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The Saga of Ursa Minor
We're a boat again!
nice and sunny
02/03/2007, Crews Inn Marina, Trinidad

Ursa Minor and her crew finally splashed on Wednesday and moved a few hundred feet across the bay to Crews Inn Marina, a very upscale place with free cable TV with more stations than we had in Michigan (although, alas, no Food Channel) and some nice activities aimed at cruisers: Mexican train dominoes on Sundays, Manager's Cocktail Party on Mondays, and barbecue potluck on Thursdays. Still lots of projects on-going including varnishing and installing the new bits of wood which will make the galley a bit more manageable and give us more room for books in the salon. I won't be able to unpack all the books I've amassed in various bags, but it will relieve the situation a bit. Got to have lots of books to cross an ocean! We're also working on getting insurance for our trip across the big pond - ugh, it's expensive and the exclusions and restrictions seem never ending. Lots of Carnival related activities going on daily, and we hope to get to a few but probably won't stay all the way through Carnival.

You might notice that the boat and the crew become almost interchangeable in these postings, and Ursa gets referred to at time as a person, and becomes personified as us -"we're a boat again". This use of language is pretty typical among us boaties - "we got an email from Tackless II", "we had dinner with Topaz the other night", etc. - a boat and its crew merge into one in our thinking and speech, as we do with our own boat "we've been a charter boat for years but now are cruising". It demonstrates how very much a part of our identity and life the boat is.

This next week I'll be getting organized with provisioning for our trip across the northern coast of South America to the Canal. We'll be able to do some more in Margarita, and the ABCs, so it won't be as massive as when we're about to head across the Pacific, but I'm treating it as a bit of a trial run. It's still hard to imagine what all I need to buy to prepare for months at sea and among small islands with not much available, and where I'll find room for it all aboard.

To see where we are:
01/25/2007

Tracking Ursa Minor

When we are underway you can follow our progress around the globe. In addition you can read any log entries we have made concerning weather, special events, etc. as we report them to two different tracking services. Both services provide text and graphic (satellite map like Google Earth?"?) information about our geographic position.

YOTREPS: Go to http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/reporter_list.php and scroll down the list alphabetically until you come to our SailMail call sign WCY8054. The boat name is also given. Click on the last column hotlink and you'll see our log report and map position. Or, if you want to see it more quickly, go straight to our report at http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=WCY8054

Winlink 2000: ( Note - this won't be available before February 23, 2007 most likely.) This is the ham radio ship tracker version. Go to http://www.winlink.org/positions/PosReports.aspx . In the column 'callsign', scroll down to find our ham radio callsign NP2NH and activate. You can have a conventional map view or a satellite view. Either way you'll know where we are as of our last report and the course we followed to get there.

Where is Ursa Minor?
Coup de Keel
Bryan
01/20/2007, Power Boats yard in Trinidad

THE SAGA OF MAKING URSA MINOR HEAVIER

Those who have followed our blog this far will remember our mentioning work on the keel in an earlier entry. Before leaving Trinidad in November, we had a 1,200 lb. shoe cast out of lead and epoxied to the bottom of the keel to secure
it until we returned in January. Well, we're back and work has begun afresh.

The inspiration for the keel came from Keith Reynolds, s/v Camelot, another Saga owner from Florida. Keith provided the technical details that facilitated the casting here as well as the installation. Upon our return the first critical step was to through-bolt the shoe to the keel. This very difficult task was managed by Ian Chai Hong a very skilled local machinist. The difficulty arose from the nature of the material. Lead is a very soft metal and tends to heat and adhere to the drill bits as the holes are bored. Since he had to drill 8 18mm holes for 10" bolts, there was a lot of heatin' and adherin'. Ian is pictured with his massive drill and jousting-sized bits in this article.

After bolting the shoe to the keel, the final protective measure was undertaken by Clinton 'AK" Brewster, our long-time friend and working partner here at Power Boats. AK wrapped the keel to the shoe using heavy biaxial fiberglass matting to ensure that the shoe and keel are an integral unit. After wrapping, AK filled the bolt surfaces with micro balloons, and faired out the surface to make it hydrodynamic. He is pictured dripping with epoxy resin below.

As you can tell from the pictures the boat had to be suspended in the air while this work was done. It's been a labor-intensive endeavor, but one that will pay big dividends in stability and performance.

Click on the last album in the gallery to see more pictures from the keel addition project.

A piece of history in Grand Rapids
01/05/2007

We were privileged to be in Grand Rapids this week for the funeral of former President Gerald Ford, a favorite son of this city where he was raised and which he represented for many years in Congress before becoming president. The funeral motorcade on the way from his museum to Grace Episcopal Church for his final funeral passed within a few blocks from my parent's home, so Bryan and I joined the crowds along the way to honor his memory. There was a huge turnout of people along the motorcade route, as well as at the museum where he lay in repose earlier. It was all very moving. While watching the funeral on TV, I kept glancing out the window to watch a pair of swans on the lake who reminded me of the beauty of Jerry and Betty Ford's strong relationship, and the values they represented. We walked past of few of his earlier homes, both within a few blocks of the grade school I attended, and I was reminded how much he was a man of the people - very unostentatious and hard working and comfortable among the common people.

Judy's first attempt at moviemaking
Judy
12/24/2006

see my first video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTJO_ZPwI28
Dad just loves singing animals, and couldn't resist buying more when they went on sale.

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Ursa Minor's Crew
Who: Captains Bryan Lane (callsign NP2NH) and Judy Knape
Port: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
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