|April 8, 2012 - May 10, 2012
|Sunday, April 8, 2012 - Shipping Cove - Dog Island, Florida
Tired from little sleep the night before last, I was late waking and didn't stir until about 7:15 AM. First order of business was to
raise and set all four sails, make a cup of coffee, retrieve the anchor bridle and fire up the engine. With the engine warming, I
stashed stuff away down below and got ready for the days run. I raised the anchor and motored out of the Cove and through East
Pass, heading straight for Tarpon Springs, 136 nautical miles and 156 statute miles away.
There was a small breeze and I tried to point into it to mitigate the rolling from the 3 and 4 foot waves coming right in my face. It
meant steering a course of 180 degrees, or - straight for the Dry Tortugas, instead of Tarpon Springs, and after ten miles or so of
that, all I could see was the waves getting bigger. I tacked back in the other direction and had to go a full 100 degrees to get any
pressure on the sails and hold the boat down. It also meant I was running back towards the Gulfside Beach on Dog Island and
almost 90 degrees away from a course to Tarpon Springs.
Within a couple of miles I was able to point up another ten degrees and have some comfort. Ten miles farther on, I turned and
headed parallel to the Gulfside Beach of Dog Island at 80 degrees East, a track even farther away from Tarpon Springs than I had
been heading. After a mile or so, I was able to point up another ten degrees and I held that course for ten miles, then turned to a
track almost parallel to my old course when I'd come from the Anclote Anchorage to East Pass last November. I angled slightly
toward the Florida Mainland to avoid the bigger seas and higher winds predicted for the early morning hours of Monday, the 9th.
|Two shots of the sun coming up on Sunday morning. I just discovered the rest of the pictures I took on Sunday were all videos.
Those will be made available on this site when I figure out how to do it.
The day wore on and not much of anything happened. I did see a brilliant green turtle, and I don't mean he was very smart, I
mean the color was bright, almost lime, green. There were several quick sightings of dolphins. The water is amazingly clear, so I
could see them darting around underwater as well as when they broke the surface.
The wind was light and variable in direction and I wasted a certain amount of time trying to make the best of it. Still, there was
not much else to do and I have to say I LOVE that factor. I do have to improve my seating in the cockpit or find a better cushion
for my sore butt.
Two special highlights of the day were the dolphins. First, there were a couple of periods when they were swimming and
cavorting in front of the boat, under the bow. These were smaller dolphins I took to be like teenagers or something - too old to be
still with their parents and too young to have pups of their own.
After dark, I tried out the 1,000,000 candlepower spotlight, first off into the distance, then down into the water. The spot was not
in the water for three seconds before a larger dolphin than the previous two suddenly darted into the light and swam there. I did
it two more times and the dolphin did the same thing. I don't know why. Each time, I shut off the light within 4 or 5 seconds,
having no idea if the powerful spotlight could be stressing the dolphin or was capable of harming its eyes. Something told me it
was not a good idea and I passed on the opportunity to get a film or picture of the event.
Shortly after the spotlight dolphin event, I noticed the stars were coming out bright. Really bright. I could see many, many more
stars than usual and ALL the features in Orion's sword, as well as the 14 main stars in the Pleiades. Acturus was like a spotlight
in the sky and Mars was clearly visible and red. It was a good evening for stargazing.
I tried lying down at about 10 PM and kept coming out on deck every 20 or 30 minutes. The moon had come out big and bright
and blotted out most of the stars, but lit up the Gulf like a ballpark parking lot.
Sometime during this period, the breeze clocked aroud to directly aft and clicked up to about ten knots. I doused the inner jib and
trimmed the main to half starboard, the foresail to 3/4 port, and the jib to 3/4 starboard. Falcon held all three sails full and
pulling and began to trot straight downwind at about 7 knots. I swear to God, I did not know she had it in her. No weather helm,
no Dutch roll, just easy, graceful sliding down the ways. I went below and tried to get some rest.
|Monday, April 9, 2012 - At Sea - Gulf of Mexico
I did get some rest and continued popping out on deck and doing a complete walk-around, searching the horizon for any sign of
anything. I never saw another vessel or light or anything other than an airliner high above on a flight from Miami to Dallas/Ft.
Worth or something.
I rested below and continued my half-hour laps around the deck, but did notice the wind picking up and clocking North. A little
past the 3 AM, the wind piped up and a bigger swell had grown from the aft port quarter, lifting and accelerating Falcon, then
dropping her into a trough. It wasn't uncomfortable, a gentle swell, perhaps 5 to 6 feet, long and easy, and I continued my 15
minute 'rests', lying in the dark below and listening and feeling the boat. By 3:25, the foresail was making a funny noise and I
went outside, well rested, and ready to stay at the helm for the night.
