A Travellerspoint blog

Florida Farrago

We arrived at Ft. Pierce on Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday were for rest and recovery from the run south, much needed. Also I was trying to get a heating pad to get my left leg to work a little bit better; walking has been challenging and slow when compared to Carol and her Seven League legs that go forever.

Monday and Tuesday were work days. On the trip south we noticed that the main sail had some slack on the luff (forward) edge despite having tightened the halyard. Beyond the issue of sailing efficiency, there were some serious concerns about this; so we tried to tackle the problem. Step one: send me 4.5 stories up the mast to look at "things." Sure enough, the hoist car was not topped out. So, there were several calls to Charleston Spar, which produced the mast, located, of course, in Charlotte, NC. Their technical guy and I decided that an extra shackle in the rigging might be the cause. Down came the sail, apart came the furling mechanism and off came the shackle; the knot was so tight that I had to cut it out. Amazingly, improbably, everything went back together properly. For the time being it appears that we have proper tension on the sail. But, it had not yet been tested on the open water. The neat thing about being up the mast was watching Carol mis-secure the line which was holding me aloft. Had I not had a secure hold on the upper spreaders I would have plummeted to the deck like one of Less Nesman's Thanksgiving Turkeys. [[http://radio.about.com/od/thanksgivingradio/a/WKRP-In-Cincinnati-Turkey-Drop-Episode.htm|

So, having been up to the top a few times and, also, having seen what Carol can do, I decided that it was time to rig a second halyard to use as a safety line, something that I should have done 3 years ago when I first bought the bos'n's chair. We spent a days and a half doing this before we got underway south. The view is pretty good from up there.


On Tuesday night a couple arrived for the boat right next to us, an older guy and a younger woman. The young woman was, at least from the neck down, serious eye candy. The next morning I was out getting ready to leave and the guy was cleaning the boat, the young woman nowhere to be seen that morning, presumably still abed. Since Carol had been up and working for about two hours it made me think that there is much to be said In Praise of Older Women: [[http://bertc.com/subfour/truth/inpraise.htm Check it out.

On Wednesday we headed north to the Vero Beach City Marina mooring field. With the tide in our favor and a good tail wind we made the 12 nm trip in about two hours. Last year they stuck us at the very north end of the marina in the mangrove swamp; this year they put us at the very south end of the marina right next to the bridge over the Indian River/ICW. There is some highway noise but at night it's not too bad.

Thursday was the work day for the shaft seal leak or whatever is happening. I tightened all of the hose clamps some of which were able to take half a turn. Then we dried everything completely and spread paper towels under the whole mechanism to pinpoint any leaks. We ran the engine, in gear, for almost an hour and .... nada! Very frustrating. Maybe the hose clamps were the issue, maybe not. Intermittent problems really suck!

The new outboard motor has been its own challenge. When we put it in the water it started on the second pull, really good. At the dinghy dock, coming back, not so lucky. So then began the search for the owners manual, not where it belonged and nowhere to be found until Carol looked where it didn't belong and found it about an hour later. It has fuel injection so priming a hot motor flooded it. All this new stuff to learn. Now, we have been trying to figure out how to tilt the motor out of the water when not in use; this keeps green stuff from growing in the cooling lines. There's a fair chance that the problem is operator error, but that's not a given. The thing weighs so much, over 80 pounds, that it is a struggle to tilt it up and hold it there while trouble shooting the latch mechanism. Follow on: probably operator error; it will tilt and lock but requires an arcane choreography to make it happen. Carol has not yet worked with this motor; she was generally competent with the old one but will be challenged to understand this one.

This is the first time on the trip, less than two weeks old, that we have really been in the boating mode, not tethered to the dock with yellow electrical cables. So electrical consumption and holding tanks are part of every day. The refrigerator just seems to use too much power; it's rated at 5 watts and sometimes uses more than 9 watts and cycles way too often. Carol just defrosted and that has not made any appreciable difference; we've checked the settings to make sure that they're not too cold. No help. I guess that we'll have to have someone look at the compressor; it's about nine years old and may be failing. We've actually had to run the engine a couple of times to recharge the batteries; solar panels don't work well with clouds and dark; calm days don't help the wind generator.

We went out today and rode the bus to a shopping area. It's hard to believe that we two can actually cause a drop of the average age in any crowd ... but here we do. Vero Beach is serious geezer country, at least in the winter months.

On Friday Jean and Les met us at the marina for a weekend visit at their place. It was a very nice time, a couple of nice restaurants, a little shopping for boat provisions and a lot of doing not very much. Les and I watched the Super Bowl despite the fact that his beloved New York Football Giants and Da' Bears were not playing. It's good when family are the people you would also pick for friends.

A front came through last night .... we went to bed and the boat was pointed south and it was 75 degrees; we woke up and the boat was pointed north and it was 50 degrees. So, it's about time to head south. My unscientific observation is that you have to be south of Palm Beach to be fairly safe from cold weather, so we'll head south to Ft. Lauderdale in the next day or two, maybe, if the weather looks right and my order arrives and there is room at the inn.

Posted by sailziveli 13:30

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