Bucking the system one sunset at a time!

The Rigging Company

The Rigging Company

The Rigging Company in Annapolis, MD rocks!

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, then you know how much work we’ve put into HuskaBean to get her ready for this sailing adventure. In fact, it’s been nearly three years since I purchased her, and we’ve been working on her non-stop ever since. Don’t misunderstand me; she was a great boat when we bought her. But she was very basic in terms of equipment. And, many of her systems were well past their expected life cycle. For example, the water heater had a hole in it. The portlights were cracked and leaky. The propeller shaft was severely corroded, and the prop was bent. The engine mounts were toast. The stuffing box needed to be replaced. The steering cable was original. The electrical system was in dire need of repairs and upgrades. The toilet was a mess. The list goes on and on.

I like to think of myself as a pretty handy guy, and I’m willing to tackle just about any job myself. And, that’s pretty much what I did. I also had a few friends that were willing to donate lots of their time and sweat. If I didn’t know how to do something, I studied. Before you ask… I did a lot of studying. I probably spent the same amount on books as I did refitting the boat. I also made a lot of mistakes and sometimes did things the hard way. But, that’s the way of the DIY’er. Eventually, however, everyone reaches their limit of available time, resources and abilities. And, frankly, some things are better left to the professionals. For me, my limits started at the rig.

All of our standing rigging was original. That’s 35 years for those keeping track. The forestay and roller-furler were purchased in 2007. While lightly used on the Chesapeake Bay, they, too, needed to be addressed before heading offshore. We also wanted to install a downwind pole for long tradewind passages. For a few reasons, I wasn’t comfortable tackling an entire rig replacement myself without a lot of help. There are a lot of things that can go wrong offshore, and, aside from a giant hole in the boat, having the mast come down was the last problem I wanted to have. I needed to find a professional.

We turned to the good folks at The Rigging Company out of Annapolis, MD. What a find! Jimmie and his team were probably the most helpful group of professionals that we met during our refit. They know their stuff; they’re great communicators, and, they appreciate timetables (meeting every deadline, no less). Your “emergency” is truly their emergency, and, like a good doctor, they will take the time to answer the same question asked three different ways… over and over again! Thanks guys!

At least for me, shopping for standing rigging was a bit stressful. For one, re-rigging a boat is VERY expensive. Secondly, the options available are mind-blowing. I like to keep things simple and was getting bogged down in too many details. Priority number one was safety; we wanted a time/ocean-tested rig that would be easy to maintain. Priority number 2 was cost. Frankly, high tech is often high dollar – and we just didn’t have that in our budget.

With Jimmie’s experience and guidance, we settled on all new stays made-up with Sta-Lok mechanical terminals. They’re a little more expensive upfront, but, when it comes time to replace the rig again, we can reuse the terminals. Since the forestay is hidden inside the furler foil, Jimmie suggested using swaged terminals on the forestay. We wanted an insulated backstay for our single-sideband radio antenna. Here, Jimmie recommended the Hayn HI-MOD fail-safe insulators. Finally, Jimmie’s team replaced the bearings in our Pro-Furl roller-furler (what a difference that made!). Jimmie also guided me through the installation of a mast-mounted whisker pole track. A job that I hadn’t considered tackling myself until he walked me through it!

The also have a fantastic website at The Rigging Company. Jimmie regularly posts articles about rigging that are helpful to any sailor interested in understanding how their boats work. You can find well-written articles regarding rig tuning, rig inspections, etc. In fact, that’s how I found their company… I was searching for information about how to inspect my rig.

If you’re a Chesapeake Bay area sailor and are spending the winter daydreaming about the sailing season, do yourself a favor and get your boat projects done now. If you’ve got rigging issues, now is the time to address them. Don’t wait until the spring commissioning to discover that your rig is unsafe. Give the folks at The Rigging Company a call. You, and your boat, will be glad that you did!

