|May 18, 2010 - July 4, 2010
|May 18, 2010 - At Anchor Beside Boot Key, Marathon City, Vaca Key in the Florida Keys
It is 3:23 PM and we are at anchor beside Boot Key, next to the channel leading into Boot Key Harbor and the City Marina. We
have been out of touch for the past few days, so I wanted to jump on line and just say we got here safely. It is hot right now and
I'm tired and will be back later with all the details.
The Raymarine ST40 and Garmin GPSMap 545 are junk. I bought these things brand new from West Marine and Pyacht and all I
can tell people is, these vendors have absolutely no help to offer you in any way - you must go to the company that made them,
and these companies couldn't care less about the products once they have your money. You have no recourse and they have no
sense of obligation.
|May 19, 2010 - At Anchor Beside Boot Key, Marathon
I got a surprise yesterday. George and Kim were going to go into Boot Key Harbor with Dave, one of their friends from Regatta
Point Marina, get some fuel, pump out the holding tank, scout the anchorage for room for us to move inside, then come back and
tell me. They never came back. Or called. They just took a slip and tied up for the night. I called some time later and George told
me then. They are at the same Marina as Dave and will be getting a mooring at the City Marina today. Feeling a little left out, I
called Donny and Barb to see where they were and when they'd be here. Donny said it would probably be late today and he would
help me out so I wouldn't have to wait at anchor outside for almost two weeks. Awesome.
I have a tremendous amount of work to do straightening out the boat and cleaning it up. I'll get busy on that today. This
anchorage gets waked a lot by power boats blasting in and out with no reason to slow down or be courteous. I may feel the same
in their position, but now I'm on the pointy end of the stick.
It's time to bring the trip up to date. Below are pictures taken in Everglades City on the evening of the 15th of May.
|This is the anchorage just outside of Russell Bay near Everglades City. There was really nothing there and not much of anything
to see. Even the sunset was muted. The holding seemed good and it was calm and peaceful and a great place to spend a little
time. We started off in Georges dinghy to find Everglades City, but after fighting too much current in an overloaded little rubber
boat with not enough horsepower, I called Eddie Bartels and said there was no McDonald's, no nothing in Everglades City, and
just like a switch going on in my head, I remembered visiting the place while I lived in Naples. We turned around immediately
and went back to the boats. Everglades City is the equivalent of Hooterville without the cool train.
|The anchorage at the Little Shark River was such a welcomed sight. Of course, it was here that I discovered my Port fuel tank had
shifted, and I saw the biggest black fly in the world. The mosquitoes weren't bad, but they were there, and after the last, very
nasty, three hours of our days run, we decided to wait out the weather for an extra day.
|On the second day at the Little Shark River, the 17th of May, a Wharram Cat came in and the people came over a spoke with us
for a while. It seems there was a gathering of these vessels in the area recently and that's why we saw two in Marco and this one
here. It, and it's dinghy, were painted EXACTLY like Falcon, same colors, same way. The sunset on the second night was
spectacular. I tried to get better pictures of the row of dead trees silhouetted against the changing colors of the sky, but I need
more learning with the camera. Maybe I should read the manual.
|It turned out that waiting the extra day at the Little Shark River was the right decision. I wanted to start early to get a jump on
the wind and waves that were expected to be small, but just in case, so to speak, and we did get under way by about 6:15 AM.
There never was any wind or waves, just flat, calm, often glassy water. What a relief. The pictures below, taken out of sight of
land on the 18th, show what it was like.
|This was what it was like for most of the 9 hours I spent at the helm yesterday. We did see a lot of fish and pretty views, and were
grateful not to be tossed around. I will sort out the actual tracks and mileages next. I will also get some shots of this anchorage
once the sun comes up.
|It is cool and overcast this morning and I may have to close up the boat if it rains. The first picture is the entrance to Boot Key
Harbor. The second is the high part of the Seven Mile Bridge that we came under to get here. The third is the near section of the
long bridge and the last are some nice looking houses right on the tip of Vaca Key.
