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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.

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