Sailing with Nine of Cups

Vessel Name: Nine of Cups
Vessel Make/Model: Liberty 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado, USA
Crew: Marcie & David
About: We've lived aboard Nine of Cups since 2000 and have managed to accumulate 86,000+ nm under the keel since that time. We completed a circumnavigation in April 2015 and managed to sail around the five great southern capes. Come along with us for the ride!
Visit our website at for more photos and info about Nine of Cups and her crew. We also have a more extensive blogsite at Are some of our links broken? Links break from time to time. Please let us know which ones are broken and we'll fix them. You [...]
05 January 2017 | Chesapeake, VA
07 July 2016 | Us: East Walpole, MA / Cups: Chesapeake, VA
06 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA
04 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA
02 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA
01 July 2016 | Virginia Beach, Virginia
30 June 2016 | Chesapeake, VA
29 June 2016 | Chesapeake, VA
28 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
27 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
26 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
25 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
24 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
23 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
22 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
21 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
20 June 2016 | Charleston, South Carolina, USA
19 June 2016 | Charleston, South Carolina, USA
18 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
17 June 2016 | Intracoastal Waterway from St Augustine to Norfolk
Recent Blog Posts
05 January 2017 | Chesapeake, VA

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

07 July 2016 | Us: East Walpole, MA / Cups: Chesapeake, VA

Taking a breather ...

Since we'll be off the boat during July and August, we plan to post only three times per week. The Captain will continue writing a practical Blue View post each week, we'll keep you up to date on what's happening with us and then throw in some cruising nuggets as well.

06 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA

Keeping fit

We’ve written before about keeping fit on the boat. David is so much better at a regimented exercise program than I am. I have all the best intentions, but I can always think of something better to do than sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts and running in place. It doesn’t take much to distract me. Walking, [...]

04 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA

Happy 240th Birthday, America

Growing up in New England, I took for granted just how lovely a summer’s morning can be in Massachusetts. It’s comfortably cool and everything smells clean and fresh. Spider webs glisten with morning dew and it’s just great to be alive and breathe in the new day. Being back at Lin’s house conjures up wonderful childhood memories of summer mornings past. And this is not just any morning … it’s the 4th of July, the best holiday of the summertime in the USA.

02 July 2016 | East Walpole, MA

Leaving Cups and a Road Trip

Leaving Nine of Cups is never easy. We know she’ll pout while we’re gone and so we do our best to make sure she’s as comfortable as possible before we leave. We were whirling dervishes trying to get everything ready.

01 July 2016 | Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hunting & Gathering - Virginia Beach

We had lots to do before leaving Cups. David was intent on getting as many chores done in advance of our departure as possible so that once we return in September, we can spend time sailing in the Chesapeake rather than doing repairs and maintenance. Much of what we needed in the way of parts and supplies, [...]

All zipped up

08 December 2012 | Hobart, TAS
How to unstick a stuck zipper

I know, zippers are not a usual topic for a live-aboard, sailing adventure blog site. It's just that they're driving me crazy right now and I thought you should know about it. If you've got any notion at all to live aboard a boat, zippers will become an issue for you.

Like everything else metal on a boat, zippers, like the kind on your backpacks, jeans and zip-up fleeces, tend to corrode. It's not the zipper teeth themselves, but rather the metal slider and pull tab. They corrode in place on the nylon or metal zipper teeth. We left one backpack aboard when we headed to the States this past summer. I went to use it the other day to go walking. Not one of the five zippers on that backpack worked. All were frozen shut.

Here's a line from Wikipedia on the subject:
“A zipper costs relatively little, but if it fails, the garment [or backpack] may be unusable until the zipper is repaired or replaced—which can be quite difficult and expensive.” What a revelation! Not only is it unusable, but you can't retrieve anything that's been left in it!

Granted, the backpack is beat up. I've been using it for years. However, since $75 backpacks don't grow on trees and we've run into this same situation a number of times, David has become pretty efficient at repairing/rejuvenating zippers with this particular problem. Here's the solution.

1.Free the zipper slider. Repeatedly spray with WD40 and work the slider with needle nose pliers until the slider can be moved on the zipper teeth. You can't be too aggressive in your efforts or you'll break the slider and/or the tab pull. An even pressure, more WD40 and patience will eventually free the slider. (The patience part can be an issue … but that's just me.)

2.Open the zipper and lubricate. Once the slider can be moved, open the zipper all the way and apply a zipper lubricant/preservative along both sides of the teeth. Our well-worn teflon lubricant is in a solid bar form and made by Pelican Canvas Products in San Pedro, CA. We've had it since we moved aboard the boat. I couldn't find a website for Pelican, but we have used MaxWax as well. The same product can also be used for wetsuits, luggage, etc. We're sure other brands will work just fine. (
In a pinch, we've even used an unscented, white candle.

3.Work the zipper all the way up and down a few times to make sure it zips smoothly. In a perfect world, with a perfect crew, we'd lubricate all of our zippers on a regular basis (as if!), but since we don't, these extreme measures do the trick.

So, while David was unfreezing zippers, I happened to have internet access and got these key facts about zippers from Wikipedia for your personal pleasure while you're waiting for the WD40 to work:

Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine (in Spencer, MA right next to my hometown of Leicester) received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". His sewing machine was evidently doing so well, he didn't market it and lost his window of opportunity.
A Swedish-American electrical engineer, Gideon Sunbäck, is actually credited for this invention c.1917. B F Goodrich used it for its rubber boots and coined the word “zipper”because that's the sound the slider makes when it's doing its thing.
Zippers were first used for boots and tobacco pouches and didn't really “take off” till the 1930's when zippers were used on kids clothes and marketed as an easier way for kids to dress themselves.
French fashion designers declared the zipper the ultimate in fashion for men in 1937 when it won the “Battle of the Fly” over traditional button-flies Here's my favorite line: “Esquire declared the zipper the "Newest Tailoring Idea for Men" and among the zippered fly's many virtues was that it would exclude "The Possibility of Unintentional and Embarrassing Disarray."

Ah, the virtues of zippers, but there's something to be said about a man in tight Levi 501s.

Do you use Wikipedia? I do... a lot. It's free to use, but you might want to consider contributing a little into the till. They're asking for the price of a cup of coffee (Starbucks not a senior McDonald's). Help them out. We did.

For a pictorial "how-to", visit our new blogsite at
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