These are the measured distances of each days travels. We were on our way for 9 days but only traveled 7 of them. I made these
measurements from Google Earth using the 'path' function. I know precisely where we went each day and the route we used to
get there, so these are quite accurate. The times are only 'close' in some cases, but right on in others.
May 3rd - Seafood Shack to Rivertown Boatyard - 9.11 miles, 3 hours.
May 10th - Rivertown Boatyard to Lido Key - 32.6 miles, 7.5 hours.
May 11th - Lido Key to Punta Blanca Island - 48.88 miles, 9.5 hours.
May 13th - Punta Blanca Island to Matansas Pass - 66.3 miles, 12.5 hours.
May 14th - Matansas Pass to Marco Island - 35.8 miles, 7.5 hours.
May 15th - Marco Island to Everglades City - 38.29 miles, 9 hours.
May 16th - Everglades City to Little Shark River - 44.69 miles, 8 hours.
May 18th - Little Shark River to Boot Key - 52.49 miles, 9 hours.
The totals equal 328.16 miles and 66.1 hours under way.
|We had a mild squall pass over at the anchorage and the only other boat left there - besides Falcon - dragged his anchor and
drifted away like there was no ground tackle at all. Now I see how fast Falcon flew away from the anchorage the other day when
the same thing happened to me. Oh, I didn't tell you guys before, because I didn't know, but George really thought I'd just slipped
away in the night and left them behind on purpose. He was spouting and fuming to Kim. I started laughing because he was mad,
but I was just bummed when I first thought they'd left me behind.
I had one last 'wake' incident from one real jerk in a dive boat who deliberately waked me as hard as he could in the anchorage. I
couldn't catch everything, and my camera fell off the counter. I was able to slow it, but not stop it. It seems to be okay, though.
I'm on mooring number 'N1', Nancy One, one of the closest to the Office and the new dinghy dock. Awesome. It's still overcast
and was raining when I came in, but I took pictures anyway.
|This will bring the trip from Cortez to Marathon to an end. Since it was my intention to make this series of pages
exclusively about the building of Falcon, with as few diversions as possible, I will now return to the work only, with
as little of the touristing about as possible. Those events will be fully documented in the Travels section, where I will
duplicate these last few days - with more photos and information - and add all the other stuff.
The reason I did put this first cruise here,is because,if you have been reading this section up until I left Cortez, I
thought you would find this interesting. And now, back to work on the boat.
|May 23, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I am doing little things as I prepare to swing back into the finishing of the interior. Yesterday I wired the Charles Battery Charger
to the panel, rather than to a plain plug-in cord, and I ran the two heavy DC supply cables into the electrical panel, along with the
depth sounder power lead.
I noticed that the two main DC busses got seawater dripping down them in the heavy weather we had heading toward Little
Shark River. I knew I should have found a way to seal that lid! Now, I have to take the entire assembly apart, polish everything,
then re-assemble it. The water leaks through the piano hinge that holds the Ipe lid. I'll find a suitable seal and install it.
|I also noticed that the cable ends will need cleaning
as well. Some of them still need heavy wall shrink
tubing, which I got from Ken and Sandy, though
this will be an opportunity to install that. Nice
clouds coming right at us just now. I found a new
online weather service that I like. It says we only
have about one more day of these winds. That will
The pictures below are the ones George and Kim
took of me during the trip down. I gave them copies
of all the ones I took of them, too.
