Rain today

Yep.  A lot of it.  Started dripping about 2:45 this morning so I climbed up on deck and secured things, closed the covers on the hatches, closed hatches, check the weather, it was hours out yet.

At about 0800 this morning it started and has been raining off an on until now (10:45 or so Monday morning, 19 September).

I have been keeping a tarp over the deck to keep the sun from beating down on the boat and heating it up, and apparently that has helped with some leaks on the starboard side.  Since I had moved the tarp the last few days to do work and didn’t put it back, I have found one of the major leaks inside.  It’s coming down above the refrigeration unit, starboard side, along one of the large angle pieces holding up a beam inside.  I went out in the pouring rain to look and see where it might be coming from but only accomplished getting soaked to the skin, and moving the tarp a bit.  Seems to have slowed the leak, but I really need to figure that one out.  I suspect it has something to do with the coaming in the cockpit, but not sure yet.

There’s a teak cap surrounding it, and it might be leaking there.  If so, a lot of water is probably in there.  I’ll eventually have to pull that all off and examine it.  Everything is solid though, nothing squishy.  And there are also the fine, alligator cracks in the surface of the deck up there which need filling as well.  I suppose those could be leaking as well.

The rain wasn’t a pounding, windy rain, just a nice, steady downpour for the last 45 minutes.  Fortunately, I was here to sop up the drips everywhere.  But, one more thing to look over carefully.  I’ve mostly sealed the port-lights, I still have a couple that need help.  I also need to remove, sand and varnish the main hatch and the vee berth hatches, reseal around the forward anchor box (it’s another hatch that goes right down to the vee berth).  And a little paint on some trim, but those are minor issues.

Tomorrow we’re scheduled for a haul out, zinc check and a paint job.  I decided that even though the last painting was a little over a year ago, we’re headed for the Bahamas soon and I want to not have to worry too much about anything other than scraping the hull.

JoAnne and I will spend the 3-4 days in a local cabin, because she’s really not ready to climb up and down a tall ladder yet.  I’ll be over at the boat fixing some dings in the fiberglass that came from somewhere in our travels, and trying to clean the brown stains from the port side of the boat.

A few days ago our new, manual pump toilet came and I replaced the forward head.  It was a Jabsco electric, apparently a refit, from an older pump head.  I removed the whole thing as it was pretty old and just tossed it after checking the motor, it was burned out, and there was a dead short in it.  So, we now have a regular toilet which no longer pumps into the holding tank, and a composting toilet.  Right now, the forward head is more of a closet than anything so we won’t be using it much anyway.  Maybe we can empty out the head on passages and use it off shore, but I am getting rid of that nasty holding tank as soon as I can (in the next year probably).

The other two things I did, were to finish about 90% of the teak.  I still need to do the port side rub rail up to the name plate and finish the aft part of the boat’s rub rail on the starboard side.  Also need to paint the name plates on the bow and add the name there as well.

And I got the mizzen sail back in place.  Two weeks ago, Marty (former manager of the marina we’re in, just before he decided he didn’t want to work here any more for some reason) helped get that halyard repaired and in place.  He, Pete and Greg did most of the work, I supplied the tools, strings, rope, tape and whatever else we needed.  I don’t think I will go up a mast ever due in part to my heart surgery, and due to the fact I’m terrified of being that high up counting on a simple rope, winch and my upper body strength.

Mizzen sail went up easily, and the furler worked fine after the sail had been cleaned and repaired.  I tested furling and unfurling and it went easily.  Should NOT have trouble sailing now. I hope.

Almost every major job I had on my list is done, except zincs, paint and leaks, but leaks seem to be on-going.  Fix one, find another.  Nothing is dangerous though, so I’ll fix them as I can or plug bad ones. haha.  So far they are just annoying, not dangerous.

I expect, on anchor to have a tent up over the main boom in the islands for heat deflection so leaks will not be an issue in rains.  I just didn’t have it set up right when this rain came. We got a few drips from Hermine when it came through, but, the tarp was in place then.

Right now, we’re considering going to the boat show in Annapolis in the beginning of October, but probably not.  Neither one of us are thrilled about driving up, spending the money and looking around at things we can’t really afford and don’t actually need anyway.  Honestly, the ONLY thing at this point I’d consider it a new radar system since ours doesn’t work.  I likely won’t even use it for anything except weather anyway.  We have no major “Needs” and likely fewer “wants” at this point except food, and a wind generator.  That’s a “Really Want” item, and we can likely do without it, but I’ll be happier if we have it.  And JoAnne’s only really “want” is a water maker.

