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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
The Solor Panels Are Mounted
Keith, plenty of sun
06/22/2008, Deaton Yachts

I managed to pull this picture off of Matt's internet site. Those are the two kiocera 135 watt panels. Their weight is why we needed to reinforce the bimini with four stainless steel tubes and associated brackets and hardware (including having two stainless steel plates fabricated). Between the support bars and the panels themselves, the bimini is now extremely sturdy. Presently we are in the wiring phase. Unfortunately, the wire they sent with the package was completely inadequate and we are awaiting the shipment of new wire (I think I've written all of this already). We are three weeks into the refit and it is looking that a full month will be necessary to get Tropical Dreamer ready to splash. Then I can tackle the next set of challenges, whatever they may be. I've gotten used to Matt's keen ability to problem solve and will need to handle what comes on my own. His work on this refit is greatly appreciated.

Matt Holding The On-Off Switch For the Wind Turbine
06/21/2008, Aft Cabin Hanging Locker, Tropical Dreamer

Matt's following wants more picture of him. This is Matt holding one of today's wiring creations (before shrink wrapping those black pieces). From what I saw today, Matt is particularly good at the wiring part of the refit.

6 Guage Marine 12 Volt Wire With a Connector I Soldered On And Shrink Wrapped
06/21/2008, Deaton Yachts

Not bad for a rookie.

Keith Soldering An Electrical Connection
Keith, rainy and cool
06/21/2008, Deaton Yachts

Yes, that is me, soldering... and nobody got hurt. In fact, I have been improving my mechanical skills considerably over the last few weeks. I no longer have to ask Matt to reach into the tight places to screw on nuts and washers. Indeed, I have mastered the upside-down installation of nuts and washers (they used to fall into the worst crannies of the bilge every time I tried to install them). I know the names of the tools and how to work them and can often anticipate which ones we need before they are needed. Matt is yelling at me somewhat less than the first week, though I still get yelled at from time to time for some mechanical infraction. It reminds me of when I started doing law, except of course I'm not making any money doing this but rather spending it. Today, I found my niche, soldering and heat shrinking connectors onto the wires. It involves very hot fire, molten metal, and does not require crawling into the bowels of the sailboat - perfect combination. We are finally onto the electrical wiring phase of the install!

Hush Puppies Fresh Out Of the Fryer
Keith, cool evening, but not so cool that we turn off the air conditioning
06/20/2008, Oriental, NC - Village Restaurant

One of the most delicious things on earth is a Brawlies restaurant hush puppy fresh out of the fryer. A proper hush puppy is made of corn meal and tastes sweet. The fat content is just short of spooning lard out of a bucket, but the taste is country heaven. We celebrated Friday with dinner out and splurged on the $9.95 country buffet. They had a lot of the good stuff: meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, three kinds of beans, cole slaw and potatoe salad, macaroni and cheese, and desserts of cherry cobler (they ran out of this before we could try it) and pudding with vanilla wafers. There may have been more country treats, I can't remember it all. It was odd that the place was slow on a Friday night. Everyone who is anyone in these parts must be at the Deaton affair.

Little Lake Near Town Dock
06/20/2008, Oriental, NC

That's a dragon there in the middle. The dragon is the Oriental mascott.

Oriental Town Dock
Keith, rainy and cooler

This morning I walked the dogs all the way to the town dock. Oriental has a dock devoted to transient cruisers. There are only the two spaces you see here, but there aren't a ton of cruisers traveling this time of year so I may get a space for the 48 hour maximum when I get Tropical Dreamer into the water. When will that be?... well I've learned that it will happen when it happens. We had a setback today when Matt discovered the wire they sent with the panels was way too small. Deaton charges almost $7 a foot for the wire we needed. We can order it online for $2.75 a foot, but it takes until at least Tuesday (it is Friday) to deliver. Between the positive and negative wires, we are talking like 80 feet (several hundred dollar difference), so internet order it was. We accomplished a number of other little steps today, including prepping to drill the hole that the wires for the wind turbine and the solar will go through the hull. We have strung some wire through the boat (hiding it behind paneling for asthetics). I replaced the main zink annode on the prop shaft (all by myself), I replaced the bearings and the zink annodes on the cutters (an ingenous device that cuts any rope that gets caught in the prop - this is critical because one cannot simply reach down and free rope caught in the prop like in a small sailboat or one with an outboard engine). I pulled the halyard line and three of the dock lines to throw in the washing machine to clean them of dirt and green something that has grown on them. And we did several other things that I can't remember at this moment. Slowly but surely, we are moving towards launch in about a week or so (more or less, probably more).

The Cleaning Crew
Keith, hot and humid, but bearable
06/20/2008, Oriental, NC

I didn't want to spend the money but Matt insisted as part of his free work for three weeks in difficult conditions extravaganza that I have the boat professionally cleaned. So I did. Turned out to be a great idea. Of course, just having the girls around the boat was worth it, but they knew their stuff and cleaned pretty much every nook and cranny on the topsides and hulls, then waxed everything by hand. The boat looks cleaner than ever. It is really starting to transform in front of our eyes from a sleeping storage boat into a real live cruising sailboat. The excitement is starting again. PS. that's Jeff doing the crack re-repair (see below).

Re-Repairing A Crack In The Hull
06/20/2008, Oriental, NC

I've gotten pretty up and personal with Tropical Dreamer during the last few weeks. Thanks to the refit, I've explored parts of the boat I hadn't been in previously (like fuel and water tank compartments, steering works, along the hull in various places usually covered by hatches, behind wood paneling...). Among several other projects, I've sanded (with my hands and not a machine) every inch of the hull to prep it for new bottom paint. Several times over to ensure a smooth hull and good adhesion. One could not help but catch the 2 inch slight discoloration near the waterline that had evidently been repaired with marine tex or gel coat. The repair or whatever it was was now cracking at the edges and became the subject of concern around the yard. It's just not cool to embark on a long sailing voyage with questions about the integrity of the hull. A hole near the waterline can let in water under a variety of twisted scenarios, all of which will make the waterline higher and higher as more water comes into the boat, until the waterline reaches the top of the mast. So Jeff (whole 'nother story about that guy and the timber pads he still hasn't painted) drilled into it like a dentist, concluded it was a poorly repaired small impact (probably with a pylon or a nail while docked), and re-fixed it better than new with successive layers of fiberglass and resin and then a proper white gel coat. It should be finished in a day or two. Now we can all sleep better at night.

Smoke From the Forest Fires Settles Overnight On A Field In Oriental, NC



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