Bookmark and Share
Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Nice, steady winds, would have been great for sailing
05/26/2012, Writing this from the Apple store waiting for our appointment to get the os updated on the ipad

I'm sorry to report that we had a problem using the gin pole mast raising and lowering system yesterday and wound up bending some parts enough so that this weekend's sailing trip had to be canceled. On the bright side, nobody got hurt and we should be able to repair the damage and have Boker Tov ready for the next trip scheduled not too far off.

The Wing Gets Named
Keith, hot but nice
05/24/2012, In-Laws Driveway

The refit is coming together. Late this afternoon after our day jobs we wired-up and secured the second battery. It appears to be working in series with the existing battery as well as in isolation. All the lights on the sailboat are working as they should and she is ready for night time cruising and adventuring. Afterwards we put on the new lettering. Boker Tov means Good Morning in Hebrew. The name is symbolic in a few ways. Celia's Maternal Grandparents on her Grandmother's side had a motorboat by the same name on Lake George in upstate New York. Now, another generation is keeping up the tradition, but in a different place and in a different way. For me personally, the name represents the next chapter in my cruising life. Back to the sailboat tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. to finalize a few things, then the mast is coming down and Boker Tov will be readied for her next fitting-out trip, a two nighter, scheduled to depart early Saturday morning. Stay tuned.

Waking up early to work on the sailboat before it gets too hot
Cool in the early morning, then getting hot. Very hot.
05/20/2012, Tucson


Refit Update
Cool and comfortable until 8:00 a.m., then hot
05/19/2012, Tucson

The wheels of sailboat refitting can turn ever so slowly, but things are happening in preparation for the next sailing trip. Here a list of things have gotten done since our return from vacation last week:

1. A replacement fuse housing was found, fit perfectly into the existing hole, and the running lights are back on. No wiring necessary.

2. The cigarette lighter is working with a little disassembling and we now have power for the plug-in chargers and the small inverter that can run a computer. The Taylor Made old school cigarette lighter has this little incandescent light in it that burned out. We are going to try and find a replacement to bring it back to fully functioning original. It will give a cool, low voltage, light effect to the control panel.

3. The old burners and associated metal piping in the Hillerange stove were removed. Self-contained Triangia burners were ordered, bench tested, and placed into the existing gimbled stove frame. The upgraded stove was re-installed in the sailboat. Coleman stove and propane canisters removed.

4. New shrouds have been ordered to replace the ones with the 1/4 in turnbuckles, one of which had a bent t-bolt. The other bent t-bolt is on order. Catalina Direct said that the 1/4 in turnbuckles are for the Catalina 22 and are not rated for Catalina 25 rigging and pretty much demanded that I refit back to stock rigging. The middle shrouds are still 1/2 inch, which is beefier than stock, but that was considered ok.

5. Collapsible bucket is on the boat.

6. Mosquito netting for pop-top is on the boat.

7. Solar shower is on the boat.

8. Dinghy is on order. I went with a Saturn 10 foot inflatable with air floor since the foredeck was ultimately too small for even the smallest inflatable. It will have to be towed.

9. New battery is on the boat, though not yet installed.

10. New lifeline covers are on order.

11. Hull and deck cleaner are on order.

12. Cleaned out unneeded items from inside. This boat is small enough so that any unnecessary physical items must be removed to give the three of us enough space.

13. New lettering is on order.

14. New whale pump handle is done and stored in the main cockpit locker.

15. New wire for solar system install is purchased and run from the back side of the control panel to the forepeak. It was a tight squeeze through the bulkheads but not anything as hard as the solar wire install on Tropical Dreamer during the summer of 2008 in Oriental.

The photograph shows the new Triangula stoves ($16 each) sitting in the spaces where the old Hillarange burners used to be. I also replaced the french press coffee maker from the Rebounder that Jodi bought us years ago on an adventure to Sanoita with a Mocha Pot in honor of our recent trip to Europe.

Vespa Excursion in Rome
Keith, warm

Just returned from a two week family vacation to Europe with Sarah and Celia. This photo was towards the end of the trip. Sarah and Celia went to browse the boutiques and I rented this scooter and went exploring. It was quite scary at first as the traffic is fierce and apparently chaotic in Rome, but when I realized that motorcycles are expected to weave in and out of traffic, especially at intersections, it became a lot more enjoyable. I didn't want it to end. The weather was fantastic and the wind felt wonderful as I sped through the busy streets, often getting lost and then driving by ancient sites that I never would have found purposely.

