Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Too many toys

On Friday I ordered a:
Battery Monitor System. Specifically a BMV 602 from Compass Marine (Maine Sail on many sailing forums)
Freebie:  http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/butyl_tape

A depth finder/sonar transducer from a site I won't advertise.

I got it all on Monday. I love the modern world. More importantly, Maine Sail actually shipped the stuff (I also got byutl tabe (a sealant)) on Saturday morning. As I said, I got it Monday afternoon.

I installed the depth sounder / sonar on Monday since it takes 2-4 days for the sealant to cure around the base.
It's a P79 sonar transducer, installed on the inside of the hull it shoots sonar through the hull. That means the place you install it must be clean, solid fiberglass is okay, cored (fiberglass-anything-fiberglass) is not okay. I'm lucky, my heavy, thick, cruising boat is just solid fiberglass.
I'd already planned my location and the cable run.

I put the transducer on a boat hook (blue painters tape), plugged it into my Raymarine e7d chartplotter/fishfinder and was watching fish swim by in less than 10 minutes.
It took another hour to grind out a smooth place, install the base unit and glue/seal it to the floor.

That's where the fun started.

2 to 4 days for the sealant to cure.

Send a man to the moon and all that. You'd think the entire marine industry could come up with a adhesive sealant that was not brittle and could cure in, I don't know, the 45 minutes it took me to run the cable through the boat and up to the helm station/chartplotter.

No. I have to wait 2 to 4 days just to fill the 'bowl' I make with anti-freeze, then screw the transducer on and really see what I have.

I'm sure there is a reason 'patient' is a re-occurring theme in the name of our boats.

Next post, the battery monitor...After all I've got two to four days of lolly gagging around waiting for stuff to cure...

Skin in the game

Busy week in boat land (or dock, whichever you prefer).

I gathered the courage and whipped out my dirt cheap (Harbor Freight) 7 inch buffer so I could put some shine where previously I'd just applied some very expensive compound and wax.

It took a little persuasion, and a couple layers of skin

but I convinced it I was in fact the skipper of the boat.  The picture is blurry on purpose, you don't need to see the ooze factor. I got that in the first ten seconds of work, then dangled the dang thing over the side and had a discussion with it (the buffer) about how it was going to behave from now on.
I'm not posting pics of the shine I then proceeded to lay on the entire deck/cabin house area. That was part of the deal.
It glistens. I can read the raised text on the waste and water outlets (they are 20 inches from the cabin top). I have to shield my eyes from the glare. Or maybe that's my bald head.

Okay, not really, but it's a lot better than what Mary and i worked up by hand.

Someday I'll buy a buffer/polisher that doesn't have an appetite for skin.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sailing at the dock

Last weekend (Mother's day, and incidentally the 7th anniversary of our taking pocession of our last boat) was our first planned weekend out and about on the Irwin.

20+ knots of wind changed that plan as we'd rather have nice comfortable sail be our first sail.

Still, we'd done the shopping, toting and carrying about 100 pounds of assorted galley ware, linens, liquids and such on board so we were determined. We dock sailed.

Not that we raised the sails, we just stayed aboard the boat and crossed off items on the never ending to do list.
Unfortunately we added more to the list than we crossed off. That has a way of happening on boats because as you do one tasks you find something else that needs done.

