Date: 18 Jan 97
From: Nellie Gruender
Subject: We're Really Throwing the Lines

Well, "D" (departure day) has finally come. We have a weather window that appears to be compatible with sailing, and not freezing. Our plan is to leave the 19th of January, and head for Biloxi, Miss.

I have provisioned the boat with enough food for about a month. The water line is a little low in the water, but we're not taking on any water yet. We're actually checking our check list, and seem, (if you ever are) to be prepared. For any of you who were privy to the ongoing "discussion" about the waffle iron and the bread maker, they are still on the boat. Of course Genes banjo and ice cream maker are too. (no wonder the boat is low in the water)!

During this last Arctic blast (which was bad for us, but not nearly as bad as Austin and points North), Gene decided to cut out a couple more holes for stowing stuff. I decided that if we didn't get him away from the dock soon there wouldn't be enough left of the boat to sail.

We have sold the last car, with only the Mercedes left in Missouri. I guess if we back out now it will be a long walk. I do feel a little naked without a car. We do however have a bike stowed on the top of the boat. Gene says there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that we are cruisers when they see just the top of the boat.

For those of you who doubted that I would ever really do this, I hope you all lost a lot of money, or at least a very expensive dinner.

My ankle has improved a great deal. I've started wearing Berkinstocks (which are a far cry from boat shoes), but they seem to be having a therapeutic effect on my ankle. I'm encouraged every day that my progress has gone far beyond what the Dr said it would. (what do those medical people know anyway!!!)

Zach is ready to go. He has started to eat pizza again, and that's not on the menu until we reach land. He is doing well in home school, and is completing his 60th lesson comprehensive testing. We'll now see what it's like to sail and school at the same time. Ninja has enough food, treats, and catnip to last for awhile, and has gotten used to her life harness.

We will as promised keep you up to date on our progress (now that it appears there will be progress), and we'll hope to continue to hear from all of you.

We're looking forward to deep blue water, and smooth sailing!

Nellie (Gene, Zach and Ninja too)
Aboard Rainbow Chaser