I know I just said the whole, 'The trip is over and
it's back to the building Falcon stuff.' But I just got
these and one of the things I cannot do, under any
circumstances, is get off the boat and scamper away
to get pictures of her under way, then high-speed
'water-walk' back aboard. It may be years before I
ever get pictures of her under sail while I am alone
and not sailing in company with others, who can
and will take photos and get them to me.
|These first two pictures are of Falcon just out of the yard on the 10th, heading toward the Southwest Channel out of Tampa Bay
|On the left, we are outboard of Anna Maria Island in the Gulf, and on the right, we have left Lido Key where we spent the first
night and I loaded the dinghy onto the cabin roof. It was taking on water while in tow, probably through the centerboard trunk.
|The two shots above are in the Little Shark River anchorage.
|On the left, we are going under the 7 Mile Bridge in the Moser Channel and on the right, I am heading into the Marathon City
Marina to get a mooring.
I've been cleaning up inside and I took time to take accurate measurements of the tanks and the remaining fuel so I can get some
idea of the usage. Adding the trip into Marathon Marina to the other numbers, I get 330.66 miles and 67 hours. Subtracting the
fuel I burned at the dock, gave to George and spilled, I would guess I started with 92 gallons, of which I have 42 gallons
remaining. That gives me 50 gallons burned on the trip, or 6.7 miles per gallon and 0.75 gallons per hour. It also adds up to an
average speed of 4.94 miles per hour, which sounds just about right.
|May 21, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I have too much line and it's trying really hard to be a pain in the ass, but I'm determined to find a way to deal with it in the near
Having finally arrived in Marathon has seriously shifted the priorities on Falcon. I really want to get her cleaned up and properly
organized and easy to live aboard. I will complete the cabinetry and tabbing and dispose of the last of the 'just in case' supplies
(like, miles of extra line, etc) through the morning Cruisers Net. I want to scrub down the outside and touch up and finish the
new paint, re-tar the rigging and get cotter pins in everything. I might take that TV antenna down. There is no TV here anywhere.
I just thought of the unfinished reefer. It is now emptied and need to be finished. Publix is only a 1 mile walk and with a good
reefer I can have fresh produce and cold drinking water all the time. Life is good.
|May 26, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'm getting a lot done on the boat today. I've moved all the line that's been stored forward out on deck. I found a very small leak
in the base seal of the head and took it apart and resealed it, this time using substantially more fastener pressure in the process. I
believe that might have been the odor problem. I changed the two bridle lines up front from older 5/8 inch lines to newer 3/4
inch lines. For Falcon, they will serve as hurricane lines, though I would still double them up in the event of a storm. Chafe. Even
with chafe protection. Can't be too safe.
I pulled the galley floorboards and cleaned beneath them, picking up the coins and things that slipped under them during the
very rough sections of the passage south. I also bagged the coffee maker and electric frying pan for the trash and scraped excess
paint from the inside of the AC door on the electrical panel. I wish we would have a few days of blazing sun so I could top up all
the batteries at once. Every day here has been cloudy and small periods of rain. Not what you'd expect. It makes it less hot, but
I'm still trying to sort out what I can get away with, power-wise. That's why the coffee maker and electric frying pan are being
summarily dismissed - power hogs.
I've gone through a lot of papers and tossed out more stuff, then printed out a copy of the Outback Manual. There's so much I
can do right now that I'm just going back and forth, non-stop, doing one thing then another. These little breaks on the computer I
consider rest breaks.
I squared away the anchors and windlass for their time on the mooring and will stow the spare anchor, shore power cord,
windlass remote cord and the 100 ft extension cord all under the port cockpit seat. I talked to Garmin about the GPSMap 545
failing right out of the box and they told me, 'can't help you - $230 bucks plus shipping and you get another 90 days to see if it's
working right'. The guy also told me he has no doubt that it was bad right out of the box, but I bought it 3 years ago and should
have used it sooner. So, no pressure now to get it fixed. We'll see how I feel six months from now. I might also get another ST40
or ST60 Depth Sounder head.
|May 27, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I'm finally getting into a more workmanlike attitude here. I got a lot done yesterday and, while I didn't particularly enjoy the long
row to the dinghy watering location, I was glad for the exercise and activity. Not that working around the boat isn't active, but it
lacks that aerobics element that's so refreshing.
