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STILL HERE – BEQUIA November 24, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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It is Monday night and the Christmas Wind is still here. It has not rained since last night, so maybe the Wind is getting ready to go also. We were hoping to leave Tuesday of Wednesday, but now it looks like Thursday, Thanksgiving. If it is nice that would definitely be something to be thankful for. There is to be another Christmas Wind coming next week. We have about 65 miles to go to our next port. With the short days we will be leaving between 4 and 5 in the morning. That will get us to our next port about 4:30 to 5 PM. Should give us enough light to get in and anchored.

Then we are on to Rodney Bay. There we will replenish on food and other supplies. I believe they have a Furuno dealer and I would like to have my gyro compass checked. We are in an area with a 17 degree difference between true and magnetic north. My wind direction readings are suspect. The wind always blows from one side of the boat…, I don’t think so. If they do not have a tech there, I can live with the strange wind reading. I have a mast fly at the top of the mast that point to the wind. I also have tell tails in the shrouds that show wind direction. I have also been blessed with sticky out ears that are excellent wind direction finders and have served me well during these many years.

Rodney Bay on St Lucia has a reputation about as bad as St Vincent for the way cruisers have been treated through the years. We just pray we stay safe.

We did the walk to the Whale Museum Saturday. It was longer higher and a bust. The museum is in a house that is lived in. They are renovating the place. It looked like it needed it. They had a couple bones laying on the porch, but that was it. We then walked about a mile more looking for a place to eat. Heard of one, a nice place, about 1 block up a 45 degree grade. It was closed. Enough of this stuff. We took a bus back to town and ate at the Whale Boner. That’s right, that is the correct name. That was not all that good either. Half the stuff on the menu they did not have. They just opened for the season and the kitchen was not fully stocked.

Sunday we went to church at an Anglican church that was built in 1829. Very unique. Quite simple other that it is totally painted white with bright blue trim and pews. Very high ceiling and very large windows that open all the way. Very airy. Especially with the Christmas Wind blowing. The birds fly in and out. That could be interesting, but no problems. The exterior is of stone construction. The walls are a good 18 inches thick. The interior is built like a poll barn. Holds the roof up and that is about it.

The people of the islands are very musical. Even with something as formal as an Anglican service, they can work in some colorful ways of doing things. They have a greeting time in which you move around and say hello to almost everyone. That’s normal. Here you are singing some song and clapping and dancing in between saying hello to everyone. Lots of fun.

The 3 boat buddy wives went shopping the other day. They are all complaining of running out of cloths. On the small islands, they do not have laundry where you can do things yourself. Instead someone does it for you.

Sometimes the laundry comes back worse then when it went out. Clean, yes, but they have a tendency to get stains and rust spots that they did not start with. Bleaching…. It better be a white, because it will be when you get it back. Underwear…, it just gets thinner and thinner till it just falls away. I had 3 weeks supply. Now I can make it through a week.

Hopefully next week will find us in St Lucia.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Went by Petite Martinique for Petite St Vincent. Petite Martinique is a fishing and boat building town. It seems industrial. Even though it is not. Petite St Vincent is a resort island. Private except you can go to the beach bar. The local beer is $25.00 EC’s a can. That is $9.25 US. Keeps us riff raft out of the place. The second day our cruising buddies and us went to a very small island with nothing on it but a thatched umbrella. The whole island is about 100 feet by 200 feet. Super clear water. A little breezy, a little choppy, but we all made it by dinghy. Anchored the dinghies in 3 feet of water, jumped into the 80 degree water and had a blast for a couple hours.

From there we checked into the Grenadines at Union Island. Than we went on to Tobago Cays. One of the best diving and snorkeling places in the world. Got there just as a heavy squall came roaring in. This is our second time here and this time we did not even get into the water. It stormed, on and off, all night and into the morning. We left in the morning.

