Its been a month since our last post. Our plan was to leave on Fathers Day weekend, but that didn’t happen. There were too many things that needed to be installed, parts that were delayed and critical things that broke, so we will be delaying leaving until we have all that addressed. We have still been working like crazy and life has gotten easier now that the weather has warmed up. We had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend, then my wife left for California to visit family. The week she was gone I spent the entire time in sweats – howling North East winds with temps in the low to mid 50s made it tough to get out. The continuous rain didn’t help either.
The church we attend up here was preparing for VBS, so I went over to help them out on Wednesday evening. Thankfully the sun was actually out as I was working outside. I picked my wife up at the airport late on Thursday, and on Friday we headed back to the boat. Straight from freeze to fry! I haven’t worn a sweater since! It has been hot (90+) and humid and it has been hard to get used to.
The next block of equipment arrived, and we started installing away. The first big cosmetic change was the installation of lifeline netting. This completely changed the look of the boat, and with the netting on, the lifelines can no longer be lowered. It looks pretty good, and really helps keep the dog in – he can no longer jump to the dock, so we have to lift him over, but the added safety benefit is well worth it. We will however need to figure out an easier way to get over the lifelines and off the boat without standing on (and damaging) the netting.
Last year we re-did the interior of the boat and modernized the color scheme. While wandering around the local Dollar General, we found turquoise bath towels and my wife hit on a great idea – re cover the cockpit cushions with towels instead of sunbrella. It would be MUCH cheaper, and more comfy to sit on. So she whipped out the sewing machine and a few hours later we had a whole new look upstairs in the cockpit. 6 towels at $3 each – well worth the investment. And, when they get dirty we simply take them off and run them through the laundry.
Then my wife painted our boat cradle and got it ready to be alone for 18 months. A good fresh coat of paint and a name plate for each side made by her son (westcoastcurbs.com) and she looks brand new and ready for some time alone.
The next thing on the project list was the installation of the davits. These hold the dinghy out of the water while we are traveling, which helps us to go faster and keeps your lifeboat attached to the boat so you cant lose it. The installation wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be; all I needed was a drill, a socket driver and a level – a few hours and 6 holes later and we were in business!
Our new dinghy also arrived. We bought a Portland Pudgy – its a 4-person dinghy that also serves as a life raft. Its made of the same material that the plastic kayaks are made out of – its hollow and filled with foam which makes it unsinkable. Also, there are storage compartments for all kinds of nifty stuff. Playing around in areas where coral can play havoc with rubber boats will give us definite peace of mind.
The fun thing was figuring out how to secure the dinghy in the davits for traveling. There were all sorts of straps and it took a good 2 hours before I sorted out how it all goes together. Now we have a dinghy and a lifeboat (all in one) and that will give me peace of mind when crossing the ocean.
I also had to go up the mast – our spinnaker leader jumped out of the sheave and got jammed. I use leaders (cheap disposable line) to allow me to take the halyards off in the fall so that they last longer. Fixing the halyard has been challenging because it has been so windy and rainy since we moved up here that we have not been able to safely go up the mast to fix the issue. We finally got a nice calm day and I climbed the mast using our new main halyard as a safety line and got the leader unstuck so we could get the spinnaker halyard in place. Now all we have left to do is get the mainsail on, but that won’t happen until we get our new sail cover.
We had a pleasant surprise last week. One of my wife’s helpers in her Sunday school class came up to the lake on vacation, and we met her and took her family out for a sail. Her youngest daughter was in our class as well, so we had a wonderful reunion and for a change the weather that day cooperated as well. They have sailed before, both keelboats and dinghies, so we let everyone who wanted to drive the boat. The wind was perfect and we had a wonderful time. It was nice to step out of our routine and we felt blessed by their visit. Afterwards we went to the local Tofts ice cream store for some caveman chocolate (best ice cream EVER) and were treated to a gorgeous display – a sunset that truly showed the artwork of our Creator.
The next big task is the installation of part of our charging system; the mast and the wind generator. Then the last 2 things on our list – the solar panels and anchor chain – once installed will give us everything we feel we need to be able to leave. But – just when you feel like you are ready, stuff breaks. Our depth sounder and the inverter both gave up the ghost. So now we have to replace those as well. Thankfully the inverter is under warranty so it won’t cost anything to replace. Aah the joys of cruising on a boat – repairing your boat in exotic locations….