Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 27, 2009.

Things are progressing well here on the hard in Annapolis. We got hauled on Thursday morning. I ended up working until dark on both Thursday and Friday so pretty much nothing got started on our boat.

Saturday morning we were up and at it though. I was able to scrounge up a pair of excellent A-frames for making some scaffolding. I needed to compound Verandas hull, then wax her and redo the teak toe and rub rails. Scaffolding will make these chores a lot easier than working from a ladder like we have the last couple of years. While I did that, Christy went to work on cleaning our prop and shaft.

So I set the scaffolding up and I was halfway down the starboard side, compounding the hull when the skies opened up and that was the end of that. We ended up running around town doing some shopping and whatnot while promising to go at it earlier and harder the next day.

Sunday morning brought an end to the rain and we got started in earnest. We lowered the dink to the ground and maneuvered it to a good spot for Christy to begin a complete cleaning. She had to empty it which is a lot more involved than you might imagine. The fuel tank, the life jackets, flares, spare anchor, various lines, bug repellent, WD40, chapstick, lights, about 40 lbs of sand and numerous shells and oars all had to be taken out before removing the dinghy chaps so that they could be cleaned and patched. Finally it was flipped over and Christy attacked the growth that had accumulated on the bottom with various chemicals, scrapers and swearing.

While she was working out some anger issues on the dinghy I was able to compound and wax the starboard side of the hull. While I had the scaffolding set up on that side I also sanded and got the first coat of Cetol on the rub and toe rails.

Right after I moved all the scaffolding around to the port side the youngest girlchild showed up with a cake for Christy’s birthday so work was done for the day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Christy.

Love, Bill

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 24, 2009.

Now we’ve done it. We’re outta the water. Christy and I had discussed getting hauled to do our normal yearly maintenance on the bottom of the boat. I wanted to wait as long as possible since we’re just sitting here in Spa Creek. I didn’t want to paint the bottom and then just sit here.

Now when we paint the bottom we will only be here another 3 weeks or so before heading south. So when I was working in the yard that I’ve chosen to haul us, I stopped in and arranged to be hauled on Thursday. We could have taken the boat over on Wednesday night but we had more pressing matters, which I’ll get to later.

On Thursday morning we were up and running by 0630. It’s the first time in months that we’ve both been awake and had the engine running at that hour. The dogs were even looking at us like “WTF?”. We had to make the 0700 bridge opening before it closed for the 2 hour rush hour.

Once clear of the dock it was evident that the 2.5 mile trip was gonna be a long one. We took our time heading down the river and hit the opening right on time. Now out in the open waters of Annapolis harbor I throttled up a bit and was rewarded with a burst of….nothin’.

I had a bit of vibration so we could only come up to about 60% power. The best speed I saw was 4.1 knots. I knew the bottom was dirty but I never imagined that it would affect performance this much.

Once at the marina we had to enter a narrow fairway and spin the boat around. Veranda’s not exactly a Ferrari but she usually handles pretty well. Not this morning. There was a long dock that could easily handle 3 boats. Of course, the only boat tied to the dock was right in the middle.

I figured since there was room we might as well slip past him, spin around and tie up between him and the lifting well. The area is pretty tight and when we turned hard to starboard it became apparent that there’d be no spinnin’ today. It was a lot like spinnin’ a school bus in an aisle at the supermarket. Not gonna be pretty. I was backing and filling but couldn’t get the bow to come through as the light breeze held us at bay. I literally had our anchor over the dock and the stern 15 feet from the boat tied to the opposite wall behind us. Christy said “keep it right here and I’ll go over the bow”. So I kept the bow right up to the dock and she hopped over the rail, dockline in hand. After that we were soon safely tied up, first in line for the travel lift.

After breakfast and a shower, I headed off to work. The travel lift crew here is first rate so with Christy here to supervise I knew we were in good hands. She snapped a few pictures when Veranda came out of the water. The bottom was actually pretty clean but the prop and shaft were the worst they’ve ever been. One side of the rudder had a build up of barnacles, which explains this morning’s lack of ability to back with any semblance of control.

The vibration and lack of power was a result
of the incredible build up of growth on the prop and shaft. Our 1 ½ inch prop shaft was over 3 inches in diameter. So the bottom has now been power washed, the bulk of the barnacles scraped away, let the land based chores begin.

