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Productive Weekend

Due to a lousy weather forecast, we set about chores... Laurie did a marvelous job of Spring Cleaning - waxing and buffing the entire bathroom and cleaning all the headliners and floor. The place looks great!

I attempted to equalize the batteries - they were certainly all bubbling away and trying to gas us with hydrogen! - but the voltage didn't go up to 15+V - so I'm not entirely certain I've achieved anything. Anybody know anything about equalizing using a Prosine 2 Inverter? I also fiddle-farted around with other very important tasks but I can't remember what they were!

We were hoping to re-start work on the bimini, but the wind and rain prevented any action.

We were quite exhausted by Saturday evening - so it was nice to have Mike and Jane come over and give us a perfect reason to stop. We even managed to finish the evening in the cockpit - and noticed that a large ship was anchored outside of NEB. In the morning we saw that the ship was a boat transporter - apparently delivering about 30 boats from the Caribbean up to NEB for the summer.

Surprisingly, Saturday dawned bright and cloudless - not the forecast grey and grissly. We therefore set about waxing and buffing the cabin top. She gleams! Somehow I managed to stay focused on the polishing - but it was difficult in view of the marvelous sailing opportunity being missed - with winds at 15 - 20 almost constantly - but in the afternoon we managed a quick sail for a couple hours - up to Bristol and back again, in 12 - 15kts. The boat was sailing beautifully, and occasionally hitting over 8kts! Love it!

06/04/2012 | Diane Sterrett
Sounds like you're getting used to dock life. What kind of wax did you use?
06/04/2012 | Battery Guy
What amp output is your charger and how many amps is the bank you're trying to equalize? If it's a big bank and a small charger you'll never see over 15 volts. You should see closer to 16 volts for a few hours to equalize. Disconnect any voltage sensitive stuff, some electronics and lights will not tolerate that high voltage.
06/04/2012 | Bill Balme
Diane: Star-Brite wax - worked really nicely - easy on and easy off.

Battery Guy: The Prosine is capable of 100A apparently - and it's an 1100AH bank.
I think maybe the batteries were not fully charged prior to equalizing - so back to square one!
Sitting on the Dock!

It's raining - so here we are doing jobs around the boat - fortunately Jane and Mike came over for dinner and drinks to stop this silly activity!!! Then Mike goes on to wash the dishes!

Way to go Jane and Mike!

Block Island

All aboard and packed up at 5:00pm on Friday but with not much wind and plenty of fog, we set off on the first leg of the trip to Block Island (Abby's 5th attempt!) - to a stop-over point in Newport. As we progressed down the bay, the fog got more and more dense, such that by the time we reached Newport bridge, it wasn't visible from underneath it!!! Finding a place to anchor was fun too - but we managed and settled on 20ft deep with 100ft of chain deployed. Laurie livened up the evening with a wonderful beef stew!

Saturday morning was foggy too - but as it was forecast to lift, we weighed anchor at 9:15 am and tentatively set out again and motored down the bay into a light headwind. Elixir hailed us on their way out of the Sakonnet, indicating they were in 20kts of wind - so we hurriedly re-jiggered the reefing lines into their proper places in case the need should arise - it didn't! As the wind built, we were able to start sailing around 10:00am and headed due south on a close reach, making between 5 and 6.5 kts. Unfortunately though, after tacking we developed a problem with the Genoa, preventing us from sailing on Starboard tack with it (wouldn't unfurl) so we found ourselves ambling along at 2.5kts with the smaller jib. As we neared BI buoy, we spotted Elixir making much better progress than us, so renewed and motivated efforts finally allowed us to free up the genoa - but too late to catch the elusive Sabre!
We arrived sometime after 5:30 and plonked ourselves on a mooring next to Jamin.

A raucous night followed with Bill & Phyllis (Joss), Mike & Jane (Jamin) and Peter and Diane (Elixir) with Champagne, Wine (8 bottles!) and homemade cookies. We repaired to bed sometime around midnight - apparently!

Sunday was a day of recovery! A beautiful day. I dropped Abby and her bike off at the dingy dock so she could explore and later Laurie and I headed to Ballards for some hair of the dog, then to the National for lunch and back to the boat for a climb up the mast to look for tangled genoa halyards. Sunday afternoon we enjoyed cocktails and munchies aboard Elixir then returned to Toodle-oo! for a delicious clambake!