The wind was up to about 20 to 25 knots and trying to accordion the Port-tied foresail into the mast. I quickly switched it to the
Starboard side and Falcon took a Starboard heel and was running like I'd never seen her before. Even with all the pressure on the
sails, there remained another foot of freeboard to leeward and she was solid and secure. I watched the GPS speed numbers: 6.8K,
7K, 7.4K 7.4K, 7.5K, 7.9K, 8.1K, 8.2K, then a drop to 6.6K, 5.5K, and again a rapid acceleration as the swell behind lifted Falcon
and she began to surf on the face of the wave, 6.2K, 7.1K, 7.4K, 7.5K, 8.0K, 8.1K - over and over as I experienced my first
'Nantucket Sleigh Ride' aboard Falcon. I eased all the sheets just a bit and she stood a little more upright, but maintained the
solid composure and cycle of speeding up and slowing as the meter-high swells rolled under her. I saw the 8.2 knot speeds a few
times, but felt the average speed was around 7.3 to 7.4 knots. The highest speeds lasted much longer than the brief, but
consistent drops to 5.5 knots.
The great ride went on for hours, steady, comfortable, and some of the best fun I've ever had on the boat, slowly diminishing in
speed a little after a solid 1 1/2 to 2 hours of flat out full tilt boogie, but didn't drop below 7 knots until the sky was lightening
with the coming dawn and I was closing in on Tarpon Springs. The sun was bright over the morning haze when the wind died to
the point I began dousing and securing the sails.
|The final run into the anchorage at Tarpon Springs seemed to take forever. In the first place, I was tired and hungry and wanted
to really relax for a while, and in the second place, the trip up to East Pass was started at exactly the spot I was making for and I
measured from that spot to the entrance line across East Pass. It took 27 hours. When passing the same line on the way back, I
(inadvertently) got a video shot of the GPS and noticed the time as 7:59 AM. Twenty seven hours would make it 11 AM at Tarpon
Springs. I dropped the anchor at 10:30, or 26 and a half hours.
Since I had to take a 2 hour, 10 mile jog Eastward just out of East Pass, and I'd had some good wind to help out for the first half
of the previous trip, I had no real hope of matching the first time and had settled on 30 hours as a good run. The Nantucket
Sleigh Ride changed everything. All it took was one good period of high speed to capture back the 2 hours.
|There is more to the bird in the shot to the left than meets the
eye. This critter showed up just as I was adjusting the sails to
deal with the winds and seas at 3:30 in the morning. He tried
desperately to get a perch on part of the peak halyard bridle
atop the foresail gaff and had to repeatedly cling to the wire
rope with his beak while flapping his wings and clutching the
lower line with his feet.
He looked frazzled and exhausted and lost and I did not feel
good about his chances to survive the night.
You can imagine my surprise when, as the sun began to rise, I
saw him still perched in the same location, calmly looking
around. He gradually went from the top of the rig to the deck
and walked around a little, unimpressed with my presence.
Some time later, when we were close to shore, there was little
to no wind, and the sun was shining bright, he flew off without
so much as a 'G'day', or 'Thanks for the lift.' No tip, either.
|Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - Anclote Anchorage - Tarpon Springs, Florida
It was my intention to go from here to John's Pass and spend the night there, then proceed to the Seafood Shack on Wednesday.
When speaking with Richard on the phone last evening, he thought I would be making the trip in one day, so I've decided to do
so. If I eliminate the time to go into and out of John's Pass, the trip should only take about ten hours, tops.
|The closer I get to Cortez, the more familiar the area and the easier the navigation. I still use the depth sounder and GPS, to be
sure, but having been through these channels before I am less apprehensive. There are still little areas requiring strict attention,
like the bulkhead channel into the approach to the Anne Maria Bridge.
I got through the Anna Maria Bridge at 4:30 PM and just had another 30 or 40 minutes or something until I was anchored a little
more than a quarter mile north of the Seafood Shack Marina. There are now three boats anchored out here: Myself, John
Crissmore, who has been here for years, and a new guy in another sailboat. I haven't met him yet or have any idea who he is.
|Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I have spent the day visiting with people, talking and working on uploading videos and updating these Logs. RJ came over first
and we spent the time in my cockpit this time. A first, I think. I went upstairs and saw Suzzane and we sat and talked for a while.
Scott joined us and after a while we had to leave to let her get back to her work.
I visited Richard and Angie, but they are still not feeling well. Brian came over and visited for a long time. Bob came over and
visited and we talked for a while in the dark.
The days are becoming more hectic just now as I catch up with everyone. Ken and Sandy called and will be coming over
tomorrow and I will be going out with Richard and Angie tomorrow to do a little shopping. I have to get new gear oil for the Ideal
Windlass. The gearbox has again been infiltrated by water. It's to be expected as there is no seal below the capstan and gypsy and
regular use ejects the grease I use in that area to block water intrusion.
