22 Posts

We are officially scheduled to start cruising in 1 week! Our departure date is Saturday, September 24, 2016 (weather pending). Our general route and some  planned stops are:

  • Lake Superior (Duluth, MN – Houghton, MI – Marquette, MI – Sault Ste Marie, MI)
  • Lake Huron (DeTour Village, MI – Mackinac Bridge, MI)
  • Lake Michigan (Beaver Island, MI – Traverse City, MI – Sturgeon Bay, WI – Chicago, IL)
  • Rivers (Great Loop / Tenn-Tom Route)
  • Mobile Bay / Gulf of Mexico

We’re in final preparation mode. Provisioning, stowing, maintenance, etc. We have a new (to us) dinghy that we’ll write about later and are having a dodger built/installed this week. Chris needs to find a new bicycle since his stolen one was never recovered. I’m working with Boat U.S./Geico on insurance. We’ll have a final toast to Duluth the night before to say goodbye to friends.

We’re easing into the cruising lifestyle by continuing to work and setting up future work options. Chris has a temporary leave of absence from the U.S. Coast Guard and will return to Duluth at some point during our initial cruising. He has set up his recording studio in the nav station and will continue to for www.fm1069thelodge.com. I am working on my Florida Realtor license and will continue to do remote marketing and market research for my family’s real estate business (www.GriggsRealtyGroup.com) while cruising and possibly in-person this winter. We’re hoping to stow Misty down south during the 2017 hurricane season and work on Isle Royale next summer. We’re not sure what the future holds, but are excited about the first adventure out of the Great Lakes and Tom Sawyering through the middle of the U.S!


Jen has converted the hanging locker into a “master closet” with oak shelves. We have much more functional clothes storage space now. We’ll probably get bins/bags for clothes, but this works for us in the meantime. We also love the modified $4.99 IKEA shoe rack inside the louvred doors.



Boat projects continue. We’re looking for guidance on this one. We are currently in Duluth, MN fitting out Misty for transition to live aboard full time blue water cruising. Among the projects is locating a few deck leaks, re-bedding fittings and checking the chain plates. Do any of you have original drawings or pictures of how the chain plates were attached to the hull? Misty was built in Taiwan in 1978. What I can see, short of destructive exploration, is what appears to be a flat plate about 8X5 inches embedded in fiberglass in the deck. I’m a bit surprised by this and expected the chain plates to extend down the side of the hull. Any insight into this will be very appreciated. Thanks!

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We are keeping busy with some pre-cruising projects that have Misty a bit ripped apart these days. The primary project is to find/repair deck leaks. This is very difficult since our deck is a teak – fiberglass – cedar – fiberglass – headliner sandwich.  We don’t have many leaks, but we had two pretty bad ones near the lifeline gates/scuppers. We suspected the leaks were from the stanchion post or brace, but due to the deck sandwich and a variety of leak migration possibilities, we weren’t really sure.


The biggest leak culprits were the stanchion bases and braces near the lifeline gate and scupper.

The first thing we did was to remove all of the headliner on deck level to expose the fiberglass.

When we removed the headliner in the problem area, it looked like this. The area was moist (it had rained recently), and we found that there were only washers in place, not backer plates.

Then it started raining again and things became even more clear. We thought the sail track (foreground wooden strip) might be leaking, but it appeared that the stanction hardware was to blame, with water following the contour downward to the sail track before dripping down. We also noticed several old 2″ test holes that were mostly sealed up, although a few leaked. We also noticed several old screw holes that were dripping, indicating that the cedar core was saturated.

After seeing the lower fiberglass and realizing the deck was saturated at these places (due to various dripping points not related to deck hardware) and consulting with several folks, we started becoming concerned that the cedar core may have been compromised. This would really suck since the original balsa deck core and teak was replaced in the 1990’s and our pre-purchase survey indicated it was rock solid. We decided to remove all stanchion hardware, whether we had leaks around them or not, to inspect the core, ensure an epoxy seal, and to install backer plates.

