Archive for December, 2006

Entry for December 28, 2006

December 28, 2006

We’re baaaaaack….

 

We arrived back at the boat around 6 am this morning after driving straight through from Albany.  I thought about stopping around 1 am in Georgia but decided I could take another 5 hours of driving to save money on the hotel.  We were very anxious to see how Second Wind behaved herself while we were gone and everything was fine.

We slept for a couple hours this morning and have been working on small tasks (unloading the car, stowing all the gear, working on the computer, etc.) while walking around like a couple zombies.  Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll have more energy and can really start to get the boat in shape for The Bahamas in a couple short weeks.

All of the stuff we had ordered was here waiting for us today and I’ll probably start working on the new alternator tomorrow.  Installing the alternator and testing the generator are my big projects for the next couple days and I won’t rest easy until they are complete.

Remember the wind generator that I couldn’t get working in Deltaville?  I had a brainstorm and emailed the company that makes them.  The owed me money from the parts I bought which were returned before we headed south.  I asked them if they would consider a “trade” for solar panels that I could use to charge the batteries off the Sun and they agreed.  I’ll be working on where to mount them and sizes, etc. over the next couple days but it will be very nice to have a renewable energy source on the boat now that the wind generator is caput.

We had a great time with our families over Christmas even though it was only 4 days home.  We spent 2 days with Laura’s parents and 2 days with Denise and Tom which worked out great as we got to spend some quality time with our families.  It would have been nice to spend a couple extra days home to see our good friends but we decided they can come visit us on the boat instead  J

Today is one of the most gorgeous days I’ve seen in a long time.  There is a light breeze and the small ripples are making tiny noises against our hull.  The sun is shining and it’s almost 80 degrees with low humidity.  YEA!  We deserved this after driving for several hours through snow in PA yesterday!  Laura and I are back in shorts and t-shirts.

I did spend a little time today hooking up the new off-shore jack line that Collette and Dev’Vonn gave us for Christmas.  The jack line is a heavy webbing that attaches to the front and stern cleats of the boat so runs down the side on the deck.  It is used while running the boat in the ocean to prevent us from falling overboard.  We put on our inflatable lifejackets and they have a flexible cable which attaches them to the jack line.  That way we can move all over the boat and still be attached. If we are in heavy seas and need to go out on the deck, they are our lifeline which keeps us attached to the boat if we slip overboard. The one we received for Christmas works great and it the exact size we needed.  Anybody want to give us one for the other side?  J

We hope you all have a great New Year – we’ll be spending ours here on the boat.  The town has a fireworks display over the water but because of all the old people around here they do it at 8:30 instead of midnight.  I got a good laugh out of that one.

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Entry for December 24, 2006

December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve and we’ll with our families in upstate NY.  We had no problems with driving home, via Deltaville to pick up our car, and arrived in 2 days from West Palm (23 hours of driving time).

All is well here and we are looking forward to a very happy Christmas wtih family. 

Merry Christmas from Second Wind!

Entry for December 21, 2006

December 20, 2006

The word must be getting around about Laura’s poem.  So many people have viewed the website today that we’ve exceeded our hourly limits twice.  If this keeps up, we’ll have to purchase more bandwidth from yahoo (NOT!).

Today was getting ready for our long drive home and finishing up a few projects.  We received the parts I ordered for the dingy outboard so I talked myself into starting work on that.  I had to talk myself into it because this was the outboard that I spent almost $500 in Deltaville to have it all working so I wouldn’t have to make time for that too before we left Virginia.  When we first tried the dingy and motor after buying the boat, I noticed that the outboard was not “pissing”.  There is a water pump on all outboard motors that pumps seawater through the engine to keep it cool.  Ejecting this water creates a small stream coming out of the motor.  I took the dingy motor to the shop in Deltaville to have them fix the water pump and carburetor because I didn’t want to get sidetracked from the other projects I was working.  I got it back about a week later with a bill for $480 (my fault for not asking for an estimate first…).  Anyway, when we used the dingy the past few times, it wasn’t pissing again.  ARRRRGH!  Late last week, I got on the Internet and found a place that sells parts for Yamaha outboards on-line.  I ordered a new water pump repair kit (plus a spare) and a thermostat which I found to be defective.  Today I received them in the mail at the marina.  I wasn’t going to work on new projects today since we had to get the boat (and us) ready for our trip home.  I said, “well…  I’ll just replace thermostat.  That won’t take me too long.”  After that, I decided to dig out my new repair manual ($45 at West Marine) and read up on repairing the water pump.  It wasn’t pretty.  This manual is written for all Yamaha outboards from 2 to 250 horsepower.  It wasn’t very specific about my ‘lil 6 horsepower dingster-pusher.  I spent about 2 hours trying to figure out how to take the shaft and lower-end off the motor and finally got it to come off.  Then I took the lower unit down into my workshop and replaced all (10+) parts in the overhaul kit and put everything back together. 

