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THE PARTY’S OVER… February 20, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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In about 3 week we would have been on board for either 19 or 20 years. Which ever, it has been the best time of my life. Live my dream, pretty much so. No dreams are ever perfect, but this was close. The work involved and the expense was more then expected. The places we have been and the people we have met have been beyond expectations. The people we met in the Turks and Caicos and traveled to the Windward with were among my favorite acquaintances. The time we were in Gulf Breeze after Hurricane Ivan were a perfect location with perfect people to get ready for a cruise.

Beside the people and the places, the learning experiences of getting a boat ready for such and adventure and then caring it out was a challenge. The mate says that the skipper must be not only a sailor and navigator, but a mechanic, electrician, rigger, and every other type of trade ever invented. That is where the learning comes in. I have come back and know more then I would have dreamed. One thing, I have not learned to sail my boat as well as she could be sailed. I must admit that we motor sailed a lot more then I would have ever thought. A lot of this was for our own comfort and convenience. We should have gone slower and sailed more. The problem was to get to an anchorage by late afternoon and not leaving before the sun came up.

While still working, working on the boat was a distraction. I easily could be drug away from work to work on the boat. That was not good. But it was fun and the boat was ready. The time we got the boat was about the time my career started on a downward trend. The recruiting business was making major changes, which did I did not adjust to. I got into the Yacht restoration business. I was to limited in my capabilities which limited my income. The last was as a financial advisor. As I was trying to learn the business we had 3 major setbacks in the economy. That did not help. I never got to where I could develop new clients with sufficient wealth. God looked out for this dumb one. And he blessed me with a dream life. A great mate Mary and a great boat and home Nightwatch

Like I mentioned last week, this blog was based on getting a boat and going cruising. I guess we have been there and done that. Unless I get another boat, and I do not think that will happen, this blog is finished. On to the next chapter of our life.


LIVING A LONG TIME IN A HOME February 14, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Even a boat, yes, even a boat. We have lived on board for 19 years, less 3 weeks. Do you have any idea how much junk you can accumulate, even on a boat. OK, we have no basement. No family room. No big dinning room…, but we have a lot of places to stuff stuff. Every little nick and corner is a storage place. There are places to store thing in areas you have to crawl into. There is only one place you can get to that has not been filled up at least once in 19 years. We used to store our engine oil in a place only the mate could crawl into to retrieve them. We are not talking quarts, but gallon containers. Diesels do not do quarts.

The boat is a disaster. I am a neat freak when it comes to the saloon. We can still sit at the bar, the chart table and one spot on the settees. We can almost get to the forward head. The bunks are full of stuff to the overhead. But, drawers and storage spaces are regurgitating there contents. It is now on the deck, settees, shelves, just not where it belongs.   And I have taken countless garbage bags of stuff to the garbage cans. Those of you that know us, know we do not even have stuff. The boat is pretty sterile.

We have already moved 3 large dock carts of stuff to the apartment. Next week we are renting a full size car Wednesday and take two loads to the apartment. Hopefully we will then be able to take one last load to the apartment Thursday when we move to the son’s house and dog sit for 2 weeks. That is the plan. Then we will be gone from Nightwatch.

I am going to try to get some pictures of the mess and post on Facebook. Oh, remember I said I was going to post pictures of the F-2 race boats. I can not get them to download. So, if you ever see F-2 race boat pictures on my Facebook, something happened. Probably not by me.

One more instalment to follow. Remember this was. “A blog dedicated to learning and exchanging info on cruising and living on a sailing vessel”. That was what this has been in my feeble way. Without a boat it would be difficult to continue.

I THINK I RAN OUT OF HOPE February 6, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Friday came and went. The new OWNER ok’ed the fixes. We then spent 4 fast hours going through places and systems. That was probably half of the time we needed. But, the new lady of the boat had an appointment and they had to be moving on.

I was carried on my first boat before I could walk. My dad was a base fisherman, and after dinner he would go fishing and a couple times a week my mother would put me in the bottom of the boat and row my dad around. I sometimes felt that I would end being carried off a boat. Well the good Lord has been good to me and I have a lot of steps left. We have a week left before we go babysit my son’s dogs while he and his wife go on a business trip to Australia. The boat will close while we are doing the sitting.

