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S/V Earendil
Back Aboard
09/09/2011, St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL

We were launched today at about 4 PM, but things didn't go entirely without problems. The first problem was that the new engine wouldn't start. Bud tried it with both the house batteries (the ones we use for pumps and lights, etc.) and the engine start battery combined, just to make sure it wasn't a low battery, but no go. I was sitting off the boat with Fuzzy, the boat was hanging in the slings in the launch slip. Dave, the electrician climbed on board. After a couple of minutes he came back and said that Danny, the mechanic who installed the engine, had to bypass the starter solenoid. I asked if that would work to get the engine started. He said it did, the engine was running. I was less than 40 feet away and couldn't hear it! So that will have to be dealt with on Monday, but the engine runs, and nicely.

Next little glitch, forward and reverse are switched. You push the gear shift lever forward and the boat backs up, pull it back and the boat goes forward. None of the yard people seemed concerned. They had a fifty/fifty chance of getting it right, and they missed. So that will have to get fixed Monday.

Bud brought the boat over to the slip with Danny aboard and two other yard men caught them and secured the bow and stern. Fuzzy and I pretty much just watched. Danny stayed aboard and adjusted the stuffing box (where the propellor shaft comes in through the hull) and got that adjusted so it doesn't leak when you're standing still (it's supposed to drip when the shaft is turning). Once that was done the yard guys went home and Bud and I were able to set up housekeeping in our own home again. I snapped this photo of a mast-less Earendil in her slip.

Then came the last little glitch. Bud eagerly turned on the heat pump air conditioner, only to have hot air come out of the vents. The pump is working and water is flowing through, but the thermostat doesn't seem to be working. So that's tomorrow's project. So we've fired up the window air conditioner in the companionway again, and we still get to crawl over that. Oh well, if there weren't problems we'd think we were living in a condo.

Meanwhile, most things are put away, the boat is partially cleaned inside and we had our first meal aboard. Fuzzy is very happy to have the boat back in the water and all of us aboard again. He's getting pretty blind, though and fell in the hole where the mast will go. It's only about 14 inches deep, but he fits in it completely. I had to take out the pieces of the floor around the mast to get him out.

More tomorrow, I put a couple of photos of the launch in the gallery.

Ready to Launch
09/08/2011, St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL

We finished up the fresh coat of bottom paint as well as cleaning, buffing and waxing the hull today. It was hot, tiring work and we're glad to have it done. The hull looks about as good as a 27 year old boat can look. Someday we'd like to get the hull painted, but that's not in the cards for a while.

The boatyard (St. Augustine Marine Center) negotiated with us regarding the extra work they had to do to install the Yanmar. We agreed to pay the extra (almost $4,000) and they are providing dockage and two hauls up to that amount. So it looks like we will be staying at St. Augustine Marine Center until we leave for the Bahamas and again next hurricane season. Overall it seemed like a fair solution for both of us, though we are all still unhappy that Yanmar didn't let them know that the 75 hp diesel engine had changed and now required extensive work to install in our boat.

The boat is scheduled to be launched Friday, 9/9 at 3 PM. We'll see if that happens. We're going to launch without the mast because the rigging isn't done, and it's actually easier to step the mast when the boat is in the water as the boat is much lower than when it's up on the jack stands on the hard. We'll be moving aboard as soon as it's launched to give Gary and Karen back their privacy. Fuzzy will be disappointed, he's settled right in to the nice air conditioned house with a fenced back yard.

I'll post again Friday if the launch happens.

Back at the Boat, But Not Onboard
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.

09/03/2011 | Bob Alexander
It's nice to see the next chapter about to start.
The day is lacking in anticipation with none of your escapades to look forward to.
09/05/2011 | Jon and Arline
Glad to see you are back and ready to go. We will keep in touch till we get to our home and then see if we can join you this year.
09/07/2011 | Bill & Karen
Glad to read everything is progressing on the boat!! Nice job on the cushions, they look great!!!
Cruising in the Land Barge
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.

07/25/2011 | Alex Astbury
good luck with the work-We hauled last Dec at St Augustine marine as well-fabulous yard-say hi to JP and Bobby on Issis for us
Waiting Out the Work…Visiting
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.

Living on the Hard
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.

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