Went to Salt Water Bay at Mayreau Island. We was greeted by wall-to-wall boats. Not even enough room to turn around. So we turned around before entering the bay and headed for Carriacou. The weather was to start turning bad with the first “Christmas Winds” to arrive next week. We motor sailed with just the staysail and Mizzen up. With a favorable current we were making over 7 knots and occasionally touching 8 knots. We want to spend the Christmas Wind storm in Bequia. A nice little island with good protection from the NE, the direction from which the Christmas Winds blow. The seas were building and we were flying, so we kept on going to Bequia. Two of our boat buddies arrived the next day and the day following. The wind had stayed about as strong, but rotated a little more easterly. That allow them to both sail here. So here we are for the next week waiting for a weather window to go to St Lucia. St Vincent is the next island north, but has a bad reputation for muggings, boardings and other bad stuff on cruisers. It is a pretty island and I would like to visit, but not worth the risk. Seems they have a hard time arresting and prosecuting their relatives. After all, they only hurt rich yachties.

Today we walked to a turtle sanctuary. Neat, educational, very interesting and a very long walk over a big hill. In Florida it would be a mountain. Killed my knees and hips. It was about an hour and a quarter one way. Going, although steeper, was easier. I was fresh. We will see if I can move tomorrow. Need to, tomorrow is a project day. The following day we are to walk to a whaling museum. Looking forward to that I think. Longer walk, bigger hill. I keep telling my friends that there are only so many rotations built into my hips and knees. They have to last another 50 years before this whole body is used up. Used to be able to get replacements, but I figure with the new health system they will tell me to go away and buy some aspirin on the way.

We will see how our storm goes. Suppose to be winds in the mid 20’s plus lots of squalls with winds in the mid 30’s. Then it lasts for 3-4 days. Oh, and 9 foot seas.

WE ARE ON THE MOVE November 10, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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We decided to move north to Carriacou. They have a yard and I figured they would have a rigger. They did and we took the mizzen furler down Wednesday late afternoon. Thursday I disassembled the foil. There are about 14 small screw per section and there are 12 sections. That is a lot of little screws. There have been some bends in the foil since I bought the boat. I believe there were some additional bends caused when we removed the mast before we left the States. Three of us taking it down Wednesday added to the problem. The sections of foil are extruded aluminum. I built a table to hold my vice, that fits in the forward berth. I had the mate sit on the table, put the section in the vice and I pushed and took the bends out of the sections. Did not want to push too hard as the extrusions could have easily broke. It was successful. To keep from bending them again, we installed the cable by itself and then sitting in a boson chair for 5 hours, I reinstalled the sections. I had cramps in my fingers, cramps in my hands, in my feet and legs. You hang on with your feet and legs. It was a breezy day and got up to about 27 kts. Oh, and there was the thing about blisters on both hands and getting sunburned. I use suntan lotion, but being at the same angle for 5 hours got me.

About the wire shroud. There was nothing wrong with it. I scrubbed it and found no breaks. Some polishing, but not bad for 35 years old. The inside of the foils were very dirty. When Hurricane Ivan hit, there were large asphalt tanks beside the marina. The insulation was ripped off one of the tanks and I still find the stuff in strange places. The foil is open at the top and bottom. About 1/3 the way up the foil the sections were stuffed full of insulation and an accumulation of dirt and aluminum oxidation. The one section I had to pry apart. Even when open it was difficult removing the wire. I scrubbed the inside of the foils and now you can spin the whole assembly with 2 fingers. With the labor of 2 workers from the yard for 4 hours, it was a cheep fix. Getting a new cable with new ends pressed on would have been expensive.

All this happened in Terrill Bay, Carriacou. This is a very popular stopover for both cruisers and the charter crowd. Cruisers anchor with a lot of caution. They rarely drag anchor and are very careful in a crowded anchorage. Part of this care is laying out a lot of chain scope. I believe the charter crowd probably do not currently own a boat or have rarely anchor out. There common method is to come into the anchorage to fast, there are always swimmers in the water, make a quick run through the anchorage and decide where to anchor. They then choose a spot stop the boat and drop the hook. Then proceed to pile most of their chain on top of the anchor. Then they back down a little. Not enough to stretch out the chain, but enough to allow the boat to stop. By this time the dinghy has been launched and most are onboard ready to find the closest watering hole. Any increase in wind speed or direction and the boat is off through the anchorage. If there is a storm, it can be sheer pandemonium. Many of us have a air horn in the cockpit just to get some attention when this happens. There was a time you could jump on the way ward boat and get it hooked up. Not no more. Standby to get sued. Arrested for trespass, accused of stealing cash, computers, etc. We had one on Saturday went through between our boat and so close to one of our buddy boats that he started his engine and drove away from the stray allowing his anchor do give him a wide arch and avoiding his beautiful new finish from Trinidad. The boat finally hooked up about 100 yard before it would have hit a seagoing barge that was at anchor. If it had missed, the winds would have taken it to Honduras.

