We miss you…

It’s almost the middle of December, it’s still green outside right now, but oh boy, it’s cold.  While December brings a lot of joy and happiness, James’ Birthday, Christmas and festive holiday season, we can’t help but miss her.

Ocean Pheonix is all closed up. October was the month that we hauled her from her cozy mooring on the Barrington River in Rhode Island.  We decided we would remove all the sheets and halyards for a full inspection.  We also thought it was time to remove the mast for a full inspection and to repair the instruments and lights.  So there she sits on the hard with no mast, no sails, and a dry bottom.

All the cushions, as well as all the flooring, were also removed this year.  During the terribly cold winter months, we will redo the flooring and give new life to it.  While the floor is out we will be cleaning the bilge completely, rerunning some wires, moving the battery bank to the aft cabin again and installing a dripless shaft seal. But most of this will be done next spring when we return.

Now, what do we do…? We sit here and think about sailing, places we want to go, islands we want to explore and all the people we will get to meet one day. We watch shows on sailing and boating and we do research on items we want on our boat.

It’s around the freezing mark now and all we can do is countdown until the next sailing season is upon us. We miss our boat, we miss the water and we miss the warm weather.  What do you do to pass the winter months away?

James and Tammy on sv Ocean Phoenix


Great places to visit!

As we travel places, whether by boat or other means we want to share our experiences with you.  There is so much to see, to do and to experience in life, and sometimes you have to share those experiences.  This is ours…

As you might know, our sailboat is in Rhode Island, and because we have obligations in New York we can only go short distances, for now! If you are in Rhode Island, depending on your location here are some great options for food.

Leon’s Cafe & Catering – OMG, This place is incredible!  We decided to ride our bikes from 38488003_208172946710291_6686551643581841408_nBarrington to Providence one day and figured we would find a breakfast joint along the way.  As we are on the bike path, and getting really hungry, we noticed a faded sign on the back of a building.  I am so happy we did.  Daily baked bread’s, home-cut meat’s, and fresh ingredients leave you wanting more.  Not that you have room, these portions are plentiful and very well priced.  My last breakfast was a special, Belgium waffles with grilled pear, peach and pineapple tossed in a honey and cinnamon sauce. WOW, it was not sweet, and just the right mixture of everything.  It’s not only the food that makes Leon’s Cafe so wonderful, the people, the staff, the quaint feel to room, it all adds to the overall experience. This is our favorite for breakfast, we will be regulars here anytime we are in Barrington. Click here to visit their website to learn more about them.

Flo’s Clam Shack – Ice cold beer and giant lobster rolls, amazing!  We were in Newport, RI and had just finished walking 7 miles (we did the Cliff walk), we were hot, tired and starving. We asked a local for advice, we wanted a cold beer and fresh seafood, and that is what we got.  He told us that the local like a place called Flo’s.  Flo’s Clam Shack is great, it’s open and airy, great seaside decor with eating seating inside or out.  You order your food from the window and then grab a seat and wait (it’s not a long wait).  We had never had a lobster roll before.  We order one each and a Corona.  The lobster roll came with fries and left us filled. We had a great time at Flo’s and we can’t wait to go back again.  Give it a try and hopefully, you will love it as much as we did. Click here for more info!

Blount Clam Shack – Just down the river from our sailboat is this yummy Clam Shack.  Out one day in the dingy and we decide to stop for some fried clams and cold beer.  The portions are LARGE, the food is great and the beer cold.  You can sit there on the edge of the river and watch the world go by while enjoying some great food.  Definitely worth a stop and you can arrive by car, foot or boat, how awesome! There was no line when we went, but we have seen the line and sometimes it is quite long, be prepared, and yes, it’s worth the wait! Click here for more info!

Please remember that we all have different likes and such…these are ours and we wanted to share them with you.  If you are in these areas, stop in and check it out for yourselves and support some local eateries!


