Boondocking SunChaser 

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April 2024

News from Dawn Treader and SunChaser
April, 2024
Last Month was the story of our life together.
Dawn and I started our relationship with the sailboat; we have known no other life.
During the last two months we have been working on restoring systems.
The most aggravating of these is the engine’s High Pressure Fuel Pump.
The internal governor was improperly set by the first rebuilder!
This problem prevented our boat from leaving Florida on 5 different occasions and is the reason we were damaged by Hurricane Ian.
Among the things that have been replaced during this time were the Bilge Pump, Solar Panels, the Solar Controller, as well as the Onboard Battery Charger. 
The opportunity to upgrade the charging system included A 40 AMP Charger replacing the old 20 AMP one, and the defective Solar Controller, was replaced by a 40 Amp MPPT Controller from Renogy. 
The Jib Sail got new Sheets (Rope to control the sail)
Other minor repairs are being performed while waiting for the Injection Pump is being rebuilt.
However, the engine fuel system is still a problem and a Diesel Mechanic has taken over the job.
The newsletter is late because we were holding it thinking we would now be in the Marina.
I have also experienced some “Interesting” health issues. 
Nothing major but time consuming and scheduled for surgery on the 13 of May. 
The big news for the month is that our new “little friend” is getting used to living in the motor home. 
We rescued a Bantam Silkie Chicken which we named Elvis the Seagoing Silkie; however he has not been introduced to the sailboat yet because of all the problems. ‘
We have taken him on a few outings in the motor home and the little guy is a hit wherever we take him.

May 2024

The Big news for May is my Prostatectomy and was hospitalized 2 days.
Meanwhile back at the boat we are still experiencing fuel feed problems, and a host of mechanics are working on the problem.
I miss my old boat with the little gas atomic 4 - it always ran!
It is approaching the time to travel north and visit friends we have made in the northern states.
We did not want to go away until the sailboat was secure in a marina and the engine working properly.
Ten days were lost this month recovering from the surgery and the final issue with the fuel system has been sorted out.
It will be necessary to get a new survey before moving to the marina.
I also had to replace my aging Nikon D-70 with a new D-300.
Our pet Rooster is continuing to amaze us.
He is a Bantam only about 7 inches long, but he makes up for it in volume!
Early in the morning he must let the other roosters at the farm know he’s awake.
Soon he will get introduced to our sailboat.
We are overjoyed that at last our boat is about 95% finished and all that is left are some very minor adjustments and repairs.
Hopefully there will be time for some shakedown trips before leaving.
The weather is getting quite warm now. 
We will be moving the boat to a marina next month.
After checking out the options it looks like we will ust the Marina at the Air Force Base in Biloxi. 
The interior has been getting cleaned in between the mechanics working. 

