Live Free 2 Sail Fast

Spring Break Tulum V Style

Spring Break this year was going to be a week-long shake down cruise to Catalina Island, Ca onboard our Aleutian 51 sailboat with kids, grandparents and Quincy the Great Dane, but things don’t always pan out the way you think they will.  Two weeks ago when we were up on San Francisco for the Pacific Sail and Power Show I was offered a chance to crew on a delivery from San Diego, Ca to La Paz, MX.  After altering Spring Break plans I jumped at the chance to go along…even breaking down and buying foulies at the boat show.  Skip forward a week and the delivery didn’t happen due to legal paperwork; so we called an audible and took the boat to Glorietta Bay here in San Diego for 3 days.  But the time has allowed us to take the proverbial deep breath, work through some of our minor repairs and test our new solar panel setup to see how it does.  We spent 3 days on the hook with no generator and without turning on the engine; but we also didn’t have hot water, couldn’t have run a water maker or sewing machine and seemed to squeeze as much juice out of the panels as possible.  I’m glad we put in the MPPT Controllers from Blue Sky; they worked very well even with a couple of days of semi-overcast weather.  I’m pretty convinced that with a wind generator, another battery or two and a larger inverter we could go without a generator, but that’s a future discussion.  Arriving back at our slip we were welcomed by packages at the office; our new water maker (Rainman) and our second Air Head Head has arrived.  I’m stoked, can’t wait to get our last pumpout tomorrow and stop paying for that service.  So excited in fact, I’ve already worked on the electrical for the tiny fan and put in the entire vent hose system.  Gotta wait on the rest till the tank gets sucked dry and cleaned with some fresh water tomorrow.  

But, a few quick notes so far about our experiences with both the water maker and the composting head.  Rainman Watermaker came in by freight and we hauled it back to the boat.  Great packing, lots of spares and high quality workmanship.  But…it’s ALOT heavier than the ads made it look and we didn’t pick it up at the show.  Again, if you’re gonna buy one, make sure you know how much these things weigh and make sure you can handle it.

Air Head Head after two weeks of having it operational:  I still love it, but we’ve noticed that the girls occasionally get toilet paper forward of the spring loaded clamshell when they’re going #1.  When this happens, the toilet paper can go forward into the funnel on top of the liquids bottle and create a cork like bundle of wet toilet paper.  If you don’t know the obstruction is there, piss starts to accumulate and SMELL.  This has already happened and we’re now on the lookout for it.  Also, the 2-gallon bottle easily fills up when two little kids and two adult guests use it…like in less than 24 hours.  Especially when the adults add wine or beer or rum to the mix.  I didn’t read ALL the fine print in the directions, you’re supposed to empty the liquids bottle when it reaches the sight glass.  If you empty it when it’s completely full, it WILL slosh all over you, erasing any lingering doubts of your own superiority.

Ok people, Baja Ha-Ha 2019 sign-up is next month and we’re about 6 months from casting off our lines.  I’m ready.  Don’t forget about our Pinterest, Patreon and YouTube Pages-

Gotta finish the second Air Head install tomorrow.  Friday my Dad’s gonna get to destroy some metal with a grinder and I’m gonna go up the mast to put the check-stays back on, depending on the wind.

Doing What I Write About

I do what I write about. I try to be upfront, genuine and honest and I’m pretty sure it comes across in my writing. I haven’t posted much in the last couple days because we were in San Francisco visiting relatives and the Pacific Sail and Power Show. Good show, we were able to find things we needed and are down to 1-2 large purchases left for Tulum. She’s getting the equipment we need to cruise at the safety and comfort level we want. More on all this on weds. We set the kids loose with a Go Pro each at the show, so I’ll take a day to edit the footage and get it on You Tube when I can.

Have a great week, weather seems to be slowly getting warmer, yeah!

Installing a Composting Toilet on a Sailboat: For Dummies Like Me

As I alluded to on Monday, we took the plunge, and bought and installed our first composting toilet on our cruising sailboat, Tulum 5.  

Why did we make the decision to buy, install and use a composting toilet on our cruising sailboat?  

