Welcome to Our Blog

Thank you for sharing in our journey of building a Fusion Catamaran! We are so excited to be able to chronicle our adventure for our family, friends, and supporters, from our initial decision to (hopefully) a successful launch and beyond. Please post your comments, questions, and cautionary tales-we love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Yin & Yang of Cruising

I've read somewhere, in one of the myriad sailing books and articles that we devour, that to cruise successfully requires both a pessimist and an optimist as part of the crew.  That without an optimist, the boat would never leave the dock, but without the pessimist, the boat would never make it back.  I've come to realize that the same is true of building the boat: without the optimist, we'd never ordered the kit and taken the plunge, committed to such an open-ended project, but without the pessimist, the details of each step and the unending tiny decisions would never be worked out successfully. 

Which of us, you ask, is the optimist, and which is the pessimist?  Well, that depends on the day of the week, the task at hand, and probably something as arbitrary as which side of the bed each of us rolled out of that morning.  There are moments when I will look up from my desk and the computer (where I feel like I've grown roots) and say, "This is going to be so fantastic when we can go on our own!  It's really going to happen, and I just can't wait!!"  Then there are other times when one of us will look up from reading a cruising article, or from perusing websites for the best watermakers, and sigh with frustration because it just seems to take so damn long!  The cliche, "Rome wasn't built in a day" springs to mind but some days that's just not helpful.  We do try to encourage each other, of course, but there is an occasional period where both of us are playing the pessimist, and there's no optimism in sight.

After Christmas, we could no longer ignore the itch to get out on the water and cruise, so we signed up for a charter with 360 Yachting, to charter Island Girl for a week in the Exumas.  Just the break we needed to get back out there and get a taste of our future life!  The day before the charter was to begin, the company called and told us that Island Girl's owner had abruptly pulled the boat from charter and it was no longer available.  They could offer us another boat, Keremeos, instead, but that was only available for a few days, and we'd have to switch mid-charter, to a third boat named Rainbow's End.  Since plans had been made and tickets purchased, we agreed, although in retrospect, we should have suspected trouble.  Nevertheless, we landed in Georgetown, Exuma on Friday morning, shopped for provisions and hung out at the Exuma Yacht Club until Keremeos was ready.  Setting out Saturday morning, we started making our way north through the Exuma islands, towards Nassau, our charter end-point.  Before we left Friday evening, we heard from Jay Phllips of 360 Yachting, that Rainbow's End which we were supposed to transfer to, was being repaired still, and to "stay in touch".  When on Sunday, we had still not heard anything further, we called him, only to find out that Rainbow's End was not going to be ready at all, and also that Keremeos' owner wanted his boat back in Georgetown by the following day!  The company could offer us no other substitute, and offered to put us in touch with a friend to rent a "beach cottage" on Staniel Cay for the remainder of the week.  As we had no other arrangements, and seemingly no other options, we agreed to head to Staniel Cay and return the boat.  After lugging all of our things off the boat, and into a cottage, we regrouped.  Although the Staniel Cay Yacht Club had a great restaurant, there was very little else on the island, and many of the businesses were still not open after Hurricane Sandy's departure a few months earlier.  The cottage was not terribly clean, and the beach below was patrolled by numerous sharks, discouraging lounging or swimming.  We decided to cut our losses and return home early, and are still trying to get our money back from 360 Yachting, who had the nerve to maintain that it was Island Girl's owner that was at fault, not his company.  Upon arrival back in Miami, we sent a short text to Rian and Lari:  "Charter a bust, need boat soon!"  Anybody know a good lawyer??

The Exuma Yacht Club - Georgetown, Exuma

Jon & Dennis Driving Keremeos

They are Jacks of All Trades in Exuma!

Teaching Autumn to Drive 
Staniel Cay Yacht Club-Great lobster!!

I haven't written much on our progress since last fall, and when people have asked how it's coming, I just answer, "Slowly...".  There have been several reasons for this. The first heady days of putting really big pieces together and transforming two containers into something resembling a boat is past, and now the small details of reshaping the sugar scoops, fitting out areas where gas and water tanks will reside, installing backing plates to strengthen the final structure, installing bulkheads are what fill the days.  The progress is hard to see, not always even visible, but nonetheless necessary for the success of the final form.  It takes infinite patience, a pessimist's eye to critically decide whether the task was completed properly or whether it should be redone differently.  Sure, there's a build book (several actually), which is supposed to guide the builder, but like those paint-with-numbers kits I would get for my birthday when I was nine, just following the directions doesn't guarantee a beautiful and functional end result.  There are always unspoken steps in between, nuances that, without some real talent for the craft, can't be overtly explained.  This is the difference between a work of art, and a childish replica.  Thank goodness the builder we've chosen has the patience of a pessimist and the big picture view of an optimist!

The other reason that our progress has slowed somewhat is that the other Fusion 40 (power cat) that had been abandoned in the yard, was purchased by Tom and Cass Bijou, and is steadily being brought to life again.  Once filled with wasp's nests and pools of water, the neglected cat that has been sitting half-finished for the last three years is on it's way to becoming their second rendition of Toes in The Water (they already have a smaller boat with the same name).  Tom has an ambitious spring launch schedule that has stretched the limits of Mondomarine's current staff, and has led them to search for additional workers.  While the addition of Toes in The Water to their project list has undoubtedly slowed down the progress on XYZZY, it has been extremely helpful to see the interior and customizations take shape on their boat first, sort of a preview of what's coming.  They've taken some of our ideas, we've borrowed a few of theirs, and overall, it's been motivating to see their boat come together.  The Sarasota yard now bustles with activity and equipment, much like the surrounding town, on its way to revitalization.    Here are some photos from November 2012, with the main projects being the redesign of the sugar scoops and the molding of the interior.

November 2012 - Redesigning the Sugar Scoop for an inset swim ladder
Adding the Targa Bar

Dennis in the future Salon

When we went back at the beginning of February, we were excited to see the interior starting to take shape, and many of the customizations we asked for are beginning to be planned for.

Targa Bar in Place

Starboard Ladder Installed and Deployed
The Dinette takes shape in the salon

The Future Nav Station
The Master Head (Bathroom) To-Be
Debbie working in the "cockpit"-Finally!
The Foredeck and Lockers
We are back in Sarasota this week (March 10th) to see what's new this month.  We are starting to have conversations with Mack Sails and Harken to discuss what the deck and rigging layouts will be, so we can prepare the infrastructure appropriately, and we have less than a year left on our apartment lease in Miami!  This spring is a bit busy for our family: a book launch in March, a first grandchild due in April, and a college graduation in May, but when we return to Miami, it will be time to start planning in earnest for our next move.  Stay tuned for our next posts...


  1. Jeez, never a dull moment! Just keep your eyes on the prize ;-) (hang in!)
    Thanks for the update.

  2. DandD,

    Looks like you are getting rid of your bad boating Karma before you launch your own baby.

    Jim N.