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.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de mayo

Oh my-o. It was a very good day indeed. We had guests come and visit us at the Ft. Pierce Marina. Alan and Marcia drove over and brought us some lovely gifts! Beer, beautiful flowers, cream puffs and a mallet! I don't have to use my frying pan anymore! Whoo hoo! It means so much to me to be able to share C'est la Vie with our friends and these folks are wonderful!
They got to us early enough that we could enjoy the afternoon in the cockpit and we laughed and shared some stories. It had been way too long since we had seen each other so it felt good to reconnect.
Ok, let me get to the menu for the evening. So, I knew we would be hanging out possibly going for a stroll around the town that meant I needed to prep dinner almost to the done stage that way I could do as many dishes as possible so the galley would be tidy incase we decided to eat at the table.
The dinner was black beans and rice with sauteed peppers and plantains chopped avocados lots of limes and chips with red salsa.
I used 2 bags of viggo black beans and rice mix. Adding tomato sauce in place of some of the water.
I diced fresh tomatoes, sweet peppers, garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, 2 plantains, salt and pepper and sauteed them till the plantains had browned up a bit and softened. I forgot how sweet the plantains and peppers can be! The jalapeno heat and the tomatoes rounded it out but I could have added grilled pineapple or more heat depending on your taste buds!
After cooking the beans and rice and the plantains I let them sit and the flavors began to meld. That was a good idea!
I used jarred salsa and chips and chopped up 2 avocados doused them with lemon juice to slow the browning and was ready for dinner in 30 minutes! This was a good meal. I contemplated making dessert. Thank goodness I didn't because Marcia and alan brought cream puffs, wow! Delish!

Check out the loot!

We sailed overnight. Best meal for that? Penne pasta and red sauce in a bowl. See photo. I got sea sick in the beginning of our crossing so that was a bummer. I had grand plan for dinner but will have to wait for another night.
So, the reason for our rush to Ft. Pierce is the Saturday farmers market that runs. 8 am to noon. For 37$ I walked away with local and not local food, herbs, spices and grass fed local beef. WOW!
I got long red beans, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, pink lady apples, honeybells, brussle sprouts, mint plant, garam masala, an eggplant and a pound of grass fed beef for jeff. In Marathon, I went to the publix and granted I did get some frozen foods and cheese but it was $97! I feel like I will be able to really enjoy what ever meals I happen to come up with now!
Oh not pictured is the freshly squeezed oj and loaf of asiago bread and dinner rolls. Yum!
So, good reader, I am thinking of getting a vacuum sealer for the boat. 3 people in my life really love theirs any other folks have opinions?

Pumpkin Key to Fort Pierce

Overnight passages always bring out a myriad of emotions.  We started with elation as we passed through Anglefish Creek and into Hawk Channel to discover a brisk east wind.  Finally a day for sailing.  Under a full genny and one reef in the main C'est la Vie set her leeward toe rail in the vivid blue water and surged forward at nearly seven knots.
Anne at the helm in full sun garb

Apprehension was the next emotion to surface.  Passing the Fowey Rocks light signaled the northern terminus of the reefs that separated Hawk Channel from the open ocean.  Ocean swells met an outgoing tide at Cape Florida and made for confused seas.  Anne began to feel sea sick, our speed dropped to around five knots, and our elation faded as we realized 120nm of Atlantic Ocean stood between our bow and Ft Piece Inlet.
Fowey Rocks Light off our starboard side

 Passing Government Cut at Miami Beach the put the ebbing tidal flow astern and added depth below our keel.   Cest la Vie regained a steady heel.  Conviction to the passage ahead swelled up as we entered the Gulf Stream.  Making 10+ knots overground in a 34' sailboat is a fine remedy for apprehension.   Committed, we set up the windvane auto pilot - Windy- and established a schedule for 3 hour day watches and 2 hour night watches.

Ft Lauderdale passed off our port side mid afternoon as we continued on close hauled.

Despite a lingering shade of green, Anne made pasta a red sauce for dinner.

Under a nearly full moon we passed the Lake Worth Inlet.

Until sailing the east coast of FL I thought of the geography as a fairly strait line running NNE from Miami to Jacksonville.  The obvious flaw in my naive mental map is Cape Canaveral.  A more subtle yet critical protrusion exists around the Lake Worth Inlet (LWI).  The Gulf Stream runs relatively close to shore from Key West up to the LWI.  Moving north from LWI the land cants westward and the current of the Gulf Stream begins to move further offshore.  Once in the stream it is difficult to give up the 2 to 3 knot boost in speed, but the sailor heading north for Ft Pierce must decide when to alter course and exit the stream.  We elected to hold a course that kept us in depth is excess of 150'.  We hope to pick up as much push as possible from the Stream yet avoid losing too much distance from our destination.

