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May 12, 2004

We changed her name! Namaste is now Zora. Here's the story:

A couple of days ago, Neil and I went to the storage space to get the old cushions (I'm sewing the new ones now.) One of the cushions was covered with cat hair: it had been the favorite perch of our Siamese cat, Zorra, at home. We'd always assumed  that Zorra would come on this trip with us, but it was not to be. She was old, and suffering from kidney failure. She died this January. She was so much a part of our family: it was very hard on us. So when we saw the cat-hair-covered cushion, we both sighed and one of us said, "We should have named the boat Zorra!". Then we thought, "Why not?" We'd never sailed the boat under the name "Namaste", so she hadn't really become that name to us yet. And as much as we liked the name, it wasn't really totally personal and meaningful to us all. We loved Zorra, and here was a way we could honor her, and a way that she could still come on the trip with us. It just felt right.

Zorra was named because she looked like a little baby fox when she was a kitten, and zorra means female fox, or vixen, in Spanish. Unfortunately, what I didn't know until I started researching it for the boat, is that "zorra" also has some rather negative secondary slang meanings in many Spanish-speaking countries, "prostitute" being the most polite! We weren't sure we wanted to name our family boat something that might offend people in the countries we plan to visit. On further research, we found that by spelling it "Zora", it fit on our transom better, and is a Greek/Slavic name meaning "dawn" as well. Perfect. Zora she is!

Lots of Progress!!!!

Meanwhile, Neil is 3/4 of the way through his vacation and SO MUCH is getting done. You almost wouldn't recognize her. Her new boot and sheer stripes have been painted, and Neil just put the final coat of epoxy barrier coat on the bottom. tonight the first coat of bottom paint will go on. The interior is looking wonderful. Neil built the galley storage and there's so much of it!!! We were able to use the space where the old "beer locker" was to build a perfect dish locker with fiddles and pegs that hold our new dishes and glassware. The galley seems huge now, and I am so excited to start cooking in it! All the rest of the interior is coming together, too. We began the puzzle of replacing all the original trim which we'd removed 2 years ago: piles and piles of it. Most of it has already been sanded and coated with 3 coats of varnish to cut work on the interior varnishing project. Neil's adding the new V-berth and aft cabin storage units today, and we'll continue trimming it all out. We hope to have it all done and bunged soon, so I can be varnishing while he works on the spars.

Okay, I really have to go work on the boat! Things are really getting to a fever pitch as we look at our (hopefully!!!!!) last 2 months before leaving. I'll try to write more and post some pictures soon.....

May 28, 2004

I'm having a hard time imagining how we're going to make it through the next month or two until we are ready to leave! We're working SO hard and SO frantically on our final projects, and although we're getting tons done, and the boat is looking great, the sheer amount of little (and big!) things that there are left to do before we can launch is just, really, mind-boggling. On top of the actual boat work that needs to be done, a good deal of which is in Neil's hands (spars, engine, rudder, prop), there is an immense amount of not-so-tangible work that I need to accomplish before we can leave. This includes researching and deciding on health insurance and yacht insurance plans (you cannot imagine how unbelievably complicated the insurance plans are!!); making sure that our finances are set up correctly (we need to apply for Visa and MasterCard, since we don't have any, give my mom Power of Attorney, set up automatic bank transfers for our monthly "kitty" amount: $750 per month- I hope we can make it on that!-, make sure we have notified everyone of our new mailing address, etc.); make sure everything is OK with our house and renters (make and install new pickets, fix a light); make sure we all are up-to-date with shots and medical exams, and that I have  copies of all our records with us; collect all the meds and supplies we're taking in our medical kit; find out how to get our absentee ballots (we MUST vote this year in the Presidential election this year!); gather up all the school materials I'll need for Olivia for 2 years; get our HAM licenses; register with the FCC; try to squeeze in a refresher First Aid class; set up our SSB and email system- yikes!-; figure out what to do about selling or junking the car; make sure our drivers' licenses aren't going to expire.......... the list goes on and on. PLUS: sand and varnish the entire interior of the boat, measure for and order our new main sail, design and buy parts for the trysail track, running backstays, lifelines; research and buy an EPIRB, and do all the sewing projects: cushions, sail covers, etc!!!!!!  And then start stowing and provisioning!  Whew! 

We're wondering how we're going to make it through all that, and then also how we'll feel once we take off and there's nothing left to do. I mean, psychologically it must be a shock to go from super-stress-overload to suddenly having nothing to do. To that end, we're making sure that there are plenty of small projects left to complete once we move aboard. For example, adding shelves to the hanging lockers and building a spice rack are not "must be done before launching" things, and we'll probably have a long list of such projects that we can tackle at will..... so if our minds and bodies are just not ready to be shocked into total relaxation mode, we can work on these things. It may also work out that we need to study for our HAM licenses after we leave, and stop in someplace this fall to take the tests. We've been putting it off partly because there are rumors that the Morse Code requirement may be dropped, which would certainly make studying for the tests a lot easier!

In any case, we're quite overwhelmed right now. I've heard other cruisers describe this, so it must be normal. It's just that sometimes it all seems so surreal. I'm quite certain that neither Neil nor I have ever worked as hard in our lives as we have on getting this boat ready and scraping together a savings account so that we can take this trip. Sometimes I still feel like it's not going to happen. I had some chest pain for the last couple weeks and although I knew the chances that it was the cancer again were slim, a part of my mind thought, "Well, there, you see? You knew you were never really going to get to go on this trip!" But my doctor ordered a CT ("cat scan") and thankfully, everything was normal. You can't imaging my relief!

Okay... I'm wasting time! Must go work on the boat!

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