DIY Oil Changes: 25 Easy Steps for the Non-Boat Owner

Changing your engine’s oil on a regular schedule is one of the most important things that you can do to extend the life of your engine. Our trusty Perkins diesel is 35 years old, and she still runs like a top! Luckily, she’s had two very responsible owners who’ve cared for her properly over the years. I’m now the third owner of this engine, and I change the oil every 50 hours of run time. And, since we motored all of the way from Maryland to Florida, I’ve changed the oil 5 times. In only 2.5 months!

Many of our readers are already familiar with how to change the oil in their automobile’s engine. Others may have never changed an engine’s oil. I’ve always enjoyed performing this task on the cars and the motorcycle that I’ve owned, and, with all of this recent practice on our boat, I’ve gotten pretty good at changing it while afloat as well. I’ve decided to distill my experience performing this essential maintenance function down to 25 easy-to-remember steps that anyone can follow.

While the procedures for changing a boat engine’s oil are theoretically the same as those used on a car, there are some slight differences that are worth noting. We live on a boat, but I fully realize that most of our readers do not. Therefore, to make this article useful to the majority, I’ve reduced my methods to those that any landlubber can understand. However, if you live on a boat, you’ll still understand.

Just like frying Spam, good preparation is the key to success. You wouldn’t just throw the whole loaf right into a scalding hot pan. You’d slice it first, of course. So it goes with an oil change – there are a few things you’ll need to do before jumping into the oil change itself.

Preparatory Steps

Step 1: Ask your significant other to spend an enjoyable day exploring the city with her friends.

Step 2: Measure the width of your car.

Step 3: Drag the bed from the guest bedroom into the kitchen. Place the bed next to your refrigerator. Using the measurements from Step 2, leave exactly a car’s-width space between the bed and the refrigerator.

Step 4: Drive your car into the kitchen and park it between your bed and the refrigerator – ensuring that the front of the car is pressed up against a wall. Leave the engine running while you complete the following steps. This will warm the oil and provide essential exhaust fumes for the rest of the house.

Step 5: Carry your toolbox into the living room and jam it underneath the cushion of your recliner.

Step 6: Climb into the attic and drag everything you find there into the living room. Then, dump all of that stuff on top of the recliner.

Step 7: While standing on your refrigerator, completely remove the hood from your car. Carry it into the hallway and set it down. Make sure that access to the living room is completely blocked.

Step 8: Reverse the process in the previous step so you can get back into the living room.

Step 9: Remove the pile of crap from the recliner and retrieve your toolbox from underneath the cushion. Replace pile of crap. Carry the toolbox into the kitchen, set it on the couch, and repeat the car hood removal process outlined in Step 7. Only this time, while placing it in the hallway, drop the hood on your toe.

Step 10: Crawl through your car from the driver’s side back seat, to the passenger side front seat. Climb out the passenger side window and scale the side of your refrigerator. When you get to the top of the refrigerator, throw yourself out of the nearest exterior window.

Step 11: Once outside, retrieve a gallon of oil from the shed. Make sure to slip on the wet patio and pull your groin muscle.

Step 12: Climb back through the kitchen window and down the side of the refrigerator. Set the gallon of oil in the kitchen sink. Make note of the leaking propane smell – disregard for the time being.

Step 13: Turn off engine.

The Oil Change

Step 14: Climb into the backseat of your car. While stretching across the front seat, reach out of the driver’s side window and around into the engine compartment. Remove the dipstick from the engine. Make note of the fabric-staining properties of the old oil. Accidentally drop the dipstick with fabric-staining oil onto the kitchen rug. DO NOT CLEAN UP THE SPILL! This will be needed later for getting into trouble with the Mrs.

Step 15: Insert your longest drinking straw into the dipstick hole. This straw will be used for sucking the old oil out of the engine. Suck out the old oil and deposit into the container lying next to the stove.

Step 16: Make note of the blood running down your shin. To better see the wound, brace yourself with one oily hand on the refrigerator and bend over at the waist. Wipe away blood with your other oily hand. “Promise” yourself to treat the wound after you’re done changing the oil.

