A Travellerspoint blog

Pre-Flight 2011 (continued)

sunny 60 °F

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
T.S. Eliot

Another wonderful citation from the journal/log that Stan and Connie gave us. Of the many correct criticisms which can be made of our boating adventure ... none of them involve quitting or caving in the face of adversity. We will see how far we can go and, maybe now, have an engine and boat that will support that get us there.

We had been working on the boat; busy, but only around the edges. As Yoda, the Jedi knight, would have said, maybe did, "You are not one with the boat." That state of being is not the correct one from which to initiate long passages. So, we segued from busy to involved. We have developed a checklist which includes every failure, every mistake, and every maintenance need that we have yet learned in our years on the boat. This list just keeps on growing. By the time we had been through all of the items in the interior of the boat, we had poked and nosed into just about every corner of the boat. When we finish the top side portion of the list we will be able to say that we are, in fact, one with the boat.

We had had an inventory list of all the stuff on the boat but that got corrupted during a computer malfunction. Recreating this list seemed like a useful exercise for a not very nice, weather wise, Sunday morning. If we had missed any areas when doing the check sheet items, we got to them here. It was humbling. We had ...........

  • Stuff that we no longer need;
  • Stuff that we cannot even remember the reason we needed it, or thought we did;
  • Stuff that was not where we remembered it being;
  • Stuff we had forgotten we had, some of it important.

Anyway, we were able to offload some more stuff from the boat. Almost every marina has a place where you can put stuff "up for adoption." Most boaters, being pack rats, glom onto anything that might have a potential future use, a benign form of recycling. One boat's trash is another boat's treasure.

One piece of equipment that was a question mark at the end of the cleanup was what to do about the wi-fi antenna, a really good tool if it were to work which I had never been able to get it to do on any computer including this one. So, I went through an uninstall procedure to remove whatever bits might still be in the system and downloaded the drivers again from the website. After a very tedious, long download for this large file and a simple installation .... miracle of miracles .... the thing actually works and works very well. It will probably work at the 1/4-mile range and might even go a little farther.

The fore cabin, Carol's exclusive domain, is now, for the first time in a while, mostly neat. We put in these plastic file folder holders (eight in all) to convert flat storage into cubic storage. The concept is pretty good until we need to get under the base of the forward berth which has some storage and one of the two 45-gal. water tanks, the forward one having a line that occasionally get clogged and must be cleared. Getting to the bottom of all this, and then replacing it, is a half day exercise and no fun. But, since Carol does all the work I do not mind so much.

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It's not all work. Carol decorated our Christmas tree, something she genuinely seems to enjoy, if only because she uses liberal applications of wine to enhance the creative process. Unfortunately, for this tree there was only a thimbleful consumed as the tree is on 18-in. tall.

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We turned the boat around last week from stern in to bow into the slip so that I could clean the other side of the hull. This is, more or less, the equivalent of cleaning a 72-ft. long bath tub with Soft Scrub. Not too much fun, but the boat does look better when it's clean. Boat handling, especially in wind and current, is not like riding a bicycle .... it does not all come right back. Anyway, I crashed the side of the bow into the dock and in the process smashed one of the covers that go over the anchor locker drain holes. On Monday we drove up to the Beneteau factory in SC to pick up a new one and some other stuff.

On Tuesday morning we finished the top side checklist items, having saved the least pleasant for the last: checking the anchor windlass and chain. The anchor windlass is a back saver; I know this having spent a week and a half on Victoria's boat, which has a manual windlass. So, we always want to be sure that the thing works, at least when we leave. Checking the anchor chain for deterioration is also necessary; no problems with our chain, it's only 3 years old and still in very good shape. Lastly, check the markers so that we can tell how much chain is out. There are lots of ways to do this ..... all bad, just bad in different ways! After trying paint, which lasted through about two anchorings, we settled on these simple, florescent cable ties. They don't last very long going through the gypsy, but they are cheap and easy to replace regardless of location and circumstance.

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We have been watching the weather closely and it had been strange. Our first week here things were delightful: sunny, shorts and t-shirt warm during the day; pleasantly cool at night. This was, of course, when we did all of our inside work. On the second weekend, things changed to cool, not quite cold, and cloudy .... alternately, sometimes concurrently, rainy and blustery, a time when we will do most of our topside work. The barometer this past week has been a mystery; it has not been below 30.10 inHg and at times has been as high as 30.60 inHg. This usually means fairer weather, clear skies if not warm ones. We have seen no such thing. So, I've done what sailors have done since the beginning of time: switch from warm weather gin to cold weather scotch. Arrgh, matey .... if you canna' change your weather then change your liquor.

I have been re-working the way points and distances for the trip from Brunswick to Ft. Pierce, a trip of about 240 nm. I am pretty sure that all the math is right, having checked several times. We covered that distance in June on the trip north in about 40 hours which means that we have to have averaged about 6.0 knots for the entire passage including the channels and inland waters. This number is so far outside our previous history of the three anemic, under producing Westerbeke gerbils that it is hard to accept for planning this trip south. The right number does matter so that we can arrive in daylight with enough daylight left to get to the dock; the alternative is figure eights a few miles off shore waiting for the sun. 5.0 knots seems better but we will have some winds from the north and then east which will mean we can put out some sail for a power assist.

The boat has spent, maybe, an hour away from the dock in the past six months. Despite all that we have done, the ongoing concern is: what did we forget? Last night, when I should have been sleeping one of those things landed in my brain. We should have spent at least a full day off shore power to check out power consumption and the batteries; this should also have included using the wind generator. We didn't, but will try to remember to do so before we leave for the Bahamas.

Today, Wednesday, 12/14 broke clear .... sunny skies, fair enough weather for the next 48 hours. We will get underway about noon to take advantage of the tidal current and head south.

Posted by sailziveli 05:53 Archived in USA Tagged boating

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