We have an emergency/survival one, a hand pumped device I’ve not tested yet.  But that is a ditchbag thing.  I won’t use it unless we’re in critical need of water and no rain in the near future.

So, over all, we’re just about ready to pull out of here and head south again.

The trip should take us through portions of the ICW to Beaufort, NC.  We’ll make some decisions there to either sail outside part way, or simply take a five day sail over and south.  If we can get comfortable on a couple overnights going out, we should easily be able to do a 5-6 sail with food and water.  We need to get over that hurdle sooner or later anyway.

Since the rain is still coming down, there’s not much I can do outside.

Fair winds, until next time!

To See, or Not to See….

With apologies to Bill Shakespeare…

To see or not to see, that is the question.

Cataracts are nothing to sneeze at, though, you can sneeze with them and I’m not sure about sneezing after eye surgery.  I’m afraid I’ll blow the new lens out of my left eye now.  Of course, I was pretty certain that’s what was happening after my open heart surgery last year when I sneezed too.  In fact, that STILL hurts when I sneeze.

My chest, not my eye.

Yesterday afternoon, I underwent surgery on my left eye to remove the bad lens that ha cataracts in it.  I was pretty terrified. But my left eye was pretty bad.  Worse than I even knew.  I couldn’t even get it corrected to 20:50.  It was more like 20:100.

This morning for the test, I was at 20:25.  That’s as GOOD as my right eye, corrected with glasses and my right eye is my “shooting eye”.  I can still hit targets at 100 yards in the center of mass (that’s all that’s required at that distance, I’m no sniper, lol) and mostly read.

Today, however, I can see 1000% better than I could yesterday with the left eye.  And just as bad as before with my right.

The “terrified” part was due to a severe phobia I have about my eyes, and things, people, fingers, knives, needles, sharp things being around them.  Most of us have that issue with our eyes, except those who stick things in their eyes, like contact lenses.  Nope, NOT ME.  I don’t even put eye drops in.

Until a few days ago.

Now I can, and do.  It took me a few days of putting drops in pre-operative to be able to do it without flinching.  And yesterday, before the surgery, they put in about a dozen drops into my eye, and the last few were this gel gunk.  Gross.  Gross. Gross.

Fortunately, they gave me some kind of drugs that let me get through without killing any one.  That was cool.  I did get yelled at perhaps three times by the Doctor.  Not supposed to lift my feet, or move, or pee on myself, or something.  Not sure I remember it all, but he looked a little sheepish when I mentioned it this morning. haha

So, why the title?

Because of fear of surgery.  Fear of anesthesia.  Because fear of needles in my eyes.  Because I am, or was, mostly blind yesterday and was more than willing to stay that way because of the previous things.

Today, with my left eye opened and my right eye covered, I looked into JoAnne’s eyes (with my one good one) and could accurately see the color of her eyes again.  Beautiful, deep and green.  I was moved to tears.

I know I’ve missed seeing a lot of things over the last few years, and my work was becoming increasingly difficult to do, color codes on wires, close work soldering, and a few weeks ago I completely failed my grandson on attempting a repair on his tablet (that he’d broken the charging connector on) when I could have easily repaired it in earlier years.

I couldn’t see well enough to do the soldering.  My work at my job was increasingly difficult and stressful, not because I couldn’t do it, but rather I KNEW I couldn’t see it well enough to do it right.  So, it took me twice as long to do things.  My partner couldn’t do most of the physical stuff either due to his injury.  When we hired someone to take my place, we chose someone young because we knew he could keep up.  The rest would come to him in time.  I know he will eventually do the things I was doing (and if he doesn’t well, this IS a throw away society, isn’t it?  They will simply replace those things that those guys can’t repair because they can’t or don’t know how…. such is life in the 21st Century).

What this will do for me now though is allow me to see charts (using glasses on the close up stuff) and at a distance through slightly less than 20:20 vision to see numbers on buoys, names on ships, lights at night so I can night sail now again, and actually ENJOY what’s left of my life, to see those things I was missing before.

What I will have next Wednesday night, after the second surgery, is good eye sight in both eyes.  I’ll still need glasses for close work.  But, I’ll really be able to wear sun glasses without any special lenses in them.