Back to Boat Work
Keith, Hot
04/22/2012, In-Law's Side Driveway

This is a fuse for the running lights on our 1987 Catalina 25 electrical panel. We were told the back of the electrical panel was damaged when we stowed a bumper in the cockpit locker improperly, but I think it was this. That broken plastic part must keep it from popping out until the fuse blows. I hope they still sell these at Catalina Direct. We were scheduled to work on the sailboat yesterday morning from 9 until noon but wound up going until almost 3 in the afternoon, including lunch. Refitting a sailboat is very time-consuming. Every little thing seems to take an excruciatingly long time. By the time we were through for the day it was approaching 100 degrees outside and I was exhausted. Of course, this is nothing like the scope of the refit on Tropical Dreamer and we aren't in Oriental in June when it is as humid as it is hot. That makes this boat work look tame. Nevertheless, I felt gratified at our progress. I learn things about the sailboat when I work on it. For example, yesterday was a good lesson in turnbuckles. We removed the bent T-bolts from two of the three port shrouds and measured them. One is 5/8 inch wide and 3.5 inches long and the other is 1/4 inch wide and 3 inches long. Catalina Direct says all of the side stay T-bolts should be 5/16 inch, so our rigging must not be original. Each of our side shrouds is a different diameter. The center side stays on our Catalina 25 use 1/2 inch bolts and correspondingly larger turnbuckles. Between the three turnbuckles, it kind of averages out to 5/16, so I suppose its ok. I'm going to try to find replacements for those two bent T-bolts and if I can find them, and if they work in the existing turnbuckles, the rigging should be in good order. We also removed the Hillerange alcohol stove and prepared it for modification to Triangia self contained alcohol burners. We removed the old little solar panel from the deck, mocked-up the new, larger panel, cut an opening in the control panel for the charge controller, and figured out that the existing 22 gauge wire has to be re-wired with thicker wire like 12 or 14 gauge. In the process we removed the old car stereo and speakers and a number of other unnecessary electrical fixtures and associated wire. We purchased stainless steel hardware for the new solar installation at Lowes. We verified the size of the existing battery and from that we know that we can get a nearly identical second battery at Costco. I tried the cigarette lighter and found that it does not work so I will have to replace or repair the existing one or hard wire a small inverter to the battery or other power supply. I identified that the space for the dinghy on the foredeck is so small that it may be hard to find one that will fit in that space. There may be no choice but to tow the dingy, but this compromises the sailing capabilities and is really not adequate for crossings and deteriorating weather. I measured the lifelines at the cockpit for covers. Picked up a bearing buddy grease gun for the for trailer wheels. Long time readers of the Sailblog will recall a minor emergency which resulted when the trailer wheel fell off and nearly toppled Singmeaway off its trailer after the bearings overheated on the way back from San Carlos. Sarah asked if the boat will be finished by the time of our Memorial Day trip. I wasn't entirely sure. It is safe right now for any sort of Arizona lake trip, but I'd like to have all of the in-progress improvements completed before summer cruising in the ocean.

Standing Rigging Improvement
04/11/2012, In-Laws

Went over to pick up the baby yesterday afternoon after work and took this picture. After we put up the mast I discovered that two of the T bolts attaching the shrouds to the deck were slightly bent, one more than the other. There are three mast stays on each side of the sailboat and each has a different sized T bolt. The largest is in the center, the forward stay is the next most thick, and aft shroud the least so. I've got to find two T bolts and be somewhat confident they will fit before we take down the mast, though I think I can replace one at a time without risk. I'm hoping Catalina direct sells the bolts that fit the existing turnbuckles. I inspected every part of the standing rigging when I prepared the mast for raising and while we were raising it. It appears, to my untrained eye, to be in good condition. Aside from a large cotter pin missing at one of the spreaders the hardware appears intact and without significant wear, other than the two
T bolts that need replacing. I did notice some slight pitting in the aluminum mast and mast head, but those parts are pretty beefy and did not appear to be compromised. I'm comfortable subjecting this rig to coastal cruising conditions. I have learned recently from Furled Sailing Podcast of the inherent weakness in the modern sloop rig, which is the myriad of small parts that make the sailing rig vulnerable to failure in more ways than is necessary on a small sailboat. But they are fun and easy to sail and point reasonably well.