Today we went around the western point of Carriacou to Hillsborough Bay. It has a little island named Sandy Island. It is my favorite snorkeling site in the world, so far.

Tomorrow we will check out of Grenada for a while…, I think. We will stop at Petite Martinique and Petite St Vincent. Two small islands on the way to Union Island and the Grenadines. There are several small islands we missed and will try to visit this time. One of the islands has great snorkeling and a hike to the top of a hill with a great view. It is 730 feet high. I may pass on the hike.

We will see what breaks next.

DO NOT LET IT SET FOR 5 MONTHS! November 4, 2014

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It got to get better. This was one of those days from hell. The Plan. Start our new cruising year. Have 2 people scrubbing the bottom at 7 AM. Up at 6 and ready. 7am comes and goes. Hey…, we are on island time. 5 after 8 and my A personality is starting to show. Call the man. No answer. He returns the call about 5 minutes later saying he will be here in 5 minutes. Right. About 10 minutes later the man comes and picks up his coworker who has been setting in his small boat since around 7:30.

Now at home I have the bottom done every 3 months. It takes 1 man about 1 hour to do the work and clean his gear and leave. Now I have not had the bottom scrubbed since we left Pensacola with new bottom paint. When we got here in June the bottom looked like we just came out of the yard. Now the stuff here in the tropics is different then Pensacola. These black spots grow on your hull. Not hard to get off. Then there are little barnacles. Tough little suckers. When you scrape them off they take the paint with them right to the fiberglass. Finally there is the grass. It does not like to be scraped, brushed or scrubbed. It likes its home and wants to stay. Now on the prop you have all the above plus when you think you are getting to metal, you hit oysters. Hard as steel. You just beat them to pieces.

About 2 weeks ago I cleaned off most of the hull down to about 4 feet. Now I did not do a professional job because I knew the pros were coming. But it was a good start. It took these 2, 2 hours to do the job. My speed increased from about 3.5 to about 6.5. Other then being now 3 hours behind, the job seems to be good.

Take in the garbage and put the dinghy in the davits. This is the second time we have put the dinghy in the davits since having the solar panels installed. Still on a learning curve as to how to secure it for sea. With mistakes it took about an hour, twice what it used to. Well it is lunch time so we will eat and get underway. Bread for the lunch is getting dry.

Time to haul up the 230 feet of anchor chain, 3 inches at a stroke. Well the breeze of 5-10 has now piped up to 20. After you get almost done, the boat starts to drag its anchor and occasionally snagging and bringing the boat back toward the wind. In the meantime, the mate at the helm decides to become the decision maker and starts driving the way she thinks we should go. I have a different idea. Not a good time. Needless to say, we did finally get underway, clear of all boats. Off to St Georges in record time.

Oh anchoring. Made it on the 3rd try after 2 and a half hours and 3 different spots. The island is the remains of a volcano. Hard to find a good holding bottom. This place has a couple sand places, but in very shallow water. That don’t work. My Delta anchor, my main anchor just plows through the rock and gravel bottom. My secondary anchor is a Bruce. That is what we are on this evening. After the other tries and failures, this became the anchor of choice. It seams to have set and set good….

The wind died, the current is strange and has us about 90 degrees from the lite wind, On top of that there is a 2 foot swell from the NW that is causing us to roll about 3 degrees per side. Why not.

Oh yea, the mizzen sail is a roller furling type. The wire that runs up through the furler is breaking, strand by strand. A strand of the wire is hanging up and not allowing the sail to go out all the way and is very hard to get in all the way. We have decided to go on to the next island and try their yard. We worked with the sail and rigging people here and we have decided to not bother each other again. Remember my radar problems.