I've spent an hour and a half this morning going through my email in boxes to file and delete hundreds of emails. Mostly from
vendors that I like to keep up with. I also find that long periods of work-only conserve battery power. Speaking of which, the sun
is working hard this morning to do good things, but there is still some cloudiness. It's a beautiful day outside and I'm going to be
there soon. I love it here.
Below are some pictures I've received from Sandi Bartels that I haven't seen or posted before. I thought you might like them.
Some were taken as I left the Seafood Shack Marina. Some were taken when Eddie and Sandy stopped in at Marco Island to tell
us the gas dock fool was screaming at us.
|There is a contrast in deck clutter between Falcon and CJoy. I really enjoy bare or stocking feet and greatly disapprove of stubbed
or broken toes. George and Kim, however, have a smaller boat and have to wear shoes.
|Back to work. I've repaired the end of the 100 foot extension cord, coiled and stowed it along with the spare prop, the 100 foot
shore power cord and the windlass remote unit. I have also begun the seizing, or wrapping, of the boom gallows. Another job
that's been waiting for a year. What completing each of these little jobs means is that there is at least one more item that is no
And that's the name of THAT tune. I'd saved a ball of the cord that I'd wrapped the ship's wheel with, found the center, and
started in the middle, then wrapped each way until I'd used all the cord. It works for me. Now, the boom can rest on it without
rattling or chaffing the paint off the bottom. And it matches the wheel. Right now I'm getting set to solder some power leads into
the back of Randy's old GPS to rig it in the cockpit.
I have also been working on items for the electrical panel. That is also getting closer. Now that I'm here on the mooring, the
pressure is off on so many things and the ones I need I have working or are working on them. I just hope we don't get clapped in
the teeth by a big, nasty hurricane.
I soldered and liquid tape sealed the joints to provide power to the old GPSMap 182c and connected the same GPS antenna I'd
been using for the Garmin GPSMap 545. The 182c is rock solid and works perfectly.
|May 28, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I am sleeping better here than I have in years. Maybe it's quieter or maybe it's the lack of annoying boat wakes. I find the first
time I wake up after falling asleep, it's morning. Sometimes 5 AM, sometimes as late as 6:45 AM.
I modified the cockpit centerpost wiring and mounted the 182 GPS, then tested it for half and hour. It remained rock solid. Since
I still have the Garmin GPSMap 545 wiring there, I ran it as well. Just like a bad-from-the-factory piece of crap should do, it
wandered all over the place and had Falcon sailing 1/2 mile across Vaca Key and into Florida Bay to the North. Okay, sorry. Said I
wouldn't mention it again. But it pisses me off. Just had to pound in one more coffin nail.
I tied up the center section of the sunshade that covers the companionway hatch to see how it's apt to fit, what with the new
hardtop and all. I still have some work to do there, but don't want to start sewing just yet. That takes a lot of room and I don't
quite have the logistics worked out. There are no storage lockers available in the facility building, though I have my name on the
list for a small one, so I can't bring the sewing machine, the canvas, the sails, and all the accessories into the work area just yet.
I'd have to take them all home every night.
I also changed the oil in the windlass. My awesome water trap worked perfectly. There was just a tiny bit of water in it at the very
bottom. Anyway, this time I filled the gearbox with the water trap on, so it's filled to the top, properly. It was quite a bit shy
during the trip down, though it had enough to stay lubed. I never did top it up again after adding the water trap. It's a stupid thing
to forget, but in my defense, I never thought the water trap stole as much oil from the gearbox as it obviously does.
|May 30, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I have printed out the 94 page manual for the Outback Charge Controller and am reading my way through it. It's not quite as dry
as a 1000 page History of Knitting, but I have to do it to avoid poaching the Gel Cells. I have no present way to replace them if
they get overcooked. The AGM's I'd like to replace them with will cost over $3000.
