|October 26, 2010 - November 10, 2010
|Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|The epoxy is cured this morning and I will now have to get back under the berth, clean it up as well as possible, and get a coat of
paint . . . . am not willing to be caught in the boat with drying paint, that won't dry due to extreme humidity, trying to think of
whatever else I might be able to do. I'll clean it and pack it and paint it some other time down the road.
10:49 AM and I've already made significant headway in the forward area. I've used just about all of the rest of the padded vinyl
headliner material and have the head ceiling done now and the forward galley under deck area. I have had to do some serious
thinking about how to complete the very last little section, but I think I have it about sorted out.
|Marty came on board and took a look around. He's the third person so
far to see the inside of my gopher hole. Dana was first - a pumpout
driver, then Matt - second pumpout driver, and now Marty.
All the way forward, the difficulty rears it's ugly head, but I have
already figured a good fix and will take the time to do it on another
day, away from here. Meanwhile, break time is over and I have to get
back to work.
I applied the fabric to the cabin side over the forward galley sink
counter. I knew I had issues here and didn't want to get all involved in
it, but now I feel obliged to complete the project. It now looks like a
little extra effort put in right now will take this off my mind
indefinitely. Besides, I kind'a already know the answers I need to do it.
I rowed in to check mail and got Espin's chart chip. I tried to
|watch a little news, but a small gaggle of neo-nazi Limbaugh
dittoheads made it all but impossible. It's discouraging to see how
many 'small' people will allow the radical right propaganda machine to
do their thinking for them. While it is increasingly true that both
parties participate in this cauldron of swill, the conservative vitriol
toward anyone not in strict observation their party's line is
reminiscent of radical Islamics and Germany's old Nazi party. I mean,
"death to all non believers", kind'a crap.
I tried the chart chip in the Garmin 182c and it works great. No
problems at all. I'll set the unit back up in the cockpit and be ready to
roll before you know it. I should be getting the other chip soon and
will substitute that one and store Espin's below until I see them in
Time to get back to work. I still have to clean up beneath
the bunk and store tons of stuff. I should do that now.
|The under bunk storage is fairly packed, but I can get at everything pretty easily. I was amazed how much stuff fit in there, and
there is still room way up in the back for my golf clubs. I finished the forward area over the sink counter - all but the molding,
and I can do that any time. It's all painted and waiting. I have 2 eight foot sections, so it should be plenty. I still need to get the
AC Outlet panel in there, though it is already cut to length and painted and sitting right there.
|Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|Stowing the tools and sewing stuff has made the sole visible in so many places it's like having a new floor all over again.
Naturally, I will now be forced to epoxy and glass this side of the sole. I could be into wiring by the end of the day. That would be
When I started the engine again at 7 AM, I noticed a number of sequential flashes in the dark below, coming from a place where
there should have been no light at all. I believe the heavy battery connection to the starter - or the ground - or both - are in need
of attention. That will have to be on the list for today. Such problems can not be left for 'later', or you end up with a fire.
|The first shot is straight East, the second South, and the last West, with the moon. The day is bright enough now for me to begin
bringing water aboard. I will try to make 5 trips. We'll see how I do. That will amount to 50 gallons.
I got three trips back and forth for water - 30 gallons - and on the last trip, one of my water jugs cracked near the top when I put
it up on deck. I guess it's time for me to think about the real, blue water jugs. They will be easier to store anyway. I was able to
hold the crack shut until I got the water into the tank. The large, 52.5 gallon water tanks hold exactly half of that when stuffed
beneath the cabin sole - 26 gallons each with no bulging of floorboards. I will now get 1 jug worth with each trip, but will not
have to make water-specific trips. I'll get what I can and probably top up all tanks on the day I leave. I will be making 3 or 4 diesel
trips and can run another jug of water each time as well.
It's now 1 PM and I have all the moldings up over the sink counter, and the cabin sole edge is epoxied and glassed down.
|It seems to me I've done some other little things along the way, but have forgotten what they are. I DID come up with an
innovative, albeit complex, method of securing the old teak light bases to the bulkheads to hide the speaker magnets, but until I
actually do the work, I can't count that. Once I get the outlet panel in the over the sink counter it will look a lot better. Those
exposed wire runs are a tad butt-ugly.
Well, it's a good thing I checked out the starter motor on the engine. It's got a loose stud on the solenoid and I have to pull it out.
The Napa Auto Parts can get me a new starter for $80, but it will take a few days to ship it in - 3 to 5. I will make arrangements to
stay for 7 days to make sure I have time to get it, if I have to have it. I'll pull the old one out a little later on and see what I might
be able to do to save it. I has been my experience, however, that when fire starts bursting out of a solenoid, it's too close to the
edge of the abyss to rescue.
Started working on the starter motor. I'm in a spot of trouble, but only a little spot. There will be no more running of the engine
this month. I have a ton of work to do to get that starter off the engine - including pulling one of the engine mounts - and the
solenoid is in seriously deep doo-doo. I cannot get one of the nuts holding the big cables off, and now it is spinning inside the
solenoid. Of course, anyone reading this who knows anything about me realizes that I will fix that cheese-eating rat bastard by
tomorrow with scotch tape, bailing wire and spit. But if it still doesn't work, or it's dangerous, there will only be website updates
when the bright sun shines. Four more days until I have the money to rectify this situation properly. I have to do some searching
for a junkyard here somewhere (fat chance) to see if there's any hope of my getting a good, used one.
|Thursday, October 28, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|It's 9:51 and the starter is out of the engine. Some things were easier than expected, some things far more difficult than they
should have been, but it is out and I could repair it and reinstall it right away.
