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https://www.amazon.com/Aftermaths-Children-Estrellita-Chronicles-Book/dp/1973270501

 

Perky, the Little Engine that Could

This is the story of Perky, a Perkins 4-108 diesel engine who lives inside a Happy Sailing Vessel named Adventure.

When Adventure was a few years younger, Perky came to live in Adventure because a previous owner of the Vessel wanted a better engine than was in the boat.

Perky was newly rebuilt according to the previous owner. Perky appears to have about 900 operating hours since his rebuild, truthfully not even really “broken in”.

A year ago, Perky got sick and ran away. Not from home, but because he had too much oil, which was really oil plus diesel. Eventually, the sump filled and caused Perky to run away – a bad condition for a diesel engine, and the only way to shut this condition down is to remove air from his air intake.

A mechanic came in to make Perky well, charged us a lot of money to make it work right. Pulled injectors, pulled lift pump, stated lift pump was the problem, and supposedly rebuilt that pump.

A year later, and less than 20 more hours on the engine, Perky ran away again – because the Captain forgot to check the oil level before starting the engine a couple of weeks ago, and didn’t realize the oil levels had grown way over where they should have been.

So – after shutting Perky down, the Captain changed the oil. And removed the lift pump and checked it. It had NOT been “repaired” nor, even “rebuilt” or “replaced”. It was the original pump and parts inside. The Captain found out from Perkins they don’t even make rebuild kits any more.

It wasn’t leaking, but the Captain decided to change it anyway, as a new lift pump was only 25 bucks.

The oil, unfortunately, continued to grow.

So, now the Captain pulled the injectors from Perky and took them to a reputable place to test them. The test went well, but one of the injectors, number 2, failed. Without any significant pressure at all, it shot fuel out like a garden hose. Stuck open, or leaky, or whatever.

Injector #2 was rebuilt by the nice people at Diesel Parts of Carolina, brought back a few days ago and reinstalled with the other injectors.

The oil was removed, oil filter removed and changed, new oil added to the engine.

Yesterday, Perky fired right up…. with a little help from the Captain bleeding the air out of the fuel lines of course. The engine ran nicely.

The oil levels were checked every 15 minutes for about two hours with no noticeable change in levels.

This morning, after the engine had cooled over night, the oil levels were again checked.

And they seemed a tad higher than they were after the initial oil change. But not much.

And certainly not as much as the level had risen after the lift pump change.

So, Perky seems happy, but the Captain is still not quite happy.

Tomorrow we will run Perky once more for a couple of hours, bring him up to temperature, and check the levels again. IF the oil levels continue to increase, then we have no choice but to pull the injectors again and do a compression check, and if that is going, pull the Fuel Injection Pump and have it serviced.

We hope the problem is corrected. But, the Captain won’t be happy until we know for sure.

Tune in soon for the conclusion of “Perky, the Little Engine that Could”!

Engine run up today

Treating this entry rather like a log book today.

Started engine at 0950 local time here in Southport, NC. I did this after diagramming the fuel tanks, the fuel return lines and marking the tanks again (the old markings are fading). I also cleaned the tank tops of dirt and dust, cleaned the floor panels before replacing them, along with all the interior of the mounting for the panels.

I double checked oil levels today, they are normal.

I made sure the return line is opened to the #1, Aft tank, as that’s where I’m pulling diesel from.

Transmission levels fine.

Coolant fine.

Engine started hard (it’s very cold today, was in the mid 30s this morning. It’s 46 now.

Engine did start though, without any problems, other than taking three cranks.

Checked raw water flow. Good.

I brought engine up to running temperature, 160* F and that took 24 minutes.

Pressure was high (almost 80 psi) at start, but as temp increased the oil pressure dropped to normal.

Brought engine up to 1200 rpm for 10 minutes.

Put at idle speed (about 980) and put in forward gear.

Brought engine up to 1100 rpm in gear at dock.

Pulling against docks now strongly, remained engaged.

Has been running 25 minutes in gear with no issues. (1035)

Oil pressure: 40

Engine Temp: 160

Charge: 14.5

Engine running smoothly at this time. Listening for timing or engine speed changes. Seems steady. (1040)

(Listening to Margaritaville Radio, because I’m sick of the cold)

Ok… 1055, engine shutdown.

Temp, oil pressure, voltages all the same as above. Engine didn’t vary it’s tone or speed from 1100 rpm. All systems “nominal”.

Going to wait a bit to let oil settle, and take a reading. Then will read it cold later today again.

Edit: Checked it as it is cooling, and oil level seems higher than it was. Will let it get totally cool before testing again. Also did an oil blotter test; this is where you place a drop of the oil from the dip stick onto a piece of paper and let it absorb into the paper.

In chemistry, this is called Chromatography. They have gas chromatographs, but I don’t have one of those. I’ve got paper. So I did a cold and warm drop test on the paper and marked it. I will do one more drop test when the oil is cool again. So FAR, it shows it pretty clear of any contaminates other than soot.

My Life as a “Captain”

Sea Captain is a rough, tough name.  Because, Sea Captains are rough and tough.  I suppose, I’m rough sometimes, and usually pretty tough.  But, I’m no “Sea Captain”.  I’ve lived aboard Adventure for over four years.  To be honest, I’m not really even a “Captain” or licensed ship’s master (though that might change in the coming months).  I am the “Master of this Ship” though.  We (the ship and I) have an agreement now.  I maintain her, and she’s stopping hitting me in the head, tripping me and doing bad things.  She still throws things around sometimes in little tantrums though.

I’m actually “certified” through the America Sailing Association on several levels; things that most people, with a little common sense, can do, study and get “certified”.  Almost anyone can take classes and pass the tests, and a lot of people do so, sometimes without common sense.  Some people never bother.  They have money, they buy a boat, pretend to be a “Captain” and wake smaller vessels, marinas, fuel docks, can’t figure out which way to go when coming head on, make bad decisions sometimes endangering others and so on.  Perhaps those are the folks that spend their money on someone else to do the varnishing?  I don’t know….

But, people around the marina, the Coast Guard, the marina patrol all call me “Cap” or “Captain”.  JoAnne calls me “Captain” occasionally, though rarely.

Being a Sea Captain is a rough, tough thing.  Not for any reasons you might imagine though.  When I started this blog, oh so many years ago, it was to document things we did, places we’ve visited and one thing I promised myself and my readers was to keep it “Real” — tell it like it is.  Because there are so many wonderful blogs and video blogs out there that tell it like it ain’t.

Not that they LIE.  But, they don’t tell the WHOLE truth all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, they show the great parts of living aboard a boat, the awesome places they visit, the beauty of the world, the cool people, and great friends they make.  These are all good things.

Leaving out the bad days, nights of anchor dragging, stormy seas, crappy boat performance, the jerks you meet out there (along with all the great people) is a kind of “lie by omission” to me.  Perhaps in our blog due to our actual LACK of travel sometimes, it gets boring or repetitive.  I get that. But, it is what it is.  Being a boat “Captain” isn’t an easy job even when you’re actually being a captain and sailing the boat.  On the other hand, it’s great fun.

Adventure is a wonderful, beautifully designed, boat made from fiberglass and she contains a massive amount of wood both above and below.  A lot of teak. She was designed, we believe, by William Garden, built in a Taiwanese shipyard in Taipei, Taiwan.

Her full keel is a dead weight displacement at 19,000 lbs.  Her total weight/displacement puts her as a 16 ton ship.  Her rig is that of a ketch, two masts, main and mizzen.  She has four sails, a working jib, a 150% Genoa, main and mizzen sail, all of them are roller furled sails (main and mizzen in-mast).

She has three solid anchors.  Two CQRs, one at 60lbs and one at 45lbs, 150′ nylon rode and 280′ of 3/8th BB chain on the 45 pounder.  The smallest anchor is a 19 lb danforth used as a kedging or stern anchor (rarely used).  No, I won’t get into the “anchor argument”.  It is what it is, and we have what we have, and I’m not switching anchors because some know-it-alls on the Internet, sitting at their arm chairs tell me “CQRs Suck”.  Mostly, they don’t suck, mostly every anchor ever invented has pros and cons.  At least it’s not a giant rock with a hole cut in it to tie a line too like the Greeks used, right?

Adventure is a well found Pirate Ship that any wannabe Pirate would be both proud to sail or live upon.  She handles well, even in crappy weather and big seas.  It’s just that the Captain of this boat is more difficult to handle… the seas that is. I’m still looking for a place to mount the cannons though.  No cannon deck….

I can sail her, alone if need be and JoAnne can sail her too, but has problems with the sheets sometimes.  I think that is more a perception thing than a physical thing.  This boat is significantly larger than most of the boats we’ve sailed (Except a 42′ Jeanneau called “Wombat” in the BVIs a few years ago) so it can be daunting to stand on the deck or cockpit moving at 7 knots under all sail with a short handed crew of two.

I’ve gotten sea sick at least twice.  The First Mate, JoAnne, she’s a tough cookie too.  Fought and beat back Cancer twice.  Broke her back once.  Has given birth to six children.  Broke a leg once.  Multiple stomach surgeries.  Has put up with my shit for 42+ years now, so she’s a very tough First Mate, and I love her dearly.  But, she too, gets sea sick.

So much of my “being a Captain” of a boat is spent cleaning, sanding, varnishing, repairing things, building new things from parts, varnishing, installing systems (new water maker!) and did I mention “varnishing”?  Also trying to make things easier for us.

Of late, I’ve spent a couple of weeks working on sanding and varnishing.  That’s a tough job in the heat and humidity of North Carolina.  Installing the water maker wasn’t a piece of cake either.  I had to remove a large, 30 gallon water tank and replace that with the water maker system.  I think it was a good trade off though, since we rarely used that tank.  It was our reserve water, really, and we rarely did more than flush that tank out every couple of months to add new water.

On the bright side, we can now make water using a generator.

Installing things is a “Captain” thing to do, otherwise, you pay someone else to do it.  That’s not fun….  If a Captain has a crew who is capable of doing a particular job, the Captain will delegate the authority to accomplish the task.  The First Mate can’t do most mechanical things well, if at all.  She just doesn’t really see mechanical things in a way that she can fix or repair them.  But, she’s a wonderful cook – and I will even call her a “Chef” though she refuses to accept that title (without professional training).  Sometimes, amateurs are better than professionals anyway, and no matter what she thinks, she a Chef in MY mind.  She’s also the “Provisioner” and pretty much in charge of the inside of the ship, except the engine. And other mechanical things.  And anything broken.  HA!

She can do a little electrical stuff, because she’s an Amateur Radio Operator, but I prefer to do that stuff because, it’s what I did for my whole life.

Thus, I do the mechanical work, electrical work, plumbing when required, I paint, I sand, I varnish, I do sewing, of sails and canvas, I do marlingspike work (ropes, lines, replacing old lines with new).  I do dock work, deck work, I remove fittings, I replace fittings, I fix fittings… Soon, I shall even become the boat diver and clean the bottom of the boat myself. (That’s another thing that bugs me…. as the wild life here grows quickly, and the local guy doesn’t have a lot of competition so charges a lot for a single boat cleaning job).

Again, the cost of maintaining a boat is significantly more than a house.  Of course, you sometimes spend a lot of money on new windows, doors, appliances, and so on in a house, but you don’t have the salt air tearing it all apart internally most of the time like a boat.  Your house, unless you live in California or Japan, doesn’t move at all.  Ours moves constantly, so wear and tear on everything from dock lines to antichaffing stuff.

Our “window replacement” was the bimini and dodger as of two days ago.  It wasn’t a cheap thing, but it’s pretty.  It isn’t glass, but Esenglas.  Not shingles for a roof, but a canvas covering.  The cost was about the same as I would have ended up paying for a new garage door or several windows in a house.

But, it is nice. The solar panels are better mounted, we have new grab rails and I’m happy with it.  But I didn’t do it.  Perhaps the next time, I can do it myself.

Over the four plus years aboard Adventure, we spent two of them cruising and taking off for Colorado for cancer treatments and two compression fractures in JoAnne’s back.  So, over the course of time, we spent about 9 months off the and the rest on it.  A full year of that was cruising around the Chesapeake Bay, and down from New York to here in North Carolina.

We don’t have as much distance under the keel as some do.  We haven’t visited all the cool places some have.  Times though, are a changin’, so it is said.  I’m going to order my surface air supply systems and a few things like a regulator in a few days.  The Varnishing is nearly complete (for now, more will take place under way).  Water maker installed.  JoAnne is making lists of things for provisions.  We’ve considered staying a couple extra weeks (based on weather, and the Steed Bonnet race) and that’s up in the air at the moment as well.

Truthfully, there’s nothing now, not even hurricanes harrying the area to prevent us from setting sail in a day or two other than extra food.  This weekend I’ll go through my lockers one last time, hit the storage unit, repair a tire on our car, remove crap from the dock box and do final tests, and a short day sail to check on things.  Jay Beard has volunteered to go along for the shake down.

In the next two weeks, we have parts coming in, and strapping down of things to accomplish, grocery stores to visit, rum to replenish and perhaps… a day or two off to rest up before the departure.

As you can see, the “Life of a Captain” isn’t all “Partying”.  It’s more like being a Slave to a ship that rarely moves from the docks, but demands a significant amount of attention each and every day.

Move, though, we will.  To the South.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.  Out there.  That a-way.

Then I can be a Tough and Rough Sea Captain again.

Maybe.

If I don’t get sea sick.

I’ve got to head this boat south pretty soon
New album’s old and I’m fresh out of tunes
But I know that I’ll get ’em, I know that they’ll come
Through the people and places and Caldwood’s Rum

  (Manana, by Jimmy Buffett)

Note:  Most of blog entries on the windsoftime.us site (also see this link if for some reason the domain is down https://thewindsoftime.wordpress.com) are pretty boring, talking about the things I do on the boat, to the boat and in the boat.  But, Adventure is a ship, worthy of so much more than sitting idle at the docks like she does.  Soon, we will make her Happy Again.

Sabatical. Retired.

I am on sabbatical now.

Ok, not really.

I retired from the military in 2002.  I quit my job at the Missile Defense Agency in 2015.  I took a job with the marina in March 2017, and stopped working on September 16th until next April when I will return to the marina.

So, I suppose I can legitimately call it a sabbatical.

My friend,  Jay calls his boat Knot Working, so could just say “Not Working” but Sabatical sounds cooler.

We’re doing our last road trip before the cruise south.  Long trip, seeing family,  friend, brew pubs, eating good food, having fun.

Back at the boat, I’ll be spending several days putting all the running rigging back together,  sails back up, filling tanks, removing extraneous gear we won’t require, and storing things we won’t need on the boat.

JoAnne will be working on provisions for the trip, probably three months of standard canned foods and things that last awhile as well as flour, sugar and things we use for baking.

I haven’t written for a time due to hurricane prep, as Irma and Maria were headed our way, so this is just a quick, short entry to remind the worls we’re alive.

 

More to follow in a few days.

 

Minor Blog Changes

I made some minor blog changes to get our friends a bit better connected.

On Facebook, we have a FB Page for the s/v Adventure.  I have now linked this blog with that page, so that when a post (such as this one) gets posted up to the blog, it will also be linked through Facebook.

Facebook is, in my opinion pretty stupid these days, but I use it because I have several hundred friends who whom I like to touch base occasionally, and unfortunately, it’s really the only social media thing that works well right now.  And that all our friends happen to be on (or most).

I run several blogs actually, and FB is connected to each of those as well, through various means.

For our family and close friends, it IS the easiest way to stay in touch, and many don’t follow the blog directly, but can see the messages I post on the blog through FB.  So, it works.

I will be inviting all my friends to the page over on FB, and all they have to do is “Like” it to see the messages pop up (supposedly).

I also am now running the “Sailing & Cruising: Preppers” group on Facebook as well.  It is linked to a blog too.  So, if anyone following this blog is interested, here’s the link for that blog, and you can go to the group site on FB and join.

https://sailingcruisingpreppers.wordpress.com/

Blog Entry for April 2017

First, my apologies to everyone who has been so diligent in reading the blog entries and not seeing one since January or so.

Second, not making excuses, but I’ve been pretty busy and I’m going to remedy the situation right now.

I’ve been pretty busy working a part time job in the marina, as well as on the boat.

On the boat, I have been working on varnish and fiberglass, some major (attempts) at cleaning and a few minor things like doing repairs as I need to.  I’ve gotten to MOST of the teak and have three coats of varnish on them.  I’ll be adding another when I have a few days to work on it, when it’s not scalding hot, or raining and blowing hard.

I did some glass repair work on the side of the cockpit the other day.  I’m not sure about this damage I discovered – hidden under a “fake boot stripe” (I’ll get back to that in a moment).  Along the top deck, where the house part rises from the deck, there’s a wall built around the cockpit.  The coaming with a kind of removable door/wall in the cockpit has a straight crack along the length.  It appears to me that something hit the boat and did some damage in the past, though I’m at a loss where the hit could have occurred unless the boat was dropped or smacked against something like a lift.

When we bought the boat in New York, a surveyor didn’t notice or mention any problems and I don’t recall them.  Before we left Colorado in July of 2015 to collect the boat, we had a bottom paint job done by the marina.

Worst of the worst of the places we’ve been at, this marina.  I called them and asked specifically about the paint, the type, how it was applied, and asked about them touching up the waterline and boot stripe.  I paid for paint, their time and an extra $300 bucks for the rest of the work to be accomplished (this included zincs etc).

When we arrived, only two zincs were installed.  The paint was haphazardly sprayed on, and intake grids were blocked by paint runs throughout the holes.  I couldn’t find an indication where the “boot stripe” was painted/cleaned up.

It wasn’t until I made the painter come look at the boat and clean up the mess they made that they showed me the “boot stripe”.  A maroon strip of “tape” had been placed on the boat on the cabin top, along both sides.

So, when I was doing my work the other day and removed this stupid “tape” (and tape it was, a colored, stick-backed maroon-colored tape) I discovered this crack running the length of the starboard side of the cockpit and just forward of the cockpit in the coaming.

The crack was very “clean” like a break, but it wasn’t perfectly straight like a razor, but kind of jaggedy.

