Refrigeration

Refrigeration:

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

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

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

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

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

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

That means I can pronounce the patient “healed”.

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

Update to follow!

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Why that title?  Because I did things yesterday, today and will do some tomorrow.

Yesterday we had some issues with wifi.  The antenna attached to the Bullit broke.  Snapped right off inside the connector, necessitating me to dig out the soldering equipment to do repairs.  When it went down, I was well in the middle of running cables over from the radio to the external antenna on the boat.

Basically, we have a “random length” wire, that comes from the tuner over to the insulated backstay (one of the wires holding the main mast up).  I had to dig through a lot of junk to find some wire to run through the bulkhead to get the antenna connected.  In the mean time, the wifi stopped working and the wife was asking about it, or complaining really, because she was trying to play a game and kept getting disconnected.

So, stopped working the HF radio stuff, repaired the wifi antenna and got that back up and running.

In the middle of all of this, I got a message on my phone.  We can’t get calls, no coverage, so we’re connected to the wifi…. which wasn’t working.  Therefore, the second the wifi came back, the message came through.  They stated I had a large box awaiting me at the office.  Turned out to be the new C-Head composting toilet.  Collected that.  More on that later.

Once I got the HF rigged up, I realized I’d lost my control cable somewhere.  The control cable goes between the tuner and the HF rig to switch bands and is an absolute necessity on a random antenna like we’re using.  I remembered that when I was in Colorado Springs in the winter, I’d looked for the missing cable inside the trailer and storage we still have (my kids are keeping that stuff).  When I didn’t find the cable, I had purchased the DIN connectors and placed them into my electronic gear I carried back and forth all the time.

Fortunately, along with some wiring I needed to complete the HF installation, I happened to locate some 5 conductor spare wire that I was able to use to build the control cable.  So, today, the HF radio is working, and Wifi is back online.

This morning I opened up the new box of stuff, the C-Head Toilet.

It appears that this installation is going to be easy.  The toilet will not only fit, it will sit perfectly in the aft head.  I went through all the instructions, directions, parts, parts list and read everything.  The hardest part will be the removal of the old toilet, the plumbing, etc.

So, yesterday I did the HF.  Today, I examined all the parts of the toilet, tomorrow, I’ll probably start the installation in the head.

 

Of Toilets, Sails and Electric Power

Sails:

Three jobs I want done.  Sails repaired (the UV damage I can’t really fix, I’ll need a sail loft to do, as I have no sewing machine and I’m not sure how to go about replacing pieces of the sails yet).  The toilets; time for a composting head.  And power.  I like power.  JoAnne and I have our computers, my ham radio gear and we like to have lighting at night most evenings for reading.

Today I spoke to a local sail loft, and someone will come out to the boat this week to assist me in unsticking and checking the internal rigging for the mizzen.  It’s been giving me fits since the first day.  It’s pretty stuck again.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe it’s the internal rigging.  I did have it working once pretty well, but it’s acting up again.

The main and mizzen are both suffering pretty badly on the clew where it hangs out of the mast.  On the main mast furling (for those who don’t know) the clew (the bottom corner part of the head sail farthest from the mast) sticks out about 10-12 inches when the sail is rolled all the way in.  That part of this particular sail has no UV cover or protection and it’s sat for many years in the sun.

Amazingly, the sails inside are clean and pretty.  Though, could use a good washing.

The mizzen sail (again, for the non-sailors that follow us, the rear most mast on the boat) is the same way (and the mechanism is the same, only smaller).

When I talked to Jerry from the sail loft he told me I could either remove the sails and bring them down and they’d price it out for me, or someone could come to the ship and assist if necessary.  When I explained the problems with the mizzen, he said he’d probably come out personally.

At this point, I’m going to hand over the working jib, main and mizzen and not worry about the genoa.  I let it out and examined it pretty carefully again today.  I’ve had it up and down a few times and looked it over.  The only real wear is at the clew where you attach the sheets.  However, it’s nothing at all to worry about right now.

Before we head for the Bahamas (under sail we hope) we will have decent sails.

Toilets:

On the toilets.  I really like the electric head.  But, I HATE that it uses electricity.  I hate that there is a holding tank.  I hate the plumbing.  I hate when we have to use it and put anything in the tank.  We have literally no smells aboard the boat except when the tank gets something added to it.  The tanks are old (original) and are stainless steel.  Worst possible thing they could be for holding waste.  Even stainless steel “stains” around urine.  I don’t even want to think about what it will be like to remove that tank….

On Facebook in the Sailing and Cruising group, and on several of the online sailing groups, composting toilets have been discussed to death.  There are two, absolute views on them.

A) Hateful, evil, nasty

B) Loving relationships

Those who use them on their boats love them.  Those who don’t like them have either had little experience with them or none at all.  Of course, like everyone else, I’m somewhat generalizing, but this is truly what I have read from the masses online.  Of the several people we’ve met using them, and having them on a cruising boat we found that without exception they state they are 1) clean, 2) do NOT smell, 3) do not have to worry about if your Y-valve is locked or not, 4) easy to clean and care for.

Of those whom I’ve personally had discussions who didn’t like them, they have said “They stink”, “they are nasty”, “They can flip upside down” (so can your boat with a holding tank), “I wouldn’t own one”, “I’ve never used one” and various other remarks that lead one to believe they are horrible.  But, in almost ALL cases, there is no experience with them at all, or minimal.

In all, we’ve probably spent a couple of hundred hours of research, reading and talking to the various companies, and friends about this subject.  One one never imagine having to talk about poop so much.

Finally though, we decided that we’re going to replace ONE of the toilets on the boat with a composting toilet.  We’re going to go with the C-head – because it’s half the cost of the others.  But it also uses easy to find parts if something goes bad or breaks.  The truth is I could go up the hard ware store and buy a bucket, some play wood, some glass and build my own given the pictures and knowledge I have now.  I just don’t have a full service wood shop on the boat (though I have a lot of tools) I don’t relish the idea of building something and taking a couple weeks to do it and then maybe mismeasuring one thing.

So we will purchase one and install it.  If all goes well, we’ll replace the second before the time to depart in the fall.  Sometime next year I’ll have the boat hauled when we do our painting and cut out the ancient tanks, plumbing and remove those through hulls and have the hull repaired, fared and painted.  That will remove several through hulls and the associated plumbing, and a large space in the bilge will be emptied out for us.  Next year.

Electricity:

What a mess.  My house bank is really for the windlass and the bow thrusters.  Everything else in the house actually appears to run on the starter battery.  Oh. My. Wow.

I will need to get under the bed, the aft head, the bilge, and the port bulkheads to locate wires and figure out what goes where and draw schematics.  What a mess.  I want to add solar and a wind generator, but I’m not even sure where I’ll put solar panels on this boat.  No real place to do it.  The taffrail on the aft might hold them, except for the mizzen mast rigging.  The davits might hold them, IF I have something built up above them.

A wind generator can be mounted on the mizzen.  Except for the big issue of making connections to everything, needed a specialized charge controller to handle both solar and wind generator.

As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to have to find a consultant to assist me to dig through the wiring and figure this mess out.  I’m not sure this is going to be an easy thing to do anyway.  I DO know I can rewiring some things, I just don’t have a good handle on it yet.  Going to take me a few days of measuring voltages and tracing wires.

The toilet, in comparison to the electrical issues is going to be a cake wake.

Addendum to “Stuck in the Mud”

The Stuck in the Mud post caused a bit of contention with a friend who is a sometimes resident at Cobb’s Marina.  She disagree (as she put it) with 99.9% of my post.

I’m writing this particular post to hopefully unruffle some feathers.

First off I’m not saying people shouldn’t visit Cobb’s Marina.  I liked the place.

Second, I stated clearly that the majority of what I wrote was written in December of last year, six months prior to posting.  I considered NOT posting it at all, but this is a blog.  The blog is here to document the trials and tribulations of us as cruisers.  When something good happens, we will tell the story.  When something bad happens, we will tell the story.

Third, the things I say here are my opinion and as factual as I can be.  I sometimes leave out names, exact locations and certain details in order to protect the innocent.

Fourth, My opinions of things may vary widely from the readers; including things from politics, to marinas, to the right anchor to use, the right lighting systems to use, how to use a radio, how I write and what I say when I write.

I am not sure my friend will even bother to read anything any more on the blog because she disagreed with me on the “Stuck in the Mud” post, but I hope she can understand something simple.  I’m here cruising because it’s my wife’s dream and it’s my dream.  Everything I do is for the comfort and safety of my wife, the safety of my ship and anything that occurs out there, or inshore that affects the boat, or the morale of our little crew is crucial to our survival.