Vacation Time!! Our first long stay on Ocean Phoenix

So after a lot of hard work and elbow grease, Ocean Phoenix is ready to test a short liveaboard situation.

We headed out on the Sunday afternoon before the 4th of July to stay aboard for a 10-day stretch. We had a short to-do list but nothing major. A few lights still not working to check, our solar panel needed to be rewired and our autopilot had no power. We also needed to install the correct battens and a reef line.

Originally I had connected the solar panel charger to the battery disconnect. Unfortunately, we only got a MAX Voltage of 12.4 no matter how long the panel charged the batteries. We changed the wiring to go directly to the battery – now we have consistent 12.6-12.7 volts and no usage issues.

Ah yes…. the autopilot. I (James) approach electrical with a bit of a candid feeling. I have a great meter and some basic knowledge of how the system works but I am definitely NOT an Electrician. However, a working autopilot is nice to have as Tammy and I are going to be the only crew most if the time and our 37R is a handful. It helps when we are flaking the mainsail and such. I checked the fuses – all good. Checked the power connection to the smart pilot module – no power. And we found the issue! The power wire was disconnected. So we connected the wire and hooray! Autopilot.

This was the week that we wanted to assend the mast and check out the steaming light, anchor light and replace the topping lift halyard. But who will go up??? Since I have had experience hoisting people up and Tammy had not – She drew the short straw. And up she went. The view was amazing.

While up, she looked at the anchor light….. It was the most pathetic light I have ever seen. I was only 1″ tall and no more than 3/4″ in Dia. It had a broken wire on it so we just removed it for now. We will replace it with a large LED light. The steaming light tested OK so we still have a few more checks to do to resolve that. And finally the topping lift. The sheave at the top of the mast is gone. All that was left is the hole for the bolt to go through. So I guess we will be buying a sheave this fall also.

The bottom line is the mast will be unstepped this fall so we can service it properly. We also have some wind instrument issues so we will service the entire rig.

We never did get our fuel gauge working, that will be for another day. We did however get our compass light working as we found a broken wire for that.

Enough about maintenance and on to the vacation items. We spent the day at Newport RI. We did the Cliff Walk and it was amazing!!! 3.5 mile one way of beautiful shoreline overlooking the ocean. There is a trolley that takes you back to the start point but due to the trolley being $1.75 and only having a $10 bill ( the trolley gives no change) we decided to walk back through the “Mansion” area. It was well worth the walk and I suggest a person does it to view the magnificent properties. We ate at Flo’s clam shack. food was good and a cold beer after our walk was even better.

Back in Barrington, we hit the bike path that runs from Bristol to Providence. It also was very pretty and popular as there were many others enjoying the day on the path. It’s nice and flat for the most part so we will bring our roller blades next time and try that also. On our way, we stopped for breakfast at a small cafe called “Leon’s cafe”. The food was fantastic!!!! All homemade items right from the bread to the sausage and Corned Beef Hash. We actually went back the next day also because the food was so great!!

Got a good coat of wax on the hull this weekend. I use a product called Clean & glaze made by Formula five. It is an all in one clean and wax product. It balls up the dirt so it is removed and falls off and at the same time it polishes and lays down a layer of wax all in one shot. It is a great product. It is slightly abrasive so its best to not use a power polisher.

We are looking forward to many more boat days this summer and get Ocean Phoenix out more so we can put her through the paces and see how she performs in various conditions.

Will keep ya posted on our follies. Fair winds to you all.

James & Tammy




Our first sail

There are no words to describe that feeling…you unhook your boat from your mooring/dock for the first time and head towards your destination, near or far. 

Ocean Phoenix was new to use in August of 2017. We spent the offseason checking everything out, rewiring, fixing the plumbing, so on and so forth. We got into the water and onto our mooring for the first time and there she sat till now. Peter, the previous owner (Who’s Yo Daddy) offered to come out and show us some things, to teach us about the instruments and to answer whatever he could.