We had a few other jobs and needed to run to the post office.  When we got back, we put the motor on the dingy and tried it out.  IT WORKED!  We loaded up our lifejackets, oars, marine radio, etc and went for a ride.  IT STILL WORKED about an hour later when we got back. 

Altogether, I spent $70 on parts along with 3 hours of my time to fix it (including a spare water pump rebuild kit that I now have on-board).  I don’t want to break my elbow by patting myself on the back too hard until I see if it’s still working a couple weeks from now.   But, for the time being, I’m happy with it and learned a lot about how this thing works and how to take it apart.

Laura was able to put up about ½ of the vinyl ceiling in the aft cabin and she’s learning the technique by practicing on this before putting up the rest.  It’s pretty interesting figuring out how to get the vinyl tight all around with just glue and staples.

Yesterday the marina finally got their wireless Internet working so we’ve been enjoying using “the net” in the evening while sipping a glass of wine on the boat instead of trucking the computer up to the office and sitting outside on the porch in the dark.

We also moved the boat yesterday into a more physically secure slip and it was a very difficult move.  The wind was blowing us sideways (off the beam) as I was trying to back the boat between the poles.  It was almost impossible and I think I tried it about 6 or 7 times before one of the marina tenants got in his dingy and used it as a tugboat for us.  I was just about to give up on backing into the slip and just pull in bow first.  The problem was this marina is open to the south with a big bay so any high south winds would have really rocked the flat stern of the boat.  Backed in with the bow pointing toward the bay is no problem – the bow just cuts the waves in half.

Doug in his dingy was able to push our bow back into the wind while I was backing into the slip and it all worked good.  We were tied up very nicely about 20 minutes later.

Lastly, we fixed the drain in our aft sink (FINALLY!) yesterday.  This is something that has been stopped-up for over a week and I’ve taken apart the hoses several times trying to fix it.  It was one of those things that worked fine with the hoses off but wouldn’t work with the hoses on – must be an air-pocket or something.  We finally re-routed the sink drain into our sump system and capped off the spot where it used to go through the hull.  This is a better arrangement anyway as we don’t have to worry about a broken hose letting seawater into the boat.

Laura played “Laura the plumber” and worked herself down into the bilge to attach the hose end to the sump bucket while I routed all the hoses and attached everything under the floor.  It works nice now and last night while we were getting ready for bed was the first time in a couple weeks we could brush our teeth in our own bathroom rather than coming out to the galley sink.  Success!

Time to get packed and finish up things before hitting the sack then leaving for the long drive.  I’m very much going to miss our home while we are away but I am looking forward to spending some time with our families.  I hope our preparations pay off in keeping Second Wind safe while we are gone.

Entry for December 20, 2006

December 20, 2006

T’was a few days before Christmas and all through the boat, we’ve gone one thousand miles – and we’re still afloat!

Many weeks of repairs, replacing, re-doing… just so we can, our adventures start going.

New batteries, cables, wiring and then, a new starter, inverter, alternator and also a gen (generator).

A cover for the cockpit, and new zippers too – there are still a few leaks, what more can I do?

New lines for the sails, oh no! 60 feet was not long enough, Back to West Marine for more stuff!

Down in the bilge, (it’s nasty down there) but fixing the sump pump was another repair.

The aft cabin ceiling sprung a huge leak, tearing out vinyl and plywood set us back a few weeks. But now that’s all new and not a leak to be found. Some days my feet long for solid ground!

Thanksgiving Day came, shared with friends old and new, we planned to set sail in a day or two.

The sun broke through the clouds, we couldn’t ask for nicer weather, well, maybe warmer would be better.

So we left Deltaville VA in the end of November, hoping to make Titusville FL, the shuttle, to see them send her.

Motoring on the ICW was new adventures for me, but doing an overnight across the sea!?? With a full moon shining and waves not so big, this sailing thing, I think I can dig. But who am I kidding, it’s only the start, my friends keep telling me “don’t be faint of heart. There will be days and nights that you’ll fear, but all of us have done this and hey, we’re still here!”