I've done some cleaning up and cooking and am getting back into a more relaxed mode aboard the boat.
|A couple of the requisite sunset shots from Cortez. Everyone keeps asking how long I'll be staying here and the truth is, I don't
know. After about two or two and a half years now, I am ready to make this big move and get these 12 size 13 AGM deep cycle 2
volt batteries. I just don't yet know how long it will take. I've been offered some work, which I must take if I'm to help this
project along, but I don't know how much work or what I'll get from it. I also have to curb my spending if I'm to get this done at
all. The batteries I have installed now are the cheap 8D starting batteries I bought in Marathon about 18 months ago. They are
only 2 year batteries and anyone who thinks they might last longer could very much be wrong. I am approaching a critical battery
point and have to get over this hump.
The windlass work will be nothing, but I'm still not sure about the reefer. I need to borrow Scott's equipment and he needs to get
it from Gainesville.
|Thursday, April 12, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|In the afternoon, Richard brought me down to Walmart where I
got a few things I need. The gear oil for the windlass, some
allergy pills, a quart of black paint to mix with my rigging tar, a
much better spatula, tongs to pull stuff out of hot oil, a new can
opener (my old one is in such bad shape I have to make sure it's
hidden if anyone comes over), and a shallow drawer organizer
to drain my transmission into so no oil gets into the bilge.
There is very limited space under the transmission and the last
time I changed the oil I lost some into the bilge. It took half a
bottle of dishwashing detergent to clean up the mess.
|Thursday, April 13, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
Yay! I'm caught up and finally writing on the same day I'm
living. I've started by draining the oil from the windlass gearbox.
It doesn't look too bad. In fact, I'm thinking I could heat it up a
little on the stove, or let it sit out in the sun today, and whatever
water remains in it will be driven out. It doesn't matter because
|Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I've started some work on the boat. I filled the windlass gearcase with diesel and operated it back and forth a few times - with the
chain removed from the gypsy so there was zero load - and went below where I use the long water trap to flush the gearcase
repeatedly. I hold the bottom as high as possible and open the valve, letting the fuel in the tube rush up into the case. Close the
valve and lower it and the fuel rushes back into it. The gearcase will be pretty clean when I let the fuel drain out and then I'll
refill it with fresh gear oil.
I've also discovered two tiny leaks in the injection return lines going from injector to injector.
|I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do to remedy the situation, but the first thing I'll do is to pinch off the fuel line and make
sure no diesel gets into the bilge again. I hate that whole 'sheen on the water' thing. I might remove the lines, add a tiny touch of
'Form-A Gasket', and seize a little dental floss around the tubing to act as a clamp. The one on top of the injection pump will be
easy - the ones on the injectors, not so much, but with needle nose pliers and hemostats, I might be able to do the job properly.
Now everything must be perfect because we finally know Falcon sails like a champion. A big, fat, slow champion, but still like a
solid, very comfortable and seaworthy champion, and that's the thing. All thoughts of my possibly selling her have winnowed
away to fading memories.
And I have been thinking those things. I could do other things. A Motorhome, a Cabin somewhere, a faster and newer sloop. I
have always kept all options open, but with an unfinished boat, selling is not a real option. It has to be complete, all functional,
and have a full suit of specially made sails and sail covers. And I'm beginning to think a roller furling on the big jib would be
sweet. Maybe even a smaller version for the inner jib.
Okay, I just looked up the correct terms for the two jibs on Falcon. I thought I was calling the Inner Jib by the wrong name, but
it's the right name. The big jib, however, is called either the Outer Jib or the Flying Jib. I will probably go with 'Outer'.
The diesel is drained from the windlass and I'll be filling it with gear oil sometime soon. I also added the quart of Rust-oleum oil
base black enamel to the rigging tar and mixed it up. I'll mix it more and be sure to shake it up pretty good whenever I use it. I
will be doing the rigging with it soon. I will also have to release each deadeye, one at a time and re-serve the wire eye holding it,
then tar both the upper eye and the lower deadeye grommet. The original serving I used on the rigging eyes was not up to the
task and rotted away due to ultraviolet from the sun. This is one of those fun jobs to be done in peaceful anchorages - or here -
The windlass is complete and closed up. Got to be more careful. On to the diesel leaks on the engine. I want to cure the diesel
leaks on the engine and change the transmission fluid again. I have to remember to check the engine oil. It may be using some (I
wouldn't blame it: all the times its been overheated) and I just want to stay in the habit of topping it up. Some time down the
road I may do a complete overhaul on the engine. For all I know, it had 150,000 miles or more on it when I got it. A complete
rebuild kit is under $800. Add to that a remanufactured head and a professional valve adjustment (it requires access to a huge
assortment of special shims) and the engine can be as good as new for about $1500. For now, it's running fine, and the oil loss
may be no more than a leaking seal.
|Monday, April 16, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|I added almost 3 quarts of oil to the engine, meaning that it used - let me count - 58 hours of running, so about 1 quart for every
20 hours of running. If the engine was in a car averaging 45 mph, that would be a quart every 900 miles. Not awful, but not good.