I got the Sailrite and sewing kits to the locker and Gary gave me a ride to the post office. He offered and I accepted because I feel
it would have been rude not to. While on the way back, as a matter of conversation, I explained to him that I enjoyed the rowing
and the walking as a bit of daily exercise that I held accountable for my good health and energy level. I did appreciate the ride
because of how hot it is today. Anyway, the mail is sent out and I've dug all the sails and cloth and various hoo-haa out of the
bow and will start shipping them into the locker as well.
All the lines I dug out of the bow are now soaked and strewn about the deck, so I'll hang them up outside to dry, then hang them
in good order in the bow area. As I complete the sails, they will be mounted on the booms and I'll also sew up the sail covers and
install them. I will keep the jibs in sailbags on the bow.
I loaded the dinghy with sails and canvas and the two water jugs and got the sail stuff in the locker and the water jugs filled. It's
getting much easier to lift the water jugs out of the dinghy and put them on deck with one hand now. This rowing is helpful.
Maybe I should get a job scraping boat bottoms. No, no, not again. I also loaded the dinghy with most of the rest of the stuff,
including the 'found' Danforth, and I'll take that in tomorrow morning. I'm also going to have to see if I need a seat or extension
cord or light or any other stuff. Once I start sewing, I'm going to 'marathon' my way through each project non-stop, if I can. I'm
serious about getting it on here and moving rapidly forward.
|June 2, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I have all the Post Office stuff ready to go and have been putting the sewing stuff on the deck so I can load it into the dinghy.
That's a little scary. The Sailrite is kind of pricey to be paddling around the Harbor with, and it no longer has the covering case. I
may have to come up with some sort of protective cover, but not something like the big wooden box that was around it. It turns
out that box held moisture inside - condensation - and was part of the problem. It will take a few days for me to get everything all
set up for sewing work in the locker area, but once I am set up, I think I should be able to get straight through it this month.
|June 3, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
Last night I got a kind of surprise to find I only had one battery charged. When I get back from breakfast, I'm going to start the
engine and see what I can do about that. I might be switching them off the solar panels too quickly.
After working on the battery/solar system for a while, and running the engine for an hour or so to pep up the whole rack, I'm
finding that what I might really have is as simple as an 'old battery switch' issue. Not all of the 6 battery switches are new, though
they are all identical, and I think about 3 of them might be going south. I'm going to remove the biggest suspect and take a look
inside and see if anything can be done to save them. New ones cost about $35 each.
I got in a big project today that started out frustrating but ended just fine. I jumped power to the fresh water pump and tried
unsuccessfully for a while to get the system to charge and fill. No luck. I primed it and everything, but still no luck. Finally, I
decided to remove the filter before the pump because it might have too much resistance or be sucking air. That little job took
some doing, but at about 6 PM I had it done and gave it a shot. I have a right, tight water system that is treating me real good just
now. Tomorrow I will make a real close inspection for leaks and fix anything that looks suspicious.
|June 4, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
Yesterday I also pulled out the heavy 10/3 cable I'd laced through the boat for the watermaker and I'm thinking about removing
and capping off the feed line intended to allow the watermaker to fill any of the 4 water tanks. I also noticed last night that the
valve I'm using to allow water into the head leaks through. It might just need use, but that was why the water pump cycled
yesterday - because the accumulator filled the head. There were also several drips hanging on joints in the head manifold. Once I
pressurize the system again today and mark all suspect areas, I'll shut it down, drain it and fix everything. The next test will be to
see how much power it absorbs to make hot water. That should be interesting.
I need to take down the intermediate sun shade and bring it into the work area and get it all re-sewn and ready for proper
deployment. It may require several stages, back and forth, to get it finished right.
I finally found that the one really bad battery switch simply had no #1 battery position. It went straight to 'Both', then #2 battery.