With our changes in direction I have ended up close to the boat behind me. He is concerned. I have taken in about 20 feet of rode. We are still close. It is 8 pm and dark. I am not going to start anchoring again at this hour. It is supposed to be nice tonight. Lets hope so. If we drag I vote for dragging out to sea. Then we will worry about it when it gets light.

Oh hate that. He just upped anchor and moved a couple hundred feet behind me and re-anchored. Hate that he felt he had to move. I did put my 20 feet back out. I was the guy who came in last, I was the one who should have moved. I have been taking a fix about every 15 minutes and we have not moved. I have been anchored closer than that a few times on this trip.

IT ALL WORKS October 20, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.

At least for today. What a week. The kids left last Saturday along with the wind. There had not been much for the last few days, but the hurricane that past a couple hundred miles north, sucked the wind out of the trades in this area. The temperature climbed and everything got hot. Jumping into the 85 degree water was good for a couple minutes, but then you were hot again. In the middle of this we had to go into a marina to have our generator repaired. You think Marina, water, electricity, everything you get at home…. Water yes. The boat got a good wash down with fresh water. Other then a bit by bit during rain squalls, it has not had a good soap and water wash since the British Virgin Islands. That was a while back. Electricity…, well here it is 220 volts. Like your electric range. Ah but they have transformers. Not so fast. There electricity is 50 hertz. Good old USA is 60 hertz. To convert you need this big mechanical thing. Therefore no electricity. Did I mention it was hot.

Now the mechanic had a nice light and a real nice fan helping to cool him while he worked. Well, I was in the engine room with him on occasion, it was hot.

Because we would have ran the main engine to get to the pier on Wednesday, we went in a day before. Running the engine even for a little while gets the engine room real hot. The marina is mosquito heaven. Remember these are the mosquitos that carry Chick-v. One bite and you’ve had it, or should I say your going to have it. You cover yourself with bug repellent and hope for the best. Oh and I may not have mentioned the island is about out of bug repellent.

Our plan was to have the generator fixed on Wednesday and leave at least to go anchor out away from the marina. Well, he did not get done. We therefore went back to our regular anchorage. Less bugs and actually more convenient to the mechanic by boat. Around here the mechanics have trucks and boats. He did finish up Thursday morning. Thursday night the mate decided we needed air conditioning for the dinner meal to be prepared. We were also going to have to eat below because of no wind and the mosquitoes can manage to fly the ¼ mile to the boat. So, we had air conditioning for dinner. That was Thursday evening. It is now Monday evening and the air conditioning is running again and it is 2 hours after dinner. New theory. Cool the boat down for a couple hours and it stays confortable all night. This may burn maybe a gallon and a half per evening. Not a bad deal if it keeps a mutinee from happening.

We are starting to study the charts and restock the boat for the trip north.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The grandkid was here for 9 days. That ate up most of the two weeks. It was wonderful. They got here Wednesday night. They stayed at Le Phare Bleu. It is a boutique resort and marina. They had a 2 bedroom villa. It was really neat. The living room and kitchen was open to a porch that faced the Caribbean about 100 feet away. It has a beach, but not a nice one. They also have a pool with bar close at hand. Weather wise we were lucky. It rained Friday evening and Saturday morning. Friday night was Jazz night at the National Museum. I took the daughter and son-in-law while grandma babysat. All were happy.

We did not move the boat to the marina because our anchorage is centrally located and there is a nice beach just a few hundred feet away. We spent a couple afternoons at the pool, the rest at the beach. One day we took an island tour that lasted about 5 hours. Enough for a 6 year old.

Another day we took a kayaking tour. That lasted about 3 hours and was fun. It also got my daughter’s feet and legs sun burned. The rest of us faired better. We got a good education on the local environment and especially what Mangroves do for the ecosystem. We also learned about a poisonous tree. Can not remember the name, but I think I would recognize it. The sap is poisonous. If it rains and you are under it the rainwater running across the leaves will burn you severely if it lands on you. The Indians use to tie their enemies to the tree and let rain slowly kill them.