March 2024

The Dawn Treader Story is our story, and our story is the story of people. 
Through our travels there have been so many people that have become more our family than anything.
Many have come to our aid in times of distress. 
Dawn and I met in 2012 shortly after I bought the Dawn Treader.
It was not named Dawn Treader then but that was the name chosen even before I met Dawn.
Dawn had lived on a boat in Mexico and I had lived on 2 boats before, one in Texas and one in California.
We left Arizona for Florida in October 2012 and after stopping for a Thanksgiving visit with John and Linda Crone in Texas, we continued on to Florida.
There were a few mishaps on the way such as a tire blowout just a few miles from John’s house in Texas. The tire shop was just across the freeway but we had to wait for a tow truck to get us a half a block and over the freeway!
The Dawn Treader has been as much about bringing people into our lives as it has about sailing.   
We first met Steve and Sue while dining at Nicola’s Italian Kitchen, in Englewood.
They were at the next table and over heard us discussing boat problems.
They introduced themselves as well as introducing us to the Englewood Sailing Association. 
Steve helped us through many misadventures such as when the steering bracket fell apart.
He also helped us navigate to the new marina in Cape Haze.
Through the Englewood Sailing Association we met a fine group of people dedicated to teaching young people to sail.
We were at a Church BBQ when Doug’s brother heard us talking about the boat.
He insisted we join him, Doug and their wives.
Doug and his brother both lived aboard sailboats and at one time flew Airplanes, another of my hobbies.
At Gasparilla Marina Ilie’s Trawler was parked next to us.
One day, impressed with my woodwork he offered to move us to Turkey Creek to do repairs on his boat. 
He promised to pay our slip fee for 3 years, but I finished his boat in less and he quit paying.
We stayed for 4 years as we had a lot of repair to do on our boat.
We had use of a garage/workshop and cheap dock fees!
Butch Floyd owned the slip and we became friends over the years and even visited his home in Thompson Falls, Montana. 
We became “Guest Members” of the “Turkey Creek Yacht Club.”
 We had no idea just how much our boat needed.
We docked in Turkey Creek 5 years and made many trips, sadly only one in our own boat.
It was discovered that reverse did almost nothing.
We did sail to the Virgin Islands but on a Cruise Ship.
We also spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia with John and Linda Crone.
John also loved trains and was a pilot in the Air Force.
We visited Savannah RR Museum and had dinner on the Waterfront.
Linda had grown up on Tybee Island.  
In 2018, we finally left Turkey Creek and headed to Placida again to refresh the bottom paint.
Once again Steve came and helped to move the boat.
We almost lost it at the second lock down the Caloosahatchee River because of no reverse which by this time grew worse.
12 hours out we anchored for the night.
The next morning the Injector Pump failed and once again we were towed into Charlotte Harbor Boatyard.
We were transferred to J&R Boat Storage which became our winter Home for the next 5 years.
In 2018, we bought our 23 foot Class C Motor Home, mostly because the Air Conditioning on the boat failed, and we did not want to spend another summer in Florida.
We never expected to have Dawn Treader at J&R that long, and we missed returning that first winter of 2019.
We headed north in our newly acquired motor home, and discovered the water tank was leaking.
We were close to a Camping World in Chattanooga, Tennessee which became our first stop at a RV Park while it was repaired under our Warranty. 
The trip continued with stops at Railroad Museums and along the Missouri river.
Two notable stops were in Chamberlain, South Dakota, Akta Lakota Museum, and Dignity which is a 50 foot statue dedicated to the Native Americans. 
Dawn had her first Buffalo Burger and we camped along the Missouri River.
That was the year we discovered Fort Peck, Montana, which has become one of our favorite northern destinations. 
That was one of the stops on the kayak trip in 2003 and I wanted to share it with Dawn.
We went directly to Arizona because of the Retina in my eye clouded.
We stayed in Arizona for 3 months while the doctor treated my eye.
We stayed in Dawn’s brother James’ front yard.
Three things happened then, we met Craig and Andrea, Melody gave us the first Solar Panel, and it snowed! 
Dawn, Craig, and Andrea, love Sushi so we all went to a Sushi Bar in Tucson.
We had met more or less online first as they also have a boat and RV.
Because of the eye problem we did not return to our boat that first winter of 2019, instead after 4 months in Arizona we traveled to Texas and back.
Thanksgiving of 2018 was with John and Linda Crone, dear friends from before I retired in California. 
Peter and Becky were also their guest that year.
He is an artist / teacher also from California. 
They had “Open House” from Thanksgiving to New Year with decorations from their Missionary Travels.
Ron’s House in Texas served two purposes, to test the new Solar Panel and plan the next step.