Just to see if there was any way to fix it, I removed it and destroyed it. Yeah - no fixing it. Anyway, that particular battery will now
spend some time bolted straight to the #1 buss and I'll make adjustments to the charging schedule and use bus around that. I
will be getting much better battery switches in the future, but don't need them now. I've found some Blue Sea units that I think I
like much better than the cheap Perko things.
|June 5, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I've been re-assigning the forward area and hanging all the spare lines up there. In the shot below, all the small lines are hung on
the new eyes I dug out and installed. The 4 biggest lines are still out on the deck drying, but they will be hung in just a little
while. They are dry enough and the way they lines are hung, they do not lay against the bulkhead, but hang away from the
sloping wall and will finish drying there.
|The rest of the lines are hung and I'm listening to music - loud - from the computer. Life is good.
|June 6, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I've started bridging the solar charger during the day so the battery being charged is also including the 8D that is permanently
bolted to the engine buss (for now) and that is being recharged and kept topped up during the day. I just started doing this
yesterday and will see how it works. After a week or so, I'll run this battery dead and then allow it to recharge alone to be sure the
'deep cycle' aspect gets exercised.
I'd forgotten one long line outside yesterday and hung it today. I'm cleaning and sorting and can't say how long it will take to
finish. Today I started by cleaning the area in front of the stove to make it easier to use.
I still have some huge storage issues aboard but can't address them for at least another 2 months. I simply won't have the money
before then. For now, I just have to move stuff around and make the best of what situations I do have available. I will store all
the extra bedding and books and heavy clothes, charts and miscellaneous odds and ends beneath the bunk and see how that
looks. Since I won't be showering on board while the other facilities are right on shore, I can use the large shelf I built in the
head for my clothes and a few other things, and hang a net bag beneath for laundry. The whole forward section of the front sink
shelf will now be available to store 'project' items that are presently on the floor, and it's entirely possible that I'll have a clean
and clear boat to work in.
I got 166 amp Hours out of the solar panels today. So okay, now, I'm just saying, not for nothing, I TOLD people I could get as
much as 170 amp hours a day out of this rig. I might crack that number soon as the longest day of the year (June 22?) is coming
|June 11, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I have to drain and flush and refill my gearbox with ATF. For some reason, sometime in the past I overfilled it with gear lube. It's
not supposed to have gear lube in it. It's supposed to have ATF - automatic transmission fluid. Delving back to the dark ages
when I was still in Naples, like, 7 years ago, it occurs to me that after cleaning and checking the gearbox, I might have filled it
with gear oil to prevent any rusting until I got the right lube and put the unit to work. Hmmm. Must have forgotten about that.
That means the gearbox has about 500 miles of use with good oil rather than that watery red stuff. Still, I have to go back to what
they say or the rubber seals inside will eventually pay the price.
|June 12, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
My bridle snarled the mooring buoy last night and my neighbor told me about it, so I untangled it this morning. I may have to
install a third 'preventer' line to guard against that in the future.
The solar array got 169 AH today, just from the magic 170 number. I also just took down the white sun shade I've been using over
the main cabin for years now. It started shredding. Too much sun and wind, I guess. Time for either repairs or a whole new unit.
|June 14, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
The center sun shade over the main cabin has shredded a tad and it is now off and folded in the storage locker. It has been up
there for the better part of five years and I knew the material and thread were ready to give up from sun-rot. It's not a surprise.
There is a reason why Sunbrella and other similar materials cost an arm and a leg just to look at. It just occurred to me that it
was a good thing those guys were there yesterday and interrupted my flow, because at the time, I was in some kind of 'tunnel
vision' mode and was about to start repairing the torn sun shade I'd just brought in. Bad idea. I'm supposed to finish the
intermediate unit first, then deal with a NEW forward, main cabin sun shade.
|I got the intermediate shade modified and re-sewn everywhere the thread was rotten. The left shot above is the work area and
the table I was using. It didn't take long for me to opt for the stool and make the job a bit more comfortable, but there was a nice
breeze flowing side to side in there anyway. The shade is already mostly installed and it immediately dropped the temperature
inside the boat. That big hatch lets in a lot of sun.
