03/12/2013, For Lauderdale
I'm A Happy Camper
At long last--what I always thought was a 3-day project turned into a 3-week one--we now can make our own water!! In the process of putting together the modular parts of the system that we had "inherited," Scott re-engineered the install several times (doubling the output, recalibrating the monitoring circuit, relocating things multiple times, improving access to filters, etc), each time requiring new or different parts NOT in the onboard inventory to accomplish the goal. How can Scott have so many parts but not the one he needs??? Oh well; the hardware store is next door to the raw bar and in fairness it IS a very nice installation and he does take pride in his work and wanted it to look good as well as run well. So, finally, on March 10, we made potable water, and now we have filled an entire tank.
We dedicated one of our tanks to the water-maker, just in case there was ever a problem. Of course we wanted to be very clever and figure out a way to transfer from the water-maker tank to either of the other tanks; that project only took an hour! Since we've been making water, I've been able to catch up on laundry -clean towels and sheets always a treat. Now if we could only figure out how to get hot water on demand ... and not waste water waiting for it to get hot. Our current system is a 20L jerry can in the shower that we fill and dump back into the thank... Scott promises to install a bypass system "real soon now."
While working on THE project, we've been visiting with other boats in the anchorage, and have come to enjoy our new friends Mark and Sue Owen on MACUSHLA OF SHANNON who happen to know Rob and Sara Bell on SERAFINA (it's a small world after all). We have also met some other SSCA members, CHARM from Lancaster, VA and Stephen on BENTANA.
The weather has not been cooperative for an outside run but we have no "schedule" so we'll just wait for a weather window to head to Key West and on to Naples via the Hawk Channel. We have a couple of maintenance issues that require going up both masts (replacing bulbs with LED models, checking on the wind instruments, etc) but we need a little less wind before we can undertake those. Meanwhile, we work on little projects, like getting the autopilot functioning (done, we think), recapturing space taken up by the water-maker (in progress), and re-stowing the boat for a passage; never a dull moment.
Lately, in the evenings, when we collapse, we are able to watch a really well-done BBC series called House of Cards starring the late (Sir) Ian Richardson as a combo villain Iago/Richard III/Macbeth complete with many Shakespearean references and his character is named Francis Urquhart (FU for short). It's from the 1990's but well worth a look-see if you haven't ever seen it.
03/01/2013, Lake Sylvia, FL
Just a quick post now that we have our 2nd plate on the wall @ Bahia Cabana. For those not familiar with my favorite waterfront restaurant and bar it's right across from the Mega-Yacht marina Bahia Mar. Great crowd all day, good food and prices and the most generous wine pours anywhere. Add in a hot tub and free dockage while dining. What's not to like!
The decor never changes with the exception of a new license plate once in a while... so here is our latest addition.
02/28/2013, St. Lucie, FL
We left the boat tied to the dock at the New River and drove north to see "our Nats" spring training opening day. It was an "away" game in Port St. Lucie so we went up the night before and stayed with Rich and Galena in Stuart (fast becoming one of our favorite spots to think about landing someday). For opening day, Strasburg pitched the first couple of innings, and we got to see Denard Span, our new center fielder, in action. In fact we saw a lot of players in action so it's probably easier to say who we didn't see (LaRoche, Espinosa, Zimmerman (R & J), Werth). Scott procured front row seats on the visitors' side right in front of the Nat's Bullpen, close enough to talk to the players without yelling. Rich caught a foul ball (that Freddi said was intended for her so he gave it to her), and we enjoyed a wonderful sunny Florida day taking in our first "Grapefruit League" game. The Nats lost, but they gave lots of players a chance to make the big leagues and show a LOT promise to build upon last year's great season.
As we write this, we're back in Lake Sylvia visiting with cruisers, completing the water-maker installation, and testing the new batteries (if only the wind generator we purchased at the boat show were here now we'd have solar by day and wind by night and not need the generator except to make hot water - I (Freddi) do require some amenities). In the process of all the moving around, we (well, mostly Freddi) decided that our Trinka (sailing dingy) is too cumbersome so we are trying to sell it and get ourselves down to one dinghy. Offers have come in from New England, Seattle and Afghanistan (actually he wants it shipped to Green Cove Springs)! So by the time you read the next entry we'll be a 'one dingy' family, but will have more deck space (maybe Freddi can finally install the TRX) and may pick up a kayak on the way around the Keys.
02/27/2013, New River
Or Why are Scott and Freddi still in Fort Lauderdale...
We last wrote on the blog in anticipation of the Miami Boat Show. Depending upon how you look at it, it was either a disaster or a great event. On the one hand we spent way too many boat units, and the traffic at the SSCA booth was slow. We've decided that cruising sailors may tend not to be joiners - except our current 8,000 members (and us) cruising out there. On the other hand we caught up with many friends (old and new), made some long overdue gear decisions, and had a chance to meet many SSCA volunteers face to face for the first time. That said, the Miami Show will never be the Annapolis Sailboat Show for us and for many others; for that we have to wait till October! Our big purchase was a wind generator (a windmill to make electricity for the non boaters). We had settled on an English model that we have installed on several customers' boats and were at the show to make the purchase when we found that a colleague had moved manufacturing of his model from Trinidad to Florida. You know Scott--buy American whenever you can--So a K.I.S.S. Wind Gen it will be for CHARDONNAY.