At 01:20 I gave in and altered course directly for Ft. Pierce Inlet.  The winds were beginning to wane as we turned C'est la Vie 58 degrees to the west.  now on a broad reach in light air 15.6NM out from the inlet.  Conviction became desperation.  We started the engine to boost our speed.  Forward momentum from the engine brought the apparent wind on our bow and made the sails go limp.  Blessed with a relatively calm sea state we stowed the sail, switched out Wendy  for the electric auto-pilot -Otto, and continued directly towards the Inlet under power.

At 04:30 our anchor fell to the bottom within 1NM inside the Ft Pierce Inlet.  Fatigued from covering 144NM in 20H57m at an average speed of 6.9 knots,  we relished in a sense of pride for moments before drifting off to sleep.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sailing north in Hawk Channel

The weather is finally cooperating with our travels.  We slipped out Angelfish Creek this morning and are now making 7 knots under sail.  We will likely capitalize on the favorable conditions and continue offshore to Ft. pierce inlet.

Salad anyone?

This was Jeff's "favorite dinner by far" as long as we changed a few things. I was really impressed too. I would add garlic to the vinegarette, lemon and more pepper. This was a great meal.  It came from my many little cookbooks I have aboard. I used the photos and recipes for inspiration and measurements and then tweek them for the boat or my ingredients. It it much more freeing to do it this way. Sometimes at my landbased home when cooking something for the first time I try to follow thre recipie word by word. Cooking is more art then science and baking is way more science but also includes lots of creativity!
So, with all that said I made a salmon, potato, arugula ans strawberry salad with a dijon vinegarette. It was delish!
It took about 20 min in the oven you could use the grill and almost no prep time at all.
The salmon, please read into this my bias and belief, should be wild caught us based salmon. Why? Well there are many sources of information out there but personally it is taste, texture and peace of mind.  I will you let you do reasearch on your own and make up your own mind but you should know where your food is coming from!
Ok, tirade over
I used new potatoes about .5 pound for the 2 of us cut in half and then thirds and lay them on a cookie sheet. Drizzel them with olive oil salt and lots of cracked pepper. Cook at 450 for 10 minutes then toss the potatoes and move them over and place 2 pieces of salmon skin side down on the cookie sheet sounded by the potatoes and cook another 10 min maybe 15 if you have big pieces just till the fish flakes. While the fish is cooking measure out 3 tbs of white wine vinegar 2 tsp of dijon mustard .25 cup chopped chives and 2 tbs of olive oil ( I should have added 1 clove of minced garlic) and shake it up. I use a storage container that has a screw down lid. It works like magic!
Arrange the argula on the plate slice strawberries on the side place the potatoes on the arugula to wilt the greens then the salmon on top. Please leave the skin stuck to the pan I line my pans with either parchment paper or foil for easy clean up. Dress with the dressing and you have a lovely dinner. At home I might have paired this with a baguette orr bread of some sort but c'est la vie! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

C'est la Vie's updated mainsail rigging

Since departing Everglades City on April 24th we have used the reefing system on our main sail frequently.  With all the changes to C’est la Vie’s rigging last fall – altering the mast step, new head sail, new standing rigging, new boom, new mainsail track, etc. – I am pleased with the function and simplicity of our mainsail rigging.

The most complex aspect of our mainsail is the DutchmanFlaking System.  The Dutchman system was on  board when we purchased C'est la Vie.  I’m not going to launch into an assessment of this system in this post.  I do realize the benefits of a system for managing the cloth as it is lowered.  The Dutchman System works well on C’est la Vie.

The strong track system added to the luff of the main last fall is nothing short of amazing.  We can now raise the main without the winch when pointed windward.  The sail also will fall under it’s own weight when the halyard is released.  Prior to installing the strong track the main required hauling down even when pointing to wind.

Our new boom, fabricated by Paul Lockwood at Omar Sails,  has three control lines run internal from the aft end toward the mast. The least frequently used of these lines is the out haul.  It runs from the clew of the main to a block centered in the end of the boom.  It then runs inside the boom towards the mast and terminates on the bottom of the boom near close to the mast. 

Our main has two reef points.  The aft end of the reefing lines are terminated at the boom with a couple wraps around the boom and a bowline knot.  This simple approach works well and does not require holes drilled into and/or hardware attached to the boom. The reefing lines then run up to a cringle (metal eye in the leech of the sail) and down to blocks in the aft end of the boom. 

The two reefing lines (blue & white in the image above) exit the boom along the starboard side near the mast. The tack of the main is shortened via ram’s horns (hooks on the boom) that attach to rings on the luff of the mainsail. The starboard horn & ring are visible atop the boom just left of the black halyard in the image above. 

