Back at Southport and Adventure

We arrived back to the boat a couple of days before the 1st, sooner than we’d planned but still in plenty of time for the beer contest.

Beer:  We brewed our first beer on the boat, which I apparently neglected to mention in previous blog entries.  Mostly I didn’t want to give away what we were making, what type, or how much, so the judging could be fairer.  I’m not sure that happened anyway.

The beer was an America Amber category, and we moved it to a specialty beer category (Fruit, 29B I think).  We had a red beer (still in Amber category) with cherries and honey.  The hops were a specialty hop – and for some reason the judges didn’t like the hops with the fruit beer.  I suspect had we simply made it a Red Ale, it would have likely come in First or Second.

The judging was taking place between the 1st and 7th with the get together and announcements on the 8th.

Surprisingly, we didn’t even place.  I won’t complain though.  We had a lot of people taste and test our beer and we had good reviews all the way around, including one person who said “I’d buy that beer”.  Too bad we didn’t win, he might have had the chance to buy it at Check Six.  Don’t think we will enter another contest there though.  I don’t think I liked the way things were judged.  Granted, I’m not certified as a judge, but I know good beer, and I know how to judge it.  Sometimes winning isn’t necessarily a good thing.  We’d have to give our recipe out.  Think I’ll refrain from doing that for awhile.  🙂

Ants: I’ve been fighting ants on the boat:

Image result for Science Fiction ants

Not the godawfulbigones like in the movies, but somewhat more docile, and a tad smaller:

Monomorium minimum
Monomorium minimum casent0173040 profile 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Monomorium
Species: M. minimum
The little black ant is a species of ant native to North America. It is a shiny black color, the workers about 1 to 2 mm long and the queens 4 to 5 mm long.  They are present in almost every region of the USA, and most of Europe.
From what I’ve discovered, they can live in the Earth in little built up colonies of up to about 2000 individuals, or they can get into cracks and crevices in your home, in the walls, under and in the house – or in my case, the boat.  They are living apparently between the teak wood making up a vast amount of the inside of the ship and the fiberglass walls.
They can have multiple queens in a single colony and they generally don’t get very large colonies.
Hosing them down with chemicals is rather out of the question.  Bug bombs won’t penetrate into their living areas.  And spraying chemicals that could conceivable kill me around the interior of the boat is, for me a No-Go.  Also, the aerosols used can be flammable and on a boat, explosive.  We use sparkers on the stove to ignite the burners.  So being sure all the fumes are out… not a good idea.
I know from previous research into this stuff, that boric acid will kill most insects.  Mostly, all they have to do is walk through it and they ingest it.  It desiccates them from the inside out.  It is an abrasive and works on their exoskeletons.  It has an effect on their nervous systems as well as it disrupts their intestinal digestive systems.  The best part about boric acid (and borax) is that they eat it, return it to their nests and feed their young and the queen(s).  Who, in turn, die.
I am, I believe dealing with not one, but two colonies of ants in the boat.  One colony lives forward in the boat, the other in the galley area somewhere behind the wood.
We tried boric acid powder, which has had no effect on them.  I tried the Tero type traps which are a liquid, and they spill and make a mess.  The first time I put one of those out, the ants went after it instantly.  And then stopped after a day.  I think they figured out not to eat it.  Or they weren’t returning to the nest to get “helpers” to come get the food source.
Others I’ve spoken to on Facebook swear by that stuff.
Yesterday, I picked up some Raid ant baits.  They are four small traps with a different sort of chemical inside called Avermectin B1.  It too, is a nerve agent and will disrupt their bodies after they ingest it.  It is a small enough quantity that they will take the food source back to the nest, and like the other stuff feed it to the young and queen, who then die.
Last night within thirty minutes of putting out the traps, three in the Galley and one in the forward cabin, all four traps were covered.  Ants were coming out of tiny crevices under the wood to get to them.  And they were going off in force only to return later with more ants.  Eventually the traps each had somewhere around 100 ants on them.
This morning, there is not a single ant floating around in the Galley.  The forward cabin however, in the floor tells a different story.  There are still dozens of ants scurrying to and fro to get to the food source.
I have to assume that one colony in the front is MUCH larger than the one in the back.  And the one in the Galley has been wiped out, or at least pushed back to the brink of Apocalypse.   I can only hope.  I also hope there are no “Prepper Ants” who are going to come hunt me down in the middle of the night.
“I am AntGirl, you Killed my Momma, prepare to die!”
Or something like that.
We think that any ants that survive will eventually die due to starvation or, they will come out and get the traps and die from the poison.  I hope they are gone within a few days.  We will keep you posted.
Cleaning and Preparation for Sail:  I went back to my regular part time job at the marina, and have been scheduled a few hours, and a few days off each week to work on the boat to prep for a sailing trip in a few days.  We’re thinking of either just sailing out for a few hours and knocking the dust off the rigging, or even heading for Georgetown for a day or so and then coming back.  Weather permitting.
Unfortunately, the heat and humidity have been stifling.  I need to reinstall the jib (I took down before departure from the boat, to prevent any wind incidents, ripped sails etc) and put all my running rigging back.
I also need to drop the main, replace a line going to the furler.  I’m sure it will be fine, but it’s getting old and somewhat worn and I don’t like the idea of it snapping at a critical moment in time, like, say a storm or something similar.  You always have things go wrong when they shouldn’t, and keeping equipment right helps prevent cascade failures.
But, man, that’s a lot of work in this heat.  But it’s got to be done too.
JoAnne has a lot of things to stow.  I have to remove a few things from the forward cabin and will probably just stow it in the car.  We’re considering a small storage locker to move a few things too (larger things which we probably do NOT have to have on the boat right now) and a few things we can just remove altogether.  We have two coolers, both of them can come off the boat, though JoAnne and I are at odds on that. I want them off, she thinks they should be here.  We’ll come to some conclusion sooner or later before we leave for the Bahamas.
I’ve removed most of my tools from the boat and left a small bag with a few.  But, honestly I don’t need my power tools when traveling.  Just at the dock.  I DO want some of the heavier wrenches just in case I need them to repair something I’ll need them for (like an engine!) – and they are, unfortunately, heavy as well.
Then we have dirt for the composting toilet.  Not a lot, but it’s bulky.  Can’t seem to locate coconut coir around here.  Not sure why.  Supposedly it’s more compressed and can store better.  I have yet to see it or locate any.  I hate ordering things over the Internet without being able to see them.
Wind Generator: Think I have decided on a wind genny.  More on that next time, if I buy it.
So, in conclusion here… ants.  They are hateful little things, getting into everything.  But, they can be controlled and eliminated if you are persistent I think.  Beer making on the boat is a difficult task, but we can do it.  It’s just that there’s not that much room and it takes both a steady hand, and steady water ( like that of a marina) to make it work.
Catch you all on the next entry.
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Decisions, decisions