Monday dawned foggy again. We dropped the mooring at 9:00 - just as Elixir weighed anchor. Once out of the pond, the fog really came in - and there was precious little wind, though we did try to sail for a while with the code zero - but gave in after about thirty minutes of 2+kts speed... However half way between BI buoy and Point Judith R2 can, the wind came up to about 7 kts, so we tried again and were able to move at 3.5 - 4.5 kts. We eventually decided to try our last sail - and put up the spinnaker, which carried us most of the way to Brenton Reef - though immediately after gybing, the wind dropped to nothing so we motored sailed right up to Newport., when finally we were able to sail wing on wing with Genoa, Jib (and Main centered) all the way to NEB.

A good weekend - lots of things to bring to the boat next week!!!

Moving Day
05/21/2012, NEB Portsmouth

Sunday morning we made our way to Pirate Cove for the last time - and after getting everything stowed away and some last minute prep, we dropped lines at 10:30 and headed out to the mooring field where we grabbed a vacant mooring. On a mooring with the boat pointed into the wind, we set about installing all the battens in the main. Once done, we were off.

As soon as we cleared under the Sakonnet Bridge (won't miss that bloody thing!) we raised the main. Overall the quality of workmanship looks fine - there are a couple of issues we'll have to talk to Steve Thurston about, but in general we're pleased. I am second guessing the reefing points already - we opted for two deep reefs - but they are REALLY deep! Later on in the sail we were to find that the roach of the sail is just a little big - resulting in a tangle with the back-stay when tacking...

The jib and Genoa both look good - and the Genoa is just about the right size - at 125%. Very happy.

We sailed down through Mount Hope Bridge and then up towards Bristol - past the boss' house (subject of the photo) before heading back down to NEB. Peter Sterrett had been hailing us along the way to find out range - we were able to communicate to Bristol, but once at NEB we were unable to make contact.

Stowing the main for the first time was interesting - but we managed a good flake - made somewhat easier through lack of a dodger!

The slips in NEB look huge from the dock, but getting into them from the water is tight indeed! Much more difficult that I had been expecting, so it was great when two new neighbors rushed in to assist and get us situated. Not the grand entrance we had hoped for!

With the boat settled, we generally cleared up, Laurie finished off the fender covers, and we installed the new sail cover - albeit without snaps yet - looks really good!

We are tied to electric and to water - so living on the high for this season!!!

05/21/2012, Pirate Cove Marina

The great day arrives and we get launched! Interesting start to the event - the rear wheels of the travel lift had to go up on blocks in order to clear the wind generator!

On Friday we sorted out all the messed up halyards - with Peter Sterrett's help at the top of the mast. We re-attached the boom with Mike and Jane's help and then installed the new Strong Track - what an effort! The engine started at first turn of the key but I couldn't get the fresh water to work - the pump simply not pulling anything from the full tanks. We created chaos down below with loading all sorts of stuff aboard and then a nice cold beer with Peter, Mike and Jane rounded out the exhausting day...

On Saturday we bent on sails - starting with the smaller jib. The new fabric is really loud! After about six attempts to get it up and furled, we finally succeeded - turns out the halyard shackle was too big - infringing upon free movement of the furler... After all that, the Genoa went up first try.
The Main on the other hand was rather more tricky; despite it being much bulkier (new and made of heavier cloth), we managed to get it up the track, but had no chance to flake it properly with the cross wind that had us pinned to the dock. We ended up wrapping it up with an old halyard in a rather non-seamanlike manner! Succeeded in getting the water to work - feed pipe had come adrift adjacent to the pump - so it was sucking air not water. Now it took forever to unload the water tanks - which I'd managed to fill while trying to get the system going.

With all the preparations, we were too late to make our way to NEB - tomorrow would work...

Herky Jerky Spring

It's been a jerky start to this year's sailing season, preparation activity being interrupted repeatedly with house selling activities. It's been a painful spring - but we're hopeful that the house will move shortly...

Meanwhile, we've got half the winches stripped and come to a screeching halt because of missing parts and a failure on my part to be able to disassemble one of them - and I can't find instructions anywhere on a 68 - you'd think Lewmar didn't make a winch that big...

The bottom is a bit of an issue - there's a problem of adhesion between layers - probably dating back 2 or 3 years. So much so that we've decided to get it cleaned off properly, so it'll now be soda blasted back to the barrier layer and then after a fresh couple of coats of barrier paint, on with some new Micron 66.

The boom is ready and waiting to be delivered and attached to the mast. Before that, the new Strong Track system needs to be installed - the old one was badly damaged. Then we have new sails to bend on.

We've been working the wood - re-finishing the teak entryway and repairing the just varnished salon table - that took a severe beating when it was brought aboard by some clumsy Brit.

With any luck, Brandon at Pirate cove will be able to get us into the water in the next couple of weeks and then the fun begins... (not) finishing bimini, dodger and sailcover!

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Who: Bill and Laurie Balme
Port: Newport, RI
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