09/29/2011, Pensacola, FL
Sorry there are so few "work" pics this time but it was a quick haul and splash, so I was taping, painting and pulling tape for most of the time -- also Derek had caught a cold (from our time in Orlando?) and it migrated to me, so I was not feeling energetic enough after work to blog.
We had noticed that the water level was very close to the bootstripe before, which one doesn't want (avoid barnacles at the waterline!), so we decided to raise the waterline.
First, Derek went around the bootstripe sanding it and the four inches above it to scuff it up to take the paint better. I helped by wandering the waterline prying off barnacles carefully with a screwdriver (I tried gentler scrapers, but the barnacles just laughed). Then it poured again.
Next, I taped off the new waterline. There were many considerations. First, the previous waterline had been led downward in the bows a bit, probably to make her look more rakish. Since she doesn't sit rakishly in the water, but nicely and fairly level bow-to-stern, the bow portion of the waterline needed to be lifted more than the stern portion (to keep her from being down on her lines in the bow but just great in the stern). I used the slight remnant of waterline discoloration on the port side bottom paint to determine the actual waterline and did my offset from that rather than from the painted bootstripe. The next consideration was the very dramatic increase in bottom-painted area in the central nacelle: a four-inch rise in the perpendicular waterline is a much larger increase in painted area on a sharply angled nacelle!
We painted the new area with the same old (stored) bottom paint we had used before, a very dark coating that looked a bit more black than blue -- interestingly, in the five months she'd been in the water after our last bottom painting, the black in that painted-on coating had preferentially disappeared, so that her haulout bottom color was a medium blue. As a result, the intermediate stage was very obvious: a dark blackish-blue strip above the existing bottom paint. Sorry, no pics of that. We also fixed any dings we found with West System epoxy (the kind that cures fast). We were all prepped for the new overall coat of bottom paint.
Finally, we got a couple more gallons of the West Marine intermediate-priced ablative antifouling paint (blue), and did our final coat with that. So, with the new waterline, it takes about 1.75 gallons to give one nice coat of paint on our hull bottoms.
This is what she looked like going back into the water. Notice the higher line and the absence of stripe:
I think the hull actually looks nicer that way.
While waiting for the bottom paint to dry, I finally repainted the after bulkhead in the salon. We had discussed stripping it of the yellow-and-aqua paint in order to see the teak, but there was too much damage to the surface: better off with a neutral beige paint. We taped off and covered the teak panel for the electrical access and dismounted ancillary hardware (but remounted the TV quickly in order to get it off of the salon table!). This is Rustoleum Marine Coatings Topside Paint in Sand Beige. Yes, I fully expect that at some point in the future, it will get occasionally wet. It's a boat, after all:
After we got back to the dock, it poured for that afternoon and the next day. But today is sunny and bright: just in time! Our water tanks needed filling. And here (OK, seriously, this is for my own reference) is how to do that:
1) Make sure the "outside" valve is closed (under the starboard end of the master bunk) (it should have been left closed previously), the "to starboard tank" valve is closed (it should have been left open previously), and the "to port tank" valve is open (ditto). Here are the valves under the starboard end of the master bunk:
(this one is on the right as you face the underbunk area with the mattress pulled up, and can be opened or closed by feel)
(these are the outside (lower center) and starboard tank (left rear) valves -- you'll be able to see them)
2) Attach a water hose from the water supply to the water intake in the aft bulkhead of the bow nacelle's second compartment, the hatch for which is out on deck aft of the chain locker. Turn on the water source pressure.
3) Remove the circular seal under the floor at the forward end of the navstation, pour in the appropriate amount of bleach solution to sanitize the water without permanently whitening your innards, and open the gate valve under the floor of the head, just forward of the tank.
This allows flow into the port tank, which flow will also ensure that the bleach solution is well-mixed. You can leave the circular seal open to observe the water level in the tank. Be careful not to drop anything in there. I always clean around the seal with cleaner and a paper towel before opening it, just to be sure nothing gets in accidentally.
4) Go open the "outside" valve under the starboard end of the master bunk now, to start the flow. Monitor the level with the port tank seal open. When the tank is full (miniscus starts to appear below the seal opening), close the gate valve.
5) Head over to the starboard tank, open the round seal, drop in the bleach solution, step across carefully, and open the "to starboard tank" valve to start the flow into the starboard tank. You can watch it from there. When the tank is nearly full, close the "from outside" valve, leaving the starboard and port tank valves open, and return the bunk board and insulating foam to its proper position under the mattress. Close the circular seal, and head outside to turn off the water and disconnect the inflow. Some water will leak into the second bow locker when the hose comes off, but this locker drains to the ocean.