We made it to Titusville, on the very night, the shuttle lifts off – oh my, what a sight!! So then on our way, the very next day… batten down the hatches, close all the ports, the winds have picked up, but not the nastiest of sorts. Turn off that engine and pull out the sails—the wind now blows at our tails. We’re doing it, we’re sailing!! This is so cool, not something we were ever taught at school.

Farther and farther south we’ve come, now soaking up the warm rays of the sun. The adventures continue, with plans to the Bahamas – another new experience for this momma. Perhaps the Caribbean is next, with Venezuela too, we’ll try to keep up on the blog for you.

The Christmas season is upon us, our home all decorated will be, garland, bows, and stockings hung, even a two foot tree!

Christmas will be spent at “home” with our cherished families, can you guys have some snow for me, please?

For all friends and family who keep up with our site .. Bill and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all a good night!

Entry for December 16, 2006

December 16, 2006

We are working on a few boat projects and have secured our rental car for the trip home.  We did check out flights but they would have been challenging with flying to Norfolk to pick up our car then a 1-way back to Florida from Albany later in the week.  So, we decided to put our money into the car rental and gasoline.

I’m writing this from the front seat of our rental car because it’s raining out and the only place we can get Internet right now is at the front of our marina where we parked.  When we got to Jenson Beach (which is about 25 miles north of West Palm Beach), we heard this area was something like 9-10 inches of rain behind their schedule for the year.  Wouldn’t you know it? They decided to make it up for it in the past few days.  West Palm set a new record on Thursday when they received over 8 inches of rain in 1 day.  I’m not sure we had all of that here but it did rain a lot.  Everything on the boat is damp and we ran the air-conditioner today to try and dry things out a little.

I’m still working on the purchase of a larger alternator for our boat engine and it’s proving to be difficult.  I have to make sure the mounts match up with our engine and the belts will align correctly before I order it.  Believe it or not, I don’t have a whole machine shop on-board to make fittings and spacers at will (although Rob might disagree….).

Today we installed a new “house” water filter which we purchased at Home Depot last night.  Our first day with the rental car proved out my proverb of “come ashore – spend money”.  We went to Wal-Mart, West Marine and Home Depot for several hundred dollars less in our pockets.  Since it was raining, we decided to go Christmas shopping today and hit a few local shops running back and forth to the car between downpours.  It was fun but I’d rather be sailing or working on my tan.  J

Laura put up the foam on our aft cabin ceiling yesterday (mostly by herself while I was on the phone with the alternator guys) and we should be able to finish the vinyl and molding over the next couple days.  It’s going to look great.

Entry for December 13, 2006

December 13, 2006

These last couple days have been a very different experience for us and I’m loving it.  We are sailing!!  Since we left Titusville, we’ve actually sailed for at least ½ the time we are moving – without the motor running.  It is so quiet and it seems like we are getting away with something because we are moving quite well down the ICW FOR FREE.

The winds have been a lot stronger than when we were playing on the Chesapeake and we are learning quickly what sail configuration is safe under different wind directions and speeds.  It basically works out that when we are sailing over 7 knots it’s time to slow down by reducing the amount of sail we have up because we are susceptible to being blown over (to an angle we find uncomfortable) by a strong gust   As we take down the larger sails and put up the smaller ones, we lose some boat speed but the gusts have less affect on the boat’s attitude and the ride becomes very nice.  Obviously, we are not racers like Rob and Sue who pride themselves on how fast they can go.  The last few days they have arrived at our destination around an hour before us when we are both under sail.  Yes we have more sail square footage than they do but they are small and fast while we were big and heavy (18,000 pounds versus 40,000 pounds).

Yesterday turned out to be a day of leaving everyone.  Jack left very early and we said our goodbyes the night before at dinner.  He had to be in Ft. Lauderdale by today as he had a flight out for Portland Oregon tomorrow to spend the holidays with his family.  Later in the day we decided to leave Vero Beach and move south 25 miles to check out a marina where we were thinking of leaving the boat while we drove home for Christmas.  Rob and Sue decided to leave their boat at a marine very close to Vero because they wanted to fly home this week and spend about 2 weeks home visiting their large family.  We said goodbye to them around 1 pm and we were on our own for the first time in 2 months since they arrived in Deltaville.  It felt good to be on our own (we hadn’t planned on this being a group excursion) but we were very sad to part.  The past few months with Rob and Sue will always hold a special place in our hearts.  We’ve laughed more then I can write about, worked through some very difficult problems together and become life-long friends.  We hope to meet up again after Christmas.