|I used the Velcro assisted hidden zipper method I employed the first time I made and installed this, only this time, instead of just
sewing it to the Sunbrella Bimini, I had to drill and screw it to the Aluminum and stainless frame of the hardtop. I did take the
time to add the nice looking dark blue binding to finish the edge better than it had been, which was not at all. I didn't take the
time to try to pluck out the seven thousand tiny little shreds of rotted thread, but just ran another pass over the bad thread.
There is still some finishing this needs, but I have to come up with ways to connect the lower corners to the hardtop first, and I'll
need to be satisfied that the leading edge can remain as it is and that I can effectively continue forward from there to the front
|June 15, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I went back into the locker at 4 PM yesterday and made sure I had plenty of cloth left for the sun shade. This morning, I have to
bring in the drill and the chamfering bits and a few other hand tools so I can remove a ton of grommets and strip apart the large
items that I'm getting the material from. This time, instead of using an old sail for a sun shade, I'm going to use Sunbrella or
canvas in a dark color to stop more of the sun and, hopefully, get a cooler boat. I will use the last two zippers I have to join the
intermediate and the new forward shades together. The gap between the old ones let rain straight into two of the portholes. One
over the computer and one over the DVD player. Neither items are particularly fond of water.
I didn't do any sewing today, but I did strip the old forward shade and toss the rotted sailcloth. Then I took a walk to Home Depot
and found that light tan plastic screening that is so useful on the sunny sides of Biminis and hardtops to allow the breeze
through but block most of the sun: $30 for 6 feet by 20 feet. I also found Thompson's Water Sealer: $14, AAA batteries: $10, last
resort webbing for the shade edges: 27 feet for $14. I didn't buy anything, I just know where to go to get it for now. Although, it
seems to me that I found the webbing much cheaper on line. I just have to check on that.
I brought the blue shade back from the locker to see if there isn't some way to use it without completely taking it apart and
starting over. I was using it as a dock shade in Cortez and it looked pretty ratty there, but if I wash it and restitch some of it and
waterproof it, it might serve here for a while. It might also save me a good deal of time and effort.
The blue forward shade is going to work just great. I will have to make several trips back and forth to get the whole situation
completed - maybe more than several - but the situation on board the boat is much better. Well, except when approaching sunset
- the low sun still busts through and feels hot. I think some judiciously arranged screens made from that garden shade material
will work just fine.
|June 16, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|The area I'd used yesterday was occupied by Gary, so I set up a table in an open area and worked there. What a pain the re-sewing
and repair of the old blue shade was - and I'm still not done. Of course, now I'm obliged to keep going by virtue of the 5 hours
invested in it. No big deal. I'll make it work. Besides, once I get it all fitted and doing the job, it will be much easier to duplicate in
new material later on. It really is the complex repairs in the middle of the thing that takes up all the time.
I'm back to the boat and have the whole system installed again and it does work great. By the time I'd worked from 9 AM until 2
PM, I just didn't feel like going to Home Depot to get the Velcro, so I just came back to the boat and ate. After I post this, I'll
watch some of the Fellowship Of The Ring and consider what to do next.
Yesterday, the solar array hit the magic number of 170 AH. I knew it would happen before the Summer Solstice. You probably
won't hear much about that anymore. Now that the big number has been hit, the excitement is over.
|June 20, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
Above average wind made the row in and out only a bit harder, but I got the stuff out of the locker and made at least a couple of
hundred of those little blue Sunbrella dots in 7/16 inch and 1/2 inch sizes. It's almost 2 PM now. While on shore I got a call from
Don and Barb, who are on their way to a spot to move the boat that is about in the middle of the state, up the Okeechobee River
to a place near the Glades Boatyard. They have decided to take safe haven and wait out the hurricane season rather than take a
chance that might result in their having to desperately dodge a stampeding hurricane.
