A Travellerspoint blog

January 2010

2010 Liftoff

37 °F

"Travel not only stirs the blood ... it gives strength to the spirit." Florence Prag Kahn

The quote is from the wonderful log/journal that Stan and Connie gave us in 2008. The quote seemed appropriate since we are now traveling and I could probably use some strength of spirit.

The strength of spirit refers to another entry I've added to my growing list of things that most people are smart enough to know shouldn't be done even once. In this case getting hit by a car while I walking across the parking lot. Being small in stature and slow of foot, my serious aspirations for the NFL ended in the 7th grade on the junior high team. While other guys on the team were dealing 5 o'clock shadow I was wondering if I would ever weigh 100 pounds. So, now, twice, including the dock and ribs, I know what it's like to get hit by Ray Lewis, except that a Ford Explorer is even bigger than he is. Anyway, I'm just a little stiff and sore and probably will be for a few more days.

The ribs and cold weather not withstanding, we thought to be under way several weeks ago. Given all of the projects that we have completed in the last few weeks that hope was either naive or stupid or both.

On Wednesday, we got the last serious issue completed when we took the boat out for a few hours to calibrate and sea trail the new auto-pilot I installed last September. Technology is great! The sea trial was not going well, so I called RayMarine from the cell phone, they gave me a trouble shooting tip which I completed, all the while underway. Now it works like a charm.

Then there was the 48-hours the boat spent out of the water while we had the seals around the inside of the propeller shaft replaced. We went to St. Mary's for a visit since we could not stay on the boat. The old St. Mary's is pretty, picturesque and quaint. We walked around the docks for a while and talked to other boaters and then had a great sea food dinner at Lang's restaurant where the food was promised to have come from Mr. Lang's boat, probably the only local sea food we've had in two years. For desert, we had this great sunset over the marsh ... Sunset_in_St__Mary_s.jpg

The biggest project was to try to trim the boat. Some guy was walking by and commented that our boat was listing badly, e.g. it was leaning to port and down in the stern. The trim had never been good but when I had the third house battery moved to the port lazarette and we bought the Honda generator a bad situation got much worse: about 550-lb in less than 2-sq. ft. This is a lot on a boat that weighs less than nine tons. So, two trips to Jacksonville, FL to buy lead ingots and one trip to Savannah, GA to buy bags of lead shot along with some weight lifting plates from the local Walmart and we've added over 700-lb. in various nooks and crannies. The good news is that the boat is in trim and we can make some adjustments as things change. The bad news is the extra weight which may have increased our draft an inch or so.

It sometimes seems that all we have done is work on the boat, approximately true is not literally so, a white bottomless pit into which we pour time and money. However, at St. Mary's there were some cautionary examples of why that is necessary.P1270171.jpg This was a sailboat, there's a winch for the jib sheet. 270_P1270172.jpg So was this.

So ..... at long last, we're off, putting Brunswick to our stern and headed for the Fernandina Beach mooring field. We'll lay over there one night while some thunderstorms pass and then head offshore for a two day run to the Ft. Pierce Inlet and then the Vero Beach mooring field to visit cousin Les and Jean. Cool weather, some wind, some seas and it's great to be underway again.

Posted by sailziveli 20:53 Archived in USA Tagged boating Comments (0)

Preflight 2009 - Redux

On the positive side #1: the new mail sail has arrived and is installed along with the new genoa. New_Sails.jpgCarol, being Carol, insisted on complete color coordination. No white sails for her becoming Red Sails in the Sunset.

On the positive side #2: The ribs on the left side are healing well and a little cortisone on the right side makes me feel almost like a new guy; well, maybe not all the way new but at least back to version 62.0.

On the negative side: Baby, It's Cold Outside, about 20 degrees colder than normal, not news to anyone living in the mid-west or on the east coast. If we have to be stuck somewhere due to weather, being at a dock with shore power to run the heater and having a car to get around without and open water dinghy ride, Brunswick is OK.