This includes good AND BAD experiences in marinas.

Again, for the record, I will state that people should NOT pass by Cobb’s Marina if they need a place to stay.  They should, as in ALL marinas, READ the CONTRACT, ask questions and be clear on what you’re getting for your money and their time.  Above all, you should as boat owner be aware that your responsibility to the boat is yours, and what you hand off to them is theirs.

There is, in all cases, an implied contract, never written in to a piece of paper when a marina accepts responsibility for doing work on your boat or having you in the marina that they too are culpable in certain situations and conditions.  While paper contracts are all well and good, some states have laws against writing contracts that completely indemnify a marina (or anyone) from any damages caused by others or themselves.  Many places blithely write in clauses into contracts without actually checking the law and assume (or hope) you will go on about your business and assume responsibility completely simply because it’s written in the contract.

When it comes down to the actual law, said contracts can be nullified in a court.

I didn’t want to hire a lawyer.  But I did, because the other party’s insurance company began to get testy with both parties involved.  In fact, the other party also hired a lawyer to deal with the circumstances.

At NO time did either party consider Cobb’s Marina as being liable for what happened.  The lawyers were due to the INSURANCE company.

Which brings me to the last point.  I had all my paperwork together for full coverage on the day of the accident.  Before that I had simple liability on the boat for damages we  might cause in case of fire, accident, me driving badly and so forth.  However, because of the accident, full coverage was immediately denied and all my paperwork was for naught.

Now I had to 1) Show that the damages were fully repaired and 2) answer new survey questions to the insurance company.

So, the accident in the marina was caused by two issues.

A) Having the boat placed in a location that was dangerous and hung the bowsprit out over the corner of the dock

B) A boat driver attempting to drive a malfunctioning boat with one engine, turning it with a strong wind blowing into the area.

The marina could have been held liable, as they were the deciding factor on where the boat was placed, and THEY placed the boat there. Not me.  I did not pursue that aspect.

As to everything else I wrote, the majority of it was written when I was mad about all the accident.  That includes the batteries (which are no worse for wear by the way, I was able to save them without any problems) and some of the other situations.

The very last thing I’d like to say, this is my blog.  I will write what I like, when I like, how I like and I will post whatever I deem fit to publish.  If someone doesn’t like my opinion, that’s ok. You’re entitled to your own, and your own blog.

 

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.

 

Fishing Bay, VA

We arrived here on Friday, one day.  Long trip. Had engine problems, lots of wind, no wind, wind in the wrong places….

Anyway, we’ve been sitting in Fishing Bay, Va, through the deluges of rain.  It’s actually raining again, but only drizzle.

We are planning to leave in the morning and try to make it as far as we can, but had “Sandy Point” as one route (it’s about 29nm) and some places up along the Coan River and… somewhere else I’m not remembering at the moment.  Anyway, it’s all written down and I can check the book we use to plan our locations.

Weather is looking ok tomorrow  Cloudy tonight. T-storms tonight, 54F.  Tomorrow sunshine and 80s.  But almost not winds. So motor sailing I guess.  Fortunately I filled the tanks today. Winds have all but died down.  They were pretty strong last night, but my anchor held well.

Dinner tonight was salmon and salad. And a couple of Guinness!  Wonderful!  I hope that one day soon it will be salmon I caught.  I’m getting the hang of things, I think.  Except the sitting and patience part.  That’s gonna take a lot longer.

The marina apparently left some parts off.  Nuts, lock washers, washers… on the bow.  The bow platform is damaged again because of it too.  The anchor roller came lose trying to bring up the anchor.  I found no screws in it (ok, ONE, but no washers to speak of on either one).  I spent an hour putting washers, lock wasters and new nuts on some of the screws.  Unfortunately, when the anchor came up it slammed into the platform and punched a nice hole in it.  I’m considering ripping that thing off and putting in a solid platform instead of that “fancy thing”.  I want something sturdy and useful, not “cute and expensive looking”. I’m trying of crap breaking because it’s built like willowy lace and not solid oak.

We have two leaks.  Kurt thinks one might be from the port hole. I’ll tear it out when I get a minute and check, and seal it.

The other one is the butterfly hatch.  That needs to be sanded, sealed and varnished (or as some say, oiled).  The consensus on varnishing teak, versus oiling, versus leaving it to go gray just isn’t there.  I’ve gotten twenty different opinions, all different. hahaha

On the boat top, deck and topsides, I’m leaving it alone for now and keeping it clean.  It looks great that way.  One suggestion is, if I use oil, to use tung oil, because it tends to form a hard surface.  I might do that.  Or at least put it in a couple places to test it.

Anyway… I’m tired, we’re leaving early tomorrow and I need to sleep.  So… until next time, this is the sailing ketch Adventure signing off!

 

Slight delays

I mentioned the other day that we couldn’t get out of here because the Enterprise Car rental fibbed to me about having a car, and then when I called to confirm the reservation they said “Oh, we’re closed on the weekends”.  Anyway, that put us out until Monday for a car.

So, yesterday we drove up to the new marina, dropped our car, checked in with the marina folks and told them we’d be back when we got back.  They were happy to see us and ok with us leaving the car.

When we got back we started looking over the weather and found that it was going to rain north of us pretty heavily, and we’d be getting rain here in Norfolk sometime this afternoon.  Yuk.  Winds are pretty light though, about 10 knots aloft right now.

I spoke to David, the Dockmaster and asked about moving the boat to a different spot, to get us out of the Pit, around the corner from other boats and make it easier for me to depart when the time comes.

JoAnne did some more checking and it looks like our best day (for the sailing we want) will be Friday morning for a few hours.  In double checking it looks like winds from the north starting in a few hours and going through until late on Thursday.  Friday about 0000 UTC the winds die down a bit but become variable and switch rapidly from north, to east, to west  then finally out of the SW as the High pressure bubble moves through.  From that time through at least Saturday it looks like mostly SW winds ranging from 5kts to as much as 22kts.  Looks like Sunday on, the winds shift to NE.  Right down the Potomac… so  if we get out of here on Friday we are going to find an anchorage and sit there a few days.

Anyway, we’re not taking a risk of getting beat up on the Bay again.  We’ll take this slowly and surely, not jump in unless we’re ready to do it.

So a few days on the docks here without a car, but we’ve got food, water, and the grocery store is hiking distance for me.  Captain Groovy’s isn’t too far either (you know, just in case… beer).

 

Overcharging Batteries, Heat and Sleepless Nights in Norfolk

Yesterday I decided I needed to actually rip into the aft cabin and take apart the bed to get to the batteries.  Lead-Acid cells, all of them, need to be checked from time to time for evaporating water from the electrolyte.  I installed one set of batteries in August last year, the second set here in Norfolk and did the wiring job.

I apparently missed a few steps with our system I should have paid more attention to.

How I discovered I missed the steps was a night from hell last night.

Let me start in the aft bedroom.  I pulled the mattresses.  We’ve been here for just over a week and when I put them down they were dry as a bone, unblemished and practically new.  When I pulled them, the bottoms were damp, mildew had begun to form on the bottom.  The wet, rainy days and closed cabins contributed to this problem with condensation all over the cabin for a few nights.

I did as JoAnne asked and sprayed down the tops of the mattresses (after flipping them so the bottoms were now the tops) and wiped them down with a weak vinegar solution to kill the mildew.  I set them off and began work on the battery compartment, located quite inconveniently beneath the bed, just under the boards that are the surface for the mattresses.

I pulled out the old (dare I say “ancient”) hydrometer and opened the first battery to check the specific gravity of the cells.  First the hydrometer began to come apart in my hands.  Second I realized that lo and behold, there’s no visible fluid in the cells.  Ack. Bad news.  I had spoken to the marina who said they “were regularly checking the boat and batteries”.  Today I confirmed they were merely checking the charging status on the panel, and never once went into the compartment to actually “check the batteries”.  Double-ack…. Mistake number one, assuming that people are doing what they actually say they are doing.

So, I open all the batteries and they are all very low.  I used filtered water (no distilled available, verified I could use it first of course).  I put between 4-6 ounces into each cell.  That’s a lot.  That means at least a half inch or perhaps more of each cell was exposed to air and this is not a good thing for batteries.

I went ahead and closed everything up and started checking the charging station.  We have a “smart charging system”, built by Xantrex called a Heart 2000R (monitor).  There is my second mistake…. I’ll get back to this in a minute.

In the mean time, JoAnne and I went out, had a couple beers, ate some food, came back.  I noted a slight odor which seemed familiar but JoAnne said “Smells like the vinegar to me” and I assumed it was.  Mistake number three, not investigating more closely.