The whole problem was the water running through the old battery box hinge. The bolts were all seriously rusted and the main
battery connector bolt on the solenoid is also steel - instead of brass or copper - and it rusted horribly and allowed the cables to
come loose. I tried everything to get the nut off and finally had to Dremel it off after I got the starter out. I also had to Dremel a
nut off the worst bolt to reach, just to get the starter out. Well, it's done and I can either repair this unit or buy a new one. The
core charge for these items is $33, which would place the price at $113 to have the spare starter on board. I'll also need new
hardware. Some of the old stuff is beyond re-use.
The starter is ready to be re-installed. The fix on the solenoid was a bit dicey, but I got it done as well as possible. I went to Home
Depot and for 42 cents got the two nuts I had to cut off. I'm going to put this back together and make sure it works before making
any other decisions concerning the starter. I have found the offending solenoid on line for under $40, and may end up going that
way sometime down the road. Get it for a spare and be ready to change it whenever this one gives up the ghost.
The engine is all back together and running better than ever. I chose to include a few wiring updates I've been saving for the
electrical work. These are now done and the wiring is set to begin at any time.
|Friday, October 29, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I am cleaning up and sorting and organizing and I put the nasty old air cleaner back on the engine. I will get a fresh one of those
with the oil and oil filters. I will also coat the starter electrical connections with the red spray used on battery terminals under
the hoods of automobiles. I have carried a can of the stuff for about 5 years now and never used it. All the new connections I am
making are cleaned and polished prior to assembly, and I want to add one more layer of protection. The slow rotation of the
engine while starting, regardless of the condition of the batteries, has now been exposed as due to poor connections. You'd think
I'd know better, and perhaps I suspected it long ago but always thought I'd be getting to it soon, then never did. Well, I'm there
now and it's time to be sure all things electrical are set as right as can be done to avoid problems in the future.
|Saturday, October 30, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I started the engine at 6:45 AM and it has been running for half an hour now. It's ramming 14.4 volts at the batteries. I checked
the battery water yesterday and they were fine, with about half the cells just below full and the rest still on the full line. I will add
water today to be sure my new method of doing that is as easy as it is supposed to be. I still have a nasty little problem on the
bottom of the floor hatches that I have to sort out, but that day will come. The lateral stringers I attached to turn 4 planks into a
hatch are 3/4" thick and touch the top of the batteries - the caps. By removing them and gluing a 3/8" or 1/4" panel in their place,
I eliminate the contact and the hatches are just as strong.
|This is what I did last evening. That is a 2" by 2" by 1/4" solid copper
plate that I drilled for two 3/8" studs and 4 mount screws. There is a
piece of 1/2" white starboard behind it with clearance holes for the stud
back nuts, and it is secured to the heavy fiberglass angle used to secure
the bottom panels to the cockpit seats. I will attach all the heavy
"Engine Buss" cables here and the 2/0 feeder from the new battery
switch I'll be installing today.
The feed from the Outback Charge Controller will now be connected
directly to the main battery feed at the 'Common' post behind the
battery switch, to eliminate several other connections presently between
the two points.
I will be working my way to the electrical box today and get some buss
plates like the one I made yesterday installed in the box. From there, it
is simply a matter of connecting wires inside the box and behind the
panels and one system after another comes on line.
|Speaking of coming on line, I have had the water system 'hot' since early yesterday and there are no leaks anywhere and no
occasional bursts of pumping when water is not being drawn. I'm psyched. I guess Teflon tape swells or something, because the
tiny beads of water on the head manifold have disappeared and not come back. Either that or my water has enough crap in it to
build little dams at the leaks. Sweet.
10:30 AM and all the heavy cabling around the engine is finished and secure. The new battery switch is in and the Outback's
output is now straight to the battery bank, and a new ground has been provided. I'm only bleeding a little, but that seems to be
more common as I get older and continue working hard with my hands. I did have one of those little steel splinters going straight
into my thumb - you know, the kind that are buried beneath the surface, but every time you press your thumb against anything it
feels like you're being jabbed by a needle. I dug it out with an Exacto knife.
|Marty came over and we went to eat. There is a nice little
place near the 7 Mile Bridge on the Florida Bay side that
makes an excellent cheeseburger and I had one. He
apologized for yesterday and didn't go into detail and I didn't
ask. On the way back we stopped into a canvas shop where he
had some work done and I mentioned I'd wanted to stop at
West Marine to price the light blue water Gerry jugs and
instead, he gave me one of his. Very generous guy. He will be
heading to the BVI on Monday morning with Valentina
I have gotten a lot done here today, though it doesn't show
much and my unfortunate situation of having to make a mess
of the entire boat to do any work also means I always have a
lot of cleaning up to do. There is where most of todays time
went - cleaning up and shifting things around. I did get to
watch a bit of golf, but not much, and I fabricated a new
mount for the Garmin 182. I also traced and identified all the
wires in the shot.
|I have a couple of small areas to get wired together before proceeding in the electrical box - the two junctions at the base of the
masts where the boat wiring meets the mast wiring. They are not bad and will be my first area of business in the morning. I will
also have to install a box and outlet next to the hot water heater so that can be plugged in. Two areas needing attention soon are
the shower sump pump and the macerator that empties the holding tank.
|Sunday, October 31, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|7:17 AM, still well before sunrise but the lightening sky is already making the Outback begin it's start cycle. I wonder if the
altered circuitry and cleaned terminals is affecting that positively as well. Yesterday, the charger went into 'Absorb' mode, which a
new thing for these batteries.