Step 17: Crawl onto the guest bed while dragging wounded shin across the bed frame. While swearing loudly, wipe blood from guest bed with oily hand. Remind yourself to cleanup the oil stain after you’re done changing the oil.

Step 18: While lying on guest bed, reach over the driver’s side front tire and punch a hole in the wheel well. Force your arm through this hole and feel around blindly for the oil filter. Remove bloody arm. Climb off of the guest bed and retrieve oil filter wrench from the couch.

Step 19: Repeat Step 18 with oil filter wrench in hand.

Step 20: Loosen oil filter with wrench. Unscrew oil filter with bare hands until scalding hot oil gushes forth from the top of the oil filter. Make note of the burning sensation and jerk hand away – ensure that you drop the hot and slippery oil filter. While swearing loudly, remember that you forgot to place a pail underneath the filter to capture the mess.

Step 21: Climb over car hood in hallway and retrieve new oil filter from the cushions of the sofa. Make note of oily hand print on the ceiling.

Step 22: Open new gallon of oil pour into new oil filter. To ensure that you’ve completely filled filter with oil, continue pouring until oil runs all over the hardwood kitchen floor. Check oil’s lubricity by stepping in spill.

Step 23: Crawl across guest bed with completely-filled new oil filter.

Step 24: Jam hand and new oil filter through hole produced in Step 18. Blindly search for oil filter installation location. When location has been identified, cross-thread new oil filter to ensure future leaks.

Step 25: Refill engine with remaining oil from the gallon you opened in Step 22. Recall that 1 gallon equals four quarts. While swearing loudly, remind to remind yourself that your engine requires 5 quarts.

See? Easy peasy. I’m confident that if you follow the above simple steps to the letter, you, too, will be changing your oil in only 6-7 hours. Your engine will love you for it!

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The Truth (Not Really)

You know how I promised in my last post to keep this blog up-to-date? Yeah, that was a big fat stinking lie. But it’s not my fault. Actually, that’s also a big lie. It’s totally my fault. I do, however, have a good excuse for not posting regular updates (not true). Ok, it is all my fault, and I do not have a good excuse. But, really, aside from that one guy – how many of our readers have been chomping at the bit for some new DPTR content? Seriously. How many? I suppose it doesn’t matter because I’m updating now, right? I’m going to stop now and just get on it with the post, because none of this rambling actually counts as new content. So…

We did it! We completed our journey down the Intracoastal Waterway! We sailed over 1200 nautical miles. Actually, that was another lie. We didn’t sail at all. We motored over 1200 nautical miles. But, HuskaBean is now safely tied up on a mooring ball in Coconut Grove, FL. Think about that. How many places in Maryland are named after coconuts? I can’t think of any. That makes the first leg of our journey totally worth the effort. That, and I wore swimming trunks on New Year’s Eve. Comfortably. That is success in my book, and it proves that my navigation skills are at least good enough to find warm weather!

All in all, the Intracoastal Waterway was an awesome experience. We met some of the coolest people along the way. We reconnected with many long-lost friends and even flew home to visit the familia. I haven’t even mentioned the dolphins! Loads of dolphins! And birds.  And manatees.  And sunsets. And not one single alligator. But, we did see several iguanas – and they’re good in soup. For real. Anyway, we’re here, and it was awesome. Except for the 4,782 drawbridges in Southern Florida. Seriously, you should pack a lunch when passing through Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, because you’re going to be there awhile. Make it something easy to eat, because there are a lot of baboons in giant power boats that have no idea what “no wake” means. Or, they simply don’t care. Or, they’re too busy ignoring the “rules-of-the-road” to notice the “No Wake” signs. I also discovered that if you’re rich enough to own a super-yacht, you’re also rich enough to buy a mansion on the water where you can dock said super-yacht in your front yard.