And I’ll be able to see only one moon now, instead of seven or eight of them.  And no halos, glare or just nothing at all.

And… I will be able to see the stars at night again.

But above all, I can gaze into my wife’s beautiful eyes again.

 

Books, Charts and Radio

Our old VHF radio works fine.  It is an ICOM M502.  The previous owner I guess installed it or had it installed with the remote microphone connection in the cockpit.  The microphone, however, was well sun-dried, rather like a raisin.

The cable and case which appear to have once been white were that dull yellow color the sun cooks plastic to when the stuff sits in the sun too long.  The cord, which was once the cool, curley-Q design was stretched out and pieces of the cover were disintegrating.

Pieces of it liter the sole of the boat and the cockpit floor every time I connect it.  It was well past due for replacement.

I had counted the pins on the mic connector before I departed the boat for Colorado last month and stopped in the local ham shop and found a cable I could attach by using the old connector and mic body.  Picked the surplus cable up for a couple of dollars.

Unfortunately, I’m really having issues with my close in vision for doing soldering and stuff like that, so I considered perhaps I could get a replacement mic already to go.  Sure enough, I did some searching and found a black one, a white one and a few extra items I don’t need, so I ordered it.  Cost 100 dollars, free shipping.  Not bad I guess.

It will be here next Tuesday.  I can use that now.  I’ve packed the old microphone and new cable into a plastic bag and stowed it under the nav station seat for after my eye surgery so I’ll have a spare again if needed.

Our plan is starting to flesh out.  We are going, at this point, down the ICW a ways.  We will decide about whether we will sail out and back in to the Bahamas, or go all the way to Florida on the ICW later.  We, as usual, will have several plans and back up plans in case something goes wrong.

With all that in mind, today I ordered the rest of the Explorer charts for the Bahamas.  We already have the last edition for the Near Bahamas, including Marsh Harbor and Abacos.  So, I ordered 2 more chart books, a full chart of the Bahamas for planning and a copy of the chart for Abacos Sea, which I promptly found a copy thereof after ordering.  Oh well, spare.

We’re looking over some cruiser guides as well, but I placed an order for the Waterway Guide for the Bahamas.  Might not get any others, but at least we will have that one.  We will decide on other books if necessary once that one arrives.  We have most of the Waterway guides already, and they have been decent for the ICW, helpful.  There are things lacking occasionally which I find in other books.

The biggest issue with books is we have no real room in which to store them.  I’ve got to empty out a couple of lockers under the seats, consolidate things, and make some more room for stuff we truly need to keep.  At this point I have SOME room in the forward head, which doesn’t work.  I’m about to rip out the toilet in there and put in a working, manual pumping head without the holding tank.  I hate the way the system is here on the boat, without a way to empty the tanks overboard in the ocean without climbing into a rather precarious position on the fore-deck.  That tank has to go.  It takes up a lot of space anyway, a place I can store… say books. Or Food.  Or chain.  Or an anchor.  Anything but poop.

So, new books, new charts, new microphone, and in a few days, new lenses for my eyes.

Then I can actually read the charts and books.

And the microphone display.

And see the little ants better.

(We have little tiny ants aboard.  I’m hunting for them now, I think I know where they are coming from, so I will find them. And kill them. And their mommy too….)

Future Plans

Good Day everyone.  Stormed rolled through here last night, not too fiercely, but were still a bit wet, stormy and windy.  Fortunately, we didn’t get any thing more than a few drips inside.

It’s pretty hot lately so I put up tarp with a shiny side up to help reflect a lot of the heat.  It helps a bit down below, but even with the A/C running on the boat it still gets upwards of 90° F.

I go in for eye surgery in two weeks.  I have cataracts.  My left eye is pretty severe.  Right eye I can get away with for a few more years I suspect.  However, we’re going to try to get it all done at once.  One eye one week, the other eye in one or two weeks after.

Problem is, by the new idiotic medical laws they are saying I have to have a “physical less than 30 days before surgery”.  I had a physical on the 20th of July.  Couldn’t get the appointment scheduled until the 30th.  Not MY fault.  Also NOT my fault that insurance won’t pay for a second physical within one year of the last one.  Has to be at a year or more.  Sorry, can’t do that.

To their credit, Virginia Eye Institute is contacting my doctor back in Colorado and getting her to fill in some forms letting them do the surgery.  We shall see.