We just talked to the dockmaster here at the marina we are checking out and it looks like we will be staying.  This place is very secure (it’s on a gated island with full-time security) and they have everything we need to be comfortable for the month.  It’s is about 15 miles to a good grocery store but we will probably rent a car for the month anyway so we can get around and drive home.  This marina is called Nettles Island Marina and is located about 30 miles north of Palm Beach.  We are “in the warm” and the highs each day are 75-80.  Shorts, t-shirts and sandals are the uniform-of-the-day.

Our tentative plan is to work on a few boat projects here over the next week and leave around Dec 20th to drive home.  We will pick up our car in Deltaville on the way home and leave it with family while we continue our cruise.  We’ll spend time with each of our families over the holidays and depart on the 26th or 27th for our drive back to southern Florida.  Then we will finish up our boat projects, pack the boat full with supplies and leave for The Bahamas the first or second week in January.  Our dockage here will be paid until the 12th but we probably won’t wait that long to make the crossing.

My major projects for the next couple weeks revolve around our electrical usage and keeping up with our refrigeration.  Our alternator is not working very well and takes about 6-7 hours a day to charge our batteries based on our current usage.  We have two options for keeping our refrigeration running – either an engine driven compressor or a 110 volt compressor that will run off the dockside power or our inverter.  When we run it off our inverter, it really draws a lot of current from the batteries which makes it even harder to keep them charged.

The problem becomes more acute when we don’t move the boat every day and run the engine for several hours – like when we want to be anchored near some beautiful island in The Bahamas for a couple weeks.  The process used in the past was to run the main engine for several hours a day at low RPM and have it charge the batteries with the alternator while driving the refrigeration compressor.  The problem with this is the hours put on the engine along with the heat generated and noise.  What I am planning on doing is putting a very good alternator on the engine (120 amp?) which will charge the batteries much better and I will also purchase a small Honda gas generator.  Most “yachties” have these 2000 watt Honda generators that they run a couple hours a day to simulate dockside power, charge their batteries and run all their boat systems.  I have some concerns with keeping a large amount of gasoline on the boat but I think I’ve worked out a good place to store several 5-gallon jugs where they won’t be dangerous or in the way.  Other then the gasoline storage, the equation for purchasing the Honda generator is all positive.  There is no wear and tear on our main engine, it won’t heat up the boat a couple time a day while we run it and the Honda generator will allow us to charge the batteries through our inverter which has one of the best battery chargers on the market (3-stage, 130 amps). 

The other main project is to complete the aft cabin ceiling repair which will involve putting up the foam and vinyl that we have been storing in our forward cabin for the past several weeks.  We’ve been waiting for a time when we would be not moving for a few days to finish that up. YEA!

Our Internet at this marina involves taking the computer up to the office to hook-up.  They are in the final stages of completing a wireless-internet installation so hopefully, in the next couple days, we’ll have access from the boat.

Entry for December 12, 2006

December 13, 2006

It’s warm!!!! It’s warm!!! Yahoooooooooooo! I know it’s been a few days since we’ve been able to post so I’ll try to catch you up on things… Saturday(Dec 9) we made it to Titusville and met up with Jack! I think he had been slowing down, waiting on us even though he’s on a deadline for flying out of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.. but anyway, we anchored just south of the Titusville bridge. Jack had a wonderful dinner planned and Sue and I helped out by making veggies, hot applesauce and dessert (of course) After dinner we went up on the deck of Jack’s boat and watched the launch of the shuttle! It was sooooooo cool,, I tried getting pictures while Bill watched through the binoculars. It was really great that Bill got to see this, as its been one thing we been aiming for on this trip, and it was just amazing!