I will next get a while pillowcase (or so) and stretch it under the engine to see if it's leaking or going out the exhaust.
Above left, the diesel fuel leaks are cured and passed the run test. I tied one leak and replaced the hose on the second. After
replacing the hose, I noticed the inside of the connection area on the old hose had a nasty scar, probably due to clumsy or hasty
Above right is something I haven't mentioned here. The cable for the autopilot control has extra length to make it easier to use in
the cockpit. I am never comfortable feeding the cable back in through the penetration because the alternator is too close to 'right
below' and I fear the cable getting caught up in the running alternator and toasting the autopilot. I kept thinking about making a
net bag to capture the cable as I fed it inside, then found the perfect item holding my golf balls in the club bag. It works for me,
no doubt. I also have another 10 feet of cable to add so I can get all the way forward with the control head now.
The transmission seems to be overfilled with ATF. The book calls for 1 quart and that is what I installed, but the dipstick reads
overfull - I think. Back to the manual for more research.
|Friday, April 20, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I went through the old charts I'd saved for selecting two with which to paper the salon and chart tables. Some were too dirty and
others were too spare of features. After selecting the charts, I cut them to size and picked the items I'd sprinkle over them and set
them up for a look-see. Below.
|Yes. The pictures are big, but smaller photos lost a lot in the details. I wonder who can tell me where the two charts are
|Saturday, April 21, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
My first chore this morning was the scrubbing and bleaching of the Saloon Tabletop in an effort to begin leeching out the diesel
fuel spilled during the Great Injection Debacle. I may have to do it several times, but I want to be sure the epoxy I use has the
best chance possible of bonding well past the disintegration of the Sun. After that I won't care.
|The wood is still damp, so it might lighten more as it dries, but
it looks like a lot of the oil is gone. I will sand and scrub it again
and if it calls for it, turn it over and use the other surface,
painting this side the light 'Sand' color I use on the walls in
here. It's so easy to clean.
I need to fill the water tanks today. I find I'm fairly wasteful
with water when tied to a dock and I should be working to
change my habits as far as water use. I do want to come up with
a solution to the bowl base valve on the head, as it is
responsible for most of the waste. It doesn't shut tightly and I
tend to use extra water to aid in flushing. I'll come up with a
new design I can hand make and install it to fix that problem.
Yeah, we'll see how that works out, too.
Angie guessed both charts. The Saloon Table is Boston Harbor
and the Chart Table is Newport, Rhode Island, Buzzards Bay,
Martha's Vineyard, Woods Hole, etc. She wins the prize and I
|will be shipping it as soon as I can get the feisty little bastard in this glass jar with the holes in the lid. It'll make a wonderful pet
and answers to, 'you little shit'.
|The picture to the right shows the crack I hamfisted into the lens when I tried to close the hatch one day without getting in the
right position, holding both handles at once. The crack dripped, and dripped, and dripped, all day. I had the pressure cooker on
the floor like a hobo in a cardboard box. I either have to buy a new piece of tinted Plexiglas or fix that crack in some ugly, cobby,
mess which will only work if it's as horrible as a goiter.
I think I've just talked myself into a new piece of Plexiglas. I've just ordered Tenara (Goretex) thread and the needles to use it
($153) for the sewing jobs I have coming up. Almost as soon as I got some money back towards the batteries, I'm spending it on
other things. Of course, the sewing stuff will pay back in premiums for jobs on the horizon. Besides, having the Tenara will be
important for my own projects outside on Falcon. I suppose I might as well consider buying the Plexi, but not before trying to
fend off the need with a little metal tape. I want to be able to order the first six batteries by the end of this month.
|Sunday, April 22, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I've ordered the 3/8" tinted Plexi for the hatch.
|Monday, April 23, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I've been going in and out of the boat all day - restless - anxious for the wind to lay down so I can get things going and move on. I
sent an Email to DC battery for a quote on the 2 volt AGM units yesterday but have not heard back yet.
|Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|Here is a shot of the injector line provided by Volkswagen for
the return line. It's the only line I've ever seen with a braided
cloth outer cover. My only issue with it is that it should work
properly and not leak.
