Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aaaaaaaaand……..they’re off!

We were knot ready to submit, but we left anyway.  This afternoon the modified mainsail arrived, so we took off for sea trials of the new engine and didn’t go back.  We haven’t made it very far, just a couple miles.  Even so, it was far enough with the winds today that we had to don fouly jackets and had spray over the bow and even over the coach roof, just like in the movies!

We are at anchor on the St Johns River.  Barbara is happy making pork steaks and steamed green beans.  She has sorted and arranged the charts.  The refurbished Garmin 420S chart plotter and sonar is working.  The new LED anchor light is lit.  Fleetwood Mac is playing.  Wine is poured.  “Submit” floats.  Life is good!

There are still a herd of projects to complete.  We hope to get sails on tomorrow, and be able to control them with functional lines.   We are piecing together our home-made version of a bimini.  None of the sewing has been done, and on it goes.

But the new engine runs well and pushes the boat.  And the rudder I repaired all by my own self turns us.  And the mast hasn’t fallen down.  And we can actually see major portions of the decks and living areas.  And we cannot hear a grinder working on someone’s boat nor do we have grinding dust blowing on us.

The general plan is to head farther south by about 400 miles from here.  That gets us to the West Palm Beach, FL area.  From there we hope to cross over to the Bahamas.  Weather will be a factor influencing route and timing.

Folks have been asking for pictures.  I will include some below with descriptions.  Bail out now if you don’t want to be bored. 

launching without mast
crane hoisting mast to step on boat

mast and boom down for care and new standing rigging

stairs to home

midway through the rudder rebuild project

raegae boat stern

living aboard while working on her is not too glamorous

back half of same cockpit

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mast is up! 

She looks like a real sailboat again.  The mast was re-stepped today.  All new standing rigging, upgraded drum assembly for the old furler, new mast lights, and so far everything seems to work fine, thanks to Julian at Sparmanusa.  It pays to hire a professional.

We still have odds and ends to do, but Barbara is seeing more boat and less clutter and is getting the itch to clean.  The poor old boat really needs it.  Being in the work yard means lots of dust.  However, mother nature should help out ‘cause it is supposed to rain for the next couple days.  We've seen lightning in the distance.  Oops.  Looks like it is hitting us now...not lightning, the storm.  Could be an entertaining night tied to the pier.

Our modified mainsail should arrive Monday or Tuesday and we plan to leave here the day after it arrives.  It is still our goal to make it to the northern Bahamas. 

The new engine fired up first try day before yesterday.  However, the folding prop was too much prop for it.  For those of you prop techies, it was a 16L X 14P.  For non-techies, it was taking too big a bite out of the water and the engine could not reach its proper RPM.  Therefore, we had to haul the boat back out of the water this morning and change propellers.  All better now.

The office and yard staff here at Green cove Springs Marina have been great.  And neighboring boaters have been helpful when we needed help or hit a snag, lending manpower for big jobs, or a better tool, or advice, etc.  Some neighbors have gone on ahead of us.  Others are working hard to follow.  Some seem like they are here permanently.

Our delight at making progress has been tempered by disappointment at the lot of one pair of friends and recent neighbors.  They left a few days ago, but suffered a tragedy yesterday.  Their boat sank after hitting underwater obstructions.  

Imagine your home with water rushing in and filling it to the ceiling.  Everything, EVERYTHING is under water or floating about.  A hole 2’ by 3’ has been knocked in the bottom.  You hardly have time to get out of the ‘house’ before it is totally full.  You and your spouse and pet have to be taken to shore.  Strangers offer you a place to stay for now.  How do you walk back into your house without being overwhelmed? See the link below.

All our best to Michael and Diane.

Monday, February 18, 2013

weeks 3 and 4

Weeks 3 and 4

We haven’t posted for the past two weeks because it would have been redundant.  We have been working daily on projects.  Things are finally coming together and we are re-assembling.  We are scheduled to launch Wednesday afternoon. And have the mast stepped on Friday late morning.  If everything checks out OK, could leave any time from Saturday on.
Today marks 4 weeks since we arrived.  We had expected a minimum of two weeks work, at a minimum, and realistically expected three, but not almost 5.  The saving grace is that we have now completed repair or replacement of every major worry items on the boat.  There are always little things and projects to be done, but nothing serious, nothing which can keep us in one spot.
The plan is still to try to head to the northern Bahamas.  We’ll have a little less time to spend there this trip, but it will still be worth it just to go.
We are tired of being “on the hard”, but we are still enjoying our time on the boat.    We have survived nights below freezing, occasional rain showers, blustery winds, a couple hot and steamy days, and lots of sunshine.  We enjoy a glass or two of Corrugated Cabernet in the evenings, and occasionally a dvd movie purchased 3 for $5 at a flea market.  Barbara still makes me smile and laugh and so far still puts up with me.  Life is good