I got a couple of pictures of the boat and sunshades on the way back, and then some from the deck. I think I might lower the
front shade to just below the forward boom and incorporate a steel cable in it for support. That will mean narrowing the thing a
bit, but compared to the other work I've already done on it, that's easy. It's coming along, and it's very comfortable on board.
|There is still a lot to do as far as finishing it - you can see the loose corners on the aft edge of the intermediate shade - but it's
coming into shape. It has to be easy to put up and take down. For right now, that lacing is a bit of a pain, But I'll eventually
replace it with a zipper and Velcro. For now, it just has to work and it does.
|June 21, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I need to get some hose at Home Depot to complete the installation of the shower sump pump and I have to do something about
the bilge 'dryer' pump that runs, but no longer pumps. Those pumps are notorious for getting a nose hair - or some similarly
giant chunk of debris - in one of the valves and failing completely until it is disassembled and manually cleaned. I may wrap a bit
of no-see-um screen over the tip of the pick-up tube to prevent a re-occurrence, if that is the problem.
|June 28, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I went in and cut down the foresail to the right size for Falcon. The old (but brand new) Bahamian Sloop mainsail, once 400
square feet, is now about 200 square feet, And I don't think it will be very hard to complete. Next, I'm going to cut down the
Bahamian Sloop jib to fit Falcon, then I'll get these sewn up and tried out. I want to be sure these are done and done right before
I tackle Falcon's Mainsail. It isn't quite big enough, and unlike the other two sails that all I have to do is trim them down and do
the edges, I will have to add a bunch of heavy cloth to the main, and I may have to make some serious adjustments to it's shape
The main that I'm starting with is Donny's old mainsail from Dulcinea. It is a heavy and bulky sail and has definitely seen better
days. My thoughts are that I will know better what I must do in reclaiming the majority of the old main and adding to it and
enhancing it so it will do the job on Falcon for a while, AFTER I complete the other two, easier sails. You have to remember that
almost without exception, every 'specialty' job like this that I jump into on this project is a 'first' for me. It will be my first real
foray into making a suit of sails for a boat. But, like everything else, I'll just do it and make it work.
|June 29, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I want to get into the work area early today and see what I can accomplish on the sails. A number of things concerning the
assembly of component pieces to the sails and getting them fed through the sewing machine has been occurring to me since I
started working on them again yesterday. Probably the single biggest problem has been the application of the huge grommets at
the corners. These are done by sailmakers on big presses and I neither have one, nor am I able to get access to one, and I'm damn
sure not going to carry a sail onto the bus and take a three hour trip somewhere, counting on someone to do it while I wait so I
can get out of making two trips for every sail.
The answer is to hand sew bronze or stainless steel rings into position and splay several wraps of webbing into the body of the
sail to distribute the load. It will take more time, but it can still be done effectively by myself with the resources I have at hand.
I'll remember to bring the camera in today and get some shots of how effectively I'm hogging huge areas of the work shop.
A big sail repair project has out-hogged me and there has been no way for me to get anything done today - well, except that I did
get the jib cut down and ready to sew. I forgot the camera, so I came back out to the boat, ate, and went back in with the camera.
By then the other project was under way and I was out for the day.
So, three trips in and out with the dinghy today, and the wind blowing pretty good, but not 20 knots - maybe 15 or so. I am
kicking the crap out of my oarlocks. They are absolutely wearing out. I'm going to have to get some much better ones soon. I had
to repair the set I have now today and almost lost one on the second trip back. I have $20 in gift certificates for West Marine, and
that's just right up the street. Maybe I'll check them out.
|July 4, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
I got the top of the foresail sewn, but only one pass. Eventually there will be three passes of zig zag with #92 Dacron sail thread. I
also got started on the bottom a little, but my feet started to hurt so I called it a day.