The good news is I did not fall in while wet sanding the former name off the list - that didn't happen until Tuesday.
I only cut myself one time - apparently enough to satisfy the boat that I was serious, not enough to actually stop work.
Running out the 100 feet of anchor chain manually was a lot easier than expected because we only had 50 feet of chain and 120 of rope. I have a receipt from the previous owner where he bought 100 feet of chain in 2007. I've not found it yet, it's a big boat.
The 'make anchor bridle' item, already completed mind you, was no longer important.
Add to to do list, buy 100 feet of chain spliced to 100 feet of 1/2 three strand nylon.
The 'other' anchor rode was 8 feet of (I swear) 1/2 inch chain and 210 feet of 1/2 inch rope. I'm betting it's original to the boat.
Add to to do list - find someone who wants the second anchor rode (after I get a new one). 
I removed the (again, I swear) plastic silverware trays (2) at the bottom of the anchor locker.
I compounded the entire gelcoat surface of the deck by hand because the 7 inch buffer even at the low 600 RPM setting literally kicked my butt (the cut was from it jamming a finger). Apparently I'm not meant to do machine buffing so I'm following the Karate Kid method (wax on, wax off).
I did get nice shinny fingernails, so I got that going for me.
Add to list - wax again, it needs a second coat.
Add to list - find a buffer I can use.
Meanwhile Mary stored the galley stuff.
Add to list - reorient under stair doors from left/right opening to up/down opening so the nice locker there can actually be used (opening the door blocks reaching into the shelves, who's idea was that?)
Add to list - fix the 3 cabinet doors that don't hang exactly right; strip out original shelf liners; and the big one -
Remove all drawers (20 or so) and seal the wood with polyurethane. Raw, untreated wood has no place on a boat. Vinyl shelf covers 26 years old are not a substitute for sealed wood.
Mounting the RAM mic for the VHF was easy, except I only had a 1 inch hole saw, not a 1 1/8 inch. I ran a dremel sanding drum around the hole for 10 minutes (add to list, clean cockpit sole).
The Edson instrument/wheel pedestal is so thick the face plate for the RAM would not fit, so
Add to list - make a thinner decorative plate (1/16 inch teak?).
That's sort of funny because it means the pedestal is made of fiberglass and gelcoat that is actually thicker than the HULL of our previous boat. 

So - much pleased with ourselves, and feeling good about our boat I settled in for a Rum and Zero (Coke) while Mary taste tested a Mohito mix and  navigated the treacherous passage of cooking for the first time on board.
That's a right of passage I'd done the previous weekend.
As large as our galley area is it takes a little bit of flat space management to set out food, prepare it and serve it. Especially when the largest flat space is the lid to the fridge/freezer, and we have junk all over the counter because we are in the midst of 100k projects.
Add to list - find and mount pot holders for our particular 3 burner stove. Oh - and find a pizza stone that will fit.
Man's got to have his pizza irregardless of latitude, it's good for the attitude.

That was Friday night. Sure, sure, we orange glowed the heck out of the entire after sunset and worked hours of cleaning, planning and such.
Or we had Mohito's and Dark Zero's.

Saturday morning
ADD TO LIST memory foam for master cabin bed (I'm good with a board, Mary needs softer).
Add to list - don't leave cockpit cushions out during rain STORM.
Add to list - get dry cell foam, replace cushion in the cushions.
oh yeah, - add to list - close the enclosure before going to bed.
Accelerate on list - add 12v outlet at my bedside so I can power my CPAP.

Here's my weekend stupid move.
I plugged my 100w inverter into the nav station and ran an extension cord to the aft cabin for my CPAP.
Uh, we were plugged into the pier and I have a 110v just 3 feet from my side of the bed.
(trust me non-boaters, that's funny to boaters).

The forecast on Friday for Saturday had been a benign 10-12 kts of wind, the forecast that morning was 20+ and a small craft advisory.
Mary and I consider our boat (38 feet, 20k pounds) as a small craft. We stayed put.
I mean, we had to, the list had grown. I'm only putting the highlights here.

Saturday was more compounding and waxing, including wiping and rubbing out the enclosure canvas where I'd gotten enthusiastic the day before. I was, in a word, wiped from yesterday so I borrowed Mary for the wax off part.
Add to list, don't be enthusiastic with wax around the enclosure,

And of course - the list goes on, by now you get it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A room with a view

Mary did a little seamstress work this weekend.

A little background glossary for the non-sailor.
A dodger is the canvas and plastic (really Sunbrella and Isenglass) cover that is at the forward part of the cockpit. It's called a dodger because it helps you dodge all the wind and waves being blown or foamed at you.

A bimini is the canvas and plastic cover that in our case encloses the rest of the cockpit (some have just a roof). I have no idea why it's called a bimini.
Together they form a sort of florida room on the boat, and make the cockpit nice and dry and toasty in cool weather. Of course that's nice and dry and sauna like in hot weather - so all that Isenglass has to be removable and screens replace it.

Our dodger is connected to the bimini with a solid piece of canvas. The connector blocked the view forward to only what you could see by ducking down and peering out the dodger window.