I ended up not being able to determine the cause, why it was there or even if they had attempted a repair (as it appeared to have some silicone material in it).  I used my dremmel tool to remove the gunk, take it to the inner wood core, clean it up and have reglassed that part of the boat.  I still need to sand and eventually paint this part of the boat.

As to varnish, I spent a few days cleaning, sanding, wiping, sanding, wiping, cleaning and then varnishing the cap rail, taffrail  most of the wood around the boat.  I have NOT finished (and have barely started) on the platform.  I have completed three coats and will probably do two more, though I’m not sure yet.  In any case it looks wonderful.

The topsides, near the waterline had a horrible, brown stain.  I guess the stain has a name.  It’s called the “ICW Mustache”, some people call it other names, which are not repeatable here.  I had a few names for it, I won’t repeat either.

Anyway, we found that by using a small amount of toilet bowl cleaner with some water in a spray bottle worked wonderfully to remove the stains.  I spritzed it on, went over with a soft bristled brush and it was gone in seconds.

I’m in the slow, laborious process of waxing the hull now, a little at a time to prevent this from happening in the future.  I’m not going to haul the boat this year and likely not next eitgher, so I’m working from the dink on and off.  A little here, a little there.  When I get tired of one job, I go do another.  And so on.

Being inside the marina as opposed to sitting on the transient dock is much better, and thankfully, cheaper too.

At this point we will likely remain here through October and depart sometime in November for the Bahamas (destinations to be determined) and stay from 3-5 months, depending on our ability to remain there.

Working at the marina has been a mix of very simple to very difficult tasks.  I’ve done everything from repair the ramp for the golf cart we use to collect and move trash to the dumpsters (about a quarter mile away) to changing flats on the cart, bringing in boats, pumping fuel (diesel, gas) to selling ice, oil and collecting money, making change, putting up and taking down flags, handling the radios, coordinating slip assignments and boat moves during the dredging.  Dredging was a royal pain in the rump too.  Everyone hated it.  Even the dredgers appeared to hate it.  The poor manager here was inundated with constant complaints about noise to hating to have to move their boat for the dredgers to get their work done.

The dredge kept breaking.  Things kept floating away.  You name it.  Thankfully, the dredging is finished.  We’re slowly getting boats back into their proper slips, a few here, a few there.

The manager has called me in for extra hours several times to assist with various things.  So, a few extra bucks is ok.  I’ll feel more comfortable when the retirement pay kicks in from the military in a few months though.

Midges.  AKA No-See-Ums.  They are demons from hell.  I hate them, and I will kill them all before I die.  I’m apparently having allergic reactions to them.  I get welts on my skin when they bite me, and they LOVE my blood type I suppose.  If there were ever a true vampire, midges would be the creature.  I am reasonably certain that the vampire mythology was built around these tiny insects.  They run away in bright sun normally, come out when there is dampness in the air, and buzz around incessantly in your face, your ears, up your nose and somehow find places to bite you that is completely covered with clothing.

Deet does NOT help.  So far, I’ve tried a dozen things.  Today I used, Picaridin, a type of “Off” type stuff, which actually worked for about 5 hours today.  The rest of it doesn’t seem to work.  Home remedies, lemoneucalyptus whatever that is, somewhat worked.  I’ve not yet been bitten by a mosquito, however, another of the creatures on this planet I’ve been trying to destroy my whole life because my body has begun to absorb deet to the point I feel I need it….. ok, maybe not true.

We went to Michigan in late January to go see my brother in the hospital.  He is doing significantly better now, even though he doesn’t remember us being there.

We went for a day sail with our friend Jay aboard “Knot Working”, a 37 Beneteau.  Beautiful boat, turns on a dime (ok, maybe a half dollar, and certainly in less than a full boat length I think – whereas we turn on two or MORE boat lengths given the conditions).

At some point soon, we hope to get out of the marina for a day or two, do a sail or two on our boat.

Finally, we’re going to try brewing beer in the next few days.  Will be the first time for us to do that since we moved aboard.  We will see how that goes.

 

Still here….

Well, we’d hoped beyond hope to either have a new part today, or have the old one fixed/welded/repaired.

Nothing of the sort happened.

They have to find a welder. Because the part isn’t available “anywhere”.  I might have been able to find one myself, but don’t have all the resources to hunt for it, and honestly, I’m just not an engine guy.  And getting it right the first time wouldn’t have happened either.

Jason called and said the welder could get the part done tomorrow probably, but the gaskets we need to seal up the manifold will not be here until Monday.  So, we’re going to be here until Wednesday now it seems.  JoAnne suggested we could rent a car and explore, so I arranged for that as well.

I’ve got some chores to do on the boat, deal with batteries, the composting toilet and maybe get some other little things done I’ve put off.  The varnish is already suffering after less than six months.  Actually, three months. Not sure I honestly want to deal with varnish, but it looks so nice.

I’ve been looking over our trip and we’re probably going to do three outside jumps.  Short ones, to take us to Charleston.  None of them will be over about 35 nm in any given day, and working out some anchorages to stop in for the night.  After Charleston, it looks like we will make one large overnight to Florida to skip over most of South Carolina and all of Georgia.  Might be a full 24 hours.  I haven’t calculated that far ahead though.  My brain is already fried from dealing with the engine.

Won’t be going anywhere until at least Tuesday for sure… and then we have to see what the weather is bringing then anyway.  I can get a 10 day out forecast, but they are rarely what is predicted 10 days away.  So, I’ll deal with it a bit closer.

Slow Boat to China….

I’d love to get you
On a slow boat to China
All to myself alone

Writer · Frank Loesser
Singers: Jimmy Buffett, Ela Fitzgerald, Bett Middler, Bing Crosby, myself and numerous others….

I used to sing this to JoAnne as a fun thing to do.  But, it’s funny actually BEING on a slow boat to China (or in this particular case, Florida).

We’ve dilly dallied a lot coming down from New York since last year.  We’ve had dangerous things happen, we’ve had scary things happen, we’ve had terrifying thing happen, we’ve had wonderful things happen, we’ve had health issues happen, we’ve met a lot of wonderful people, a couple of “interesting characters” and we’ve enjoyed most of the journey.

Yesterday we finished going over our charts, anchorages, weather, you name it… and decided to hang out here in Morehead City (Beaufort) a couple more days so JoAnne can have some fun and do a Thanksgiving Dinner on the boat, without rocking, without worrying about anchors, winds or wakes.  At this point we’re planning to pull out of here either Friday or Saturday morning (we’re paid up through Saturday here).

And it’s chilly here.  It’s actually colder inside the boat than outside today. haha.  Thursday should be in the 70s though.

Our instructor from San Diego from a few years ago used to say, “Get the boat that’s right for your voyage”.  Ralph Waldo Emmerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

It’s about the people you meet, the things you see and do, it’s about making friends (and occasionally in my past, I’ve found, fighting enemies).  Fortunately there is much less of the “fighting enemies” parts these days as I age.

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. We’ll spend a quiet one here on the boat, the second time ever in our lives we’ve both been away from our family on this holiday.  Over the years we taught our kids to get together on Thanksgiving, spend the time together, get over your differences, and take the time to communicate about family things.

This year it appears there won’t be much “gettin’ together” for our kids.  Guess they’ve moved on from the family stuff.  We’re sad about that – but, they’re adults.  They can do whatever they feel is right, or not as they see fit.  We gave them the tools and brains to thin, to make their own choices.  I personally can not say I’m happy with many of the choices they and the grandchildren have made.

I’m unhappy about the fact the entire family has a few little bones to pick with each other, whether over politics, each other, grand kids, how-to-do-things… I guess it’s irrelevant now.  They are equipped to deal with life.

And the Journey.  If only they grasped that the Journey is life, and not the destination.

JoAnne and I happy together, happy on the boat today.  I have been personally frustrated over and over about various things.  About the ICW (it’s too shallow, the boat is too deep), about the weather (it’s too cold, it’s too hot), about the boat (this is broken, that isn’t working, I have to fix that thing for the 4th or 5th time) and I don’t know what day it happened but suddenly, none of that as important as living and going and doing.

We do have a destination.  Bahamas.  Florida.  Someplace Warm.  Anywhere Warm actually will do now.

So – after Thanksgiving, we will set out again and head south.  We did decide to spend a bit more time in the ICW though.  Surprisingly, it’s becoming fun and less nerve wracking than it was at first.  Even getting stuck again at Jarret Bay.

The side story here on Jarrett Bay is that we were supposed to be on the dock until 9:30 or 10AM the other morning.  But instead they Dockmaster knocked and told us to move to another dock, right away.  We were still preparing the boat to move and we certainly weren’t ready to pull off the dock.  I wasn’t sure about the currents, and then the slip he pointed to was by the land.  Not good.

So I asked, “How deep it that?”

“Plenty of space for you, I’ve put a lot of boats in there your size before…”

“But, how DEEP is it?”

“You won’t have a problem getting in.”

I noted the tide was coming up, about half tide, rising.  Good enough I said.

And pulled off the dock, the current preventing me from getting off easily and backed hard into the  channel, into a cross current.  Turns out it was swirling in there.  Ok, I managed to keep off everything, spun the boat around and headed south.

I turned nicely into the slip watching the water depths.

Water was at 17′, dropped rapidly to 13′ and then we slammed into the mud.

When the water cleared the depth finder was reading 4.5 feet.  Nice.

The Dockmaster was waving us in.  I yelled to him to say “We’re aground.”

His response?

“Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

I waved him off, and instead of cussing, or kicking something I laughed, walked back to the cockpit and assessed the situation.  We were on rising tide.  I only needed a foot to pull the bow out of the mud.  So I placed the boat in reverse and ran the rudder back and forth to wiggle us. Then I used the bow thrusters (probably NOT the best idea I’ve ever had but it worked) to blow the mud away from the bow.  In about 5 minutes we started moving slowly back.

So, after “I don’t know how many groundings” in mud I’m getting the hang of getting out of it.  Just not getting the hang of not getting stuck yet.

One thing I learned is to stop listening to others. Period. I always assumed that a dock master would know their depths and widths at a dock, how to tie a line, how to take a wrap on a cleat or piling to slow or stop a boat.  The answer to that is “Nope”.  I’m sure MOST do, but I seem to keep getting my share of folks that actually have no clue what’s in the water near their docks.

Ok, side story over.  Why continue down the ICW?

10 hours of day light.  If we pull out of Beaufort Inlet and can do 5 knots (pretty much our cruising speed either under sail or engine power) it’s 72 nautical miles from inlet to inlet (Masonboro being our next stop).  That gives me (assuming I started and stayed at 5kts) 14 hours to get there.

So we have to leave at about 0200 (that’s 2AM) to be able to arrive with enough light left to get into an anchorage.  Leaving in the dark isn’t keen from my point of view either, as I’ve not see the inlet yet except on charts and satellite photos.  Not happy with doing it.

But, we can drive 25 statue miles down the ICW a couple of days and still make it there.

In the Day Light.  I’m good with that.

After Masonboro is Cape Fear River.  And Cape Fear inlet.  And we’ll be on the inside and can go out on the other side of Frying Pan Shoals.

We’re looking at heading off shore after Cape Fear and just spending the next few days sailing now.  I think we’re both ready for a few days of actually SAILING and no motoring, and so we’ll look for the right window and go as soon as practical.

Aiming for St. Augustine, Jacksonville, or Titusville.  Don’t care.  Just want to go.

I hope my kids read this, get the message and have at least a quick get together for Thanksgiving Day.  It would mean a lot to JoAnne and I. And I hope they understand we’re fine, that we’re going to be fine, and that we’re going to continue doing what makes us happy.

Communication will beat demons.

To all my friends and family that follow the blog, have a very Happy Thanksgiving this year, spend time with your families.  Spend time listening to them.  Spend time putting up with the “nonsense” and remember, as Jeff Foxworthy says, “We’re ALL crazy!”

Fair Winds!

Rick

 

 

Matthew, Dodger, Sewing…

I’m not in the path.  Didn’t hit me.  Beat the snot out of Bahamas though.

That’s the weirdest hurricane I’ve ever watched.  Hanging JUST off the coast and traveling up it toward NE Florida.  As of right now, watching radar, the hurricane is running off to the NE away from the coast.  I can’t find any of the track information showing how close it came, but it appears the eye remained off shore and came closest at Daytona Beach (in the place I SAID it would land).

Now it’s headed NE and if it continues on this path will touch GA or maybe SC.

There’s a cold front pushing it back and away though.  The hype about this one being dangerous kind of panicked a lot of people though.  Folks around here were rushing to have boats pulled, and removed from various marinas.  We’re a long way from Florida, but they SAID it was going to come right up the coast at first.

I still think something is up with these people running the models.  I think they are scared after Sandy and won’t tell people the facts.  They blew Sandy off and it made a mess.  Katrina too before Sandy.

So, now is the M.O. to panic the public to make them “prepared”, so they buy everything out of the stores, go out of their way to spend money on things they won’t actually need (this time around)?

Not sure.

I put my enclosure back up today.  I think we’re safe enough now, and I doubt we’re going to have another one like Matthew this year.  It’s getting chilly at night here, and I don’t want the rain that’s going to hit us tomorrow soaking the cockpit and equipment.  So, I made the decision to put things back to normal.

I also spent part of the day sewing my dodger windows back in. The canvas is getting old and will need replacing soon.  The threads are rotting and coming lose.  I managed to rip it taking it down, and didn’t realize how badly it was messed up.  So… a few hundred stitches later, and the isenglas is back in place.  I’m getting a lot better at stitching too.  I was impressed.  I didn’t even stick a needle into my hand once, and the thing is solid now.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain.  If it’s not too bad I might reinstall the head sail.  If it rains too much I’ll wait until Monday. I think we’re going to see some strong winds on Sunday.

I’m still watching the hurricane, but that front is really playing hell with it, so I think it will push off to the east never to return.

USS Forecast Map

Hopefully, it keeps going….

Fair Winds All.

 

Ten Hours ago

Ten Hours ago, I made a decision to remove the canvas and crap on the deck.  I took down the foresail, all the dodger and most of the stuff on the deck.

I still have a bicycle, generator, some gas and fuel cans up there, and minor stuff.  I’ve mostly tied down the bimini and solar panels.  But I’ reconsidering those things, and taking them down come Thursday.

We should know more tomorrow about the direction of the hurricane.  At 1700L time they said it was likely going to slam into the coast of Florida.  Florida and South Carolina Governors have put National Guard on Alert, something like 1500 in each state.  They are going to require evacuation tomorrow.  Those states want people moving 100 miles off the coast starting tomorrow.

OK, we’re a LONG way from South Carolina, and Florida, and no one seems to be sure about Georgia.   No one really, and I’m talking important, intelligent, well-trained, well-educated meteorologists.  (Somehow, I have this distinct feeling that since the Katrina screw up, NO ONE wants to make any sort of definite prediction, because you know, Bush got blamed for Katrina even though he (or Obama) have nothing to do with the weather…. So they don’t want to be definite.  Yeah, it’s a COP OUT, you idiots, you KNOW where this thing is going without a freaking Computer Model, even I can see it.)  Given that we’re able with 72 hours ahead to predict the possible paths within a few hundred MILES and without knowing what’s coming offshore from the US, we should be able to predict within 200 miles the exact path of the hurricane.

Why computer models suddenly became the most important predictor, I’m not sure.  What happened to good old human intuition?????  Oh well.

I’ll tell you this. I STILL say this thing will turn East.  Long before Virginia, and probably before it gets to North Carolina.  Why?  Because there’s a low and a “stationary front” sitting JUST off the US coast.   Behind it is a High.  Behind that, and three days from the coast is another Low Pressure/Cold Front moving through.  If anything the hurricane will meet with some “resistance” and push off shore.  Might not be perfectly timed, but from my position sitting here up the Potomac, just off the Chesapeake Bay, I see nothing getting here.  MAYBE some rain.  But nothing significant.

Then again, my weather training is from the National Weather Service, about 20 years of it, plus my own studies of the atmosphere.  Never been “tested” on it, except in storm chasing and I’ve generally be right, I’m alive to talk about it and tell stories, and I’ve been through two hurricanes and lived to tell about them as well.

What’s ALL this mean?  Nothing, to anyone really, except me and my boat.  I have NO intention of putting us in the path of a storm and if I have a chance to sit it out, a good distance away,  I will choose prudence over heroism.  What is there heroic about going to meet a hurricane face-to-face? Nothing.  It’s stupid.  Sitting tight is better.

Of course me, and the other guy on the dock, Pete, are the only captains here worried about our boats.  Everyone else isn’t here most of the time.  He lives aboard, and so do we, so the two of us have discussed who is going to anchor out and who ain’t.  He chooses to drive over and anchor out.  I’m staying on the docks.  No real choice, but I’m taking a lesson from the Bahamas and going to pull the boat up between two slips, sting my many lines out, and I’ll drop an anchor off the front of the boat at the last minute to keep the boat, and docks breaking apart in one spot if I can.  My boat isn’t going to sink, unless it goes aground on the far side… which it won’t.   And if I can hold things together, I will.

Truth is, I suspect the hurricane will hit Florida and turn right and head to sea, rather like Joaquin did with the Bahamas.  But, then, they predicted Joaquin would come up the coast and into the Chesapeake Bay and right over Galesville Md where we were hanging on a mooring ball last year.

So it comes down to two things… why aren’t they predicting what they SHOULD be?

And why do they THINK it MIGHT come as far north as Norfolk?

Got me, but we’ll see.

Obviously, I’m not a professional.  But, I trust me more than more TV weather guys, and especially The Weather Channel People who have proven to be wrong more than right.

Tomorrow… we pack our bags.

Thursday I decide about the solar panels.

Friday we depart and stay on the site in a house here, or we bail out and run for the cover of Richmond, VA.

Tomorrow is a new day…..

Fair Winds.

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.

 

LED Lighting

I decided to drop a few bucks at Lowe’s yesterday on a strip of LED lighting in the hopes I could made a simple mod and run them on 12 Volts DC.

Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

After looking over the connectors I found that the lighting was designed around LEDs, which is nice, but the little “adapter” which I assumed (wrongly) would be a simple step down transformer, going from 120ac down to 12vdc was not.  Instead it was a device (called a rectifier, a set of diodes really) that converted the voltage to 120vdc instead of dropping it down to where I could use it.

