11 June 2016 | Grande Harbour Marina
04 June 2016 | Little River, SC
29 April 2016 | Myrtle Beach
22 April 2016 | Grand Cay, Bahamas
19 April 2016 | Grand Cay, Bahamas
10 April 2016 | Allans-Pennsacola Cay
06 April 2016 | Manjack Cay
31 March 2016 | Great Guana Cay
30 March 2016 | Man o War Cay
27 March 2016 | Hope Town, Bahamas
22 March 2016 | Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
When in Doubt Throw it Out. Refitting Aria
25 September 2016
Aria will turn 15 years old while we're "out there." And "out there" is no place to fix a boat. Hence our refit, which means replacing all kinds of things that are working just fine now, but which are nearing the end of their lifetimes. This includes hoses, pumps, rigging, tender, windlass, chain and electronics. As we've gotten deeper into this, our philosophy has hardened to: "When it doubt, throw it out." If a hose looks sketchy, replace it. If a pump is original to the boat, replace it. If a line looks worn, buy a new one. Don't like the looks of a pin, or a hook, or a nut or a clip? Take care of it RIGHT NOW.
Honestly, I didn't set out this spring with this philosophy. I had a few items, sure, that needed replacing, but not this over-arching approach. It just happened. After all, how could I connect my new pump to a rotten old hose? How could I bring myself to install a new furler drum, only to furl on the frayed old, original line? How can I replace just one, rotten scupper hose, when there five other similar hoses of the same age running through the boat? And so on. At first, it felt like I was picking at loose threads on a sweater; should I just be leaving things as they are? It seemed an unsatisfying way to spend our limited boat bucks. But as the refit has gone on and the boat has filled up with all these shiny replacement parts, I'm loving the thrill I get when I peer into any random compartment and spy all things fresh and new, as they had once been.
We may not have all the bells and whistles that my original refit plan called for, but we have something better: A sound vessel that should carry us where ever we choose to go with a minimum of trouble.
Sailing: The Art of Going REALLY slow
26 July 2016
Sailing - The fine art of getting wet and becoming ill, while going nowhere slowly at great expense.
Aria flying the gennaker in the Abacos
Pacific Refit Goes On. And on.
11 July 2016
The standing rigging project taught me a lot about a boat I thought I knew pretty well. As I feared, the furlers were not straight-forward, and there were moments when I felt that I was in over my head. But at its heart there's really nothing magical about it; a bunch of wires holding up a big stick. The furlers are a different story. I've been using furlers since I bought my first Hobie Cat, yet until this project I don't think I fully grasped all the nuances of how they work. And how they can fail. That's partly because I've never had one fail. But that day will surely come, and when it does, I am now confident that I can fix it without pulling out the manual.
Patrick Le Goff, a former Beneteau engineer and venerable sailor who has sailed part of the route we will be taking to the Pacific Ocean, paid me a visit on Aria. We discussed the refit, whether or not Aria was a suitable boat, decisions I face about self-steering, ground tackle, self-sufficiency and so on, as well as a philosophical approach to preparing a boat for a big voyage. I came away from that meeting with a solid to-do list (as if I didn't already have one!) and now I'm working it through. Thanks Patrick!
Meanwhile the refit goes on and on. Our November departure is looming, and items are not getting checked off as fast as I would like. I have repaired our leaky dinghy and installed a new drain valve. I also plumbed our new through-hull to the electric head and washdown station. That involved creating a new seawater manifold with a pump saver filter. I'm very pleased with the outcome. How nice to not have to throw a hose over the side of the boat to use the washdown station or to throttle back on the engine in order to flush the head. Such luxury!
Standing Rigging: And Then There Were Two...
29 June 2016
I don't like heights, but I must say that I'm getting pretty comfortable aloft.
The project to replace all the standing rigging continues. Yesterday Tom Leonard helped me replace the backstays. Today was Tammy's turn at the messenger line as we replaced the two Upper Shrouds. That leaves the two forestays, and this job will be done - hopefully for another 10 years.
New Standing Rigging: 4 Wires Down; 6 To Go
25 June 2016
Today I sliced open the 94-pound box that contains my new standing rigging. And thus began my latest project: Replace all the 14-year-old standing rigging, including turnbuckles - basically everything except the chainplates and bobstay.
Working one wire at a time with Tom Leonard handling the messenger line, I got four wires in place - aft and forward lowers. Next: Upper shrouds and backstays. I'm saving the two forestays for last. I'm not sure yet what I'm getting into with Harken furlers and foil.
Day 9: Splash!
24 June 2016
In a word: Stressful. I woke up early on "splash day" imagining all the new ways water could now enter Aria - my new through hull, the re-plumbed head hoses, the repaired speed transducer, the repacked stuffing box. I had a plan for how to deal with each failure. There were tools lying by each worry spot, plus pre-sized wood plugs, blanks, two-part puddy and so on - all to handle a failure. Then came the appointed time. The lift picked her up, then set her in the water. With the straps still under the keel, I jumped aboard to inspect. Phew! All was dry. We reattached the backstays and motored home to our slip.
Glad to have this behind us: A week on the hard, and we completed our checklist. Aria has fresh bottom paint, a rebuilt rudder, compounded and waxed hull, new through-hull and many other below-the-waterline maintenance items.
Next up: new standing rigging. Wires from Seco South are sitting in a big box in the back of my car. Fun!