We use a boom vang to control the twist and lift on the mainsail when sailing off the wind.  We store our vang in a cockpit locker when not in use.  When the boom vang is desired we create an attachment point on the boom via a couple wraps of a loop of 9/16” tubular webbing.  The lower end of the vang is clipped to C’est la Vie’s slotted aluminum toe rail.  The line runs aft to a cleat just outboard of the cockpit. 

If anyone has questions, requires more detail, or would like a photo of some aspect of our mainsail rig please leave a comment or send me an email.  

Fat Deer Key to Pumpkin Key

We covered 54NM of Gulf waters stirred milky green by many days of strong east winds.

The 20+ knot east winds continued through the day today and forced us to motor sail under a double reefed main for the majority of our time underway.  The forecast is calling for a reduction in the speed of the winds tomorrow.  Our Pumpkin Key anchorage positions us well to jump out into Hawk Channel via Angelfish Creek if the winds will allow, or to continue up Biscayne Bay to Miami.  Either way we will continue we will turn northward tomorrow and begin up the east coast of Florida.

Amazing dinner ahead

Brace yourself this is a good one. I really wanted to grill but it was too windy so I used the broiler and it was an ok subtitute.
Dinner was greek veggie kabobs with uncle bens 7 grains medley and a fresh yogurt and feta sauce. I was in heaven. I don't even like feta!
The recipe I followed called for mint and I agree that would have had me over the moon. I had fennel seed and both jeff and I are fans of fennel so, that is what we used. Also the recipe called for oregano, I didn't have it surprisingly, so I used marjarom. Good sub!
I strung on bamboo skewers a baby pepper, wedge of onion, mushroom, onion, tofu, mushroom, tofu. I made 6 of them thinking we would possibly have leftovers. No way!
With the skewers strung I poured over a marinade of 2 tbs red wine vinegar salt and pepper and 1 tsp marjoram. I let them set room temp for 1 hour and then broiled them till the veggies were tender. I cooked the rice according to the package and served with wedges of lemon and the sauce.
Oh the sauce, I made plain yogurt before leaving the island and it is really mild and good. I mixed .5 cup of yogurt, .5 cup feta, 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 tbs red wine vinegar and cracked pepper with 1 tsp fennel seeds the recipe calls for 1 cup of mint. I mixed all together as my first thing prior to even cutting the veggies for the k bobs. Boy oh boy it was creamy and full on flavor.
Sorry if my photos are all sideways. I am doing this on my phone and the photos don't all go the way I planned.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boot Key Harbor to Fat Deer Key

After five days of making new friends, hanging out with other cruisers, ticking off small to do projects, and watching frequent rain squalls dance across the anchorage, today we escaped Boot Key Harbor.  The day dawned clear with a warm sun raising everyone’s spirits.  NOAA maintained small craft advisories for both Hawk Channel and Gulf waters due to 20 knot east southeast wind with higher gusts.   
We waited around until lunch, but the wind did not abate.  Reviewing our route – westward out Boot Key Harbor Channel, northward into the Gulf via Moser Channel, and then east northeastward along the Gulf side of Vaca Key to a known anchorage between Fat Deer Key and Bamboo Key our hope was that once we gained the Gulf side of Vaca Key the seas would diminish along the island’s leeward shore.

Within moments of clearing the Boot Key Harbor Channel we unfurled a small portion of the headsail and began a broad reach towards Moser Channel.  The 3 foot seas occasionally surfed us along at over 7 knots.  Turning north into Moser Channel required a jibe.  With Anne at the helm jibe went smoothly and we began a starboard beam reach towards seven mile bridge – our doorway to the Gulf of Mexico.  Clearing US1 and entering the Gulf we then turned windward.  Turning to the east required furling the headsail and raising the main.  Sail change accomplished we began motor sailing under the main into the wind and seas.  At the helm Anne occasionally took spray over the dodger as I tucked into the cabin under the guise of updating the log book. 

 Once we were able to place the Gulf shore of Vaca Key between C’est la Vie and the wind our fetch reduced dramatically and I returned from my logbook update to take the helm.  The remainder of our 8NM miles to Fat Deer Key anchorage went smoothly.