Mary fixed that in her first foray into sewing with Isenglass. This is 40 gauge stuff, tough. Here's the results.
As always, click on the pic to make it big
 Inside looking up at the mast
Outside looking back.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shake down cruise

I had the opportunity this past weekend to take the boat out and about on a two night cruise with a friend.
I'm happy to report that she lived up to all expectations. We found a few minor issues (a sticky float on the bilge pump for example) but nothing that didn't work. In other words a shake down and not a break down cruise.
Day one was a motor and then down wind drift at 4kts under the jib alone to the mouth of the Severn where we dropped canvas (dacron actually, but canvas sounds better) and did a brief motor tour of Back Creek.
On the way in we crossed bows with Mario - a online friend from SailNet. I'd never actually met him or seen his boat but I knew he was on BC with a Endeavor 32. I simply yelled "Mario", he yelled back "Chuck" and 5 minutes later we were chatting on VHF arranging a meet up in Weems Creek on the free Navy mooring balls.
Mario and his wife have lived aboard for 2.5 years bouncing up and down the east coast as summer and jobs take them. In other words, living the life most of us dream about.

The next day we unhooked and motored around to the Annapolis harbor and grabbed a ball then jumped on the water taxi and went in to scope out the Spring Boat Show. For 12 bucks it's was worth it but not even 1/4 the size of the fall show. Lots of local dealers and brokers, lots of large expensive used boats and a hundred or so vendors of various mostly sailing related products. None of the big guys, none of the 'boat show' discounts I've been accustomed to seeing.

The weather forecasts had been for 5-8 knots of wind all weekend. A check on Sunday morning was therefore a surprise when the first thing that popped up was a small craft advisory until 10pm. Rather than a slow drift home we got a nice sail with winds building from 8 kts to a maximum apparent wind of 28.4. Another shake down with nothing breaking.
We didn't even reef. It's nice indeed to have 7,000 pounds of ballast standing up to Mr. Wind.

Here's a nice video of the trip where the winds were still in the low teens and we had time to take a video.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Update with a view

So, the view from the top looks something like this:

 With a nice view:

And the helm used to look like this:

And now it looks like this:
It's not done yet - on the right is where the control head for the auto pilot goes, under that in the bottom right will be switches for the windlass (for the anchor) and maybe an ignition switch. Under the instrument on the left is remote mike for my VHF and some 12v plugs and a horn switch.

The picture doesn't truly show the 'view', angle is wrong. Yes, we can both see over it quite well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It takes a village

Remember the simple little whirly gig look thing from my last post? It's  a rather innoculous looking device isn't it?
It just points into the wind and whirls away, and remote sensors pick up how fast it's whirling away and which way it's pointing based on electrical resistors confuslator (pronounced confuse you later) technologies that then sends that information down to a display that you can read placed somewhat more convenient than 54.4 feet up in air.
Simple right?
Um. No.

You see, to send that information down below you have to either buy into wireless technology to magically transport it or a hard piece of cave man technology called multiple wires.

I'm not a Luddite, really I'm not. Wireless works.

It also costs twice as much and (okay, I'm a Luddite) I can't hold it in my hand 600 miles from the nearest Maytag technician and fix it myself.

What that means is someone has to go up the mast - five and a half stories up - in a nylon chair with a rope that is of indeterminate age and actually work with tools on a skinny piece of aluminum that costs upwards of $8,000  to replace just to mount a little $500 whirly gig I want so I don't have to stick my head out the 'window'.

Yeah well, not a one man job.

Meet the crew - not exactly a Iwo Jima moment but awe inspiring nonetheless.

That's John in the aforementioned nylon chair, his lovely wife Donna on belay (to the right holding the safety line),  and me (white sweater) cranking away to pull John up the mast.

Here's the fun part.

I'd met only the guy in the ball cap next to me before. He's Resolute_ZS on www.sailnet.com.
I met him when he drove 2 hours to help me get the boat ready for bringing home, and he rode the boat home as crew - a 10 hour day for him. Never laid eyes on him before.
Donna and John, same thing - met them that day, known her for months as DRFerron on www.sailnet.com. They also drove down from the Philly area (2 hours) just to help me do this.

We started at about  11:30, finished at 5:30. Six hours. John sat in the chair at the top of the mast for almost SIX HOURS.

Poor Resolute (I'm not sure if I can use his actual name) has  18 hours or more of working on my boat and has not had the chance to sail her yet.

These are the people you meet when you love sailing, help others and share. I hope I never stop. 

The person taking the picture? Jimgo from sailnet. His boat was at my pier for 3 weeks while diagnosing a transmission problem that occurred while moving his boat from Deltaville VA to home near Atlantic City.

Serendipity doesn't just happen.

Pay it forward.