08/31/2011, St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL
Bud, Fuzzy and I drove back to Florida Sunday and Monday. It was hard to leave friends and family behind, but we were glad to be getting back to see how the work was coming on Earendil. We stopped on the way down to visit with our friend Ed from Passages.
Fortunately for us, our friends Gary and Karen have invited us to stay at their house until the boat is back in the water. We originally intended to impose on them for just one night, but when we got here and felt the 95+-degree heat we decided maybe we'd better take them up on their offer for a longer stay. The first day aboard, while we were working on reinstalling the batteries so we could power up and turn on the fans and our little window air conditioner that we sit in the companionway, Bud was dripping so much sweat that we had to mop the floor around him.
We are making steady progress. The yard has the engine installed and we were able to get the batteries back in and power up. We've had a LOT of cleaning to do. The yard had to do a bit more alteration than planned. They modified the stringers for the engine and transmission, then found out that Yanmar would not warrant the engine with a step down fitting to our existing exhaust system, so they had to replace the muffler and the exhaust hose all the way back to the stern. Every time the hose went through a partition or bulkhead the hole had to be enlarged. They also had to move our stuff out of the way, as they were into spaces no one anticipated them needing to use. The job looks great and I put a picture of the new engine with its spiffy new exhaust hose running across in front of it in the photo gallery.
Yesterday afternoon Gary stopped by and helped us put the bimini and dodger back up. Today I took the new window covers I'd finished and put the snaps on them. You can see the front window cover and the dodger and bimini in the photo on this page. You can also see the bright orange bucket that covers the hole where the mast goes. Later today I put the new cockpit cushion covers I made on the cushions. They fit! I'm so glad as I did not have the cushions with me and just used the old covers as a pattern. I was so happy with them I took a picture of them and put that in the gallery, too. When I was working out on the deck putting the covers on, it was too hot to stand on our light grey deck in my bare feet; I had to sit down. I was dripping sweat, and that takes a lot.
As soon as we get the hull cleaned and waxed and the bottom paint on we will have the boat launched. The rigging and everything else can wait. Once it's in the water we can run both the heat pump air conditioners and cool it off enough to move aboard. I'll keep you posted.
07/25/2011, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
Jamie and Adler had plans for the weekend so Bud and I decided to go for a trip. Not wanting to face the trip across Canada (with the bridges and customs) to go back to WNY we decided to head north, like all the other vacationing Michiganders. Hoping to outrun the crowds Bud voted for all the way up north and we drove almost 400 miles up to Sault Sainte Marie.
It turned out to be a very nice destination and a nice weekend. The temperature was near 90 back in Saint Clair Shores, but only in the upper 70's this far north. I'm not including these locations on the present position information because I'm leaving that for sailing. We did get as far north as 46 degrees, 46 minutes at Whitefish Point. It was downright chilly with the breeze off Lake Superior.
We went through a lighthouse and a shipwreck museum there. That area has more wrecks than anywhere else on the Great Lakes. In part because of the potential for storms on Lake Superior, but mostly from congestion as the boats come together to go through the Soo Locks. Today there are only two or three hundred lake freighters, but at one time there were over three thousand. With fog and no radar, collisions were not uncommon.
We also hiked in a state park on the Tahquemenon River. We saw both the Lower Falls, a series of 5 falls, and the Upper Falls, which drops about 50 feet and is the largest falls outside of the Niagara east of the Mississippi. The photo is of Bud and Fuzzy enjoying the view of the Lower Falls. I put other photos from the weekend in the gallery.
On Sunday we toured the Museum Ship Valley Camp. It's a retired lake freighter. We spent almost two hours aboard and would have spent longer, but we could hear Fuzzy yipping to protest his abandonment in their free dog kennels. I have a few pictures from the ship in the gallery too.
We took our time on the way home and wandered down the east coast of Michigan along the shore of Lake Huron. We stopped to see a lighthouse at Presque Isle and saw some of the boats in the Detroit to Mackinac race go by flying their spinnakers in a brisk wind. We got back a bit after 9 PM. Bud's still sleeping it off. Touring in the land barge lets us cover a lot more ground, but it's very confining. Needless to say, I'd rather be sailing.