We’ve been thinking through changing out our toilets since buying the boat, for a variety of reasons.  Like other cruisers and boaters, I was concerned about the fact the our brand of toilets needed valuable power to run and smelled MUCH better when we were running fresh water through them (we have two).  We do have an option on Tulum to run salt through them, but fresh water smells better.  I was also concerned because although we have a 3-way valve on the boat; if we’re ever in a port we have to get our tanks pumped (at a cost of course).  Here in our Marina, this involves either moving the boat every week (we have two girls and two adults living on the boat full-time) or getting both our tanks cleaned once a week by a service.  We opted for option #2, which involves a $ cost…of course.  A composting toilet involves nearly no electricity (small amount for the vent fan but it’s not needed if you rig the right passive vent), involves no water at all, has few moving parts and is easy to dump and restart when needed.  Most major brands of composting heads are Coast Guard legal (meaning they’re just fine on boats) and… of all….there’s little to no smell.  Smells from our toilet, lines and holding tank have been an issue.  Although the holding tank looks fairly new and in good shape, it often wafts an unspeakable odor.  We’ve checked the vents, tightened the hoses, put in the right tank deodorant and done what the experts tell us to defray the smells, to no avail.  I’m not that penitent  about this decision to move on from a traditional boat head to the reality of a composting system.  Lastly, the Airhead Composting Head sits higher than the tiny toilets on our boat.  I love sitting down and not eating my knees when I’m sitting…and I’m a pretty short guy.  Lastly, why did we choose an Airhead over other brands?  I researched the other brands online for several weeks, but I liked the gentlemen I talked to on the phone with Airhead when I called.  He answered all my dumb questions and was thorough with me in all the details.  He knew his stuff and was proud of the product.  That’s who I wanted to buy from and we did. 

What about the install, doesn’t it take a lot of work and expense to get that done?  

Nope, the install wasn’t that bad.  I’m no mechanical, construction or electrical guru (at all) and I knocked it out in less than half a day.  But….this was after the minor electrical work was performed by Cedillo Marine (619-496-4116) to get minor power to the out vent fan (or you can use a passive vent) which took less than an hour.  Honestly, this is an install most folks on boats should be able to do themselves and Airhead provided good directions with decent pictures.  If I can do this….you can do this. (more…)

ReBlog: Shipyard Vid: Install of Our New Composting Head — Have Wind Will Travel

I’ve been working on projects non-stop in anticipation of some down time while we’re visiting my brother and his family and attending the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show (soon).  I also know we’ll be heading to Catalina Island over spring break for a bit of a shakedown cruise, gotta knock out a few things first.  So this morning I’m adding more detail to the “Boat” page on LF2SF.  I’m also super excited to have one more of my milestones knocked out for cruising, which is adding composting toilets to Tulum and getting rid of the electric, freshwater toilets we have currently.  I’m halfway there, one toilet installed and one to go.  I’ll bring you more about the install on Wednesday.  In the meantime, you gotta go look at the “Have Wind Will Travel” website with photos and video of their own install.  Make sure to check out the site and consider following them.   


Great Dane on a Boat- First YouTube Appearance

Good morning, it’s been another long week (and without Jinxing us), we may have finally crossed the line into spring here, thankfully.  With better weather more work on the boat starts and we’re able to get back out to dog beach on Coronado Island.  Quincy has been working on her stress level since her long kennel stay (while we had the boat out of the water) and had a restful afternoon yesterday on the boat, take a look: (more…)

Kids Corner for 190329

From Teagan, writing on board Tulum 5:

H-E-L-L-O. WHATS THAT SPELL? HELLLOOOOOO! Okay, sooooooo, today, I’m gonna tell ya why I have not been posting. So it was allll dads fault. He wanted to make the boat more FANCY, so he got our boat taken OUT of the water. Apparently, there’s no internet connection. I NEED internet connection, or else ALAS I cannot post. Anyway, on saint patties day, WE WENT was soooo exiting! We have not been sailing for AGES, so of course the boat REALLY needed to stretch anyways, I gotta go. Bye. TEAGAN UP AND OUT!!!!!  

The post above was lightly edited by me for readability but 99.9% of all that is Teagan’s words.  We’re working on her writing more and she’s started to converse with a pen-pal on another boat by email.


Beer Can Chicken on a Big Green Egg on a Boat

Sunday after putting the boat to bed after a great day of sailing outside San Diego Bay with the crew from; I needed to whip up a quick dinner for another friend coming for dinner and this was the BOMB.  Cooking on the egg in less than an hour, it gave me prep time for the rest of the meal and wasn’t too hard to make.  

I started with a whole defrosted chicken and my ceramic chicken cooker  (filled with cheap beer) on a drip pan.  I dry-rubbed the chicken, set up the Big Green Egg for cooking indirect at between 350′-400′ degrees and without further work, left the chicken in the BGE to cook for an hour.  During that hour I did not open the lip as the heat would have escaped, depending on my drip pan to keep the drippings in and not allow that grease to get into my stone (used for indirect cooking).  It worked.  After an hour and ten minutes, I had a tender, moist Beer Can Chicken for the record books, the rest of my dinner was done and I had been able to enjoy a sunset on the stern of my boat while prepping it all.

I think the key to this successful cook was the Sittin-Chicken Ceramic Beer Can Roaster that I used.  It kept the chicken sitting upright and didn’t potentially warp or fall over like a hot beer can might.  We could easily taste the beer and spice mix that had been inside the roaster and there was still beer and spices inside when I took it off the grill.  Paired with a nice bottle of California Viognier, this was a fantastic quick cheap meal.  Take a look below at one of my first beer can chickens…on a Big Green Egg on a sailboat!  