Out Facebook Page has pictures of the kayak tour. Other pictures to follow when we get them posted. The time together was the best we have had. Those from Colorado did have a hard time with the heat. It was in the mid 80’s. The temps here only fluctuate a few degrees from day to night. Does not give you much relief if you are from and area that hot summer days may hit 80 once or twice a year.

Weather wise, they just missed the real stuff. A large tropical storm passed a couple hundred miles north of us. It sucked away the wind. Started on Saturday, They left in the morning, and has continued through today. There was a little breeze for a while this afternoon, but no more then 10 knots for a couple hours. It is dead still right now. If I had a generator, we would run it this evening. It is 87 in the boat and with no wind, very buggy outside. Well somebody has to do it. The mate does not think she should have to do this again….

We get the generator installed Wednesday. Thank goodness. It is also time to start replenish for this years cruise. With out a car, that is a lot of bus rides. We will be heading up through the Windward and Leeward island and stop at those islands we did not take the time to see on the way down. From the north end of the Leeward islands hard decisions must be made as we would start heading west. That means heading back. There is some discussion about spending next hurricane season in the Exumas in the Bahamas. That would be near Georgetown. They do get hit by hurricanes, but we are in the zone where we have insurance, kind of. Got to study that a little more.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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One would think. The generator’s new back end is covered by warrantee. Not freight, labor, and not import fees and taxes. That will be about as much as the new back end. But we are thankful for what is covered.

The wind has been around 10 knots, not enough for the wind generator to make any difference for the batteries. But things did make a positive turn mid week. I picked up the controller for the solar panels a week ago Friday and spent the weekend pulling wires and setting up the controller. Monday I picked up the panels and the man building the frame got started building. He only got a half day in because it was pouring down rain all morning. Tuesday he finished the frame and the supports for the davits. We got the bolt on feet all cut, drilled and installed. The feet for the frame will be welded to the legs and the whole thing will be bolted on. That will allow everything to be removed for hurricanes. Wednesday was install day. It was about 5 pm when we finished and to late to test the system. I got the wiring connections started and finished Thursday. We found that although the connections are the same, there not the same. China! The connections do not really fit together, kind of, but not good enough to make good connections. After fighting with these thing for the better part of a day, the frame builder came buy and said they may be water proof, but not moisture proof. After about a year the salt moisture is bad enough to corrode the inside and makes for a bad connection. A quick cut of the wires and I installed rings on the wire, bolted them together and schaaam! Good connection and the system works.

Just in time. My engine alternator is not big enough to charge up my batteries in less then 8 hours. That amount of hours at idle would do a lot of damage to the engine. Have to run a diesel under load.

The solar panels produce enough power to run the water maker, refrigerator, normal lights and fans and still put some juice into the batteries. That is what we were hoping for. Now we just need sunny days, or windy days till the gen gets here in 3-4 weeks.

The Grandkid and parents arrive Wednesday night. We are excited.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY September 23, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Well, it did not wait till Tuesday, it started Sunday. According to one of the local dock masters, we got 6 inches Sunday. All I know is that we made it to church without rain, by about 5 minutes. Then it rained all through church and Sunday school. Then it stopped while we got back to the boat in the dinghy. The dinghy ride was after I borrowed a bigger bucket to bail for about 10 minutes.

We had left some ports open and the mate was worried about the boat being half sunk. No problem. We had the awning up and the rain came straight down…, no wind. Thank goodness.

Monday I got the solar panels and have them stored on deck. My steel man caught Chick-V on Friday. This usually lays you up for 5+ days, high fever, vomit, terrible aches in all joints, a rash that itches like mad, and the desire not to eat and only sleep. He had a mild case and was back to work Monday. Although, he quit early and headed for the bed. He looked like he needed it. Today we had very heavy rain till after lunch. Here he came, we got the plates for the feet and cross members mounted. Put the frame in place to do final measurements for the legs and cross members. Tomorrow he will pick up all the pieces and go weld them together. Then back to us and mounting the frame and solar panels. Then I will do the final wiring and we should be making electricity…, I hope.