Got to have some place to go. We have not looked at a place to live, other then on the internet. We have also been tossing around buying a condo or renting. So it is time. We had a couple rentals to look at and 3 condos. Number one son took his morning off to take us to the rentals. I wanted to be by the water. The mate wanted someplace that was updated and she only had to furnish. This afternoon we were to meet a realtor to look at the condos. The first place we looked at was nice looking, on the water, had places in our price range and had been updated. Second floor corner 2 bedroom overlooking a narrow parking lot and a bay out to the ICW and into a large bay that opens to the Gulf. From the rooms that is the view. It hit all the boxes.

Yea, we signed the lease. Hole Cow, my life is going in ways I never dreamed about. At least not seriously, or only in nightmares. The unit is empty and the company is getting the place ready for new renters. That is us. We get it Thursday. We will rent a car and take a load off the boat and head over to Pasadena and get the key and start moving off the boat. After unloading the car, we will start looking for furniture.

We will have about 2 weeks to get off the boat and start furnishing the place. Furnishing may take some time. The mate did a great job on our last house with the help of a decorator. She is going to do the same thing this time. If it turns out as well, all will be good.

I guess that is going to be the first steps of my new life. I have some other ideas, but have to explore some ramifications.

Oh, we called the realtor to cancel our afternoon look into condos. She said she was going to call because 2 of the 3 went under contract this weekend. The third one we could not afford and were going to look at to see what the next level looked like. God still looking out for us dumb ones.

This Saturday there was a Formula 2 power boat race between the bridges beside our marina. These are small single engine outboards that are totally enclosed. The driver sits in a small compartment to drive. They do in the low 100’s MPH. If you ever heard a racing motorcycle get its engine wound up all the way, that is what these V-6 Mercury’s do but louder and at higher RPM. Nice. See my Facebook page.

A BIG STEP FORWARD January 30, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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That‘s if you think selling your boat is forward.

The survey was 31 or 35 pages long. Broker thought that was a lot. When I bought this boat, my survey was 71 pages long. I had asked the surveyor to be detail. He was. If a light bulb did not work he wrote it down. This surveyor was not bad. He did write down things that are part of a new boat and not what one would expect to get on a 38 year old boat, even when new. Covering open circuits on the back of the electrical panel. Label wiring on the backside of the electrical panel. And secure the rudder so it does not flop back and forth. Those were 3 of the items he wrote down.

There is a right way and a cheap way to do the rudder. The surveyor said to do the cheap way and he can do it right way the next time he is in the yard. The keyway has wore to where the rudder shaft rotates slightly. It needs to be filled and a new keyway cut. The surveyor suggested drilling a whole for a bolt that will pass through the tiller and the rudder shaft. That is not a big deal. I was asked to take care those three items. The buyer did not ask for a reduction in price, so I was good with the fixes. I have 2 more circuits to make covers for, drill the rudder shaft and I will be done. Drill a perpendicular whole will be hard to start. Then it is drilling a straight 3” hole.

Friday the new owner is coming to inspect the work. He should be happy. He is a pilot for American Airlines. He and his lady plan to live on the boat and learn to sail before going cruising. Good plan. The boat is in good shape and one could just cast off and do the islands again. I’m ready. He has moved the closing up 1 week. That is a good sign.

The other item is the mate and I have not looked at the first place to live in. That makes me a little nervous. Do not know why, I remember flying into Lexington, KY on the company plane being picked up by a realtor and sighing a contract before getting back on the plane that afternoon. We can do this stuff.

Got a couple days to complete everything. Better get with it.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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One more step in the selling of a boat. We had the survey of the boat on Friday. One comment heard was that the engine room is a disaster. The engine room is 38 years old. The wiring is not done the way the industry does it today. It has been rewired when we bought the boat. New tinned marine wire was put in through out the boat. Through the years new equipment has been added with its wiring. That included AC units and there pumps, an electric head with it’s pump, a large generator with its wiring harness, cooling hoses and exhaust system. A multi function display with a wiring harness that covers the equipment we have plus the wiring for several other items that we do not have. The MFD was one of the latter items installed and has close to a hundred wires that just drop into the back of the rest of the wiring. Looks terrible. I also installed a small bus to handle the AIS as we want it plus wires to change it to other functions that can be done with the radios, but not while using the AIS. More wires with no place to go. It is a mess.