I'm waiting for one more item before I get involved with the
engine stuff. Engine stuff is not a big deal since the Great
Injection Pump Episode of '12. All I have to do now is install the
new fuel lines for the injector returns (easy), change the
transmission oil again (easy), and change the engine oil filter
(easy). Like I said before, I'll be looking for engine oil leaks to
fix and won't be able to speculate about further engine
maintenance until I know more. Leaks are easy to cure: burning
oil is a little more difficult, but not a real problem. I've done
complete rebuilds on lots of all different kinds of engines and
this one is an easy motor to rebuild. I've already done the most
difficult part: the injection pump. The fact that the motor is
small makes a rebuild on board easy.
|Ever since I put this engine together for the boat I've wanted to replace the tangle of coolant hoses with soldered copper pipe and
short connector hoses, to make the package more compact and better looking. One of these days I'll do exactly that, but not yet. It
depends on what the leak investigation turns up and whether or not a full rebuild is in the making. If it is, I'll do it in Green Cove
Springs when I haul for bottom work. By then I'll have everything I could need.
I just dipped the tanks and have just about exactly half the fuel left, or 55 gallons. 58 hours under way and 55 gallons settles out
to 0.95 gallons per hour. The trip covered 335 miles and I only got 6 miles per gallon. Disappointing. I remember doing much
better on other trips, though the numbers do sound much like the trip up to Panama City. I'll have to do more checking and see
what I can do. I have a feeling the growth on the bottom of the boat and the fuel leaks and (maybe) advancing the fuel injection
may have all conspired to burn fuel. I very definitely got 0.66 gallons per hour on the trips down to Marathon and back up to
Cortez. Of course, the bottom was pristine on both those trips. And Falcon is loaded much heavier now. And, of course, I did have
a 'spot of trouble' on this last trip.
|Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|For the first time I made up the bed with new linen I've been saving for years. These are sheets, real sheets and pillowcases. I will
be keeping the bunk clear of all other stuff from now on, as it is about time to begin sewing. I'll need to do some adhesive work
on the blocks of foam making up the mattress, then make a strong mattress cover, then cut and fit the bottom sheets to make the
bunk easy to make up. It's probably about time to invest in better pillows than the cheap throw-aways I tend to buy, but that can
wait until after I have the batteries installed.
I ordered the small box of chip brushes I'll need to tar the rigging - $17+ for 36 of them - and went to RJ to borrow some old drop
cloths to protect the deck while I attend to the tedious job. He gave me back 2 huge blue tarps I bought for the ground (EPA
requirement for doing bottom work on boats up on land) but discovered I didn't need to use them at the Rivertown yard. I may
modify them so they fit snuggly around the masts and protect the entire deck.
|Thursday, April 26, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
The new fuel lines are all put on thew engine and a quick test run showed no leaks. I'll do the transmission thing next, and see
what's left on the list.
Transmission oil is changed. It only requires 1 pint and not the 1 quart the manual specifies. There is a marked dipstick and the
manual says not to fill past the mark. It also says the gearbox holds 1 quart of oil. I installed a quart of the ATF at Apalachicola,
only to find the level way above the mark on the dipstick.
Today I very carefully added the ATF a little at a time until it just reached the mark on the dipstick. One pint, exactly.
The next thing I did was to change out the oil filter I installed in Marathon before leaving to return here. I never liked that filter.
The guys at Marathon Auto parts, or Napa or whoever they were, said the best filter they had in stock was their own generic
brand, so I went for it. As soon as I saw it I knew I'd made a mistake in listening to them, but the Fram PH3569 was not to be had
on the island, so I used it. I now have 2 Fram units and just put one on. The last thing I have to do today on the engine is to go
around checking all nuts and bolts and making sure they are all snug.
It's 1 PM and the belts are tightened on the engine, all the fasteners have been checked and twice the engine has been washed
down with a solution of dish soap, Greased Lightning and water. Before I completely close the engine room again, I think I'll
remove the two destroyed cockpit speakers and install the new ones I got from George Carter at the same time I bought the
stainless vent scoops.
The bad speakers are pulled and it's time to go onto the next job. Next job is to pull the sails and get then folded or ready to be
I pulled the sails off and got them folded and stowed. Scott helped with the folding, speeding the job up immeasurably. I stuck
the new speakers in the holes where the old ones were, just to check for a fit. They fit perfectly, but I won't install the screws
until after I've attached the wires to the speakers.
|The sails are neatly folded and stowed on the aft deck. I guess I should find a better way and place to store them when not in use,
but for now, that will do just fine. The speakers will work excellent in the cockpit and I'll have to come up with a couple of little
'extras' out there: a volume control or an 'on-off' switch for the amplifier. I'll do it for sure, because I don't want to be listening to
something cranked all the way up and suddenly have a radio page to answer.
My little net bag for the autopilot cable didn't work the second time I tried it. I have to improve the item in a foolproof way or
redesign it entirely.
