10/18/2011, Pensacola, FL
I'm doing floors. Not cleaning floors, well, OK, I have to clean them before doing what I am doing, but I am installing cork floors in the cabins and passageways aboard Parallax.
The old flooring was unattractive enough that the previous owners had area rugs over all of it (and various kinds of carpeting over the rest). Except for the starboard forward cabin, which had peeling linoleum stick-on squares. This was that floor yesterday:
And this is that floor today:
Mind you, that took a lot of work and it's not finished; there were many fiddly bits and a hose coming up through the floor that had to be cut around, and even after all the cutting and assembly, the underfloor was uneven enough that the snap-together panels of the cork flooring would not stay snapped. Derek to the rescue! I assembled the floor face down on the dock near the pavilion (so it was out of everyone's way) and Derek fiberglassed the seams to give them the structural oomph they needed to stay locked. I still need to caulk the seam to the left foreground at the base of the hanging "pantry" locker. And yes, I know, the cork flooring looks a bit like there was an explosion in the corking room at the winery, but it's soft and smooth underfoot, and a far sight better than the linoleum!
Here is the bottom of the floor you just saw, after Derek's fiberglassing of the seams but before we put it in place. It's leaning against the starboard end of the salon settee, off of which I am still stripping the turquoise paint. But never mind that now :-)
You know what else you can see in that picture? That dark blue messy-looking stuff is indoor-outdoor carpeting. It is very old and it falls apart when you take it up. I am so very much looking forward to redoing that particular bit of floor... after the stripping is finished.
OK, that was actually my SECOND floor install in the last two days. First I did the guest cabin floor. That way I could practice. And if I messed up I would not have to look at it all the time. And if I really messed up, we could always throw a cuddly rug over it! Anyway, I noticed while I was flooring that there was a blank area in that guest cabin (starboard aft) in the corresponding spot to where Grant's cabin has a small dresser.
An empty space... hmmm... Now, we happen to have a multi-binder collection of DVDs and games and even CDs, which had been living on the long countertop opposite the navstation. That countertop is partially covered by an incomplete mosaic, and one of my goals is to finish that mosaic and seal the countertop. But the five linear feet of countertop was completely covered by big black zippered binders, which was effectively keeping me from any hope of achieving my mosaical goal. One of Derek's goals is to have that countertop space clear, so that he can do route planning and possibly some small bench work underway. So, we had to find something else to do with the zippered binders. I suggested the spot I had noticed in the guest cabin, and the dimensions, and Derek "made it so," building the shelving unit in less than a day. So here is the shelving and the new cork flooring in the guest cabin (that little edge of "something" on the lower right of the image is the next box of cork flooring ready to be opened and used on the galley floor). The shelves are red oak, the trim is teak, the finish is "Natural Teak" Cetol (swear to God, that stuff is Da Bomb).
10/07/2011, Pensacola, FL
So it has come down to the last couple of weeks. Sifting through materials from storage, taking a little time out to feed the ducks,
Redid the splashback over the stove. It used to be a stainless steel sheet that buckled a bit where the through-bolts from the rub rail come through. Went with a theme for tiles that reflect the natural world. Note that this is before the grout has been applied:
We especially liked the shells (going with a grout that is not too much of a contrast... NOT white):
There is still more to do, like the grout, the sealer, a little more finish work on wood, and flooring installation, but we can see the departure shaping up now...
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...