Voila! If you don't live on this boat and are reading this, well, you can help out when you come visit :-)
09/22/2011, Pensacola, FL
Meteorologically, it makes no sense.
Given the constraints of my final trip to Vegas to pack Dad's things into a truck and bring them back to Pensacola (three full days of driving, which is to say, I drove 1860 miles from Tuesday morning -- thanks, Joyce, Bruce, Kevin, Dale, and Mary! -- through Thursday night, arriving just after 11 pm), followed by an immediate trip (also driving) to Orlando so that Derek could undergo a formal pin-on ceremony for his promotion to CDR, followed by a couple of days at Universal Orlando to celebrate Grant's upcoming birthday, followed by a trip to Mobile (Wednesday) to pick up our special cards necessary for any OUPV or other Coast Guard licensed captain (the TWIC card), followed by hauling out on Thursday -- but Friday, if the weather was threatening on Thursday, because of how bad it had been LAST time we hauled... how is it even possible!!!??? We could have chosen a different day. We WOULD have, if we had had any idea that this would happen a third time! Derek set the date for the haulout, checked the weather forecasts, and we went with today, Thursday, because yesterday, and even this morning, it looked OK... and it was not rainy in the early morning, although nicely overcast, so not too hot -- Grant spotted this lovely dinner-plate-sized moon jelly oscillating around the docks this morning:
... maybe that should have alarmed me, maybe moon jellies don't like sun, so it was actually, in its jellyfish language, urgently warning us of the impending rain apocalypse... OTOH, how would anyone be able to tell?
Things seemed pretty decent for the short trip over there (unlike last time, when Derek was absolutely soaked before we even left the dock), but after Parallax was actually out of the water, the western horizon started to look more and more threatening.
Warping Parallax into the travelift slings, photographer is facing west:
Front sling is tightened, rear sling is being positioned to avoid lifting the boat by its propellers or shaft support struts:
With Parallax out of the water and chugging along to be power-washed, it's still slightly sunny to the south (shown), but the western sky is looking ominous:
The power-wash guy noticed that we need to raise our bootstripe, too (told him so!) :-) We are planning on bringing that bottom paint up 4 inches to avoid the kind of waterline growth we saw over the last 4 months. Not that we actually plan to need all 4 inches... it's just that more paint is safer than less:
By the time the power wash and barnacle scrape were done, it had started to pour (again???), a nostalgic situation for us, as ALL of our family haulouts have been, for some reason, in driving rains:
They drove her over to where she would sit, placed the timbers under her keels and the jacks to her sides, and lowered and detached the big, webbing, paper-wrapped (to protect her finish) straps:
My lord, it's so rainy and gray by now, it reminds me of Nome, Alaska on a fall-rains day! Parallax sits on her timber baulks as the travelift operators head for some place drier:
And finally, our part of the haulout work can start. The picture below is of Derek telling me that we should go get dry, after scrubbing the waterline and de-waxing with acetone where we are about to paint, and laying out the offset for the new waterline level.
08/10/2011, Las Vegas
Dad passed on just after 5 a.m. this morning. I would like to put up something for his friends here, but right now other things have to get done. So, more later. Love you all.
Dad on his Thanksgiving visit to us, November 2009. We are so grateful for the time we had!
Dad on Thanksgiving, 2010, at Joyce and Bruce's Thanksgiving Bash. This was the image we used for his obituary:
Dad's last "long" email message to me before his final illness (and after my small hernia operation):
" ...Just to read of the accomplishments of Derek leaves me exhausted (not to mention all the work you are doing). His versatility with these projects leaves me aghast. Where did he learn all the electrical, plumbing and general construction he has applied to this boat?
I am glad that your operation was so successful and you can now set sail without that worry. Of course the Clooney movie always comes to mind when I think of you guys at sea. I can see you three battling those giant waves and swishing down one side and up the other. I know that seas of this magnitude are not usually found in the area you are planning to cruise, but the imagery is fun to experience. Of course in my fantasy you all come out safely and that is a plus. I have no conception of the size of your craft, but from descriptions of the sleeping areas, master cabin, galley, etc. it must be either space utilization or it is larger than I had first envisioned. I hope that there is a place (and time) for you to keep a daily log. Remember the interest on the Kon Tiki log. Thor Heyerdahl made a fortune publishing it after his success...