After while, I thought the smell was stronger.  And it was.  I then investigated.  Walking into the aft cabin, it was HOT in there.  Probably 85 degrees.  WAY hotter than it should have been.  Then it hit me.  The smell.  Well, the identification of the smell.  Sulfur from batteries.  YIKES!

I shut down the charger, removed all the mattresses, bedding and cover and the heat coming out of the battery compartment was stifling. I switched off the system and starter batteries by using the big switches.  I could still touch the batteries without being burned, but they were literally boiling inside.  I quickly opened all the hatches, head, windows and turned on fans to blow out any fumes and likely hydrogen (I have a scar on my forehead to remind me to do that stuff, where a battery blew up when I was about 15 or 16).

I placed another small DC fan on top of the batteries as soon as I was sure the fumes were mostly cleared out, mostly to dissipate the heat, and cool the batteries.

I checked voltages, which seemed fine.  But man, were those batteries hot!

Mean time, now it’s getting late.

We didn’t get to actually go to bed until around 1AM probably.  The batteries were warm all night but I put the bed bad together.  I kept getting up to check the system to make sure everything was still disconnected, the charger wasn’t kicking on, and nothing was going to catch fire.  We packed up some emergency stuff, including car and boat keys, our computers and wallets and grabbed some clothing to evacate if necessary and I found a knife to cut the boat loose from the docks in an emergency.  I figured if there were a fire, I’d at least try to kick the boat away from the docks to prevent the fire from spreading.  Two fire extinguishers remained close by and loose, along with flash lights.

As far as I could tell, I had everything prepared and well in hand for any emergency.  But fortunately the heat was slowly dissipating.

At 0400 I was awake again, and really only dozed on and off after checking a couple of things.  All seemed fine.

Finally, I figured out that the “smart charger” system isn’t as “smart” as you would think it would be.

In October or November I had bought our second battery bank to add.  One of the things I didn’t know, Mistake number two, was that you have to reprogram the system to know how large the batteries were.  That is the capacity.  We went from 230 amp hours to 460 amp hours.  The Heart monitor needed to changed. Didn’t know that.  I figured like most things with computers, the system would sense the batteries and capacity and adjust. Nope.

Mistake number one, I spoke to David the dock master this morning and he confirmed, “No, we just check the charging status….”.  Oh, wow.  Even knowing that we were gone for several weeks, out of state and couldn’t get back and I’d specifically asked him on the phone to check the batteries?  “Yup”.  Double-wow.

I went to the store to buy a new hydrometer.  Four whole dollars.  Should have bought two, but they only had one.  Came back, removed coverings, bedding etc and started all over.  All of the cells read properly at between 1.275 and 1.32 for specific gravity.  So, obviously the batteries are charged, perhaps slightly over-charged.  They over heated but, not warped.  No damage.

I downloaded the manual for the Xantrek Heart 2000-R and read it.  Not all the way through, but enough to grasp my mistake with the settings.  I corrected those.

I have since turned on the charger and it DOES shut back down.

In the process of doing all this, I discovered one more problem.  Apparently, half of the boat is connected to the starter battery, including a bilge pump and some lighting.  What?????

Holy cow, I’ll never figure this out.  I’m going to wind up rewiring the entire boat I think.  Some of the wires don’t meet AYBC standards and some have “sawed through” in the middle of the boat (when we were in the Chesapeake Bay caught in the rough weather and I have rewired a few things to bring back my chart plotter).  I can’t even imagine what kind of problems I’m going to find behind bulkheads when I try to fix these issues.

As of this minute… the batteries do charge, they still “heat a bit” but nothing like that night.  They probably need equalization, but I’m not going to run that until I’m at a different location.  I’ve had absolutely ENOUGH bad luck here.

This afternoon, after testing all the battery cells and writing all that information down in my little engineering book I started keeping (along with a simple schematic of the battery wiring I can see easily, without having to hang upside down in bilges and under toilets for now) I started on the engine.

I checked all the fluid levels.  They all were good.  I’ll need to add a small amount of oil when we start our drive north, but everything was good.  I opened the seacock for the engine intake, punched the glow plug button for 10 seconds and hit the starter.  The Perkins turned over and fired instantly, just like she was all warmed and ready to go.

I stepped off the boat, walked around to the exhaust and she was blowing out white smoke and a lot of antifreeze.  At least they had followed through with that part (which I had paid for…).  The water is coming through great, plenty of pressure and plenty of water from the exhaust.  All good.

I placed the transmission into gear and gave her a little throttle and the shaft started turning, everything sounded good, and water was being pushed back, all was good.  Took her out of gear and let her run for awhile, while I looked for leaks, drips, spraying water, or anything wrong with the engine.  All good.

I left the engine running for about 30 minutes.  Probably should have let it run longer but I didn’t think that necessary at this point.

As of this time, 1600, I’m done, writing this blog and having a beer.

I pronounce the system “ok”, but I’m not confident in the charging system at this point.  I do have the downloaded manual, and I’ll get one of the inverter, charger and the brain of this thing and study them better.  I am pretty much through trusting the word of anyone in a Marina who says “Yeah, I did that thing you wanted done” until I check it myself.

We had issues in Stony Point Marina.  The guy running the place was a pirate.  I’ve refrained from posting this to this point, but it’s time others know about these places.  I’ll write that up in another post later… but suffice it to say he was trying to have me “pay cash” for some things and didn’t want to give me a “receipt”.  Had that happen with a cop in Michigan once passing through with my Colorado Plates.  I basically forced the cop to give me a receipt and wound up getting ALL my money back for a ticket I shouldn’t have gotten in the first place.  (Another long story).

This marina is very good about saying they will do things.. but they take their time, and right in their paperwork they make sure you know it doesn’t matter if it’s their fault, mine or a contractor, you’re paying for your time on their docks no matter whose fault it is the work isn’t being done.  They’ve started charging a “live aboard fee” to the folks who actually stay here.  Of course, they gotta pay for their new docks too I guess….

We are moving next week.  I cut a better deal at less than half the price of this place.  About time we got a break somewhere besides bones and wallets….

Last night was as scary as the storm on the Chesapeake Bay.  My children will tell you I am absolutely psychoticly paranoid about fires.  Last night was the worst of my nightmares attempting to come to fruition.  A fire.  On a boat.  On the water. Under my bed.  Worst fear.  I hate spiders and I’d face one of those down that is my size, before I’d want to deal with a fire.

I considered for a minute God has been trying to prevent JoAnne and I from doing this thing.  But, you know… if He wanted us dead He had Cancer. He had heart attack. He had a wind storm on the Chesapeake.  He had a truck almost hit us head on (my fault mostly).  He has had multiple opportunities through out the last seven or eight years.  If God wanted us off the planet, he’d have taken us away.

I don’t for a second believe in “Bad Luck”.  Or Good Luck.  I believe luck is what you make of life.  You do things to prevent bad things from happening. That’s what luck is.  Make sure you dot your i’s, cross your t’s, get your insurance, pay your dues, whatever it takes to simplify things ahead of you.   Nothing we’ve done has been deadly. But everything we’ve done has been a learning experience.

Learning is what we humans do.  Then we move on to something new.

Time to move on, to a new marina.  New projects, a new place and new friends further north.

 

See you soon!

Rain again…

I am glad I didn’t remove some port hole rings yesterday evening. It’s been raining since about 4AM.

Of course, it’s damp, chilly, yucky outside.  Taking a glance at the radar this morning shows a heavy line of showers moving East from Interstate 23 to my west, over me.  Appears like they are developing right there and pushing directly at our location.  Means it will probably drizzle all day.  No deck work today.  But I think I can do some stuff down below in the engine.  Or try anyway.

Took a picture of a pretty wooden boat being splashed this morning.  She has been being worked on this week, paint, polish etc.  I wish I had the time, money and energy level to do all that.  It’s all I can manage to sweep right now, lol  The weather is gross and depressing.  On the other hand, unless the boat is sitting up on the hard, that sort of thing isn’t getting done anyway.  Sitting on the hard would difficult on JoAnne, she’d have to climb a ladder or stairs to get on the boat and it’s high up in the air.  So, not gonna….

Guess I better get up and do something.  I am just enjoying my coffee this morning. 🙂

Prepping to move

I’ve not been too motivated with the crappy weather the last few days to do much but clean this and that.  Yesterday it was so nice, I took JoAnne out for ice cream and a nice lunch for Mother’s Day.  We tried to get over to the beach (Virginia Beach) but would have had to park too far away for her to walk it easily.

So, today, trying to get properly motivated, I created my departure list and noted all the crap I have to do to get things back to normal (including cleaning inside the engine compartment, which can probably wait a little longer, I just need to sop up some wet in there).