The day was cloudy, very cool temperatures, next to no wind and a chance of rain.  But we all meet on the boat and we have really happy we did.  Peter was a wealth of knowledge.  He helped us with what was wrong, made suggestions and showed us what was missing.

Next came the fun part.  We all wanted to take her out. We were not sure that we were going to be able to sail with almost no wind, but what the hell, we went. 

We let loose from the mooring and motored out.  Once we were in deeper waters and away from all the moorings we turned off the motor and up went the sails.  It is at this point that everything changes. She now has her own wings and man can she fly.  The wind did pick up to about 10 knots and we got up to 7.2 knots of speed.  It was a truly remarkable feeling, at the helm, tacking, any and all of the work is worth every second that you are under the power of the wind.

The three of us worked in sync and spent an amazing afternoon on the water in the cold weather.  We do have some things that we need to work on and with the assistance of Peter and some other helpful Facebook friends, we will get there in no time. 

Our next adventure is right around the corner…we are spending 10 days on board.  I know it’s not a lot, but with us in Troy, NY and the boat in Barrington, RI and having jobs and a son starting high school in September, we will have to bide our time.

A big thank you to Peter for selling us an amazing boat for you helping and teaching us. Can’t wait to do it again!

On the WATER

Friday, June 8, 2018, was the day the Ocean Phoenix got her bottom wet. As you know she has been on the hard for about 3 years.  We made some chances, installed some new safety items (high water alarm and bilge pump) and like all boat owners, held our breath during the first dip in.

The crew and staff at Stanley’s Boat Yard were amazing, and 100% professional!  This was my first experience with watching a boat transferred from land to water, James has seen this many times and never with any great success.  Watching this crew work together and move our vessel around was a pleasure.  They were gentle, considerate, willing to talk to us about what was happening and did a complete check over the whole boat. If you are ever in need of storage, mooring, or dock space and you are in the Barrington, RI area take the time to give Stanley’s a call and to check them out on Facebook.  

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Ocean Phoenix has been given a new lease on life, she is back in the water again and is floating proudly in the Barrington-Warren River.  We blessed her and asked the Gods that be for fair winds and calm seas.  Now we are going to enjoy her, learn about her, stretch her legs and see what she can do.

Cheers to her

To view detailed contact information for Stanley’s Boat Yard, check out the Work with Us section.  To view more pictures and videos, head over to our gallery section and make your choice there.

An amazing weekend

We set out on Thursday evening from Troy, New York to Barrington, Rhode Island.  From our land home to our water home.  We loaded our Dodge Ram full with all the to-do items we needed to finish getting Ocean Phoenix ready for the water.  If you have been following us, then you know that she has been on the hard for 3 years now.  She was a very successful racer in her day (more on this later) and we are transforming her into a cruiser now.

We had compiled our to-do list for this weekend over the course of a couple weeks.  The reason for this last push…OUR LAUNCH DATE!!! We are launching Ocean Phoenix on June 8th.  Below is a list that we set out to complete this weekend?

  • Renaming our boat… goodbye Who’s yo Daddy, hello Ocean Phoenix.  We installed our new vinyl letters, thank you to Ultimate Screen Graphics in Troy, NY
  • New bottom paint
  • Install new taps in the galley and head
  • Install solar panel charging controller
  • Troubleshoot propane system
  • Remove every item from the boat that is not needed for sailing…down a 14-foot ladder
  • Install new through hull for high water bilge alarm/pump
  • Drain 3-year-old diesel fuel from the tank
  • Finish salon windows with silicone and cleaning
  • Spray and clean off the top deck
  • Install new mooring cleat
  • Installed our new Magma BBQ on our port side stern rail

Guess what!!!!!

We got everything done, except for replacing the taps in the head…a 10-minute job we will complete on our next trip. We even took the time to enjoy a beautiful sunset!

Below you will find some pictures of our weekend and all the fun we had working to get here ready for our launch date.