Keith, warming
04/09/2012, My in-laws driveway

This photo shows the block and tactical gear, or at least the forward-most part of it, that allowed two people to get the mast up yesterday afternoon while the sailboat was atop its trailer at my in-laws home. I wasn't really prepared to do a mast-up trial run, but in preparation for installing the new solar system, we wanted to clear the decks and leave ourselves more open access to the cabin. The Catalina 25 standard rig mast is really too heavy for two men older than 40 to lift without risk of injury. Our Wing came with a gin pole and block & tackle set up that allows the mast to be raised with relative ease. I believe it is possible for me to get the mast up or down completely by myself, if necessary. It was slow going at first and we kind of had to figure things out as we went along, but once we re-routed the line through the second pulley (rather than bypassing it and going straight through the cam cleat, as shown in the photograph) and astern to the big #16 self-tailing winch (the same winch I used to free the anchor from the tree at the bottom of the lake in the earlier post), we had more than enough power to raise the mast safely and without further trouble or hesitation. I think the entire mast raising or lowering can be done in less an hour, possibly as little as a half an hour.

I also tried unsuccessfully to start the Hillerange alcohol stove. Now I understand why this venerable item is called the curtain burner. I purchase a quart of denatured alcohol at Ace Hardware for 8 bucks, filled the tank using a poorly constructed funnel made out of paper plate, then cleaned up the excess alcohol that spilled all over the place. The burnt alcohol smelled, which will be a problem for my wife. Worse, it flared up to the point that the curtains almost did catch on fire. Then I couldn't get the pressure fed alcohol pump to work, so after the initial smelly flare up it didn't stay lit. This system has to go. However, it does have some important redeeming qualities. The stainless steel housing fits perfectly into the existing space and is gimbaled to compensate for side to side roll. On a boat like the Catalina 25, those features alone make it worth saving. I'm seriously considering taking it out and using a dremel to cut all of the existing tank and burner structure out and replacing them with those little trangia brass self contained alcohol burners that can also be moved into the rear sink to take the chill off when cruising in colder months, or ondeck or onshore. In the past I've used a coleman propane two burner portable camping stove which is bulletproof, but it really can only be used on deck, it slides around and makes noise while running, and takes up more room than it should. This new little cruising boat needs a basic proper sailing cook top that will work in all cruising conditions.

I also discovered this weekend that although the boat has capacity for two basic marine deep cell batteries, only one is installed. It is a relatively new Interstate. That probably explains why the electrical system has only been sufficient to keep the lights on during overnight trips, but not to run the starter on the engine very reliably. The engine is really supposed to have its own dedicated battery. I think I can get the second battery at costco for a fraction of the cost of the one I had to replace on Tropical Dreamer, and I won't have to ferry it to the boat in the inflatable dingy. The two batteries can be used separately or in combined setting to get even more cruising range. The engine starts on the first or second pull and doesn't really need an electric starter, but it's nice to have an alternative starting capacity in the event the starter rope breaks, which has happened to me before on the other Catalina 25 at the beginning of a San Carlos cruise. Between the second battery and charging that comes from the new solar panel and the engine driven battery charger, I'm pretty confident this boat can make it for voyages of a week or two, which is long as I expect to cruise at one time in the next several years or more.

Also got into the water storage system. In my last Catalina 25 the owner removed the water tank and the tubing. He also removed the rear's sink and converted that space into a hanging locker. The Wing has the original equipment, but the tubing and fittings have been redone. There is still some water in the tank. I tried the whale hand pump faucets. The forward one works perfectly, the one at the companionway needed some tightening to prevent leaking. I think it may still be leaking a little bit. That assembly appears pretty standard and I should be able to repair or replace it without too much trouble. Famous last words. I prefer the original plumbing system. It is one of the ways they transformed a large day sailor into a cruising sailboat. Sarah and I agreed it will be useful to have fresh water for cleaning and for filling the the solar shower and porta-pottie and for other uses that require fresh, but not necessarily potable, drinking water. The under-seat stowage on the other side of the cabin can easily take another twenty gallons, balancing out the some of the weight of the batteries and filled water tank. There is additional stowage below the forepeak and elsewhere.

Ducks at Sabino Dam
Keith, Spring
04/05/2012, Lower Sabino Canyon

Lately I work out in the early mornings. It is light enough and warm enough at 6:15 a.m. these days to hike at Sabino Canyon and I've covered pretty much all the Sabino Canyon trails that I can get to in a two hour hike. This morning I took a trail that led me though the riparian area along Sabino Dam, where I found ducks. You may be able to make out the saguaros in the background. Later, when I returned home, Sarah and I ordered the new solar system for the Catalina 25 Wing. 60 watt panel and 10 amp charge controller this morning. Still have to order wire and connectors and any mounting hardware. Slowly but surely I am getting the sailboat ready for safe and comfortable cruising.

Here's a Link to a Video Of The Return Cruise On Our Last Sailing Trip
04/02/2012, Lake Pleasant


Singer Family Adventures
Port: Tucson, Arizona
View Complete Profile »

Powered by SailBlogs