The wiring for the foremast is done and I am about to start on the mainmast. I pulled some cables through for the Autohelm
servo and ran them to the new location for the autopilot computer. I'm still needing a couple of cables for the autopilot, but I
have them and they will not be a problem to run. Back to work.
I spoke too soon as far as those cables not being a pain in the ass to run - they were. But, they are done, all the cables are at the
controller, the head is mounted in the cockpit and only a few minutes of connections in the morning will get the autopilot ready
for a test. I hope it works. Both masts are wired and the net is back in place under the engine. The boat is a wreck but I don't care.
It's going to get worse before it gets better. Tomorrow I will thrash away at whatever I can until it's time to go to Home Depot
and get some plywood. Once I do that, it'll be a major job to get it on board without sinking the dinghy. I'm not looking forward
to it. I'll have to make two or three trips, and then it will only be on deck. Next, there will be a serious thrash of measuring,
cutting, installing - about as fast as I can without making a stomped frog out of it so it all has to come out and be corrected later
on. The thing is, as soon as these bins are put in, the boat is no longer a mess. Everything gets securely stowed and I have floor
space and bed space. I'd like to get that done in a day - I'll do all the epoxy and glass work on the trip.
|Monday, November 1, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|It's just 5 AM and I've been up since 4:30. I just woke up and got up. I will be adding a few days to my stay. No matter how I work
it out in my head, I will just need the time. I hope I can just add the days as I need them, then if I get set and ready to leave early
I won't have a handful of paid days I can't use. I am also trying to plan the trip so I can navigate the Goodland pass behind Marco
Island at high tide.
I have 4 orders of business for today: 1) Get paint, propane, fasteners, liquid nails and wood at Home Depot, 2) Pay my rent for at
least 6 days, 3) Get oarlocks and maybe West hardener at West Marine, 4) Get food at Daffy Doug's.
The list does not include wiring in the boat, but some of that will have to be done as well. In fact, I'll be starting that right now.
|The Autohelm 6000 fired right up and operated properly, as far
as I could tell without the boat moving. The compass heading
came up correctly and when clicked to automatic, it took control
of the wheel and steered the boat back and forth, as per inputs at
the head. There is still one thing left to see, and that is whether
or not I have the two heavy drive wires from the brain to the
servo on the right terminals. There is no way to know until I turn
it on while moving and see if it corrects in the right direction. If
it's backwards, I just swap the slip-on terminals at the brain. I
have a 50/50 chance of it being correct right now.
The other picture is of the mainmast wiring. I did some
|struggling with whether or no to try to construct some sort of 'chase' to run these wires through, but in the end decided to just
secure them with cable clamps. I could go into a lot of silly crap about how this could be a better solution, but the truth is just
simplicity. I have enough to do.
The served handhold is just a way to shield the long lag-type screws holding the TV in place on the opposite side of the wall. I
made the 'nuts' out of starboard to further protect hands from the raggedy-ass screws. It's simple, clean, and it works for me.
|One of the oarlocks I lashed together months ago just
started failing on my way back to the boat. Luckily, I already
have the new oarlocks and will install them right now.
It is 4 PM and the third and final mission of the day is done.
Between mission 2 and mission 3, I smashed my hand with
a hammer and it is only now stopping the bleeding. I kept a
paper towel on it with pressure all the way back to Home
Depot, and kept in on as best I could while horsing 4 by 8
foot sheets of (sweeeeet) sanded BC plywood onto the cart,
then through the saw (to make 2 two by eight foot sheets
out of each full sheet), then back onto the cart (much easier
now), then into and out of Matt's truck, then into and out of
the dinghy and up onto the deck. Apparently the constant
work wouldn't allow my alcohol thin blood to coagulate. It
has now - typing is not as much work.
Obviously, I got the first two sheets of plywood, plus some
fasteners, 3 small bottles of propane and a quart each of
Sand Castle and Hiking Trail. I also got one red and one blue
of the coiled fluorescent 110v bulbs to see if they are easier
on the eyes than the others I have. They seem too bright and
glaring. They are only $5 each now, so I thought I'd give it a
I gave Matt $20 for 2 rides back from Home Depot. The
second one will come once these two sheets are installed.
Then I'll get the third sheet and finish off all the structures
in the boat. OH, yeah, and I need one more 6 foot tongue
and groove floor plank to complete the head floor. And 15
feet of hose for the shower sump pump.
It's coming along. It is now seriously coming along. For
|Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|It's 9 AM now. I went back to bed at 5 and got back up at 8:30. I didn't get right back to sleep, but I finally fell off sometime
around 6 or 6:30. I will start getting things cleaned up in here and out on deck, then begin the building of the storage bins. It
might be wisest to begin forward so I have places to put some stuff to get it out of the way.