In other words, the lights weren’t designed (probably purposely) to use low voltages.

So… no easy modification there.  But, on the bright side (see what I did there? LOL) they light up the cabin pretty nicely.  I can really only use them on shore power as I wouldn’t waste the battery power to run the inverter to run these lights.


I promise, they aren’t throwing out lightning bolts like a Tesla Coil. Though it looks cool. haha


One image showing part of the lighting.


Different image showing the rest of them.

Later, I’ll go on the hunt for strip lights from Amazon.com because they have everything a electronics geek could want to play with!

Stuck in the Mud

This was written approximately six months ago.  Today I am publishing it, because on the day I wrote this I was pretty pissed about things.  Read the first part, then read my notes and “afterthoughts” – because we all know hind sight is 20-20.

Begin Old Post:

 

Not literally, but figuratively.

We’ve been stuck in Cobb’s Marina now for over 6 weeks.  Though a combination of mishaps, an accident and just plain old “mañana, mon” attitude.

While I can appreciate such an attitude in the hot, humid Caribbean, not so much in Norfolk Virginia.  At a highly recommended marina where people are coming and going rather rapidly, we’ve been put off, stuck here, ignored and plainly, clearly been the subject of “non-caring”.

For instance just last week, the Marina closed down for four days for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Very nice for them and their families, I’m sure.  But, what about my wife and I?  I asked about getting our mast put back on the day after repairs were completed on the mast, so Tuesday afternoon the last of the work was accomplished.

The mast was supposed to go on Wednesday before the long weekend.

Nope, it did not, in fact, they stated they “didn’t have time”.  Really?  They had time to move the crane out of position and pull up docks.  They had time to haul out 4-5 boats that had just come in.  They had time to re-splash another boat that had been repaired, but no time to reinstall my mast.

I suspect they were concerned we might “skip out” on the bill or something.  This is not something I would have done and would gladly have taken care of it just to get out in the good weather to head south.

That’s ONE of many delays we’ve experienced here.  Other things have included “We’ll send you the bill” and they did, mailing it to the Florida address, meaning I had to then await it coming back to me here in the marina when they could have just as easily handed it to me.  What’s up with that?

So, today is the 2nd of December.  We’ve been since the 18th of October.  On the 23rd of October a guy in an out of control power boat hit us severely damaging the bow of our boat.  We’ve been arguing with the man’s insurance company since then.  They have basically refused to help, pay or otherwise alleviate the problem caused by their client.

A few days ago I hired a lawyer.  I’ll leave it at that for now.  But, suffice it to say I didn’t want to do that, but now I plan to get my money one way or another.

I will say that the marina is just an “ok” place to be.  But, there are hidden costs as well.  Electricity apparently used to be included in the docking fees. In fact, they were very careful not to even mention electricity to us as part of the bill and we only discovered accidentally in conversation with a marina employee and another sailor here (who was also caught by surprise) about the extra fees if you’re on the docks.

The new docks (we’re actually in the “Pit” on a newer floating dock) are nice.  The old docks are dilapidated so are coming out this winter for new docks to be installed.  The workers are almost all family members, Cobbs, Duvals, etc.  And the marina has been here a long time, surrounded by 3 others who are apparently owned by the competition, and have caused a lot of issues for this marina.

All in all, we’ve not had a horrible stay here, except to say, we had to STAY here.  We wanted to be in Florida by Thanksgiving, not sitting confined to a dock here in Norfolk, Virginia.  We’ve been up against every brick wall you can imagine until today.

Today I finally convinced them that the mast needed to go on, TODAY.  Yesterday they wouldn’t do it due to rain  (Ok, that could be a safety issue, but they were still hauling out boats yesterday….).

In speaking to contractors around here, apparently the speed with which things gets accomplished depends on who is paying, how they are paying, and how well the marina knows them.  Several boats have come and gone under “emergency conditions” (Not that us getting here wasn’t an emergency condition, it started out alright, but rapidly turned INTO an emergency).  And they were in and out in hours or a day, as opposed to weeks.

After our boat was struck, things slowed like molasses in January, I suspect because they believe the insurance company is paying up.  Well, since they insurance company has told me to pound sand, it’s all on my now.  Thousands of dollars in damages, paid for by me, and thousands more for other fees….. I’m not very happy about any of this.

Nor am I happy about the way the Insurance Company has treated us, and definitely NOT how the marina has approached customer relations with us.  I am writing this as a draft to be published once my mast is in place, the bill is paid and we can leave when ever we want.  So…. I’ll leave it at that.

Just know that there will an entry in Active Captain about this marina and unless you have a damned good reason for coming here, I wouldn’t do it.  Go somewhere else.

End Old Post and start my new notes from today:

That evening, after the mast went up, JoAnne fell off the fixed, dilapidated dock onto another boat we had been invited to visit, and where they had chosen to place the boat to load tons of lead into the bilge.

Were it not for the fact we were stuck in that marina for so long, from 18 October 2015 through 20 May 2016, a full seven months and two days, through NO fault of ours, JoAnne would not have fallen.  Had they taken care of the issues we came in for in the first place on the day they promised (that following Monday after the dockmaster called us and said “If you get here today, we’ll look at your boat tomorrow”) we would not have been hit the following Friday.

Had the marina moved us to a safer spot out of the pit where they were constantly dopping and retrieving boats, we’d not have been hit.  Had they dock folks placed the boat properly, without a boat behind us, allowing our pulpit and bowsprit to be back from overhanging the dock, we’d not have been hit.

Had we not been hit, we’d not have had to hire a lawyer.  The boat owner whom we ended up taking to court eventually settled out of court and did pay the full amount of damages and for our stay from the day of the accident to the date of final repairs.  So, that all turned out good.  We even met the owners later, shook hands and said “no hard feelings”, at least on my part, not so sure about their parts.  But still, he came through like a champ, paid for the repairs.

What we never received was a break on the price of the stay (except the standard “If you’re here longer than a couple of weeks, we’ll do a monthly rate”).   What we also never received from anyone on the site was an apology for the crap we went through there.

I will say that the dock master even allowed my batteries to boil out over the winter, instead of checking them every couple of weeks.  They didn’t retie a line to the power cable and it fell into the water while we were away from the boat (after they changed things without telling me).  A fender exploded.. and was changed out for one of my other fenders by the dockmaster, so they did catch some things.

We did meet several wonderful people there, Rhonda and Mike, Rob and Holly, Marc and Nicola, Vince Debbi, and Jeanie and Bart to name a few.  The marina people were helpful most of the time, said hello, but at times went out of their way to avoid contact with us.

The marina is a working marina, thus, dirty, noisy and loud.  We knew that.  We expect that.  But we also expect marina personnel to take care with our babies, our homes, the thing we supply a significant amount of passion towards – our boats.  We don’t expect a lackadaisical attitude, we don’t expect to be pushed to a corner and ignored when we have specifically stated we have a schedule to keep, a weather window to catch and require assistance in accomplishing our tasks, especially when paying a lot of money, per day, for the “privilege” of staying there as a “transient” instead of a normal “slip holder” (which was never once offered to us).

I’m sure some will frown on this post, and I’m certain that most folks wouldn’t post something like this, figuring that “some day, I might have to use them again”.  This is true of me as well.  Some DAY, I might have to stop at Cobb’s Marina.  But then again, if I do, and they have improved their work processes, I might do so.

I don’t hold anyone at fault for what happened to us.  It was general circumstances and perhaps a bit of bad luck, something I sincerely DO NOT believe in.  Luck is what you make of it (except games of chance, cards, dice, roulette and Lotto).  You do NOT leave to chance things on a boat.  You do your due diligence and you attempt to mitigate anything imaginable and sometimes you miss your shot.  That isn’t luck, that’s simple statistics.

Cobb’s Marina is a decent place other than what we went through and in other circumstances, I’d never have written any of the original post or this.  But I do what I do to inform people.  Always have.

If you’re going to Cobb’s Marina… be aware of your contract.  Be aware of your ability to say yes or no.  And be aware that if you’re on those docks, multiple accidents have occurred there over the past two years, including one that happened just before we left (having nothing to do with the marina exactly, but with a sailboat driver who didn’t take care going out, hooked his rigging on someone sport fisher outriggers, that boat was a mess when I looked at it).

Nothing here is meant to discourage anyone from going there rather to inform you that it matters not WHICH marina in which you enter, you need to take care of those around you as well as yourself.  Obviously no one can remain with their boat 100% of the time, and as cruisers we have to leave to get groceries, parts, get work done, see things and in general try to not stay on the boat when we are someplace trying to SEE things.

That’s why we trust the marinas to help us.

Honestly though, our ship has remained safer on an anchor and mooring ball than sitting in a slip anywhere we’ve been.

 

Water, Water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

Interesting day.

Today is Saturday, Day Two of the Memorial Day Siege of the Boaters, Drunks, and half-nekked people.  Woke up this morning to a relatively quiet marina… with no water.

Yup. Showers are down.  Toilets don’t flush.  And bowls are… umm… full.

I hiked up.  And hiked over to the office and ran into the manager.  He was not only aware, he was pretty frazzled this morning.

It appears that for the last three days they were filling the pool.

From two garden hoses.

Attached to the water system.

Which goes to a well.

If you understand how a well works, you might find this kind of funny by now.

If not, I’ll explain it a bit.

Wells are deep holes in the ground.  They are drilled or sometimes dug by hand.  In any case they go down to where the underground water table lives.  Usually there is rock, sand and clay down there and the water in the water table filters through that stuff to the bottom of the well, and then the water that collects is pumped out to the top, into the plumbing system where us normal humans can more easily gather and use it.

Now, when you pump a LOT of water out, the local water table tends to fade away while the distant water further filters through the dirt and sand to eventually get into the well.  There is a slight time delay in this of course.  So if you empty the well (the well runs dry) and when the well runs dry, the pumps can’t pump water.  In fact, water pumps using impellers (as most sailors who have a boat with an engine know) start to destroy themselves shortly after the water stops flowing.

This is when we military guys say “The excrement has hit the impeller device”.  Toilets with no water over flow… with… ummm… excrement.  Sinks no worky.  Kitchens fail to function.  Bars don’t open (sometimes).  And people stink because they get no showers.  And most of us don’t go to the bathroom in places where the bowls are already “full”.

In other words, no water means broken pump, which means no water pressure or any other kind of pressure.

Except the kind placed up on a poor, new manager of a marina on Day Two of the Memorial Day Siege of the Boaters, Drunks, and half-nekked people.  I felt sorry for him, as he appeared tired.

But, as a real life former military hero he stepped up to the plate got portapotties in place, a company working on the pumps and lo and behold in a few hours the water is back online!

Hallelujah, toilets flush, shower water flows, and boats with empty tanks (because they all took showers aboard this morning, except for JoAnne and I who refuse to waste precious DRINKING water on the boat to take a shower… lol)  can refill their empty tanks.  The whining and bitching stopped and it appears 90% of the current crowd is sitting over in the bar drinking and yelling as normal.

In the mean time, JoAnne and I took a trip to town… a 40+ mile round trip and found an absolutely wonderful, hidden diner called “Almost There” sitting on Route 360 near Tappahannock.  Fortunately, they also had a bathroom which I was happy to see for perhaps not-so-obvious reasons).

I ordered a “Western Omelette” which included some kind of very sweat jalapenos. Not spicy, but sweet.  And the omelette weight about two pounds.  It was HUGE.  And delicious. The biscuits and home fries were the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant (they can’t touch JoAnne’s cooking, but they were up there with hers).

I pondered the reasoning for the name of the place.  After looking around the place inside, I noted a lot of Bible quotes on the wall.  Ah.  I think I had it.  I surmise that “Almost There” means “Almost Heaven” at least from a yummy-in-my-tummy food feeling!

Honestly, I am not sure why they called it that, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Lastly, we went to the Lowes and ran into our friend Kurt there, buying plumbing stuff.  (Kurt Seastead is the page owner for the Transworld 41, the ship we own, which is how we met Kurt).

We bought some LED lights for the boat. More on the lights in a bit. Kurt and I knew each other were going to the Lowes so it wasn’t necessary a happenstance thing, but that we happened to run into one another was.  I mean we stopped and ate breakfast and Kurt had messaged me this morning offering to pick me up for a trip there.  I told him we might meet him or something.  Well, we did.

It appears Kurt and Sally might come to see the boat tomorrow.  So, I spend part of this afternoon sweating and cleaning.  Because, you know, we can’t be too cluttered on a boat we live on, now, can we?

I CAN walk into the Vee Berth now.  I can’t, however sleep in it (thank goodness and careful planning on my part so JoAnne doesn’t kick me out of bed…).

Tonight…. we have all the fans running.  Probably going to regret the electric bill later, but it has been HOT today.  JoAnne told me there’s a chance of rain tonight, and tomorrow and I’ll double check the weather because I want the enclosure back in place if it rains.  We still have leaks that I believe come from the cockpit area and want to minimize any more wood damage in the aft cabin.  Eventually, I’ll find them all and repair them, but in the mean time if I can’t fix it, mitigation is key.

I want to finish moving some stuff around tomorrow so as not to have clutter everywhere.

And we get to test those LED lights this evening.  They run on AC and not DC.  I checked the plug-in piece and it merely rectify the 120vac to 120vdc to run the LEDs.  So, I can’t plug it into 12vdc (which was my original hope).  So, tomorrow, I’ll be looking over some stuff I saw on Amazon, and working out costs for doing LED strip lights in side the cabins.  The lights we have pretty much suck for reading.

Even the lamps I’ve switched for LEDs just do not cut it for reading.  I’ll be working that out.

And that is all for the evening.  Tune in tomorrow to see if the lights work….correctly.

 

New Home for Summer

On Wednesday 25 May 2016 we departed from Sandy Point, Virginia on the Wicomico River pretty early in the day, about 0800.  We were trying to get out earlier, but just couldn’t do it.

On the bright side, we actually motor sailed out of the anchorage and out to the bay. Eventually I was able to stop the engine and sail for a couple of hours on a nice beam reach.  Was a beautiful day though.

We were headed for an anchorage and figured to try to come in early on Thursday morning on high tide.  Then we got within about 3 hours of the marina and made the decision to come on in.  Called them to ensure someone would be there to assist with the docking and we made it in with plenty of time to spare before they closed shop for the day.

The entrance to the marina is narrow and the outside is absolutely covered in crab pots.  Why there isn’t a clear path in, I’m not sure.  But I managed to successfully avoid them all.  At the last few dozen yards we bottomed out.  In fact, I literally could hear barnacles being popped off the bottom.

Then there were two quick, ninety degree turns.  Straight in, a left and another left into the slip.  I overshot, backed up and used the bow thrusters… to which one of the dock hands said “That’s cheating”. lol  Second time in a couple of weeks I’ve heard that remark about sailboats with bow thrusters.

JoAnne was able to step forward, and hand off the dock lines though, with out having to toss anything.  It worked out well.

We pulled in rather than backing because I wanted our aft cabin to be more “private” and not be exposed at the docks constantly. It’s quieter that way, because people here are yelling a lot to one another, at one another, and just yelling, I suspect, to yell. haha

We have visited the newly opened Tim’s over by the office.  Restaurant and bar.  The crab cake sandwich is great.  JoAnne has tried a couple different things.  Beer is about 3.80 a bottle though, and the pints from draft are a bit cheaper.

Tonight they have music, and in fact this whole Memorial Day weekend they will have several different bands.  Fortunately, we’re far enough away we won’t hear it. haha

This is definitely a power boater place though, or was.  Marty, the owner is trying to get more sailboats to come in.  He is a sailboater and wants more of us here I guess.

I started cleaning some today.  I did some work on the dock lines, putting anti-chaff on them (basically some rubber hose I sewed to three of the lines) because I’m tired of the lines being abused by dock hands for one.  Darn things aren’t cheap, either.

While the boat was in Norfolk and we were gone (just before we headed back) there were 70  mph straight line winds… which exploded one of our fenders.  I had bought one from East Beach Marine over in Norfolk to replace the broken one, and found they had a lifetime warranty.  Contacted the company, called Taylor Made and asked about the warranty.  They asked for pictures of the broken fender and I sent them along.  They are mailing me a new fender!  Woot!

I’ve not gotten ANYTHING for free, and have had to pay through the nose for everything.  So, that’s a tiny win for us.

We managed to get laundry done, and I’ll work on the boat this weekend, because it’s getting very crowded here and I don’t want to lose our parking space to go shopping for groceries.  But we have plenty of food aboard, it’s just there’s very little fresh stuff right now.  Probably Tuesday we will go to the store.  It’s about 22 miles from here.

We do have wifi working again at least. No telephones to speak of.

Oh, that reminds me. Phones work, but I have to hike almost to the beach to get a signal, and it’s NOT T-Mobile so I’m sure I’m paying for that too. (So whatever I might have saved on a freebie fender will be taken up in roam charges or something).

Anyway, phones, T-mobile sent me a rather random message about not being able to charge my card automagically for the phone bill.  Funny… it should work.  SO I call them and find out the card is being declined.  Shouldn’t be.

Call the bank.

Bank says, “Oh, right here, says your card was a subject of counterfeiting and has been cancelled.  You should have gotten a notification.”

Right. In snail mail.  Two days after I stopped in to get my mail at Green Cove Springs Florida, in person.  No phone calls.  No emails. No nothing.

They sent me a new card.

That card too has been cancelled now, as well as my previous card.  They are shipping me a new one, I’ll get it Tuesday.  My mail will be here Tuesday.  And my card has weird charges on it, which I need to call the bank back about and tell them to remove them.  (small amounts, like 74 cents, and 83 cents).

One thing after another….

Anyway, we’re safe here for now.

 

Busy

Spent the day today getting laundry done and I removed almost everything from the forward compartment… because that’s what you do on a boat.  Move things around to see how much space you don’t have and try to play Tetris to put it all back again, better and with more space left over.

I found that if I removed some things from the boat, I had space left over.  When I promptly refilled with other things I brought on the boat.

In the end, I removed the wood pellets and some coal (for the Chummy Stove) and placed that stuff in our car trunk for now.  Not sure we’re going to keep it.  Not sure we’re going to keep the chummy stove for that matter.  It was a royal pain in the behind to use.  We had trouble getting it to light well, keeping it running and coal has to get so hot before it really ignites that it wasn’t working for us.