One of the issues driving our decision to stay put in Lake Sylvia was our house batteries' entry into assisted living. The sun would shine on the panels or we would run the generator, and the batteries looked like they were accepting a charge, but as soon as we removed the charge they were quickly depleted. They quickly moved from assisted living to hospice care--losing their will to live--and we finally decided to pull the plug on the old guys and bite the bullet for new ones. At this point our friend Phil (FLIPPER) will say "I told you so," but we did manage to get 4 months of cruising out of the old battery bank, even if we should have changed it out in Deale before we left...
Installing the new batteries required that we be at a dock (ever try lifting one of those lead acid jobs out of your dingy?) so we tied up at the New River Marina in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. This marina, really side ties on the New River, is the place to be if you like watching bazillion dollar yachts going past at all hours of the night... and who doesn't like a little "star gazing" once in awhile. It was fun.
The less said about moving a ton of batteries on and off the boat the better; one picture should about do it! Matters were made worse by the following riddle: When does 181mm not equal 181mm? When you are replacing Trojan T-105 Golf Cart Batteries with Trojan T-105 RE (renewable energy) batteries, a newer and more robust model. Both are listed at a width of 181mm but once we took out 6 of the old ones we couldn't fit in 6 of the new. We eventually realized that the sizing chart was off a bit and a bit x 6 meant a full day of routing, sawing, chiseling and glassing to accommodate the new house battery bank... you really had to be there to grasp our frustration! However, once done we can again live on the sun alone for almost all of our house needs, and when the new wind gen arrives next week we should be in even better shape.
As long as the boat was in a protected place, we decided to join our friends Rich and Galena (LA MUJER) for the opening of spring training for our Washington Nationals. But that's another story...
Not much to report...
Freddi and I enjoyed our stay at Hendricks Isle and would return given the right circumstances. Freddi spent a few weeks helping out at the SSCA "Home Base" http://www.ssca.org and I got a chance to really work on the boat. We also had a chance to see Dennis Corcoran (TEMPTRESS) a few times and prepare a nice dinner aboard CHARDONNAY for Dennis and Scott Schramm (LUCKY BUOYS).
After a bit less than a month in the slip we pulled out and motored around to Lake Sylvia. We've been here long enough to get a feel for the place, and we really like it. We have an easy dingy ride to Bahia Cabana http://www.bahiacabanaresort.com/restaurant.htm. We took one of our old license plates to add to the collection that it the main decor of the Bahia Cabana bar--we're still waiting for it to be mounted. It's also a pretty easy dinghy ride across the ICW to the Southport Raw Bar http://www.southportrawbar.com where the dingy dock has a "$10 Minimum", easily met with a draft ale, dozen on the half shell, or a couple of their excellent fish tacos. About the only exciting thing that's happened here is that our dinghy decided to go visiting one night and managed to get into a fight with a nearby private dock. Fortunately, we have a rowing/sailing dinghy as well so Scott went in search of the wayward inflatable and dragged it kicking and screaming back "home." It has been said that cruising is just working on the boat in new and different places. The sociable dinghy has had several holes in it for a while so we pulled it out to patch the holes. Freddi spent an entire day scraping barnacles off the bottom and scrubbing it down. We patched the holes and then painted the bottom with anti-fouling paint specially formulated for inflatables. We'll see if that helps keep the bottom barnacle-free. While we were working on the inflatable, Scott took the Trinka to the raw bar, but the little outboard just wouldn't cooperate so Scott got his exercise rowing all the way down the 15th Street canal. He left the outboard to be repaired and managed to get towed back by some folks he had met earlier in the day. While the inflatable was being painted, Scott changed the spark plugs on its outboard and managed to change the pull cord that had broken off months ago. We've been working on installing our water maker, a seemingly daunting task that will displace my nice laundry set-up. I'll be happy when we can make our own water, but creating new storage space is the next challenge.
We have met some interesting folks while anchored here. One other boat has been here as long as we have, SV GRACE, owned by a wonderful couple, Pam and Andy. We have had them to our boat and been to their boat, and today SSCA friends Trish and Dave on SV EQUINOX came into the anchorage for a day or so en route to Miami. We had met some new boaters at an SSCA pot luck a month or so ago, and they called us for help anchoring. I think we will be teaching them quite a bot n the newt few days. After getting their anchor sorted out, Scott laid hands on their outboard. They had been trying for 2 hours to start it, and he got it going on the first try! Most weekends there are raft ups of local boaters (one group in particular called Sailing Singles of Southern Florida or something like that), and the ever present water skiers who like to make the maximum possible wake. We've also seen something called Jet Lev. I'm not sure how it works exactly, but it looks like a stream of water pushing a person into the air. The good ones can turn somersaults and do other acrobatic tricks.