We have a bunch of stuff to do to get ready though.  JoAnne is going to be working on some stuff in the aft cabin, and we need to move towels and things around.  We need to stow a bunch of shoes and loose “missiles” lol.

The plan, as it stands, is to sail all the way up there once we’re out of the channel here.  Two or three slow days of travel.  No rush. (Oh, and we have to get the car there first….. yikes)

Anyway, today, we get started.  We’re looking at moving early next week at this point.  Updates to follow.

 

Update: 13:00 Monday May 9, 2016,  Completely removed everything from aft head, went through it, tossed out items and returned the towels to their proper locker.  Cleaned bathroom, toiled, sink, walls, etc.  Looks better.   Galley area is cleared of 90% of the towels which should be in bathroom anyway.  The others are the cheap terrycloth towels we buy at hardware stores to act like general purpose wipes and cleaning.  Those remain in the galley for now.

Rearranged some stuff in one locker, moved BEER to the fridge where it belongs.  Even if the fridge doesn’t work, at least I can find the BEER now.. lol  Time for lunch and figure out what we’re doing for dinner later.  Not sure yet.

Did some cleaning on the deck.  A lot of the teak varnish is gone now.  All but the cockpit and bow platform.  A lot of is looks horrible, just peeling off.  So I took a scraper and my broom and dustpan up and cleaned as much as I can reach with the scraper.  I picked up some Sikken’s teak varnish for the butterfly hatch at Kurt’s suggestion.  I have some other varnish I got from Lowe’s last year and I’ll do a couple places to compare the types and see what’s what.  The stuff from Lowes is less than half the cost.  I know a lot of people say “You get what you pay for” but over the years, I’ve figured out that what works, just works.  If it’s more expensive it doesn’t make it better, it makes it more expensive.  I’ll see from experimentation.  I’ve got the summer here, and then we’re headed south to chase the summer time.  So I’ll have almost a year of sun light on the decks and wood to see how it goes.

 

New Home

We got up early this morning (about 0800, that’s retired-people-early) and got ready to go, and drove 2.5 hours north of Norfolk to a marina that Kurt Seastead sent up too.  Kurt is a good friend whom we made after he invited us to the Transworld 41 Facebook Page.

He recommended this marina for a lot of reasons, but mostly because he’d kept a boat there, it’s close to his “family vacation home” in the area and it will handle our keel and mast height.

The marina was a long damned drive from here in Norfolk.  Two and a half hours by car.  One hundred twenty-one miles by car.  It’s about an eighteen hour sail, but I’ve not measure it on the charts yet… something for me to do tomorrow.

Anyway, they had nice bathrooms, a pool, they have camping and cabins.  The owner and I have a LOT in common.  He and I are both ex-Air Force.  He and I both worked for the Missile Defense Agency.  Two of the guys he introduced me to are former Navy Chiefs, guys for whom I have a lot of respect anyway.  So all of us are former military.  All of us are sailors to boot.  How cool is that?

The marina is half the cost of the place we’re currently located.

So…. JoAnne and I have to work out the details.  We have to get a car, bicycle and a boat up there for the summer.  So, likely we will rent a car in the area where the new marina is located, take it and our car and my bike over there, then drop them, drive back to Norfolk…. turn in the rental, have them drop us at our old marina, and then drive the boat up.

We will take between 3-5 days to move the boat in the day time.  JoAnne’s back still isn’t up to doing night shifts, and sleeping two or three hours between shifts.  Thought, God knows, that lady can sleep if there’s a nuclear war going on around here, and I CAN NOT.  Which is the problem. I’d rather stay awake and do the job and sleep when the zombies are dead than try to sleep when bombs and shot guns are going off around me.

I haven’t been right since certain incidents have happened to me.  Long ago, I could sleep anywhere, standing up.  Now, I can’t sleep if a cat sneezes six blocks away.  Oh well.

What remains is setting a date that includes decent sailing weather for sailing northward up the Chesapeake Bay and into the Potomac River.  Probably some time next week.

 

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!

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea to see what he could see….

We have just traveled pretty close to 3000 miles by car from Colorado back to the ship. If you want to count the trip back in December, add another nearly 2000 miles to that.  Starting in Colorado in the Fountain area, we traveled east to Missouri, visiting Mike and Cindy Sause and their three children, Sean, Niall and Maggie for a few days.  Then it was on to see our grandson, Gage who is in the area of St. Roberts, Missouri.  From there we went to Nashville and a tour of the Grand Ole Opry.  The picture below is the official Opry photo of us standing on the old circle from the original theater from long ago.  Thousands of performers have stood there, signing songs, including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and many, many more.  It was an honor to stand in that very spot.

Yeah, sorry, they forgot to say “Cheese” or something. LOL

JoAnne in front of the carousel in Opry Mills (mall) across from the Grand Ole Opry

After Nashville, we headed toward Florida to see JoAnne’s brother, Paul Gray and his wife Cathy.  We had a great visit with them in the Tampa Bay area.  Further down the road we went to Fort Meyers and met up with Ray and his wife Amanda.  They have just purchased a large cabin cruiser.  We didn’t get the chance to see it this time around due to time constraints on our part. I didn’t get any pictures there!  Ack!

We needed to leave pretty early the next day and make it to Daytona to meet up with A’lice and her husband Larry.  A’lice and JoAnne have been friends since the 1980s.

View from the Condo

A’lice and JoAnne

A’lice and Larry

We hit St. Augustine to visit with Stephen and Judy of Bentana at their marina, where we joined in for a pot luck dinner at the marina, a couple of cold beers and some great food dishes

After that we headed north and stopped a couple of nights mostly due to being tired.  Apparently I have arthritis in my hips now and when we sit for long periods of time it hurts like the dickens.  She is still having trouble with her back on and off and sitting doesn’t help, neither does walking.  Neither does lying down.  I’m not sure what’s good for it except a hot tub and a swimming pool. lol

We also stopped in Myrtle Beach to walk there.  JoAnne’s Uncle Joe died in World War II off the coast of the US in a plane crash. She was named after him and his fiancee (Anne).   We have the location and coordinates where the plane went down some where, and some day while passing by, we’ll drop a wreath there.

Rick and JoAnne at Myrtle Beach

On the trip from Florida we stopped in several places just to sleep and eat.  One of them was a Hampton Inn in Georgetown, SC and ate in the restaurant near by, in a marina.

JoAnne at Dinner

The marina outside

We arrived back at the boat today about 11:00.  She was pretty much as we left her.  There is a bit of water damage in the galley area, but where it came in we’re not sure yet.  It’s supposed to rain pretty hard tomorrow, I guess I’ll get the chance to figure it out!  Basically, the boat is fine.  I’m considering the growth below and will probably do a haul out if there are issues and a pressure wash, otherwise, we’ll save that for the new Marina up the road.

Tomorrow, we’ll try to put all our pieces back in place, rearrange things, empty the car, figure out where to store my bicycle on the boat, and clean up as much as we can, perhaps get some laundry done and then we’re planning at the moment to make the trek north to the new marina and look it over before we commit to moving there.  Tonight, I’m thinking about washing up and hitting the hay early.  I’m beat.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight.  JoAnne is tired from unpacking and I’m tired from bringing some of our stuff down in the heat.  I’ve had to do this and that to get the internet up, things unpacked, moved and water put in the boat.  Tomorrow, I’ll check into starting the engine.

 

Update for March

I know that I’ve not written much of late, but we’re not really doing much.

JoAnne continues her doctor’s appointments, and physical therapy for her back and she’s healing well.  We are ready to go back to the boat now, but she isn’t finished with her appointments.

A big one is coming up at the end of March, where she sees both the back doctor and the oncologist.  She’s having her chemo port removed at the end of the month and we’re planning to be leaving sometime in the beginning of April.

With luck everything will go well and her last checkup left us smiling.  No sign of cancer, her blood work came back good and she’s feeling great.  Except the back.  Which is significantly better than the day she fell.

We have located, thanks to our friend Kurt Seastead (S/V LoKee) a marina along the Potomac River up about 8 NM from the mouth of the river/Chesapeake Bay where we will bring the boat in late April to accomplish some major refit we need done.

Included will be replacement of at least one of the electric heads with a composting toilet.  We will install a wind generator.  We will repair or replace the refrigeration unit as necessary and I’ll put in at least one small solar panel (and hope to get our permanent panels put in though).  One other small job I need to do is to get the bow thruster working again.  It would be really nice to have it working before I head up to the marina from Norfolk because it appears tight in the slips and it would help significantly to back the boat into the slip.  The full keel and prop walks makes it very difficult to back in a straight line anyway.