Thank you for the Father's Day card... Once you are sailing I will not expect a repeat of this, since ports of mail probably will be few and far between. In case you haven't gotten a hint of the envy I am having, let me say that I have led a rather dull life and never contemplated an adventure. I never even shot the rapids, and the roller coaster at Disneyland was probably the closest I ever got to a thrill. I am reminded from time to time that shinnying up the 50 foot center pole of the tent to replace the pulley didn't seem like much at the time. My old friend Don reminds me of this each time we meet -- and the danger of this feat never entered my mind. Oh to be young again, so I might rectify this by getting out and doing.
Take care of yourself and don't overdo it until you are back to 100%. Love to all."
Note: Dad was a (horse) racing jockey as a preteen and went waterskiing a few times that I know of, so I am not sure what he means about not being adventurous... as for the Thor Heyerdahl thing, there have been so many more people cruising in the last fifty years, and a 37-foot Prout is not Kon Tiki, no matter that it may occasionally seem like it!
07/15/2011, Pensacola, FL
Yesterday, after unfortunately having to deal with a printer problem ashore (so that Grant's school tests could be submitted), we were heading to Pirate's Cove for an overnight and raftup, but we found once we got out of the channel that it would be a 3-hour bash. The wind had veered from the morning's southerly to WSW/20 with whitecaps: on the nose for our trip. After bashing into it for a little while (long enough to have stuff jumping out of storage drawers and smashing on the galley floor: OK, admittedly, one of us may have left that sliding door slightly ajar, but this was the first time the waves have been from the right direction and sprightly enough to do any damage), we called Sure Thing to let them know what we were facing. Turns out they had gone into the dock, as there were whitecaps in Pirate's Cove as well (which only happens from a limited set of wind directions/intensities). So we morphed the short trip into an elaborate way of turning the boat around: we still need to mount the stainless steel strips on the starboard rub rail, and we had been intending to turn her around at the dock to do that. This was just a much longer way of attaining the same goal... yeah... now for a quick trip to grab some shorter S/S screws, and then it's rub rail time...!
Oh, an added bonus is that seeing the boat turned around disorients all the regulars at the marina, who now think it looks like the giant catamaran astern of us is about to eat us like a shark looming up on a small fish!
Many thanks once again to Terry and Ken, who were both funny and helped at the dock; Terry did a pretty good rodeo impression with his muscular belaying of the bow line while I alternated the engines to walk her closer alongside, to let Derek make the leap to secure the stern!
07/08/2011, Pensacola, FL
The overcast today is partly due to the forest fire west of us in Lillian Swamp (it started from lightning yesterday)... ash is falling from the skies. The Lillian Swamp is so hard to get into that at 400 acres, the firefighters can only watch it from across the bay... it has to be 1,000 acres before they can justify fighting it.
Derek awoke with an earache, so instead of heading out to Quietwater, we headed to the urgent care clinic. Ken said he'd relay the message to the gang at the anchorage, and we hoped to catch up to him later. The doc prescribed some stuff to clear Derek's ear pain up, and said it would be a few days before it was really going to be better. We went to the Navy Hospital Pharmacy to fill the prescription, and that is where we first saw the ash falling from the sky. At this point, Derek would like to go to Quietwater when his ear is better: maybe tomorrow morning early to catch the Blue Angels show. Now that he's not leaving town for a class, there's not so much time pressure. But I hope we get over there, otherwise what do we do with all this beer?! :-)
Finished painting the registration numbers on the new dinghy. We defrosted the refrigerator (first time) and installed yet another clever device to keep it open... may this one last and work well!
We've been thinking about burgees recently; that's the little triangular flag one flies to signify that one is a member of some club or association or perhaps that one is serving drinks... anyway, last time we went to sea, we put up the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) burgee and didn't take it down for 18 months. That is one torn-up, faded, rather smelly (probably the big rubber band) burgee. It got us thinking, and we decided to join the Navy Yacht Club here in Pensacola. They are friendly and down-to-Earth, they hold (and participate in) regattas and cruising gatherings (gam, raft-up, rendezvous, what-have-you), and they are right on base at the Bayou Grande marina. So now, in addition to flying a new, non-torn, non-faded, non-funky-smelling SSCA burgee,
we'll be flying the Navy Yacht Club of Pensacola burgee:
We're hoping this will come in handy, at least along the Gulf coast and a Naval marinas.
