C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happiest thanksgivings to all!

Happy Thanksgiving all around.  I am thankful for C’est La Vie’s hull, her mast and boom. I am thankful for the tiller and rudder and most of all her engine.  I am thankful for the fridge and the compressor that runs it, the batteries and the regulator and alternator. I am thankful for the propane and the stove. I am thankful for the fresh water pump and the filters. Most of all I am thankful for the amazing crew with whom I sail.  I am grateful and thankful for all the goodness that surrounds me. Now, let me tell you a few of the things for which I am not thankful….
The turkey day started out on lumpy seas which is not nice when you are sea sick. The winds continued to increase and then the water became confused and rough.  Again, not nice when you are sea sick.  As Thursday gave way to black Friday all the little things built up to really BIG things….

We sheared the top track slide off the head of the main sail, which could have been disastrous. One of the wires on the shroud began to unravel, again could have been disastrous.  The bilge pump would automatically come on but not turn itself off, we thought that was disastrous as the high water alarm sounded. The Fridge was no longer regulating and cycling on and off constantly. The fresh drinking water was inundated with salt via the tank vent in the bow, potentially disastrous.  The boat ran out of fuel, consuming twice as much diesel as it ever had before due to struggling windward in rough seas- 1 gallon an hour. And the worst offense- the head stopped working.  The learning?  When in such conditions as we were in it is better to double reef the mainsail  and put up the storm jib.
On my Friday evening watch that I took over from Jeff The winds began to build. We had double reefed the mainsail and were flying the working jib.  Right before Jeff went to rest he asked I wanted to shake the second reef. No way Jose!  I was just find, neutral helm and with the sundown and the moon not up for another 3 hours I’d rather be slower in the darkness.  So much for may wants.  The wind was changing direction and building as we glided along.  C'est la Vie's heal was also increasing.  I’d ease the mainsheet or head up to stall but nothing was really working I had to deal with the toe rail in the water, pounding through the waves.  I started to see 2 gps’s and my vision was blurry. I was really getting a bit scared, tears streamed down my salt scrubbed face.
Trish called up from her berth asking if I was ok.  I asked for help tacking and with that simple gesture, C’est la Vie stopped bucking and rode the waves and we were so much closer to the rhumb line. A bit of anxiety relieved. That act lead to a discovery as Jeff who was in the V-berth did not know that we had tacked thus he rolled to the low side which was pretty darn wet. 
To back track if I may, right before I took the helm I too had discovered standing water. Not something that is appreciated inside the boat.  I was sleeping in the Saloon on the settee cushion and Jeff and Trish called to me to let me know they were tacking.  So, I put my foot down to steady the roll and my foot was submerged in water.  WTF?  I began to sop up the mess with a dish towel and decided to use my Trader Joe Shamwow. At this point Trish woke up and came over to help me.  We mopped up most of the water and it looked as if it were coming out of the compartments below the cushion.  Darn, I thought, must be the chain plates. I was worried that my fruits and veggies stored directly above that would be ruined.  We took off the cushion and opened the cabinet and to our dismay it was full of water. We bailed out the cabinet and soaked up as much water as we could and waited for more to drain down the walls. No water was seen. Our attention was then directed to the floor and seeing that the water was actually coming in from under the wall.  Hmmm, that’s curious. Behind the wall is the head.
Earlier in the day we all had used the head and the last one to go got a not so nice surprise. Instead of pumping into the tank the suction was no longer there so we just pumped in more and more seawater which elevated the contents of the bowl.  On land, an overflowing toilet is gross but on a shifting rocking heeling boat it is devastating.  Enough said.
Back to Jeff’s discovery in the V-berth…He opened the anchor locker at the foot of the berth and got a snoot full of sea water from the wave that the bow just broke. He realized that the chips that we had stowed in the locker had shifted and blocked the water from going down to the bilge and funneled it into the boat. That was the most simple fix of all the problems we had that day.  We all had a laugh at lunch the next day chomping on those dang chips that tried to sink C’est la Vie!
Many other things happened that day and I would love to tell you them all over a nice cup of tea in a cozy warm chair but for now I think I have painted a pretty good picture as to why we were so overjoyed on Sunday early in the morning to yell, “Land, HO!”  Looking forward to Green Turtle Cay and a HOT shower!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