Our trip from here will start in Fountain Colorado and we’ll make stops along the way back, detouring to various places.  We have a grandson we want to visit in Missouri as well as our friends Mike and Cindy, JoAnne’s brother Paul who lives in the Tampa Bay area, and JoAnne wants to swing through New Orleans as well.  Plus there are a few friends in the Ft. Meyers area who we’re looking forward to seeing one afternoon as well.

I have one marina to visit in Florida to check out – though at this point we’re considering NOT using Florida as a home base any more due to the recent laws of “no anchoring”.  How in the world a state that is surrounded by waters thinks that this is a good idea to run off the thousands of cruisers who spend several million dollars in a year, I have no idea.

I won’t wax politically on this blog but suffice it to say that government is getting too big for it’s britches and I don’t care which side of the equation on which you find yourself, it’s BAD for us all.  And these decisions by the Florida state legislature are going to kill the tourist industry until they reverse this law.  Except for the small group I have seen in Florida who actually live in the state who somehow believe this won’t affect them, almost every cruiser I’ve spoken too in the past few months have decided to cross Florida off their list of places to visit now.

Today in Colorado it is supposed to be in the 70s, and my son-in-law Carlos is throwing a BBQ and the smoking of the meats has begun.  I’m headed off to the store for some bread and beer….

 

Good Bye Winter – Hello Spring

Winter can’t go away quickly enough for us.

We’re ready to go back to the boat, but it’s still chilly here and back in Norfolk.  Apparently they haven’t suffered from much cold as it’s rarely gotten below freezing according the marina where the boat is waiting for us to return.

Talked to someone on Facebook yesterday and they told me they got about an inch of snow which rapidly turned to rain and all of the snow is gone.  So, that’s a good thing.

I’m going to tell you all a story here.  Over the course of the past 7-8 years JoAnne and I have gone through a lot in getting ready to move aboard a boat.  In the past few weeks people ask us about it and we tell them some of the things that have happened.  Most are aghast or in awe of what we’ve accomplished.

I don’t think either JoAnne or I consider anything we’ve done or gone through too “heroic”.  Except JoAnne.  Cancer is nothing to sneeze about.  She went through a lot in the last two years and I want to point out to folks who have normal, every day problems like ants in the kitchen, painting needed in a room, grass cutting, snow blowing or shoveling, that there are times – and people – that try the patience of saints.

In January of 2014 JoAnne wasn’t feeling well.  We were I believe staying with my daughter at the time because our house had been up for sale.  The whole market thing wasn’t working for us, or the house.  She called off of work one day and went home four times early over the course of about a two week period.  This was not only unusual for JoAnne, it was unheard of.  My wife rarely gets sick, she almost never took a day off work, and she’s a pretty strong lady all in all.

On the fourth time I walked into the house after work and made an off handed comment, “So, what time is your doctor’s appointment tomorrow?”

To my surprise and astonishment (because she hates going to doctors) she gave me a time.  I don’t remember now if it was the very next day or a day or so later, but she’d set one up.

Our family doctor, Kendra Robison, gave JoAnne an xray and told her that there was a “mass” down low.  She ordered up a C-T scan for a couple of days later.   On the 29th of January a bunch of us family members met at Rock Bottom (our normal hang out) to have a beer and celebrate my youngest son’s birthday.  That’s when Doctor Robison called JoAnne.  We both went outside to take the call.

I could tell by JoAnne’s face that things weren’t good,  After the call she had our kids who were with us at the time come out, left spouses and grandkids inside and she told us all what was up.

She had a very large tumor, about graprefruit size, maybe larger.  They believed without a doubt it was cancerous.  A few days later she underwent surgery.  A few weeks after that she started chemo.  Lost her hair.  Went through some shots to help her immune system but put her in severe pain.  We had moved back into the house so she had a place to recover – because neither of us ever doubted she’d recover.   There was crying, praying, more crying, plenty of support from our children (all adults).

In late August 2015 we learned that she was “cancer free” at that point.  Her chemo had ended and she went home and started looking at boats – because our “five year plan” never went away.  It was suspended and we both continued to work as we could.  She went to work all the way through chemo.  She worked fewer hours, and I tried to make sure she got plenty of rest.  We still visited Rock Bottom from time to time and had  a beer, but there were times when she couldn’t go to work right away because of the immunity issues.

I took off as many days from my job as I could to help her, take her to doctors appointments and be with her.

In November 2014 JoAnne found three boats that not only met our specifications, but our budget (we’d actually increased our budget by then).  The house was nearly paid off anyway and we figured we could do this.

In December 2014 I flew to New York to look at a boat called “Duna”, a Transworld Formosa 41.  Exactly the boat we both had dreams (and occasional nightmares) about.  Beautiful lines, full keeled ketch, with most things working.  The boat really needed a lot more than a few repairs, but all-in-all the boat was intact and with a little bit of work could be put in the water and sail right away.

The issues on the boat though, we considered minor compared to our goal, and JoAnne’s recent battles.

In January 2015, one year and one day from JoAnne’s diagnoses of cancer, we closed on the boat.  In March of 2015 we put the house back on the market.  The first day we had five showings.  Over the week, we had about 25 showings.  On Sunday, seven days from the day we went on the market, we closed on our house.  We sold it to a young man in his 30s, single dad with two children.

We moved back in with our daughter again and began our final transition from working, to moving to our boat and becoming cruisers.

In May we were ready to leave.  We both put in our resignations.  Mine went in on Monday the 11th of May.  JoAnne’s last day of work was supposed to be that week on Friday.

On Wednesday I was driving home and felt ill.  Long story short, I’d had a heart attack but didn’t know it.  We went to the doctor that evening, they sent us to the hospital, the hospital admitted me to the cardiac care ward and refused to let me move around or walk without someone being with me.

My aortic valve was damaged, and was malformed.  A “bicuspid” instead of a normal three leaf tricuspid valve.  I had to have a new hear valve put in.  On Monday morning the following week, I was wheeled into surgery and given anaesthesia, and surgery was performed.  I honestly thought that our whole life together was over.

JoAnne’s strength and fortitude was the only thing making me strong.  I was terrified of someone “touching my heart” – and not in good ways.  Being cut open, having your heart literally stopped and being placed on a heart-lung machine and having electrical equipment doing that work for you is very scary.  I’ve always considered myself a strong, nearly fearless person.

Not that day.  As I was to sign the release forms, I nearly chickened out.  But I knew JoAnne was counting on me and I knew I’d counted on her being there.  It was the least I could do.  I signed.  They operated and I’m writing this today.

Now – there’s plenty more to this story, but I’m not going to write it all. That’s for a book someday.

Jump forward to October 18, 2015.  We’re in our boat.  We’ve travelled from the Hudson River all the way down to Pocquoson River on the East Coast and we’re anchored out up a creek there.  The phone rings.  It’s a marina we’ve left messages for, as they were recommended to do some work.  Our backstays aren’t as they should be and it’s causing some issues with the sails.  They call me at 10Am and say “If you can get here this evening, we can look at your boat tomorrow.”

Against our better judgement and without knowing exactly what the weather was going to be, we left.  And we were caught in 19knot winds without being able to raise sails, in short chop caused by constant winds, with no place to run but south under engine power.  The rest of that story has already been written on the blog. Read it here:  (Norfolk, the Hard Way)

We didn’t “get seen” the next day.  In fact, Friday that week we were hit by a power boat.  Almost $12,000.

On the day the mast was going back up in December 2015, JoAnne fell from a fixed dock onto a boat she was trying to board after we were invited over for a drink.  She fractured two vertebrae.  We’re in Colorado as most of you know, while she heals.

She’s supposed to be out of her back brace in a few days.  One more appointment before we head back to the boat at the end of March to have her chemo port removed (we hope) and then back to Adventure.

Summer is coming.  We want to be back on the boat this spring to find a place to land for a few months of summer while we do needed repairs and refit, and then next fall, we’re off for the Bahamas – finally.

So you see folks, adversity happens.  But one must pick up their marbles, collect them all, along with their thoughts and persevere if one is to make it anywhere.  Whether you’re time to make it down the Island Chain of the Caribbean, the East Coast of the US, or you’re just trying to get through day-to-day at work until your time to go sailing comes up, you can never, EVER give up.

You can’t let life, naysayers or negativity get you down.  You have to keep plugging along.

This is the way we live life.  NOTHING is handed to you on a silver platter and if it is you’re the one who is missing out on life.  If you don’t step up, grab that brass ring on the Merry Go Round you will never, ever accomplish anything more than letting life run past you.

