Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 28, 2011.

After 6 years of this you’d think that new experiences would be few and far between. But this week we scored an all time extravaganza as far as new experiences go. A boat wedding.

Our longtime friends Bess & Bill on Alibi II decided to finally tie the knot. They wanted a pretty small affair and they’re boaters so they decided to rent a small electric boat for the ceremony. These little electric Duffy Boats are pretty cool and I’ve been coveting the chance to take one out as I watch them ply the river all day.

As far as the officiating goes, its simple. The internet has made becoming a certified clergyman as easy as a few mouse clicks. As long as you file the properly filled out forms with the appropriate fees, the government is happy. So on this boat ride Bess’s lifelong friend Marcel would act as Pope and perform the marriage ceremony.

Since I don’t drink and have my Billion Ton Masters License I got to drive. Perfect. Okay, I exaggerate, I might drink every now and again and my Billion Ton Master License has expired and needs to be renewed.

Anyway, lets go wedding-ing. And what a wedding it was. After a leisurely, champagne fueled trip up Spa Creek we pulled off into an idyllic cove and Marcel stepped up and started the ceremony. The setting was perfect, the bride and groom were glowing and then the pump out boat came around the corner. I kid you not.

We were drifting in a fairly shallow area and the pump out boat saw us, assumed we were aground and made a beeline for us. Fortunately they realized what was going on and veered away just as Bess and Bill exchanged their vows.

After the sentence was pronounced, er, the vows were completed we headed back down Spa Creek. Then it was a slow trip up Ego Alley during which the guests enjoyed a spirited exchange with the patrons of Pussers waterside restaurant. There was a rolling wave of applause for the newlyweds as we moved along.
After a few celebratory doughnuts at the end of Ego Alley it was over to Back Creek for a little cruise.

After 2 hours on the water we returned the boat and headed over to Carrols Creek for dinner. Carrols Creek is an upscale eatery with a second story deck overlooking the mooring field and the Spa Creek Bridge. Bess’s family has this weird tradition where the Pope signs the marriage license on the brides back.
Bess isn’t one to buck tradition.

Speaking of tradition, what wedding is complete without a haiku:

We all share their joy
Bess loves Bill and Bill loves Bess
Now they say I do

The food was fantastic, the company was perfect, the weather went from nice to better and I got to drive.
I hope they want to renew their vows every year…..

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 23, 2011.

Both of us are working on other people’s boats or on our own boat every day, but there is some time for play.

On Saturday there was a “Cotillion” at the Eastport Yacht Club. I was a little concerned because “Cotillion” sounds a little hoidy toidy to me. I was picturing 16 year southern belles in hoop skirts, and I was a little concerned because I left my cummerbund on my other boat. After finding out what the dress code for the “Cotillion” was, I was relieved. Shorts and sandals, awesome, we’re there.
Live music, loads of friends, reasonable drinks and good food made for a nice evening.

On Wednesday evening we went over to a friend’s boat for pizza and race watching. The finish line for Wednesday Night Racing is between the main mooring field and the Spa Creek Bridge. The Honu, a gorgeous Lagoon 38 (currently for sale) is tied to a dock adjacent to the mooring field and makes for a first class observation deck.

First in, were 2 J-105’s tacking their way dead upwind
towards the finish line through the packed mooring field. Then the rest of the fleet came in one right after another. There had to be 75 boats so it made for quite the spectacle.

As boats finished the race they would drop
sails and turn and head back out through the incoming sailors still competing.

Throw in a couple dozen moored boats, kayaks, paddle boarders and some powerboat traffic and it’s surprising that things go as smoothly as they do.

We even got to see our friend Terry who competes on a J-30 with an all girl crew. They more than held their own as they finished near the front of the J-30’s.

There was even a successful marriage proposal on the water....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 17, 2011.

We woke up to a really high windblown tide this morning.

Just some random photos from around the yard. There were some performance issues. This might be the first tune up ever done with a barnacle scraper….

The Savages are in town and having their bottom fancied up.

I love our hard dodger and bimini but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of someone elses. My photo doesn’t do justice to the size of this enclosure. Four people can be seated under the dodger with protection from the elements……really nice.

I had the opportunity to do some extensive work on a small Bayliner Bowrider this week. The guy has a boat lift in his backyard and he decided to save some coin and winterize his boat himself. It’s a pretty simple boat as far as systems go so he accomplished his task successfully except for one small detail. He forgot to pull the plug out of the transom. The devil is in the details.

This left the boat sitting up on the lift with no path for the rain and snow to drain off. The bilge pumps float switch failed, there was no divine intervention on the bilge pumps behalf and the boat filled up like a fishbowl.

Enter me.

At its height the water rose half way up the engine block.

There was a distinct high water mark throughout the boat. The battery, the alternator, the starter, the starter wiring, the bilge pump float switch and the hydraulic pump for adjusting the outdrive were all destroyed.

The corrosion really ran amok when the water rose high enough to get the starter cable under water. Entire pieces of wire were reduced to a piece of insulation sitting in the bottom of the bilge with no evidence of them ever having been attached to anything.

I replaced the battery and then pumped the bilge dry. At that point I realized that there was no battery switch in the boat. I had no idea that you could actually buy a boat in the states that doesn’t have a way to shut off the batteries. The owner seemed surprised that boats ought to have a battery switch but after weighing the benefits he quickly approved the installation of one. Then came the new alternator and starter and their associated wiring.

