Daily Archives: January 8, 2013

Sometimes it works

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As a misty rain begins to pitter-patter on the cockpit windows it just confirms that another squall line is passing through Stuart which will mean less solar energy for us. We had to run the diesel generator this morning due to low solar charging yesterday and making water while we had a little sun. The good news is that our soon to be replaced battery charger started up after only a short session with the electric space heater blowing on it. In Annapolis, while we were buttoned up because of Sandy and just plain cold temperature, we found that blowing warm air on our charger gave us a 50/50 chance of it starting up. So now if it doesn’t work after flipping the breaker, which it rarely does, we blow hot air on it in the hope that it’ll start up.

This reminds me of a cat that we used to have, we’ll call her Margaret. We found something called wacky wall walkers. One throws them, the walkers that is, up against a wall, they stick to it and slowly “walk” down. She found this fascinating. Years later she could be found staring up at the spot where she used to see the “walkers” slowly making their way down the wall. Sometimes it works.

Tenacity, or is it just back to my “Sweet Spot of Life Theory” which states that we spend a large part of our lives in the pursuit of the feeling of that sweet spot zone. In younger days it was hitting that round ball with a cylindrical bat, not the 99% usual contact but that sweet spot contact without vibration and the ball leaps off the bat. Later it’s when she looks up at you and says…yes. Whatever, we tend to repeat the behavior. I may have overthought the charger thing but it can’t go soon enough for me.

There are big changes in store for Escape Velocity which should make for a sweeter life aboard her. We seem to have gotten a definitive answer on why anchoring EV has been such a difficult and dangerous proposition. Wrong chain wheel! We found a dangerous hole hacked into the main support beam which is fixable, and we’re adding AIS to our electronics suite and an amp hour meter for the batteries. Work continues apace with the cockpit cushions. I’m sure I’ve missed something so stay tuned.

The sun has burned through the clouds so I’m out of here.

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The runaround

Chasing boat workers and parts is a fulltime job, as any boater will tell you. Despite impressing on everyone that we are anxious to get moving and that we’re not here for the season we still spend every morning calling and nudging people to give us prices or scheduling info.

Our latest struggle is with Maxwell, the manufacturer of our anchor windlass. It has never worked right since we’ve been aboard. As soon as we knew there was a problem Jack called the US rep and after a long phone conversation we were assured that our chain and gypsy match and they don’t know what the problem is. Since then we’ve struggled — well, Jack has — to get the chain down and back up again every time we anchor, which is most of the time.

We finally got someone to take us seriously and they asked us to send a length of chain for them to test with their equipment. On Friday Jack got a call from Maxwell; we have the wrong gypsy. Now mind you, the previous owners told Maxwell what chain they had when they ordered the windlass, Jack was told in May or June that we had the correct gypsy, and now they decide it’s the wrong one but they want us to pay for a new one. Really? This is a seriously dangerous situation because in order to get the chain up Jack has to reach under the windlass to undo the logjam that happens every few feet or so as the chain is pulled up. He could lose half his hand with a moment’s inattention and it scares us to death. It’s amazing to me that the company won’t make this right, given the potential liability issues. We’ll see. Right now we’re waiting for a callback that was supposed to be in five minutes. It’s been hours.

Meanwhile we’re also trying to get estimates on the fiberglass repair of the damaged support beam under the saloon settee. We finally have a few guys lined up to come look at it. This is definitely something we have the skill to do, but without our usual previous supply of resin and the various tools needed, we figured for not much more than sourcing all the supplies we could get it done and done in a hurry. We’ll see about that, too.

Mack Sails picked up our mainsail this morning and at the same time brought a repaired camber spar and jib to True Colors. We need to change our jib to the new one so we tagged along and watched the Mack men as they reinstalled the sail on Marty and Lisa’s boat.

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I also measured their canvas jib cover. Ours seems very baggy while other Mantas have a much tidier package. Sure enough, our cover is wider and shorter than the one on True Colors so I’ll use that one to pattern ours when our new canvas comes. Oh, how I wish my sister were here to do a day of sewing with me! Boat canvas is not her m├ętier but I sure would like the confidence boost her presence would give me. I also need to tackle the continuous-loop cover on the boom; it’s in tatters. (Shidoobee)

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We had a sad memorial at the marina dumpster for Nancy’s original Cuisinart, which she gave me many, many years ago when she got a newer, more powerful one. It made a lot of hummus, cheese straws and chocolate cheesecakes through the years even as bits broke and fell off. It finally could do no more and we sent it to appliance heaven.

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After months of hemming and hawing about where best to install them, we hung our brass bell and gimbeled vase. These and our various oil lamps, among other things, are souvenirs of the 22 Annapolis Boat Shows in a row that we attended, many of them when we didn’t even own a boat. We always bought something “for later.” Sometimes it was a big thing, like a sextant or a good pair of binoculars; often, if we were low on cash it was something smaller, like the bell. But each one made us feel like we were moving closer to our dream of living aboard even if they ended up packed away in the basement for years. Now whenever I look at this beautiful Weems and Plath vase on the bulkhead of our own boat, I remember the time we spent working for this moment, struggling sometimes to keep the dream alive, and I feel pretty good about life.

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