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 [...]
24 May 2016 | En route Culebra, PR - St. Augustine-FL
23 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
22 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
21 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
20 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
19 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
18 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
17 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
16 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
15 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
14 May 2016 | En route to Puerto Rico
13 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico
12 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
11 May 2016 | En route to Puerto Rico
10 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
09 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
08 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
07 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
06 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
05 May 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
Recent Blog Posts
24 May 2016 | En route Culebra, PR - St. Augustine-FL

Culebra to St Augustine - Days 1 -3

Once again, it was a flurry of activity as we prepared to up-anchor and head out from Culebra to St Augustine. We woke with the dawn, checked the weather again, and after a cuppa and a few more checks, we were off across Ensenada Honda on an overcast morning and heading back into the Caribbean Sea. We’d [...]

23 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico

Heading to St. Augustine

I know, I know … we were supposed to head over to San Juan for a few days and hang out, but surprise! We’ve changed our minds. We’re looking at the calendar, feeling pressed to be moving north more quickly than we’d prefer, but hurricane season is soon upon us and the further north we are, the [...]

22 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico

Tarpons, Seagulls and Cold Beer

Despite all the very appealing local restaurants we’ve seen, we really haven’t eaten out at all since we arrived in Culebra. Each morning we agree “Let’s have dinner out tonight” and every evening, it’s “Feel like going in to shore for dinner or shall we just make something aboard and watch [...]

21 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico

Blue View - Patching the Dinghy

Our venerable dinghy is well into her ninth year aboard Nine of Cups. She's seen a lot of nice soft sand beaches, but she's also seen her share of barnacle encrusted, concrete jetties, rocky shores and coral reefs. On several occasions, she's gotten roughed up by an amorous fisherman's panga as well. [...]

20 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra Signs and Street Art

Though our stay in Culebra has been short, we've managed to walk around a bit and gather a few signs and street art pix for our ever-growing collection. Thought you'd enjoy seeing a few that we thought were especially interesting. Unfortunately, I'm not able to post pix or links on SailBlogs at the moment. You'll have to head on over to to view the sign/street collection.

19 May 2016 | Culebra, Puerto Rico

Rotten eggs and other boat smells

One of the things about boats is they smell. Sometimes it's the garlic and onion you're sauteing, but more likely it's something else or a combination of "something elses". My sister, Lin, always hugs me rather tenuously when we first arrive home after a long stay on the boat and wrinkles [...]

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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