07/07/2011, Pensacola, FL
Going to see the Blue Angels and hang out with our friendly marina-mates on Monomoy and FantaSea and Private Stock and -- but wait, there's a package, no, a small herd of packages, the tracking thingie says, headed our way and we can't leave it/them lying around for days, and Derek's GMATS class (a Navy education thing for which he was about to fly north on Sunday) was canceled, only nobody at USMMA told him, so we're scrambling to try to communicate with all the people who need to be communicated with about that. The Navy duty in late July and most of August is still on, just not the class up in the Merchant Marine Academy in NY. So, what was supposed to be a leisurely departure and anchor-out tonight to see the Blue Angels tomorrow and the next day has become a maybe-later-today or maybe-tomorrow-morning departure. With luck, we'll still be able to see Blue Angels in dress rehearsal and performance.
I painted the registration numbers on the new dinghy's port side, and affixed the sticker (we'll see how long that holds: these stickers are notorious for not sticking to PVC and Hypalon boats -- and I have a backup plan involving dinghy repair glue) yesterday evening. I'll paint the starboard side today. This kit is silly: they provide a stencil but then say, "trace around the letters of the stencil, remove the stencil, and paint up to the lines to avoid paint leakage under the stencil's edge" Well, what is the point of having a stencil if you can't use it... grumble, grumble...
07/04/2011, Fort McRee - Perdido Key
Finally! We went out overnight to sail her and see how she behaves on the hook (at anchor, in case I never define it anywhere else), what the power usage is, how the positions of the cabin fans work for us when there's at-anchor wind coming in the wind scoops and when there's not, how the refrigerator works when there's no A/C running outside the box (that is, when the cabin temperature rises a bit more). Even whether the knotmeter impellers really work and which depth gauge is most accurate. Many, many little things to think about.
But first, the fate of the dinghy. Remember the dinghy I shined up, the one we patched when a fisherman snagged the tube? Turns out the bottom of the transom on the port side was rotted. I consulted Mr. Ed Bright, and he suggested that a dumpster might be an appropriate final resting place, since actually replacing the transom would cost almost as much as just buying a new one. But we know about Git-Rot (link at right), a plasticizer that uses the cellulose of rotted wood to hold itself in place while it hardens, but essentially replaces the rotted wood with epoxy. Strong. Not pretty, but strong. Derek was already uncomfortable with the dinghy, since the outboard is 15HP and the dinghy was not really rated for 15, and this transom thing just slid him over the edge; not going to trust a git-rot transom out in the wild waves we will encounter occasionally in faraway places (where spare dinghies are not readily available). So we purchased from Defender the next generation of the same dinghy (Zodiac/Bombard "Zoom"), which by good fortune *is* rated for 15HP engines. This meant we had a repairable inflatable (to sell for $1 - facilitates title transfer) that would be useful for inland and near coastal work and could be git-rotted and support a smaller engine without worries. And fortunately for all, this is a friendly marina! The dinghy has a new home, with cruisers who will fix it up and use it (they had one of the all-around-tube inflatables that has to be rowed) with a small motor. TOO COOL!!!
As a result, for our inaugural cruise, we had THIS dinghy (she will get her name later this week). Derek and Grant took an initial row in her once she was inflated:
Then it was time to set out. We pulled out under both-engines' power, something I still have to get used to doing: I can spin her on a dime with one in fwd and one in rev, but I might miss the lateral position of that dime by several feet as yet! :-) Derek and Grant handled the docklines and fending us off from crushing impacts (OK, Grant isn't allowed to do crushing impact fending yet, but Derek was really useful there!), and Terry our cross-slip neighbor was really helpful too, tossing lines and being encouraging... so we did get out without running aground or hitting anything... well, not too hard...
Derek gets his turn at the helm:
We have to get used to the low-lying terrain. There are landmarks, but they are not always immediately obvious. You can also see that there's a small weather cell coming in from the Gulf (to port):
The new dinghy rides well beside our 4th-of-July-appropriate flag:
Partway to McRee we slid in front of that T-storm that was headed NE to Pensacola. The wind picked up and we hit 7.5 kts. The port side was thundery-looking and the starboard side was clear and cheerful -- weird contrasts, dramatic but without sharp edges. Grant's looking ahead to see where the edge of the cell is:
Once we were past that, Grant resumed his favorite place on the bow pulpit -- think a seat for that area would be a great addition!
