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Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Believe it or not, the boat is tied to a pier and it still continues to fall apart. The auto pilot was doing strange things when we went to my son’s place a week ago. Part of the strangeness was water sloshing around on the inside of the control head like a partly filled aquarium. This is not a good sign. I took it apart an it had about a pint of water in it. The inside is all circuit boards, chips and other stuff I forgot the names of. Its’ only problem is you can not turn it off and on or disengage it’s operations. The button is a touch pad button. Part of a 6 button touch pad. I always understood that if something went wrong with the touch pad, you through it away. Someone in China is making billions of these things. I would think they would unplug and be thrown away instead of throwing away the whole $850 control unit.

Marine electronics are about where computers where 15 years ago. Well not quit as bad, but close. They are constantly upgrading with new faster, do more units that makes the existing unit old. The companies then stop supporting the old unit to help you buy a new one. Now this is a control head. It has a screen, like a watch, but bigger. A touch pad, and a dial. That is all. No brains. It is attached to a brain box that has an electronic compass in. I have not asked the price of that gem. Oh then the brain box is attached to another black box that tells my hydraulic steering what to do.

My control head is a model 5000. Today 5 years later the unit is a 7000. You guested it, none of the new stuff talks to the old stuff. Why? Sell more boxes. Mine does things I do not trust it to do without my standing beside it being very aware of what it is doing. There are a couple functions that it can do that I have played with, but would never leave it alone long enough to run to the john. It has been very good. We have sailed well over 2000 miles and it has steer probably over 90% of those miles. Probably 25% of those miles have been in pretty rough conditions. I just do not understand where the water came from.

As for me, the mate has been gone a week and a half. I am alive, all be it kind of lonely. I am probably eating to much food. In the last two years, we have cut down on our food intake. That has help me get rid of a rather large belle and keep it off. I am having to adjust how much I cook. I will be spending the Fourth at my son’s place. We are going fishing at least once. And to a party. It will be nice not having to work on projects for a couple days.

Happy Fourth!




Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Have not had a father’s day with a kid since they were in high school. We sailed from the YC to Treasure Island where my son lives on Friday. We had them on board for Sundowners and dinner on Friday. He has 2 boats, all be it, “fishing boats”, one is 33 feet and could well have a group on board for sundowners. They are going to the Keys in late July and they do sundowners down there. He has to learn more then just fishing. All was good.

Saturday I took advantage of having a driver and car. So number one son and I drove around to the boat store, hardware store, propane store, and I do not remember where else. The mate and I are into renting a car every two weeks for a day of shopping, laundry and what ever else. This was a good day for me without renting a car. I am trying to get supplies for rebuilding pumps, and replacing things that just broke or worn away. I have spent $500 on just stuff. Started making appointments for major things to be repaired. The wind mill, water maker and head repairs.

Then we spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon tracking his wiring harness in his big boat. He has some gremlins and no wiring diagram. We got the main circuits figured out. At least how they get from the batteries to the motors. There are things that happen on the way we can not find or know how they work. Little switches that combined batteries with hundreds of amp hours together. I know how that works, but not where it is happening. Frustrating.

One of the mates sisters fell and broke a hip. Therefore the mate is going to their house to be a care giver. Not so much for her sister, but the brother-in-law is an invalid and needs 24 hour a day help. So the mate may be gone for 6 weeks to help out. It is good that we are here to lend a hand.

When she leaves there, we will probably meet in Colorado to spend a week or so with the grandkid. This should be interesting. Her summertime hobby is rock climbing. I have a hard time finding oxygen a 100 feet above sea level. Hiking on the flat is hard on the old knees. Hiking mountains is not good. Have not been in the mountains for 7 years. I find at this age, 7 years makes a big difference. Got to keep up with the Yoga and maybe grab some weights for 6 weeks. May at least keep me alive.

Been promising some pics on Facebook. I have the pics, just have to get them posted. Will try that in a few minutes.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Clearwater, Durbeck, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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With the tropical storm we did have one more good feeder ban during the middle of the night. Caused me to get up and look around. The wind had started to shift from the south to the west. The wind was still strong, but the direction put it almost straight on the bow. That made for some good sleeping for the rest of the night.

Tuesday started as with the tropical storm finely leaving the area. Still some rain squalls around. Now it rains sometime during the day. Getting tired of it. I believe yesterday was the first day with out rain.   It may have rained during the night.

Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the port side of the hull. Today we finished the cleaning. Now it needs a good waxing. No buffer, guess I can’t do that.

About a year ago our aft air conditioner died. That was not a big problem in the island where the trades blow hard. In Tampa, with no wind and rain, it is hot and muggy. Therefore I ordered a new unit. To my surprise, it was to be delivered today. That meant after finishing the hull, I had to dig out a old rusty 50 air conditioner. The mate and I were just lifting the old unit off the boat when the dock master comes rolling up with the new unit sitting in the back seat of his golf cart. Nothing better then having a big healthy 30 year old to carry the new unit and put it on the deck and take away the old one.

About dinner time I fired it up. A small water leak where I attached the water hoses. A turn with the screwdriver to a hose clamp and all works like new. The mate is heading for bed and was commenting about it being cold in our stateroom. Have not heard that for over 2 years.

