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Rainy Day Boat Blues
The windlass who couldn't

The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.
- John Rousmaniere

A rainy day. It feels more like spring. We have been loading and rearranging and sorting and making inventory lists until we are dizzy. However, after sorting everything again (third or fourth time in 2 years) we have successfully removed another 75 pounds that will fill the Prius with the rear seats down. Amazingly, you can see her waterlines!! It is exceedingly hard to live aboard/sail a small sailboat. Cimaise is just 33 feet long on deck, which means below -after you remove the non-living spaces like the anchor locker- you have very little room to store everything you think you may need at sea.

We have taken off the piano (YES WE HAD A PIANO on board- an electric one) which with all its stuff was 40 pounds or so. The music stuff is now limited to an electric drum pad - the size of a hubcap - and the stereo. We are sailing not jamming!!

I think the problem lies in the number of years we have been working on this dream. Twenty this!!! Anyway, while she was in pieces and under tarps we would visit boat shows and watch for Defender ( Marine Store) sales and would buy and stash all the stuff we imagined we would need to sail AROUND THE WORLD. Bits and pieces. You read an article in Cruising world about a manual Seatiger windlass ( a device to pull up your anchor and chain) and then the next week there one is, brand new, for sale and 30% off. Of course we will need a MANUAL windlass. We took the remains of the old one cimaise came with off the boat years ago. The windlass was gone but the heavy wiring going forward signaled that the previous owners had one. We read all about how problematic electric windlasses are and therefore concluded that a manual one was the answer. Golly, even I could pull up the hook, just swing this bar back and forth and inch by inch the many pounds of chain and anchor would arrive on deck.. Great Idea !! we are soooo COOL. The reality was that this large and heavy piece of equipment sat in its box in our spare room at the house while we went sailing and Steve used muscles to pull the hook. When it got stuck I would drive the boat over it and drag it free. Worked great.

So here comes the day - when we load the heavy dusty box into the car and drive it to Annapolis. We are on the hard and have just finished spray painting the deck with Alwgrip (1st time). Now we are going to mount all the cool deck hardware we have stashed, including this windlass. Haul up the 12 foot ladder -(remember we draw 7 feet) and start the layout design work. The deck will need to be strengthened and the area filled with epoxy instead of balsa plywood. Hmmm...????? Well it has to dump the chain into the chain locker which means YOU HAVE TO PUT IT HERE...hmmmm....if you put it here then there is no room to swing the long handle to work it without wacking the headsail rigging....hmmm???? *&$(#)@(%&!!! you would have to hang upside down from the bow pulpit to swing the handle...hmmm...crap!!! Take it back down the ladder and back to Virginia. This will have to wait, we gotta think about this!!

Then fast forward to 15 years later, after much thought and aging we decide that an electric windlass is better for the back and besides there is this huge sale (50%) and this one will fit with only a small amount of deck modification etc etc etc. We actually sold the Seatiger new in the box to a Canadian for what we paid for it.

The electric one was of course more work than we expected, especially running the huge wires ( car battery size) all the way forward though the cabinets. We had to reshape the anchor locker door so the windlass would sit properly and dump the chain correctly. We ended up with the motor assembly in the vee berth - hidden in my decorating - to keep the seas off it. So far it works great..knocking on wood.

So -this is just one example of our plight. STUFF. Big stuff, small stuff, tools, spares, extra water, extra food, safety gear, navigation gear on and on -all to fit aboard. The problem is which ones and how many. Trying to have just enough stuff to feel we can handle everything that could happen and still have to boat float. Then the fitting, you have to sort by what you may need NOW! And make sure that stuff is on top and not buried in the deep lockers under mattresses or other stuff. And then there is the moment when you realize you have NO MEMORY anymore so where is the &$(&(^&#%@ thing a ma gig anyway!!??? So now you take apart the entire boat and list everything on an inventory showing how many of it and WHERE the f%*#& it is.

Today we go through the tools - again - heavy stuff but all so important - Going to not take every size wrench metric and English - gotta figure out which ones we actually need for the bolts onboard. And then have a spare or two for when something falls overboard.

Ah, this must be the rainy day boat 12 bar blues... my baby don left me..da da da ..could not find my wrench..da da dada..

Smile - life is so good!!

Beaufort 2011-12
03/31/2012 | John
You know I love you guys. But maybe, just maybe you're over thinking all this. Maybe more sailing and less thinking might be in order.

Love ya,

03/31/2012 | Sheila & Chris
Hello, seems there are always boat stuff to do. We cross one item off the list and add two. The list never goes away. Hope all is well. We arrived in Puerto Rico and are in Boqueron at the present time, move further South in the next few days. All is good. Cheers for now.
Loading and cleaning
03/28/2012, it must be SPRING!

"Cruising let's you share a back porch with a billionaire. In Turkey we anchored next to a diamond merchant's 200 foot megayacht for two days. He spent 50 million dollars to visit the same destination as us. Some people buy floating condominiums and some people buy the sailing equivalent of a cargo crate, but we all meet at the same barbecue pit on the beach." unknown