My first order of business is to connect the heavy cable used to light up the engines preheaters. It was lying out of sight and I
forgot to connect it. The engine started yesterday, but it took too much cranking and I knew something was wrong. That wire was
my first thought and, sure enough, there it was, just hanging there.
11:50 AM and the hanging wire (#6 cable) has been connected and the engine run for 15 or 20 minutes while I cleaned up
outside. Below turned into a much larger project what with continually pulling out storage boxes to insert a single item or a small
handful. I finally was able to sweep the main cabin sole and vacuum, then make a special 'watering' device and attend to the
batteries. It was a very simple and quick job.
Now, with the main cabin so clean and open, I'm tempted to return to my original plan and get these - the more difficult - storage
areas done first. Both sides of the cabin require complex panels 7 feet long.
|I reached a point where I had to just go out and get some
things done. I returned the blue bulb and got another one,
having them test it to prove it worked, then I walked from
Home Depot all the way to Daffy Doug's and got more food
and a small kettle to heat water with. I also found some
automotive electrical cleaner I will use to try and save to one
bad Carframo fan I have. I got grease on the commutator.
Back at the yard - oh, I forgot to say I got cash back at Home
Depot so I'd have the funds to get the oil and filter from Napa
- and I ordered the stuff from Napa and had them include a
diesel fuel treatment that included an ingredient to clean
dirty injectors. I think I have one bad injector causing a flat
spot in the RPM band between 1500 and 1800 RPM. I had to
go out to the Tree of Limited or Vague Knowledge to meet the
Napa delivery guy and found an empty cat litter jug (to catch
the old oil with) and a small cat blanket (to put below the old
oil filter when I remove it) and got the stuff. I had to use a
marina cart to bring all the stuff to the dinghy.
|Once back to the boat, I put everything away and started in on the storage. I did the most intimidating first. Not that it was hard
to make, but because people will begin chiding me about the 'Bunkhouse' cutout along the front. I took all the dimensions below,
then went out on deck and made the entire thing in one shot.
It fit perfectly. The hatches will be hinged at the top with slide bolts at the bottom. Now, for the one under the computer desk.
It's already 5:15 and I don't know if I'll get it done, but I do want to get started on it anyway.
I had to do a temporary mount of the computer desk face plate to get a bottom tracing and it became quite a project getting the
full panel below. I finally wrestled it into position and will now devise a clever method of transcribing the hull curvature onto the
Above is a look at the computer booting up with the new blue bulb on. It is a very 'Blue Schooner' look, I think. I may end up
getting the other three colors as well, just for fun.
|Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I seem to be working on a 23 hour day schedule. I'm waking up an hour earlier every morning. This morning I awoke, well, that
is, I was awakened at 3:20 AM by a howling front coming through. Mostly wind, but a little rain and the weather says we can look
forward to lots of rain today.
As soon as I can manage it, I'll cut the last two panels to length and move them below. This wood is exterior, but it's expensive
and I'm not taking any chances with it. It is only 5 AM and I still have better than 2 hours to daylight.
It's a little after 8:30 and I just spent over a half hour resurrecting what I could of 5 photos that got pooched when I shut off the
computer instead of the printer. What's left is below.
|My new method of transcribing the hull curve to the panel worked out great. I can't say as much for my 'holding the line' while
cutting the panel in the saloon. It'll do, but there are a couple of minor 'wobbles'. It is raining just now and I have wet epoxy and
fiberglass on the bottom of this panel. It limits some of the things I might be doing right now. I'll be able to do something
though, I'm sure, and with any luck this weather will pass. The map is less than promising.
I took a walk to Home Depot and got three piano hinges and 6 2 1/2 inch brass barrel bolts. The hatches under the bunk are
getting set first. I have already had enough of the doors falling down whenever I touch them.
I ran the engine for a short time, but the sun is out now and the solar is charging fine. It won't last, but neither will I - I've been
up since 3:30 Am and am already nearing a temporary lay-down.
|One piece at a time, I kept measuring, cutting and installing - between rain showers. When the last big panel went in - the
second shelf - I took a couple of shots and figured this unit is done for now. I might possibly add a couple of braces under the
shelves, and later there will be ball bearing drawer slides to hold everything, and of course, paint, but for now, it's on to other
stuff. Like, I have to get the hinges and bolts on the bunk side hatches right now.
|Those two big spaces beneath the shelves are just wide open storage. I love it.
|Thursday, November 4, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|It poured last night and the wind knocked over the last sheet of plywood outside and blew some other pieces around. I haven't
gone out to check yet because whatever is done is done and I can do what I can about it in daylight easier than at night.
I worked from 3:30 AM yesterday until about 7 PM last night and slept from 9 PM until 6 AM this morning. And my back is a
little sore. But I got a lot done and I'm looking forward to another such day today. The whole state is covered with nasty weather,
so I will probably be running the engine at some point. I need to get that last sheet in here and installed before it sees more rain.
One of the under berth hatches got done last night, but not both. I'll start there today.
|There is still a bit of minor work to do around the berth storage and I
should get that done today before taking advantage of the desk
storage to put a ton of stuff away.
10:35 AM and the under berth storage hatches are done with the rest
of the details on that panel. It is raining again and the dinghy is
filling up. More water for onboard laundry. I tried that last week and
it worked well. It did not try the wandering woman's (forget her
name) method of putting clothes, detergent and water in a black
trash bag in the cockpit and walking on it for a few days. (Pixie
Dust?) Anyway, I just did it in a five gallon bucket and it worked fine.