Life is not something you get through.  Life is something you must live to the fullest no matter what stands in your way, no matter the adversity, no matter the bumps and bruises you suffer along the way.

Grab life and give it a whirl!

 

 

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.

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Just an update. JoAnne and I have had a few rough weeks. First a Nor’easter beating us up, then fuel clogging the filters, rigging that needed tightening, sitting in a marina awaiting some maintenance, getting hit by a big power boat, fighting with the insurance company, having to hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance company, finally, finally getting everything ready to go, including the rigging repairs, bow platform, railing and all the damage done from the accident.

On the night the mast went back on, we were invited over to a friend’s boat for a drink. JoAnne fell that night. Since then she’s been in a lot of pain, as she pulled some muscles and finally we got a diagnosis of a fracture in her T12 vertebra… After xrays, an MRI and a doctor’s visit she’s going to have to see an orthopaedic surgeon for a “cure”, whether it is surgery, a brace or just some physical therapy, we’re not yet sure.

So things have been going along routinely, except for her pain I took her off the boat and put her into a hotel temporarily for her back pain, to prevent her from climbing in and out of the boat, walking long distances and so forth.

So we’re awaiting phone calls to get appointments at this point and I’ve winterized the boat in a slip where we were stopped in Norfolk.

This will be my last entry on the blog for a few days until we figure out what is going to happen next.

At this point we’re expecting to keep the boat in Norfolk through the winter now, and perhaps start over in March or April time frame as weather permits and JoAnne heals up.

6-12 weeks is the time for healing fractures (I know, I’ve been through that a few times, ankles, ribs, bones in my hands, and open heart surgery), hence the “March” time frame. I’ll post an occasional update over the next few weeks to keep folks informed, so don’t forget to check the blog on occasion.

Also don’t forget it you’re on Facebook to friend JoAnne and I – and I’ll probably set up a page for Adventure as I have time to do so. The blog also allows you to click a link to get email updates when I update the blog, so if you do that you will know when we’re back at it.

In the mean time JoAnne and I want to wish all our followers (all three of you!), our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We will see you on the other side of recovery.

Bad Luck?

I’m the most not-superstitious person ever to live on the planet.  I don’t believe in Black Cats being bad luck, and in fact think Black Cats are pretty cool cats.

I’ve walked under ladders.  I’ve broken mirrors, and even cut them (doing glass cutting).  I’ve spilled salt and the only time I ever had bad luck was when I took the salt shaker and tossed some over my left shoulder like you’re supposed to do, and the lid of the salt shaker came off pouring an entire shaker full of salt down this biker guy’s neck behind me.  He laughed about it, when I explained, just before he was about to kill me dead…. But… bad luck? No, it’s BS.

Or is it?

JoAnne and I have been having a run of bad luck.  We’ve had engine troubles, gotten beat up in the Bay, lost our engine, had sail and rigging issues, toilet problems, stove problems, heat problems, cold problems, electrical problems.

A logical, non-superstitious person would say its par for the course.  Until Tuesday night, 4 days ago.

On Tuesday evening, the boat’s mast went back up.  We had met Pierre and his wife Anne-Marie from France and because the mast was going up, they invited us over to had a drink and celebrate the boat being put back together.  That evening, we walked over with some cake to meet them and go aboard their boat, MiHiwad  (An acronym for “My Home is where anchor drops”) .

Unfortunately, it was not going to be a great evening for JoAnne.  When we got to the dock, it was the old, rickety dock that is being replaced.  The tide was out.  The difference between the dock and the boat deck was between 18 inches and 24 inches.  No problem for me, but JoAnne wasn’t happy with it.

My job as Captain is to help people.  To improvise.  To adjust.  To give a way to accomplish a job, mission or objective.  To make things work when they can’t work.  To give people encouragement.

I gave JoAnne encouragement, I said said, “You’ve got this…” and stepped aboard to show her how easy it was.  I took her hand, handed off the cake and watched as she stepped forward, lost her footing and fell.  Both Pierre and I tried to catch her and failed.  I kept her from falling harder, but I didn’t stop her from falling so hard she pulled muscles in her back.
She stepped with one foot and her other foot (the one on the dock) slipped causing her to fall forward.  I feel terrible.

At this point, there is little we can do now.  She’s not really capable of doing anything on the boat, not even standing around and cooking, let along pulling lines, or driving for any length of time.  She can’t stand for very long and she can’t really lift anything.

Xrays say no broken bones.  According to the ER doc.  However, this morning they called her and told her that a technician (or perhaps a radiologist) said there is a good possibility of a hairline fracture and they now want an MRI.  Might happen Monday, or maybe not.

Either way, I refuse to put her at risk.  As of this minute she’s no longer travelling with the boat without other crew members to assist me.  I can send her back to Colorado to rest and recuperate there rather than subject her to chilly nights, windy days, bouncy waves and shaky cockpits.  We’re going to wait until Monday to see if they call us to do the MRI. If not, I think she’s going back to Colorado.

I’m going to remain with the boat and move it south alone, or find a crew member to assist me.  At this point our destination has changed to Marathon Key or Tampa Bay. If neither of those, then at least Green Cove Springs.  (I have a friend near that that is recommending the Green Cove Springs Marina, and I’ll determine the location based on phone calls later).

So… good luck, bad luck or no luck at all.  I’m not sure, but JoAnne’s life and health are the number one priority for me.  I know she wants to be someplace south and in the warm, but it’s probably not going to happen for another few weeks, if not months.

I’m open to suggestions for locations, ideas on how best to move the boat, and/or medical information.  MRI will come soon enough.

 

 

 

Rainy Days, Beer and Winches

So, it’s been raining pretty much for two days straight. Three if you count Saturday a little bit.

I’ve been dealing with internal leaks since yesterday when the rain started coming down steady. Think I have the leak narrowed down to the cock pit seating, which is the only deck teak left on the boat. I’m going to clean it up, clean the surrounding area, dry it and caulk around the seat, then seal the wood at Kurt’s suggestion.

Speaking of Kurt, he drove down from his home area yesterday to collect a sail I gave him. A spinnaker, which in my humble, novice sailor’s opinion, will NEVER be used by me alone on this boat and I don’t foresee a need with a crew (if we’re crossing the Atlantic, I doubt seriously if a light sail will be necessary at any time). I can’t see me using it in the South Pacific, because as much as I’d like to go there, I don’t see that happening for a lot of years now. haha

So he brought us an air conditioner unit we can use at a dock or without generator if necessary when we get to Florida. I can promise it will get use much more than a spinnaker would be used.

Mean time, JoAnne decided to make beer. Not regular, just any old beer that we’ve made before. She decided to make ginger beer! I can’t wait to try that stuff out. However, I was working in the cockpit earlier and had to yell down that she was breaking a cardinal rule for beer making. You’re supposed to be making beer while drinking beer. I never got a beer, and I don’t think she bothered either.

On to the Winches (I’ve already discussed Beer, so it’s time for Winches). Yeah, you caught the spelling too, huh? Not THOSE kinds of Wenches. The WINCHES.

The starboard jib sheet winch wasn’t right for some reason and I’d noticed it was not turning by hand easily after the accident. I didn’t really consider it, but the sheet was wrapped around the winch when the accident happened. The thing was jammed pretty badly and when I removed the cap from the top and tapped on the winch drum, the device “popped” loudly and everything started spinning again.

But, since I was already taking it apart, I grabbed a bucket, some rags, mineral oil and some other items and tore into the winch, disassembling it all the way down. Took me a couple hours to completely clean it and put it all back together with oil in the right places, grease in the other right places and man it works well now!

Too bad Wenches and Winches aren’t spelled the same, this might have been a better story. 🙂

Engine- Still

So Mike came by this morning with some transmission fluid, and a couple of things left to do. He assisted in adjusting the tachometer to the right settings, but it was “by ear” so it’s not precisely accurate but I’m guessing it is closer than it was before.

The trans was low, like almost a quart… ack.

Then he had something niggling at him, it was that the over flow was still bugging him so he pulled the water pump cover and found a problem, again, one I’d missed. There is a severe wearing in the area where the water is pumped through. In fact, on closer checking, it’s broken.

After a few hours he called me back with several options. I chose the more expensive option. Pump replacement. $800 bucks for the part. He said it would be cheaper if we run down the coast and look again. And he could have just put in a new impeller.

I told him , No, this is my life and my wife’s life, and the safety of the boat. Get me a pump and spare impeller. He actually said “You can get all the way to Florida without bothering” but I think that’s a half-assed job.

Get me the parts I need, make the new parts work, get me spares. I’m good.