Thus, IF I can not get my surgery done here, I think that I will just put it off again.  I’m not letting more stupid medical issues prevent me from sailing south this time.  Especially since they are life or death issues.  I’ll schedule with someone else, in another place down the road, or make plans to go back to Colorado for my physical and eye surgery at the same time just to make it easier on everyone.

Being in a marina, 2 hours away from the nearest eye place isn’t easy to deal with.  Add to that crappy internet, absolutely NO phone service or data service here, and an inability to make phone calls anywhere or any time I want, puts us back into the mid 20th Century (LOL, how funny is that?)

When we do have wifi I can make calls.  I can’t necessarily get them.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day light hours (up until 3pm) moving most of the junk out of the forward cabin.  I made a list of things to get rid of and removed them, either to the car or topsides where they are out of my way.  It’s a short haul to either a car, van, or dumpster though.

I have a Jabsco marine head I put up for sale, for the price of a motor.  New motors cost 150 bucks.  The toilets cost 400 new.  I put the thing up for 125 bucks.  So if someone needs it… let me know.  Works fine.

Also I removed my guitar stand, bike rack (for the car) and a camera tripod that is practically new, almost never used, and I have no idea why I kept it except perhaps to connect the Go Pro camera too.  Which has never been fired up either.

I’m waiting for the marina guy to come over to assist in getting a mizzen halyard replaced, but he said “sometime next week”, last week, and today is Thursday.  I suspect it won’t be until much later than that even.  I also suspect that we MIGHT be on the list for haulout, cleaning and zincs… but not entirely sure.  They haven’t got a list of jobs to be seen around here, and I don’t know how they keep track of anything they do.  I also have no idea if anyone really works here any more. lol

As usual, this place seems similar to the others in that there is little to push them forward, unless you’re waving green in their faces right then.  I suppose if they can’t read your mind or bank account statements and don’t know you’ve actually got money sitting in the bank, you aren’t a priority.

Then again, can’t really get out of hear easily without dredging… which was supposed to take place in June.  It’s August.  It might be happening in a few days.  Or it might not.

Our plans then are to try to get my eye surgery done.  Finish getting the boat ship shape, ready to roll.  Head south to Norfolk area and hang out ready to hit the ICW.  We’re leaving earlier, rather than later.  I have no problem passing certain points during named storms, except the storms themselves.  We will obviously watch the weather closely over the next three months.  Either way, we do NOT want to be in the Chesapeake in October for long again.

After Beaufort and Hatteras we plan to sail south doing coastal stops along the way to as far as St. Augustine.  After that, with luck, the right weather and timing, we’re headed over to the Bahamas.  At this point, if my surgery has been done, I think we might remain there for the season.  We’ll play it by ear after that though.  We shall see.

Solar power is working very well on the boat, but it is augmented by the shore power to keep batteries topped off during the day.  I still am doing checks on usage and the main thing we use on the boat are wifi and fans.  (And computers).  We might have to cut back a lot once on the hook, and until I get a wind generator put in place.  Don’t see that happening until next year though.

One of the things we don’t keep very well is our log book.  I’m pretty bad at keeping exact course notes, times and such, but I usually have the chart out and plot on that, which makes for keeping me up to knowing where I am.  But, I can’t go back and see and re-chart things this way.

I do write major events, ship sightings, times, speed and various other things in a rather haphazard way, but at least I keep something.  Going to work on fixing that issue.

We have more things on the boat than we need at any given moment.  But the moment I throw something out, I find that I needed it and it’s gone.  I suspect this is a dilemma that has plagued sailors for ever and ever.  What to do with the cushions we don’t use that are stored, until we decide we need to use them? LOL  Who knows.  But removing big, bulky items for space and lightening the ship a bit, to give us more room for food…. now that is something I can go with.  I have a lot of electronic gear we kept, I want to keep and probably will still install some of it, but get rid of some as well.  If I can empty two of the seat lockers, that more food storage, and I can also put other things in there that I don’t want to store more forward as well. (Heavier items for instance, like tools).

Tools. I got rid of a LOT of my tools.  But still have a couple hundred pounds of things, including my battery operated power tools.  All of them have come in handy, so getting rid of them…. maybe, but not yet…. is on my mind.

That’s about it for now.  A mundane log entry, I know but, we’re not sailing.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be the Jamaica Party at Tim’s at Cole’s Point Marina.  We’ll be there on and off.

 

Back!