Major project #1

So here we are just weeks away from the first launch and we still had a few big projects to get completed. The salon windows, the water system and the bottom preparations.

2 weeks ago we removed ALL the salon windows and the top deck window. They came out pretty easy considering all the different bedding materials used over the years. A combination of Sikaflex (I think), white silicone, 3M 5200 and gorilla glue or some form of contact cement? Anyway here’s what we know for sure… the original bedding held really well for the first 20 years and we believe it was Sikaflex. However the other repairs done after that were AWFUL!!!!!



So we started from the beginning. Remove all the old bedding and start over. But what to use? All internet posts say butyl tape, however our windows do not have any fasteners. they are just glued to the fiberglass. Some say DOW 795 is the way to go. In the end we chose MULCO Supra Expert. It is a window adhesive that has 1400% elongation. Yes that’s right 1400%!! It is a thermoplastic material used for high rise windows that use Aluminum frames.

Lets get to the project now.

We arrived at the boat this Friday night and found that our plastic and Duct Tape had not held over the open holes that the windows were in. The inside of the boat was fine but we consider that a close call for a lot of potential damage. We had a rainy day  on Saturday so spent the day working on the final plumbing items. The hot water on demand was repaired and back in service and other than a small drip on the pump we are good to go. Got the propane solenoid valve replaced for the main system and mounted the TV to the bulkhead.


Sunday was somewhat overcast buy we decided to go for the windows regardless and take our chances with the weather. We taped all the areas we did not want the excess Supra to touch and started to place the windows. A 1/2″ bead of Supra Expert was layered on and we pushed the windows into place until we could see the adhesive squeeze out the edges inside and out. Placed a few sandbags on the face to keep in place and VOILA! Sealed windows we hope!!! Just have to trim up the material when we get back on the long weekend and seal the edges with 3M UV4200.


Its supposed to be rainy for the next few weeks so we will let you know if we have any leaks. We do feel pretty confident that it will work out for the best, if not we will go with Plan “B”… drill the windows and add some fasteners with butyl tape bedding. Time will tell.

The bottom repairs are pretty basic. Have some fairing compound to add around the keel and a epoxy repair around our head through hull. Some epoxy barrier coat to seal everything up and touch it up with bottom paint.

We are so very close to our maiden voyage. We hope to launch the weekend of  June 8th.

We will keep ya up to date on our progress!

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix


The never-ending repair story

Why this title, because as all boat owners know the list of to-dos, must-dos and would like to-dos just never end, lol.

The last post we told about our spring prep list…well we got a little sidetracked.  Our list is now spanning a couple of years. Head over to Refit Projects & Cost for our to-dos and completed to-dos.

We have now spent 2 weekends in Rhode Island so far this season and here is update.

We spent Easter weekend onboard and wow that was a COLD, one.  This first weekend was all about the wiring and the leaks.  If you are following us on our Facebook group Sailboat refit and repairs then you have already seen the mess.  We started on Friday with trying to trace the wire for the nav lights, at one point they were working and then NO.  When wired before they were wired with the instruments switch, at least we know where it runs now.  Our thoughts were to change it to the running lights switch, which operates our interior red LED lights, but we need the nav lights when the instruments are on, not the running lights.  We may go with a separate nav lights switch in the near future.  Here is the before and after wiring videos.

In this video, almost everything is still in there. We found many wires that were not connected at all, it was a mess and there was a lot of tracing and track to do.

In this video, you will notice the large amount of wiring that we removed as it was no longer valid and 2 large pieces of dated equipment…So much better!

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day, the sun was out and the temps went up a bit.  And today was a great day to tighten the toe rail, and every other nut we could get our tools on.  With the nav lights still being flaky, James has decided to run all new wiring and do a proper connection, as they are connected through the light in the head. I have set off on a mission to tighten and track our leaks.  Some of the nuts were great, others not so much, it was tedious but a must do.

We got all our supplies back onto Ocean Phoenix, as well as the re-purposed covers that we talked about in an early post titled Updating our Cushions.   After staining the fabric and redoing the zippers they look great onboard again.

