Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

26 May 2018 | Waukegan, IL
22 May 2018 | Jacksonville, FL
19 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard, Camachee Island
17 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard in Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor
15 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard, Camachee Island
14 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard in Camachee Island
10 May 2018 | Mooring ball at St Augustine
09 May 2018 | Fountain of Youth
08 May 2018 | St Augustine
30 April 2018 | St Augustine
28 April 2018 | St Augustine, FL
27 April 2018 | Daytona Beach
25 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
24 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina

Don’t leave home without it.

26 May 2018 | Waukegan, IL
Sunny, near 90
The trucker told me the boat would get to Larsen’s Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. So Thursday morning I had the car at the dealer getting checked out after it sat around outside during the Chicago winter. Pat had been driving it every 2-3 weeks, as I instructed, but it turned out that wasn’t enough, as I’ll explain in a bit. One thing I realized after I checked the car in, was that I didn’t have my wallet. I had left home without it - I need to reacquire some shore habits. While at the dealer, I found out the boat was arriving in Waukegan in an hour and a half, and it takes an hour to get up there. Pat to the rescue. On her way to work, she grabbed my wallet and delivered it to me at the dealer. After I had my wallet, the dealer could give me a loaner car - a brand new RAV4 with only 70 miles on it, which I more than doubled that day. I needed a loaner car because the brakes on my car were seized up, especially the back brakes, which would destroy the rotors if I drove it too far - like to Waukegan to meet the boat.

When I got off the highway at the Waukegan exit, I found 120 was under destruction and had a width limit. This did not look like a good way to try to bring the boat. Happily, the truck driver had checked things out with Larsen, and they had him come in using an alternate route.

So now it is time to put the boat and mast back together, get the rudder and keel fixed, replace used anodes, wash and wax the hull, and finally, apply some bottom paint. There are hundreds of barnacles on the bottom, rudder, prop, shaft, etc., which must be removed. I noticed that the paint on the port topsides stripe just above the waterline, is seriously bubbled. With the boat loaded down, that paint was often sitting in the water, or was almost in the water. I’m not sure what happened there. The hull was repaired for blisters, but only up to the waterline. So maybe the blisters are in the hull, not the paint. The rebuilt part of the hull below the waterline is perfect, making me think it was a good idea to do that repair before the trip. I was worried that without the repair, the bottom part in the water would come back looking like the paint stripe does now - with a thousand small bubbles.

Is it something I said? Almost home.

22 May 2018 | Jacksonville, FL
Cloudy, warm
Well, it finally happened ... yesterday my boat had enough and left me high and dry.

I got the boat off yesterday, after having to deal with more rain in the morning. The last two days it never rained hard, just a steady light rain. During lunch, it stopped, so the truck driver came to the boat and helped me take the arch off, or at least remove all the bolts securing it. After we did that and broke the arch free from the caulk, it started raining again, which meant now the boat was leaking down below through the holes. I quickly caulked the holes that were leaking the worst.

The large manatee that the kids were petting in front of my boat the other day, brought his family over to see me off. They followed the boat to the haul out well. At one point, one of the adults had his head out of the water trying to catch fresh water dripping off the boat - one of those totally awesome pictures that got away.

They power washed the boat bottom before putting it on the truck. When the bottom paint is VC17, you don’t see much paint washing off. With this red Micron CSC, you can see the paint washing off - a waterfall of vivid red. At $200/gallon, it hurts to see those dollars being washed right down the drain. I guess I won’t have to worry about paint build up. The bottom is still red, so at least they didn’t blast off both coats of paint.

There is a height restriction to make it under the bridges: 13’ 6”. My bow pulpit was right at that height, so they put extra wood at the back of the keel to tip the bow of the boat down just a bit to get more breathing room. Removing the bow pulpit would have been difficult and would have resulted in a critical delay.

I do not have a modern rig, meaning I have a big, heavy mast. They moved it onto the truck without a crane. First, they got the truck right next to the mast, which was on two jack stands. Then with one guy on one end to keep it from falling off the jack stand, four guys on the other end lifted their end over to the truck. Then repeat for the other end. The mast is 53’ long.

The trucker spent several hours securing the boat to the truck. The boat yard manager was impressed by his meticulousness, which is a good thing. I considered turning on the tracker so I could follow the boat on its journey, but in the end did not.

So now I am in Jacksonville, waiting for my flight home tomorrow morning. This trip has ended, and another summer on Lake Michigan will begin shortly, and soon as my spring boat prep work is completed. Barnacles have made a mess of my shaft and prop. I made a small mess of my keel. The rudder post needs to be secured at the top and the leak fixed where it enters the hull. It might be time to replace the cutlass bearing and grease the Max Prop. My anode protecting the propeller needs to be replaced. The blog gallery has pictures of the keel and barnacles covering the prop and shaft.

Stowaways have me feeling a bit crabby.

19 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard, Camachee Island
Hot morning, rainy afternoon
The spaces here for maneuvering are very tight. You have to watch all four corners constantly. On Thursday I needed to turn around, so I thought I would do a three point turn at the first fairway. But a boat is not a car (I know some of you were wondering about that). My boat has a strong prop walk, so when I start backing up, the boat turns the way it wants (stern to port) no matter how I turn the steering wheel. Plus the wind was in cahoots with the prop walk. A wise sailor would have done the tight three point turn using those things to his advantage. A not so wise sailor would learn after his failure to use those things to his advantage the next time.

I found a stowaway on my boat yesterday. It is so wet, I am seeing small crabs on the dock - and one on my boat. Boy, they sure can scurry when they want to. Later, while down below looking out the port, I saw a young boy stop and carefully examine my boom lashing to the deck. I was pretty sure a 10 year old boy would not stop to admire my beautiful tie down job on the boom, so I went out to check on what he was looking at. There was an even smaller, quarter inch crab there. Then later a second one. These are my first critters outside of spiders on the lakes. I don’t have any active spiders now.