First, I want to apologize to every one who has asked about blog entries.  We have NOT been on the boat for almost a month.

We left last month on the 12th to travel across county.  I’m sure some of you get the “security” idea.  JoAnne and I have always been “security conscious” but more so now that we live on a boat.  Having both worked in the government, and me in particular in the military, and with security for the Missile Defense Agency for many years, we tend to look over our shoulders a lot.  So, we try hard not to advertise EXACTLY where we are, where we’re headed, where we’re anchored, but we still do it to some extent.

Half the fun of doing this is changing locations and seeing new things and sharing that information with others.  Both the good and bad of it….whether it’s a bad or good experience in a marina, getting our boat damaged by someone else or rain (constant rain sometimes), we’ll share.  We won’t share the dates and times we’re leaving exactly, or exactly where we are located except with family members so they know to look for us if we “vanish”.

With that said, again, sorry for no entries lately.  I’ll make up for that though now.

We left for Colorado on the 12th headed back for doctors’ checkups.  I had a physical.  JoAnne had a “two years after chemo” checkup.

We arrived and stayed with my daughter, Kristy…. but on the way we stopped to rescue a grandson who had been abandoned by his mother, our ex-daughter-in-law and return him back to the family in Colorado.  He is safe with his Uncle Nick and his Dad is working to get a job and support the young man now.  Gage was doing well when we left him.  Hopefully someone remembers to feed and water him occasionally (he’s 16, I think he can help himself a lot now :))

On the 20th I went in and had a blood draw, and a physical.  Apparently, I’m not going to die any time soon.  My heart is doing fine, though I now have an anomaly due to the heart surgery called a Left Bundle Branch… what ever that is.  It looks weird on the ekg.

JoAnne went in for a blood draw as well, the CA-125, which is an indicator of tumor growth.  Her numbers have been low since the surgery, in the 10-16 range.  We never got a pre-surgery baseline, so no idea what it might have been before the tumor was removed.  The numbers peaked at 18.  The PA said we could do another test in a month to see if it were a glitch or a CT scan.  We instantly asked for the CT scan.  Her examination was fine.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It was just that darned blood test that scared us.

A couple of days later she had the CT scan, and then we had to go back on Thursday to see the doctor.  We ended up sitting for over 2 HOURS waiting for him, because he was running behind.  They placed us in the conference room for an hour and a half and we were nervous by the time he walked in.  He was flanked by a nurse and the “social worker” or psychologist or whatever she was.  We BOTH almost lost it right there.  We KNEW it was going to be bad news.

But he asked JoAnne how she was.  She said she was fine.  He said “Your exam was fine, and the CT scan came back clear.  There is no sign of cancer”.  I wanted to throttle him for making us wait for 2.5 hours for that.  He could have kicked us out of the office in 2 minutes and simply said “You’re fine, no sign of cancer, go sailing”…. ack.

We had already packed so we headed home, collected our bags and packed the car.  We’d mostly said good bye to everyone but got a few more in and got on the road.

Stopped in Hays, Ks.  Then we traveled on Friday to Mike and Cindy’s home in Richmond, MO and visited over the weekend.  On Monday we went to Branson.

In Branson we saw the “Legends” show on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we went on the Branson Belle Showboat and saw a cool show on the river cruise.  The ship was HUGE…. and probably could have held Adventure inside the auditorium!  They probably had almost 1000 people in attendance and not all the seats were filled.  Both shows were very good.

We made it back here on Saturday afternoon.  Adventure was fine, our new solar charging system is working wonderfully and there was nothing out of place.  Unfortunately, JoAnne’s lavender plant didn’t do too well in the care of the marina office.  I’m trying to nurse it back to health now.  Not sure I can do it though.

So in the middle of retirement, we took a month vacation.

I did laundry yesterday, today we go grocery shopping so we can actually use our refrigeration unit haha, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff to put away.

We added one item to the inventory, a manual water maker, which is a reverse osmosis filtration system.  It is a hand pumped device.  I have yet to read all the instructions, but it will go with our ditch bag.  Hopefully we will never have a need to use it.

On the 12th I go in to see an eye surgeon.  My left eye is getting bad with cataracts.  I’m going to have to have surgery soon.  I hope it very soon so we can plan our trip to the Bahamas next.

All my best to everyone.
Fair Winds!

