We’re shakin’ her down baby…


After a relaxed day at anchor behind Tavernier Key, we got up at 6:30 to get an early start and hopefully make it further south past Marathon. Setting both sails and with 12 knots of wind, we got a steady 6 to 7 knots heading towards Marathon. We got there 2 hours earlier than we had anticipated, and then the wind died down.


There was fresh water at the base of our mast inside the boat . We stripped off the bed and mattress to check the fresh water tank and found that was the source. The very slow leak the has sinced disappeared after we reduced the water level in the tank. We’ll have to empty the tank and located our leak .


We decided to reef the genoa to give it some more wind, but – next shakedown challenge – the furler was stuck! We had sloppily let it out without any tension on it, and it had made a rat’s nest inside the furler. It was not budging!


Anya to the rescue of the fouled furler ! She sat on the bow and began the process of freeing the line and rewrapping the furler , without any audible cursing I may add . Forty five minutes later she had sucessfully fixed it .


When we got to 7-Mile-Bridge, we were very careful and slow – the chart says the bridge has a 65 foot clearance, but who are we to trust a chart with our 57 foot mast? 😉

We made it through the bridge of course, and started to find a good anchorage, but the current was so strong we had to head back north and anchor behind Marathon. The trip there under motor gave me the time to prep a nice dinner, and after we had anchored, we enjoyed Chicken Masala with Basmati Rice and Cucumber Salad:


So far I have been truly spoiled by Anya’s cooking and look forward to more of the same !

The cats came out of their holes to join us for a sundowner, but the sun was behind the clouds:

Finally underway on our shakedown cruise

At anchor with full moon

We had a rocky start leaving Key Largo – as soon as we got out of the harbor our engine overheated. We dropped anchor right at the jetty and called our good friends from SeaTow. They arrived almost immediately, and towed us back to our slip, and we were able to maneuver ourselves back in without overheating again.

A day of trying to find the problem with much testing followed. Take out the thermostat and test it (boil it in water on the stove to see if it opens) – it worked. Replace the impeller, but oh my, where is it? Kim, our whisperer in all things sailing came over and helped (again), and the impeller was replaced, however the old one was fine, so that wasn’t the problem either. And then – we found the leak in the saltwater cooling system!

The engine having been fixed, we decided to leave the next morning after a new provisioning run, as we had used up most of the fresh produce provisions by then.

Tuesday at noon we finally headed out again, and started sailing southwest along the Keys with a perfect 12 knot southeast wind, giving us 6 knots of speed with both mainsail and genoa up.

Needless to say, there were more challenges. We had a bad vibration on the starboard stern, and nothing was running, so that needed to be taken care of. And a water leak at the water pump, so we could not use the sinks without our freshwater leaking into the bilge. A decision as made to pull in behind Tavernier Key and anchor there – after all this is a shakedown cruise and we are in no hurry to to anything except fix up Ronya and make her perfect!

After a nice evening with some cold frosty beverages (the fridge works) and a really good night’s sleep in 90 degrees with the fan on, Rob the Plumber fixed the water leak while Chef Anya made a huge breakfast. With our bellies full and in a very relaxed mood, we decided to spend another day at this perfect anchorage and work on some more projects (as well as relax and snorkel). Tomorrow we will get up early and head to Boot Key south of Marathon, which should be a trip of about 8 hours.

We are extremely happy with our solar system, and have been able to test it a bit now. With our Engel freezer, the fridge, the fans, the pumps and even a running inverter, the power in our house batteries remains consistently high, even climbing.

Things are coming together very nicely! 🙂

We have set a sail-away date!

We are finally on track for our big adventure! We will be sailing away from the Florida Keys the first week of July. Our first weeks of sailing will take us to the Bahamas, and then we will probably head up to the Chesapeake Bay for a while, before we head south again to the Caribbean. Our dreams will be coming true!

Living on Ronya

We have been living on our beautiful boat full time for over 4 months now, and we are really enjoying it. It gives us the opportunity to sail more, anchor out more, and most importantly fix more :-).

The cats have adapted incredibly well to living on the boat, and they each have their own little cranny on the boat where they like to “hide”. They do quite well sailing, only Wilson is still unhappy when we are motoring (but that is getting better every time).

Of course we have wished a few times that we hadn’t donated or given away some items because we could have used them on the boat, but none of those items were very expensive, so the loss is bearable ;-).

Dad gave us companionway doors for Christmas, they should be arriving soon, and that will make life on board even more comfortable. One door will actually have a cat entrance built in, how cool is that!

Working every day on getting Ronya ready…

Every day after work we spend a few hours on Ronya. Sometimes we sail, but 90% of the time we work to get her ready for the big cruise. It is not really “work” since we are enjoying every minute of it. She has never been a cruising boat (the former owners really only daysailed her), so there is a lot to be done, but we are slowly making her our home. Baby steps (pictures, galley stuff, and lots of cleaning, the hardest piece is getting the cats used to wearing life jackets!)  and big steps (solar panels, bilge pumps, through hull fittings, sails, major maintenance). Lots of paperwork too!

Ronya is being christened today!

We are making great progress in preparing Ronya for her and our journey, and we are loving every minute we spend on board and make her even “better”!

We have taken her old name off the stern, and will be putting her new name on the stern today, and then go sailing and christen her.

We will of course follow all the rules of honoring Aeolus, Poseidon, Boreas, Zephyrus, Eurus and Notus!

We have a German TV crew filming this, so I hope we will get some footage to post here…