What we found after removing the hardware and drilling 3/8″ holes to expand the existing 1/4″ holes, thankfully, was that all stanchion post hardware was installed in epoxy/fiberglass. However, we found that the stanchion braces on each side of the lifeline gates were not installed in solid epoxy- these had wood shavings come up when drilling. We used a bent screwdriver to check inside the holes for signs of rotten wood and only came up with a very small amount (less than 1/2 inch around one screw hole). The rest of the wood was solid. Whew! We used lacquer thinner to clean all the holes out, and when the weather warms up to above 60F, we will fill them with epoxy (then re-drill, re-install hardware with new aluminum backer plates, then wet the deck down and see if we still have leaks!). We also suspect deck hardware associated with a rear winch bracket and a chain plate, so those may be next.  To be continued…

Teak Plugs

We also had around 60 deck screws that had lost their teak plugs. Some people call these “bungs”, but that word creeps Jen out a bit, so let’s stick with “plugs”. We received confirmation that when the deck was replaced in the 1990’s that the boatyard fully epoxied the teak down, as well as screwed it. Unfortunately, screws just add extra holes from the teak deck, through the upper fiberglass, into the cedar core, so any of these could also be allowing water to permeate the deck. Since the screws were not really needed, we decided to remove any exposed screws. We then made nifty hole masking tape, masked each hole, filled the screw hole with epoxy using a syringe, and tapped new plugs in with a hammer. After 24 hours, we used a good chisel to shave off the excess plug. The new plugs are a slightly different color from the grey deck and have a bit of dark around them from the epoxy, but they should blend in better over time.

Making nifty hole masking tape

Screws removed, holes masked and ready for epoxy

Plugs expoxied in place

The finished product!


Blue has been directing all leak repair activities.

What now?

In near future posts, we will update you on:

  • The deck leak saga continues
  • The new headliner project
  • The closet project (addressing water damage and improving storage design)
  • The dodger
  • We’re sailing away! 4th of July…

Thanks for reading 🙂

Jen & Chris & Blue

Misty’s docked for the next few weeks by the William A. Irvin in Canal Park. Putting on the final pre-cruising touches here, including re-sealing the stanchions and other deck hardware and having a dodger built. It’s wonderful to be right in the center of town!

Jen in the surf

Miami Beach Surf

Taking a break from fit out in the snow and cold. Enjoying sun and salty skin in the Keys and Miami Beach.

Sunrise in Key Largo

Sunrise in Key Largo

Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding

Chris and Jen

Chris and Jen

Jen in the surf

Miami Beach Surf

Rhine River reconnaissance (aboard a cruise ship) this week. This would be an interesting trip with the mast down. It is also possible for sailboats to get a tow upstream.12140727_1709713922620206_2452132858994084788_n 156043_1709713415953590_4054674137754735225_n

Music choices while sailing, like boats, are oddly personal. One woman’s earworm is another woman’s beloved ditty. So it’s always interesting to see what fellow sailors blast when they’re aboard. I wrote awhile back about my favorite songs for sailing, and was delighted a few days ago when one of my favorite sailing groups sounded off on what they love to listen to. It’s a diverse list that I thought was worth sharing, whether you’re regularly onboard or not. As of today, we’re snowed in and definitely not going anywhere, so I appreciated trying on some tunes that I was either unfamiliar with or hadn’t heard in a long time, while I waited out the storm. Since I was listening to all of them anyway, I pulled them together in a Spotify playlist for others to enjoy as well. I’ve set the list to be collaborative and If you think I’m missing something perfect, please add it in or message me in the comments and I’ll add it for you. Here you go! Enjoy responsibly, with rum, whiskey or coconut water in hand. Also, if you’d like to add to it, here’s the link in Spotify.

Source: A playlist of the best songs for sailing, according to sailors. — Sail Me Om