10 May 2016 | Home in Anchorage
D-Day is here, at long last. Are we excited? YES! Conni didn’t go to work today and has been hurriedly packing. I’ve filled-to-overflowing two blue boxes of gear, as well as my “Bill Bag”, the huge, red dry bag of mine. Conni has been working every day until late, as well as both days last weekend, just to prepare her clients for her long absence. She’s earned a bit of a rest.
I’m carrying back two new jib sheets, a new main halyard, and four new injector tubes (the high pressure steel tubes that carry diesel fuel from the injector pump to the injectors), so my bag was full with just that, to say nothing of all my clothing and such. I had to negotiate with Conni for her to carry a few items that simply wouldn’t fit by volume or weight.
The boxes….well, they’re stuffed, of course. We have to keep the weight well below the 50-lb limit since everyone’s scale reads differently and we’ve been caught before and had to scramble to re-pack and re-distribute gear. I’m checking my red bag and a blue box, while Conni has two blue boxes and will carry aboard her duffle with her miniature clothing in it. On all Alaska flights we can carry two items each at no cost. Of course that changes when we board the Air France flight to Tahiti, but it can’t be helped.
We have no gear that needs installation from scratch, but a lot of spare gear for stuff that we think might fail this time. For example, we’re bringing a replacement blower for the one that pulls air from the engine compartment and dumps it overboard. The engine is old and we get some particulate in the living space if the blower fails. We’ve got a spare galley foot pump since we try not to use pressurized water when we’re cruising. We find that one is careless with the precious water if we use the pressure water. We’re continuing the incandescent to LED replacement process, so we have a few LEDs with us.
I’ve finally derived a suitable way to store all of my boat information. I’ve got schematics for wiring, the electronics installs, and plumbing. I also carry diagrams of all the winches, windlass, compass, and everything else for which I could find information: decades worth of work, in fact. I’m trying a 3-ring notebook with dividers, and each page is protected with a clear sheet protector. At long last, I have an organized and accessible way to store and retrieve all of this information. Last year I rebuilt the two primary, two-speed winches and had a terrible time with reassembly. Now I’ve got the schematics for all the winches, so that’s one fewer problem. I did, by the way, find two broken pawl springs, a first occurrence but a learning experience.
We also purchased a replacement for our old WinchRite. A WinchRite is a battery-powered winch handle. It charges on AC or DC and makes raising a heavy main a lot easier. Since the boat is on stands, we use the WinchRite and spare halyards to raise loads to deck level. That method beats the hell out of climbing a steep ladder with one hand on the ladder and one on the box. We bought an original version and had two replacements through the years, but this new one is supposed to be the best. I hope so!
I worked at West yesterday and had an unexpected visitor. A man named Michael walked up to me and introduced himself. He told me that we had met at West several years before and that he and his wife had been following us (via our website and blog) for years. Wow! I was fairly embarrassed, to tell the truth. Another friend of mine had emailed me last year that my blogs were “unfiltered”, an interesting thought. I was suddenly embarrassed by what and how I might have described other people or places. Although I was nonplussed, he certainly was not. Michael, if you’re still reading, please accept my thanks for persevering with us. Our blog, especially, has been enormously helpful to me, a catharsis, I guess.
I’ve just printed a listing of every item in all the boxes and bags. I’ll place the page on top of each container as a warning that we know exactly what’s in the box so theft will be discovered and as a help to know what each item is. We drill holes through the lids of the blue boxes and into the lips on the boxes, and thread cable ties though. The boxes never spill items with this system. It’s secure from spillage, prying eyes and hands, but can be easily released by inspectors. We’ve also learned to provide many extra cable ties so that after TSA opens the boxes, and they always do, they’ll be able to fasten the tops back on the boxes. We tape the spare ties to a sheet of paper that pleas for them to use the spares to re-attach the top to the box with the ties and to take care in re-packing things. Before we started this kind of thing, we had a lot of items go missing, but almost none since using this method.
It’s interesting how my fabrication work has evolved. For example, I’ve installed a switch in the exciter circuit of the alternator, so that if we need the horsepower that’s being used for powering the alternator, I can switch off the alternator, reclaiming those horsepower for propulsion The toggle has been hanging freely since I installed it and this time I fabricated a small bracket for it. It’s just aluminum strap that I drilled and bent into an “L” shape over my bench vice, but now I paint the stuff. I even painted the screw heads this time. Of course, it’s not necessary, but it does give a finished appearance to the install and takes only minimal time. Luckily, most interior items in the boat are an off-white that is an easy match for an OMC-white engine paint. Engine paint is made to stick to metal and withstands high temperature, so it’s an ideal paint for this use. It’s just not something that I would have considered earlier.
I just posted a few photos of our packing and the various containers.