I'll have to bail out the dinghy and row in to check mail around
noon. Still waiting for the chart card. I'm also anxious to see what
this cold front from the North will produce. Don told me to go to
Passage Weather, which I should have on my desktop, because Espin
|has been telling me to use it for years.
Okay, now it's there. I've been confused and was going to Noonsite
instead. I just tried Passage Weather and it looks awesome. I will
pick my departure date once I have a chance to really check it out.
Holy cow, it's 5:22 PM! I have been busy and got a lot done. It
stopped raining (sort of) and I rowed in and searched for the chart
card. No hope. I sat and watched about a half hour of the golf in
Shanghai, then came back to the boat and started cutting the last
Below is the storage beneath the sink counter. As it is, I could just
heap stuff in there for the trip, and that's what might happen, but I'd
like to finish it into an 'under the sink' area, and a partitioned off dry
food storage area.
|I have the smaller storage area packed with odds and ends from
around the boat. The larger one is about half full with plenty more
space. Of course, beneath the bunk is fairly packed, but not so
much that it becomes a problem getting at tools and supplies.
The next job I tackled was boring holes and running cables and
getting the computer and peripherals stowed in their assigned
spots. Naturally, it was a pain in the ass, but it's done and running
and I'm on it now. Witness awesome desk and computer setup.
Some bad news from Espin is that his father passed away this
morning. The gentleman was in his nineties and the illness and end
came suddenly. Espin and Barbara will attend to family matters and
a funeral and we will hear from them soon.
I started an investigation at the post office for the missing chart
card, both online with email and personally over the phone.
|Friday, November 5, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I have to get the 3rd sheet of plywood. I realized it includes the long awaited bookshelves.
I went back to bed at about 3:30 and slept until almost 7 AM. It is 7:30 now and the much anticipated cold front from the North
is pushing through with some gusty winds. All the boats in the harbor have turned to face North and I'm sure the row in today
will be exhilarating. The row back will be quite fast, hopefully with a new sheet of 3/4 inch plywood. Now, getting that on board
will be another story. It's not too bad with the sheets split, but still, not easy.
|It even looks like a cold November day in New England, except that
we are in the Florida Keys. Only the companionway hatch is open
this morning. I closed the overhead hatch when I got up. It's nice
sleeping in the cold, but not so nice having a chill wind blowing
through the boat while having morning coffee.
I will have a hot breakfast this morning for (maybe) the first time.
I don't remember doing it before, but I might have 'old timers'
disease. It's hard telling, not knowing. Do people with Alzheimer's
keep forgetting they have it?
I have plenty of projects to work on here today and will get started
very soon. The more wood I get cut and installed, the less there is
hanging around. I will use up every viable scrap of this new stock
until there is nothing left but chips and sawdust to toss out. I hope.
I also have decided I need to make a special 110 volt computer
switch box to replace the old, inadequate one.
|The cold front has passed and we are now a good deal cooler than we were yesterday. The sun is shining brightly and all it really
means to me is that I will be wearing long pants, shoes and a long sleeved shirt. The wind is gusting to 20 or so and the row in
will be fun, but I only need to hook up the rudder and tiller to get back.
The larger storage area under the desk is now packed pretty good and the boat has more walking space than I ever remember. I
could get used to this. It is so big and roomy below that I now visualize a small table attached to and extending from the center of
the desk. A unit I can quickly set up and take down that will serve not only for eating in a civilized manner, but sewing with the
I am currently cleaning up inside again and preparing to add a 'leaf' to the cooktop to put the stove in a more accessible position.
I'm not sure it will work and think I might also want to install an insulated stainless shield behind the stove to protect the wall.
Maybe a plain sheet of aluminum will do, but I think something needs to be there. It's a painted bulkhead. Maybe Home Depot
has a selection of thin sheet metal panels. I just don't want to burn the boat down.
The wind is howling and I just brought the last sheet of plywood to the boat. I know I said I'd get a picture of the dinghy with the
plywood on it, but I was more concerned with getting up out of the chop and then getting the panels aboard. It actually went
without a hitch, but that didn't prevent my having a bit of anxiety over it.
I was disappointed not to find a suitable panel for the back of the stove, but instead got some aluminum flashing that will do the
job fine. I also wanted to get a 6 foot tongue and groove plank to complete the forward sole, but all they had were 8 footers and
the price was a bit too dear for my taste. I have enough 1 x 4 stock left to do the job.
The row in was desperate. For the first 20 or 30 seconds it didn't seem I was able to make any headway at all, but once I just
started digging in and rowing hard I made steady progress toward the dock. There was no slowing down or resting and I finally
got there and tied up, breathing moderately heavily.
After I have some rest and something to eat, I'll start cutting up the wood and get it below. The chart chip showed up - must have
been shipped by burro - took 11 days from when he mailed it. I should go plug it in right now and make sure it's good. Wait here .
. . . . . . . . . waiting . . . . . . . . . waiting . . . . . . okay, I'm back. It works perfectly, and seems a little faster than Espin's because
Espin's has a lot more area covered and has to move more charts around when I just go exploring. It's just fine.
|Saturday, November 6, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I made good headway on the last of the big storage areas last night and will continue with it this morning.