Thinking that the launch would be delayed again, we really hadn’t planned on leaving Titusville, but since the launch took place, we decided to continue our travels at a slower pace and see what the sailing possibilities would be. We woke on Sunday with some pretty hefty winds, but itching to sail without motoring, we pulled out the jib and main and took off – literally. We had to pull them in (called reefing) to make the trip a bit more enjoyable than having to stand at a 30 degree angle. There were some strong gusts and after noticing that the jib had a few blowouts (tears) we figured we better pull it in and work with some of the other sails. The mizzen and staysails are much smaller sails and seem to keep the boat at a little better balance, so we worked with them for awhile. Our goal for the day was only 40 miles – so we got to Melbourne by 2:30 pm, anchored and decided to work on a few things since it was still early,, namely the jib sail. Jack and Rob came over and helped Bill pull it down while I got my sewing machine ready. The sail really needed some work along the outside edge mostly so we did what we could knowing we’ll be needing to replace the sail before making our trip to the Bahama’s. At about 5 pm we decided we’d try to get it back up, and after Bill and I tried alone, we figured we better call in the troops ( Rob and Jack). It had gotten very very windy and jack suggested waiting until morning to put it up as mornings sometimes are a bit calmer, but Bill is driven and they got it up in no time flat, with it flapping and beating them, twisting and turning us on the anchor.. We finally got it all up and wound up—whew! The winds ended up picking up through the night and morning was not much better, so I’m thinking that Bill’s determination paid off again!!

So we’re off again on Monday morning, heading to Vero Beach, another 38-40 mile day. Once again, we had up the main, pulled out the jib and after some reefing (again the winds were strong as we went through some spurts of rain storms) we were still standing at much more of an angle than is comfortable so down came the jib, and up went the staysail (the main was still up) we sailed along at a very nice pace. Now let me explain a bit about the winds.. for us newbys, we’re just getting used to the sailing thing, so anything much over 12-15 knots means things are getting a little hairy.. we actually had part of the rail almost in the water when we got hit by gusts of 22-24 knots really gave us a shove! We decided the jib doesn’t like to be reefed (it just does a lot of flapping) so the main and staysail configuration made things much more comfy along with the winds dying down a bit, traveling at 4-5 nautical miles per hour. We lazily pulled into a busy anchorage in Vero Beach, and hooked up to a mooring, along with rafting up to two other boats, another new experience for us! We got together with some other friends that Jack met along the way, and 10 of us went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. We made it an early night (back at the boat by 9 and in bed by 10) Must be that the wind and fresh air really are good for you, At least they tire me out!

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We’re looking for a dockage to settle into for about a month, to do some work on her, and to head home for Christmas for a few days. Hopefully we’ll find one here soon, and have better internet access too.

So far this trip has just been amazing, the experience and new knowledge some days make my head spin, but I’m looking forward to more and wonderful adventures. Signing off for now!

Entry for December 8, 2006

December 8, 2006

This picture is of Second Wind in North Carolina – “Are we going to make it under this bridge?”

What a crazy couple of days we’ve had.  On Wednesday, we left Isle of Palms marina in Savanna and motored south down the ICW.  I was listening to the weather report and it sounded great for the next couple days then a cold front was going to go through on Thursday night and Friday.  We wanted to get as far south as we could so we started looking at options.  Rob and Sue have been trying to talk us into making an off-shore, overnight trip south to cut out the zig-zags in the ICW and make some real good progress south.  I saw that the next inlet in front of us, St. Catherine’s Sound, was well marked and the course through the ICW took us to almost the ocean.  We decided to make the jump there and started securing everything on the boat.  The ICW is a very calm waterway and the only waves come from the other boats.  The ocean is a much different experience and even though it was going to be very calm (for an ocean), the prediction was 2-3 foot swells from the east.  Since we would be heading south, the swells would be coming from the side and the boat would be rolling.

Laura did a great job of securing everything down below and I worked on making sure nothing on the deck would get thrown overboard.  About 1 hour later, we were motoring out the sound into the North Atlantic.  It was a warm, sunny morning and I changed to shorts and t-shirt.  It took us about another hour traveling east to clear all the shallow water before we could turn south toward Florida.  Our goal was St. Augustine which we should make around 7 am the next morning.  When we turned south, the wind was about 5-7 knots from the east so we put up the jib.  It stabilized the boat a little and gradually through the afternoon the wind picked up a few knots.  We eventually put up the mainsail then the mizzen sail.  We still had the motor going since there was only enough wind to push us around 4-5 knots and the motor and sails together were around 7 knots.  It was wonderful!!  When I decided to move from a powerboat to a sailboat, one of the considerations was how much a powerboat rolled from side-to-side in a beam sea (waves from the side).  Since the powerboat has nothing to stop the roll, it will sometimes go 30-40 degrees to each side which is very uncomfortable.  A sailboat with the sails up does not roll (my assumption) because the sail pressure against the air prevents the masts (and hence the boat) from moving side-to-side.  After we turned south, my assumption was verified and it was a smooth ride even though we had 3 foot swells coming at us from the east.  It was so cool and I had a “cat who ate the mouse” smile on my face for a couple hours.