About those “more pressing matters”. There’s a liquor store here in Annapolis that has a very popular sale that they hold every year. They charge just 1 dollar over cost on every item in the store. It’s a pretty large store but for the 3 days that the sale runs, there are over a hundred people in the store from 0900 until closing. They get deliveries everyday, restock and the bulk of it is gone that evening. It’s amazing and it’s also a great place to snag a bargain.

We ended up hitting the store on each of the sale days. We ended up with 11 bottles of rum and it’s much cheaper than anything you can find, even in the Bahamas. We usually take about 100 litres of wine to the Bahamas. At the sale we ended up paying for about 80 litres while getting 125 litres of wine. Now we just gotta put it all away…..

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009.

Schweew. Thought they’d never leave. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. On Saturday I finished up some projects while Christy acted like a mad scientist in the galley.

On Saturday evening our guests arrived, the oldest girlchild and her boyfriend. They’ve been dating for about a year but due to all of us being scattered about the globe we’ve never had the chance to meet. So this was to be the time and place……

I was expecting it to go pretty well and was relieved when I saw that it would. He seemed like a real nice guy, intelligent, attentive to the girlchild and personable. Yeah, I know, a lot like me. ;)

After staying up way too late eating an “impromptu” 6 plate meal of appetizers we finally turned in for the night. On Sunday morning Christy again wowed us with a great breakfast in the cockpit while the weather cooperated and treated us to a glorious day.

We walked off the meal by heading into town on foot. We were fortunate to walk straight into a street festival. There were craft vendors, antiques, food and novelty dealers. There was a
banner which proclaimed it to be, “The Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day Festival”. Like the Irish need an excuse to throw a party. We were able to walk away without dawdling for a beer, but during our walk through town the subject of alcohol did come up.

The kids seem to be fairly well versed in the appreciation of the liquid arts. But to our surprise neither one had experienced that glass full of fun, the Painkiller. So we tacked off to starboard and headed for Pusser’s. Since it was only noonish we walked in, sat down and each enjoyed a single Painkiller. While we were sitting at the table I saw that the boyfriend was catching quick glances at the football games being played on the TV’s across the bar. Yessss, even more common ground. We both care about the girlchild and he likes football, thank you Jesus, somebody I can talk football with.

After the cocktail we walked back to the boat just in time to rendezvous with the youngest girlchild. We spent the afternoon chatting in the cockpit and then Christy served up a fabulous brown sugar and bourbon glazed salmon dinner complete with lobster risotto (our last Bahamanian tail from the freezer)(Di’s recipe, thanks Di!), caramelized onions prepared on the grill and steamed fresh broccoli. Oh, and some kind of wonderful hot dinner rolls. We all ate and ate and finally sat back completely stuffed. After the table was cleared Christy brought out the dessert she had prepared. It looked like a brownie but once broken apart, resembled and tasted like the biggest mounds bar you’ve ever seen.

After dinner the youngest girlchild was back in the car and on her way home to D.C. to attend class in the morning. The rest of us sat around adjusting our waistbands, enjoying good conversation.

In the morning I was off to work and Christy and the kids hung out, had some breakfast and then decide to head out. The kids thought it would be fun to take the dinghy for a ride so Christy lowered the dingy and off they went to town. The weather has been perfect here, nice crisp & sunny so they had a great day walking around Naptown. I was pleasantly surprised that they were still here when I got back from work. So I got to talk a little more football, including the humiliation of the Cowboys at the hands of the Giants. Go Blue!

Soon the boyfriend and the girlchild were back in the car and headed back to NYC. So the weekend was pretty good here on the Veranda. Finished up a butt load of chores, visited with both the girls, met the boyfriend, enjoyed everyone’s company and ate like a king.
September 19, 2009.

Boat stuff at work. Boat chores at home. Repeat. Again and again until the weekend arrives and then its just boat chores. We’ve got a ton of small projects going while we’re also tearing out the port side ceiling in the aft cabin.

I got the ceiling replaced and also replaced the bolts holding the port side leg of the radar arch. So with the biggie done it cleared the way for some real progress on the multitude of smaller chores. While I was hacking away at these Christy was been working feverishly to get things ready to receive company.