Chick-V. Not your girl friend. Although, his wife’s nicknameis “V”. It is a mosquito born virus that makes you very sick. It is an epidemic in the islands. There have been over 100 deaths. You can also have relapses for over a year. There is another mosquito born virus called Dungus something or other. Very similar, but not as bad. With Chick-V you only get it once. Big deal, you can have relapses forever. This is mountainous, tropical rain forest islands. You could not spray all the mosquitoes, ever. So everyone is resolved that you will get these sooner or later.

Oh yea, more news of the not so good kind. Our generator lost its bearing Sunday. Ran it to recharge batteries last evening. We did not know what it was, just that it was getting noisier. This morning I went into the engine room to check oil and the place is covered with dust. May be from the inside of the generator. That would not be good. Pray for us. With luck there is a bearing on the island. If so and his crew is all well, the mechanics will pull the old bearing that collapsed and replace it. While they have the bearing out they will be able to tell if anything happened to the inside of the generator. Pray it is OK. The fellow who runs the company doing the work thinks this will be covered under warranty…. The genset has a 5 year limited warranty. Limited is the key word. He is going to contact Westerbeke and see if it will be covered. Pray again. We are talking major bucks.

So know the main engine is running at idle to recharge the batteries enough to keep the frig running into tomorrow. Since Sunday there has hardly been enough wind to turn the wind generator. About a 25 knot breeze would be nice. That would keep us charged up from the wind. Have not seen that in about 6 weeks.

Waffle. Only for a while one day. Then you think about how much this solar stuff costs. Got to get a return on investment. If it works as advertised, that could be very short. Time will tell.

WAFFLING September 16, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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You can figure that our. This week was different. Early in the week we drug anchor. I would not mention that, but you are maybe the last to know. We get up around 6 a.m. or a little earlier. As we were getting up, we were hit by a wind wall from a squall. Not an uncommon event during the rainy season. After the wind wall, it calmed down a little and then picked up some. I am brushing my teeth and looking in the mirror and notice our neighbors boat going by. About that time the mate says “I think we are dragging”. I run to the ladder and whip open the hatch and sure enough, we are. Plus the rain is going sideways. A little faster then we were going down wind. I grab my rain jacket and ignition key and out I go. I get the engine going and shift into forward to stop us from continuing backwards and eventually hitting a power catamaran not to far astern. God was a good navigator. We had pasted between 3 other sailboats and never even got close. The first boat I noticed in the mirror had the husband and wife out in their dinghies running around us screaming that we were dragging. They had also tried to reach us by radio. We usually do not turn on the radio till the local net comes on at 7:30. Therefore, everyone heard but us.

As you might remember we have a manual anchor windlass. So I am out in my rain jacket cranking away bringing up 210 feet of chain, 3 inches per crank. Rain is still going sideways, oh and did I mention that all I had on under my jacket were my drawers. Now all know what I would look like in a Speedo. No big deal, that is what all the foreigners where anyway. No ladies do not get excided, remember the cruising crowd generally run from mid 50’s to late 70’s age wise. Not exactly movie star material.

So we are anchored about 1/8th mile from where we were originally. That was the excitement of the week.

As you know we have a stand up refrigerator in the boat. A true rarity in a sail boat. The problem is when you open the door all the cold falls out on your feet. Go to your kitchen and try it. Not very efficient. So we run the generator about 3 hours a day to restore the batteries to full charge. Besides that we make water. The water quality you start with determines how much water you going to get. In the Bahamas with its crystal clear water you make what the company said their unit would make. Here the water is clear enough to see the bottom in 20+ feet of water, but has enough sentiment floating to slow the water maker down by about 20%. Now the generator is running all the time the water maker is running, and the battery charger and the refrigerator and the water heater. Now the mate and I have not learned the true art of water conservation as have our friends who have to carry every drop to the boat by jerry can. They are very creative, we are very decadent. Fuel is expensive. Our water is getting expensive and it was time to look at ways to overcome the expense.

Our friend Stan, Stan you hear this, you were right. Solar Panels! Here in paradise, they are expensive. To install is very expensive. Even so, there is a payout period that is not all that long if your running the generator and going to cruise.