There was also a comment about the hoses running around. Most of the hose is very stiff and hard to make turns. There is also the hoses coming in from the cockpit shower and their hanging in the engine room. It is a mess.

There is also a bilge pump, and the fresh water pump in one area. They are set on a shelf that one has to climb over the generator or crawl under the water heater to get too. The new pumps are larger then what was around in 1979. They also have hoses and strainers. This is also where the water for the water tanks come into the boat and gets distributed. Originally there was copper tubing for water lines. They were old, corroded and leaked. I tried PVC, but that was a bad idea I will not trouble you with, so there is more hoses.

Did I mention the heavy duty diesel starting battery and the 4 golf cart batteries that make up one group of house batteries. It is a stand up engine room. That is if your no more then 5’-8” and stand in one place. You can turn 360 degrees, but you can not take a step. Most of the work is done while kneeling on a cushion. Cramps!

This whole disaster works very well. Has survived a “almost” knockdown. That is when the boat gets laid on its side. We did 45 degrees once. That was enough for this old man.

What happens now is the surveyor writes his report for the buyer. He then has 3 days to make a decision to continue and buy the boat, quit the deal or renegotiate. I understand he got the report sometime today. We should here something Thursday. If the deal goes forward, one way or the other, we would close on or before March 6th.

Is that all?  Nooo. The surveyor was here from 8:30 till 4 pm. The boat is only 46 feet long and 12.5 feet wide. After the engine room there is not that much more to see. But they do look at everything. Yes he is making notes all the way. The boat is also lifted out of the water and he checks the hull for soft spots, checks all the through hulls, bearings and rudder. Then back into the water for a test sail.

What will be will be.

UNTRUE WORDS January 16, 2017

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

Some of the words of wisdom about boats are true, i.e. “A boat is a hole in the water you through money.” Others are a lie. “The two happiest days are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell your boat.” Major lie. I am here to tell you it is not true. I have had 5 boats and the only one I sold was a great day. That was when the old boat was part of the payment for a new larger boat. The others were among the worst days of my life.

When you put a boat up for sale, one must expect that it will sell. I am happy to live in the dream that maybe it will not. Well, that was a fallacy. Offers were made, prices were agreed upon, contracts were signed, earnest money paid and dates set. All rather final. Of course there is the survey. I am not worried about that. Nightwatch is an old boat, but she is in pretty good shape. I would leave on a cruise with her today.

Are there things that could be improved. Yes. After all it is a boat. They are never perfect. There is always a list. The surveyor will give the new owner a list. A few weeks of ownership, the owner will be able to add to the list, and it will go on.

Beside me on the chart table is my current list of 9 items in which one was checked off today. None are major, just normal items that you do to keep her afloat and healthy.

This weekend we sailed to Number-One-Son’s house to pick up some items that belong on the boat that we did not take along when we cruised. My son and his wife are happy to see the stuff leave.

The way boat sales go, I could be a street person for a period. We are going to either buy a Condo or rent an apartment. We want to be by the water, so that is the mates project for the next month. In a perfect world, one could close two homes and move in to the new place in the same day. Think about this, we have no furniture. Therefore, my son gets company for a day or two. Now this is all set on the fact that neither of us drop dead from overwork.

Other then driving the boat to the yard for the survey, I did my last sail today. Saturday I had hoped to sail, but the wind was right on the nose. Today the wind started the same way, but it was not a big deal. The first third of the trip one is passing three lifting bridges, two fixed high bridges and several miles of cannels. Then we got to where we could sail and we did. In winds of 5-10 kts. In the middle it died to almost nothing and we were moving at less then 2 kts. I did not care. I was sailing. The wind did fill back in to about 10 kts when we had only about 2 miles to go. That was good. Kept me busy all the way back to the marina. My mind needed that.

We are to close no later then March 6th. That gives us a little over a month. Not much time to totally change life styles. A new adventure.

WHITNESSING THE END January 10, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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We lived in Alabama for about 5 years. The Bear was there and I became hooked on the SEC and the Tide. Now I must say I am happy for Clemson. I have a whole group of cousins that are Clemson Alums. They won and it was apparent all during the second half that they had the upper hand if time permitted. Well it did. Alabama just did not have it together. The comments their coach made as he went to the locker room at half time held on through the second half. I think they may have been the better team, but they beat themselves last night. We need a rubber match for the 2017 championship.

