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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Marine Air Conditioning
Keith, hot and humid
06/30/2008, Tropical Dreamer

The sailboat isn't taking on water. This stream of water is the air conditioner on the sailboat working. Marine air conditioners use water pumped from the ocean to release the heat created by the compressor. It took about an hour to prime the pump, but once it started pumping water, the air conditioner started going strong. I don't know yet how good the system is. Frankly it seemed rather weak by Tucson standards, but it was probably 90 decrees in the boat when I turned it on so it may take a few hours to chill the boat down. The plan is to bring the motorhome down late tonight and unload my belongings into the boat while it is docked and while the marina is closed for the night. Then tomorrow I will head out and anchor outside the town dock and begin transitioning the dogs.

Parked In A Secure Slip For the First Night
06/30/2008, Deatons

I have to admit I asked one of the dockhands to drive the boat into this slip as I didn't want any problems while parking near the other expensive sailboats. Amazingly, the engine started right up and began purring like new after 9 months of storage. The engine appears to be charging the battery bank just fine, although the batteries are well charged from the solar and wind turbine. While the boat was going through the main area of the yard several of the marine tradesmen commented at the apparent quality of the installation Matt did. They refered to it as a "custom install" and I could tell they appreciated the work that went into Tropical Dreamer over the course of the last month. It is a good sign that I was somehow able to get the boat in the water by the end of June, which was my main objective.

In The Water

This is how good the folks at Deaton's Yacht Service are - They noticed that I hadn't painted the bottom of the wing keel (it was not possible while it was on blocks). They could easily have just let me go in, knowing that barnicles and growth would build up over the ensuing months on a part of the boat that nobody would notice but which would inevitably have a small affect on speed and efficiency. Not Deatons. They stopped the travel lift, set me up with more bottom paint, a fresh roller with a long stick extension, and let me paint the bottom of the bottom with two coats of the really good stuff before she went into the drink. Now I can sleep better at night knowing that the bottom is completely protected.

"Early" Splash-In
Keith, hot and humid, but I was too excited to notice much
06/30/2008, Deatons Yacht Sertive

I stopped into the office to check on tomorrow's drop in. They were pretty busy tomorrow and offered to put her in today. I had about 30 minutes notice before the travel lift arrived. That was enought time. I was ready!

The Last Day Before Splash-In
Keith, cooler because the sun is blocked by clouds, but probably rain later today
06/30/2008, Oriental, NC

I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to go. Took the dogs on a nice walk and then headed over to the boatyard. First I scheduled the boat to go in the water tomorrow morning (Tuesday, July 1, 2008), got the nuts and bolts I needed to finish the dingy and got it ready to go. Then I washed it and hoisted it up on the davits. I was worried that the dingy wouldn't fit due to the Hydrovane, but the dingy inflatable tube lays nicely against the big stainless steel tube support for the vane and it may even be more stable than before. The guys shifted the stands over so I could finish the bottom paint. I even put plastic bags over the stands after they were moved so they wouldn't blemish the already painted areas. Then I started moving things around in the boat to make room for the loads of my belongings that will start to come today and in the next several days. The rear cabin is going to be the main storage room until I get things more organized, which will take some time. This time tomorrow I should be in the water.

Remember The First Sailboat
06/29/2008, I'm in Oriental, the picture was taken at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix

I worked during the middle of the night with one of my former legal assistants on a number of law-related matters so I was pretty tired when I awoke early this morning. Jake and Anne slept perfectly as usual so I took them for a nice walk, then headed over to the boat. I tightened the bolts on the Hydrovane (applying tef-gel first), installed the vane frame, and studied the machine by working it through all potential movements. Unfortunately, about 10-20% of potential area required by the vane's movement is blocked either by the bimini/solar panels on one side and the dingy davit bars on the other side. During the vast majority of wind conditions and directions, it doesn't affect the vane much if at all, but in some conditions and directions, the vane may be blocked from the far reaches of its movement. I can solve most of that problem by removing davit bars before long passages; the dingy goes on deck during passages anyway. The bimini may be able to adjust towards the bow a bit, thus relieving the problem on that end, but its pretty rigid and there are a lot of wires. We'll have to see how the Hydrovane performs once I get on my way and go from there. I'm well ahead of myself in any event because the boat isn't even in the water and I have no passages planned. As I write this the National Weather Service is issuing a thunderstorm warning for the area. I looked out on the water this afternoon and it was downright snotty out there. Dare I say I was glad I was still on land. Today was spent mostly working inside on the computer and making calls. I took a scooter ride to explore more of the area, did some shopping at the grocery store, made good healthy food, showered and shaved, organized, and wrote a letter to my nephew Brett and mailed it. Tomorrow begins the push to splash, hopefully first thing Tuesday morning.

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



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