The eldest girlchild who we haven’t seen in quite a while is coming to spend a couple of nights with us. While that’s nice, she’s also bringing her boyfriend whom we’ve never met and I think Christy is feeling a little pressure.

It turns out that he’s a vegan. Thankfully not one of those bizarro, nothing but sprouts and crap vegan. He just doesn’t eat beef so turkey, chicken and fish are all still in play. On Friday she had half the salon table covered with recipes. I hope he’s hungry when he gets here because she spent all day Saturday cooking while awaiting their arrival.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13, 2009.

Almost every time you start a project it morphs into something bigger. But for once it seems to have worked in our favor. When I replaced the ceiling in the head Christy liked the difference so much she wanted me to do the 2 sections of the headliner in the aft cabin.

These 2 sections are outboard and are over our book shelves. They’re in crappy shape having suffered water damage in the distant past but outta sight, outta mind. Above them is the toe rail on the aft section of the boat. Our radar arch is through bolted to the toe rail with 3 bolts on either side of the boat.

Our dinghy weighs about 125 pounds, the engine weighs 85 pounds, a tank of fuel is another 40 pounds. Combine that with the 3 solar panels and the wind generator and the arch itself it’s probably close to 600 pounds back there.

We’re getting ready to renew the varnish on our topside wood and I noticed that the starboard forward foot of the arch had lifted a tiny bit and cracked the old Cetol. Movement there is not a good thing so it was time to venture into this part of the boat to check things out.

So I removed the old headliner and revealed the bottom of the bolts. There are only 3 of them and I was disappointed to find out that they were only quarter twenties. Too small for the responsibility they have. Not to mention the fact that one of the 3 bolts had broken, leaving us with only 2 undersized bolts holding that side of the arch in place. Jesus.

I was able to redrill all the holes and up the size of the bolts to 5/16ths. There is a substantial backing plate in place but I also added large fender washers in an effort to beef things up a bit. Once resealed and drawn tight, things are once again rigid like they ought to be.

Then it was time to trace the headliner, cut it out and install the new one. Then I had to reassemble the book shelves, reconnect and rehang both the light and fan. The whole deal took me about 6 hours to accomplish so we’ll wait and tackle the port side next weekend.

I also spent some time with my “snap kit” replacing
a couple of broken fasteners while waiting for some Muriatic acid to work its magic in both heads. Christy spent the afternoon disassembling and cleaning our BBQ grill and it once again looks clean enough to eat off.
September 11, 2009.

Today is one of those days that you’ll always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing back in 2001.

It’s been a while so let me start by saying that things are good here. Works been keeping me busy and we’ve been working on our boat on the weekends as well.

We got all the Alpenglows installed and are really happy with them. The next project was replacing the ceiling in the aft head. It was some type of finished plywood that had been painted white. It didn’t really look too bad but over the years we’ve replaced the light fixture a few times and some of the old screw holes just couldn’t be covered. It was part of our Shabby Chic but just a little too far towards the shabby side for Christy’s taste.

So I removed all the molding in the head and pulled down the old ceiling. We bought a full sheet of a marbled style paneling to replace it with. I traced the old ceiling onto the new paneling and soon had our new ceiling in place. This is how I screwed up……

The new ceiling looks so much better that Christy wants me to use the extra material to replace 2 sections of headliner over the bookcases in the aft cabin. We’ll try to knock those sections out this weekend. Taking down those 2 sections will also give us an opportunity to access the bolts that keep the radar arch in place. We’ve never really seen the underside of those bolts. We’ve got a pretty decent amount of weight back on that arch and I’d like to see just how staunch the arrangement is.

It’s not all work here though. I usually spend a bit of time reading the blogs of several other boaters. Some are cruisers, some are racers and others are people getting their boats and affairs ready to take the plunge and go cruising. It’s funny to read about others facing the same issues that we’ve faced in the past. What to keep, what to get rid of, what to bring, what to leave behind and where is the time going? One of the blogs I follow is written by a couple that enjoys riding sportbikes much like my beloved, long ago sold, Hayabusa. Once in a while they’ll post some bike related stuff and it really brings back old memories.