We moved to a bigger slip and I did another great landing. Probably not make another good landing as long as we are here. Timing was good also. We did have a windy rainy Friday night and Saturday. Not the gale that was forecast, but it was miserable. Then it got cold. 40’s. Come on we are in Florida. Plus 2-1/2 years in the islands, I can’t handle temperatures below 70. It is now Tuesday and it was almost 70. Tomorrow 75. Wahoo.

I stumbled across a Facebook entry by two of our Canadian friends from cruising. They looked great considering you could only see a small part of their faces.  Don’t freeze friends.  Hope you still have the same goal.

The boat still wants to quit. The router died a couple months ago. It was about 5 years old and that is about their life expectancy. We have WIFI here, but no one has it. The people blame it on the fact that this place is mostly sailboats. To many masts. First we got a new router. Still nothing. I contacted the outfit I bought the WIFI booster from. They are still in business. Wonderful. We loaded a software program that resets the booster. Well, it was suppose to. The booster has a power light, it works, a Lan light, it works. It should work. We checked the router by activating the software and found about 5 other boosters around me, but none were mine. I mailed the booster to the people and will see if it is cheaply repairable. We are selling the boat and are not giving anyone a new booster. We can use the our hotspot. There is also a crews lounge that has good WIFI.

I still have a project list, but have not been working on it since we moved. So today I was going to work on the bow sprit. I was also going to warm up the engine today and when I checked the oil I found about a gallon of in in the catch pan under the engine. NOT GOOD. I went all around the engine and checked for leaks. We had a bolt that holds on the one of the motor mounts that actually passes through an oil run. It had leaked like this. Put the bolt back in, no leak. That was not it. I filled the engine back up and cleaned up the spilled oil. Cranked the engine and started feeling all the places I would think it leaked. I had replaced the oil sender when I was looking for the engine electrical gremlin. I did not put Teflon tape on the threads and it had a strong drip going on. The gallon came from the trip down here. Fixed that and another problem solved. The cleanup took about 3 hours, the fix about 30 minutes, including test time.

Engine electrical gremlin. On the way down it left. I have no clue. That is why they are gremlins. I had continue to clean and tighten wires to no avail. It was with us when we left the marina. I did not do anything while underway. Just looked over at the instruments and shasaam, no gremlin. The engine has been started about 6 times since then, and still no gremlin. I even had an electrition scheduled. I was concerned about the cost. Troubleshooting cost. Maybe a Greater Power know about electrical gremlins.

Maybe tomorrow I will get to work on refinishing the bow sprit deck.


ON THE MOVE AGAIN January 3, 2017

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Not a big move, but from Tampa to Palmetto, FL. For those of you who want to look it up, we are on the Manatee River on the south end of Tampa Bay. It is a large marina with around 130 live aboards. That is a lot live aboards. The group runs the gambit from pretty shoddy to nice yachts.

The trip down was good we had a good 2 hours of sailing. Then the wind died. It picked up again when we were about a mile north of the Skyway Bridge. After passing underneath the bridge we would be turning SSW and directly into the wind. Then we turn up the river for a couple miles. The trip up the fiver runs from passing through narrow dredged areas to a mile wide area.

The marina is on the north side of the river which is a mile wide at this point. The marina is pretty much open to the river. One of the complaints is that large yachts transit the area at cruise speed. That causes large wakes to come into the marina. Our boat actually moves. Interesting. It will make Yoga a challenge. When we got here the assigned dock was a 40 foot dock. We also had to back in to have the boat’s gate meet the figure pier. I do not like being stern to the pier. Cuts down privacy.

Now, good old Nightwatch does not like to back up. Plus when it backs, it like to go to the right. One has to allow for that and of the environment. Like wind and currents. But I made it without touching anything. The locals gathered to handle lines and see me squeeze into a small slip. I did it. Got a great reputation. I found out that that means you get no help with lines in the future. You do not need the help.

We were not happy about being in a 40 foot slip with our bow sitting 15 feet out into the cannel between piers. The cannel was about 70 feet between pilings. We complained.   One for the size, and another for the charge for a 60’ slip. Not wanting to loose the money, they found a 60 foot slip. We moved.

