12/November/2008, Brunswick Landing Marina
Yesterday we did not seem to manage to get much accomplished. I spent more time in the morning searching for solar panels and contacted a couple of places for quotes. I did learn that the largest panels I can get are 130 watts or I would need a "special" charge controller. By special I mean over $500 dollars! In talking with some fellow Canadians from Muskoka Moon, they recommended a place in Miami and it turns out they have been the cheapest place we have found. We did go shopping in the afternoon for assorted stuff and I picked up my new chartplotter at West Marine. We also fixed our sliding companionway door. It is a bi-folding plexi-glass door and the part where it slides in the track was worn out and missing. We bought a 40 cent piece of hose at the hardware store and cut it into the right size and it is working great. I wish all of our repairs were that easy.
We also have the welder guy coming over this morning to help design an arch to mount the solar panels and radar dome. Tomorrow, Lester is going to come over and will guide me through the installation of the chartplotter, radar dome, new batteries and wifi antenna.
We washed the one side of the boat yesterday and will do the other side once the boat is turned. The wind was blowing like stink all day yesterday and is still blowing hard. Hopefully it dies down soon and we can turn the boat around. We may even try putting our new name on the boat. There is supposed to be a ceremony when you change the name of boat, but we are not sure what it is. If anybody know what it is, let us know.
11/November/2008, Brunswick Landing Marina
Well, yesterday was a big day for us. Dave came over at around 9:00 and it was a perfect day to get the sails on. The Head Sail went on real easy and in no time, we had it hoisted up and had it furled. The main sail took a little longer as it is much larger and we had to put battens in the sail once we had it on. Our main sail has 2 reefs in it and we spent some time trying to figure out how to set up the reefing lines, but were unsuccessful - needs to go on our To-Do list and get that figured out. When the wind starts blowing hard, you can reduce you sail size by putting a reef in the sail, so its very important that we get this figured out.
After lunch it was now time to actually take the boat out. Leaving the dock was very easy as the boat was pointing out, so I just had to drive forward and there were no obstacles in my way. We headed down the east river and followed it out all the way to the ocean - about 5 or 6 miles. We motored all the way there and then turned around and put out the Head Sail and sailed back. The wind was light and with only the one sail up we didn't get going too fast. I think our top speed was about 5 knots. But it was a very enjoyable day. The weather was beautiful. We passed lots of boat that were shrimping and saw numerous dolphins. We did have one small issue. When it came time to roll up the sails , I tried to start the engines, but got nothing except a clicking noise. After a bit of scrambling around and jiggling the battery connections, we got the engines running again and headed back to the dock. We were hoping to come back to the slip we had been using on dock 1, but the dockmaster directed us to the last slip on dock 3. This was my first time docking the boat, so everyone was a little nervous. Because the boat has 2 engines, steering is very different than the boat we were used to in Vancouver. But with the 2 engines, you actually have more control, once you get the hang of it. Bringing the boat in, I did not steer with the wheel, but just used the 2 engines to maneuver. I was lucky and got it right the first time and pulled into the slip without a problem. It was a great day and was real nice to take the boat out. But we did add some new items to the To-Do list, which always seems to be growing. There is a couple of new pictures put up in the photo gallery.
Clean boat . . .
10/November/2008, Brunswick Landing Marina
Yesterday we finished washing down the topsides on the boat. It was a LOT of scrubbing, but it kind of reminded me of curling. We also got one of the bilges cleaned out and it is also a major improvement. We also purchased the new chartplotter and radar dome at West Marine. OUCH - I hope the CDN dollar recovers some before it goes through on the credit card! Hopefully today, we can get the sails put on. We have asked Dave to come over today and hopefully the wind cooperates, so we can get the sails on and then head out and try them out!
It has been three weeks now living on the boat and the time has gone by very quickly. We are getting comfortable and the more time we spend on the boat, the more we like her. The experience will be very different once we start traveling and we are starting to plan where exactly we will go. Because we have been spending more time here in Brunswick, we will try to get to the Bahamas as quickly as possible once we start moving. It all will depend on the weather, but I would like to go on the "outside" and sail as far south as possible in one shot. Then wait for a good weather window to cross the Gulf Stream.
Measure twice, cut once. . .
08/November/2008, Brunswick Landing Marina
Yesterday, we put the aft cabin back together. We had to cut and glue the headliner to the new panels and then get them screwed up onto the walls. It was a beautiful day with very little wind, which brought the no-see-ums out in clouds. Everything seemed to be going along very well until we took the panels inside to install them on the wall. The first panel looked great, but as soon as I took the second panel into the cabin, I immediately could see that I had put the headliner on the wrong side of the panel and it was just not going to work. CRAP! We took the panel back out and quickly ripped the headliner off before the glue dried even more and raced back to the upholster to get some more headliner and some more glue. We finally got everything done and mounted back in the room and it is starting to look like a cabin again. We picked up a piece of foam that will go down for a sleeping on and we will call it done.
We could not find Dave to help us put the sails up and he is busy until Monday, so that will wait until then. Today we are going to order the electronics and start cleaning the bilges. Out boat name arrived, so we will put our name and hailing port on the boat and put up our Canadian flag. I also need to start getting some spare impellers and oil filters for the motor, before we take off.
07/November/2008, Brunswick Landing Marina
Our trip to St Augustine was a success. We took some items from the boat that we were not going to use and they were taking up a huge amount of space and went to Sailors Exchange to see what we could get for it. They offered us $400 cash or $500 store credit. We went for the store credit and we picked up $175 worth of assorted stuff and will make another trip back once we get our other projects underway and have a better idea of what we need. We rented a cargo van to load everything in and we also dropped off the car we had rented at the Jacksonville Airport. We will rent another car here in Brunswick until we have our project completed.
Today we are hoping to get our sails put up and the finish off the aft cabin. It is a beautiful morning here and the weather forecast looks good for the next couple of days. Our bilges are disgusting and we also need to get cleaning them up. I need to also get a handle on the bilge pumps and make sure they are in top operating order and the automatic floats are working. To proceed on installing the solar panels and the radar dome, I need to figure out how we are going to mount them. We have a large Bimini where we could mount the solar panels, but our boom for the main sail is fairly close to the Bimini and I am afraid of having the boom smash into them sometime. The other option is to have a bracket made that attaches to the back of the boat over top of the dingy davits and I would also get a pole incorporated where I would mount the radar dome. I think I will go see the welder who made our fuel tank and see what he can do for us.