It seems that Dante postulated a Hell with seven circles, cold not hot. He only needed three circles: (1) cold; (2) cold and windy; (3) cold and windy on the water. It's a two day run to Ft. Pierce; doing that on the open sea in an open cockpit earns a merit badge we neither need nor want. So, the long range forecast shows a weather window early next week with temperatures becoming more normal. If that happens, and the hose thaws so that we can fill our water tanks, we're southbound.

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Water Rat, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Carol and I have been messing about in our boat to get ready for the trip, working hard to get ready to get underway, changing belts, replacing fluids, generally checking everything. We're in pretty good shape with only a few odd tasks to complete before we can cast off the lines and head south. The last few trips to the boat, combined with this one have all been about work; the boat hasn't left the dock in six months. Some things have become apparent during this time:
[*]All people who build and/or work on boats are steroidal, weight-lifting giants. The average 63 year old guy, moi, for example, cannot loosen any nut, clamp, etc., that they have tightened.

[*]Not too many jobs are complicated, i.e. requiring special tools or knowledge; those we hire done. All jobs, however, are involved. Just about everything requires emptying or moving lots of stuff to get access to any area. We just completed a task on the two water tanks and spent six hours emptying and deconstructing, and then reconstructing, the two berths to gain access to the tanks. The actual work per tank: 5~10 minutes.

[*]If it were possible to get a DNA infusion to help with boat repair, I would choose bat DNA. They're strong for their weight; the can spend long periods hanging upside down; and they work well in the dark. These are all good, practical attributes for all manner boat repairs.

[*]No matter how much attention I pay to the way I take things apart, those things never seem to go back together in quite the way that I remembered.

[*]It seems impossible to complete any repair or task without dropping at least one nut/bolt/washer/screw into a recess in the boat from which it cannot be retrieved. And, since everything has to be stainless steel, that's another trip to West Marine.

[*]Tools matter, as every guy knows. The most frequently used tool on our boat: a Maglite, 2 AA battery, LED flashlight. It puts out good, focused, bright light and can be held in the mouth while working in confined places. The most improbable tool on the boat: a small air compressor with a tank. It only gets used 3 to 5 times per year but when you're trying to clear an air or water line, it's precisely the right tool for the job, and no other tool will do.

Carol and I have been musing that we may sleep more on the boat than at home. If true, this may be because there are more attractions and distractions at the house than on the boat. The rear cabin is generally working out well as a sleeping berth. The mattress is actually a foam pad about 4-inches thick; not bad but good enough. The one downside of the move: egress. In the forward cabin one of us could, sometimes, leave the berth with a modified leg lift, butt pivot and not wake the other person. The rear cabin is more of a pullman style; one person sleeps on the inside, away from the door. That person is Carol; if there were to be a problem getting me there first and fastest is important. The unintended consequence is that if Carol wants to leave the cabin before I'm up, she has crawl, kick and crush her way over my skinny, battered body. From my supine position as the crawlee, kickee, crushee it seems like an quotidian replay of the ....
50_foot_woman.jpg Carol is, of course, too modest to say anything, but the hair color is a dead give-a-way.

People who spend extended periods on their boats during travel are referred to as cruisers. We are, I think, getting into a cruiser mentality, at least as it applies to storage. Because of the way our keel is made, we have a very shallow bilge, probably not more than 6-inches in most places. Last year the bilge was used not at all. This year, since it appears that we have solved an irritating leak issue, they're loaded up. Last year we had two hanging nets; this year we have five ... and they're all loaded. Carol with a credit card will fill all of the available space with stuff, whether we need it or not, and we do have lots of stuff. The interesting dialogue between we two is to define necessary; we seem to have a gap in approach that no bridge seems likely to span.

We're hoping for a weather window around 01/13.

Posted by sailziveli 09:36 Comments (0)

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