Next to call the water maker people and set up their coming over to find my leak. I think it is an “O” ring. I think. I hope, that sounds inexpensive.


Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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That’s right, we are having tropical storm Colin. Spent yesterday tying the boat up for possible 60 mile per hour winds. Well so far the one band hit us with 38 kts. Our boat sets east and west. The wind is out of the south, therefore we get a lot of healing and pulling on the lines that are tied to the floating dock. So far all is well. Tropical storms we stay on board. I really do not trust floating dock since Ivan. Really with out a car, we could only go to the club house. That would be ok, it is built like a fort. Just that they close the place early during the week.

Other then this weather thing, we got here Tuesday. Spent the afternoon getting tied and hooked up. Wednesday I started scrubbing the boat. It had not been washed good since last August. Now I have to got some deck and hull cleaner to really clean it up. Tomorrow we should get the phone. That will allow me to start working on the major projects. We are going to rent a car for a day of two every other week and take care shopping etc.

With the bad weather the wifi started working last evening. It has worked all day today with the wind and rain. We are afraid to shut it off. It may never come back. It is slow, but it is here on the boat. That is wonderful. We must be close to a quarter mile from the club house. That is a long walk for the wifi connection. I guess I can count it as exercise. It would not be any fun in a driving rain.

Tomorrow Colin is suppose to be out into the Atlantic. That will allow me to get back to work on the boat. Even start on the major projects. Wahoo!

Another feeder ban going by. Makes the boat roll. After being in the ICW and bays for 2 weeks it is nice to feel the boat move. Big pier, small cleats. Hope they hold.   I am in a 60 foot slip. Most of the boats are in the mid 50 foot range. Across the main pier are 70 to 85 footers. Only a few did any preparation for the storm. It is interesting to see how some of the boats are tied. A few large double braided lines and that is it. My neighbor uses granny knots to tie to a cleat. Scary.

I’M LATE WITH MY BLOG June 4, 2016

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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To bad. Been an interesting, busy week. We spent 2 days in Marco island. Other then an afternoon thunderstorm and lunch at a WiFi bar, things were good. In fact, after the bugs in Little Shark River, this was very nice.

The only negative was when we got underway. Forgot that the bottom of the bay is mud. Sticky mud. When we were eating breakfast, we were watching a couple beside us getting under way. They were both on the bow. She was on her hands and knees scrubbing the mud from their chain and he was running the windlass bringing up more muddy chain. The chain looked like rope. It was that covered with mud. We figured they had been there for a period of time. Wrong!

8:00 am. Time to head for Ft Myers Beach. Run up the anchor. We have a wash down system that is to wash off the mud. After a half hour the thermal couple trips the pump off. Luckily we had the anchor off the bottom but not totally out of the water. The mud was terrible. We washed and washed the chain, but there was still mud on it. The deck was covered with mud.

Got to sail for an hour. Then no wind and we motored on to Ft Myers Beach. We got a mooring ball there. We were meeting friends from 15 years ago that lived on a boat in Pensacola. Really a neat time. They have two teenage daughters. The older one is a very successful Laser sailor. She moved up a class to Radicals this year. Last year in the regular Lasers she ranked 2ed in the nation. Not to shabby. Now she has to build the points back up to rank that high. She feels she will be back up there before year end and qualify for international regattas. Their younger daughter is a goalie on their school soccer team. She is very good. She also has high aspirations to move up in the sport. Two very talented kids. A real neat family. It was great being able to meet up with them again.

The next day it was off to Cape Haze. This is a neighborhood that surrounds a small bay. We got in around 6 pm and got anchored in time to watch sunset in this beautiful neighborhood. One problem. This place has a muddier bottom then Marco Island. Again the deck is covered with mud.

We are off to Longboat Key. This is the beginning of Memorial day weekend. Beside Longboat Key is Jewfish Key. There was a party there. With out exaggerating, there were hundreds of boats there. Made the number of boats for the Blues look like nothing. Almost all were small powerboats. They left by midnight for home. In the morning there was maybe 20 larger powerboats left.

We left for St Pete. My son lives there and they met us on the water.   He had come up with a different marina for us to stay at that was a lot closer to where he lives. Not so good. You can only spend a weekend on your boat at the marina. We are looking for 6 months. So we anchored in a bay a couple miles from my sons house for the rest of Memorial Day Weekend.Then off to Westshore YC. We had been having a hard time touching base with them over the weekend to confirm a slip at there marina. Through emails the last few weeks, they said they had a place for us. They did and we are in their marina. Life has changed. As much water as we want. A shower a day. Electricity! That means air conditioning. That is great because it has been very hot here for this time of year.

The last 3 days we have been cleaning the boat and awning. I have started on the hull today after chipping away huge oysters on the pier. Tomorrow I hope to complete washing the hull. Then it will be cleaning the stainless that is covered with rust. I need to get some deck cleaner to remove the stain from the mud we got into at those two anchorages.

We have no car. We have no phone. Getting the phone taken care will cause a lot of things to start happening to get the boat working again. We are going to rent a car for a day every other week and get our stuff taken cared. At least that is the plan.