More projects getting completed

Before I get started, let me thank you for stopping by to read this blog.  It’s a low feedback endeavor – I really don’t know who reads this.  Sometimes, I’m totally surprised when I get a post from someone who read our blog (Thanks, Tim!) and it encourages me to keep writing.  So, I want you to know I really do appreciate those that read this, and hope you find it informative and maybe entertaining.

We continue to work on our boat in preparation for cruising.  January is getting closer and we still have lots to do!  One of the biggest projects has been to modify our davits so that we can mount solar panels and other gear.  This is progressing nicely, and I hope to have it completed next week so we can post photos.  In a nutshell, we are adding three large solar panels, a wind vane (a real clever device which will steer the boat without using electricity), several antennas for communications, navigation, and wi-fi equipment, LED lights to illuminate the stern of the boat, and a mount for a future wind generator.

We are also preparing the boat for a lot of cosmetic repair.  Since Orontes II is steel, we have to be alert to spot small areas of rust as they appear.  Well, with all of the other work that has been going on, I have been spotting (and ignoring) all the little rust spots.  Now it is time to grind, wire brush, and chisel all of that rust away.  Once the rust is gone and I have clean, shiny steel, I prep the steel with three coats of Interlux 2000, which is a very tough epoxy paint.  Interlux manufactures this in two colors, white and gray, and by alternating colors, it makes it real easy to get complete coverage between coats.  It also helps me remember how many coats  I have applied since I always start with white, then a second coat of gray, then finish with white.     As I write this, I am about half done with the prep work for the boat.  The professional boat painters (a company called Chavos Yacht Service) are scheduled to arrive Monday, five days from now.  I have seen the Chavos guys at work, and they are GOOD.  They should be able to take my epoxy repairs and prime and paint them to the point that it will be good as new.  We are looking forward to having the work complete.

Today I finished replacing sanitation hoses for the aft holding tank.  I replaced the hoses for the forward tank several weeks ago, and this will complete the whole, messy job.  This time, I thought I had a brainstorm to make the project go smother.  First, most hoses on the boat are flexible, fit onto barbed fittings and are held in place with automotive-style hose clamps.  Taking the hose clamp off is easy, but the hose is usually stuck tightly onto the barbed fitting so it is almost impossible to remove.  This time, I was going to outsmart the system and just cut the hose off rather than spend hours trying to pull and pry the darn thing off.  I used my trusty Fein electric multitool with a sawblade to cut the hose.  This sounded so good to me, I was almost whistling as I pulled the trigger to cut the hose.  The Fein went into that thick rubber hose like it was butter, and then proceeded to spray water all over me and the surrounding area.  It was like pulling an electric mixer out of the batter on high speed.  Also, the stuff being sprayed was almost the color and consistency of batter, but it wasn’t.  This was old poo-poo water that had been sitting there in that hose for a year.  Not fun.  This lead to lots of washing and soap as I tried not to think what I had just done to myself.

The good news is I am DONE with sanitation hose replacements.  Every inch of hose on the boat has been replaced with super duty, impervious-to-odor, multiple layer reinforced hose guaranteed to keep the smell inside.  We never had real foul odors on board, but there were times that you could detect faint whisps of smell.  Those days are now gone!

It may sound like all we do is work on the boat, but that isn’t the case.  We do fill most days with boat projects, but after dinner we take time to relax, read, share a drink, or watch a movie.  We have met a lot of people since moving on board, and have some real good friends.  For example, last night six of us went for “Taco Tuesday” at a local restaurant.   Tonight it is just the two of us, with Laura busy beating everyone at “Words With Friends” and me catching up on computer work.

Thanks again for reading, and I’ll try to post photos next time.  Cheers!

Steve and Laura

A big, heavy boat needs a big, heavy anchor

Sometimes people ask us what we do in case of storms.  Well, first, we do what we can to avoid them.  We plan our passages for times and places that historically have good weather.  We avoid traveling in hurricane season and try to stack the odds in our favor by not taking undue risks with weather.  When we anchor, we select a place that is protected from prevailing winds and waves to help keep us safe and sound.

All that being said, sometimes you wind up in a storm.

To keep us secure, we have big, heavy anchors.  Lots of sailors will brag about how big their anchors are.  It’s a sailor thing.  But, in our case it’s true.

We carry three anchors, any of which will hold us in normal conditions.  For really bad weather, we break out the big boy.  This is a Luke 120 pound fisherman-style anchor and will hold us in anything imaginable.  It disassembles for stowage which is a really good feature.  There is no place on our boat where something this heavy and bulky can fit when all in one piece.

Steve with our storm anchor assembled

Steve with our storm anchor assembled

Storm anchor disassembled and ready to stow

Storm anchor disassembled and ready to stow

To go with the anchors, we have 290 feet of half-inch chain and 300 feet of 3/4 inch rode. (On a boat, everything has a name, and when rope is attached to anchor chain, it becomes “rode”.)  Half-inch chain is HEAVY.  Our 290 feet of chain weighs over 800 pounds by itself.  Couple that with our selection of anchors and we should be secure in a blow.

We have an electric windlass to deploy the chain and anchors and then haul it back onto the boat.  Life without a windlass would be difficult indeed!