Another beautiful spring day in Beaufort. The sails ( main and roller furler headsail)are on, although it is too windy to finish running the reefing lines and ties. We will have to wait for a calm.
The reef lines pull the sail down to a smaller size when sailing in higher winds and the ties - tie it down to the new size. Our main sail has three reefs so we have a choice of 100%, 1st, 2nd and 3rd reef. We usually sail with the 1st reef in winds around 15 knots, the 2nd reef for winds 15 to 25, and the 3rd is the holy sh*t setting for gales. Think of it as an ever shrinking triangle with the 3rd reef being just a hankie of a sail. The real storm main sail is another sail altogether..a"Try Sail" - - when you are really in the beginning of the nightmare stuff you take down the main, strap it to the boom and the boom to the deck ( you really do not want a 12 foot boom flaying about in a real storm) and then you raise your try-sail..the smallest and heaviest of our sail inventory. It is loose footed ( not attached to the boom). It is attached to the mast and then pulled aft and tight with a powerful block and tackle. There is a similar heavy weather sail for the fore deck when you do not want to use the furler. Sails that we NEVER want to see out of their bag!!
We are in a temporary slip - actually the biggest one here - for the real YACHT--waiting for our slip to be vacated by its current temporary resident. The new slip is actually the slip we had in November, alone- nearly on the soon to be repaired Hurricane Irene damaged docks. Only two survived on that side of the marina, ours and one more inboard. It will be nicer over there, with a better view and a little more protected from storm swells. Living in the current slip is sorta like living in Manhattan. We are surrounded by very large tall white power yachts. The kind that have 3 folks arrive and polish everything and fill the 2- 950 gallon tanks ( yep!!! WOW!! Think of that bill!! $3.75 gal) and bring the groceries for the owners who are flying in on Friday. The regular slip fee for this slip is $750 a month plus electric. Just a little outside of our budget. Steve - of Town Creek - however is a nice guy and we get to pay our regular amount ( still steep - $450) here and there.
But we have been staying free since November, so rent is fair. Another month or so we plan to be on the hook (hopefully before the Tiki Bar and bands 3 nights a week arrive in May!! 15 feet from the boat- or if the music is good???? Who knows - we just wanna have fun to paraphrase Cindi Lauper) So for now the cost makes our lives easier.. that is good..
Well..... back to work, my third day of polishing stainless. Steve is on the last of the projects. Got the new furler winch installed, now working on cleaning out the anchor locker and setting up a closed hawse hole system for off shore to keep the water out of the anchor locker when we take a wave over the bow.
Enjoy your spring.. Mitch

Beaufort 2011-12
wonderful spring day
03/22/2012, Town Center Marina

Huzzah!!! She passed with flying colors, temperature, back pressure, rpm all are A-ok. The insulation on the gooseneck exhaust needs to be a higher temp version, it was smoking..will find same today at the local commercial fishing boat marine store they gots everything.!!

Re-loading,sails on tomorrow. Happy Spring!!

Beaufort 2011-12
03/22/2012 | John
03/25/2012 | Dave
Great, now do a MOB drill.
We have an engine!!
03/20/2012, AND IT PEES !!

"There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue, there's no joy in merely doing things which any one can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you never thought you'd make" - unknown

Ms. Yanmar ran for about 20 minutes and then scarily started to overheat...Steve shut her down...He said that the coolant needed burping. He is being so good about not touching the engine and voiding the he went to get JJ. Yep that was it..a little indigestion..tap-tap on on her back and BURP! Started right back up and ran for the hour no further problems.

We spent the day starting to reload the boat from the land locker. Sailing gear first since we have a date and time for the sea trial - Thursday high tide..Bringing back the safety gear, sails, etc so we can head out to the Atlantic as needed. How exciting!!

We have a new sailboat at the dock, a fellow arrived with damage after sailing up from the Bahamas. He was headed to Cape May NJ 60 miles offshore, but hit bad weather and was taking on water. He headed in with all his pumps running and his grab bag ready to abandon ship. Kinda scary. His furler headsail broke free at mast top and his anchor got loose and was smashing holes in the boat. He was taking in water from somewhere aft too. He made it in and has been repairing stuff, will need to go on the hard to fix the bow damage. Only goes to show ya..March is still a tricky time in the North Atlantic.

From my calendar - March 12, 1888 - The Great Blizzard of 1888 struck the US east coast: at least 138 vessels were blown ashore, sunk, or damaged north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

March 18, 1781 The sloop Saratoga of the Continental Navy was lost with all hands in a gale off the Bahamas.

Back to work....what fun !!

Beaufort 2011-12
Ms Yanmar is BACK!!!!!

She is purring, warming up getting ready for the testing round. It was the STOP Switch...the mechanic reversed the plugs...stopping the fuel from getting to the injector pump..a quick change of plugs and click key and she started!!!
Water is coming from the new far so good..later for more


cimaise and crew
Back in Beaufort NC
03/19/2012, view from our stern

Well, we were here two weeks ago to splash cimaise, she floated..but the engine did not start. It was late on a Friday and the mechanics had - had a enough and after checking the systems did not find the problem. She turned over, but....

We needed to return to Virginia and so put off the yard for a couple of weeks to solve the problem.

So now we are back, hopefully for months...The new shed has been built, there is room to bring additional stuff home as we sort off the weight. We took almost everything off her for the winter on the hard, renting a local storage locker (heated).

Today, we get to clean and start reloading the boat. Tomorrow the mechanic team arrives to start her up. Tomorrow we will have good news I am sure, VAROOM..putt putt putt.

The plans for spring and early summer are to go SAILING, as much and as often as we can. Out to the ocean as the weather permits. March in the Atlantic requires a good weather window so we will be planning accordingly.
Then as hurricane season arrives we will store cimaise on the hard in a well protected yard up the Intracoastal waterway - - and then plan to drive out to the Pacific Ocean and back visiting family and friends ( warning warning!! we are coming your way!!)
Then back here in late September to renew the bottom paint and then splash in prep for TAKE TWO!~!!!!~~~~~

cimaise and crew
03/19/2012 | John
Got my fingers crossed. Hope all goes well with the engine. You both know you're always welcome here. Had a great time catching up and visiting. Don't forget to take your dead, gay robot for company. Love~John

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