Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 25, 2011.

The marina I work at is not like most yards in the area with all the amenities like a pool and captains lounge. The yard I work in is more of a working boatyard. You show up here to have your boat either repaired or upgraded rather than in the futile pursuit of a rum drink at our non-existent pub.

At this time of year a lot of my job centers around getting brand new boats ready to be displayed at the upcoming Annapolis Sailboat Show. There's been a steady stream of boats arriving for over a week now. Most are brought in to the country on container ships and trucked in with the mast in a large shipping tube.

The average assembly includes building and stepping the mast, installing radar, VHF antenna, windex, annometer, lights, the anchor, the bow pulpit, the sails and all the running rigging. Christy has joined me there at the yard and is now sanding and applying finish to the wood on some of these new boats.

Most of these boats are coming over from Europe and have both fire extinguishers and propane canisters that can't be used here in the states. It seems incredibly wasteful but one of the first things we do is to replace all the fire extinguishers with US Coast Guard compliant models. Then we change out the steel propane bottles and replace them with aluminum tanks with valves that can be serviced here in the states.

Some of the vessels are already bought but are going to be the display boat in the show so the owners have a list of things they would like taken care of in addition to the basic assembly.

One of these boats has been a particularly challenging boat. Its a 42 footer with a large aft cabin. Aft of the headboard in the bedroom is the sugar scoop stern. The space inside the large sugar scoop is the only available space for installing the new 6KW generator. Its actually a fairly large space but the only access to the area was blocked when some complete buffoon decided to place the aft air-conditioning unit directly in the opening to the space.

So the first step in installing the generator was the repositioning of the air-conditioner. I disconnected everything and pulled the unit out out onto the bed.

I had to fabricate and install a shelf that ran anthwartships aft of the steering quadrant. Once that was glassed into place I was able to squeeze the air-conditioner up into its new home. The I had to rerun the duct work, the plumbing and the wiring to the units new home.

After that was all done it became apparent that the shelf that had held the A/C unit was only made of some bullshit plastic that was glued to the hull. Since the new generator weighs in at 375 pounds a new beefier shelf was in order. I ripped out the plastic and made a staunch shelf out of 1 inch marine plywood and fiberglassed it into place. My coworker Karl popped in the new intake and exhaust thru hulls while I ran the new filter and fuel lines. Next I took care of the raw water strainer and lines while he ran the new wiring.

The generator is so big that the opening in the aft bulkhead had to be cut larger. Once mounted in the hole, servicing the unit would be impossible so Karl order a set of very cool telescoping rollers. The rollers were mounted to the new plywood base with the generator pan sitting on top of the rollers. Now the entire unit can be pulled out and telescoped into the aft cabin for servicing.

While Karl finished up the generator installation I was tasked with installing a pair of dinghy davits and a stainless steel pole to mount the antenna for the Trac-Vision TV antenna. Because what 42 foot sailboat doesn't need 2 high definition flat screen televisions. I hung the TV's and mounted the pole and domed antenna while Marco ran the wiring and hooked everything up down in the bowels of the boat. When I was done I told Marco my part was done and he could fire up the televisions to check them out. He asked if the boat was plugged in and I replied “No, why?” His answer was that the TV's were AC only. I was surprised but responded “So just flip on the inverter”. His response was “There is no inverter”

Microwave, blender, 2 televisions and they can't run any of it unless they're plugged in to a dock or the generators running. Sheesch. Marco kinda chuckled while I stood there slack jawed. These people will be out on the hook and decide to have a couple of blender drinks but will have to fire up the generator just to run the blender for 2 minutes. All because they didn't think things through. But at least they've got 2 televisions.....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not being in the water for months at a time after having been spoiled for so much of the year is a problem for me.  We really enjoy lobster hunting so when I found this web cam that is attached to a lobster pot up in Nova Scotia I thought it would be interesting to check in on once in a while.  The link leads to a live feed web cam so it only works during daylight hours up in Nova Scotia.  Live lobster trap cam here

I've been checking the cam for about 2 months now and this morning there was finally a lobster inside it; 2 actually.  It turned out to be the one of the saddest things ever.  I thought they climbed into the pot and sat there happily eating the bait until the lobsterman came along and harvested them.  This mornings lobster were anything but complacent.  They were literally bouncing off the walls as they searched relentlessly back and forth for the way out of the trap.

I find myself rooting for the lobsters that are on the outside of the trap to NOT find the door.  I might be going a bit buggy.  I need to get back into the water and kill something.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 18, 2011.

We just got back from a whirlwind visit to New Jersey. Drove up late Friday and spent time with my Mom. Dined with the oldest boychild and finally met his lovely girlfriend. Shared a meal and some time with my brother and his family.