The new Plexiglas for the hatch came in, as did the Tenara thread, needles and leach line from Sailrite. I also got the vacuum
pump from Scott and have the reefer under vacuum as we speak. I'll let it go as long as possible. The longer it pumps, the more
water it boils out of the compressor oil.
Below are the new supplies from Estreet Plastics and Sailrite. On the right is the vacuum pump, hooked up and working. I think
we got it going at about 3 PM, so I think a minimum of 6 hours is called for. I'd like it to run all night if possible, but if it gets hot,
I'll have to stop it right away and allow it to cool off. Still, it might be possible to start it up again an hour later and open the valve
to the reefer and continue on.
|Below are a couple of shots to once again show how badly the boat suffers when good progress is made. At least I'm getting used
to where everything goes, how to find it and how to repack it.
|I bought three quarts yesterday and intend to use the new stuff anyway.
|Friday, April 27, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
The vacuum pump ran for 5 hours yesterday before starting to make a very slight 'funny noise' Scott said would indicate it was
beginning to overheat. I closed the valves to the reefer system and shut down the pump, paying close attention to where the
gauges were. When I got up at 7:30 this morning, I checked the gauges and they hadn't moved, telling me two things: first, there
are definitely no leaks in the system and: second, there is probably no water left to boil out. Any remaining water should have
boiled in the high vacuum the system held overnight (11 1/2 hours) causing the pressure to rise some. Water into vapor = higher
I started the pump at 7:30 AM and will let it run for a while again before charging the system once more and giving it another
shot at life. I have higher confidence this time because I am more familiar with the tools and the system and know for a fact -
now - there is no leak in the reefer system. I also now feel any residual water in the compressor oil is definitely gone, and the
system should work properly from now on.
I've started charging the system. Now it has to run for a while to see how it does. A little at a time the reefer system seems to be
settling down and acting like a reefer again instead of heavily insulated dry storage.
|Saturday, April 28, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
It's another beautiful morning and the reefer seems to be working just fine. I removed all the dry food stored inside to other
locations because the cycles of starting and stopped the compressor (I turned it on for 4 days to see if it was going to run again,
which it did, then shut it down to empty and evacuate it) made some condensation run down and moistened the bottom of the
new bags of Hush Puppy mix, corn flour and self rising flour. A tiny bit of mold showed on the bottom of the bags and I quickly
removed all the dry ingredients to gallon sized Ziplock storage bags.
The time has come to get to work on these other projects - the money jobs and the little finishing jobs on Falcon. I have been
here for three weeks and already look forward to moving on. I do believe I'm going to really enjoy this cruising lifestyle, and I
want to be 50 miles up the St John's River for hurricane season.
|Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|The salvage of the material goes on as I ironed and rolled up the sheets and scraps. I still have one of the two 2 foot by 4 foot by
1/2 inch sheets of cabinet plywood I got to make the clothing locker now on the desk. I thought I would need two but only used
one. I do have plans to use the second for another locker far forward on the sink shelf, but for now it serves well as an ironing
|The plywood panel requires just one small clamp to secure to the table and it works perfectly. It'll almost be a shame to cut it up
for the second locker, but if I kept it for an ironing board, or replaced it later, I'm sure I'd never use it again. I'm just not an 'iron
the shirts' kind'a guy. I have to iron the salvaged fabric to make it easier to mark and cut properly.
I'll list the present projects I have, sewing-wise. 1. The big round pillow. 2. Randy's console cover. 3. The mattress cover. 4. Covers
for the propane tanks. 5. Extensions for the outer aft corners of the intermediate sun shade. 6. Foresail cover. 7. Mainsail cover.
8. Desk chair upholstery.
There will come a time later on when I'll get serious about designing and building both a Dodger and side and back clear panels
to enclose the cockpit below the solar panels. I do intend to go North and I have no love of huddling shivering against a cold wind
in an unsheltered cockpit. I did that on the last leg of my trip to Panama City, and that was in Florida. Unless you've been there,
you can have little idea just how cold and raw a perfectly sunny day in June can be off the coast of New England.
|Thursday, May 3, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
The weather is perfect already this morning. Bright, sunny and barefoot/T-shirt ready. Between last night and this morning I've
finally finished ripping the seams and pulling the itsy bitsy tiny thread fragments from the last pieces of cloth. They need to be
ironed and trimmed (these ones have a lot of basting tape on them) before I start cutting them up and sewing them into a
mattress cover, but at least there is forward movement. I'll do the ironing before pulling out the sewing machine and starting on
the sewing projects.
|Because there is always something going on elsewhere on the boat while certain projects are underway in their space, I am
always thinking of something while engaged in the grueling tedium of plucking flea-sized bits of rotten thread from marginal
material. Todays thoughts centered around fitting the new 7 foot oars to the oarlocks and into the dinghy.