Around mid-afternoon the wind just about died completely and we pulled down all the sails except the mizzen.  I left that one up because it was a on-deck process to pull it down and it wasn’t flopping around to hard.  The boat started rolling a little with the swells after we lost our wind and pulled down the jib and main.

We had a beautiful sunset at 5:45 pm where we were just out of site of land, about 15 miles off-shore.  The dark was a little scary for me as I didn’t know what to expect physically (i.e. seasick) when I couldn’t see the swells coming or the horizon.  It wasn’t bad at all!  Then, about 7:30 pm the moon rose out of the east.  It was just past full and it was a great friend to have watching over us all night.  It lit up the entire scene with a nice glow.

Laura and I took turns napping all night.  We both wore our inflatable lifejackets the entire time and neither of us went out on the deck without letting the other know.  Laura was such a sailor.  She had no problem going below for stuff and even heated up left-over soup on the stove while we were rolling from side-to-side as she held on to the pan to prevent it from spilling.  I’m not as good with the waves and took ½ a Dramamine when we went out the inlet and the other half around 2 am the next morning.  It was enough to take the edge off for me but not put me to sleep.

We motored through the night and even had to slow down so we could plan our arrival in St. Augustine for just before sunup and see all the channel markers.  The last hour or two we were just about idling because the boats had made such good time and we were getting there while it was still dark.

We eventually had the St. Augustine off-shore buoy in sight and could also see the rest of the channel markers to “run the inlet”.  It was pretty uneventful and we were in the calm harbor, back on the ICW about 20 minutes later.  We were all pretty wound up so decided to keep moving down the ICW toward Daytona. 

Last night we stayed at a marina in Daytona that was pretty inexpensive and had a great dinner on Second Wind together.  We also invited another couple we met at the dock so had a pretty good “after the ocean” party.  We had run the boat for 33 hours straight including 21 hours in the ocean.  We used 35 gallons of diesel which was much better than expected mileage.  I think the reason was all the motor-sailing we did which really helps push us along. 

The storm came through last night with 20-30 mph winds and is supposed to get worse tonight and better tomorrow.  We decided to stay in the marina another day rather than leave and anchor in the high winds.  We have a day off!

I was a little disappointed because we are only 40 miles from the Space Center and the shuttle was supposed to launch last night.  We watched the sky from here but they cancelled at the last minute because of the weather.  They are going to try again tomorrow (Saturday) which is when we will leave here and motor down to Titusville and watch the launch from the anchorage.  I’m so looking forward to my first in-person launch.  It’s something I’ve wanted to experience my whole life.

One notable thing – while we were leaving St. Augustine and running down the ICW, Laura decided to take a shower and I was driving the boat.  I guess I was a little brain-dead from the ocean voyage and was trying to do too much at once (charting our progress, plotting when we would arrive at bridges, reading about St. Augustine and running the boat on autopilot) and ended up on the wrong side of a channel marker.  The depth alarm sounded about 2 seconds before the boat hit a mud shoal and stopped pretty quick – I don’t think I even had time to pull back the throttle.  I couldn’t believe it when I hit reverse and the boat just backed out into the waterway.  I was sure we would be stuck but it was no problem.  At first we thought we had damage to the steering because I couldn’t turn the wheel so we dropped the anchor to investigate.  I found that I had never turned off the autopilot and it was still trying to turn the wheel that was all the way over at the stop.  I turned off the autopilot and everything was fine.  We resumed our voyage south and I was a little shaken.  I guess I had gotten a little to complacent after almost 4,000 ICW miles and this reminded me to stay diligent “or else”.

There were several things we hadn’t fixed at Deltaville because they were not so important to cruising and we could fix them later.  On of these was our speedometer which measures speed through the water with a little waterwheel sensor attached under the waterline.  I have a GPS which gives us boat speed and direction so the actual speed-through-the-water speedometer was not a necessity.  Anyway, after we hit bottom so hard I noticed the speedometer was working and pretty accurate.  I wouldn’t have to dive under the boat and try to fix it underwater.  Once again, another silver lining to a cloudy experience.  Holy Cow!

