wales. I needed a jig that would hold the scarph cuts together while the epoxy cured. This is what I came up with.

I took a plywood scrap and screwed a scrap 2x4 to it, making sure that they were square. I then clamped my glued wales to this jig, holding them straight while they cure. I should have perfectly straight... 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 16' lumber.

The plans are not specific when it comes to the shaping of the rudder, so we will see how this works.

With the time change, I will have another hour of daylight after work. This will help with the progress of this build.