I’ve also been spending a bit of time backing up our computer files and found some pictures of Christy and the original Veranda.
It’s funny how a simple boat with no fridge or hot water paved the way for such a lifestyle change.

Last night we attended a birthday party for our friend Bill from Alibi 2. It was hosted by our friends Ann and Marcel in their lovely home. There were about 15 people, mostly cruisers, in attendance and a good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Bill.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 1, 2009.

I worked late again tonight but having the new Alpenglow lights here, yet uninstalled, was just killing me. We have a friend who owned a boat and when he sold it he removed his Alpenglow fixtures to put on his next boat. He swore that they were so good that it was worth the trouble. If that’s not a testimonial, I don’t know what is.

So I decided to install one of the reading lights that we had ordered. I had another dim/dull fixture that I wanted to replace so it was a simple remove and replace job. The old light was marginal at best for reading even with the light positioned right over your shoulder.

The Alpenglow’s use LED technology. LED’s use a fraction of the power used by conventional light bulbs. The problem is they are often not very bright. We’ve purchased several different fixtures for “reading lights” in the salon before and the results have always been marginal and we have been sorely disappointed.

Things were different tonight. I wired and mounted the new fixture and when I flipped the switch we were amazed at the difference. I was thinking, get out your sunglasses and maybe even some sunscreen! OMG these lights ROCK! We use big fluorescent tube lights in the head and over the sink in the galley. They’re energy hogs, but very bright. The new reading light from Alpenglow use a fraction of the energy and puts them to serious shame. The quality of these lights are very impressive, the reading lights are gorgeous chrome, heavy duty, substantial unit that are very well made. The overhead light is a beautifully finished wood trimmed light with a domed lens that is top quality. They offer many different options such as night vision, different wood finishes and the traditional brass finish. Plus they are really nice folks.

I know this is starting to sound like an Alpenglow commercial but if you’re in the market for new 12v lighting you won’t do better than Alpenglow, they are a bit pricey but worth every cent. If you purchase lights from them, tell them Veranda sent you just so they know us sailors support their business. We still have another reading light and an overhead light to install and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August 31, 2009.

Things are good here. I ended up having to go in to work on Saturday morning to replace the drive saver on a Gulfstar 50. If I were to ever buy a sailboat based solely on the engine room this might be the boat. Glorious room to get at every part of the engine, room for a generator and access to all the peripheral bullshit that goes along with running a sailboat. Really nice.

But, what I’m really getting to is that the ceremonial flipping of the anchor chain didn’t take place as scheduled. So after food shopping on Sunday morning I started on the chain.

I pulled the chain out of the locker and strung it out on the dock. It was not as easy as it sounds. I believe the chain weighs about 1.3 pounds per foot and has a mind of it own as where it actually wants to go. I was able to impose my will upon it and soon had the chain laid out and marked every 30 feet to make it easier to figure out how much chain we’re deploying. The galvanizing on the last hundred feet of the chain is as good as new so now that chain will be the first part into the water. So, it looks like we’re good for the next 1000 nights.

I also painted the anchor chain locker. I put a second coat on it this evening after work and tomorrow I’ll clean up the anchor windlasses wiring. I should be able to pull the chain back into place afterwards.

We’ve also been waiting for some new light fixtures to arrive by mail. They’re made by a company called Alpenglow and are supposedly the cats ass when it comes to low voltage high intensity lighting. The box came today so I was anxious to get started on the install after putting the second coat of paint on the anchor locker.

Unfortunately Christy had spent several hours today empting the vee berth. Piles of stuff was spread about in the salon of the boat. Crap. We had to put it all away before there would be any new fixturing happening.

It took a few hours as we have to catalog everything as we put it away so we can find it when we need it. I’m completely in favor of selling our bicycles while Christy feels compelled to keep them. In the spirit of compromise our friends Jeff & Tessa have agreed to let us leave our bikes in their spare room. So we’ll get to keep the bikes but not have to have them on board. Although what good is it to have bikes at someone else’s house, I dunno but we’re keeping the bikes. Because we evidently have to keep bikes that we won’t be able to ride. But we’re keeping them…… ( I even offered to let her buy another pair of shoes, which would bring her up to around 50 pairs but she wants the damn bikes)