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The ship's blog for SV Nelleke out of Shelburne, NS
Victoria Day and the Cruise is over!
05/18/2009, Halifax, NS

It took two days of rest and sleeping in before it finally registered that our first cruise is complete. I figure that we have traveled over 6000 nautical miles there and back with a few detours in between, stopped at dozens of new and different locations, made tons of new friends, have nearly 12,000 hits on the blog site so some of those tons of friends are electronic, and have figured out what we will want to do on the boat before the next trip.

Barb is working on the financial statement that we'll post as soon as she is finished for those of you who want a fright. In short, we have not gone into debt, but we did spend way more than we intended. The cause has been the number of replacements of key boat components and the fact that we stayed in marinas far more than we had planned. Can't help the first but we are going to get a grip on the second. I'd rather spend the marina money on sightseeing tours or museums or shopping ashore.

Meanwhile we have shaken out several of the existing systems, gaining an increased level of confidence in the engine and the autohelm and a much fuller appreciation of their strengths and limitations, replacing some of them and modifying others, spent 8 months in confined and close proximity to each other and are still married with no clouds on the horizon. That's no mean feat, either.

What are some of the insights that we have gained?

Well, among others, it is obvious that we loaded way too much stuff on the boat to take with us. Of course all my stuff is essential, but Barb insisted on all sorts of useless fluff that took up space and only got used once or twice in the whole eight months! That was a joke, folks. (Barb made me put that in) Seriously, though, there is a lot of stuff that we will have to either leave behind or find a better way to store it, which brings me to one of my projects. In our middle cabin we have a couple of bunks, the lower of which is a sort of L shaped thing with the bottom of the L being a small, useless, never used, seat. Barb has suggested that we replace that with a floor to ceiling cabinet to which I will migrate all my tools from under the V-berths freeing that space up for some of the fluff that I referred to earlier. The cockpit lazarettes are also filled with stuff that barely got used during the voyage. I need to empty them and have a really good review of what we have stuffed in there, perhaps build some shelves into which we could repack those things that we feel that we really need, store some of the rest elsewhere on the boat and (shock upon shock) leave some of it behind.

As far as leaving stuff behind, we have decided that putting belongings in storage, while a perfectly acceptable option, is throwing money away. We have decided to try to find one of those houses with an in-law suite. Money right now is so easy that we could get one and have our daughter live in the suite which would pay a big chunk of the mortgage payment and we would be saving the $400/month that it is costing us to store our worldly possessions. It would be good for her and good for us. We would even have a spot for our son to crash when he comes home for his frequent visits. It would cost us no more, perhaps even a little less, and we would be paying ourselves rather than someone else.

We have also fully exercised the wind generator and the solar panel and I have a much better understanding of their capabilities and shortcomings. First, with all the electronics and power consumption hat we have aboard, including refrigeration, auto helm, home entertainment etc. the current "Static" power generation capabilities are only enough to delay the inevitable moment when we have to start the engine or the portable generator. The 170W solar panel can and does generate up to 4A+ but with its current positioning it can be shaded by the main boom and I have to keep poling it out to let the sun shine on the panel. This is not something that you can confidently go away from for the day and expect to have fully charged batteries when you get back. My idea is to build an addition to the dingy davits to lift a shelf up and outboard a little astern and move the solar panel there. Perhaps I might even add a second so we would have the generation of 8A during the daylight hours. This is more than enough for our needs. Add to that the 5-8A that can be produced by the wind generator when we have about 15 knots of wind, we would be comfortable underway even with the engine off relying on a "green" source of energy for everything aboard. The only thing about this plan is that I have never been fully comfortable with the strength of the mountings for the davits. At present there are only 4 bolts holding each in place and they are through bolted on a wooden pad and fastened on the other side of the deck. There is a lot of torque developed there and I really feel that we need to add additional support. This is the first step and one that I will take regardless of a final decision pertaining to the placement of the solar panels. Once I have removed the solar panel from its arch over the cabin, I will replace it with smaller panels that are at present on top of the bimini. There are four of them rated each at 30W which I can position so that at least two of them will be in the sun regardless of how the shadow is cast. They will be wired to provide a trickle charge of about 1.5A to the cranking bank.

Nelleke now has three anchors which is a good number, and since they are three different designs of anchor, we should have something to suite most conditions that we come up against. The only problem is we only have one of them on the bow roller. My plan is to relocate the bow fairleads aft about 6" and use their current space in the toe rail for another roller on the port side. That's where we'll put the Bruce anchor with a chain and rope rode. Then, my current plan is to take the old anchor windlass that we replaced in Marathon, machine a new and much stronger electric motor to fit and install it in the port cockpit lazarette as far aft as I can with its own chain locker. That's where we'll put the Danforth and be able to anchor fore and aft as in a Bahamian system. And speaking of chain lockers, the one that I temporarily fixed in Gulfport has proven to be just that - temporary. I need to do a better job of it for sure, plus we need to have some mechanism for draining that doesn't include the bilge.

My very first project is to repair the cradle so we can get Nelleke hauled and have the cutlass bearing and engine mounts replaced. I have lined up a friend in the business to do that job for me. While Nelleke is out of the water, we will redo the bottom and I will replace a couple of head sea cocks that have seized up and any other of the myriad bits and pieces that may need replacing.

