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Monday, 13 November 2006 - Kyle "The Start"

The day we have been waiting for for years has finally arrived. Everything felt strangely routine and un-extraordinary. We had by now, already been to the PCI factory a few times and had met the staff. The long drive was one we had done often enough to not need directions. In spite of the fact that I was wearing a shirt and tie for the big occasion, this rainy, gloomy morning felt like yet another dress rehearsal for the big day. On the drive, Maryanne and I had an argument about heating systems (we have never been completely happy with any of the alternatives, and change our minds about what we want often). Eventually, when we realized that neither of us really knew what our own opinion was, we gave up. It was not until we got within a couple of miles of the factory that we started getting excited. Maryanne mentioned to me that now we would be able to use the owners’ only section of the PCI web site and that is when it hit me: this is the day!

Everyone at PCI was enormously patient and gracious considering that Maryanne and I have been bugging them for years about the Gemini and then disappearing for months, leaving them empty handed. I felt sorry for interrupting their schedules for yet another round of questions and a factory tour, even though I knew that this time was different - I was a paying customer. Tony came by and gave us his undivided time and attention for about an hour, telling stories and giving advice. We took the factory tour (Maryanne had never been). As we toured the production line, I became almost giddy when I realized that after today my name would be on one of the work orders taped to the window of a boat and the workmen would be building her to our specifications. We went back upstairs and the contract was printed and I signed it with the special pen that Jose Vidal had given us and a few other owners in commemoration of his trip around Cape Horn in his Gemini.

Later that afternoon, we visited Ocean Options, about a forced air diesel heating system. They guy seemed particularly unsympathetic to our budget constraints, even suggesting that we should install two heaters – one in each hull. We eventually made him realize that we wanted the simplest, most economical system we could get. We had considered other options: propane catalytic – too much condensation; bulk-head diesel or wood – no good bulkhead, too much soot; hydronic (i.e. radiators) –too complicated, too expensive and uses too much electricity; reverse cycle – way too much electricity. It is unfortunate but diesel forced air seems to be the best fit for us, even though it is pretty expensive. I hope we can bring this one in under budget.

On the way home we checked our e-mail and got a quote from Peter Kennedy (the primary contractor for Gemini ‘extras’ and outfitting). More decisions had to be made. The radar, chart plotter, and fish finder would go in as planned, even though it was more expensive than we had hoped, we will install a wind generator, despite both Tony Smith’s and Peter Kennedy’s objections (I think they have been traumatized by AirMarine units, I would not do that to people!) We will replace the standard VHF radio with one with more options. The inverter idea was scrapped (too expensive). The Ham SSB radio was off the charts expensive (as we had suspected it would be), we will probably go with an iridium satellite phone instead. We will also install a manual windlass of the same type we have on Prydwen now. When we got done driving I was tired but still excited from our big day, so I sat right down and modified our budget with the ‘new, improved’ amounts we had, and then setup a purchase/outfitting schedule.

PCI will begin production tentatively on Dec 11 2006, with an estimated delivery date of January 29 2007 of our 2007 105Mc hull number 975. later changed to 976. We will name her Footprint as a reminder of the imprint we leave on our world as we travel through it.

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