We are nearing completion of all of our boat projects! Finally!
Last weekend I was grinding rust in the lazarette preparing to paint it. (The lazarette is the aft-most locker in the boat and backs up against the transom. It normally contains propane bottles and some small storage items.) While using a chisel to remove rusted metal, I punched completely through the hull, leaving a hole. The very corner of the locker where the hull, transom, and floor of the locker all come together had rusted almost completely through. All it took was a hammer and chisel to make a hole.
This wasn’t a major problem forthree reasons. First, the area was a foot above the water line. Second, the lazarette is a watertight locker completely separate from the rest of the boat. Third, there is already a drain hole in this locker located on the centerline of the boat to allow water and propane fumes to drain out of the boat. One of my buddies observed that the rust had just improved ventilation in the propane locker and we should leave it as is. Of course, he was joking.
The picture above shows the hole from the inside. This was after I ground on it some more to get back to good metal. The welder cut it out a little more so it was a out 3 inches by 4 inches when he started welding. It took a couple of days but we now have the damaged area welded and reinforced with good metal. I am still painting it with epoxy paint to prevent future rust, and have two more coats to go.
We should be ready to depart Thursday. The weather looks pretty iffy, with 40% chance of storms, so we are counting on leaving the dock Friday for a short sail down to Galveston. We will spend the night there and depart early Saturday morning on the Intercostal Waterway. We plan to take three days to reach Houma, LA, where we will take the Houma Navigation Canal to the Gulf of Mexico. From there it will take us another five days to reach Dry Tortugas National Park.
This park has been a goal for us for a long time. It is the western-most island of the Florida Keys and is accessible only by boat or sea plane. The US built a fort on it long ago and it is now a National Park. Google it – it looks like a beautiful place.
We plan on spending a couple of days at the park before moving on to Florida. We are not sure where in Florida we will visit, but we are limited by our draft of seven feet and the vertical height of our mast, 70 feet. Most fixed bridges and power lines in Florida are 65 feet, which excludes us. We can get into Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, so we may visit one of those before heading to Bermuda around April 22.
I will try to keep this site updated as we travel. We will keep an eye out for wifi access!