This past weekend was our plumbing weekend with small odds and ends.  James worked all of Saturday ensuring that the water bladder was installed and connected, the foot pump was repaired and put back into place with the y-valve now connected to it.  Originally the waste bladder was connected, but with no way to pump out.  He installed a new hose connecting it to the deck fitting, y-valve, and bladder.  We have a new bilge float installed along with new Sahara bilge pump wired to a high water alarm as an emergency backup system.  In total, right now we have 2 automatic bilge pumps, 1 electric manual bilge pump, and 2 whale pumps.  We have tested our pumps and they are all working, YAY, our next job in this area is to run the systems for the water and flush everything and then get we are good to go.

Ocean Phoenix is almost ready for her name. While James was busy inside, I removed the old name from the transom.  I don’t think there is an easy way to do this but to grin and bear it.  I used a heat gun and straight blade to peel off the old vinyl.  It is a process, but for us and many others, one that is really worth it.  Our new letters are almost done and we should be able to do this really soon, based on the weather of course.

If you are looking for more information about any of the above, please write to us, we would be happy to help, as so many have helped us in the past.  You can also head on over to Facebook and find more discussions on our page.  Links are below.

Sailboat Refit and Repairs
SV Ocean Phoenix

2018 Preparations

AHOY sailors!!!

So its that time of year again when us northern folk are really starting to get into the swing of things for the summer boating season. Cleaning, polishing and fixing is just a few tasks we all endure or enjoy (depending on perspective) as we get closer to launch.

I truly enjoy the task of getting the boat ready for summer and this year is even more special as we get Ocean Phoenix ready for her maiden voyage after our purchase this fall. We have made a pretty comprehensive list of things to do and add on’s. And yes, we also have the must do’s at the top of the list.

time to sail

We got a few of the systems running last fall and started repairing and surveying the electrical system on the boat. We resolved the GPS signal loss issue thanks to my wife Tammy and her keen eye for detail (broken fuse holder). However the Nav lights that did work when I started, stopped working all of a sudden. So still some work to improve the systems on board.

Here is our list so far: Must Do’s

Install bow roller, install 4 cleats and 1 center bow cleat for anchor rode, new vinyl lettering for boat name, repair foot pump in galley, install repaired water bladder, replace “Y” valve for head septic, install 2 solar panels and controller, upgrade inverter to 1800 watt, get and set up BBQ.

Nice to do:

Install new Windlass, new instruments (Depth, speed & wind), LED lights for interior, high water alarm, install 30A shore power system.

We will post a few pics and think about doing some videos this year of our projects. We have found some great how to videos of us regular Joes working on our boats , so this will be a bit of “pay it forward” hoping others will benefit like we did. The best resource is other boaters.

As for mechanical preparations, we will be doing the standard items like battery installation,oil change and fuel filter, purging the water system. We will, however, also complete a few additional items suggested by some fellow boaters in our previous posts. Diesel tank will be drained and new fuel added with conditioners. We will also test the glow plugs and ensure they are working properly and check all fuel lines for leaks as the engine starts harder than I like.

And finally to ensure we stay afloat on our mooring we will check all through hulls and make sure they work (a bit seized up) and service the packing gland (may install a drip-less shaft seal in the future). Bilge pump is also a high priority to keep working and will likely add a second one for good measure that is attached to the high water alarm.

With so much to think of and consider, we want to make sure to have the MUST DOs done and not sink…is there anything else that should be or needs to be done before we put her into the water?

For now we have all our items scattered in our basement and garage being organized for relocation to Rhode Island in a few weeks.

Can’t hardly wait!