The last two mornings I have spent prepping the mast ... in the hot Florida sun. Then it rains in the afternoon. The boatyard blames me for all the rain - it comes everyday. They figure if I didn’t have any rain to speak of during my trip, I must be getting what I had coming to me now, all at once. They definitely noticed that once I arrived, so did the rain. The current forecast would suggest that the rain will stop when I leave.

My time to flush the dinghy motor with fresh water was 5:30 after the yard closed. And everyday at 5:30, it would be raining. Yesterday, Mason and I got things ready, in the rain. Later, I finally got that job done - the clouds broke early for the night for some reason. The first time I got the motor to the flushing station, I used a cart. There is a ramp, some steps and the walk is not short. But the station was not ready and it was late, so the motor went back to the boat. It might have been easier to check if the station was ready without the motor. Yesterday, when I worked with Mason to get things ready, he offered to help get the motor. He is younger, taller and stronger than I am. He didn’t need a cart for a 35 pound motor. Fine, so when I took the motor back to the boat after flushing, I didn’t use a cart either. But I couldn’t help but notice that when he carried the motor it appeared lighter than when I carried it. But still, I didn’t use a cart ...

My best manatee encounter was his afternoon. It was a large one and it came over to the kids on the dock. Manatees like fresh water and the kids have learned to splash the water to attract them - like water splashing from a hose. The kids petted him and a couple of times he rolled over, the first time looking for a tummy rub. I will post video on my gallery.

Mastless in St Augustine

17 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard in Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor
Hot morning, rainy afternoon.
The large crane with riggers came today. First up was a beamy 48 footer with a three spreader mast. The mast was heavier than they guessed, so they thought the mast was stuck when it really just needed more oomph from the crane. The crane was capable of wrecking the boat, so they didn’t want to just apply brute force if something was stuck.

Then it was my turn. I didn’t anticipate any issues since my mast had just come out for the Erie Canal. But just being around salt water was enough to seize my mast to the mast step on the keel. You know there’s a problem when you lift the mast and the boat comes up with it. So anything you want to undo later needs to be greased, or lubed in some way, or it could corrode shut. Riggers and others recommend lanolin. At West Marine, I found Forespar Lanocote Corrosion Inhibitor. My turnbuckles and mast bottom and step will get coated the next time I step the mast. I will do it in fresh water - I think it is required in salt water.

Next up is to remove things from the mast - like the shrouds, instruments and spreaders. Mornings seem drier than afternoons, so tomorrow morning I will attack that. I did some work today, so I have a little head start on it.

A boom of a day

15 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard, Camachee Island
Hot morning, then back to rain and storms
I've been hiding out down below from the thunderstorms the last few hours this afternoon. There was a break in the (weather) action this morning, so I got the boom off and secured, with the help of the topping lift and main halyard. It is not a small or light boom. The yard has another mast to unstep and is waiting for a bigger crane for that boat, so Thursday is mast unstepping day for the two of us.

The travel lift (haul out) is busy, so I moved out of the way this morning. Not sure how long this new spot will be available. I am plugged into shore power for the first time in months, so when they were moving me, the service manager had to ask if he could remove my shore power cable, since I showed no sign of worrying about that.

My other rain activity has been to check all the opening ports for drips and then tighten them. They seem to be getting better, but I wonder how hard they will be to latch and unlatch after this. It would be nice to check for leaks in the hard to get to places, but the boat is too cluttered to crawl around in right now.

Tomorrow is flush the dinghy motor with fresh water day. You've never heard of that? Might be just a local thing.

Hitting rock bottom ... or maybe a sandy bottom.

14 May 2018 | Camachee Yacht Yard in Camachee Island
Rainy off and on all day. 70’s
I caught the 7:30 bridge, and headed north on the ICW, went around the bend and under another bridge to the Camachee Yacht Yard. They told me I could come into this marina at high tide with no problem. Which was true. But the depth showed 11.5, I draw six feet, and the tide is five feet. When I docked, I told them I bet I touch bottom at low tide. They didn't think so, but at low tide at the slip, the depth was 5.6 feet, and the boat had clearly settled in - it wasn't heeled over, but it wasn't moving either. Rock solid, not floating freely at all.

The trucker is having trouble getting back from Michigan to pick up my boat. That is complicating things at my end. This yard isn't setup to have me sit around here while I wait. If I keep my Saturday flight, I would miss the boat send off if she doesn't pick it up until Monday. It isn't necessary for me to be here, however it is desirable on my part. We shall see.

I got the solar panels down and off the boat into storage, and disconnected the wire down below so the arch can be removed. Removing the panels was my big job for today in between the rain. Only I didn't quite make it, so I ended up a bit wet. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for pulling the mast. Rain is predicted all week and it seems to be covering the entire state. This last step has become a struggle with the weather and trucking delays.

There is a rather large pirate ship that takes folks out for a cruise. As it heads back south to return home, it is attacked by a small ship with a skeleton crew (literally, as you can see in the blog photo if you blow it up). That small ship is tied up here. I'm guessing that is so it can sneak up from behind and sneak attack the big ship. The scene is fun to watch as we sit in our Irish Pub eating dinner.
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Main
18 Photos
Created 8 April 2018
31 Photos
Created 22 January 2018
Traveling down the Chesapeake and the East Coast
53 Photos
Created 11 September 2017
Erie Canal and Hudson River
33 Photos
Created 18 August 2017
Great Lakes part of the journey.
45 Photos
Created 15 July 2017
Boat prep and races prior to departure
12 Photos
Created 14 June 2017