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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Hydrovane Drive Unit Is Installed (but not bolted in yet)
Keith, late afternoon but still hot and humid
06/28/2008, Deatons

I had a few hours this afternoon after spending some time working with a law client on the phone (skype) so I brought the mechanical self steering drive unit into the motorhome and mocked it up while reading the installation instructions. I pretty much understood what I needed to do, so I went for it. It was a little precarious with the several thousand dollar drive unit perched sideways on the floor of the scooter, but I took it slow and made it to the boat yard without problem. In order to install it, you have to align the main unit onto a small hole that a pin goes through. This is hard enough 8 feet above ground, but while doing this the tiller unit has to be fitted in just right to a tight spot in between without bringing the main unit off the alighment hole. It took several tries and I was completely dripping with sweat, but I got it. Still don't know exactly how the "worm gear" works, but I'm starting to understand. Afterwards I did some more work on the dingy, but found that it needs some hardware, so I won't be able to finish it until Monday when Deaton opens. Matt's mechanics boot camp has really come in handy. I can do things that simply wouldn't have been possible for me a month ago. I've sweat more in the last month than in the last 10 years, but I've also lost those extra 5 pounds I put on before I left.

Solar Report: The solar system is doing better than imagined. A lot of people bag on solar and say its not worth it. I don't know whether its the modern panels or the high quality wiring and other equipment and installation on Tropical Dreamer (or the intense sun we've been getting in North Carolina), but the two 135 watt panels have been pouring out energy since I hooked them up yesterday morning. We had afternoon thunderstorms today but when I left the boat at about 6:00 this evening, the batteries were showing essentially full charge. And this is without any addition of power from the wind generator. I think I will be off the grid for a long time... unless we need air conditioning, in which case we may be back on sooner than we think.

Thank you to those people sending comments. They are greatly appreciated. If you want to read comments, click on the word "comments", otherwise, I've hidden them as not everyone wants to be public (and not everyone needs to read my mother's frequent encouragement, though her comments are appreciated most of all). I hope my dad is checking in from time to time too.

Rigid Inflatable Dingy Tube Is Installed
Keith, evern more hot and humid
06/28/2008, Deatons

After breakfast and a stop at the local Saturday farmers market, I headed back out to tackle the dingy tube. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get the tube on by myself as it is pretty heavy and awkward and has to fit into a narrow track, but as you can see, I managed. The directions suggested soapy water so I brought over a hose, sprayed everything, made up a batch of suds, and went to it. After about an hour of sweaty adjusting I got it all aligned properly. I still need to reinstall the drain plug with the new gasket Walker Bay sent under warrenty and I would like to sand and varnish the oars, but the latter project will likely wait until we are underway. Believe it or not, I am now on the final checklist to splash in. This afternoon I will pull out the Hydrovane drive unit, review the instructions, and prepare it for installation today or tomorrow. I've got some touch-up to do on the bottom paint and some odds and ends on the engine and rigging, then I think I'm going to schedule her in the water Monday or at the latest Tuesday. The Rebounder is paid up until Thursday. My plan at this point is to get the boat in the water while the dogs are cozy (and out of the way) in the motorhome. I can spend some time testing and adjusting and packing the boat while at Deaton's dock and fix anything that still needs fixing while I'm there. Then I'll move the boat about 2 miles and anchor it at the sheltered marina just beyond the town dock. Once the boat is set, I can dingy into town and walk back to the motorhome and slowly get the dogs adjusted to the boat. Thursday or Friday the RV gets moved into the long-term storage spot and Jake, Anne, and I will move onto Tropical Dreamer. I'm sure we will miss the air conditioning most of all. The boat has AC, but it requires shore power. I'm going to try and hook up my honda generator so we will have relief during the hottest hours of the day, but I need a special connection that isn't easily found. One step at a time.