It's cold here this morning. 61 degrees. The wind is down from the 20's to the mid teens. I will fix the water tank this morning
and then begin my trips to get diesel and water and refill the leaking tank. I should also do the oil change on the engine. It's
running right now and I intend to allow it to run for at least an hour.
I slept well in the cold - after I added a second blanket - and awoke at 6:30 this morning. I started the engine at 6:43 and it's 7:12
now. There will come a time when I figure out how to close in that engine room so running the engine doesn't make my ears
ring. I know I'll figure it out once I can set my mind to the task.
Espin and I spoke briefly last evening and it looks like neither of us will make the Thanksgiving gathering at Cayo Costa. I still
have to do a trip around the boat with a scraper and see how much hooey I can get off the waterline and the rudder. It grows fast
here and the water is getting cold. I really don't want to jump in if I can help it. Once I get all my spending done, I'll see if I can
afford to have Jason do a quick rudder & prop scrape for a nominal fee.
|It's 9:25 and the water tank is fixed (I hope - won't know until I fill it
again) and the storage in the head is done - for now. I have to clean up
the boat and make the first of 2 runs today. I'll get 5 gallons of diesel
and 10 gallons of water each time. One more day like that will end
They got the barge off the bulkhead this morning and are presently
moving the other barge out of the harbor.
The storage locker to the right is the one in the head. I don't know
when I'll do the hatches for it, but for right now I can stow a lot of
stuff in there and keep moving ahead. I've got to get the bookshelves
done before I leave, just because. Well, okay, because they are coming
out of the last 2 foot by 8 foot panel of 3/4 inch plywood that I do not
want to be climbing around down below during the trip. I can store
smaller pieces, but the big sheet is a pain to get below and a bigger
pain to store.
|The leaking tank started leaking worse than before I fixed it. I forgot I had a full water jug in the cockpit and when I emptied it
into the 'repaired' tank, the bilge pump started cycling. This time, instead of struggling to install a new 'O' ring with the tank in
place, I tore the tank out and took a good look at the bladder itself. I found a half inch slit right at the edge and when I stuck my
finger in it, it opened to an inch. The plastic bladder material felt stiff and brittle in just that one spot. I am not thinking of
replacing it but instead, removing the two way valve and plumbing for it altogether. I don't need it and will be happier not having
to go through that installation process again. Three water tanks is plenty.
It's 2:35 PM and I've made three trips for fuel. The wind has been up all day and the row in is hard. I'm played. My shoulders and
arms are warning me not to try another trip. Tomorrow will do for the last 5 gallons of diesel. I've changed the oil filter on the
engine and have been letting the oil gradually drain out for hours now. I didn't dare heat up the oil because I'm draining it into a
plastic cat litter jug and didn't want hot oil to melt the thing and dump the oil into the bilge. My high-volume bilge pump system
would then instantly ruin my reputation forever in Boot Key Harbor. I moved the jug down into the bilge so the drain hose has
more of a drop, hoping that will speed it up. It's not a big deal if it doesn't. I can wait.
I just checked and lowering the jug has helped - it's draining much faster. I'm going to eat something and relax for a while.
The engine oil is done. I ran it to fill the filter, then just added another quart. It can take a little more, but I'll run it some first.
This little engine takes about 2 gallons of oil. I have 7 quarts in it now and it reads a quart below 'full'. That's probably why they
last so long.
I ended up not feeling so good this afternoon and stay resting for about 3 hours. I don't know why. It felt like I ate something
bad, but I know I didn't. I have another day or so of wood work to do, then I'll get back to the electrics and be ready to leave on
the 10th at noon - ish. I'm going to dip the tanks before getting the last jug of fuel. I might not need it.
|Sunday, November 7, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|This mornings temps are in the 50's and I started the engine at 4 AM when I got up. In addition to charging the battery, it has
warmed up the interior of the boat. I also heated water for coffee and am having my first warm cup of coffee in about a year. It's
I'm going to have to buckle down and get the last of the wood installed today. I'll get the last of the fuel and add the injector
cleaner to the tanks and make a run to Daffy Doug's for bleach and beef stew. They have some excellent beef stew there for $1 a
can. I open it and eat it cold and it's just fine. I'll also dispose of the old engine oil and filter. I have $6 left on my laundry card, so
I might as well use it. All this sudden storage is freaking me out. I just thought of where to put all my power tools and had to
jump right up and do it. I'm psyched! After years of stepping over tools, that problem is solved. It will take a while to sort
everything out and know where it all is, but that's not a problem. I can live with that for a while.
