So long Saint Augustine! I am on my way down south after three years of preparing Rumi for her grand adventure around the world. This is about as far as I have ever planned my life. Everything big and little, beautiful and tragic, location, sensation, solution, and devolution from here out will be whimsically incedental.
Thanks to my appropriately named super sonic friend and welder, Blaise Morrel, Rumi now has a great big beautiful aluminum stern arch with 400 Watts per hour of magnificent solar potential. My shiny new tower of power will be more than enough to supply the 330 amp hours of LifePo battery at the heart of Rumi's electrical soul.
I have been fortunate to have many more friends assist me in the preparing of my ship. It feels most suitable that I include and credit them for their magical arts in the support of Rumi's fantastic outfitting.
Linda, Susan, and Tom of the Irish Sail Lady were most thoughtful and supportive of my silly dreams. Nearly all of the canvas aboard has been created or altered for the better by their trio. They built the protective dodger for the cockpit, created a custom two piece jack bag nestled comfortably on the boom, stitched a brand new luff on the mainsail, and repaired the leach cover of the genoa. Linda and Tom might be the saltiest pair of craftsman and liveaboards in Florida but it is the type of salt that makes you relieved to see the world has not gone completely vapid. They can really be pretty sweet too, even if they won't admit it. Susan, their nimble-fingered daughter was always kind to me and even sent me off with a personalized sail-repair-kit fitted with all the bits and pieces necessary for a proper patch job on the go.
Next in line are Craig DeVack, the owner of Polaris Marine Electrical, and Rick Steenerson the former owner and now retired expat. These two electrifying mentors were patient enough to take me on as an employee for more than three years and pass along their wizardry in the art of wielding electrons through ship circuitry.
Rick got me started. He took me on when he was on the brink of retirement and showed me more of the ropes (wires, really) of the trade. He brought me along on ships of all models and sizes, tossing me into the mix to help me learn on the go, prepared but often not entirely groomed. Rick also famously would not wince at the act of replacing six or seven 8D lead acid batteries in a single afternoon. Not bad for a seventy-year old man.
Craig took over Polaris and fufilled the role of teacher a little later. Ex-navy specialist, skilled thinker, and aspiring philosopher, Craig was exactly the type of instructor I needed to sharpen my craft. Together we carefully laid out surgery for countless ships from Georgia down to Melbourne. His sense of humor is ceaseless. He looked out for me as a mentor and a friend. He even graced me with a work truck, paid holidays and unlimited access to the machine shop for personal projects. Neither Rumi or I would be quite so ready for our adventure without Craig or Rick.
Simon Ytterbom, my Victron Energy link and brain behind all things blue box - related and otherwise. Basically on speed dial, I could reach out to Simon about Victron related issues while on site and in the field. He set me up with dealer accounts with Battery Sales out of my Miami and brought me into the electrical education side of the industry. He also hooked up Rumi with a complete Victron system for off-grid living. Thanks for your support, man.
Before arriving in Saint Augustine, I was lucky enough to work for Rick and Sarah Gardner of Sail Ready Rigging for about two months. It was the first marine trade job I could find and after almost ten years of being a rock climbing fanatic, it seemed quite fitting. Thanks to Rick and Sarah's friendly willingness to drag me along, I ascended dozens of masts, changing out transducers, lights, and blocks. Installing running and standing rigging quickly became simpler concepts along with splicing line and cleverly freeing seized metals. These guys get it done.
It would be rude of me not include my ex, Ana Martinez-Casas. Despite things eventually coming to a slow and painful denouement, Ana was the most supportive person I could imagine when it came to chasing this dream. She was there with boat projects physically and mentally, always willing to work with me through the psychological challenges. She pushed me to keep going even as the years of preparation dragged on, our relationship strained, and alternative opportunities sprouted. When Craig offered me to partner with him in engineering a one hundred and eighty foot luxury yacht, a project that would likely last several more years and be essentially a paid education, Ana was one of the only friends to advise against it. "When you are this close, the devil always comes for you", she said. I think she was right. If I had taken the gig, the golden hand cuffs would have just got tighter. A true badass grounded in the outdoors along with a diverse quiver of arts and culture, I was lucky enough to have her encouragement for a few special years. Thanks, Ana.
The Good family. You know em? If you haven't yet caught these absurdly affectionate and playful humans fishing about the river, cackling in the lineup, or steaming oysters in their front yard, you will, and soon. You can't miss their whole ménage roll up in the 4 by 4 Desert Rat, a vintage green Econoline sprouting board tails and fins, cooking up The California Honeydrops on repeat. Cora, Will, Noah, and Liam made me part of their family a while back and I was lucky enough to spend three more years living in the same town as these freaks. They even made me an honorary uncle. Whether any of us is ever feeling up or down, port or starboard, salt or pepper, these guys are down for a hang. The Goods took me in for numerous meals when I felt tired, lonely, or just...hungry. I could sit around their house giggling and wrestling with their tireless kids for hours and often did. It is un understatement to say that there probably isn't anyone like them.
Family and friends, where would I be without you? For some reason, you all give me the time of day. You also offer endless inspiration and seem to encourage this irresponsible behavior. I am truly grateful. Don't forget you all have an open invitation to come aboard wherever Rumi might be.
Mom and Dad
Colin and Lana
Gabby and Alex
Giles and Morgan
Tanner and Elana Marsh
Ben and Tahlia Mayer
Stella Ann Joslin
The entire Good Family
The entire Murray Family
Nicholas Shattuck (TOB)
Corey and Carey Noonan
Blaise and Jordan
Rick and Sarah Gardner
Ana Martinez Casas
Charles and Ursula Lynch
Mike and Jan
Cullen and Jenny
Linda, Susan, and Tom (Irish Sail Lady)
Chris and Susan Davis
Grandma Delli Everett
All of my students and teachers over the years
Saint Augustine Cruiser's Network!