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix



Two years ago, James, my amazing husband, surprised me with a packaged trip to Cuba for Christmas.  Our trip was booked for January 12, 2016 to January 20, 2016.  When we left our home (at the time we were living in Canada) on the 12th, we had to deal with freezing temperatures and a blinding snow storm in order to make it to the airport.  After making it to Pearson Airport in Toronto Ontario, we caught a couple hours of sleep on the seats as we waited for our flight.  We arrived in Cuba on January 13th at 10 am, it had just stopped raining and was cloudy…but it was HOT.  We loved it already!

We found our shuttle easily and we were on our way to Memories Jibacoa.  On the way we made a stop at popular roadside establishment, where we enjoyed a spectacular view, met some of the locals and could purchase local wares and a Pina Colada.

Memories Jibacoa…

The hotel was amazing, light and airy, open with the hills at the back of the hotel and the sweeping ocean in front, we were in paradise. The main lobby was bright and clean, with large open windows and stained glass borders it allowed an impressive view of their courtyard and beach front. We were offered a beverage as we were checking in and exchanging our currency.  Our room was also very clean and bright, white walls and floor, with bright bedding, curtains and accessories. Everything we needed was there including a safe to keep our travel documents in. The bed was comfortable and the water was hot for showering. The slideshow below shows some of the pics that we took in and of the hotel.

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The Wildlife…

The week that we were there, unfortunately the weather was not in our favor most days so we did not have a chance to snorkel at the hotel, but we were able to still see a lot of beautiful things.

Day Trip One – HAVANA…

I had always heard that Havana is a city set in the past.  A city of great history, culture and of times gone by.  We took a bus to Havana as one of the trips you can book while at Memories Jibacoa.  The city is remarkable! The people, the buildings, the colors, the smells, everything is so alive. As we walked the streets, we were in awe, nothing would have prepared us.  You really have to see it and to walk around to understand the feelings.

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Day 2 Trip – The Jeep experience

We booked this trip on the 16th, my birthday…What a day!  There was a group of us and we all loaded into different jeeps, we had a driver for our jeep so we were really able to look around.  We drove through many towns and through an amazing countryside, our first stop was for Pina Colada’s of course. They Cuban family that owned the first farm was really nice and hard working.  While we were there they were making mugs out of long stocks of bamboo.  We purchased 2 of them and they came filled with yummy Pina Colada.  Next we enjoyed a boat ride on one of their rivers, the weather was warm and the view was speculator. When we reached the shore again, we had a beverage and had the joy of experiencing a native dance.  Back into the jeeps and over to the oceans edge.  We went snorkeling,  my first time ever.  We loved it, the water was warm and you could see sooo much. After a full morning we arrived at a coffee farm for lunch.  We had a traditionally prepared Cuban lunch followed by coffee and took a scenic horseback ride around the farm. Once we were done with our horses we loaded back into our jeeps and found ourselves at a freshwater underground cave, our last stop.  The water was cold but really refreshing.  The cave and all the colors in the cave and water was truly wonderful.  Our day was beyond words, it was perfect.

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The people that we met and talked to were always very kind.  Whether on or off of the resort the people always had a smile.  They would wave, say hi and go on their way.  We were asked to share our left over items (shampoo, soap etc.) when we checked out, but we never felt harassed.  We were happy to share.

The Countryside…

As we drove around on our many trips out, we were able to take in the breathtaking beauty of the Cuban Country, and of our hotel area.

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If you are ever considering a trip to Cuba, then go!  We enjoyed ever part of it. The food was amazing and full of flavor everywhere we went. We had a choice a regular foods including bacon, chicken, fish, pork, beef, pasta’s and seafood.  We never need extra salt, spice or hot sauce to supplement the flavor, the cooks always did a fabulous job.  The wine during dinner and the coffee after dinner were available and free flowing.

Off resort you do need to carry coins with you as if you need the washroom it will cost you a coin or two for some toilet paper.  It’s not a big deal and keep in mind, you are supporting someone when you purchase your handful.

Thank you to everyone who helped make our trip to Cuba a time that we will never forget.  We hope to return again, but next time maybe we will set sail and arrive by sailboat.

James and Tammy