Refrigeration

Refrigeration:

Our boat, Adventure, has an ancient Danfoss D2 unit. I took pictures of it awhile back and posted them here. Today I troubleshot the major issue, no power. I found that the unit’s ground was wired through a “dead” power supply, the boat’s auxiliary battery charger. I SUSPECT that unit was disconnected at some point when the newer unit which is a charger/inverter system was installed. I KNOW there are some wires going back to the batteries that are no longer connected and MAY go to that charger.

Anyway, because the charger won’t fire up, the ground is removed from the fridge.

So, I pulled the old red (+) wire from the unit, and tied a new cable with both black and red wires, and used the old cable as a fish/messenger wire. Pulled in the new cable, made the connections in the panel, then tied everything in at the compressor.

After I reinstalled the fuse and checked the connections, I fired up the “Refrig” breaker, saw the compressor kick up to a momentary 8 amps, and drop back to 5 amperes.

I listened to the cooling plates and sure as I’m sitting here at my computer, I could hear the thing pushing fluids through the plate. In five minutes the plate started getting cold.

It’s been on for 10 now. The temp inside (and remember we have been putting ice in the unit as an ice box for a couple of weeks now) is around 54 degrees F right now. The plate is developing some frost on it, which it would NOT do with just the ice in there.

That means I can pronounce the patient “healed”.

I do need to replace the thermostat, as it is broken and in some random position. I also need to run this thing to see how cold it gets for a couple of hours.

Update to follow!

Update July 1: C-Head, Solar, Sails, HF Radio

C-Head:  Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have been busy digging in the lockers, getting parts together, ordering things and repairing a few things.

We ordered and receieved the standard “C-Head” toilet a couple of weeks ago.

Unpacking it was easy.  The parts inside are standard parts.  The most expensive piece I suppose was the C-Head container which is a box like plastic container.  It holds a standard sized 5 gallon bucket which has been modified for use inside, with a frame that holds a paddle that you crank around to mix up the composting material.

The number 1 bucket (pee bucket) is a simple 1 gallon water/milk jug.

The device is well built, but personally I still feel it much more expensive than it needs to be.  Everything can be back engineered however to make your own if you wanted to.  In our case, after looking over the forward head, that appears to be our next option.  I’ll just reverse engineer this thing to fit a new, home built device in the forward head.  Reason being is this standard one will not fit.

Installation was easy.  Taking the old electric head out was a bit more difficult, but it took me a couple of hours.  I still have not actually removed the hoses.  I plugged them all, and left everything in place “just in case”.

The new head doesn’t quite fit right, but after playing with the various angles of the head we were able to mount the toilet in there.  It’s been in use for over a week without any issues at all.  I make it a point to empty the urine jug daily though.

So far, so good.  It doesn’t smell at all, especially not like the still-existing holding tank.

Wiping it down is easy.  Emptying the tank is easy.  I have yet to attempt the emptying of the bucket (the “Number TWO” container, haha).  That will be soon so I can make sure it’s done once and I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Solar:  Solar panels and some parts arrived a week ago as well.  I have installed them on the Bimimi frame.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to buy all the cool, fancy stainless steel fixtures I actually needed, which would have been clamp on stand offs.  Instead, I manufactured my own.  Cost me about $20 dollars for stainless steel bolts, nuts, washers and some aluminum stock (yeah, I know steel and aluminum don’t mix in sea water, but these are physically under the bimini anyway).

I will add pictures when I have time to this blog entry.  I have to take them, upload them to the host, then post the images in the text here.  It will not be today.

The solar panels are working very well, but, they aren’t hooked up, so there’s no place for all that beautiful sunlight to be stored as electricity at the moment.  However, the Charge Controller is mounted already in a closet in the aft quarters.  I have a plan together to run the wires through an existing deck entry which contains an apparently non-working GPS antenna.  I’ll be tracing wires shortly to make sure it’s not being used somehow.  There’s a second one mounted on the aft taffrail area, and it blinks a green light when operational, orange when searching, so I’m pretty sure it’s the operational antenna.

Here the charge controller is wired in and operational.  Taken 2 July 16 at 0800

Yesterday in the US Postal mail a letter came addressed to me from Dick Stapleton who used to own Duna.  Duna is now Adventure (and we did have a naming ceremony and all that, in case anyone wonders).  In the letter was a very short note on a yellow sticky from Mr. Stapleton.  The most important part was the single sheet inside the envelop.  It was something that engineers love.