They won’t ship though until in the morning. If the part gets here tomorrow, I’ll be surprised. He is talking to the marina to get us a break on the stay because frankly, they are bloody hell expensive.

The saga continues…..

C&D Canal – Almost there

I know that most other people who cruise and blog don’t put down most of the stuff they are doing, rarely write much or they put in a vast amount of pictures. Pictures are on Facebook with friends and family right now, and I don’t have the bandwidth or time right now to upload everything to the storage site and post them.

We left Atlantic Highlands the other day and did a 24 hour run overnight and made it as far as Atlantic City, NJ/ Turns out my tach is hosed on the engine so we were running at what we thought was 2500 rpm and it wasn’t even close. I’ve been testing the engine by ear and have had it up to 6+ knots now.

We arrived at AC at 9 in the morning (we’d left at 9 the previous day). We spend the whole day and then one night there and left the next morning for Cape May.

We arrived in Cape May and came into the channel – and a few minutes after I turned the corner, grounded the boat in the mud. After talking to some locals found out the mud bank hasn’t been dredged this year and so it’s further into the channel than the charts and markers show. Go me…

We left Cape May this morning after we deliberated about the channel out on the Delaware Bay side. As it turns out, I measured the mast and came up with 54 feet from deck to top, add in the wind gear and you get 55, add in the deck top to water line and you get 58. Doh! No bridges. My measurements might be off but I doubt it. I was not going to risk our lives or the boat going under a bridge at low water and hoping it would clear by two inches. Nope. We went back out the way we came in, through the Atlantic Ocean side. Did just fine going out.

I set a course on the autohelm and following my charts around to the far side, passed the channel exit and then headed for the C&D canal.

We had NO wind except in the early morning pretty much all day. In the evening we started having engine issues again (this time the prop shaft, I think it’s not getting enough dripping going on down there….) anyway, backed off the engine speed, raised the sails and was flying at almost 6 knots without the engine (it was in neutral and idling). When we go close to where I wanted to anchor the wind was at 12 knots right from our backs.

I had a hell of a time bringing the boat around to the wind and getting the main down! It’s mast furling, not sure I like it all that well.

Maybe I don’t know what I am doing too – that could be it.

We ended up anchoring 3 miles from a nuclear power plant and two miles from the C&D entrance.

Dropped anchor in 20 feet of water. We’re holding very well, and not having any issues.

Yesterday and interesting thing happened. We got a call from a legal authority in Colorado asking about our old Dodge Shasta. It seems that the asshole I sold it too never bothered re-register it, he kept my plates (which I promptly had canceled when he didn’t return them) and it appears SOMETHING like a crime may have happened.

She wouldn’t give details and hinted that they weren’t sure a crime HAD been committed.

But let me say this, the guy was a Serbian, Russian accent, so was the wife, they had two kids and they were sketchy from the get-go. I just wanted to sell the van, he gave me what I asked for it, I signed it over and he vanished into thin air.

I’m wondering now if there was a terrorist group involved or something because I didn’t like him to begin with. They were cagey over names, places, what they were going to do and they were very quick to offer me exactly what we were asking.

Anyway, I don’t know what happened.

Tomorrow, the weather will be ok, but windy on our nose, and it’s not going to be easy to navigate through the Canal. I’m pretty anxious over this. It was bad enough grounding in Cape May…. wish me luck.

Good Night all

Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands

JoAnne and I came in, under tow to this area last Saturday. We were at Coney Island and the engine shredded the belt. We didn’t get the engine repaired until Tuesday, late. The Mechanic was Bill Lloyd of Lloyd’s Repair. He does “house calls”, as a mobile mechanic.

Bill was helpful, showed me a lot of things, gave us some advice and did the repairs – finding the correct parts. The adjustment bracket had broken before. Was the wrong size. The belt shredded, it was too long. The pulley on the alternator was too small. The engine stop was broken as well because was previously repaired by a couple of guys with duct tape…. no more comments there.

Anyway, Bill helped to repair all of that for us. His rates were very reasonable and he was very helpful. I STRONGLY recommend him if you’re in the area and need help.

The moorings here are $50.00 a night and there are showers, a launch to pick you up and drop you off.

The launch drivers are all very nice, helpful and give you directions and advice if you need it.

We have spent the time here moving stuff around, rearranging things to be more logical and I cleaned some of the deck finally. We added more water, I’ve rowed in and out a few times to collect water and gas for the generator. I needed the upper body exercise too. Speaking of which, they were really “worried” about me at the cardiac care and rehab place. Wanted me to stay on a “few weeks”. I laughed and said I’d be getting more exercise than just walking. While I am not getting as much cardio as I’d like, I’m damned sure getting plenty of exercise now. More than I could have hoped for.

I’ve not put on a lot of weight, but I’ve put on muscles. I’m almost back to 100% of where I was prior to the heart attack. By the way, I feel good – except the aches and pains from cracking my skull, shins, elbows, knees, chin, nose, back, front, bottom and top…. lol

Last night it rained pretty good. We had left the boat opened up and went up for a beer and met with Judy and Ron of Spartina, a pretty little trimaran, sitting in the harbor here. They are leaving tomorrow morning as well and heading south. We took their advice and waited through today because of the wind shifts. It did shift out of the north last evening though and is either North or North East right now (so it’s shifting still).

We’re hoping for a good run down the coast and hope to make 5-6 knots under sail… we’ll see. Wish us luck. This will probably be my last entry for a few days until we get back in close enough for cell coverage or Wifi someplace.

For those asking… Yes we’re hams. I’m N0NJY and JoAnne is KB0IRW. We do NOT have either VHF/UHF or HF up at the moment, those were not high priorities which prepping to get the boat out of Stony Point and right now it’s not too high of a priority (though it is coming up the list of things to do pretty rapidly) so we won’t have it up unless we get into trouble, then I’ll slap something together fast (it is what I used to do for a living, emergency communications and military tactical stuff….) so not to worried at the moment.

Sometime in the very near future though, both HF will be online as will the 2meter and 440 rig.

Atlantic City is our stop in point if we can’t make Cape May. Cape May is our current destination. Delaware Bay and the C&D canal is out tentative destination on the way to Chesapeake Bay. Once in Chessie we’ll look for a place we can anchor and explore a bit. We have to get in touch with our friend Phil and get him to meet us someplace.

Also, we’ll try to meet up with Bill, the broker to helped us purchase the boat (and sell for the former owner). Hopefully we can do all of this without any more giant issues. Then, from that point on, we’re aiming for Florida to go see JoAnne’s Brother, Paul. He lives in Tampa area and whether we drive across by boat in the ICW, or by car, or have them come get us is currently up in the air.

If we have to go across by car, we’ll look for a place to store the boat for a few days and maybe get some minor work accomplished. Otherwise, we’ll try to cross the ICW through Okeechobee – which we’ve had opinions about from several people, all of which are divergent… some saying ” no problems” and others saying “don’t do it”…..

House Sold; Resigning; Retirement

On the 16th of March we put our home on the market. At 1300 Mountain time on that day the house went live.  By 1430, an hour and a half later, we had four showings scheduled the first day.  Over the course of the week there were somewhere around 21 or 22 showings, there were five or six offers on the house and by Saturday we’d signed a contract.

On Thursday, 30 April 2015 we closed the deal at about 1400 local time.  We met the new owner (JoAnne had met him a couple times previously, but it was my first time).  He had some questions about the hot tub, and we eventually went over to show him how to care for it and so on.  Stopped by once for mail and met him again, and the wife showed him her garden.

Anyway, the closing went relatively smoothly.  Everything worked out for both sides.  He got a nice, completely remodeled house, we got money in the bank to fund our travels.

Yesterday morning JoAnne and I both turned in our resignation notices.  Mine to my company site program manager and her to her organization at the AFA.  It wasn’t a surprise to anyone because we’ve talked about this for so long as far as some are concerned we should have just shut up, lol.

My last day here is the 22nd of May, her’s is on the 15th.

We have some work on the truck to accomplish.  We need some front end work, new tires and the new topper should be here this week, probably later today or tomorrow.  This weekend we’re house sitting and going to go through our trailer (we’re down to a 8X4 single axle trailer) and hoping to pare down about 30% of the junk inside.  Nothing is going that we don’t need on the boat, or can’t easily replace at the other end.  We’ll take the trailer to where we’re house sitting and go through it in the barn there.

The week she takes off I’ll put the truck in for work, and drive her Jeep.

We’re going to sell the Jeep to the highest bidder after that. I also need to sell my mountain bike and my telescope.  If anyone needs a bike or a telescope, get in touch…. they aren’t cheap items though, so just be aware.