07/20/2011, Up North
I've had inquiries from a couple of friends wondering what's going on with us, since I haven't written in the blog lately. Well, we're not with Earendil. I guess I figure that life on land is not worth blogging about. But I will do a quick fill-in for all of you.
Living aboard with the boat on the hard was difficult. Living aboard on the hard with the engine being replaced would have been really difficult, especially since the daytime temperatures were staying in the 90's. So we packed up our stuff into the new old car (now affectionately know as the Land Barge or Grandpamobile) and headed off north.
The first weekend we came back to Western New York and our roots. This photo was taken Sunday afternoon on June 19th after the crowds for the Father's Day Breakfast had left the Tuscarora Yacht Club. It was great to see all of our old friends and all of the people who had inspired, instructed and encouraged us. TYC is a big part of why we are now living aboard (or will be again soon, I hope). That first weekend we also visited our families and then headed east to visit Jon and Arlene at Fairpoint Marina on Little Sodus Bay.
From there we headed west and came to Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, where we have been staying with our daughter and grandson. Our grandson, Adler, just turned two the second of June and it has been great to get to know him again. He is much more verbal than when I left him last December. He may be more articulate and more opinionated than his momma was at that age, and that's saying something. He's loads of fun and a lot of work. Taking him out for several hours is much more tiring than a sail of the same duration. I can't wait until he's old enough to sail with us; with the rate he's growing and learning it won't be too long.
Meanwhile, work on the boat continues. Gary has been keeping an eye on things and sent some photos that enabled us to stop what might have been a mistake in the design of the arch we're having built on the stern. They were supposed to send us sketches of the design before work began, but Gary's pictures showed the beginning of the arch and no sketches. I called and that got straightened out. There's also been a setback for the marina and us in the engine rebuild. The new v-drive transmission didn't fit down between the stringers in the engine room. The stringers make up the frame of the boat. St. Augustine Marine Center brought in their marine engineer and they decided to take material off the inside of the stringers and add it back on the outside. That also meant they had to move a number of electric cables that ran along the outside of the starboard (right) stringer. In addition, they found our old propeller shaft was too short for the new set-up. We agreed to pay more, they are giving us the shaft at their cost and shaving some profit from the labor side, but in the end we all hope to be happy with the outcome. I'd be more concerned about someone messing with our boat frame if it wasn't a marina that actually builds boats. While we were there they pulled a 76-foot trawler (the Walrus) that had been built there. It's a beautiful boat and the reviews seem to be good, so we're hoping they're as successful with our alterations.
Today I finished making new covers for our cockpit cushions. I brought the old covers and tore them apart and used them as my patterns. It wasn't an easy task, and without the actual cushions, I'm not sure how they'll fit.
So that's about it. I'll update the blog again once we have more progress.
06/12/2011, St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL
Earendil was pulled on Wednesday. Here she is up on jack stands. Our new car is parked next to her. We bought that on Tuesday, it's a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria. So we are officially Americans again. I put photos of Earendil coming out of the water and being moved across the marina in a new album in the gallery.
As soon as we got the car, we went out and bought a room air conditioner, which sits in the companionway and keeps the salon pretty livable in the 90+ heat. We have a hard time getting the cool air back to the aft cabin, but it's OK. What's worse is having no usable toilet on board. It's not very convenient to have to climb up out of the companionway and over the air conditioner, then down a ladder and then walk across the yard to the bathroom.
We are trying to get all our business done and things lined up so we can come north for a while. So far the insurance survey is finished, the sails are at the sail shop, the dinghy is being evaluated to find the slow leak, the bottom is scraped and the chip in the keel partially repaired. Bud emptied our extra cans of fuel into the tanks and our dinghy fuel into the car. We have a contract for replacing the engine, and a quote for cleaning the engine room and bilge while the engine is out. The rigger has been on board and will give us a quote soon. We still have to get a quote from the fabricator on reinforcing the floor under the batteries (which we will do) and building an arch (which we want to do, but may not depending on the other estimates).