Beer Can Chicken cooked on Saint Patty’s Day.
Another View-


Good Morning, I was so excited to write this post that I couldn’t wait till later in the week to release it.  Lest you think I only write about sailing and sailboats, here’s a post about an important upcoming powerboat event that everyone will appreciate, sure to be an adventure!  Ever heard of the CUBAR?  Most of you probably haven’t, so I’m gonna take a teachable moment and drop some knowledge.  CUBAR stands for “Cruise Underway to Baja Rally”  The event is sponsored by the San Diego Yacht Club and is geared toward powerboats, like the Baja Ha-Ha is geared toward sailboats.  It takes off from San Diego, stops in Ensenada, Turtle Bay, Mag Bay, San Jose Del Cabo and finishes in La Paz, Mexico.  This is a definitive West Coast Rally for powerboats and a great way to get to Mexico with a bunch of folks who will become lifelong friends.  This year’s CUBAR is being run by the owner of TRLMI, where I just took three small boat technical courses in a row, vastly improving my overall knowledge.  The coolest part of this year’s rally is that it’s leaving to head south on the same day as the Baja Ha-Ha, so there may be well over 200 boats in San Diego Bay on November 4th.  But, the CUBAR stops that first day in Ensenada while the Baja Ha-Ha folks keep sailing for Turtle Bay.

So if you own a powerboat or have dreamed of owning a powerboat and want to head south in November, this is a GREAT way to do it.  Even if you only want to go down Baja and then immediately bash back up, that’s ok….it’s an adventure waiting to happen.

LF2SF has officially turned on its own Patreon Account and yesterday we turned on our own YouTube Channel…we’re official.  This video of Mr. Dave Abrams pitching the CUBAR on Saturday (at a seminar I was at) is the first lightly edited and cut video we’ve made, but we’ve gotta start somewhere.  So….here’s CUBAR 2019 on our very own baby YouTube channel.


CUBAR and Baja Ha-Ha Route, except CUBAR stops in Ensenada. Map courtesy of Baja Ha-Ha Website

Great Dane on a Boat- Happy to Be Home

After Tulum being on the hard (hauled out) for 11 days and Quincy being in the kennel for those days, she was glad to be home and I had missed her.

Let’s just say Quincy was happy to be home and back in her favorite spot.


Saturday Sailboat Musings

I’m up early Saturday morning as usual because Quincy the Dog needed to go out, and when a Great Dane won’t let you sleep, there’s no ways of it you can avoid taking her for her walk. I used to just be able to open a glass door from my room at home and kick her out into the backyard, but here I’ve got to walk her and will continue to do so until November. When November comes, we’ll have to start taking her to shore 2-3 times a day for her walk and runs whenever we’re sitting in a harbor. It was a long week but I’m not sure why. I was in my 3rd class in a series at TRLMI, called Marine Electrical Systems. The course runs from 6pm to 9pm and after a day of work, it often turned into long days. I’m glad I took it, but there was alot of theory and equations. My days are filled with working on the boat and doing boat related projects, which I love to do + picking up and dropping off kids and dog. This week I was able to tour and photograph a 41′ Formosa Yankee Clipper built in 1980 in Taiwan. She was very similar to the boat I grew up on and brought back lots of memories. She’s on Sailboat Listings and will soon be available through a broker, but I’ll bring that to you in a separate story Mon or Weds. I also needed to get the Check Stays down from Tulum’s masts (so I could get them to the rigger for updating), so I rigged up my pulley’s and went up the mast for some adventure. Tulum’s Main Mast is 65′, so the second spreader is well off the ground:

Tulum’s Main with the check stay already taken off. It goes to the 2nd spreader on this main mast and to the top of the mizzen mast.

Here’s the connection at the second spreader that you have to manipulate to get the wire Check Stays off:

Shackles that have to be undone mechanically and by hand, with seizing wire that must be cut beforehand.
Tulum 5, from the second spreader.
And two Check Stays, off the mast and into the Riggers.

Next time up the mast, I’ll bring my track lube and my anti-corrosion spray for the metal parts, plus I’ll start the laborious task of getting mast steps back onto the mast. The frustrating part about this for me is that there’s tons of open mast step holes all over the mast (that’s how I’m getting water in the boat from the rain) and I finally found the mast step that matches those holes exactly. However, that specific mast step is priced at $20.65 per step, as opposed to the steps I can afford at $8.56 at the same store. Both steps are aluminum, but the more expensive one is also larger, meaning it would take fewer steps to get them up the mast. Very frustrating for me. So I let out a big sigh and bought a rivet gun. I’m gonna tackle that project myself and rivet the new steps on with holes I drill as much as I have to-

Ok, we’re changing up the website, we’ve turned on Patreon and I’ve started messing with my new video camera to try to start getting the editing and filming started. We’re gonna streamline our look a bit and try to professionalize the site a bit more. If you’re reading, keep it up. If you’re visiting, cool, thanks.