The space I emptied is now filled again with other stuff.  So, I honestly didn’t do more than exercise all my futility muscles today.  And get laundry done.  Oh, and clean the floor up.

Tomorrow I have it in my mind to clear the engine room off, clean out some gunk down there, and prep the engine to start later in the day.  But JoAnne is going to get some ice cream tomorrow for Mother’s Day, first.

Floor looks ok in the forward cabin now.  Have to work on the main salon now.  I need varnish to repair some scratches and cove the wood after sanding.  Might get the varnish but won’t start that work until this summer some time.

Spoke to Nicola from s/v Averi on Facebook today.  They are headed back here to this marina, but were delayed due to a low pressure system hanging off Hatteras  They said they are coming up ICW, but might not stop here at all now and head on up north a bit further.

Added some friends to our online boat card – well, requested to be added anyway.  Morsan friended up (Barb and Tom).  Waiting to see if anyone else does.

Ok, tired. See you soon.

 

s/v Adventure Post-Winter Status

Rained lot last night, lightning and thunder for a few hours on and off. Washed the boat off. Was covered in dust out on the deck, but that’s all gone now. Now, when I have time (I don’t know when that will be, lol) I’ll have to get out and wash the topsides down, and put on some wax. Boat needs it badly.
 
Some of our lines were out over the winter time and faded some. I don’t think any of them are too worse for the wear.
 
Bow platform needs some varnish. I only had time to get two coats on it before we had to rapidly depart, most of it is worn off already. I’ll do a light sanding and recover that soon. I did bring my sander with me this time so I can use it to do the rails around the boat and get them sanded quickly and efficiently instead of working a foot at a time and killing my shoulders.
This morning we had drip coffee from our new coffee maker.  The only thing wrong is that it’s only an eight cup pot. Making it like I usually do, with three little scoops of coffee makes it too strong.  So, I’ll try tomorrow with 2 scoops and see how it comes out.  I wish the pot were bigger but that was what we found.  I wanted a stainless steel pot instead of glass, as I broke the last glass one in the sink before we ran off to Colorado.  This one should last longer.
After doing a quick trip around the deck in the rain this morning, everything looks good.  There’s some chaff on the stern line, and the dock master added a second line for me after the big storms moved through here a few weeks ago.  We also had a fender blow up in the strong winds, but we had some aboard so he also added one.  I’ll need to go get replacements now.  And perhaps some fender covers or something.  I saw where someone bought golf shirts to cover his on facebook.  The shirts were much cheaper than the fender covers, and it’s time to start being more frugal.  We still have one more trip across country coming up in July.
Today I’ll open the battery compartment and run checks on the electrolyte (I did voltage checks yesterday and the batteries were charged properly so I assume the electrolyte is doing ok, but I want to double check it).  The boat has been on trickle all winter and the checks I did last were six months ago.  That reminds me, time flies when you’re having fun.
When we leave Colorado it seems like we’ve been gone forever when we go back.  But when we’re on the boat time goes so quickly.  It’s been a year on the 13th of May since my heart attack.  That seems eons ago, but traveling to the boat last July seems like a few weeks ago and not months.  Staying in Colorado from December through April – four months – seemed forever because we couldn’t DO anything.  The boat was too far, and we have a car, but we didn’t get to do a lot.  We traveled a  couple of times, but not enough to make it seem like we were seeing anything new.
The trip across country took us about three weeks, stopping to visit friends and family.  But, again it seemed too short.  Now we have a lot of boat chores to do to prepare for moving, BUT, at this point, I’m going to take my time doing it.
We have to drive up to see the marina tomorrow.  We’re going to see it to verify it’s where we want to be for the summer.  Once we do that, then I’ll work on the logistics of getting our boat there, and our car there.  We want both available for the summer.  Then we have to work our storage for the car while we’re gone to the Bahamas.
I guess the Bahamas is where we’re strongly leaning to going for this fall and winter season.  JoAnne might have different ideas too, but we’ve both looked at Florida and Bahamas.
We decided to “take the day off” today because we did travel three weeks without much of a break, driving for 5-9 hours each day, stopping and visiting and going places eventually tires you out. haha  However, even taking the day “off” we’ll likely run up and do laundry today, and I’ve got some stuff to move and re-arrange in the forward compartment.  JoAnne wants to work on the aft head and empty the cabinets, go through our stuff there and throw out unused things and make space for towels and other stuff there. Mostly, I am trying to get some blog posts in because they help me remember things I’ve forgotten.
Speaking of forgotten….what was I going to say? Oh, yeah, my heart issues…. Led to certain medications.  One of the meds I take is a statin, it is called Atorvastatin.  It is also known as Lipitor.  Some of you know it’s used to block production of cholesterol.  I’ve got to take it because during the surgery last year they removed parts of my heart, the aortic valve (which was deformed) and replaced it with a tissue valve (apparently from a pig, because I crave bacon now, lol).
Taking the drug is supposed to prevent me from plaque build up in my heart, arteries and so forth but it has a side effect of making me forget things short term.  My short term memory is messed up.  Before we left the boat I had stopped taking it because I ran out and they wanted $900 bucks for the prescription which I refused to pay at the time without insurance.  We have insurance now, but it still costs me 20+ bucks for the one (and 20 for another and more for the blood pressure meds).
So… I go back for a physical in July and I’m going to chat with my doc about trying something other than this drug.  My cholesterol has NEVER been high, ever.  So I want to get something that will do it more “naturally”, like certain vitamins.
Back to the boat.  This marina did take care of our boat for the most part.  I don’t see any other damage from other boats, they made sure our oars stayed attached to the dinghy in the wind storm, and all the other things I mentioned, plus checked battery levels several times for me.
The boat probably needs a pressure wash, but I’ll hold that until next marina.  That reminds me, I need to call them and chat and let them know we’re coming up tomorrow to check the place out and get a tour.  I already have a slip assigned there, but I want to look at the channel in person and the turns I have to make coming in.  It looks tight on the charts and on the satellite view.   And getting into the slip might be a problem, but the water is about 12′ deep there so I fell good about that.  Also, floating docks.  We will never again stay at a fixed dock and in the Bahamas I’ll just plan to anchor out most of the time.  They have pretty high tides there (last time we were there, we had to climb ladders to get in and out of the boat we stayed on).
I want to say HI to some of the people who have asked for me to write more. I’ve gotten comments and/or emails saying “write more”.  The best one was from someone at my former work who said she enjoyed following us without having to do all the work herself. haha.  So, Susan, this post is for you! haha (Now, just imagine all the stuff I’m NOT talking about having to do!)
JoAnne and I want to thank everyone who visited with us across the country, especially Paul and Cathy, A’lice and Larry and Mike and Cindy who put us up for a few days while we visited.  To Stephen and Judy, thanks for inviting us to the perfectly timed pot luck at your marina in St. Augustine!
Lastly, to our Daughter Kristy and her Husban, Carlos;  Thank you for everything, for putting up with us, and letting us stay with you while mom’s back healed.  She is still not at 100% and we’re not sure if her back will ever get back to normal but without you guys we’d have had to sell the boat and move back, get jobs and be mediocre people again. haha.
Onward and upward… I’ve got things to get done so time to run.  See you next entry everyone!

Adding Pages

From time to time I add a post to the blog which doesn’t appear as a usual post on the page in a chronological order.  Instead, they will be found as “pages” under one of the titles above the main screen.

For instance, today I added one about lighting on the boat, under “Boat Systems”.  If you’re on a computer, hover your mouse over the links there and drop down boxes will appear and you can choose one of the pages.

If you’re on a tablet or phone, you can click on those links and get the drop downs.

I invite you to read the lighting article if you’re interested.

 

Snow!

We’ve been staying with my daughter, Kristy and her husband Carlos.  They bought a new home recently and it’s beautiful, and we have a room in the basement.  Well, we got the first huge snow storm that JoAnne and I have seen since last year.  About 18″ fell where we were.

When I dug out the car today, there was a lot of snow piled around and I had a difficult time getting out.  Ended up driving down the block to come back to the drive way to park so JoAnne could get into the car and not hiked through 2 feet of snow!

We had to go downtown to deposit a check.

Since there was a court hearing today in Virginia about our boat damages from October I won’t go into too many details just yet.  But, the owner of the boat that hit us is trying to settle out of court.  Technicially, its not him I wanted to drag in to the court system.  I understand that accidents happen.  It was his insurance company,  which, on the day of the accident was Seaworthy.  Apparently they were being bought by Geico that week….

The claims we and the marina made have been denied…. without just cause.

At this point, the guy that hit us is trying to make things  right.

Geico is not.

We will await the clearing of the check and move on.

I can only hope that Geico gets theirs in the end.

Blog Pages Updates

Hi everyone.

On the main blog there are a set of links at the top, just under the banner.  They are hot links taking you to other pages within the blog.

Since I had some time i figured I’d go through and organize things in a somewhat more logical manner.  At the moment things are in a slight disarray as I move pages about.

A page on this blog is a permanent page.  It’s not a blog entry.   Blog entries can be found under the “Home” button where you can read each entry in a backwards-chronological order.  If you want to search for something specific, look at tags, or categories (just other ways to organize the information I’ve posted).  Most people who read the blogs already know this.  A lot of you don’t know though, because you’re not bloggers.

If you hover over any of the hot links, they will usually give you a list of other things found under that page.  You can jump directly to a Page there.

I removed the old “Original Blog Page” entry and have either deleted some of the useless data (it was outdated and didn’t go anywhere) or I have moved it under the “About” heading.

Mostly, it is informational data that I wanted to keep for future reference.  If it seems out of order, it is.  I’m working on it a bit at a time, so just click on what you want to read and then move on.

Another thing you might note is that I’ve been lax about putting in images in the past, partly due to lack of image hosting, partly due to lack of being able to timely stick an image into place.  Sometimes I’m on the laptop, sometimes a tablet and sometimes the phone, making it difficult to have my images all in one space.  I’ve remedied that to a point.  I’ve got a hosting place, but it too is limited on space and I’m cheap and won’t pay for a hosting spot.

Unlike many sailors who also blog I have a bit of aversion to placing ads on the page, and asking for donations of money.  I might do something like that in the future, but not now.  I still have to pay for my domain name but it’s mine for almost five more years.  At some point though, I’ll have to spring for picture space and I don’t want to do that yet.  However, the point here is we’ll add in images as we can in the future.  Check the previous entry for a picture of Adventure sitting on anchor.

Lastly, I’m adding a section on Amateur Radio where I’ll post pages of things I find interesting, important or helpful to cruisers.  Not necessarily in that order of course.

Bear with me while I clean the blog up and make it easier to navigate.

Happy New Year – 2016; Year of Success

send2tqLast year for us was “Year of Adventure”.  And such an adventure it was, from purchasing our new home, s/v Adventure to moving aboard and sailing the boat south.

We had a lot of fun, and a lot of problems.  We had engine issues, we got stuck a couple of times, but mostly we were caught by surprise by some of the weird problems we didn’t expect.  They say to expect the unexpected and while we worked diligently to do just that, we still found a lot of issues that needed repairing, replacement or just tweaking.

As many of you know, JoAnne took a fall on December 2nd (or maybe it was the first) while stepping from the fixed dock to a large trawler we were invited aboard, onto the trawler’s deck.  She managed to fracture two vertebrae in her spine, the T11 and T12 and it took weeks to verify the fractures.  We knew within a few days about the T12 fracture and I made the decision to remove her from the boat for safety reasons.

I moved her to a local hotel in Norfolk for a few days while prepping the boat to sail;  we thought we’d be leaving by the 12th or so.  When we confirmed the first fracture I made the decision to bring her back to Colorado to get rested and heal up.

Because she couldn’t fly (running through the airport with a broken back is not a good idea) we rented a car, winterized the vessel and packed a few things including our electronics and some clothing, coats and the food that would spoil.  The boat was secured, put into a slip and we crossed the country in about five days.

Since then, we’ve been staying with our daughter and son-in-law and the grand kids.  JoAnne has seen a couple of doctors now, including our personal doctor who told us about the second fracture.  We still didn’t know about the T11.  Last week on Wednesday the 30th, she saw Dr. Bee, a bone doc.  She has been in a brace that was prescribed by our doctor and he told her she’s likely be in it another 12 weeks or so.

She’s still in pain on and off, but on the mend.

At this point we’ve got about five or six various plans on getting back to the boat, when to go, where to go, how to go, and where to end up.  I’m not going to detail them, but suffice it to say we always have a lot of different ideas on how to do things and if one goal falls through, another one is in place to aim for.

The main plan is to head back in April and move the boat down the ICW to arrive in Florida in May time frame, find a “home” (marina with a slip that isn’t too expensive) and then travel to the Bahamas and further south.  When Hurricane Season hits – late June, probably heading down the chain to visit further south and get out of the path of hurricanes.

Failing that, we’ll head for the Keys.  Failing that, Tampa Bay.  Failing that, we’ll find something further north (and given all the nonsense about anchoring in Florida, we’re rethinking our whole idea of even ending up in Florida, though we do hear the west coast of Florida is more welcoming, hence the idea of going to the Tampa area).  Anyway, that’s the nutshell.

JoAnne is doing ok.  Slight pain on and off.  She can’t work on the boat, so we’ll be here until she’s healed enough to travel back and live on the boat.

If anyone wishes to reach us, you can do so by going to the contact page at the top of the blog and copying the email address for our boat.  We check that daily.

Happy New Year to all our cruising friends, our family and our non-cruising friends alike.  May 2016 be all you hoped for and more.

 

The other Side of the Rainbow

Somewhere there is a rainbow waiting for us to see.  We’ve been stuck in this marina now for over a month.  Tomorrow will be one month since the accident and we’re JUST getting our rigging repaired.

At this point, I’m absolutely certain the marina has been dragging their feet to get us out of here.  Suddenly they are trying to push us out before Thursday.  It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday.

We’re sitting here being a cash cow to them.  We’re going to be out over $10,000 dollars to the marina and to contractors for the damages suffered to our boat because a man thought better of himself and his shitty driving than to let marina people assist him to prevent an accident.

Then, he hit us, destroyed the front of the boat, exclaimed “I don’t see any damage” and left (according to witnesses).

There were roughly 12 witnesses.

I have copies of his insurance paperwork proving he was covered at the time.

Insurance adjustor is jerking us around telling us to “proceed as if we’re not going to pay out”.  I told him that wasn’t possible as I have liability only and my company isn’t going to pay on the damages. That the marina won’t let us leave until we pay the bill… so we’re stuck here.

I’m done playing games with insurance people.

And there WILL be a pot of gold on the other end of that rainbow.

I guarantee it.

New Galley Stove

So about two weeks ago now we ordered a new stove.

The old stove was a Shipmate, and I’ll be darned if I can locate a model number on it.  In any case, the inside was pretty rusty.  The stove top worked but the oven didn’t work hardly at all.

Basically, the burner tube is a steel tube with holes, sealed at one end with a pipe fitting being fed from the gas line on the other.  The insides of those parts are so rusted that the gas would barely come out of the tube.  The thermocouple was fouled up pretty badly too.

I messed with it for a couple of weeks on and off, but stopped short of attempting to remove the rusted bolts and brackets for fear of breaking the inside of the oven, venting propane inside the cabin, and/or losing use of the stove top.

Eventually, I decided to do the prudent thing and order a brand new stove.  We looked over several but settled for a Force 10, 3 burner stove with oven and broiler.  I do like broiled fish.  I like baked fish.  I like raw fish.  I just don’t like it immersed in oil very often…. but I digress.

Friday last week we rented a car and retrieved our new mattress and new stove (two trips to the Virginia Beach area to deliver the stuff back to the Norfolk marina area we’re currently stuck in (due to the accident a few weeks ago).

Yesterday, I removed the old stove and stored it topside in the cockpit until I can determine what to do with it.  The new stove was sitting below in the way constantly for the past few days.  So, I started measuring, moving, fiddling, doing this and that, eventually figuring out that the catalog dimensions didn’t match what we bought, nor the space we have to put the stove in.

The old stove was 20 inches across.  The pivots on the gimbals were about 2 inches on either side, and almost an inch in diameter, with this massive brass bracket on each side.  Wouldn’t work for the new stove.

New stove was 19 inches acr0ss with these little, tiny 1/2″ pins sticking out.  When we did our measurements, we measured the front of the stove.  The catalog took into account the extra inch for the little pins, thus we found ourselves with a 19″ stove in a 24″ slot.

So, problem mostly solved, except, as usual, I didn’t make all the measurements and after I added the blocks to hold the brackets.  I “missed it by that much”.  I needed another 1/2″ on the block extending to hold the gimbals.  I also found that the stove is taller than the last one and I’m going to have to both raise the blocks, and move them forward in the space.

Ok, so I said “I’ll get that figured out soon, right now I need to make sure we can even connect the propane tanks”.

I pulled the old hose off the stove, and then realized an old steel pipe system was inside the stove, and attached was an elbow, and then an adaptor.  Upon looking over the hose connection, and the adaptor I found the they were inverted flare fitting on the male adaptor and a female hose connection.  And the threads were reversed.  Wrong twist.  Not American apparently.

So, I tried to rent a car yesterday morning.  Which soon turned into afternoon waiting for them to get back to me.  It didn’t happen.  At 4:30 PM I called and simply said “Have a car for me at 0900 in the morning and I’ll get it then, pick me up.” (It is Enterprise, they are nice that way).

All was going relatively well with the stove in the evening, I was discovering it wasn’t going to mount right, etc.  This morning at 0900 I called.  They were “on the way” in 15 minutes.  An HOUR later, I’m calling trying to find them.

They claimed the young lady was in the parking lot looking for me.  I saw her pull up 5 minutes later and drive through the gate.  She was not at the right marina apparently.  So, now, it’s an hour later and I already know the day isn’t going to go well trying to find parts.

But we set up, hit Lowes and I dig through all the brass fittings and am not finding the right part. Next we headed Comet Plumbing, then Ray Johnson’s Fireplaces, then to West Marine.  At West Marine I started realizing I has probably not explaining things correctly to the other folks because they were sending me all over Hell’s Half Acre.  So, I bought a 2′ propane hose extension with 3.8″ male fittings so I could extend what I knew would be a short hose on the back of the stove.