A piece of history, on a broad reach: our baggy mainsail! This is the original dull red Prout Catamarans sail with the PC logo and our hull number, 180, on it. The marine surveyor said it still has a few years left in it, how about that. We'll let you know!
What we did find out was that the roller furling genoa has too much friction in the system right now. Derek wound up having to rotate the drum by hand at one point both to deploy and to furl. That won't do, so the first thing we have tried is treating the whole path of the roller furling line with dry lubricant. If needed, we will go to step two, new blocks for the line.
Grant gets his turn at the helm:
We headed over to Fort McRee, but it was really, really full of boats. Kind of like that Oscar Mayer commercial: fat boats, skinny boats, boat that climb on rocks... OK, NO boats were climbing on rocks, but many were pulled up to the beach, side by side in a long, long line. Many more were anchored in really close proximity. Not on our first trip, nuh-uh... so we anchored in a shallow spot between two points nearby. There were other sailboats all along this area, too, but they were a sedate distance apart, so it would be easier to anchor without annoying anyone. This guy had a racy little sailboat as a tender to his roomier sailboat:
And our nearest neighbor was this fun-loving couple who hoisted the colors once their anchor was set (arrrrh):
First order of business after anchoring (Derek was at the bow to make sure things were setting correctly and to attach his anchor bridle for its first real-world test) is to dive the anchor to be sure it's dug in correctly. Not to be left out of the cooling dip, Grant geared up for it as well. First he hands Derek his flippers...
Then joins in:
There's nothing like a free Dad tow when you're lazing about on pool toys:
Visibility was less than 5 feet in this water. Derek's following the chain down:
And diving where it disappears:
I watched the bubbles move away. Then Derek returned to report turning the anchor over so it would bite in, that the bottom is a kind of silty sand, and that he and Grant will use the pool toys as a platform to scrub Parallax's bottom! And so they did:
Once the bottom was cleaner, it was play time.
Meanwhile, I was deploying the wind scoops to harvest as much ventilation as I could get into the boat:
Got to chat with Harold online for a little bit -- he's in Edinburgh being a little touristic for a few days -- definitely a good idea! Our chat got cut off when we had to deal with a powerboat wake which managed to knock a radio off a countertop. Not everyone knows how to enter or leave an anchorage gently (but expecting things to stay on countertops -- that's just SO catamaran-ish!).
After sundowners and dinner, we sat out on the foredeck to watch fireworks going off under a crescent moon westward along the coastline and to play some music. It was peaceful and wonderful, and despite the earlier haze, some of the southerly constellations even came out to be seen (Antares in Scorpius was particularly visible).
06/30/2011, Pensacola, FL
Grant caught a catfish on Tuesday -- and let it go so fast I did not get a picture. Decent size, but he's fishing for the practice and would not eat a fish from our bayou... which is better for the health of the fish as well as his own.
Derek finished the cabinets next to the master bunk!!!! That is, the woodwork just got done. I still have to do the staining and polyurethaning. But the cabinets are done. We both have places to keep our clothes right next to the bed: woohoo! This is the current version, prior to applying finish, starboard:
Derek also replaced the leaking and broken shower apparatus with a new shower apparatus. I helped by bringing him two ball-valves to turn the flow to the shower (H/C) on and off. This was necessary because most showers come with a tub faucet that you have to pull on to get the shower to engage -- if you are only mounting the shower part, the water is "always on" -- how exciting. But we'd figured that issue out before the install started. While he was at it, Derek also wired a tank monitor, so that we can tell what the level in the holding tank is (and hence when to pump out) without opening it up for a (urgh) look-see. Yay!
The Great Holding Tank Monitor:
Derek even installed the indoor GPS/water temperature sensor/depth gauge by the navstation. It's not wall-mounted yet, but that will follow. Getting the wires to go through the right places was a real challenge. Glad that's over! Note that during the day, the water temperature is 91F, dropping into the high 80s at night. The sensor is only about four inches below the surface. Here it is, showing the depth (4.3 feet) and the water temperature at 9:30 pm (omg!):
Finally, the red oak table fell apart: the weather has been so hot that the glue went tacky and couldn't hold it together. So now Derek has screwed and glued it back together. I've continued to apply Cetol to the "new" version, and eventually I hope to get all the seams back to smoothness with my special Cetol filling... yum. Ted Germann, who does a lot of the fixing up around the marinas here, had the same problem with the glue on some non-skid strips he was trying to apply: it was so hot that the strips went sliding away as soon as any weight came onto them!