Next great thing the broker showed our boat this morning. That took a long time when we were suppose to be moving the boat. We therefore shainghide the broker to be line handler during the move. We first. let him finish his brokering duties.

So far a good week. We are to have a gale on Saturday. We shall see how we ride. I think the wind will be from the shore side of the marina. That should keep it calm, I hope.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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This was a year that went very fast. Good times and not so good. I guess that makes it about average. But it wasn’t. The year started in St Martin waiting for a break in the Christmas Winds so we could start heading back to the Bahamas and meet our kids for vacation.

We got a window and headed for St Croix. We had been to the BVI’s and the US Virgins enough in the past 2 years that there was little that we wanted to see. St Croix is actually the furthest east of the US Virgins. We anchored off Christiansted. The island had been settled by the Dutch and has architecture that would fit into northern Europe. It is quaint and beautiful. We found a little restaurant for lunch and celebrated the mates birthday. Great meal. Did not want to leave. The next day we rented a car and traveled to the eastern point of the island and then back to the city on the southeast side, Frederiksted. The island is bigger then it looks.

The next day we headed north to Culebra. This was our third time here so we were not going to spend much time there. We rented a golf cart and toured the island. The whole island. N,S,E and W It is a very pretty island with beaches, great snorkeling spots and an interesting history.

We left for Puerto Pitallis in Puerto Rico. This is the bay where Don and Jan of “Plane to Sea” live. We spent three days there. Jan had to leave on the 2ed morning because of a family emergency. We rode with Don to San Juan to the air port. He took us on the high mountain roads over and the eastern less mountainous way back. It is a beautiful island. It is modern and friendly. I can see why many cruisers swallow the anchor there.

We beat feet towards the Turks and Ciaos. We made it across the Mona Passage to the north coast of the DR. We were to have another nice day while we made it to the Turks and Ciaos. Our weatherman Chris Parker said that was no longer an option and we needed to find a place to hide. We did for 5 days. Then had a window that took us non stop to Georgetown, Bahamas. This put us a month ahead of schedule to meet our kids. We settled in. The kids came and went and we headed to the States. That was the first half of the year.

On the way up we spent an evening in Ft Meyers with some of the first friends we met after moving onto Nightwatch. It was a wonderful evening with a beautiful family.

It is year end and the first of the year we will be moving to a different marina in Palmetto, FL. That is a story for another day.

How you coming on your resolutions? I’m finished with mine. In 72 years I have never made a New Years resolution. Why start now. Have a very happy and prosperous New Year.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Looks almost like it used to. We got two new little trees with lights already on them. That is good. We place one in the saloon and one in our stateroom. We had saved our little ornaments that we had used for years and the crèche. The mate also bought a new wreath that we hang on the wheel pedestal. So much for the decorations. We will be spending Christmas eve and day at my sons place. All sounds like a plan. Pictures in Facebook.

Other then that I am still stuck with the gremlins. Actually two groups. They may have multiplied. Today I started on group one, going through the engine instruments and cleaning every connection. That will kill half a day.

I then started down the engine connections, and it became a disaster. The oil sender is where you almost can not get to. Well I got to it, took off the wires, cleaned the connection and while putting the wires back on busted the sender. Part of it is made of baked clay and is tender when new. After 19 years and sitting on the engine it got real tender. Or, my hands may be stronger then I think they are. Well after breaking the sender and giving full utilisation of my sailor vocabulary, I gave up for the day.

My second gremlin resides in my radios. They get lat/long and course information from the GPS and compass. Maybe I should say used to. A few weeks ago I had everything working like a charm. That was till the water maker man reinstalled the Clark pump. I think he may have brushed against some of the wires that come out of the controller for the autopilot. Anyway, it has not worked since. I was going to attack it right after the man left and I noticed the radios no longer got there input. That was during the time the eye doctor had me on no exercise and no bending over. The control box is under our berth. You have to crawl down in there and then wedge yourself in a position to keep from falling a couple more feet into the bilge. Then getting out is a real chore. This is the first day I could get back to exercising after 5 weeks. I did my full routine. I felt exhausted the rest of the day. The wiring of the engine instruments, had me standing on a stool with my hands over my head. By the time I got to the engine, I was really tired. Maybe tomorrow I will work my way down to the control box. If you do not here from me again, look under the berth.