West Marine sent us to Snyder’s RV up the road.  The man there was about as unhelpful as one can get.  He wouldn’t at first even look at the adaptors, I assume because he wanted the work of installing it or something, not sure, but sent me instead to a gas company, Amerigas.

The lady was somewhat incredulous for me even walking into the door to ask a stupid question. She send me 5 miles away to A&B Propane whom I called before driving over.

By this time I knew all the right connections, the terms, what I was trying to explain and said “I need x”.

He said, “Come over, I will get you set up.”  I was sceptical.

True to his word, I walked in, he took one look at what I was doing and said, “One minute”.  Walked back out with exactly what I needed.  Then took the old adaptor, cleaned it up for me, showed me where to put my teflon tape, and where NOT to put Teflon tape.

He charged me $1.25 for the part, wished me luck and kicked me out the door.

So – the car was about 30 bucks, $5 for teflon tape, 20 bucks for the hose, and 10 bucks for gas.  All to find a $1.25 part that I probably could have gotten at Lowe’s if the people there would have taken a second to listen to me instead of trying to rush off to do non-work.

Then it’s really my fault for ordering a stove.  And not running all over creation trying to find parts for a stove as old as me almost. Or spending more money to have someone else install it.

Guess I got off pretty cheap.

Oh, here’s the stove.

Of course, it’s not properly mounted in the space, but it is sitting there fine and at least we can brew coffee in the morning and cook breakfast for the first time in a few days (between painting our quarters, the stoves being in the way and disconnected, we’ve had to eat out in the mornings if we ate anything at all).

Tomorrow I take back the rental car in the morning and come back over to the boat to start the rest of the stove installation.

Insurance, anyone?

We have liability insurance at the moment and want to increase it to a full coverage policy.  In fact, I’m talking to my own company about that.

Yesterday though, I had a long conversation with Reeree from the company whose client hit our boat the other day.

After a 30-40 minute conversation, I’m being assured they will pay for all the damages (I don’t believe them, because frankly I don’t believe insurance companies) and they will be paying for most of our stay here due to the delays in getting the work done.

But, I’m hopeful.

Howdy Bailey ran into me yesterday at the marine store and told me Monday they should have the steel back together.  I spoke to Linda yesterday as well and she should have the platform repaired by then.  Bob and I finished rewiring the mast, and the surveyor (Rick M.) is coming back today with a second set of eyes and an expert in rigging to look over the forestay that appears twisted.  They are trying to determine if the insurance should pay for that as well.

The marina folks have been helpful, except they told me “We will present you with the bill and you will have to deal with the insurance company” and the insurance company is telling me they will pay them…. /sigh

I’m strongly considering having a lawyer have a chat with everyone involved to arbitrate this so I don’t have to be the middle guy.  Since when do victims have to do all the dirty work?  I spoke to my son last night, who happens to work at a law firm to get his take on things…. I won’t go into details of what he said, but he certainly seemed to think there was a good cause to have a lawyer involved.

For now, I’ll let the people do what they are paid to do and see how this goes.

We’re starting to feel the need to get south.  If this goes beyond the 10th of the month, I’ll be reconsidering getting a delivery skipper and that bill might just go to the insurance company as well.

Mast Work

Today they pulled the mast off our Adventure.

It took a couple hours to do all the work, to de-rig it, remove the boom and a few other things.
The mast is currently sitting on the hard and I went over it to check for problems.  Didn’t find any.  Tomorrow though, the surveyor is coming back to pull the boat out of the water to look for problems under the water line after the collision by the power boat the other day.

The wind gear was hosed badly.  Even though all the wires were cut at the bottom by a previous mast removal, we pulled in new wires today and new wing gear has been set up and will be put back in after the mast goes back up.

We are renting a car tomorrow and we’ll hit West Marine for a mast head light, spreader lights and a steaming light for the mast.  The guy doing the wiring has given me a list of things to get for him (it’s cheaper if I do it) and I want it all done by Monday.

I’m not sure that will be the case either.  I’ve authorized the work to start on the bow of the boat and since the mast is down it should be easier.  Hopefully Mr. Bailey will get on it right off.

The boat sure looks funny without her front mast.

Did a video and it can be found on FB.  So if you’re friends with me you can see it, if not, friend me.

Random Blog Entry – 27 October 2015

Today is Tuesday, 27 October 2015.  JoAnne and I thought we’d be in Florida by now.

She and I have had a pretty rough time and at times we take it out on each other.  We yell sometimes and get mad over no reason.

Turns out though we still like each other a whole lot 🙂

We’ve been married over 38 years now and have known each other about 40 so as much as we get on each others nerves at times we still know we love one another.

My job, besides making this boat move, is to take care of her.  To keep her warm, to keep her dry, to keep her from getting seasick.  I’m a miserable failure in those things.  She’s gotten sick, drenched, dripped on, spray washed over her, and she’s been cold since August.  But, I keep trying.

Today the insurance surveyor is coming by to examine the damages on the boat, and I’ve completed my statement, collected names and numbers of witnesses, provided the police with information for their report, organized the paperwork and will email it to the insurance adjustor this afternoon.  I’ll let the surveyor do his job before I limit my options.

Tomorrow morning sometime they will pull Adventure up to the other dock, get the crane out and hoist our mast out of it’s traditional place on the foredeck, laying it down on the hard where I can inspect the upper mast and mast head, lighting, rigging and probably install a new halyard or three.  (I need a new main halyard, and at least one on the spreader for things like courtesy flags and such.  I’ll add two or three because I see there are places to add them).

I’ve asked the boat builder in email if he can start work almost immediately.  I’m not waiting for the insurance agent to say “ok”, because I want the front repaired so we can get out of here.  I’ll let him and the insurance guy worry the small stuff.  Not my circus, not my monkeys….  The damage is obvious, the work is clear, the guy that hit us admitted he did it, the insurances have been notified.  So, get ‘er done….

Sunday morning Dave from USA Fuel Services came by and “polished” the fuel.  He ate through 5-6 filters on the coarse pump out which at first I considered surprising.  Then I thought about it.

Dick Stapleton, the former owner had met with us on August 5th for dinner at Sheerans, in Stony Point NY area, and we went over a lot of things on the boat.  He had said he’d cleaned one of the tanks.  Wasn’t 100% sure which.  The other tank he was unsure of the quality of the fuel.

When we started out, we began using the forward tank, starboard side filler.  Neither fuel gauge worked so we never knew how much fuel there was.  When we got here, towed in, because the engine shut off, it was due to the fuel having gunk in it. Water, bacteria, and who knows what else.

Dave discovered a LOT of crap in the forward fuel tank and cleaned it out.

Dave also found that the back tank was clean.  In other words, that tank would never have done what the front tank did had we been using it.

He pumped out close to 25 gallons of bad fuel and we’re down that much.  But we have roughly 55 or 60 gallons at the moment, and I’ll top off the tanks before we leave for the ICW (soon I hope).

A mechanic is coming down to check the engine, help me replace the filters, drain the fuel lines and get the engine started today as well.

Things are coming together (again) and with luck we will get the mast back on in a couple days, rigging adjusted properly, engine running, JoAnne happy, warm and dry and us on the move again.

We decided to take the boat south ourselves after that rough day on the Bay.  It was a long conversation and various “What Ifs” bandied about, various options, ideas like JoAnne going on to Florida by plane and me bringing the boat down alone, getting a delivery skipper, me travelling with a delivery skipper to learn and other things from selling the boat and giving up to trading for something different.

None of those options except sticking together and travelling down the ICW, together, worked.  Or will work.  We do this together, or not at all at this point. (I won’t rule out a delivery skipper later if this becomes any more ridiculous though).

Speaking of ridiculous.  We’re in a place we came for minor repairs.  We ended up getting hit.  We’ve had the engine shut down because of fuel problems (because we were TRYING to get here after they called us and rushed us, and then didn’t even bother to really help us until a week later) and it’s getting cold, it’s raining today, and I’m still working my ass off.

Yesterday, I tore apart the binnacle, galley, electrical panel and the radio shelf over the navigation station searching for wiring that was causing the short, and subsequently taking out the chart plotter.

I never found the actual short, but I found the wire and where it disappears into the wall someplace over behind the electrical panel and nav station.  I cut it loose and reconnected the stuff I have to have working.  I know forward, there’s no power being supplied to the auto bilge pump and toilet.  So, I suspect that is the problem somehow.  I have repaired the bilge pump by rerouting power from another location and adding a switch to make sure the two pumps don’t power up at the same time.

1315: Surveyor is here.  More in a minute.

13:45:  Surveyor, Rick Milner was here.  He went over the damage and checked it all out.  His assessment pretty much agrees with mine, except he wants a rigger out to check the rake on the mast, the stays from the bowsprit, and a few other things.  Time to email my statement and pictures over to the insurance adjustor.

Looks like it’s gonna be awhile before we get out of here.  If we get out of here.

Transworld Formosa 41

If anyone out there has a Formosa, specifically we’re looking for the 41 center cockpit version, we’d like you to get in touch.

You can write me at Adventure.Rick.JoAnne@gmail.com and let us know. We’re on Facebook in a group started by Kurt Seastead for the Formosa.

Kurt has done an awesome job of pulling together people who own the TW Formosa and we’ve been helping each other with information, pictures and stories.

Kurt is also a fun guy. He likes to make memes too.

So if you see pictures of me with a meme, you can be sure he made it. 🙂

meme

Still here – Norfolk, Cobb’s Marina

Yesterday about 4 PM, JoAnne and I were sitting about 3 blocks away having a burger and beer when the phone rang. It was Peggy from Cobb’s Marina. Peggy is the marina manager.

She said, “I take it you’re not on your boat, right?”

I told her we were having lunch. She then told me my boat had been hit by another boat. Instead of freaking out, I asked “Anyone injured, and how bad is the boat hurt?”

She said a 55′ power boat had hit us pretty hard. We returned to the marina and checked in with Peggy. They provided the insurance information for the power boat operator and we heard several witnesses accounts of what they saw. All of them matched.

Big boat, one engine out, trying to turn around in a tight area, wind caught him, out of control, bam…

The damage to the boat pulpit is pretty significant. However, the bowsprit was my biggest concern. It holds the main mast (and by default through a triatic backstay, the mizzen). It also allows the jib to furl and unfurl. Without the bowsprit the boats functions would have to moved backward and be less efficient. You can lose your entire rigging if something goes wrong. So it is imperative the bowsprit be solid.

I examined it this morning and to my untrained eye I saw cracks. I assumed they were all new. I’ve taken pictures of the whole thing, all the damages and that I think might be damages caused by the hit.

This morning I put any work on the boat on temporary pause until I could get a good determination of the status of the bowsprit. Speaking to some of the marina folks, other sailors and a special couple who stopped in to visit us today (Tom and Barb Björkholm of s/v Mörsan), we were considering fixing the fuel issues and heading south under engine alone. I truly want to be out of here before the cold sets in which is the reason I stopped work.

This afternoon a carpenter from Howdy Bailey come over to examine the boat a few minutes ago. He stated clearly that the bow sprit was NOT damaged in the attack of the evil power boat (lol) but is suffering some aging issues, and aren’t we all.

He recommended against having it pulled and “fixed” and that there is no structural damage to the boat, fiberglass or the sprit itself. The stainless steel is another story and it must be repaired, along with the platform/walkway. The pulpit supports a couple of pulleys in a block and tackle used to haul in the jib sail, therefore it could not in its weakened condition function without possibly damaging the pulpit further. He suggested getting that fixed.

Howdy Bailey (http://http://www.howdybailey.com/ Howdy is a boat designer I understand and a pretty famous one in these parts, though I’d not heard of him before a few days ago) is coming by personally to look over getting a wind generator installed and giving me an estimate. I’ll ask him to look over the steel at the same time and give me an estimate of repairs for that as well, since I need it for the insurance company.

Bob from Trident Marine Electronics is going to rewire my mast.

Monday I’m having the mast removed and placed on the hard to do the work. I’ll inspect the rigging at the head then, along with lighting and wiring connections before Bob gets to it. I’ll replace bulbs and connectors and inspect the lines going up there, and so forth myself.

If this all works well, we ought to be on our way sooner, rather than later.

Intracoastal Waterway – or bust

JoAnne and I had a rough few days. Yesterday, after the delivery skipper wrote us back and told us he’d have to beg off, because he had family commitments we discussed our situation.

She is cold a lot. She gets cold in the summer time.

She got seasick in the pounding surf, but loves roller coasters (I do not).

I got worried, but mostly for her. I knew the boat could handle what was happening.

I wasn’t scared, I didn’t have time to be frightened.

After a long discussion we both came to the conclusion that we bought this boat, we are going to get it to Florida and beyond, we’re going to live aboard and we need to learn to handle it… which we’re doing pretty well actually. Seasickness is a terrible, but fleeting thing. Fear, except for spiders, is also only going to last a moment or two.

We contacted the “backup skipper’ who wrote me yesterday after the first one said no, and told her “We’re doing this on our own. We might have been over our heads at first, but we think we have this now”.

We decided that the ICW is the right way to go, until we get past Hatteras, and perhaps Frying Pan Shoals. Maybe.

So, once we get the engine, fuel and rigging repaired, we’re heading out of here. We’re shooting for Jacksonville. And doctors for JoAnne. After that, Marathon Key is calling to us.

We have several reasons to visit there, but it is a jumping off point to Tampa, Puerto Rico. the Virgin Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. Bahamas, not so much… but oh well. There are also “jobs” there, so I hear. And we’ve been offered a kind of “floating boat broker” job of sorts already. And I have my electronics skills (and people have asked me already several times if I would look at this or that, so far, I’ve turned them down because I’m not ABCY certified yet…. I’m considering that though).

Not that either of us want jobs. It’s something to consider though.

Anyway, we’re shooting for 1-10 November to be out of here. Today is “Back to the Future” day, 21 October 2015, and I love science fiction. That means the future is not yet written, and we make our own.

I plan, along with JoAnne, to make our own future come true, where ever and whenever it happens to be.

Norfolk, the Hard Way

Yesterday morning we woke up and it was downright cold. It was in the high 30s or low 40s and JoAnne was cold and complaining about it. I hate when she’s cold, I feel sorry for her because I can’t keep her warm enough.

At about 10:45 we received a phone call from Cobbs Marina in Norfolk area and told me if I could get there on Sunday evening they could look at the boat first thing on Monday morning (today is Monday) so we made a dumb decision.

We decided to go late in the day without doing a major weather check. We did a cursory check on the winds and such and it looked fine to leave.

And it was.

To leave that is.

Getting there was going to be quite another thing.

It was so chilly and windy that JoAnne couldn’t remain in the cockpit so I told her to go below and stay warm. We used the ham radios to talk to each other until her’s died.

I actually raised the main for a bit but kept jibing so it was not a good situation alone. I finally took down all sail and motored. But the swell was coming in from the fetch the wind had over the water.

I did NOT know about the cold front moving through or the wind speeds at 18-20. Then I measured 18.8 knots and it wasn’t slacking.

I knew the wind was going to cause bigger and bigger waves over the next few hours and I was 5 hours-plus at 5 knots away from the destination. It was going to get rough before it got better.

I warned JoAnne it was going to get choppy, and I expected it. What I didn’t expect was that the swells would be as much as four feet every so often, hitting us on the stern quarter.

It was getting pretty bad.

Finally, about 5 miles out of our destination to Cobb’s Marina, we got hit pretty hard. The boat got picked up and slammed hard tossing anything lose about the cabin. The things I use to navigate, like my binocs, my calipers, my charts and my pencils got shipped to the floor. Followed by me.

JoAnne was dealing with crap flying in the cabin below, including her. She was so sick she couldn’t really function well.

On top of ALL of the incessant pounding the swell is doing to us, even with me trying to change course to take it on the stern, we get slammed again, and my chart plotter goes out. Dead, blowing the breaker. I go below, grab my hand held to get my exact position to plot on the chart (mostly because I’m driving the boat near to markers and have a good idea, but not exactly where I am and now I want to be dead on accurate).

I got the lat/long, find the spot on the chart, find a buoy and start looking for it. Then the boat starts going up and down in the swell and the engine is freaking out.

I am concentrating on not getting killed, thrown from the cockpit and checking on JoAnne below, who is now puking her poor heart out. I felt bad for her but I couldn’t help right then.

So, we’re getting our asses kicked, I’m working on getting my precise location because the chart plotter is out, but at least the depth finder it working and I know the direction the wind is blowing – from dead behind me at the moment.

Finally I spot the buoy I’m looking for, and now I can get a pretty good idea on the chart where I really am. By the way, the little Gamin hand held is cool, but it sucks at trying to find your course and a few other things. I can ascertain my location, but not necessarily which way I am going at the same time, or for that matter the bearing on an object. Or much else. I don’t know why I even have it now.

Anyway, it did help verify my location. I was two miles from the shore, and way too far to the east for getting into the entrance of the marina (and Naval station and other marinas, etc) without a lot of trouble.

I tell JoAnne “It’s about to get really rough for a few minutes, I need to change course!” I shouted.

She can’t hear me, she’s sitting below, door mostly closed, engine roaring, wind howling. Damn, the sun is shining and it should be a beautiful day, but other than my poor wife whom is the only beauty I see around me at the moment, and she’s throwing up, I can’t figure out what the HELL I am doing there.

I turn to my starboard and head for a compass heading that ought to bring us close to the entrance of the marina. Hell, Warships go in and out, I can’t miss it!

I make a 35 degree change, and get hit once, twice then three times by breaking waves on my starboard side and the engine roars once, coughs and quits.

I hear JoAnne yell, “What happened!”

“Engine died” I mutter.

“What?”

I respond with trying to start the engine. Nope. I’m looking a mile off at the shoreline. I look at the water depth, 30 feet. I glance at the gps, 2 knots over ground. South. Right at the shore line.

Yikes.

“JoAnne! Get BoatUS on the phone as fast as you can!”

She begins working on that. I look up at the rigging. The back stay is pretty loose but I decide this is it. In less than 30 minutes we’ll be sitting ON the shore, not looking at it if I don’t do something.

