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Friday, May 10th, 2002
Yacht preparations, life in St. Maarten
Saint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

Curt here instead of Allie. She's taking a well-deserved break from writing and working on cooking some kind of French bread. I'm actually watching her change into a domestic first mate right in front of my eyes - making breads, provisioning, cooking amazing meals, cleaning the head, driving the dinghy, having new cushions made, learning to sail, taking baths in the ocean. What happened to the San Francisco Marina chick I used to know who drove a black BMW and stopped traffic each day just so she could get her Starbuck's Venti Non-fat Extra Chai Tazo Chai?

We're kind of at a break right now waiting for Gus and Amie to come visit and getting the boat ready for our sail down south so the following will be a hodge-podge of Curt thoughts.

First off, I've been hearing some rumblings from the States that in every picture on the web page, Curt looks drunk and ratty. Just to set the record straight, only the second part is true. We haven't been drinking much because we have been so busy getting the boat ready plus we don't want to end up becoming like many of the lost souls you see down here hanging out at the pubs. The ratty part is true however. Working on the boat makes one look like a dockworker, and you don't get hassled by the local cons that like to take advantage of rude American tourists that arrive on the cruise ships. If you look nice, people mess with you. If you look ratty and unafraid, people go out of their way to be nice to you and help you with everything - way more than in the US. Besides, who wants to shave every day, I'm retired!

And good thing too, talk about timing. I just got an email from my old boss saying that he and several others we laid off this week. The story is actually much worse but doesn't belong in print. Suffice it to say that it's a good time to be sailing and the corporate world is often much harsher than Mother Nature.

The next note is for Mom and the grandparents. There is a good chance that in some of the pictures coming up, Allie will be wearing a wedding ring. STOP - it's not what you're hoping for. We have heard that the more south we go, the more aggressive the men will be, especially in the Spanish countries and several people have suggested that Allie wear a modest wedding band to keep away the vampires. While I love Allie, before she gets the real band, I think she deserves a longer sea trial with me before she has to make the decision as to being stuck with me.

The next part is for the sailors. Of course I'm biased, but our boat so far has been better than hoped for. In terms of ocean-worthiness, it's more than sea ready and has more spares than really needed, including 5 bilge pumps, 4 extra halyards, 3 extra stays, and extra SSB and VHF antennas. About the only weak thing is our fridge that can barely get a beer cold and is frequently fickle. But the boat makes up for it in speed. Slow for us is 5.5 knots. Average is 6 which means we're frequently doing 7.5 knots and have gotten her up to 8.2. On our first trip we kept pace with and passed a 42-foot catamaran. On our last trip we blew by a 42 foot sloop that was motoring at hull speed (because the seas were "too rough" and hummed along nicely in 25-30 knot wind with two reefs in (we have three). Basically, we sail by everyone except the island ferryboats and are finding most people don't go out on the water unless the winds are between 5 - 10 knots. Try that in San Francisco!

We'll, better head out to the business center to check email and call the folks. We plan to get a cell phone soon so hopefully we'll be checking in more frequently. Take care and come visit!

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