It has been raining now, pretty much for 3 days straight.  It’s appearing like it will continue through this weekend, so we’re hoping to do all our trailer work in a barn on the property we’re watching (as well as our weekly laundry) haha.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a Face Book Group for the Transworld Formosa 41.  The folks have been very nice, and helpful as well.  Hopefully when we get to our boat we can be of more help to them than we are now, but we shall see.

With luck, the creek don’t rise and I don’t have a heart attack we should be on the road somewhere around 1-3 June.

Last note here;  Yesterday a lady here at work told me one of our former co-workers was doing the same thing.  Selling up and sailing out.  He contacted me today.  Jim M., is looking for a sailboat somewhere in the Florida area now, and his house too, is under contract.  He’s hoping to head East from Colorado sometime around July if all goes well.

I am looking forward to meeting up with him eventually down in the Florida area sometime later this year. I sent him all our contact information and spoke to him on the phone for a short time, gave him some information about what we’re doing and so on.  It is good to see others following the Dream.

And, we have had dozens of people contact us telling us that we have “inspired them”… whether they will follow their dreams, I can’t say.  I can hope though.
Fair Winds!

Begin Countdown….

Home Sale

Today is Good Friday, April 3rd, 2015. Today is “appraisal day” for the house. The buyer has an appraiser meeting with our realtor to go through the house today to see if it’s worth all this effort.

JoAnne met the buyer last week during the inspection, who indicated he was happy with the house, it was the “best” he’d seen in the price range, and he was sold on the view, deck and hot tub I believe she told me.

The inspection went well, but they found a couple of electrical items of which I was unaware. I can fix them, but he specifically requested a “licensed professional”. While I am a professional, I’m not licensed for electrical work in this state… so, no big deal. We accepted his objections and we’ll fix them, do an inspection and purchase a home warranty on the house for the next few months. Basically, the contract is still in force, and we’re moving on with it as if going to close on the designated date.

Hence the reason for this post. C-Day (Close Day) is April 30th. Twenty seven days. That gives us another week or so in the house and then we have to move out. If all goes well with the appraisal we will pack up and move.

I’m going over this afternoon to look at a small trailer in which to place a few tubs containing what’s left of our belongings. I mean “all the junk we collected over the years”. You can not believe how much stuff we gave to Good Will, threw out, passed on to the kids, neighbors and random people walking down the street, lol.

We have essentials left. Eating utensils, dishes, cups, cook ware, a small but useful propane grill, our ham radio equipment (and not much of that is left), our instruments and clothing. That is about all we have left. All of it has to fit in tubs, which then must fit inside a small trailer, which must fit in a tiny space beside my daughter’s house for the short time we will be with her.

After close, after the dust settles, after the money “is in the bank” and after we have a few days to decompress, we will set a final date, notify our respective companies of our departure and start planning our trip across country.

If everything goes well, by the end of May we should be leaving. We should be in New York at Stony Point by not later than the second week of June. If the Marina has painted and done the jobs I’ve asked for by then, we will be ready to commission the boat within a day or so of our arrival.

At that point we plan to have a short, relatively private “ceremony” to officially rename the boat, splash her and do some test sails, plan our trip down the ICW and our first 2-3 stops along the way.

That’s the general plan, everything is subject to change, there’s always a Plan B, C, D and usually E. We have learned to not set ANYTHING in concrete and be ready to improvise, adapt and overcome. So the count down begins.

Transworld Formosa 41 – Adventure

I had a rather nice surprise waiting in email yesterday (so did JoAnne). The person who runs a Facebook Owners Page for the Transworld Formosas contacted us via email and invited us to join the page (which we did). It is interesting that he had posted images of “Duna” on the FB site the very day I was writing checks, moving money and getting things in place for the purchase of said vessel.

Kurt is the owner of one of the Formosas and there are several others on the page who also have similar (not exactly alike ) vessels. I’m sure that we will all be hearing much more from one-another in the near future. If I get the chance, I’ll post some images of the various boats here.

Contact Page

By the way, the Contact Page (https://windsoftime.us/contact-page/) has been modified with a new email address for us at the boat (which may change one more time before this is over).

RV

Last notes, the Dodge Shasta RV we bought originally for the trip has become no longer necessary. We sold it last week at a loss just to remove it from the yard and give it to someone who can (and will) use it.

2015, the Year of Adventure

On Friday, 9 January 2015 I made my way through snow, ice and fog to downtown Colorado Springs.  I had some issues doing my online banking.

I worked for several hours in the morning to get everything right, correct, all the T’s crossed, I’s dotted, signatures, dates and so forth.

But, the bank, God love ’em, screwed me again.  Every time I’ve tried to get the accounts right, move money and keep things in an organized fashion, something weird happens.  Friday, it was the final Wire Transfer I needed to make to complete the purchase of a sailboat.

Not just any sailboat, the very boat my wife and I have dreamed about for the last six years.  In fact, she’s exactly the boat that has been envisioned by us both in waking daydreams and long sails in the Caribbean in our night dreams.

The old name of the boat isn’t really important any more.  She’s lived her last year sitting on the hard in a marina in New York and therefore whatever she was before has been washed away by the tides.  We knew her name a few weeks ago, right after I went up for the survey.  JoAnne and I had discussed many things, but the name was not one of them.

In fact, as the blog is called we knew years ago we would call the boat “Winds of Time”.

When I returned from the survey I was talking to her about something and she said something about “going on an adventure”.  JoAnne loves to say that when we get in the Jeep or Truck to go across country or explore something.  In fact, she usually waits until the car is in drive and rolling down the hill from our home to say, “We’re on an ADVENTURE! YAY!” — or words to that effect.  It’s always cute and makes me laugh.

So the thought occurred to be after seeing the boat in person that her real name had come out and not only was it NOT going to be “Winds”.

Of course, yesterday was proving to be an adventure in and of itself.  Bad weather, ice, snow, fog, cold and the bank couldn’t help me fix the problem.  Thus I left work a bit early, jumped in my truck and set off to slide my way from the Air Force Base to home to grab a check book, and then slide my way south and west to downtown to find the bank.  Ended up parking three blocks away from the branch office (this is a large investment bank and of course, there is only one branch here; and I’m lucky it is, otherwise I’d be driving to Denver, or Kansas City or some such place).

After arriving there, the young man that helps me with account information met me in the lobby and proceeded to help me get the wire forms together and eventually, late last night I received word from the broker in Annapolis that everything was finished.  The official close date is Tuesday.  Monday though, we will close as everything is in place.

USCG documentation is being worked for me by a nice lady in West Virginia.  The Delaware Registration will be worked in a few days when the sale is officially complete (and the lady in WV sends me the MD title to get to MD — yeah, even the paperwork has been an ADVENTURE).

Today I awaken, a few dollars poorer, but richer for a beautiful sailing vessel.

The bank got things together.  I got things together.  The broker got things together.  The seller got things together (in fact today he delivers a pallet load of equipment to a storage locker for me, spare parts and so forth). In fact, everything finally came together late last night.

Today, JoAnne and I proudly introduce our new boat, a Formosa 41′, full keeled, heavy displacement ketch;

Adventure

Adventure_Sailing

The picture is from a few years back, with the previous owners I believe, sailing down the Hudson River.  Yep, that’s the Empire State building in the background.  With a bit of luck in a few months, we’ll add our own images as we sail past Lady Liberty further down river.

4544358_20140118225751893_1_XLARGE

Picture of the interior, looking forward. That’s a wood pellet stove on the starboard side, a kerosene lantern in the port foreground.  The wood is gorgeous.  The insides need a good “clean”, dusting, wiping down and perhaps some oil for some of the wood.  The companionway ladder needs a bit of varnish.  Most all of the teak on the outside needs work.

The bilge needs a good pressure wash, a float switch needs replacement and the majority of the running rigging, in particular the halyards should be changed out.  The sails need some work, but eventually we will replace them with a new set.

The standing rigging is in good shape – but I need to get a rigger to the top to do a close up inspection of the head (change lights, and a few minor things).

Obviously things like the zincs need to be replaced, some hose clamps changed out and a couple of lights and switches are broken.

All minor maintenance issues for me.

It was negative 10 degrees when we did the survey.  The boat was on the hard.  We really couldn’t run the engine up but my investigation with the marina staff says the boat ran fine when they put her on land and winterized the vessel.  So, all that remains is filters, oil change, some fresh diesel to make her run.

The bottom should be painted and the boot stripe put back on properly. (The bottom has been soda blasted and was smooth, no blisters and the hull is very sound).

All in all the previous owner took decent care of her.  He was ready to move on (and I guess away from sailing), and we’ll be ready to move aboard and travel as soon as we sell the house this spring.