If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.


Metal Polish on a boat: Using Flitz on our Dodger (& a pomegranate martini recipe)

Rust eating the dodger, and removing it with metal polish
As a kid, I used to wander in my grandfather's tool shed in rural Connecticut, and marvel at the aged, rust brown patina on all of his wrenches, hammers, files and pliers. I thought it was all cool and wise and old, like my grampa,  until I saw a neighbor's rear bumper fall off in the gravel driveway from rust corrosion. That's when I realized rust eats stuff. :(

Now, I live in the desert north of Los Angeles, where corrosion isn't so common, but an hour west, at the Pacific, where we keep our sail boat, I've waged a war on rust. After we put a new dodger and bimini on our boat (more on that in a later post), it took about 3 weeks for tiny rust spots to bloom on the 1.25" stainless tubing. We had rust on the old dodger tubing, but watching it propagate on brand new, shiny parts caused a shudder and a wince.  I ordered a tube of Flitz metal polish, poste haste.

before and after using Flitz on the bimini
I hadn't used Flitz before, but the application was pretty straight forward. Put a dab (a little goes a long way) on a terry towel, apply to affected area, and buff it off. The rust was completely removed, and the paste leaves a wax finish to help slow the growth of new rust. I've "de-rusted" the steel tubing around the cockpit twice in 18 months, and I'm pretty happy with the product. You can also use it on fiberglass, oxidized acrylic, corian and formica (but *not* on metal plated surfaces).  So, in the interest of a good "find", I'm sharing it here. What's your go-to rust remover?

No more rust

Shiny & Cozy; an afternoon in the cockpit on s/v Florian

The happy Captain, taking the dinghy to meet some friends
Fresh Pomegranate Martini
It's pomegranate season, and I'm a new convert to loving the ruby orbs of goodness. Here's a cocktail recipe that rides the line between sweet and sour. You can adjust ratios in one direction or the other with the lime juice (more sour) and triple sec (sweeter).

This makes two drinks:
(Put your martini glasses in the freezer)
3 shots of your favorite vodka
1.5 shots of fresh pomegranate juice
1 shot of fresh squeezed lime juice
1 shot of triple sec

Remove the seeds of one medium pomegranate. (If you don't have access to the fresh stuff, bottled is good too, but it's a very different flavor.) Suspend a sieve over a measuring cup, and use a muddler to press the juice from the seeds. In a cocktail shaker, add some ice, and pour the vodka, pomegranate, lime juice and triple sec over the ice. Cap & shake heartily. Pour equal parts into your frosted martini glasses, garnish with a sliver of lime and enjoy!


New Marine Sound System & a plum and blackberry drink recipe

Jensen Stereo, circa 1995
When we took delivery of our boat, she had a Jensen stereo system with a CD player at the Nav desk. Since we don't use CD's, and we wanted to upgrade the sound system, we researched marine-grade alternatives, and found great reviews on the Fusion product line.
Fusion MS IP700
Last Fall, we took advantage of the steep discounts at the Annapolis Boat Show and brought home the Fusion MS IP700. The unit is built specifically for the marine environment; it's encased in an aluminum chassis, and it's water resistant. It's NMEA 2000 certified, and sourced for AM / FM / VHF / USB / AUX / iPod / iPhone  and SiriusXM.
Fusion interior adjustable chassis for ipod, iphone, mp3 players....
We really like that you can insert your iphone or ipod in this adjustable interior chassis (above) to listen to playlists from home, or play music or audio books via iTunes. Volume is adjustable from three separate zones; the salon/galley, and cockpit have separate volume controls, so if one of us wants quiet down below deck, and the other wants to rock out in the cockpit, we got that. It's also ethernet ready. Oh, and it sounds really good too. You can read more about Fusion here.

Getting behind the instruments
Connector Goblins
Antenna connection; this was upgraded for a marine environment too
The screws that come with the Fusion: painted black,
but they stripped immediately going into a pre-drilled hole
Do yourself a favor if you buy a Fusion for installation in a marine environment; purchase stainless screws before you install your stereo, because the screws they provide, while painted black (props for that), are terribly soft, and ours stripped going into pre-drilled holes. Everything else about this product was high quality, so this small but crucial tidbit was a disappointment.

Beverage Recipe! :)

Fall has officially arrived, so it's time to indulge
in a dark and tasty plum & blackberry smash
10 blackberries
1 ripe, juicy dark plum
6 mint leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
2 shots of your favorite whiskey
1 shot of Cointreau

Chop the plum, remove the pit and put pieces in a cocktail shaker or a tall glass tumbler with the sugar, mint leaves and blackberries. Muddle everything together. Add 2 shots of yr most flavorful whiskey and 1 shot of cointreau, and a generous pile of ice. Cap and shake everything hard - 10 shakes. Pour the frothy, purple goodness into two glasses, top with a little soda water or ginger ale if you prefer a "lighter" drink, garnish with extra mint if you have it, and enjoy.
(recipe adapted from http://picturesandpancakes.blogspot.com/)


Antique Boat Bling and a Whaler's Rum drink

Bronze Antique Florian Cross
One of my cousins has an antique shop in Plainfield, Connecticut and he surprises us with random packages sent to California with fire fighter themed goodies from his antique treasure hunts. The florian cross plaque above was mounted with industrial strength velcro, and its holding beautifully, despite the fact that it's weighty. Our boat already has holes in the teak from previous items mounted here and there, and we don't want to add any more, so the velcro is a perfect solution for attaching things utilitarian and symbolic. (Our boat is named Florian, for the Patron Saint of Firefighters.)  What else have you used to avoid holes and mount things to your boat?
Velcro loop attached

Industrial Strength Velcro

The Captain at his newly adorned station

Our new favorite drink - Whaler's Rum and Fresh Grapefruit
We have a lovely friend who told us about this drink, so we call it the Amy West in her honor. This drink is perfect for boat cocktails because there are only two ingredients. Pour two shots (each) of Whaler's Original Dark Rum (available at Trader Joe's for about $9/bottle) over ice in two glasses, and juice one big grapefruit (we use an old fashioned dome & bowl juicer, the kind your grandmother used to juice citrus). Pour the fresh juice in equal parts into the two glasses of ice & rum, stir and enjoy. Don't cheat yourself by using canned juice or a different type of rum. Take this from someone prone to experimenting, and trust me; the subtle flavor and aromas of the Whaler's is so complimentary to fresh grapefuit, it's just scrumptuous.