Anywho, we’re here, and HuskaBean performed exceptionally well. Seriously, everything worked like it was supposed to for the entire trip. Ok, maybe not everything – there is an oil leak on the raw water pump that I have to fix. Aside from that, though, everything is perfect (except for the broken solar panel). Ok, the toilet worked flawlessly, and that, dear reader, is true. I like to think that her performance is directly-related to all of the lovin’ she received over the past few years, but that is also probably not true. I do have a handful of projects to knock out over the next few days – things that we elected to put off for the sake of getting out of Maryland. Small things, but things nonetheless. After that, we need to buy a literal boatload of food, booze and toilet paper, because we’re finally leaving the country! That’s right. We’re planning to cross an ocean in the next week or so (not true). That’s right! We’re making the giant 50-mile leap to the Bahamas. And then… we’re having lobsters for dinner. Once I slay them with my Hawaiian sling. I suppose “slay” is sort of harsh. After I kill them with my Hawaiian sling – there… how’s that?

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The following paragraph is all very, very true. The crew of the s/v HuskaBean would like to send out a very special thank you to the folks we met along the way that helped us out or made the trip extra special. In no particular order:

  • Lenka – for the hospitality, the rides and the showers!
  • Keith – for stinking up the joint!
  • Todd and Ilana – for the Spam and being about the nicest folks we ever met!
  • Vicky and Jim – for the free dock for 2 whole weeks!
  • That one guy that moved and re-anchored his boat, at night, so we didn’t have to move ours.
  • Jason and Chelseanna – for the food, the bed and the memories.
  • Terry – for making us famous!

That’s all the news worth reporting. Look for a new blog post tomorrow or the next day (not really)!

Marine buddies are for life!

If I were to apply myself, I could remember where this was taken.

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Showers, They’re Not Just for People Anymore

We have a shower aboard the HuskaBean; I’ve seen it. It’s in the head – right next to the loo. In fact, it even has a seat… just like your home shower. No seat in your home shower? Well, then, just like at home, you can sit on the toilet while you bathe. Same as our boat. One shower, two seats. Everybody needs a place to rest while they’re showering – especially if you’ve forgotten to go potty before you got in the shower. We haven’t used the shower aboard the HuskaBean yet. We have used the bathroom. Perhaps it’s the same thing. Who knows?

Huh.

The IntraCoastal Waterway is broken up into bite-sized pieces of day sailing/motoring. Generally, there is an obvious place to stop for every 6-8 hours of sailing. We typically like to anchor instead of tying up in a marina. Mostly because we’re cheap, and anchoring is free. It’s also more peaceful at anchor. No cars. No street lights. Fewer neighbors. Etc. Having fewer neighbors works out well when you haven’t showered in a few days. Sometimes it’s nice to bathe, though. In a real shower. One without a toilet. Therefore, we stop every few days somewhere that has an honest to goodness toiletless shower.

Somewhere.

Somewhere.

We’re having a great time, though – even if we are a little stinky. Traveling by boat has got to be one of the prettiest ways to see the country. Time slows down when you’re only moving at 7 mph. It’s awesome. The day of the week simply fades away into a gorgeous sunset. We’ve met some wonderful people. We’ve seen some beautiful places. I’ve seen more dolphins in one day than I have in all of my years working in an office. Paychecks… who needs them!!

The Crew!

The Crew!

We won't be going there!

We won’t be going there!

Pretty bird.

For now we’re anchored in Morehead City, NC. Maybe we’ll stay awhile. Maybe we won’t. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure that there is another shower a short daysail away!

(sigh)

Thanks for the photos, Cynthia and Yves!

We Did It! We’re Finally Underway!

Yes, we’re alive. And, no, we haven’t forgotten about you. We’ve just been stupid busy getting the boat ready, and, frankly, have not had any energy/time to write blog posts. I apologize. That should change now, because we have finally left the marina!!!! Hooray for us!

