05/17/2013, Marathon Florida
Getting a chance to see the Southern Cross (Crux) is usually impossible in the Northern Hemisphere but if you happen to be south of 25 deg N and looking to the South, in May, and just after sunset, it is possible to spot it right down at the horizon. Marathon is at 24.7 deg N.
With the help of an i-phone Star Map app, we we able to find it. Due to light pollution, even here in the Keys, it isn't as bright as you might wish but an new observation for us. Apparently we are easily entertained.
By the way, the picture is professional not ours.
05/14/2013, Marathon Fl
I suppose everyone who owns a sailboat probably takes this same picture at some time.
Our opportunity came when replacing the Tricolor navigation light / Anchor light combination. Two trips up the mast and it's all in and working.
04/21/2013, Marathon Fl.
That's windlass day not a misspelled windless day.
A windlass is the fancy nautical name for the winch that hauls endless feet of anchor chain out and back into the boat. Gotta love nautical terms!
The adapter wheel that allows the winch to grip and pull the chain is called a "Gypsy" .... go figure that one.
In routine checks of equipment, the windlass (Lofrans, Tigress) turned about 1/4 turn and stopped dead. Not good!
Ok, so probably corroded wires or a bad controller, right? All Internet chatter indicated the controllers fail much more frequently than the windlass itself. After searching, I found the control module which was mounted in the chain locker most likely by an Orangutan or at least by someone whose arms were a least a foot longer than mine.
Anyway after lots of stretching and wedging head and shoulders into a very small space, the controller checked out, it was functioning perfectly.
The next step was to check out the winch motor itself. Turns out there are two types of winch motors on these things, two wire in which the polarity of the DC circuit is simply reversed and 3 wire in which there are actually two coils in the motor. So, armed with all my new found information I start to disassemble the windlass up on the fore-deck. Snag number two, the cover can't be removed without dismounting the windlass from the deck because its proximity to the cutter rig stay. Situation normal, remove the windlass from the deck mount.
Long story short, the brush holders for the for brushes that ride on the commutator in the winch motor were very sticky and hanging up instead of riding on the commutator as they should. Removed, cleaned and a cleaned up commutator and the windlass is again running reliably.
This is a very good thing as the price of a new windlass is a staggering number of boat bucks.
This week's problem --- solved. :)
04/11/2013, Marathon Fl
We got caught is a real rookie mistake today.
It was sunny; Wind 10 kts from the East and not a cloud in the sky.
We had left the boat for a short shore-time break AND we left all the hatches open on Ishmael.
About 15 minutes into our walk we saw the black cloud of a squall approaching from the east over the Atlantic. We made a dash for the boat but it was much too late. Kathy, Kooper and I got absolutely soaked. Not much of a problem for me, the rain is warm and in a strange way I kinda like it. I am not sure Kathy and Kooper agree with my philosophy concerning rain.
But as Captain Ron would say "They come on ya fast and they leave ya fast!"
Back at the boat, the hatches facing the wind were making their best imitations of funnels, directing the maximum amount of water into the salon and forward cabin on Ishmael.
There was lots of wet items greeting us when we got back on board but luckily , the various electronics were all OK... Lucky for us. It could have been much worse. The sun was back out in 15 minutes and everything was dried out on deck in a couple of hours.
I am sure we will be much more diligent about closing hatches... at least that is until the next time we fall for the allure of many sunny days with no rain... HA HA