 

Entry for December 5, 2006

December 5, 2006

Ah December 5th and the Holiday season is upon us.. I have decorated our humble “aboat” with my gingerbread men garland, candles, greenery, bows and hung our stockings with care… we may be heading to warmer weather, but I still love this season and the joy, love and peace we can share in it! The really nice thing is that I don’t feel all pressured and rushed, I think I’ll be able to totally enjoy the holidays, especially with plans for being home…

We are at the Isle of Hope Marina tonight, about 20 miles south of Savannah Georgia, after 3 nights of being on the “hook” (anchored in rivers and bays) its nice to be able to get on land and walk a bit, which is what Bill and I just did. Many of the Victorian style houses are decorated up and the smell of fireplaces burning was in the air, along with the brisk cool night air and a full moon in the sky… all we needed was the snow- haha

Today was a slow day, the currents seemed to be against us most of the way. But things are going well. Bill was up very early today (3 am) thinking about the alternator and the issues we’ve had with it, it doesn’t seem to be doing the job its supposed to, and part of the problem seems to have been that it wasn’t grounded, which is what Bill took care of this am.. it seems to be better than it was, but still may need to be replaced in order to do a more efficient job (that will be a job when we get to Florida) Hopefully that will be within 2 days, but that’s just getting into the state and Florida is a long, long state! We’re still not sure where we’ll be staying, its been a really long day, so signing off.

Entry for December 4, 2006

December 5, 2006

Today was interesting.  It was a chilly start with mid-40s when we got going from the anchorage last night.  We motored and motor-sailed for the morning when around 10:30 am Laura said, “what’s that smell?”  I thought it smelled like antifreeze and didn’t think much of it since we had been running with the engine room door open to keep it cooler in there.  There always seems to be an antifreeze smell in the engine room.

A few minutes later I looked over at the engine gauges and the temp gauge was all the way to the top.  Whoa!  I quickly brought the engine back to idle and shut it off.  As luck would have it, we had the jib up and continued sailing down the waterway while I did some troubleshooting.  I quickly saw we had blown a belt on the engine. We decided to keep sailing out of the channel and anchor to the side of the bay we were in.  It worked just like we had practiced it (which we did not).  We sailed for about ½ mile then turned the boat into the wind, rolled in the sail and dropped the anchor as soon as the boat started drifting backwards.  It was pretty cool. 

Rob and Sue motored over and tied up to us so Rob could help me with the belt installation.  There are 5 belts on our engine.  First one on the front of the motor is the refrigeration compressor, then 2 belts on the alternator, 1 belt for the raw water pump and the last one (next to the engine) is the internal engine (antifreeze) pump.  The one that had broken was the internal engine pump which meant we had to take all of the others off to change the one that had broken.

Before I had left Deltaville, I went to NAPA and bought 2 spares for all our belts.  Since we had to take them all off anyway, we put on new belts for the entire engine. I kept the old ones for 2nd spares and will chuck them when I purchase replacements – I always want to have 2 spares for each belt on-board.

The belt changes went fairly well and we fixed a few other things along the way including bad washers and adjustment bolts.  When we were done, I filled up the antifreeze and the engine ran fine.  We were very lucky on many fronts including where we were (not in a narrow channel), the weather (sunny), the radiator cap working like it should (venting the overheated antifreeze out the cap instead of blowing a hose) and my noticing the overheating before the engine sustained more damage.  Phew!

Susan and Laura had lunch ready for Rob and I when we finally said, “Done!” and we got back underway around 2:30 pm.  We lost about 3 hours but I now have all new belts on the engine (and the entire boat smells like antifreeze which splattered all over everything in the engine room).

We continued down to Beaufort, SC where we anchored just before the Ladies Island Bridge.  This bridge is on a busy highway and has limited openings.  Since we didn’t get here until after 4 pm, we must make the next opening at 7 am or we’ll have to wait another 2 hours after that.  We had planned on getting a marina tonight in Hilton Head but our engine problems put that out of reach for today.  We’ll probably find a marina tomorrow night and a fuel stop in the next couple days.  It seems we can do about 8 days on ¾ of a tank (about 120 gallons).  I’m happy with that since we have been pushing long hours each day to get to “the warm”.  Oh.  Speaking of “the warm”, we just heard on the TV that tonight is going to be the coldest of the year for Beaufort – BELOW FREEZING!.  Geez!

Laura has the boat all decorated for Christmas and we listen to Christmas carols every night – she is a Christmas nut but its just part of what I love about her.