days in the stream anne's pov

So with the sea sickness abound we just limped along. The winds picked up and it was chilly on the water. We were at a constant heal with our main double reefed and a jib up.  Wednesday rolled along and we as a crew just tried to keep it together. I was trying to sleep as much as I could while not on watch to stave off the nausea. I had figured out how to sleep. Take the cushion off the settee put it on the floor wedge the geneoa next to me and then I would be fine. My first attempt at rest I climbed into the v-berth and not only could I physically feel the pounding of the waves the noises made me cringe. I tried to sleep across the berth essentially standing up.  That did not last very long, I decided I needed to be in the middle of the boat so as to not feel the full height of each wave. To the salon I crept.  I had been sleeping on the bench of the settee and then oops, I didn't hear the call for the tack and off the bench I rolled.  The problem of sleeping on the floor was it was wet. The main hatch above the salon was leaking. I don't know that we had ever tested it in these conditions. So with each wave breaking over the side water streamed in through the frame.  I was beginning to become sad about this beating C'est La Vie was taking.
Trish joked around saying that this was Anne's spa weekend getaway.  Lose 20 pounds while at sea and come back with a healthy salt rubbed glow.

 As far as the provisions were concerned we did not open the fridge today and some of us ate crackers and apples( really just me).  Then towards the beginning of my night shift I tried an organic toaster pastry.  That was my saving grace. I ate them and was able to keep going. I shared this knowledge with my crew. They were into it. They ate small bites not so sure how it would settle but slowly but surely we were getting better.  Trish also asked why filtered water tended to taste like it was softened.  Hmmmmm, that's not how the water usually tastes.  We would have to explore that question later.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wilmington, NC to Green Turtle Anne's POV

We left on Tuesday. For me it was a bit of a rush since I had forgotten a few essentials like knives and frozen spinach. Who can start a voyage with out spinach? I mean Popeye would not have been happy.  Thank goodness that Muriel left in the wee hours to direct me to the Leland Harris Teeter because I think Trish and I had exhausted every Harris Teeter in Wilmington.
With the essentials in hand plus the extra 5 gallons of diesel, we shoved off.  Muriel on the dock waving us good bye taking photos and Bud, Shelly and Carlie aboard Sunshine Piloting us out the Cape Fear River.  It was fun to motor/sail down the waterway.  Once we cleared the outer marker we plotted our course for Marsh Harbor. 440 nautical miles or so.  Great 4 days from now we would be crying, "Land Ho!"  I was so excited. I was secretly planning all the meals I would create along the way while I was not on watch. Thanksgiving dinner would be amazing in the middle of the ocean I fantasied.  It would be like we were the Pilgrims on the first voyage it was so symbolic I smiled at the mere thought of it.  This was going to be awesome. As the sun went down, I posted my last facebook update before my phone lost signal and we were one the way.
The first watch was great the schedule was set  Trish 4-8, Anne 8-12 and Jeff 12-4. We approached the gulf stream with each hour ticking away.  Then the western wall of the Gulf Stream was broached. The wave set was confused Jeff made dinner of simple soup.  We all ate it. Trish was on the helm and I was next.  I was up with anticipation and was unable to make myself sleep. Plus, it was a bit bouncy and not sure where I wanted to actually sleep.  As soon as we finished dinner we all started to feel the seas. With that one by one we each chummed.  So much for the menu!

Downbound on the Cape Fear River

It is early morning here on the Cape Fear River.  The image above is looking down river off C’est la Vie’s stern.  Hopefully by mid morning we will be downbound on the river riding the ebbing tide towards the Atlantic Ocean.  The provisions are all aboard and C’est la Vie’s water line is riding low.  Just a bit more packing and topping off the tanks before we depart.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back on the water...

After a hectic morning of last minute painting, zincs, engine maintence, etc., launching C’est la Vie went smoothly.  By noon C’est la Vie and MV Sunshine were rafted alongside one another in the Cape Fear River.   Thanks to the staff at the Cape Fear Boat Works for their excellent service and hospitality.  For both price and service we highly recommend this yard.

Once in the water, Bud and I focus on additional boat projects… tuning the rigging, hanking on the repaired mainsail, setting up the new depth sounder, etc.

Anne and Trish headed to town to provision and purchase some items we forgot to bring north.

Everything is coming together and our planned 11/23 departure is growing ever closer to a reality.

Back on the boat...

Anne and I are back on the boat with an additional crew, Trish Haitz.  Yesterday, with the help of Bud, we all chipped in to complete two coats of bottom paint, waxing the hull, and waxing the cabin trunk.

 She is looking good and despite numerous small items on the to do list we plan to launch her this morning.

Our plan, weather permitting, is to cross directly from the Cape Fear River to the Abacos.  This 430NM crossing will likely take 4+ days.  By crossing directly we hope to have some time to play in the Bahamas prior to our December 15 start date for work.

We will post again prior to shoving off and post as internet connections allow while traveling.

It is great to be back on the boat and we are looking forward to being on the water.