The trouble with whirlwinds is that they happen too quickly. We missed seeing several people that we wanted to catch up with. Duty calls. Drove back to Naptown on Sunday afternoon. Fantasized about horrible flaming deaths for several other drivers. We took a vote and it was unanimous, we hate driving anymore.
September 12, 2011.

I built the mast for a 44 foot catamaran the other day and yesterday the schedule finally allowed for us to step the mast. The mast is huge and unwieldy with a shitload of wires hanging out the bottom. There are wires for the steaming light, the deck lights, the anchor light, the VHF, the television antenna and 2 pairs for the radar.

After the big deck stepped thing was stood up and tensioned I had to run all the wires down into the boat and hook everything up. First up I determined which wires were for the steaming light, hooked em' up. Check, done. Then the deck lights. Check, done. Next was the anchor light. Beep. Excuse me? What was that? Beeeeep. Shit, There’s a horn on the mast, I forgot. Crap. After hooking the horn wires to the correct breaker I was left with a conundrum. One pair of wires too few. Shit, no anchor light.

After sticking a Bore Scope into the bottom of the mast I found that there wasn't a pair of wires lurking in the mast base that we had overlooked. That meant a trip up the mast to see if there was even a wire hooked to the masthead light.

The masthead light was installed in South Africa and when I got up to the masthead I was a little perplexed when I saw that there was a wire from the fixture and down into the masthead. I gave the wire a little tug to see if I could gauge how much wire ran down into the mast by how heavy it was. And it popped right out of the top of the mast at the slightest tug. It seems that somewhere along the line the wire had been broken 5 feet below the masthead and never replaced. With the mystery solved I ran another wire down the mast and the anchor light does its thing. Sounds like one of those “f@#k it, they can fix it when it gets to America type things”.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 5, 2011.

Holy shit, we're still sailors after all. We had torn the headsail and I made a temporary repair while we were underway back in May. I dropped the sail off at Doyle Sailmakers here in Annapolis 2 months ago. I told em' to take their time as we weren't leaving the slip until October. Fortuitously I got the sail back Thursday just in time for the 3 day holiday weekend.

Usually we use the extended time off to do boat chores. But this year both of the girl children showed up to spend the 3 days with us.
Allyson brought along her boyfriend Sunil so we decided to cast off and do some gunkholing for the weekend.

On Saturday morning we slipped the lines and soon found ourselves dodging hundreds of racers as we tacked our way south down the bay.
A splendid day under sail ended with us ghosting into Spa Creek to take a mooring near Truxtent Park. Late that evening Ashlee completed her long drive from upstate New York and I dinghied in to pick her up.

On Sunday with everyone aboard we once again headed back out to do a little more sailing.
Again we were treated to perfect breeze and in the afternoon we headed up the Severn River. We turned into Salt Creek and picked up a vacant Navy mooring. The “kids” spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun and using the main halyard as a Tarzan swing.
The end of the day was spent enjoying the 3 D's; Dinner, Drinking and Dominoes.

We lost a few vanes off the raw water impeller so we sailed into the mouth of Back creek before starting the motor for the short trip in to wedge ourselves back into our slip.

Since we were back in the slip at a reasonable time we decided to take the kids, gather some friends and spend the evening performing the age old sailing ritual....the pub crawl. The five of us were joined by the Alibi II's and the Savage Sons as we headed out in search of a pleasant cocktail experience.

We walked down to The Boatyard Bar & Grill for the first beer of the evening. The bartender was obviously the love child of Marcel Marceau and Frankenstein. The dude never said a word as he plodded back and forth from one customer to the next. The plan was to hit several pubs for a single beer and then move on. With this droid for a bartender I was glad we had a plan.

Next we headed over to The Rockfish Grill. The experience was the complete opposite of the Boatyard. Between the good bartender and the engaging patrons nobody minded when we had to settle in for a second round as it began pour outside.

The rain let up so we headed across the bridge into Naptown proper and stopped in at the Acme Bar. We tried on a few different styles from their wing menu so that led to another 3 beers or so. Good drinkin' place.

After that we grabbed a table at one of my personal favorites, The Armadillo. After another 2 beers we popped in next door and had ourselves some ice cream. I'm not usually a beer and ice cream kinda guy but hey, we were in the neighborhood.

We opted to end the evening by walking back into Eastport and stopping at Davis' Pub. We settled in (the plan was out the window) and had more than our fair share of beers. We drank, we laughed, there may have been a few tears, we ate, we dodged the rain and everybody got home safely.

Its been a nice weekend.....