I debate internally what to do. So, I do what any sailor would do. I grab the outhaul on the main (ours is a Seldon in-mast furling system) and I crank out about 4 or 5 square feet of sail. Tighten the boom to dead center and watch as the wind grabs the tiny amount of sail and we take off at five knots. I slowly turn the boat to starboard, the direction I want to go, and we start doing almost six knots.

Wow. Now we’re sailing. Not quite what I envisioned when I took this job on. I measure the wind. 18.9 knots.

JoAnne has the BoatUS people on the phone, hands me the phone and goes to try to fix up things below. I give my coordinates, tell them we’re in a bit of trouble, and I don’t think I can sail us in with the rigging issues, we have no engine and they connect me with a Tow boat driver.

He tells me “Get an anchor out, asap”. So I tell him I will, turn the boat into the wind, drop the sail and tell JoAnne I’m going forward. The boat is pitching like a bucking bronco, up about four feet, then back down.

I hook my tether to my makeshift jackline and head forward. I note the only boats I see now around me are giant ships, one is passing just past a marker buoy I’d passed minutes before. Where he came from, I’m not sure, but I had not seen him before. Either that or I was so preoccupied with my predicament, I failed to see him previously.

Now I am crawling forward, grabbing bold as the swell comes in and back out. Three more times before I can get there.

I untie the line on the anchor, remove the windlass wrench from the slot by the windlass, loosen the clutch and kick for the anchor… and miss as the boat makes a nose dive into a wave. The wave drenches my feet all the way to my waist. My face takes a lot of it. My ears are ringing from the water that hit me so hard it was like a cold punch in the face.

When the boat settles I regain my feet, grab the stanchions knowing they will throw me overboard if I get hit like that again, and I kick the release. Out goes the 50 lb CQR and chain. Lots and lots of chain.

In 30 feet of water my math told me I needed 150 feet of rode. The other night, we dragged our anchor in lesser winds than this, 300 yards and I didn’t catch it until it was almost to late.

Not today, Mother Nature, not today.

I let out 280 feet of chain before it bound up under the deck in the locker. I grabbed my snubber line and tied it off and cranked 30 feet back in, then connected the hook and was hit by another swell, but this time, we yanked to a sudden stop by the chain.

I sat down and slowly let out the snubber line with my feet braced against the windlass. When it was nearly out, I tied off the last of the line, and let out some more chain to give us a little bit of slack.

The wind howled, and the swell kept coming, but the bouncing was lessen a lot.

I made my way back to the cockpit and called out that I was still alive. She acknowledge I was there, but was busy being sick again.

And I waited. The driver said “an hour, at least”. This was going to be a long, long hour.

I turned the rudder to the swell which was no longer coming directly from the wind now, to help guide us into the swell.

True to his word, the tow driver, Captain Byron, called me and said he was there to start pulling the anchor. I looked but did not see him. We communicated back and forth several times and even through binoculars I could not spot him.

I told him I would NOT pull the anchor until I could get a visual on him. Suddenly, like the cavalry in an old movie, there he was, flag flying and everything. Just not bugles.

I ran to the front and sat down and started trying to get the windlass to haul up almost three hundred feet of chain and a fifty pound anchor, a foot at a time.

It took me fifteen minutes. I signaled for him to drive in font and block the swell several times, but he wasn’t hearing me or understanding me at all. Finally, something clicked and he powered up hard, drove in front of me and the swell stopped.

I gave him a thumbs up and the last 50 feet came aboard in record time, but not without breaking something in the platform. He threw me a messenger line, and I hauled it in, then got the bridle and we were hooked together in a couple more minutes. The tow in took almost an hour.

But we’re alive tonight and that’s all I care about.

Tonight, I’ve gotten the electric working again, the chart plotter is back online, I know why the engine died (fuel and gunk in the fuel) and we’re having maintenance done on the mast, lights and rigging in a few days, the diesel “polished” and we have a plan to get JoAnne down to Florida to get her doctor check up she needs, us to have insurance for medical and I’m putting full coverage on the boat in the next day or two.

I’m also likely going to hire a delivery skipper to help me, and train me, to deliver this boat to Jacksonville, FL in the next month or so.

And, tonight we finally wandered away from the marina and got some food and beer outside.

This last part is for Kurt Seastead, who did the video the other day and likes making these little memes for me. The foregoing story is a true one, the meme is not. (But it IS funny!)

meme

From Solomons to Sandy Point to Fishing Bay near Deltaville

We left Solomons on 14 October early in the morning headed for Potomac River, with some place marked on the chart to stop. As we were getting close to the Potomac, we made the decision to go on to another area simply because we’d not gone too very far to begin with.

We ended up heading to the Great Wicomico River near Reedville area and anchoring in a bay behind something called Sandy Point, at Kurt Seastead’s suggestion. Not sure if he’d been there before but he seemed to know it so we stopped.

Turned out to be a very cool place with only one other sailboat there. We dropped anchor and spent a night there enjoying the silence. Location was in 18.5 feet of water at 37 degrees 49.346 mins North and 76 degrees 18.686 minutes West.

I’d noticed several issues over the past couple of days with the forward sail, not the least of which was the fact it was not working right and had changed to the genoa a few days prior to this. Well, turns out the car carrying the sail up is adjusted incorrectly (and I still need to fix it as of today) but also I couldn’t get everything working right. The sail is not going high enough, it’s not letting out all the way, the inhaul wasn’t doing it’s job correctly either. I needed to add more line around the drum… so I fixed all that stuff only to find out my line is now too short to let out the entire foresail. Grrrrr. I’ll have to change out the line on the drum soon.

The following morning (15 October 15) we sailed off the anchor, with the engine running just in case. Ended up needed it since we were leaving is a pretty narrow channel going out and didn’t have enough to room to tack back and forth. As usual, I ended up giving up on sails after we has very little wind.

The boat is literally so heavy that 6-10 knots of wind barely fill sails, let alone make the vessel move at one or two knots. With a time constraint, this is not good. So, engine power it is.

Our destination was Fishing Bay. We intended to catch up with Kurt (S/V Lo-Kee), and Barb and Tom Bjorkholm (S/V Morsan) – other Formosa 41 sailboats.

Arrived at 1445 and dropped anchor in 21 feet of water and put out what I thought was just enough scope to keep us situated in the same spot over night. I dropped just under 100 feet of chain. Because, you know, weather reports said “calm” and “5-6 mph winds”. No big deal. So, a little less than 5:1 scope.

It was almost our undoing that night. More on that later.

That evening Barb and Tom came by and picked us up, gave us a tour of their beautiful Formosa, Morsan and took us over to a small Mexican restaurant. Since JoAnne and I LOVE Mexican food, it was heaven. Ok, well, it was alright anyway! We went back to the boat that night and headed for bed.

Later in the evening, the wind picked up and began to whistle through the rigging. I wasn’t concerned. At midnight I was still checking things and we were fine. I finally dozed off and at 0400 the next morning, JoAnne awakened and told me to check things – which I did. Not one fraction of an intergalactic declination or sidereal hour had we moved, or a latitude and longitude either.

I fell back asleep. At 0630 I woke up and something didn’t “feel right”. I got one of those weird feelings, in the pit of my stomach that something was very wrong. I still can’t figure out what the feeling was or why I thought there was a problem but I opened the curtains by my head and looked out and saw a house. Closed the curtains and lay back down, then sat bolt upright.

I looked again. Yup, definitely a house, I wasn’t sleeping and dreaming either. Next to the house, or more accurately, next to US were several very large, very strong and sturdy telephone poles. Right outside my window.

(Note, these were pylons. not telephone poles, but my mind saw them as telephone poles because they were big, they were close and they should NOT have been there). I finally came to my senses and woke JoAnne telling her to get up, I needed her help. I pulled on my pants, rapidly climbed the ladder, removed the boards, the hatch and started the engine.

We were less than 40 feet from the shore and I was SURE, three feet of water at the edge. I ran forward and started pulling the anchor up. The windlass of course, was not on, so I yelled for JoAnne to enable it and ran forward again. She came up, took the wheel and I pulled the anchor up, as she drove us away from the dangers of the shore and the giant posts – and from what I am guessing, the kitchen of the folks that lived in the house whose yard we’d nearly invaded.

Somewhere in there is a lesson.

Never trust the weather report, never, EVER believe your anchor is secure, and ALWAYS drop a few extra feet of rode.

A few hours later I was dinghying up to the fuel docks and filling diesel cans, to fill my tanks and a couple from Canada and I started chatting. When he realized which boat I was driving he got agitated and said, “Oh my God, you must have missed me by less than 200 feet!”

I won’t repeat the entire conversation, he was not horribly mad, but was perhaps a little miffed at it all… 🙂 I did promise not to anchor anywhere near him if I saw him again though. haha

Actually, he was a pretty good sport about it and when I told him what amount of chain and so forth, he implied he didn’t have any more out than me and I could see his anchors were similar. So why’d I drag and he didn’t? Not sure.

But, we’ll get to more about anchoring later.

Fishing Bay, was a nice place. Enoguh room for about a dozen or so good sized sailboats, good holding if you have the right amount of rode out, and your anchor holds… 🙂 but still pretty. The showers (or rather use of the facilities) costs 10 bucks a person. Meaning, you can use shower, laundry, bathrooms, and the “Captains Lounge”. We paid our money and took our chances. Worked out pretty good because we got a total of FOUR SHOWERS (YES! We’re shower pirates, lol).

Over the course of the two days, we visited with both Barb and Tom and Kurt came down too. We gave Kurt a tour of the boat and he made a video. The video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-KIv8m-VZo

We left on 17 October for Chisman Creek at 0930.

Solomons

Left this morning at about 9:15.  No problem getting out of the harbor, except for the massive number of crab pots everywhere.  JoAnne was complaining at first then said something about “I shouldn’t complain, I really like crab!” lol

We tried to raise sails after we were out of the harbor but there was almost no wind, and what we did have was on our nose.  It was more efficient to motor (again).

About an hour or so in I checked the charging system.  It wasn’t.  Charging that is.

The damned alternator quit AGAIN.

We motored all the way down, for about 9 hours without worrying about it.

I hoped I wasn’t cooking the batteries, but they are holding up very well. I ran the generator when I arrived, after getting the anchor light up (another thing to be repaired).  As I was putting up the anchor light, JoAnne started screaming for me below. Sounded bad.  As I fell down the ladder into the companionway (I never make a quiet entrance it seems) she was screaming something about a leak.

And it was.  She’d turned on the water pump and water was spraying everywhere under the sink.  Fortunately, it was an easy fix.  For the faucet, not my back.  I had to reconnect the copper pipe to the sink (yep, copper pipes in this baby).  Anyone ever mention copper isn’t good in some things?  Boats for instance?  Anyway, 20 minutes later she could cook dinner, I could complete my clean up on the deck and finally sit for a few minutes.

We aren’t leaving first thing in the morning.

I have to replace the alternator.

Again.

The trip down was great until the last couple hours when the wind was doing 15 knots off my nose, I was down to 3 knots, so I started tacking (I had the mizzen out partially so I used it alone).  By the time I could actually USE the sails we were under the gun to get here before dark.

We barely made it onto anchor before it was so dark I couldn’t see.

A young man named Dan rowed over on his paddle board to ask me anchoring questions.

When we came in I circled the area once, slowed, asked him how the holding was and stopped the boat, kicked the anchor lock out and loosened the clutch and set the anchor in about 3 easy steps (I’m getting pretty good at it, along with ensuring it’s NOT going to drag me anywhere at night).

Dan apparently had trouble with his catamaran last night.  They drove to the boat show in a rental today and came back and found their boat a mere 10-15 feet from the pilings.  Bad.

They moved it back and dropped anchor again, but were unsure what was happening.  Apparently not enough rode after he said they had about 20 feet out.  So I explained to drop anchor, let it hit, add a couple of feet, maybe 5-10 MAX, back the boat down on the anchor to set it, then let out the rest of the rode.  I also told him 5:1 here would be fine, unless it gets really windy, then let out more.  Except I’m near so not so much he swings into me.

This is a really small place and there are a lot of boats, and three rivers converge here.  Cool place.

Tomorrow I’ll replace the alternator.  My back hurts tonight, and I’m tired.

West River, Galesville, MD: Time to move on

We’ve been here eleven days, arriving 28 September. Had no intention of staying that long, but we go comfortable I suppose. The hurricane was coming, that never came. Then I was preparing to go last weekend and we found another engine issue with the same alternator.

So, finally, yesterday after messing with the marina here, and waiting again, for days on them, I took the old one in, found some one who fixed it, and the same place ordered me a spare.

We are planning to get out of here on Sunday if the weather holds a bit longer.

We will try to get to Deltaville for a day or so and visit with friends and after that, we’ll head for Florida, one day at a time.

Last night I put up the genoa and checked it. Awesome. We’ll be cruising with that sail for sure. The old one, the working jib is junky, and while it was ok, I couldn’t really coax much more out of it.

Between the main and genoa we should be able to pull 6 knots out of the boat without the engine. The mizzen sail is hopelessly stuck, and I’m going to need help getting it out of the mast. But, it is an ok sail.

I’m considering replacing both main and mizzen at some point in the future. Probably not new, but likely used sails. Then again, it will depend on the cost of new and used.

Refrigeration is not, and never has worked. JoAnne was good with that at first, now it’s a complaint. I guess that will be on our list to fix next or very, very soon.

With refrigeration we will need significantly more power than we have. That means more batteries, and a way to charge them. That means solar and a wind generator.

We have a small, 2kw gas powered Honda. It’s quiet, so it isn’t very noisy from a short distance from the boat. I had it running yesterday and couldn’t really detect the noise it made from a couple hundred feet away. So I can continue to use that as long as I can get gasoline.

The toilet in the back works. The Y valve is broken and everything always goes to the holding tank. That means pumpouts, docking, paying the costs, etc. The forward head toilet has a bad motor.

Electric toilets aren’t any fun. They are pretty new, but I’m either going to replace them, remove them, or make it so they can be both manual and electric or something. One more headache.

The former owner doesn’t know the size of the holding tank, but it seriously can’t be more than 20 gallons at most… if that. One more complaint JoAnne has.

Finally, there’s the bed.

The existing mattress is old and pretty much done for. It’s a closed cell foam of some kind. We bought a 3″ memory foam mattress I could modify to put in, and it worked. Now that is not so good. JoAnne spent the day at the boat show looking for some solution.

Priorities I guess.

Anyway, we will be moving on Sunday – I hope, or Monday at the latest.

We’ll figure out our plans for the boat as we go.

On the bright side, we met Linn Pardey today. She was nice and allowed us to have a picture taken with her.

We met Kurt Seastead – he’s the owner of the Facebook group for the Transworld Formosa 41s. Very nice man. We all walked around the boat show looking at things, kind of wandering around.

JoAnne and I had gotten there about an hour before him so we rushed over to purchase some headsets we need for anchoring. Neither of us can hear the other usually when trying to anchor the boat, so we got the headsets specifically for that job, though they are bluetooth and can be used on our tablets or computers for Skype too. They are charging now, we’ll test them before we actually need them.

Kurt went back into the show to look at boats. We moved on to get JoAnne out of the sun, and off her feet. We eventually came back to the area, stopped at Thursday’s for a beer, then came back to the boat.

Tomorrow I have to collect the new, spare alternator, get gas and diesel for the boat, prep a few things and take back the car we rented. Then we can leave.

That’s it for this update.

Hurricane Joaquin

We arrived at Galesville, MD at the Hartge Yacht Harbor marina a few days ago to meet up with a friend of ours who took the time to drive up from Woodbridge, Va. It was much closer for us to stop here and him to drive than for us to head down to the Potomac and hope we could get far enough up river to make it convenient for him.

Instead, Phil went out of his way to drive up and deliver equipment we had left in his care, all intact and ready to go.

Thank you Phil!

In the mean time… a small tropical depression started developing off the coast of Africa, moving slowly westward, building in strength and speed until he was named Joaquin.

Personally, I feel the name is both ridiculous and laughable. In fact, I’m not even sure what the name means in whatever language from which it comes but it’s not even pronounced well in my opinion. But that’s just me I reckon. (Actually, none of that is terribly true, and I know that Joaquin is the Spanish version of a Hebrew name which has something to do with Jehovah – but none of that is here, nor there when I am writing.)

What Joaquin DOES mean to me is that it is currently a Category IV hurricane beating be the bejuzus out of the Bahamas at the moment. It’s also a storm that has been damned difficult for meteorologists and hurricane experts to tie down to any one particular path.

I’ve seen a dozen different models of the storm’s projected path and NONE of them coincide with a second one. This has been most unusual and strange for over the last few years I’ve been watching hurricanes with interest and studying them.

Apparently I missed the course on “stupid hurricanes with stupid names who won’t follow one stupid path”. Or something.

Joaquin, as of tonight is projected to slam into Bahamas some more tonight and tomorrow (and please keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers because the islands where it is centered are low islands and could be swept clean of life there…..)

Yesterday at 6pm the center of the storm was projected to come right up the center of the Chesapeake Bay and go right over our heads. Yikes. Eye and all. Tonight, as of the moment I copied and pasted that image above, it will miss us BY THAT MUCH.

Now, something you should all understand that cone is a cone of uncertainty actually. The eye can fall ANYWHERE within the cone. Including as far left as the edge. So, theoretically the eye/center could wind up coming to landfall anywhere from the Carolinas to Nova Scotia. Yuk.

Me not being an ancient mariner – ok, let me qualify that by saying my kids and grand kids think I am ancient, and technically I AM a mariner, but I’m not THE Ancient Mariner – I have little knowledge except book learnin’ about what to do in a hurricane. Most books say “Run like hell puny humans!”

Unfortunately, I’m both puny in comparison and stuck where I am sitting right now.

JoAnne is scared, a little bit. I’m calm, cool and collected and have faced many dangers in my life, but nothing quite like this. So, technically. I’m only “semi-petrified” at this point.

But to put things in perspective, JoAnne spent her day doing laundry, in a nice, warm, dry room up at the marina. Me, I stood or sat in the dinghy, sometimes with water over my ankles today (as it is raining like cats and dogs here) while I put rubber hose over all the lines connected to the mooring ball to prevent the lines from rubbing through.

I’ve added three lines to the ball in three different places, in the hopes that if one snaps, the other two will hang on for dear life, and if two go, that last one is the last, best hope for the boat.