It was here that we received the invitation to spend 4th of July on Craig and Andrea’s boat in Gig Harbor, Washington. 
On the way to Gig Harbor the new solar panel was tested and the two main stops were in Ottawa Fishing Lake Kansas and Aurora Nebraska.
The Solar Panel helped keep our battery charged and we started making plans to add them to our sailboat.
Aurora was having the A'Rorn Days Festival
After 4th of July 2019, it was time to start back to Dawn Treader.
The Fuel Injection Pump still needed to be replaced before it could leave J&R Boat Storage.
On the way a second stop in Thompson Falls, Montana to visit Butch Floyd who had rented us our slip in Turkey Creek. 
While in Thompson Falls another Solar Panel was added to the motor home and two new campgrounds were discovered. 
Butch took us to the Elks Pot-Luck Dinner where we made some new friends.
Later Butch sold that house as well as his Big Fishing Trawler back in Turkey Creek (a community in Moore Haven, Florida)  
On the way back to Florida was the last visit to Butch’s in Thompson Falls.
We basically retraced our trip back adding only 2 new stops, one in Montana and in Nebraska. 
Heading for Interstate 10 we stopped in Gulfport, Mississippi.
While we were there we met Jeff and Rita whom we had first contacted online through an RV Group.
They took us to dinner and we learned Jeff once drove the Offshore Oil Tender.  
We contracted COVID in Pensacola while shopping at a Wal-Mart and were horribly sick for 5 weeks and no one knew what it was yet! 
So, in the winter of 2019 we made it back to the sailboat.
We were not well enough to start work until the first of 2020.
We spent most of the time in Doug’s backyard and went to the boatyard on weekends.
The engine repair was held up for parts because England was in Lockdown and we could not get the parts.
We left late in June and went to Mystic Springs where we were evicted due to the US COVID lockdown.
Jeff invited us to stay at his Laundry in Mississippi inside the locked gate.
We left in May to go help John and Linda in Texas. John had to have a heart valve replacement.
We stayed much of June until John was stable. During that time we did a lot of yard cleanup.
Tom Hopp was another that was an online contact, and he invited us to come to his farm over the 4th of July. There was 4th of July Heartland Sprint Car Racing which brought back memories.
Tom was planning to get a Catamaran and go sailing soon.
From there we slowly made our way to Montana, and at Fort Peck we got a call to return to Texas because John and Linda were both hospitalized.
John passed in the hospital, so we stayed to help Linda.  
After about three months we again made our way to the boat and started work on the engine again.
During this time we stayed in Doug’s backyard. Doug introduced us to Cheney Brothers Wholesale Market, so we took some Restaurant Quality Filet Mignons and met Craig and Andrea again at Mystic Springs for a break.
Later that winter we took another break to visit Christopher Erschen in Georgia who was also an online contact. 
Back at the boat the oil cooler was replaced but the engine would not run because of an air leak in the fuel system.
Summer heat made it travel time again, so off to the north, where in Nebraska we met Joanne Laidman, while the refrigerator was replaced.
From there we met Craig and Andrea again at Bullhead City, AZ before heading to Grand Canyon for Dawn’s first time. 
Winter was approaching so the journey back to our boat started with a visit to my former boss and business partner, Melody.
We stayed in Tucson past New Year.
Dawn lost her mother just before Christmas.
Heading back to our boat two last people stops were made.
In Texas, Ivan and his newly acquired sailboat was visited.
Ivan was my sailing mentor while I was living on my first boat in California.
We made plans to sail to Saint Thomas later.
From Texas to Florida only overnight stops were made except in Mississippi.
Jeff was having more pain but was still working at the Laundry.
Back at the boat Steve and I attempted to move the boat out of J&R twice.
Engine Problems were still preventing the boat from moving.
May of 2022 found the boat still at J&R Marine Services and Jeff had to go for Back Surgery and we offered to come help.
Once here in Mississippi it was decided to wait out summer and bring Dawn Treader to Mississippi in October 2022. 
Hurricane Ian struck Englewood, Florida with exceptional force and the mast and rigging were destroyed.
Jeff was able to return to his laundry but his employees all quit, so he offered to let us help at the farm until we got the boat fixed.
We tried once again to motor the boat out of Florida and wound up shipping it by truck to Mississippi where the mast and rigging was replaced.
Because we found a used mast in Mississippi the repair cost a fraction of what it would have been in Florida.
It is now March of 2024 and it took two years since the Hurricane to secure a Disaster Relief Loan from SBA to complete repair.
Without our friend and the stability all the paperwork and process would have been far more difficult as there were over 100 documents, many Notarized, and a Congressman just to secure the loan.