I chose a meal that was something a could prep early and be able to enjoy our friends arrival.  Our new friend Daniel is singlehanding his boat and is just the kind of person you want to have over for dinner. He has great stories and he brought over some super beers to try! 
So, dinner was 7 layer dip and enchiladas with a blueberry cobbler.
Here is how I did it.
The dip
One can veggie refried beans add pepper and 2 tablespoons lime juice and mix I added some cumin and wanted to add jalapenos but didn't want to make it too hot.
I spread that yummy mix in bottom of your serving dish I used a 6x6 pyrex then the sour cream or plain yogurt.
Then layer .5 cup shredded cheese a can of green chilies, 1 diced plum tomato, a chopped avocado, 1 cup shredded romaine or iceburg lettuce, and 3 chopped scallions. Let sit for a least an hour and serve with tortilla chips! So, good for 3 of us with some left over.
Now on to the dinner I sliced button mushrooms and portobellas mixed with 5 chopped green onions and sliced green pepper. Should have used a jalapeno here too but did not. Then salted and peppered the mix added chipolte chili powder and coriander. I let that mix sit for an hour before sauteeing it in olive oil. I added to the hot mix defrosted chopped spinach. I spooned this mix onto a flour tortilla and used the rest of the 1.75 cup bag of shredded cheddar cheese adding a bit to each tortilla.  I sprayed a 8x8 pan with pam and poured in some tomato puree then rolled each tortilla and added it to the pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with tomato puree and pop it in the oven till browned and sauce is bubbling. Took us 12 minutes at about 325. While that was cooking I mixed up some bisquick biscuits, bisquick plus rice dream and opened a can of blueberries in a sugar syrup, not the pie filling that's too thick and sweet. This is made by oregon fruit products, no high fructose corn syrup and not a ton of sugar. I poured in my berries to a pyrex topped with the buscuits and then sprinkled turbinado sugar cooked with the enchiladas. 10 min and it was hot and bubblyy. Turn off stove and let it sit in the oven.
We enjoyed cheddard cheese, strawberries and rice crackers for appitizers out in the cockpit.
It was a great dinner and really enjoyed the company!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken milanese was smashing

I have a bunch of little cookbooks aboard the boat. I use them as visual inspiration. I don't always have the ingredients required or. The tools. Last night dinner called for using a mallet to pound the chicken to a uniform size prior to cooking. I thought about using Jeff's hammer for just a second but realized he might not appreciate chicken stuff all over his hammer and where has that hammer been used? I didn't want to add any extra chemicals to my dinner.
So, I improvised and used what I had, my frying pan. Maybe not the best use of my coveted all clad but I needed uniform sized breasts! I place one piece of meat in a ziplock and proceeded to smash it the best I could in the cockpit. A meat tenderizer might be on the wish list soon as it will be important when we want to eat conch.
I don't have eggs on board so after the pounding I dried the meat seasoned with salt and pepper dredged in wondra, thanks to bonnie woodward and brett bailor for that hot tip, buttermilk and then panko. I used the aforementioned skillet to cook the chicken med heat 5 minutes on a side. I used the leftover buttermilk to make a light pasta sauce and cut up some veggies for a green salad.
Finishing touch of fresh lemon over the chicken and it was a great 20 minute meal.
Soon, I will tackle a dessert but it has been raining everyday and I hate to heat up the cabin but I have a craving for chocolate!
I did take a photo of dinner but cannot locate it. But it is a winner winner chicken dinner.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Idle time in Boot Key Harbor

We continue to reside on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor.  Samll craft advisories are posted for the surrounding waters and 2+ inches of rain are forecast over the next 24 hours.

We are enjoying discovering new friends.  The sailing community continues to live up to it's reputation of welcoming and friendly.

Looks like we have 24 to 48 more hours of  foul weather or perhaps it is better viewed as 24 to 48 hours to make new friends here in the Harbor.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Named dinner

So, I have a few dishes that were introduced to me by friends of mine. I use them in my line up, my all stars so to speak. Those of you who have lived with me or for whom I have had the pleasure to cook, you will know the line up. The named dinner is as follows, rosemary roasted potatoes, jemar brussel spouts and staring lindsay green tofu! So on the boat its all a bit different and really the same. I cooked the potatoes in a skillet and then finished in foil instead of roasting in a hot oven, then I cooked the brussels but I was out of the main ingredient of garam masala so I used jamacian jerk seasoning( that was a fail) and then in the very same skillet I finished dinner with the tofu! It took about 40 in all so, you must pre plan but it was a healthy yummy supper.

Foul Weather makes for Beautiful Sunsets

The passing showers made for a spectacular sunset yesterday here in Boot Key Harbor.

Storm Clouds over Hawk Channel 

Sunset begins over the mooring field.
Segundo off our stern at sunset in Boot Key Harbor
All the images above were shot with our Digital Cannon rebel 35mm using a 18-55mm lens and a polarizing filter.  Other than cropping the images they are not digitally altered.  If interested I have a collection of other Sea & Sky images on the web - Sea & Sky Album  Please check them out.