Sailing with Nine of Cups

Vessel Name: Nine of Cups
Vessel Make/Model: Liberty 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado, USA
Crew: Marcie & David
About: We've lived aboard Nine of Cups since 2000 and have managed to accumulate 86,000+ nm under the keel since that time. We completed a circumnavigation in April 2015 and managed to sail around the five great southern capes. Come along with us for the ride!
Visit our website at for more photos and info about Nine of Cups and her crew. We also have a more extensive blogsite at Are some of our links broken? Links break from time to time. Please let us know which ones are broken and we'll fix them. You [...]
03 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
02 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
01 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
30 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
29 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
28 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
27 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
26 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
25 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
24 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
23 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
22 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
21 April 2016 | Port of Spain, Trinidad
20 April 2016 | Mount St Benedict, Tunapuna, Trinidad
19 April 2016 | Caroni Swamp, Trinidad
18 April 2016 | Waterloo, Trinidadm
17 April 2016 | Toco, Trinidad
16 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
15 April 2016 | Asa Wright Nature Centre
14 April 2016 | Asa Wright Nature Centre
Recent Blog Posts
03 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Dash & Cash Before We Splash

Even though we reserve our splash date and time just a couple days in advance, the last minute dash to get everything done just before we splash is always hectic. There always seems so much to do and so little time to accomplish it even though it's a planned event.

02 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Growing old-er ... aren't we all?

We’ve recently noticed that some people tend to treat us differently than in the past. I look in the mirror and, yeah, there are always a few more lines and wrinkles. If it weren’t for Miss Clairol, I’d be gray. Gravity has taken its toll on my body … some parts sag instead of being perky. David [...]

01 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Anti-fouling Our Big-Bottomed Girl

I never appreciate how big Nine of Cups is until I start painting her bottom. With a modified full keel, our 45′ (14m) girl has a big, big bottom ... a lot of area to cover with anti-fouling paint. Painting the bottom has become my job ... mostly because it seems I do little else aboard plus I can't [...]

30 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Blue View - Replacing a Seacock

Nine of Cups has 16 thru-hulls – holes in her bottom. A couple of these are for depth and speed transducers, but 14 are used to allow water into or out of the boat. For example, one is used as an engine cooling water intake, another is connected to the galley sink drain, another serves as the water [...]

29 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Cups Gets Her Groove Back ... and Her Name

For several months now, Nine of Cups has been nameless. David removed the carved mahogany nameboards from her bow before we left for the USA. When the paint job began, her name was removed from the stern and she was a boat without a name. When we gave anyone directions to our boat, we said she was located [...]

28 April 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad

A severe reprimand and an open apology

A disturbing incident occurred the other day and I thought I’d share it with you. I was frustrated with one of our vendors. I didn’t think he was being very responsive and dealing with him ended up being quite inconvenient for us. Having owned our own small business for many years and having dealt [...]

All zipped up

08 December 2012 | Hobart, TAS
How to unstick a stuck zipper

I know, zippers are not a usual topic for a live-aboard, sailing adventure blog site. It's just that they're driving me crazy right now and I thought you should know about it. If you've got any notion at all to live aboard a boat, zippers will become an issue for you.

Like everything else metal on a boat, zippers, like the kind on your backpacks, jeans and zip-up fleeces, tend to corrode. It's not the zipper teeth themselves, but rather the metal slider and pull tab. They corrode in place on the nylon or metal zipper teeth. We left one backpack aboard when we headed to the States this past summer. I went to use it the other day to go walking. Not one of the five zippers on that backpack worked. All were frozen shut.

Here's a line from Wikipedia on the subject:
“A zipper costs relatively little, but if it fails, the garment [or backpack] may be unusable until the zipper is repaired or replaced—which can be quite difficult and expensive.” What a revelation! Not only is it unusable, but you can't retrieve anything that's been left in it!

Granted, the backpack is beat up. I've been using it for years. However, since $75 backpacks don't grow on trees and we've run into this same situation a number of times, David has become pretty efficient at repairing/rejuvenating zippers with this particular problem. Here's the solution.

1.Free the zipper slider. Repeatedly spray with WD40 and work the slider with needle nose pliers until the slider can be moved on the zipper teeth. You can't be too aggressive in your efforts or you'll break the slider and/or the tab pull. An even pressure, more WD40 and patience will eventually free the slider. (The patience part can be an issue … but that's just me.)

2.Open the zipper and lubricate. Once the slider can be moved, open the zipper all the way and apply a zipper lubricant/preservative along both sides of the teeth. Our well-worn teflon lubricant is in a solid bar form and made by Pelican Canvas Products in San Pedro, CA. We've had it since we moved aboard the boat. I couldn't find a website for Pelican, but we have used MaxWax as well. The same product can also be used for wetsuits, luggage, etc. We're sure other brands will work just fine. (
In a pinch, we've even used an unscented, white candle.

3.Work the zipper all the way up and down a few times to make sure it zips smoothly. In a perfect world, with a perfect crew, we'd lubricate all of our zippers on a regular basis (as if!), but since we don't, these extreme measures do the trick.

So, while David was unfreezing zippers, I happened to have internet access and got these key facts about zippers from Wikipedia for your personal pleasure while you're waiting for the WD40 to work:

Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine (in Spencer, MA right next to my hometown of Leicester) received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". His sewing machine was evidently doing so well, he didn't market it and lost his window of opportunity.
A Swedish-American electrical engineer, Gideon Sunbäck, is actually credited for this invention c.1917. B F Goodrich used it for its rubber boots and coined the word “zipper”because that's the sound the slider makes when it's doing its thing.
Zippers were first used for boots and tobacco pouches and didn't really “take off” till the 1930's when zippers were used on kids clothes and marketed as an easier way for kids to dress themselves.
French fashion designers declared the zipper the ultimate in fashion for men in 1937 when it won the “Battle of the Fly” over traditional button-flies Here's my favorite line: “Esquire declared the zipper the "Newest Tailoring Idea for Men" and among the zippered fly's many virtues was that it would exclude "The Possibility of Unintentional and Embarrassing Disarray."

Ah, the virtues of zippers, but there's something to be said about a man in tight Levi 501s.

Do you use Wikipedia? I do... a lot. It's free to use, but you might want to consider contributing a little into the till. They're asking for the price of a cup of coffee (Starbucks not a senior McDonald's). Help them out. We did.

For a pictorial "how-to", visit our new blogsite at
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