A new float switch had the bilge pump working again followed by the new hydraulic pump.

There were a few hours of “chase the intermittent problem” as I removed rotted wire and corroded connections.

After several hours chasing electrical gremlins the boat fired right up and purred like a kitten. So the owner is once again off enjoying the water although wiser for the experience. I guarantee that he NEVER forgets the drain plug again. And if he winterizes his boat himself for the next 9 years he’ll just about break even from the first time he winterized his boat. The devil is in the details…..

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011.

It poured buckets here last night but only for 30 minutes or so and then the heat all just went away.

A couple of years ago we finally got tired of chasing our tails and plunked down the big bucks for a trio of high quality Alpenglow lights.

Alpenglow basically had 2 styles that were offered in a variety of finishes. After several attempts at buying suitable reading lights from various manufacturers we were hoping for the best when we ordered our Alpenglow LED reading lights. The things were freaking astonishing. They use virtually no amps, which makes the amp nazi (me) happy, the quality of the materials was first rate and they’re super bright.

The light fixture we chose for the main salon light was only offered with a fluorescent bulb. It has 2 different intensities and is just what we had in mind.

So this week when the halogen bulb dome light in the galley shit the bed we decided to upgrade to an LED bulb. After a quick trip to West Marine we found ourselves in possession of the lastest and the greatest in LED bulb technology.

The word that comes to mind after installing this new bulb in the galley was…..disappointing. Yeah, it’s LED, it uses no amps but the $40 bulb really didn’t blow us away with the amount of light that it produced. So we decided to see what was new at Alpenglow. Fortuitously, they now offer the same fluorescent fixture we have in the salon as an LED fixture. Great, send us one.

It was a bit pricey at $125, but I really can’t complain about the price when I consider the amount of light this thing sheds.
This new LED overhead light is like turning on the sun, it is bright! I really can’t call it pricey when you consider the other LED fixtures on the market. Do not waste your money on any other lights, trust me, you will save money over the long run because these lights are so far superior to anything else that we have seen. The good folks at Alpenglow are a small family business who builds the lights to order, they try to ship your order within a few days, plus they are really nice people. The Alpenglow fixture also came with the option of red LED’s, which we didn’t order, but that is what they shipped us. Since the fixture is right near the bottom of the companionway steps we can leave the red light illuminated while underway at night. It’ll be safer going below at night without destroying our night vision. Bonus.

Alpenglow rocks......

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 9, 2011.

I’ll skip the part where I was gonna bitch about the heat. I’m sure everybody is pretty hot these days and bitching is not gonna change anything. Sooooo…..

I’ve got a customer who’s driving me a little crazy. He’s got this huge, beautiful sailboat and has a list of items several pages long that he’d like addressed, including one full day of head issues. Terrific, 95° and playing with poopie.

The owner was complaining of odors coming from behind his nav station. The only hose behind there was the vent hose and of course, it was almost impossible to access. Almost. It took some quality time with a Fein tool but I did succeed in getting to it and replacing it. Cool. One head issue addressed and no fecal matter encountered. Lovely. Then I had to replace the macerator outlet hose. It went a lot easier than the vent hose but there was definitely some fecal matter encountered. Shudder.

With the aft head done it was off to the forward head. The owner suspected a partial blockage because when he pulled the handle to flush this head the handle felt *different* than the other head. The turds still disappear but it just didn’t seem right to him. Great, I was now in search of the phantom stubborn turd.

I took all the hoses off between the toilet and the holding tank. No turd, no tampon, no jar of pickles, no obstruction whatsoever. Nothing lurking inside the back of the toilet, nothing in the pump and the holding tank was empty. Since I had everything apart he wanted to replace all the hoses, fine, new hoses. That might solve the imaginary problem.

After everything was brand new and back together, we were both walking from head to head doing comparo toilet pumping. He swore that one had a *clunk* in it while they both felt the same to me. I’m thinking the excessive heat and humidity has turned one of us into Rain Man. This toilets good, this toilet sucks, this toilets good……

Since I didn’t have to take a shit at that moment I convinced him to give it the ole morning bowel movement test and we’d go from there…….

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 31, 2011.

After 2 mornings of varnishing, followed by 2 afternoons of mast climbing and port polishing we decided to sleep in this morning. It was the third morning of our holiday weekend, I figured we were entitled.

After a leisurely breakfast it was time to knock off the biggest chore of the weekend, the new hot water heater. On a side note, its kind of a stupid moniker isn’t it? Theres no need to heat “hot water”, why aren’t they commonly referred to as water heaters rather than hot water heaters. Anyway…..

Our old water heater was leaking from a cracked fitting and unfortunately I was going to have to remove the water heater to replace the fitting. The thing is of undetermined age so if I was going to the trouble of emptying and removing it I may as well replace it.
The only problem was that I forgot that all of my tools are at the shop. Crap. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. I had a Philips screwdriver and a small pair of pliers. I put in a call to MacGyver and he said I was screwed.

Fortunately Alibi II is only a dozen slips away and Bill dropped off 3 of his toolboxes. A couple of hours and a few quarts of sweat later, the old one was out and the new one was in. Perfect, just in time for a cold shower.