An electrical schematic for the sailboat’s systems!  I had been mulling over how to trace everything and this schematic is pretty accurate from the parts I already chased down.  The only thing different on the schematic I can find is the fact that there were only two 6V batteries when we purchased the boat, and there are four of them now, in two 12v banks tied in parallel.

Funny part is, the schematic shows four batteries.  So, now it is about as accurate as I could have drawn it.  Obviously there aren’t all the connections shown on the page, but it does tell me a lot of things I was unsure about, like the battery/service/engine switch and how it actually was wired.  I checked it last night and the meters and sure enough, it’s wired as it says.

Tying in the solar panels will be simple, or rather, relatively simple.  I need to feed wires down below from the panels, I need to attach connectors (some of the parts I bought) to tie the panels to the controller.  Then I need to feed wires from the controller over to the batteries and tie those in.  Pretty much all I need to do.  I could add a small inverter to the load link, in case we wanted to have a separate AC load in the bedroom area, but I’ll consider that later.  I do have a 400 watt inverter we carry in the car when traveling and might put it in the bedroom as back up to the large one.

We have a several hundred watts inverter in the boat.  It’s part of the Xantrex Heart monitor system.  I’ve not really taken a close look at it, and don’t remember the model, but it is capable of running a fridge, coffee pot and a few others things, but not necessarily all at once.

Thanks to Dick Stapleton for sending that schematic.  That was very helpful!

Sails:  All of our sails are roller furling sails and the main and mizzen live inside the masts, on a furler built inside.  A few weeks go when I looked over the sails I realized the UV covers were in tatters and weren’t really doing much any more but flapping in a breeze, so Kurt Seastead, the owner of the Transworld 41 Facebook Group  suggested I contact Ullman Sails and drop off the sails for repairs.  Instead I opted for them to come visit the boat, help me take them down and look things over.  I ended up sending the working jib, main and mizzen sails to have new covers installed, repairs done and so forth.  Wasn’t cheap.

Yesterday I drove to Deltaville VA to collect the sails.  Unfortunately, they lost the one bag I have for my sails, but were nice enough to give me a new one as replacement.  Thanks Jerry!

They did good work.  I wasn’t happy that they called me later to tell me they “forgot to charge me for the washing” – because the initial conversation said “wash, repair, etc” and then I got the invoice later and it added a few hundred dollars to the bill I wasn’t expecting.  Other than that over sight, things were fine.

Until I went to install the mizzen sail.

Apparently the halyard was weakened near the bottom.  As I hoisted the sail something bound up and before I could reverse everything, the halyard snapped just inside the mast opening.  I had my hands full of broken line, winch handle and suddenly sail…. the sail pulled the halyard up and out of the mast assemble, leaving me with no halyard inside the mast now.

So, until I either get up the nerve to climb us and thread the needle, or bite the bullet and hire someone, I’ll use the outside track and spare halyard to use the mizzen sail.  Might be easier anyway.  The thing always seems to bind or act funny.  Putting a sail on in a NORMAL manner might be a change of pace and give me a chance to actually USE the mizzen now.

HF Radio: JoAnne and I are both Ham Radio Operators.  She is KB0IRW and I hold call sign N0NJY.  She doesn’t really do much with ham radio these days but used to get on the VHF and chat, or do Skywarn stuff in Colorado.  Since we started refurbishing the house a couple of years ago all my ham gear had been packed up and disconnected.  I don’t even have a rig in the car any more.  The only times we’ve used it was around marinas to talk to each other or in the car traveling on the handhelds.

So a couple weeks ago while waiting on parts to arrive, I ran some wiring back to the backstay antenna and connected up the HF rig.  I have been able to do a bunch of contacts on a digital mode called BPSK31 on 14070Khz with numerous hams around the US, Caribbean and even Europe.  The rig is only Amateur Radio and I don’t marine HF (SSB as the mariners call it) right now.  Going to change that soon.

The reason for having HF in the first place to call for help if we get into trouble, or pass email traffic through Airmail and a pactor modem.  We don’t have a pactor modem though, so I use a Tigertronics SignaLink external sound card (box) connected to the computer to feed data in and out of the laptop.  Using linux as my OS.  One day, I’ll write about that.  Should be educational if not boring as hell. Ha!

That’s what’s been going on lately.  Well, off to dig in the bulkheads, cabinets and wiring to see what’s actually connected, and what isn’t, start pulling in wires, and get these solar panels doing what they were designed to do… give me MORE POWER!