Just before we leave we'll take everything we can off the deck and lash down everything else. We also need to disconnect the companionway steps and the batteries, to make it easier for the marina to pull the old engine out and install the new one.
We hope to head for Detroit later this week. I'll post when we do.
06/06/2011, St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL
We moved the boat today to St. Augustine Marine Center. We will be having a new engine and new shrouds installed here. We had the in-water part of our insurance survey done. The boat will be pulled in a day or two and we will have the survey finished. We've gotten one quote on an arch, but that was pretty high, so are getting at least one more. When we got here we took the main and jib off. We're having them cleaned, inspected and repaired. We're going to clean and pack the staysail ourselves, because it's small enough for us to handle. I took this photo of Earendil at her new dock with her sails off, waiting to be picked up.
Meanwhile, we're shopping for a cheap used car, which is very painful. We've contacted several private sellers but the only two that replied were obvious scams. We've been to twelve dealers and driven seven and a half cars. The half was an Olds Intrigue whose front end was so loose we didn't get it off the lot. So far, no car. Since we're in the used car market we find that used cars are at a premium because of the success of the cash for clunkers program. Somehow we missed that last fall when we sold our cars. Our policy of buying high and selling cheap continues. Anyway, the bikes are back on the road, so that's good.
Before long I imagine we'll be heading north. I'm still not sure if I'll fly up ahead of Bud or not. I'll update the blog once the work starts and our plans gel.
We moved the boat about 4 miles yesterday to this marina along the San Sebastian River. Now instead of being along the ICW and right across from the historic downtown section of St. Augustine, we're along US 1. But the upside is that we're very close to a grocery store and West Marine and other shopping, and this place costs about a third what the municipal marina costs. And it's still clean and pretty nice and has a laundry.
I haven't heard back about boat insurance, so we don't yet know if we will stay here. It would be nice not to move the boat further north. The problem with going north is that I haven't found a good boat yard between Brunswick, GA, where the insurance wants us, and Savannah. And we don't want to take the boat all the way back to the north side of Georgia.
We took advantage of our new location today and did some shopping. Bud went grocery shopping this morning. When he came back I borrowed one of the marina bikes and went to Target, or tried to go to Target. Target is right down US 1 on the left (as you're going south). On my first attempt I rode the bike on the wrong side of the street so I wouldn't miss it. I rode a bit over 2 miles down and didn't see a Target, but I'd passed a K-Mart, so I turned around and went in there. I got some of the things we needed and headed back. I still didn't see Target.
Bud told me I'd ridden right past it. I looked it up on the computer and saw it was just 0.8 miles down US 1. After lunch I set out again. This time I was going to stop first at the Pet Supermarket to get Fuzzy some food. We'd been out of the kind he needs for a while and had been mixing rice or potatoes with his food every night to cut down on the protein. He's so old he can't handle a lot of protein. I found the food we used to buy him and got a bag and the four cans they had in stock. That was heavy enough that I decided to bring it back to the boat before I went back to Target. Then I headed out again. This time I was on the right side of the road, and I saw Target, set well back from the road behind trees with no sign out on US 1. I crossed the four lanes of traffic and the median strip and rode up to the bike rack. I went to lock the bike and realized I'd left the lock in the bag of dog food back on the boat. So I rode back to the boat again. Finally I arrived at Target with the bike and lock and was able to go inside and shop. At this point I'd biked about four miles in 90-degree weather with high humidity. I was dripping with sweat. I took my time shopping so I'd cool down before I had to leave. I did find a round cookie sheet (or pizza pan) small enough to fit in our oven, so that was a success. I also got a new laundry bag. We'd been using an old one of our daughter's. It worked find, but the cloth had a stiff coating on the inside that was starting to crumble off and would get on the clothes and then on the floor every time we used it. I had gotten a new entry rug for the bottom of the companionway at K-Mart. The one we had there we'd meant to replace before we left Wilson, but hadn't gotten around to it and then never had the time or opportunity since.
So I guess you could say we're settling in here, I just hope we can use this as our base for the summer. The photo is of the pavilion at the marina, which used to be Oyster Creek and is now River's Edge. It's not the new grilling station at TYC, but it will do.