We did take the boat out of the anchorage one afternoon to buy fuel and fill the water tanks and pump out the holding tank. We were able to anchor pretty much in the same spot even though it was late in the day and the anchorage fills up. We're so comfortable here that we've decided to stay until after the Miami Boat Show next week. After a lot of research, it turns out to be easier and less expensive to drive to the boat show than try to anchor in Miami (we are limited by height and depth to far out anchorages), dinghy to a water taxi or take a 2 mile dinghy ride across Biscayne Bay. We may move to Middle River for a few days after the boat show before leaving for the Keys. It's nice not to be too driven by a schedule!
01/07/2013, Washington DC
This is Scott, filling in with a note without Freddi on board. Following her father's passing I returned to the boat with the intention of continuing on to Ft. Lauderdale in Freddi's absence. Given the weather, I wanted crew, and Candy Masters (ENDEAVOR) flew in to help with the trip. The day she arrived the winds picked up to 25-30 its and pinned us in our slip. The wind kept up for two days so we never moved from Eau Gallie. Instead we worked on the boat, enjoyed each other's company, and Candy flew back to DC in time for Christmas with her husband David and his family. I drove across the state to join Freddi and her mom in Bonita Springs. We enjoyed a "traditional" holiday dinner of lobster bisque, crab cakes, and a wonderful Montrachet, toasting Freddi's father's long, successful life and her mother's birthday (Dec25). The next day Freddi and I drove back to Ft. Lauderdale for a quick visit at the SSCA office, then back to the boat in Eau Gallie, and finally were able to leave the next day.
As Freddi described, we headed for Stuart after a night at Vero Beach. We'd originally planned to spend one night at Sunset Bay Marina for dinner with Binnie and Jim and Beezer and Lynne, friends of Fred's from high school. We dined at Sailor's Return at the marina (highly recommended for a nice if pricey dinner with a small but excellent wine list), and had a wonderful evening reminiscing and catching up since the 35th high school reunion. Old Ma Nature did not cooperate with our plan to leave the next day so, stuck up the (St Lucie) river (with both a paddle and too much wind) we spent a day with CYC friends Joel and Marian Busse (RESURGENT). Marian understands what it's like to be cooped up on a boat, and when she offered us some time at the gym, Freddi jumped at the chance. They collected us at the marina and drove us back to their home in Jupiter. We got a workout at their club's gym and then Freddi soaked in the hot tub while Scott took a good shvitz in the steam bath! We followed that with cocktails and Joel's home-made pickled herring and then enjoyed a great dinner at their marina (Admiral's Cove) and back to the boat. Yet again the weather did not cooperate with our plan to leave, but as luck would have it some other friends from CYC called and just happened to be in Stuart! Newlyweds Rich Hedrick and his wife Galena (LA MUJER) ended up stopping by for breakfast, and then we walked into Stuart to the farmers' market and bought greens and steaks. When it was apparent that we could not leave that day, Rich invited us to join them at their newly acquired condo and celebrate their recent marriage (12/12/12) after 12 years of "living in sin" as Galena puts it. Galena's parents drove down from Virginia and we had dinner and watched the Redskins defeat Dallas.
We were finally able to leave the next day, and motored down the St. Lucie River to the ditch and made the north bight of Lake Worth by darkness New Years Eve. We watched the fireworks on the waterway through the buildings, watched a Dick Clark special on TV, and just made it till Midnight before turning in. The next day we were underway early and, passing under what seemed like a million drawbridges, anchored in Lettuce Lake as the sun came down. We were the only boat there and strongly recommend this "just off the waterway" anchorage; good holding and room for 3-4 boats in 9' of water with good holding in mud.
Anchor up at 0930, we made each bridge on the hour/half/quarter and motored up the Middle River @ 1130 on the rising tide into our slip at Hendrick's Isle. While the chart showed 4.9' in some places we never saw less than 7.5' at the high tide. The slip was a bit narrow but we powered our way between the pilings and came to rest in 7' of water. In fact the slip is so narrow that the pilings hug the boat in the slip and we are on the ground at low tide. Our dock lines - bow and spring, no stern - are just for show. We will be here for a month or so while we enjoy Ft. Lauderdale and prepare for the next stage of the journey -- Miami and the boat show in February and then to the keys.
Meantime, we flew back to DC for doctor appointments and the clear out our storage units. We got to see the final performance of Midsummer Night's DreamI at Shakespeare Theatre. If you missed it, too bad -- it was a very well done and thoughtful production. By week's end we should be packed up and ready to head to North Carolina to see Scott's mom and then head back to Ft. Lauderdale with our car. We hope the car proves more helpful than hindrance -- we love logistics!
Freddi and Scott