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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
10/14/2007, Javadom

Hideko and I were very happy with our little drip coffee maker (see blog from a year ago). Then, about a month back, Fred made us lattes with his La Pavoni infusion espresso machine. Our world crumbled and a vicious espresso machine envy set in.

We stood strong though. No snap decisions, right Hideko?, Right! We'll just go on enjoying our lives. Heck, we hardly ever even make coffee anymore unless guest are aboard or we're on passage... darn it, here comes Fred with another Latte.

It wouldn't have been so bad but the La Pavoni, which incidentally Fred selected after 3 months of online research, is like having an Italian Cafe in your galley. Every cup Fred made for us was fantastic. You pull the shots yourself so you never have to worry about a failed pump (I hate pumps) and you can create infinite variations. No two shots are ever the same. The machine circulates the water constantly keeping the boiler at 2 atmospheres (as a dive instructor I love anything with a pressure gague). It is also easy to clean and take care of.

Fred's experience and ours have this to recommend: Get the La Pavoni Romantica Professional. It is hard to come by but if you look around you can find it online. (try: It has the large boiler which heats up as fast as the small one but lets you make five or six good sized lattes without a refill. It also has the pressure gauge which is cool, but also helpful. The finish is a beautiful golden bronze with rose wood handles (I've heard complaints about the plastic ones breaking). It is also worth considering the La Pavoni bur grinder. We love ours and it allows you to make espresso grind coffee anywhere (blade grinders don't work for espresso). You may have a tough time getting espresso grind in out of the way places but you can get coffee just about anywhere.

In the end, efficiency and minimal material possessions gave way to awesome coffee. I rationalize this as a critical preparation for our South Pacific journey where good coffee will ensure alert watch keeping on our various passages. Yeah right...

Hideko's Sail Loft
10/13/2007, Martin's Marina

Hideko and I started working on our sail repair skills in earnest today. There's a great book, widely respected amongst the salty, called the Sailmaker's Apprentice. The book teaches you everything you could possibly want to know about sails, from rig and sail types, to sail shapes and sail construction. The first chapter is titled, "A Ditty Bag Apprenticeship", and takes you through the construction of a fairly complex ditty bag. We purchased the book as part of our library and planned to go through it together to develop some key cruising skills (neither of us have done much sowing historically...).

Before we left Fort Lauderdale Hideko and I bought ditty bag kits. Sailrite (located right around the block from Lauderdale Marine Center) puts kits together specifically for the Sailmaker's Apprentice text with all of the thread, cloth, grommets, wax, needles and other bits that you need.

We are using a large floor board to protect our table from pins, markers and whatnot. It became surplus when we installed the washer dryer and I almost threw it out, it is a rather heavy chunk of wood. Hideko talked me into keeping it and we have had it stashed under one of the quarter berths (wait that's mono hull lingo, well you know what I mean).

It is far too early to predict the results of this endeavor but the process has been very educational so far. We are learning the flat stitch, round stitch, sticking stitch and cross stitch, as well as how to finish eyes, grommets and cringles, among other more exotic rope and needle work. If you fancy upgrading your salt rating I highly recommend taking a look at Emiliano Marino's Sailmaker's Apprentice.

Back to Martin's Marina
10/10/2007, Saint David's Bay

Saint David's Bay is a nice little Bay. It is pretty quiet, especially considering that there is a boat yard there. The boat yard has a bar and restaurant, though the restaurant is survival only in my book. There's a nice boutique resort with a great restaurant and their own dinghy dock on the east side of the bay. The anchorage is not crowded and everyone is friendly. It is a pretty place.

The bad bit is that the wind comes from the east with the swell bending around from the south. To top it off the weather report was predicting intense squalls in the area this evening. We were paid up for a month at Martins Marina and decided that we would have more fun on the dock during the squalls than in the rolly Saint David's anchorage.

So off we sailed...

Back in the Water
10/09/2007, Grenada Marine

Blue Star went back in the water and all was well.

Anode Baggage
10/08/2007, Grenada Marine

This is a nice shot of the fishing line we found spooled around the drive shaft of one of the sail drives when we changed the anode.

The Culprit
10/07/2007, Grenada Marine

Grenada Marine did a great job hauling Blue Star on time and getting the bottom painted quickly. We also got some critical sage advice from Craig, the gentleman who runs the mechanical area.

When we unbolted the motor we discovered that the starboard motor mount bolt on the engine side was sheered off. The following is speculation but our best guess at the issue.

This likely happened a year and a half ago when the engine was originally damaged by a mismatched folding prop installed at the factory. The dealers replaced the motor and then had to pull it and reinstall it due to another problem. We are guessing that this is the window within which the mount was broken. Regardless you can tell that the motor mount was broken a while ago due to the high gloss polish on the bolt.

Enter tropical storm Felix. So Blue Star is docked beam to the wind and swell and with one motor mount missing. This allows the motor to rock port to starboard, which doesn't happen much... unless you're beam to a tropical storm. The gasket around the sail drive was probably weakened by the loose motor over the prior months but the violence of Felix caused the crack to sheer through the gasket. Voila, hole in boat.

Saildrive Reinstall
10/06/2007, Grenada Marine

When we went to reinstall the saildrive Jay really wanted to do so by lifting the drive leg up from the bottom. The problem was the hull manufacturer cut a rectangular hole for a round drive plate. Almost, but not quite big enough. The laminate in the area that needed to be trimmed out was thin almost as if it was supposed to be cut out.

Jay is not shy. He grabbed a saw and started hacking on the hull. A moment later the hole was large enough to reinstall the drive leg from below (not to mention remove it from below next time!). This made reassembling the drive much easier.

Jay faired the newly exposed glass and gave it a good epoxy coating.


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