It is my belief when you fit longer oars (by 18 inches) to a small boat, you may want to bring some of that extra length inboard to
improve your leverage. Too much inboard means, like in my friend Marty Halpern's case, the oars handles want to occupy the
same space at the same time, meaning he has to raise one and lower the other to complete the stroke. I don't like that. It seems
poorly thought out. He has 8 foot oars and a 10 foot boat at least a foot wider than mine. It seems the overlap inboard is the
result of too much oar or too little rower strength. Either way, it's wrong.
Meanwhile, back at the West Marine Store, new oarlocks would be $30.00 and the protective sleeves (with a terrible -1 of 5 stars-
rating) at $16.00 ($48.97 with tax) seemed to price me out of the easy way to mount the oars.
In the two pictures above you see the leather my friend Steve gave me some 20 years ago, which I have held onto like grim death
ever since. I did give out some pieces to friends to use as chafing gear here and there, but kept the best skins for myself. Other
than a codpiece and a breech clout, I've never used any of it.
The second shot is of the old oars and the new ones. The old oars have a 7 1/4 inch gap between the handles as they pass inboard,
meaning I can extend the new oars 3 1/2 inches each into the boat. It's true the oars were perfectly level when I measured the
gap, and that position is not right for either the drawing stroke or return stroke, but even the occasional interference is annoying,
so my limit is 3 1/2 inches.
I'll wrap some of the leather around the shafts of the oars with the center at 23 1/2 inches from the end of the handle and make it
thick enough to just allow the new bronze pinned oarlock I bought in Marathon's West Marine to fit. Use will compact the
leather over time. I won't 'pin' the oarlocks, but instead will use many passes of spider wire fishing line, lashed into an
over-the-oar bridle to hold the oar into the oarlock. At each end of the leather collar I'll wrap enough 1/2 inch wide leather
strapping to make a 3/8 inch collar to prevent the oars slipping out of position. Then I'll find a way to prevent their being stolen
when unattended at the dinghy dock.
|Above left is the pile of rolls of ironed and ready salvaged fabric. Now, the sewing begins. I just put the Sailrite on the ironing
board and started doing my regular sewing ritual: Open everything up and lube it all, try to start sewing scraps to get going and
fail miserably, finally figure out what I'm doing wrong, then take a break to de-stress. It's all very simple, and predictable.
Having had plenty of time to think about the bolster job while wearing my fingers to the bone plucking at threads, I started right
off as if I knew what I was doing. First thing you know, the pillow is done excellently. Really. Best job I ever did. Anyone would
think I'm not a sewing moron. I backstitched to start every seam, put in back collars on the line pockets, and used some of the
brand new leech line I just got from Sailrite, and remembered to heat-seal the ends of the line.
|Friday, May 4, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
This should be another productive day, though the sky is overcast and no sun has shown through at all. The reefer is getting
colder and colder, but still hasn't managed to freeze up the freezer pops. The bananas are damned cold though, and I can throw
any of the apples right through a windshield.
|I'd never given much thought to the specifics of the propane tank covers. I had to start from scratch with a look at the situation
and how to re-route the hose from the solenoid to the regulator. I'll be picking up 2 quarter inch brass street elbows to change
the direction the hose leaves the solenoid by 180 degrees. I want to be able to just slip the covers on and off easily and allow the
hose to just slip under the bottom from deck level. There will also be a small hood over the solenoid and a tube to protect the
exposed hose. I'm not entirely comfortable with propane just yet and feel everything I can do to protect the components will be
worth the effort.
To further protect everything from heat and chafe, I decided to make the covers with two layers of heavy material with a 1/4 inch
think layer of stiff flotation foam between. The foam panels can be seen of the top of the pile of striped Sunbrella and extra heavy
nylon canvas. I cut the panel in half and sewed each half-panel into its own pocket.
|The foam is stiff enough to make the cover look square if it's standing alone, but soft enough to easily slip over the tank. The
next step will be a one inch double layer of the heavy nylon screening in the second picture. It will provide a ventilation gap at
the top of the sides for heat to escape. The top will also have the two layers of cloth and the foam insulation. The cover over the
solenoid will be built the same but without the screening. I want to keep rain off the solenoid in addition to protecting it from
heat and ultraviolet.