Songs that have been running through Barbara’s mind—
“Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future”,
“Where, or where did that electrical wire go, oh, where or where can it be?”
“It is an ittsy, bittsy, teeny, weeny, little crowded space to fit me. That I enter for the tenth time today”
“Get your motor runnin’” I was having trouble getting the engine system figured out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When the plastic bobbin rolls into the bilge  way down, way down
There’ll be no more sewing ‘til we find a new one or two in town.
What now, what now? Can’t paint the mast today.
Why not, why not? Sanding dust all blows our way!
Cheer up, cheer up! Guess we’ll just have to play.
Live, love, laugh and be happy.

     The second week was mostly consumed with taking things apart.  Strip the mast and boom. Remove the rudder and the cutlass bearing, etal.  Things come apart fairly well.  Now it is time to do the repairs and maintenance. Reggie orders the things needed for the cutlass bearing replacements. He also starts grinding away at the rudder (yikes). I start painting the mast and boom. We should be in the water on schedule, even after adding jobs the first week that were not on the schedule.
     Maybe not.      I’m not sure how many times the wrong things arrived for the cutlass bearing project.
     It looks to me like Reggie is making a new rudder. I’m sure it will be fine:/ There have been some delays, as he needs warmer weather for the expanding foam portion and it has been cold here. Well not Montana cold, but not Florida warm either. 
     It turns out that painting the mast and boom is not like painting a wall at home. After pretty much botching the job, some fellow cruisers here have offered suggestions. The ‘professor’ has helped me with my technique and now they are almost not embarrassing. Today the neighbors across the way offered to show me how to do it by rolling and tipping with a brush. I declined her valiant offer, as it would have required tons of sanding what I had already done and at this point we are behind schedule. Anyway, I’m not one to put earrings on a pig, even if I think my pig is wonderful. The boat right next door is having the bottom sanded, so I have to wait until he is done for the day, then clean up all the fine, back dust before I can apply another coat. I should be getting good at cleaning up that stuff!
     Oh, yes, the bobbin saga continues after losing the only one we had. We wrote down the model number and went to JoAnne’s. the clerk started to look it up and then decided she knew which one we needed.  We came home with a package of bobbins. Things just didn’t look right, so I checked on the internet.  Still not sure how this one works. Try several times and finally give up in frustration.  Reggie looks researches only to discover we have the wrong ones. Maybe another time. I can live with a less than perfect paint job on the mast and boom, but I really want some new curtains and cushions!!

Reggie appends:

     It hasn’t been all toil.  We had a great dinner out at Maggiano’s with new friends Michael and Diane.  Also, we took a break during a shopping excursion for dinner at Moe’s Southwestern Grill.  And our refrigerator keeps the beer cold!
     Other boats are finishing their projects and launching to head out for the Bahamas or the Florida keys or wherever.  A couple have launched even though all the projects weren’t done.  I’m beginning to wonder if we will get to go.  Wait!  No negativity!
Our projects?
     For the mast, a new LED anchor light, a new steaming and deck light, sanding and paint to eliminate corrosion spots, a new halyard, repair/upgrade parts for the old roller furler, and new standing rigging to keep the mast from falling down once we get it back up.  Chain-plates, stem fitting and mast shoe have been re-bedded.
     The rudder had bulges and some water in it.  I had to grind away about 20% of the rudder to get rid of bad stuff.  Today began the reconstruction with pourable 2 part urethane foam.  Then, I get to learn how to apply fiberglass and epoxy!
     The propeller shaft needed a new cutlass bearing.  The third one which arrived was the correct one.  And, while in the area, the shaft log hose and clamps were replaced, and the packing gland was repacked with new super-duper packing.
     Barbara has a better light over the galley.  Tomorrow she will connect the new-to-us-last-spring bow running light and then the anchor chain and line and anchor can go back where they belong.
Seeing things go back together is giving us hope!