I have two 50 pound anchors sitting there which, at a critical moment may be kicked off the boat into the water to hold us against a tidal surge.

That brings me to the critical moment. I’ll have to be on the boat for that.

I have rented a Jeep and JoAnne can flee. If it is looking bad, I’ll send her off to some place safe and I’ll stay here with a radio to run the engine if I have to drive it at a stand still against winds.

However, I do NOT foresee any of this happening.

When it comes right down to it I might chicken out, but I don’t think so. This boat is really all we have. I trust my luck (I dunno why, I’ve never won the big lotto….) to help the boat. The boat is our home. I can’t let the boat down and I can’t let JoAnne down.

I believe that John Casey once said of sailing that it is 90% boredom, 10% terror. Or words to that effect. So far, I’ve had my few moments of sheer terror when not one, but TWO ghost trawlers (not little ones mind you,. giant assed, Deadliest Catch boats with rigging extended to look like evil Transformer-Terminators who click on their lights after passing silently me 4 miles off the coast of New Jersey at 2 AM or so. I think they were being asses and saw me on radar and did what they did to scare me. They did.

My radar isn’t working…. what can I say.

This hurricane is not something that one can easily wrap their mind around. I’ve been in two before. Neither of them were that close, probably passing center about 90 nm distant. We got lots of rain, but not a lot of wind.

If we’re lucky, this will happen with Joaquin. If we’re not we get to experience sheer terror. Again.

I’m hoping for the former experience, not the latter.

So, this likely my last entry for a few days. The storm is due to be passing here about Tuesday now (was going to be Saturday, but it has slowed down and hasn’t yet turned this way).

We will be sitting on this mooring ball a few more days.

Saturday or Sunday I will begin removing the rest of the stuff topside. Any lines I can remove, all the canvas I can take down. I’m not going to worry about the safety lines because the boat has enough freeboard that a few wires aren’t going to make a bit of difference in the resistance.

And that my friends is that for now. I’ll be around Facebook on and off as I can, and my kids and family can reach either of on our phones or text messages as long as we have power to the surrounding area. When the power goes out, the cell towers will go dark not long after, so please be aware if we lose electricity to the local area we lose internet.

If we lose the cell towers, we’ll be out of communication until we can get a message out.

Remember this though, we’re hams and we’ll get a message out. One way or another.

When all else fails, Amateur Radio. 🙂

See you guys on the other side – unless I can publish before the hurricane hits. Oh. Expect pictures if I can get them safely.

Last Night in Summit North

We are bailing out in the morning.

Mike from Total Boat Works came by with our new parts (water pump) and some spare parts this morning and completed working on the boat.  The engine is purring like a really, really big cat.  NOT over heating, not even warming the cabin up now like before.

We did a lot (I say we, because I was helping most of the time, so I could learn).  And I think we got it now.

I think I have everything ready for tomorrow except putting away the hose, the electrical cables and the lap top here.  We’ll have breakfast and coffee and head out the canal to Chesapeake tomorrow and probably sometime in the late afternoon will find someplace to anchor.

After that, it’s on to the Annapolis area and meet up with some friends.

C&D Canal – Summit North Marina

Not the best place to be stuck (though we aren’t actually stuck now, we can leave when we’re ready) but other than have a good mechanic here and showers a 1/2 mile off, up a hill, through the woods and mosquitoes, it’s ok.  We have fresh water and electricity.  I’m taking advantage of that.

As it turns out, we have two water tanks.  I think I mentioned that before.  One of the tanks is on the port side and has a separate valve to control its flow into the water system.  It was off and I hadn’t found it yet, and didn’t KNOW it was off.

When we arrived I was looking over plumbing and locating things I still needed to find.  As it turns out, when I opened the valve (not thinking about what might be in the tank) I contaminated the water supply with antifreeze.

Stony Point Marina didn’t do ANYTHING to the boat without specifically pointing it out.  Zincs was my first real issue with them.  Then duct tape on the shut off.  Now this.  I’m sure now I’ll find other things.  Commissioning should have involved flushing the water system and filling it, should have involved checking and topping off the oil, coolant, transmission and making sure belts were right and things were going to go well.

They didn’t do anything of the sort.  If you’re a power boater up in that area, you might have good service, but I strongly recommend against sail-boaters using the place.  Even for storage.  I think the manager is a jerk after charging me for duct tape (he didn’t tell me that’s what it was) and just being an all-around slimy guy.

There was one young man there, I want to say his name was Darryl maybe, who was helpful and nice, offered advice.  Eric, their yard manager and mechanic was the one that had to have used the duct tape.

Avoid the place.

Back to Summit North.  You’re more than a mile from ANYTHING here.  It’s a 1/2 mile to walk from the office to the road and there is a small store up the road (No, I haven’t walked it, but have had people tell me how far it was).  The next closest stuff is several miles away.

There is a restaurant here called “Aqua Sol” which was ok.  But they are like a high end place for boaters.  Kind of expensive.  Beer isn’t bad but the food… well, the burger was ok.  I guess JoAnne’s food was decent, service was so-so, but it was expensive.  And there’s nothing else.

I feel like I’m back out at Schriever, AFB inside the restricted compound, one place to choose from at high prices because you’re in a captive audience.

Internet service here works up by the main office.  No in doors place to be.  Internet at the Aqua Sol doesn’t work and they made an excuse about the fire wall blocking the public/free stuff and “nothing they can do about it”.

T-mobile service is limited here.  Internet connections through my phone are limited because I can’t get a good signal.  So, they get a 1 on service.

The mechanic, Mike, of Total Boatworks was helpful and when he looked in the engine, in 30 seconds he said, “Found your problem”, and pointed out some kinks in hoses I’d not seen or would even recognize as being a problem.  Remember, I’m used to cars and trucks, I’m NO mechanic but can pick my way through an engine slowly if given time and not under stress.

The hoses in a car or truck are rarely if ever a problem until they split open. Some of the hoses had holes being worn into them from vibration.  We replaced them all, put some anti-chaffing around others, added some missing nuts and bolts, changed the oil, added coolant, added an overflow for the coolant, rerouted the shifter cable, rerouted the exhaust water flow so the hoses weren’t kinked up and in general cleaned up all the loose and vibrating parts.

I have one big job to do, to cut a bracket away from the engine block, which is being hit and vibrated on by the block.  I just need to cut away a corner…. not an easy proposition, but he said he didn’t want to do it and charge me hours of work for it.

The engine is running much cooler now, and in fact using the laser heat gun he had showed me it was running cooler than it had before.  Simple stuff.  I hope that’s all that was causing the issues now.

We were going to leave today, but we need to do laundry and I need to rearrange a few things on the boat to redistribute some of the weight a little further back in the boat, and manage the forward compartment better.  Right now we have it crammed full of stuff and no real place to put it, and of course no place for a visitor to sleep either.

It will be a few weeks before we’d be ready for visitors, but then the family members who might visit are in the middle of doing their own things at the moment and probably won’t come out for at least a few more months.  Which is ok.  We’re still learning anyway and I don’t want to stress them out!

Last night we were up by the office visiting the rest rooms and checking the bulletin board and I ran into a couple who were just coming back from Baltimore and heading home.  We got to talking and she asked us how they were treating us in the marina and I gave her the “ambivalent” answer.  So she checked on our “condition” – that is she started asking me questions of if we needed a ride into town to get food, how was our fresh food supply, etc.

They were very nice and at the end of it she offered us some strawberries which I kept refusing to take, finally she thrust them into my wife’s hands and said, “Please take them”.  It was a very heartfelt response to us “not having fun”, completely unnecessary, but very, very sweet of her.  It’s not like we’re indigent or something.

But, they were the best strawberries I’ve ever had walking down the docks back to the boat.

So for today that leaves laundry, boat cleaning, paying the mechanic and probably one more long, hot shower today….

Mechanical Issues

Somewhere along the way I never learned anything about engines.  Well, that’s not really true, I can tell you all kinds of things about how engines work, how they function, what this or that part is and I’ve even repaired my fair share of mechanical issues.

There’s something about a diesel motor though that just is daunting to me.  In the past three hours I have learned a lot.

I learned they are simple.  I learned they don’t break easily, but if they do it’s usually something simple.  I learned that an over heating engine can be due to any number of things, but in general it’s something obvious (assuming you’re a mechanic and used to looking for obvious things that someone not practiced in diesel engines wouldn’t see anyway).

Basically, we over heated because several hoses on this machine were hastily put in, are too short, are kinked here and there, are worn because they are bouncing badly off other items, and there’s no brackets, clamps or other things to keep this chaffing from occurring.

Essentially, everything the mechanic Mike has told me I could have found, IF I knew where to look and what I was looking for.  Since I didn’t, I needed a mechanic.  He’s going to fix all the weird issues, change the oil and we ought to be underway by sometime tomorrow, assuming I don’t decide to spend one more good night to sleep since I’m exhausted for some reason.

Anyway, I’m headed back to help him some more.   He’s back with hoses, clamps and parts.

Weather Windows

I’ve not got a really good, paid for, type of weather application. I’m doing my weather the old fashioned way, watching it, smelling it, looking at the clouds, and reading several sites for weather information.

Everything I am seeing says we’ll have a decent weather window Monday to head south. Winds are promising to be relatively light 8-15 mph it looks like (depending on who you look at) and the winds will primarily be from the west giving us winds on the beam. Nice for us!

We spoke to two other cruisers and they are confirming what I think, one has programs (I think) and the other was using someone else’s data from a weather service (paid for). One, a lady, said she would be going over the weather tonight on her computer and figure it out.

The other said he’s leaving very early Monday morning. I think we’re also going to bail out of here as early as we can, at first light, depending on the sea conditions then.

We turned around yesterday and I felt crappy for doing it. I thought I chickened out. Turns out it was a pretty wise decision. JoAnne and I think we made the best decision for us. So did others who watched us go out and come back in, lol.

I changed several lights inside – think I mentioned this already – but I took some car head lamps, LED replacements, and rewired the sockets for the LEDs set to Bright. Made a SIGNIFICANT difference on power usage.

Right now we only have two high amp hour batteries in series. I want to add two more in parallel (the two I have in there are 6v golf cart batteries at 215 AH). If I duplicate that, and parallel them I’ll have 430 Amp hours of energy. Plus we bought a nice little generator set. So we’re ok on power for now. I still have not connected the solar panel up, but it’s on the small side. It will only supplement the generator, and not replace everything we use over a day.

I’m looking over at another boat who has a neat little wind generator. It makes a “swishhhhhhh” sound as it spins, but I think I can deal with that noise knowing it is giving us power. I need to find one that will supplement the engine alternator and generator. Once I do that, add batteries we can get the refrigeration working and have cold food in the ice box. Right now, we’re on a no-refrigeration diet, lol.

Today we got up early and took the day off. We only took the dinghy into the docks, hiked to town (about 2 miles there and 2 back), went to the grocery, hardware store and stopped for coffee and a sandwich along the waterfront.

Then we came back and JoAnne unpacked the food, marked it, put it away while I cleaned up the dinghy and put away the propane cylinders, bag and other stuff I keep in there, and cleaned up the deck, stowed lines, set up the generator and ran it for an hour to charge the system, put everything away when I was done, Not bad for a day off, huh?

For those wanting to know our location, we’re at Atlantic Highlands (still, one week today) in an anchorage near the marina. We’re about 10 or 11 NM south of NY city and can just make out the Verazano Bridge at night, and the city when it’s not hazy, at least the tall buildings.

When we leave we have to sail north, tack right and head east, go off the coast a ways (3 miles maybe) and turn south and then we have about a 100 mile trip in front of us – perhaps a 20 hour sail, unless we can hit hull speed – which I doubt.

On a good note, I got the chart plotter working again, cleaned the connectors very well and got the green corrosion off the pins. I really don’t know how to use it well, which is ok, we can read/use charts, and really it will just help verify our position and nothing more. I can use the autohelm, which I can set to a course and let the boat drive us where we’re going so I have have to tend the wheel constantly. Unfortunately, the autohelm and gps/plotter uses a bit of power, so we’ll be motor sailing on and off too, to charge batteries as necessary.

My nav lights are incandescent lamps so at some point I’ll be changing those over to LEDs when I can find something that meets Coast Guard requirements. Energy saving….

That’s all for the update for now.

Didnt get out

Last night we were on anchor, they had kicked us off the mooring ball. I don’t sleep well when not absolutely certain of our status and I wasn’t 100% sure of the anchoring last night because we got a very strong wind through here, a thunderstorm and we were rolling and pitching pretty badly.

Boats were anchored all around and while I was pretty sure my own anchor was holding, I wasn’t sure about some others. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted this morning, and so was JoAnne.

But we left anyway. In the beginning we did well, but the winds picked back up and were blowing us onto a shore. I could NOT get the boat to come away, because we weren’t making much headway in the wind. Finally, I did the prudent thing, turned the boat around and went back to the anchorage.

We’re set securely tonight.

Our next window is Monday morning.

We’ll try then,

Adventure Update

Yesterday was Saturday.  We had chosen to remain at anchor in New York over near Coney Island.  Except the night before we were getting whipped around by a combination of incoming tide, a current fighting the wind, which of course was in another direction.  So getting tossed about like we were in 8 foot waves (when they were barely 1 foot high) was not on our “want list”.

I decided it prudent to move the boat to a more protected area.  And there was no wind that morning.  So I started the engine.  We moved, dropped anchor and then I went to shut down the engine.

Back up a couple of days.  On our way down the Hudson River to Nyack we’d had belt issues.  I’d fixed them, so I thought.

On the way down the Hudson from Nyack to Ross Dock Park I’d tried to stop the engine and the engine stop cable came loose down in the engine compartment, requiring me to open everything up, rather quickly actually, trace the cable, find the shut down lever and find a tool long enough to reach the switch without burning the royal crap out of myself to shut down.  I could NOT fix that easily.

Back to present.  After anchoring, I went below to shut down the engine with my screwdriver only to find the belt has shredded itself.  Terrific.

I contacted a tow and we were brought south 9 miles….. to Sandy Hook area.  Could I have sailed? Yes, but there was absolutely zero wind where I was.  Did I need a tow?  Perhaps not, but, it puts us 9 miles further south and it was free, and they helped me locate a mechanic and parts.

Mechanic showed up at 2:30 after we were on a mooring ball at Atlantic Highlands Marina ($50 bucks a night, ouch)  and worked on things.

What he discovered was; 1) the pulley on the alternator was wrong, too small.  2) The belt was too long, 2) screws, nuts, bolts were missing in various places (I suspect strongly the marina where the boat was stored did the shoddy work at this point, especially knowing about the damned duct tape used to hold the stop switch).

Bill took my alternator to replace the pulley, find the right size belt, get me part numbers and to perhaps locate a replacement and/or spare alternator adjustment bar.  He’s due back here Tuesday sometime.

We’re planning a short, 16 hour haul down the coast to Barnegat Bay with a stop someplace to drop anchor to get some rest, then on to Delaware Bay – we hope.  We plan to sail.  The Mizzen sail is horked up pretty good, and jammed.  I’ll have to work on that as we go, but we can sail like a sloop.  Assuming the mainsail works ok.  We’re going to find out.

JoAnne and I have been rather …. well, scared of trying to head south, partly due to the medical issues we’ve experienced recently, and secondarily the fact we’ve not sailed anything this large in a long time – and in fact, we have not sailed in over four years.  We’re rusty.  Jumping to a 40 footer from a 25′ sloop wasn’t too bad when we did it last time, but, we did it pretty quickly.  For instance we sailed on a weekend before we left for BVI.  It wasn’t difficult to slip back into it easily.

This time though, we have nothing to give us the confidence we had back then.

So today we were talking (and last night as well) and have decided that we just need to go.

Cold weather will be upon us before we know it – it is, after all, September.  I for one don’t like the cold any more.  Not that the stifling heat of New York has been much of a blessing either, but at least I can feel my hands when working outside.

So, if we get the engine running properly on Tuesday, early on Wednesday we are heading out.  We have rudimentary equipment, but at least the autohelm IS functional (for now, lol) so it should be easier as it acts like a third crew member.

Here in Atlantic Highlands we don’t have Wifi or even phone most of the time.  We’re struggling to get through THAT little thing too.  I’;m writing this on my Linux laptop using a built in editor so I can just post it when I can, so forgive me if it is out of order or date later on.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve scrubbed the Starboard Side of Adventure with soap and water and found a beautiful teak wood surface under the grim and dirt.  Today, I oiled the wood that I’ve cleaned and the boat is absolutely gorgeous under there.  When I have time, the To Do list has the port side listed too.  I’ll get that done.

I have a list we put together today containing around 35 jobs, big and small.  Everything from working on getting the Wifi antenna put together to pick up and give us wifi aboard (using open access points) to cleaning the oil lamp fixture, converting the incandescent bulbs to LED, wiring a charging port in the aft cabin to working on hanging things up, moving things around to get the weight lower down, and the finding of things more efficient.

Some jobs will get done soon, some will get done someday.  No priority except on things like through hulls we need to ensure are closed when we sail.

Right now, we’re relaxing a little.  JoAnne is reading, as usual, and I’m doing the blog.  Trying to get the phone to pick up 4G is infuriating here, irritating.  And there it is, there it ain’t.  Aggravating.

We stopped in at a place called “Gaslight 33“ over on 1st Street here in Atlantic Highlands.  They aren’t a microbrew, but do have a lot of different beers, even some from Colorado we found.  Heck they even had Oskar Blues beers there.  But everything here, including beer is damned expensive.  5-7 bucks a pint from New York to here thus far.  Geez.

And with that, I’m done with the update for now.

Living Aboard

Today is our first day.  Living aboard.

Sorta.  Had some big plans to get over here, get some stuff on the ship, JoAnne was going to arrange a few things, I was going to get the jib set up, finish working on the water pump and do a few other little jobs – but I digress since I haven’t mentioned the hell we’ve been through the last few days!

A few days ago, everything started going wrong.

We discovered bad house batteries, a bad starter battery, the water system was hosed up, the high pressure washer connections were very, very corroded, to the point of breaking parts off of them.

We met with the former own a few nights ago.  A very nice man, very helpful and sad to see his boat go – but happy I think, that we have her.