Fresh New Bottom Paint
Keith, powerfully hot and humid
06/28/2008, Deatons

I got up early, walked the dogs, and brought out the materials for the bottom paint job. First I headed over to the hardware store to have the paint shaken. Marine bottom paint contains copper (one of the reasons it is so expensive), which tends to settle to the bottom and needs to be mixed up very well. The guy said that one of my three $100 cans was defective and may have been exposed to air or something. I only used 1.5 cans so far, so I returned the other can. Even though I got an early start, it was hard. The paint is heavy on the roller and it was a serious work out getting the bottom of the bottom parts. Having been preparing my body for the last several weeks, it wasn't too bad. I've been worried that the waterline will be too low with the added equipment and the stores to be shipped while long-term cruising so I raised it about two inches. Turned out pretty nice... we'll see how it looks when it gets in the water.

Closed Up Old House
Keith, it warmed up fast this morning
06/28/2008, Oriental, NC


A Field Waiting To Be Planted In Oriental
Keith, morning cool


The Elite Word Of Ocean Cruising Cuisine
Keith, H and H
06/28/2008, The Rebounder

1 lb packages of Oscar Meyer turkey dogs were on sale so I bought a few packages to add to the dog food. They looked good, so I joined Jake and Anne in a wienerfest. The bean tomato pepper thing came out of a can entitled "hoppin' john." I don't recommend you try them. Neverthetless, if things don't work out with the cruising, there's always food photography. For the record, those buns were done just right.

Oriental Town Beach
Keith, morning cool

After I walked with the dogs to the boat and back, I drove back to the yard on the scooter, tied back the solar wires with zip ties, and closed up the bimini. I spent another hour or two cleaning up all the tools and parts and sorting the trash from the bits that I will keep. Then I put the cushons back on the seats and cleaned up a bit with windex. Another cleaning session and the boat will be ready to start loading. After it got too hot to continue working on the boat I drove the scooter to the produce market several miles outside of town. They had great stuff and I loaded up on vegies. I spent the rest of the day returning unneeded items to West Marine, picking up supplies for bottom painting early tomorrow morning, doing some more shopping at the local grocery, doing like 6 loads of laundry, and attending to some law-related matters. I can see a thunderstorm is going to hit this afternoon so I will need to run back to the boat one more time and batton up the hatches, so to speak.

Port Of Origin Letters Are Installed
Keith, hot and humid (particularly)
06/27/2008, Deaton Yacht Yard

One of the final steps before splashing the sailboat is the US Coast Guard/Department Of Homeland Security required port of origin letters. The minimum size is 4 inches. Mine are 5 inches. Tropical Dreamer is now officially legal (actually I still need to acquire new emergency flares to make her legal as my current collection are all technically out of date).

We Walk To The Boat This Morning
Keith, nice
06/27/2008, Oriental, NC

I woke up early, not quite before the sun came up, in order to connect the solar panels to the charge controller, through the 30 amp fuse, and to the battery. It showed power immediately but it kept fluxuating back to zero. I thought there must be a short somewhere because I could see the power level rising as the sun came up, then it would go to zero. I checked and everything looked fine. I didn't know what else to do so I walked the dogs home and came back about an hour or two later when the sun was shining. The charge controller showed steady and increasing power. I disconnected the battery bank from shore power and officially took my sailboat off of the "grid." By 10:00 in the morning, with the refrigerator, radio, and some other very small draws running, the voltage peaked at 14 and the red light went on indicating the controller was cutting off the solar power because the batteries had as much power as they should take. The wind turbine hasn't run yet due to lack of wind in the yard, but even if there was wind, it would brake itself because its charge controller would detect full batteries too. We'll see how long I can go before I have to go back on shore power. I won't have solar power at night so the system will run down then, then we can see if the solar can recharge it during the day and keep the battery bank at full charge or not. I imagine it will also depend largely on whether. At least we're using some of this hot weather to our advantage.

Live Music At The Pizza Joint Across The Street
Keith, evening, nice
06/26/2008, Scoots, Oriental, NC

I walked the dogs over to the live acoustic music going on across the street tonight. We sat down in the parking lot near those bikes. The dogs were quite a hit with Jake barking after each song. Eventually they got antsy and we had to go home and make dinner; hot dogs and a tomato salad with cherries for dessert for me and dog food, rice, bacon fat, and maranara sauce for Jake and Anne.


Singer Family Adventures
Port: Tucson, Arizona
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