We have also decided to replace the galley fridge with one of those drawer models. The existing fridge is expecting 240VAC so when it is hooked to 120 it draws twice the current and I expecting it to give up the ghost any day. For its size in outside dimensions it is also quite small in inside volume so the drawer model will make better use of space, plus it will give us a space to store the boats pots and pans at the same time. We are also going to make a drawer for the freezer to allow us to slide it in out of the way. And, but not finally, we will be putting some cupboards into the risers in the companionway stairs to allow for some more dry goods foodstuff storage, and for a place to put cleaning materials.

Getting the picture? I certainly am! I am going to be a busy little puppy this summer. Fortunately it looks like I will have a job to help make the payments.

The Trip (2008)
05/18/2009 | Snoodle Time
Congrats on your trip. I have enjoyed reading your adventures throughout most of the winter. To bad I was not able to meet you when in Virginia.

05/19/2009 | Bernie de Leseleuc
Enjoy the summer! I enjoyed very much your blog throughout your trip (I was late starting to view it: you were almost up to the Keys by the time Gail and I found out about your trip). Sure would like to meet with you guys sometime.
05/19/2009 | Duane
So great that you are home safe and sound. In some respects, it seems like yesterday (instead of 3 months ago) that you and Barb were snuggled at our home dock and we were enjoying a great new friendship.

Best of luck with all your plans and projects. It's great to have goals to work towards.

We'll be sure to stay in touch.
Home again!
05/17/2009, Halifax, NS

OK. OK. I missed a day. But not really as this post is for yesterday and for today. We spent the day motor sailing from Shelburne to Halifax where we arrived in the heavy mist at 0100 on Sunday morning. We tied up at the loading dock for the night to get some rest and in the morning we moved over to one of the other docks. With the Yard Foreman being ill during the winter they are really behind in their spring launches and none of the moorings are in and even some of the docks are still up on the hard or at least not assembled. But, Gee, It's great to be back!

It has been great to see old friends. Lisa Noonan came over to say hi and have breakfast with us and get caught up on what's going on at the club and here in Halifax; when we changed docks, Randy Stevens, himself a visitor to the club, came down to the dock to help us tie up; and as we were coming over, Judy Robertson, my sailing bud from the previous Marblehead race saw us from her house and shouted hello and welcome home, so we invited her and hubby Steve over for a tea. And that was all in the forenoon!

I have a date tonight with two beautiful women to go to a movie. Lisa and Barb and I will be going to see Angels and Demons up at Bayer's Lake theatres.

I am going to be running about today so I'll save any ore news for tomorrow's blog.

The Trip (2008)
High finance and desperate ciphering
05/15/2009, Shelburne, NS

Boy or boy, every time that I get involved with money transactions I get more and more convinced that rich guys deserve every penny they make. My head hurts! Today we spent the day having a final look at the B&B property here in Shelburne; checking out the terms and conditions of the potential sale; reviewing financial options etc. and have come to the conclusion that it would appear to be impossible to swing it without incurring a lot more risk than we would care to do at this point. So we are almost back to our original plan of simply sailing about in Nelleke. The one new wrinkle is that we have decided that this summer we will look at properties in Halifax that we could buy and let our daughter rent from us for an amount that would cover or at least nearly cover the mortgage payments. That would save us the charges that we have for furniture and possession storage that we are currently paying and have an investment that we could either come home to eventually or that would be something that we could sell and use the gains to buy the B&B in the future.


Oh well. The exercise was well worth going through, but secretly I am not unhappy since it means that we will indeed be off again this fall over the blue horizon.


Tonight the SHYC is having a baked ham and scallop potatoes dinner, so I am cutting this off short to get in there to get my share.

It looks like we will be off tomorrow, heading home. Halifax, look out!

The Trip (2008)
05/17/2009 | Bruce
While I am sad to hear the B&b won't work out I am happy to hear that you will be sailing again and keeping up the blog. Maybe the mrs (or soon to be mrs) and I will see you in the bvi's next season for a tropical drink! Any advise on how to get your significant other to let you buy a used sailboat would be greatly appreciated ha ha ha!
05/18/2009 | Mike
Bruce: There is no "way", unfortunately. You need to get her out for day sails in idyllic conditions; then morph that to idyllic conditions for a weekend cruise; then the same thing for a week long vacation. You can do the forst two by cultivating friends that will take you out in the evenings and on a weekend, and the latter on a charter boat soewhere guarenteed to be sunny. You have to bear in mind that "newbies" aren't interested in the "challenge" of sailing. They are interested in getting a tan and exploring thngs ashore. Focus on that and you stand a chance of success. Take some courses from teh local Power Sqn together. Maybe she'll doscover that everyone who wants to "chuck it" and run off to sea aren't crazy.
Best of luck and we'd love to meet you down south somewhere. On this trip we finally met Duane, Jim and Snoozer, all people with whom we have been carrying on a long distance friendship electronically for up to 8 years.

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Notes from Nelleke's Log
Who: Mike, Barb, and Periwinkle
Port: SHYC, Shelburne, Nova Scotia and RNSYS Halifax
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