Richard came and called me out just as the sun was setting and I got a few pictures. I do love the warm weather and the fabulous
evenings down here. Getting over this gigantic purchase of the batteries will be a HUGE step toward freedom from the dock. The
boat will continue to need work here and there as I upgrade systems and fixtures I scrimped on when doing them, always know I
would have to go back someday and do the job right, but these are minor jobs and fall more into maintenance and improvements
than building. Much like a brand new set of professionally built sails will be some day.
|Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I'm continuing with the propane tank covers and will try to finish them up today. Another little issue I still have to work out is
how to secure the tanks in place without making it as ugly as the system I use now: lashing them to the gallows frame with scrap
|The two ten pound
aluminum tanks are pretty
valuable and shouldn't be
lashed to the stainless steel
gallows. They are less noble
and will eventually begin to
pit. These padded covers fit
too snugly to come off unless
the tanks are moved out
from under the gallows
arches, but go on easily. I
managed to finish the hose
cover and made a small,
padded cover for the
solenoid, so the propane
project is also over.
I got a ride with Scott to
Public and West Marine and
stopped into Ace Hardware to
pick up 2 quarter inch brass
street elbows to accomplish
the 180 degree change in
direction for the hose out of
|the solenoid. It's kind of small but you can see it in the picture below left.
|I still have them tied in place with scrap cord, but I'm seriously thinking about a couple of straps or something. It's just so hard
to beat the cost and effectiveness of those sweet cords. See you tomorrow.
|Sunday, May 6, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I just took a little time away from the Log to check out and buy some binding in the same color as the new fabric. I also set up
the machine with the Tenara thread. It's very slippery stuff and may require some trial and error to get the tensions right.
I have just discovered a minor problem with the small, insulated cover over the propane solenoid. It allows the solenoid to
overheat and pop the circuit breaker. I'll replace it with an Item made of the heavy nylon screening which will afford a degree of
shade yet full ventilation. It freaked me out for a minute when I first thought, "Wow, that second tank didn't last long!" And
then, after putting the full tank in it's place, "Holy Crap! I just refilled this tank! How can it be empty?!" That's when I suspected
the solenoid and pulled off the new cover and found the solenoid too hot to touch. It cooled right off though and works fine -
after resetting the circuit breaker. I wonder if I should just open the top of the little cover I made and add a screen roof, so to
speak? I'll consider that.
|Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
|It's built as an accessory to the existing thread stand to minimize the job and the storage problems. Using the ring at the top will
prevent thread from coming unlooped from the hook, which it does on occasion, and it's very easy to lower the rack to make the
stand more stable, should that be required.
|Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Cortez, Florida
I have more work lined up and will be getting back to it with a bit more enthusiasm, now with the Tenara spooler done. I found
the speaker wire for the cockpit speakers and pulled out the screws to both mount the speakers and the - now narrowed - scuff
plate for the bottom of the main boom.
|Some of these little jobs take longer than they should because I
have several working at once and only do them in stages
consistent with my mood. There are times I just stop because
the next item I need (the special wiring for the speakers) is
somewhere on the boat and I don't have a clue where and am
not in the mood to do the search. At another time - this
morning - I just wondered where the wire was and searched
until I found it.
The final wiring for the cockpit speakers will be led through a
switch already installed in the control panel. The final
configuration will allow me to channel either computer, the
AM/FM/MP3 automotive radio, or the TV through the boats
speakers in either cockpit, cabin, or both. It might seem like a
bit much, but now that I've been out cruising and doing solo
all-nighters, I'm really looking forward to having it all set up
and easy to use. A little at a time, it all gets done.
|The cockpit cushions are in rough shape and I've wondered for a while how I might be able to rectify the situation. The Tenara
video from the Sailrite website told me what to do. First, I'll completely re-sew the cushion covers with Tenara, then wash them
in a washing machine with bleach - maybe more than once. Last, waterproofing. The video said both Sunbrella Fabric and Tenara
thread are impervious to bleach. Unfortunately, the Dacron/Polyester thread more commonly used is not and bleach does a
worse job on it than sunlight.
|Beneath the cockpit seats dwells about a bucketful of scrap Starboard, metal stock, hardwood and unused flexible water pipe.
After this present episode of boat chores and finishing, all that cannot fit into a single pants pocket will be disposed of. I'm just
that sick of it.
|The small, black pad in the picture with the speakers will soon
be attached to the bottom of the boom where it rubs on the
gallows. That section of the boom has been reinforced with 2
aluminum plates 1/4 inch thick by 4 inches by 3 feet long. The
boom is 18 feet long and not of large dimension, so I figured it
needed to be stronger where the mainsheet loading would be.
The aluminum was specially prepared and epoxied to the boom
with only three through-bolts, epoxy filler in the gaps, then
several layers of fiberglass cloth.
If you look closely in the picture, the paint has already been
rubbed from the bottom of the boom, exposing the epoxied
fiberglass. That'll never do. Epoxy doesn't do well against
ultraviolet, so it has to be protected. The 1/4 inch nylon
three-strand serving on the gallows gets hard with age and
sunlight so the Starboard pad will slide over it nicely. There will
be four screws holding the plate on and no adhesive, making it
easy to replace if it wears out.