A boat… any boat would be fine in a pinch.  Something to keep you above the water, dry from the wind and rain, and with a sail and rudder to let you direct your course.

In the past six years of getting ready, we’ve sailed several boats though and have come to the following conclusions:

 

1) We aren’t racers, don’t care about PHRF ratings, don’t expect to be rounding any orange buoys in an attempt to beat the bigger boat in a fleet and know, for an absolute FACT we can’t outrun a storm coming at us at 25 MPH ground speed in a boat that moves at 9 knots.

2) We love being comfortable when we sleep.  The bed has to be “just firm” and not too hard, not too soft and not saggy.

3) We like our showers.  We love our hot tub, but there’s no place on a sailboat for one.

So – those details among millions of other small details have brought us almost six years forward from the day we said, “Hey, let’s retire to a sailboat!” and then set forth on that road.

In a few days we will be making our first trip to Florida to visit her brother – and look at boats.  We’ve got a long list of boats, but the basic requirements  parameters come out this way:

 

A) Full/Modified Keel

B) Ketch rigged

C) 40ish foot in length (38-42 seems reasonable to us)

D) Two “real cabins”.  An Aft cabin and a Vee berth “cabin”.

E) Mast ought to have steps on it, or me, the ability to place steps on it….(I don’t trust me, or anyone else to handle a winch to hoist my ass up 50′ in the air, sorry!)

F) Engine should work, but it’s not the primary means of motivation for a sailboat.

G) There needs to be solar panels, a wind generator and a diesel/gas generator for extra power

H) There will be a water maker.

I) We’re both ham radio operators and I like to operate on HF bands

J) The galley will need to be workable for the “cook”/”admiral”/”First Mate” entity that will be ensuring we eat good meals

 

Yep – those first three things helped us figure that out.  We want comfy beds, and I believe that an aft cabin will be best for us.  We will have visitors who will travel with us from time to time, and they will generally be couples, thus the forward berth for them (and the ability for single individuals to have the pilot berth or something).

We need power.  Good batteries (and I’ll replace what needs replacement) and ways to charge them are in order to keep the water maker, HF radios, computers and showers.

We need a full or modified keel to keep us stable and slow bouncing in rolling anchorages – which we will try not to be in usually.  We’re not in any sort of a rush to get anywhere and just won’t go if the weather is going to be bad.  Yep, fair weather sailors when we can be – and we’ll brave the storms when we must.  Truth be told we will be watching weather windows carefully and go when we have a decent chance to have good weather, rather than risk a bad passage on a dark night in near-gale and gale conditions.  Higher than that… we’ll be snuggled up in a hurricane hole someplace… umm… snuggling….

Water makers aren’t necessary, they aren’t required, they aren’t even cheap.  You can catch rainwater, pay for it at docks and produce it from water makers.  We will put a water maker aboard the boat.  Even if it produces only small quantities of water in an hour because we want to have clean clothing and we drink a lot of water, we like showers and as long as we can generate the power required to run one, then we’ll have one. Again, they ain’t cheap (example: http://www.electromaax.com/products/watermakers/).  Then of course you HAVE to depend on power from somewhere, the engine, a generator, wind generator, solar/battery combinations etc.

So in a few days the next leg of this voyage begins with searching for the boat to suit us, to take us where we want to go, to keep us safe and to give us the freedom we want to see the things we want to see.

Until next time… Fair Winds to all….