Another remedy is to carry your water. I am 70 years old with not the best back in the world. Lifting jerry cans from the dingy to the deck, over my head is hard. I carry about 15 gallons of fuel a week and lift them on deck. I would have to do that daily for water. Therefore, we looked at a large bladder to fit in the dinghy and then pump the water into our tanks. That would be fine here, but there were several places we passed that the water was not potable to other than the local population. That is why we have a water maker.

Now my thinking is if we are going home, what’s the need. We made it down here and did fine. Wrong I am told. If you go west you can sail, no motor like we had to coming east against the Trade Winds. Don’t have to run the big engine, don’t have to run the generator. You do not know what a blessing that would be. Big diesels on the other side of ½ inch of fiberglass are very noisy. Slowly drive you nuts. But such is life and we can stand the noise for the run back to the States.

The mate says that her friends and relatives say she is nuts for not taking some time and explore the islands after going through what she did to get here. Did I here that right? To make a long story shorter, we have ordered 2 large solar panels that will be installed Monday and Tuesday. Thursday I will pick up the controller and spend the weekend installing the controller and wiring to make them run.

It is the heart of the rainy season, so starting Tuesday we probably will not see the sun for a month. I hope not. The solar panels on a sunny day should produce enough electricity to run the water maker and produce about ½ the power needed to run the refrigerator. That does not count the wind generator or using the diesel generator for a short time each day. We could do that for breakfast, run the coffee maker, toaster, recharge phone, computers and heat water for the day. I can handle that.

More next week. Does it rain. Do the adds lie. Of course, but I mean really lie. Do people waffle the wrong way.

BUSY IN PARADISE September 8, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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This past week we got the radar working. The salesman for the company that did the work thought it was the wire, even though we had removed the wire and visually inspected it. It is Ethernet cable and has very small wires in the cable. Plus there are only 4 wires in this application.

The techs came back out and we took a test cable from the radar on the mast through the hatch and hooked it to the end by the mast connection. It worked. The tech was convinced that it was the coupling. The couplings are almost solid with a metal ring around them. You could drive over them and I do not think you could hurt it. The tech took the wire back to their shop to check it out. I think the wire got snagged either when they pulled the mast of when they put it back in. It is a small hole to put a large mast through the deck in the saloon and down onto the mast step.

There is only 1 man guiding the bottom of the mast. Only one because there is no room for any more hands. If it happened during this operation, it is possible the man never new it. He is busy guiding a large, heavy 60 foot piece of aluminum through a hole in the main deck and through the hole in the saloon deck that gives him maybe 1-1/2” clearance on each side. On the wire side there are 3 cables with connections hanging out the side of the mast about 10 inches from the bottom of the mast. After the mast has passed the saloon deck, it only has a foot to be lowered. The man has to reach the wires through another deck opening and move then out of the way of the mast step so they are not cut off. The mast slips over the mast step and slides down about 2” before it hits the base of the step. The step holds the base of the mast in place and is bolted to the keel. We will have a test on the technical terms in the morning.

Between the radar and the phone problems, the week was busy. The 4S phone, turned out to have a bad processor and is not fixable. When my son-in-law gets here we will allow him to see how far an apple phone can skip across the water. I had experience with 2 phones and the sea, but they were in free fall from my belt. Skipping should be fun.

Yesterday, after church and before Dominoes, I got set up to retune the rigging after the mast had been re-stepped. I always turn the rig myself. Know of to many rigs that were done poorly and went over the side. It took me all day to do it. I still think it is raked to far aft. Everything fits right below deck, but I just do not like the look. I thought I took a framing square with us. If I did, it is well stored, because I can not find it. It makes checking the rake of the mast much easier. Using the framing square and a combination square, I can get measurement and calculate the 3.5 degree rake I should have in the mast. Get it wrong as I think it is and the head stay does not fit right, which I do not think it does. Close, but not right. Oh well I have a month and a half before we start heading back to the States.

The granddaughter may be coming the end of the month. We will not know for sure till the 20th. Even so we are excited and planning things to do with the family.

Friday we went to the Monthly Jazz Jam at the museum. That was our 3rd one and in my estimation the best. Their guest performer was a music professor that played blues on a harmonica. The best I ever heard.


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