We are working hard to leave San Francisco Bay over Labor Day weekend. We have been here a year and a half. I still feel embarrassed when I say that, as if cruising were some kind of speed test, but Jon keeps reminding me that this, too, is cruising. My answer is that if we never leave it will just be living at the dock, not cruising. When do you cross over?
Although we are only going as far as Half Moon Bay for this first “leg” we are still treating it like a big shakedown. Also as we will be leaving dock life and its endless energy we would like to be done with the power tool projects including sewing and making things with power tools. In the last few months Jon has made a fortress anchor mount for the stern rail, a grill / fish-cleaning table, a removable bowsprit, a cockpit table, and currently he is working on a collapsible boarding stairs that will have a de-mountable underwater ladder. I have done innumerable special purpose bags and covers and made modifications to our stack pack.
So with all this work and pressure to leave, we are nose-to-the-grindstone and only doing what’s essential, right? No frivolous projects, no non-essential work, right?
Well, no. We have veered off the straight-and-narrow and added a third to our crew (or perhaps ‘pack’ is more apposite). Brizo is a 16 week old Portuguese Water Dog, born in Hawaii and entrusted to us by Chien d’Eau in Sonoma. We usually call her Zoë. Her formal name comes from the Greek goddess protecting mariners and although officially it is pronounced with a long “i” we prefer the pronunciation “Bree-zoh”. More boaty don’t you think? And a little brag here: her father is #1 in the country right now, having won breed in Westminster this year. Feel the Burn Bernie is a whopping 63 pound sweetheart of a dog (and such a great name!!).
We have not had a dog on board for over a year since Williwaw died in 2018 at 15 years old. Yes, life is easier and simpler without a dog on board. But, my goodness, the love quotient has mathematically tripled with this one little 25-pound addition. See before the puppy – I loved Jon and Jon loved me. That’s two loves, right? Now I love Jon and Brizo, Brizo loves Jon and me, and Jon loves me and Brizo. That’s six loves, a tripling of the love we had before. This is my excuse for adding complication to the boat and I’m sticking to it. Besides as much as I love Jon he never does a puppy-wiggle for me. So. Damn. Cute.
This boat is a little different and a little more difficult for dogs. The companionway stairs are longer and steeper than our last boat so we are not yet sure how to handle that aspect of boat life. Right now it’s useful – she is either up or down and we get to decide. Or rather she makes her opinion known until we comply. We have to pick her up to get on and off the boat and to go up or down the companionway stairs. Getting on and off the boat will be easy as she gets bigger and stronger. Getting into and out of the dinghy… that will be interesting. I’m betting she’ll be able to jump. As for the companionway stairs, I am quite sure we’ll be able to train her to go up once she is a little larger. Our first portie learned to go up the ladder on a playground slide (and then slide down) and this ladder is shorter and not as steep as a playground ladder. For going down… not sure. It’s nearly 60 inches. Do we create a platform halfway down so she can do it in 2 steps? A pillow at the bottom? Teach her to enter by the aft hatch directly onto the aft berth? She is going to be larger than either of our previous porties, probably 50 pounds, so we are not entirely clear what her capabilities will be!
We also have to add netting around the boat to keep her aboard. Yes, she is perfectly capable and agile enough to stay aboard safely, but the netting is so that I feel safer about her being able to stay on board. Totally psychological. We have ordered sport netting rather than marine netting and once that is installed we’ll let you know how we like it. It’s about 1/3 to 1/5 the price of marine netting.
That’s about it. We have gone to the dogs but still plan to leave the dock. Soon. Very soon. We will keep you posted.