8:30 AM. The head sole is done - for now. I will make a hatch later so I can complete the shower sump work. The entire boat is
cleaned and vacuumed - amazing - I can jog. Temps are still below 60 and wind is gusting over 20. It's very comfortable in the
boat. The insulation I installed is now showing it's worth. Too bad I can't stay here, but I have stuff to do and might as well get to
|The trash got tossed, the oil put in the waste oil container, the
last jug of diesel got bought and put in the boat, the fuel additive
was added to each tank, the cockpit was cleared of all jugs, 2
wheelers, sail covers, sun shades and miscellaneous crap, and
the trip to Daffy Doug's is done. It's 1:30 and a beautiful
I have conceded that my phone bill will once again be paid on the
first of next month instead of the 12th of this month. The
decision comes with contracting Jason to scrape the whole
bottom again. I offered $40 and he accepted. Can't beat that. I
just want to have some idea how the boat sails. Nothing slows a
boat down more than a ton of growth on the bottom. Except a
dead body and a lobster pot - that really slows a sailboat down,
This picture is of a section of the boat most people have never
seen. Even me. I usually have a pile of stuff stacked up against
|the hull on the outboard side of the bunk. Now, I am building the bookshelf, and the small storage compartments beneath, into
the side of the boat. Every tiny measurement is a nightmare to get. Thank God for Bondo. Okay, I won't use Bondo, but all these
curves are hard. I have to keep going now or lose momentum, and daylight.
|The two shelves are in. They were very different as far
as difficulty, the bottom being easy and the top
becoming quite a pain, but they are in. Tomorrow the
bottom needs to be epoxied and glassed in so the
small partitions that can be installed. This will all
need to be glassed to the hull and secured, then
primed and painted. There will also be vertical pieces
on the top shelf to separate things and provide
purchase for the small devices - like rails -
that keep books from flying around when you heel.
The bottom compartments will be for socks and
under- - -, no, I meant guns, bear traps and porn.
Yeah, that's the ticket. Man stuff. Sailor hats and an
I have to take a walk to Publix tomorrow to buy the
last food item - olive oil. I can't do that awful butter
substitute crap any more.
|Monday, November 8, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|It's warmer this morning at 65 degrees - well, it's still only 5 AM, so the temps will drop a bit more. I boiled water for coffee -
yesterday I just warmed it a little - and there was so much steam coming off the cup in the cold I was afraid to sip it until the
engine warmed the boat up some.
Jason will scrape the bottom on Wednesday morning and I'll have to get the cash out of the bank this morning. I also need olive
oil, batteries for the camera, staples, screws for the compartment hinges, and pills for the headache I have right now. I had the
sneezing fits yesterday and this morning, so there's something in the air.
I'll get the bottom shelf epoxied and glassed before leaving. I hope this is my last trip up the street, though I still have laundry to
do today. I suppose I should bring that right in and get it washed and into the dryer before heading out. That will save some time.
|This was last nights sunset. The camera shut off when I took
it and I couldn't even get it to turn on again. It's a nice shot.
I've done the epoxy and glass work on the lower shelf and
gone ashore. The headache continued getting worse while I
did the wash and put the clothes in the dryer. By the time I got
to Home Depot I was wobbling as I walked - one of those
'seeing double' headaches. I stopped at the bank and got the
bottom scraping cash, then went into Publix and got EVOO
and mayo for the tuna. They were out of the pills I wanted -
the ones that worked - and I had to settle for some regular
Tylenol. I don't like it - it's not good for me - but the headache
by now was awful. I swallowed a couple of the pills and
walked back to the marina.
The clothes were done so I gathered them up and headed for
the dinghy, where I met Russell and Lynne Frazer, friends of
Espin. We chatted for a while - very nice people - and
exchanged cards. They are headed north to the Thanksgiving
|gathering and say Espin is also going to try to make it. I will stick to my other plans and just head for a dock at the Seafood Shack.
|Iknow I said I would try to stick strictly to the 'building' of Falcon in this Logs section, and I am trying, really. But during these
long, often boring, stretches of work, work, work, the idea of taking her out for a cruise feels pretty exciting, and I hate to omit
them from the Logs. All the dock parties and daily foolish drama need not be included, but these short cruises seem to fit.
After not showing it's face all day, the sun threatened to peek out from behind the clouds at sunset. In the first picture, it's not
showing yet, but while Chris and June were at the boat chatting, it finally did show and I caught it.
I have the engine running right now and it sounds great. Between the oil change and the fuel additive, something has made a
difference. I feel much better now than I did just an hour ago. It's just before 6 PM and I'm starting to feel right for the first time
today. I will watch a little TV and keep jumping up to do things for the rest of the evening, trying not to turn in until after 10. I
need to alter my schedule just a little. I'm thinking about making the run from Little Shark River to Fort Myers Beach in one
shot. It's just about exactly 100 miles and the wind should be almost perfect. If conditions allow, a fast run would be 14 hours. If
the wind is too far forward and I have to try to point, it could take as long as 20 hours.
|Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|The engine is running great. A day without sun (yesterday) ruled I had to run it this morning so I could get started. I have already
decided on a couple of jobs today. One is to quickly clear the top of the reefer so I can get to work in that area. Another is to lay
out and cut a bunch of pieces of the 3/4" plywood I will need for the bedside bookshelf and compartments. The smaller pieces
will be easier to stow for the trip. There is the connection of the anchor windlass and a quick test, and the hot and ground busses
to be made and installed in the electrical panel. I would like to get the hinge installed in the reefer top and the 3 units for the
reefer cooling stowed inside the reefer. After that, there will be the connection of critical circuits to their corresponding switches
and the testing of these items.
Nothing in that list should take very long, but we'll see how the day goes. I need to check the weather sites. The very first item on
the 'Not Chiseled In Stone' list is a weather forecast.
By looking at Passage Weather and doing a step by step, if I wait to head to Little Shark River on the morning of the 11th, I'll be
bashing into 15 to 20 knot winds and 3 foot waves more than halfway to shelter. I think I want to talk to Jason about maybe
doing my bottom today so I can get out of here early tomorrow and get the Little Shark River in daylight.