So over the last few days, I’ve been repairing this and that.  Our plan was to move aboard today.  We checked out of the hotel in Newburg and stopped at Walmart to get a starter battery, we had breakfast and were coming down here to  unload a few things.

We were excited.  As usual, I was moving too fast for JoAnne and she ended up tripping on the dock.  She landed pretty hard on the concrete and got some scrapes but the worst part was her glasses.  I couldn’t catch them and they went KERPLUNK next to the dock in three feet of murky water and a foot of mud and two feet of grasses.  I hunted for them for an hour but never got in the water.  I used a boat hook.  I was afraid I’d never get out of the muck again.

So we went to a mall over in Nyack and spent the next 4 hours (they said “Oh, just an hour!”) waiting on glasses.

Great.  We decided it was lunch time. We went to Joe’s Crab Shack.

The young lady waiting on us was Deborah.  A sweet girl with a New York accent.  We ordered our food and I asked for a substitute of cole slaw instead of fries.

I got my slaw with a side of rubber glove.  Gross.  Yuk.  Crap.  Appetite went out the door.

Deborah came over and I tried not to complain or anything, but I wanted her to let someone know.  I figured a manager would come out.  Nope.  Never did.  And in fact the young lady went to bat and ended up getting both our meals and the two beers comped.

We did, finally get JoAnne’s glasses and got back to the boat about 6pm.    I brought her to the bathroom since ours aren’t really working just yet and then we went out to dinner (since it was now several hours after the lunch fiasco.

Once we came back from dinner – no, our stove isn’t working yet, either, or more accurately, it’s not been completely checked out and isn’t yet safe to use so no cooking for us yet – we had to go out….. anyway, finally I brought down our back packs, pillows, a blanket or two, guitar and a few small things.

So, as I write this, it’s almost ten PM and she is laying on the couch area reading facebook.  I’m writing this at the table.  Below decks is a disaster.  We don’t have a bath room complete functional.  A storm is supposed to blow through tonight so I had to add an extra line to the boat and retie the dinghy off.

And we’re both physically and mentally exhausted.

But, we’re happy.  We finally, finally, seven years after thinking it up, spending those seven years planning, practicing, going through cancer for her, heart attack for me, and tripping and falling all over ourselves in everything we’ve done and tried to do – we made it.

We’re really, truly, here on OUR ship, Adventure, rocking to the waves coming in from the Hudson River, listening to some rigging making noises in the wind.

We’re here.

Tomorrow will be a new day, plenty of stuff to do, cleaning, repairs, and did I mention cleaning and repairs?

We’re supposed to leave here on the 15th sometime.  High Tide won’t be until early afternoon, so I’m not sure how that will work out.  I don’t think the marina manager wants us here for reasons I won’t go into details about right now, but we can ONLY leave at high tide and we are ONLY leaving on our terms, not theirs.  A sailboat (something they admit they know nothing about) doesn’t work like a power boat (most of what they have in this marina) so life is rough but we’re going to do this our way and the right way and not be pressured by someone who doesn’t know anything about sailboats.

Time to go topside and see what is slapping in the rigging.  I think it is the main halyard.  Gotta fix it.

Funny… it wasn’t OUR boat.  It was the rickety docks making the racket.  The wind is up about 15 mph or so, so everything is rattling in the marina.  We are the only sailboat here, riding the high tide right now and rocking like a horse ready to get out of here.  I think she wants to GO somewhere, anywhere.

Soon, very soon, we will.

Yes I am a pirate….

Because, you know I stole this….

I just want to say that even though JoAnne and I have not “truly become live aboards” we’ve definitely become (and always have been) travellers.  About a dozen of these things are already things that have happened to us.  Everything from borrowing a washer and dryer to looking for good Wifi signals. lol

How will you know when you truly become a live aboard?

If you’re living on a boat these descriptions may ring your ships bell?

  1. When staying in a house you always come down stairs backwards
  2. You find yourself bleeding from random places at random times.
  3. You and your wife define “taking a break” as moving about six feet apart and looking in opposite directions.
  4. You avoid telling people you live on a boat just so you don’t have to explain to them you actually sleep on it as well… again.
  5. You think butter only comes in soft or liquid form.
  6. You only have 3 cooking pots.
  7. When invited to dinner at someone’s house you spend all night turning unnecessary lights off.
  8. When invited to dinner at someone’s house you ask if you can do your laundry.
  9. The doctor assumes your body covered in random bruises is a sign of physical abuse.
  10. You are the only one who doesn’t want to win the big screen TV at the charity raffle.
  11. You think “Game of thrones” is something you do when two people need the toilet at once.
  12.  Kids think you’re the coolest person on earth. Adults think you have lost your marbles.
  13. When you don’t like the neighbourhood you just move.
  14. You are content knowing that sailing is code for boat repair in exotic places.
  15. You can assemble a gourmet dinner using only one pot and mouldy cheese.
  16. Doing laundry involves a net bag, a moving boat, and 50 feet of line.
  17. When asked for a piece of paper, you ask if they want course or fine.
  18. You don’t want anything for Christmas that isn’t on a Kindle.
  19. Cardboard boxes, wrappers, and packing are thrown away before getting onto the boat.
  20. You define a good anchorage as one where you can get Wi-Fi.
  21. Your wallet contains more boat cards than business cards
  22. You know what a boat card is.
  23. When visiting ashore, you wake everybody at daylight screaming “We’re aground “when you open your eyes and don’t see water.
  24. You define an easy chore as one where you don’t have to pull everything out of the locker first.
  25. You covet new solar panels more than a new car.
  26. You can identify boats by the sound of their halyard slapping against their mast.
  27. Removing things from the refrigerator is like playing Jenga.
  28. In shoe shops you go straight to the flip-flops.
  29. You accidentally put your life jacket on when you get in a car.
  30. You walk in the rain all the way back to your boat, carrying a backpack, a load of laundry,  groceries destined to fall out of their bag at any second… all while thinking how lucky you are.
  31. Filling the water tanks is a full day’s work.
  32. The only thing you do religiously on Sundays is wonder what day it is.
  33. The first thing you do after setting the anchor is to see what other boats you know.
  34.  You talk to your boat and give parts of it stupid names.
  35. You understand and pay attention to the entire weather forecast.
  36. You spend weekends sitting in your cockpit with a boat hook beside you, waiting to fend off the next holiday charter boat.
  37. Every time you consider buying something you have to decide what you’ll get rid of to make room for it.
  38. When visiting ashore you look for instructions on how to use a push button toilet.
  39. A three minute hot shower is pure indulgence.
  40. You covet your neighbour’s engine more than his wife.
  41. Ice cubes are the ultimate luxury.
  42. You have to strap a bag full of water to your boom & wait a few hours before you can take a hot shower.
  43. You’ve googled to see if there are any companies that make triangular bed sheets.
  44. You know that duct tape was invented by God.
  45. You only bring out real cups for fancy occasions.
  46. Trying to find a partner to sail away with you isn’t being romantic, it’s kidnapping.
  47. Your computer homepage is the Weather Service
  48. You’ve spent mornings standing naked on the deck of someone else’s boat, adjusting halyards, lashing lines & freezing your ass off.
  49. You have given up trying to defend your lifestyle and are content with smugly thinking…..they don’t know just what they are missing.
  50. Having sex always rocks your boat.

(stolen from “Living on a boat” at http://www.cygnus3.com/living-on-a-boat-whats-it-really-like/)

Adventure Update for August 2nd, 2015

Note: I was going to put some funny title up there, but gave up because it didn’t sound right.  So, I’ll start this with a song for you….

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell
Highway to hell
I’m on the highway to hell

AC/DC

Day 16:  New York.  If anywhere in the world can be described (besides Canning Highway in Australia where AC/DC takes the nightly road trip to the pub at the end of the road) it could be ANYWHERE in New York.

New York drivers are the most aggressive, horn blowing, tailgating, cut-you-offers I’ve ever had the pleasure of not-quite coming into contact with. Thus far anyway.  That is the “coming into contact” with part.

On the other hand, the folks in the local pubs, stores and the marinas are some of the most congenial, nicest, kindest people you’d ever want to meet.

I can’t quite reconcile the differences between the two because I KNOW for a FACT that those nice, gentle, helpful smiling people turn into road rage warriors  and screaming, name-calling Hell Spawn the instant their foot touches the gas pedal in a gasoline or diesel, four-wheeled or two-wheeled road vehicle.  I’ve not yet had the pleasure of encountering then in a boat….

However, on land I’ve been cut off, tail gated, yelled at, honked at, flipped off, passed on blind curves, passed by people in the wrong lane, wrong side, and people coming at me from the other direction with their wheels and three quarters of their vehicle where I should be!   Holy crap, I can NOT WAIT to get out of New York or at least stop driving here. haha

On the other hand, almost everyone we’ve met with a couple of limited exceptions have been nice as pie to us.  Some wanted to hear our stories or tell us theirs.  The waiters and waitresses in eating establishments, in particular Applebies have been very nice, even sweet to us.

I’m thinking of writing a new book.  I think I’ll call it “Escape from New York” minus Snake Plisskin…

We’re easily more than two weeks away from sail date.  I might have to extend the hotel stay…. ack!

We’re staying 20 miles from the marina, the hotels closer are pretty bad.  The boat is missing its batteries.  The running rigging is all hosed up, I need to figure out the winch for the anchors, and do some minor sail repair.  We have so much junk that we’re never going to get it on the boat and if we do we will be on the next episode of “Boat Hoarders Goes Redneck in New York”.

We went through the locker and stuff that the former owner left for us/  There were hundreds of items.  More than we will ever be able to put on the boat.  However, JoAnne came up with a plan to use the settee area for storage of pots and pans and bigger kitchen items in the forward seat, and all the nuts, bolts and engine parts (among other boat parts) in the forward set locker).  It’s good because it works well.  There are small spaces under the seat on the port side both forward and aft with a large tank in the middle (I have to crawl under to work out which tanks are which and I’ve not had the chance to do that yet, but I think it is a water tank).

In those areas we can store a small amount so I’ll put things we rarely need in there, and she can use her end for kitchen items we hardly use.

Yesterday we managed to spend somewhere upwards of 6000 dollars.  Batteries, rope for rigging (two kinds, 1/2″ and 3/8″), a lot of smaller items, a pig tail power connector, a dinghy and of course an engine for the dinghy.

We didn’t buy a “cheap” dinghy, we got one that should last a couple (or few) years in the Caribbean Sun Shine.  Made of hapalon, it’s a RIB-310.  But know it wasn’t the most expensive one either.  And it was an inflatable, not a hard sided sailing dinghy like I really wanted.  We just need a dinghy, and this will do the job.  We’ll get our sailing dinghy along the way, or I’ll build one eventually.

We also bought a different kind of engine.  I’m not sure how it will work out though.  It’s a 5 hp engine, and runs on propane. Yep, propane. I joined the Green Crowd yesterday.  Don’t ask me why. Some reviews were bad on it, but we learned something about the engine – that you have to bleed the air from the lines after you connect your tanks, or the engine doesn’t run well.  I’ll reserve judgement.  The tanks are the small grill tanks you can buy at Walmart (or anywhere).  There is an adaptor to connect it to a regular propane tank though.  Again, I’ll reserve judgement for the time being.

On the bright side, we’re well under our projected “Refit Budget” bu a few thousand bucks.  Now, it’s just a crap load of work.  I probably should count the hotel bill into “refit”……

We are looking at extending at the hotel until next Saturday because the majority of our parts won’t be in until this coming Thursday, 6 August.  We’re NOT sure of the batteries, but if they get in Tuesday we could move aboard Wednesday evening or Thursday.  I don’t want to move us aboard until I have the battery system back in and rewired up.

We do have a power pigtail we needed at this marina.  One of the mechanics, Erick was nice enough to Frankenstein one together for me and lend it to us for the time being.  He said he needed one for his boat and would lend it to me until mine comes in.  Thanks Eric!

I’ll rectify the problem when my part comes in (yuk yuk – that’s an electrical joke, but 90% of you won’t get it, lol)

I’ve got one halyard that is completely toast.  The outer braid came apart due to, I’m sure, chafe at the sheave at the head of the main mast.  It’s all wrinkled and fallen down on both sides.  I need to change it soon, so I don’t have to climb up there.  I’ve got to check the lighting up there too, so if they are out, I can get someone ELSE to climb up there. lol

Other running rigging is all messed up because a lot of it puddled water around the lines and caused algae to grow, not to mention most of it has been in the sun so long it’s got UV damage.  So I bought several hundred feet of each type of line so I can replace the various lines.

Now, on to the Marina.  They’ve changed names at least three times that I can determine and possibly that many in a couple of years.  The current manager is not the guy I’ve been talking to on the phone the past few months, but a new one.

Old owner is still there.

Then I find out the entire staff has changed out.

The boat was put here, I assume because it was cheaper to store on the hard than anywhere else.  I still find that difficult to believe after paying my yard bill….

The old manager was very nice, is a sailor and seemed to know sailboats, but he apparently has cancer and isn’t managing any more. though I understand he is still here at the docks on his boat.  I wish him well.

The marina itself lost 70 plus slips and boats during Sandy.  And I suspect it really screwed up the water depths here.  I’m sitting in a seven foot deep slip at the moment, during high tide.  The keel is 6’1”. So, we settle into the mud every time it is low tide.

I have been checking the dock lines and my other lines I’ve tied off to prevent the boat from leaning very far over.  I’ll probably need to swap out my dock lines in a day or so, or add some more to prevent chaffing of the lines.  The water is 3-4 feet deep at low tide and I can see the prop.

Which brings me to my next gripe.  When the old marina manager was there, he said they’d take care of the zincs, put it on my yard bill, along with the paint job, boot stripe (which I really, really wish I’d NOT done) and nothing was accomplsihed until a few days before I arrive.  A boot stripe was put on, up on the cabin….. didn’t really need it on the hull, lol.

The paint was slapped on, the intakes were gooped up with paint and none of the zincs were changed.

When they DID change the zincs it was ten minutes before splash, and they only did the two on the back of the boat.  They didn’t replace the prop zinc.  Me, being a non-expert on sailboats (yet) I asked “Where’s the shaft zinc”.

“Ain’t one”, I was told.

“I know there ain’t one, where is it?”

“Ain’t there, no place to mount one….”

They mount around the shaft like a doughnut, I didn’t know that at the time.  Figured it out later.

On the bright side, the boat is sitting in 3 feet of water at low tide, I’ve got a dinghy on the way and I can paddle my little butt around the back of the boat, install the zinc myself by putting my forearms into the water…. so I guess I’ll add that to the list of jobs.

Oh, the best part of the marina came today.  It was 70-72 degrees this morning, tide coming in making it easy to get on the boat, so we drove there.  Gates were closed at 8:30 AM.  Hmmmmm  I didn’t have a code.

I do now.  They didn’t think to give it to me…..

Tomorrow is Monday.  Won’t be a lot of people in the marina tomorrow.  Everyone went home tonight (or is leaving in the morning).  I’ll have my choice of parking spots close to the dock that goes out to my slip. If all goes well, I’ll pull the chain in the morning, determine if I need to order any and get my call into West Maine (only place in the area I can find so far) for 300 feet of chain (if I need it) or clean what I have and put it all back.  Sure wish I had some muscle guys to help me with this part…. but oh well.  30 links at a time (lifting) won’t be bad, it’s the dragging through the boat and on deck that make me cringe. lol

Ok, I think that’s the update for today.  We ate at Lynchs pub for lunch (late, 3 O’Clock-ish) and found it to be nice in the pub part, but appeared a bit dressy for the dining area.

Last part of the update.

Wednesday is 5 August.  I turn 58.  We will be married 38 years on that day.  My eldest son turns 37.  So, Happy Birthday to him, and a Very, VERY happy anniversary to my darling bride, JoAnne.

We are also meeting the former owner that evening to chat with him and have a drink, probably at Lynch’s..

Retired – Finally a couple of years later than planned

We planned to retire almost two years ago, at the “end of the Five Year Plan”.  Then JoAnne was diagnosed with cancer, we had to pull the house from the market and regroup.  Which we did.  And JoAnne is doing very well today, one year later (yesterday) after ending chemo.

As you all probably know I had a heart attack on the 13th of May, went through surgery to replace a valve and have a bypass done at the same time.  The bypass was done “because we’re in there and it will cause you issues in the future”.  I didn’t want future issues.

On a tuesday about three weeks ago I saw the doctors and they released me to go back to work, and as of today I can go back to lifting weights, albeit slowly and carefully planning my training program to get my strength back in my upper body.  I went from 178 lbs down to 161 lbs at the lowest, but I never stopped walking and exercising as I could.

Last Friday was our last day at work – both of us left our jobs on the 10th of July.  Our house is sold.  Our belongings pared down to a small trailer with some tubs of kitchen items, some radio gear, personal belongings we can’t bear to part with yet and we’re ready to go.

Today I finished the paper work for our mailing address (St. Brendan’s Isle), and that will be mailed tomorrow.  Our last, and final step is selling JoAnne’s jeep.  It’s a 1999 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Edition.  She’s asking 7800 for it – KBB is listing it for our zip code at 8200.  Wish us luck.  Let us know if you’re interested 🙂  Adventure.Rick.JoAnne@gmail.com or click on the link on Craigslist!

We have nothing preventing us from leaving tomorrow (except the Jeep).  We were shooting for Wednesday this week, but might not be able to leave until Thursday or Friday assuming the Jeep is sold.  Either way… we are ready.

The bottom of the boat was painted last week, new zincs installed and a new boot stripe was put on.  I’ve asked them to stand by on commissioning the boat and splashing until we arrive – probably in about two more weeks, as we have stops to make across the country.  We plan to stop in Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia. Then off to New York we go to collect the boat, unload our junk and collect some other stuff from a storage container – all of that boat parts and such.

So here we are, 57 years old – and having worked collectively for over 80 years now… we’re done.  From now on the only work will be on our ship…. or if we run out of funds.  Which I don’t foresee any time soon.

I’ll document some of our trip.

What I won’t do is post exact locations or exact dates here.  Old security practices die hard 🙂

To my friends at the Agency, my co-workers, boss and the rest – all my best and thanks for 18 years of challenges, successes and friendships.

Here’s to the next 20 finding new challenges, new successes and new friends.