February 2024

At the end of the month of February finds us still sitting in Kennedy Boatworks, and it is disappointing.
We are continuing to fix the damage from the hurricane but we could do just as well if the work at the yard was finished and we were in a marina. 
The holdup is problems with our engine; it appears that the rebuilder screwed up the injection pump!
Except for the engine problems everything is ready to transfer to the marina.
The final work of installing the Jib on the Furler and placing the Solar Panels is finished!  
Over $1,000 worth of work must be re-done for the Injector Pump R&R!
Our adventures with the new pet Silkie Rooster continues!
We have now had him as a pet for two months.
We named him Elvis and his official title is “Elvis the Seagoing Silkie,” and I think he is as anxious to get aboard our boat as we are.
The newsletter is late because February is a short month and a bunch of other issues.
First, I was scheduled for my eyelid operation, and second I had a Shingle Outbreak.
So the operation had to be canceled and I was miserable for a few days. 
We did spend two days in New Orleans because the hotel room we got near the surgical center was non-refundable.
If everybody which includes FEMA, Coast Guard, and to some degree SBA had not been a giant bottleneck, all the work on the boat would have been done LAST YEAR!
I suppose I should consider myself lucky as some are still waiting for Hurricane Assistance!

January 2024

The New Year Arrived and so did our funding.
It took just over 15 months, more than 120 Documents, many notarized, two Senators, and a Congressman to finally secure a Disaster Recovery Loan!
If we lived in a conventional house it would have been done in less than a month.
On the sailboat front much of the necessary work is complete.
A set of like new sails was found at Mast Head Enterprises ( )
The people there are first rate and very knowledgeable.
The motor home developed an electrical problem during our “Honeymoon” trip last month, so to check it out we made a week end trip to our favorite seafood restaurant in Alabama.
It is suspected that te alternator is not fully charging the batteries.
We are thoroughly testing it before having it replaced!
On the chicken front the next door neighbor traded 3 roosters for 8 hens.
He had a bunch of roosters but no hens.
The three roosters are mellow and do not fight each other.
The three are a Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, and a Silkie.
We have taken a special liking to the little Silkie and he gets to spend time with us.
He has become more of a pet. 
The Boatworks projects for the month are rigging the Jib and Furler, tracing the engine problem, and final check before moving to the marina.
The weather has been too cold for any fiberglass work and it is also very difficult to properly diagnose the engine problems.
The Davits were re-attached to the boat and the solar panels are mounted and ready to attach to the cross braces as soon as it is warm enough for epoxy.
We are really frustrated as we still can’t get the boat transferred to the Marina and move back aboard.
Readers will notice that there is no longer a Photo section as now the photos contain the captions.
This is a great time saver as the photos are now self explanatory.

Year End Recap


Dawn and I came to Florida and moved aboard our sailboat the Dawn Treader in 2012, and in 2022 Hurricane Ian almost put an end to our sailboat. 
Thanks to the graciousness of Jeff and Rita a couple that have become dear friends and adopted family we were provided a stable place during the struggle to re-float our boat. 
From the beginning there have been a bunch of great people that helped us adjust to our new lifestyle.
One of the first was John Riccio, the manager of All American Storage where our boat was located. 
John helped us with materials and free advice as well as yard services that saved us a lot of headaches.




A chance meeting at a restaurant brought not only Steve and Sue Rosen, but the entire Englewood Sailing Association into our lives. 
John Krystyniak was working at West Marine when we met, and still helps ferret out sailing problems today.  


Our Marina neighbors Dave and Brita, who spent 5 years in the Caribbean and Central America, left us with many valuable tips and one super comprehensive “First Aid Kit” as well as a great definition for cruising, “Cruising is repairing your boat in beautiful places.” 
We met Doug and Prudy Albrecht at a church BBQ.
Doug piloted the Palm Island Ferry but most important he and his wife lived aboard boats. 
We spent 4 years docked at Butch Floyd’s Florida House and later visited his Montana home in our motor home.
At one time Butch operated a commercial diving and fishing boat. 
We did much to restore and refit the sailboat there.  
In 2018 we brought our sailboat to Placida Florida to prepare for ocean travel.
Due to a mechanical breakdown Dawn Treader was stuck in storage at J&R Marine services room 2018 to 2023.
During this time all our friends played host, helped with the work and generally encouraged us to continue.

Through all the trials we have managed to preserve owning the boat and small motor home for travel on land and sea.
This coming year we just may get all the problems sorted out and possibly even some upgrades. 

As the New Year unfolds we wish that all our family, friends, and readers a year of achieved goals, and prosperity. 





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