The call to Jason has been made, but all I could do is leave a message. I'll have to wait and see what happens.
It is exactly noon and I have already had a very busy morning. Jason called back and said he'd be over, he was, scraped the
bottom and he's paid and gone. June and Chris came over and we talked for a while and I showed them all through the boat, even
using the website to illuminate a few points - like why my depth sounder wasn't working.
|The first thing I went for was the anchor windlass power, but the
first thing I noticed was that I had an engine fuel leak. It took a few
minutes to locate the leak - one of the little, low pressure return
lines between the injectors - and I clipped it a bit shorter and fixed
the problem. I will keep an eye on it. I have some brand new hose
packed away somewhere in the boat, and if I have to, I'll dig it out.
With that fixed I moved right for the anchor windlass and made
fairly short work of that, except that the cord on my drill was shot
and I had to replace it first. When I tried the first test, nothing
happened. I had to clean the contacts of the phone plug I use to
connect the remote to the system, then it worked perfectly.
|When the boat was in a perfect mess, I suddenly
remembered that Chris and June said yesterday that they
would be stopping by today. I quickly made 2 tuna
|sandwiches and wolfed them down as I cleaned and picked up the whole boat. Just as I finished, they arrived.
As soon as Jason showed up, they left and a half hour later Jason left and I got back to work. The next thing I did was to clean off
the reefer and sort some hardware to attach the lid.
Then I took 2 pictures and sat down here, so there's nothing left to say - except that June and Chris showed me a route under the
Seven Mile Bridge and almost straight North that they take with their 42 foot Pearson. I think they draw 6 feet, so I should be
fine drawing only 5. I will look at it again and make a decision when I leave in the morning.
It's 3:30 PM and things are going okay. I went in and turned in my laundry key and checked out and talked with Richard a bit. I
wanted to be sure that straight shot North was the right move. He agreed with June and Chris that it was, so that will be my path.
It cuts 5 miles off the trip. I will leave here around 6 AM tomorrow and hope to be in the anchorage at Little Shark River no later
than 5 PM tomorrow night. I won't have phone or Internet access and I might stay there an extra day or so, But I'll update the log
as soon as I get back from the edge. If everything goes well, I may leave out of Little Shark River a couple of hours before
daylight on the 11th and make a curved course to Fort Myers in one shot. If the weather is good and the boat is sailing well, it will
be a great day. And, like I said, worse case scenario, I pull close into the beach somewhere and anchor for the night.
Little Shark River to the anchorage outside of Matansas Pass is just about exactly 100 miles. If the moon is out and I can see well
enough to get out of Little Shark River - or, maybe I should anchor outside? - I can get a good early start and see if I can cover
100 miles in a day.
|Okay. I have the running lights wired, the anchor light, the autopilot (which is being bad - as in 'broken' - long story), the water
pump, the depth sounder - and that's about it. I had one bad bulb, starboard running light, but by a miracle had a spare, and the
wire going into the back of the Autohelm display is broken. I can get it to work, but will have to take it apart and fix it as possible.
|Heading for the Great White North today. I hope the trees in Bradenton don't look like this.
The lack of wind last night concerned me only because I had not thought that was in the forecast. Having planned a trip on the
weather and specifically, on a particular weather window, I got up early and checked Passage Weather. Sure enough, the wind
and wave conditions have changed just enough to make me reconsider a single shot from Little Shark River to Fort Myers. I can
still do a lot of sailing, but there's no reason to get out into the higher winds and bigger waves on a first trip. It's much easier to
deal with a problem in more sheltered waters and a first sailing trip is a perfect time for problems. I have another diesel leak on
the engine. Fixing the first just moved the leak over to the next weakest link. I'll deal with that a little later. It's just 4 AM right
There is no moon and will not be a moon during the first of this trip. It's just a sliver of a fingernail clipping and is of no use for
It is 6 PM and I am in the anchorage at Little Shark River. I will be staying here tomorrow to sort out some minor problems. #1) -
Water still pours into the cockpit, though not as bad, but I have to plug the drains. #2) - the autopilot head/display cable (at
least) is pooched and I have to solder a substitute onto the circuit board. #3) - The anchor windlass had a minor problem, but I
was unable to cure it on the way in here and had to deploy the Delta anchor by hand.
There's probably some other stuff, but I'm wore to a nub and need to get some rest. I just took 33 pictures of a fabulous
anchorage and sunset - to be posted in the morning. It doesn't matter anyway - no phone service here.
|Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - Moored In Marathon, Florida Keys
|I tried a number of different camera settings during the sunset and got these very different looks. You would expect to have some
nice shots out of 33, and there are a lot of them, but these are the most varied.I also took a couple of shots of the only other boat
in the anchorage - a nice looking classic ketch that I will post tomorrow just to see if anyone knows what it is. They were
unpleasant people because they beat me here and then hid below. The boat looks like it's being delivered - nothing on board but a
|today however, I'm about wore down to a nub and I need food.
I'll have to go back to the bank tomorrow and get another $20, and while I'm at it, about another $50 in food. I called Napa and
the oil and filter for the engine will run $41 and I only have $40 left after giving Matt $20. I will also have to start getting some