Bon Voyage

Exactly four months after moving aboard the boat, we left our slip at Pirate’s Den Marina in Cobb Island, MD. Talk about a whirlwind of activity! Aside from a two-week break in early August to visit family, I haven’t had a day off from work in months. The days were equally long, expensive, frustrating, painful, satisfying and tense. In the cruising community, it’s cliche to say that the “boat is never ready,” and that is no joke. You just have to go. And that is exactly what we did. We pulled away from the slip in the early afternoon on October 30th – and were literally still stowing stuff as we motored down the Potomac River. We still have a long list of projects to finish, but they can be tackled along the way. But, man, did we ever get a lot of stuff accomplished.

Ludi at the helm. Capt. Ken

I won’t bore you with the details of electrical upgrades, rig improvements, upholstery work and refrigeration installations. However, I will say that it took a lot longer to accomplish all of these projects that I ever could have imagined. We had originally hoped to leave the dock in mid-August to cruise the Chesapeake Bay for a few months. If I actually paid myself to do these projects, we’d be loaded! But I can’t take all of the credit. We couldn’t have done this without the assistance of some very good (and bewilderingly dedicated) friends. My buddies, Keith and Chris, went above and beyond with help. Ludi’s friends Ruth, Lydia and Marianna all pitched in, too. It took a village to get rid of us. Thanks, guys!!!

Bon Voyage

We hosted a “Bon Voyage/Boat Re-naming Ceremony” party a few weeks ago. Several of our closest friends made the drive to Southern Maryland to send us on our way and tell us how crazy we were. Good times were had by all (I think), and we drank too much booze. The boat is now called “HuskaBean,” and it looks good on her. She seems to enjoy it, too.

s/v HuskaBean

HuskaBean

The cake is more optimistic than the shark!

The cake is more optimistic than the shark!

We’ve been underway for 4 days, and, so far, we’ve been having a great time. We’re now anchored in the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, VA – a stone’s throw from the WWII battleship, USS Wisconsin. This is the start of the Intracoastal Waterway and our chosen route to Florida. As we were setting our anchor, Captain Norm and Jan from the neighboring boat “Bandersnatch” motored over in their dinghy to invite us over for cocktails. Captain Shirley, from “Speedwell of Hong Kong” was also in attendance. We had a great time touring the boat, drinking booze, and listening to stories of cruisers far more experienced than us. Jan even cooked dinner and h’orderves for the occasion!

Speedwell of Hong Kong

Capt. Shirley and the “Speedwell of Hong Kong”

Bandersnatch

s/v Bandersnatch

It’s a rainy day outside, so we decided to spend the day here. We’re very close to a marina with laundry facilities – so we may launch the dinghy and run to town for some errands (and a normal shower). Tomorrow, we leave bright and early for our trip through the Great Dismal Swamp – and we can’t wait!

That’s all of the news worth reporting. In the meantime, you can follow our progress by clicking here.

Leaving Wolf Trap behind.

Wolf Trap Lighthouse – Ken is Leaving Wolf Trap, and the coolest job, behind. :-(

Smith Point Lighthouse

Smith Point Lighthouse

USS Dwight Eisenhower

USS Dwight Eisenhower

Tall Timbers, MD

Tall Timbers, MD

We Came for the Unemployment; We Stayed for the Butter

Well, it’s official! After years of planning, saving and sacrifice, we are both now unemployed and pseudo-homeless! Who knew that not having a job or an official home could be so exciting… and difficult to achieve? We have saved enough scratch to put food on the table for the next few years… after that, I suppose we’ll start shooting down birds. Or, we’ll start gnawing on our shoes. Or, we’ll swipe food off of your plate when you’re not looking. Whatever, we’re free and are living in the moment!!!!!

Well, what do you think? Do beards and blue bottom paint make for handsome?

My last day of work was Friday, June 26th; my last paycheck followed shortly thereafter. Getting your last check kind of sucks, but, it’s an easier pill to swallow when you know that it’s coming than if you were simply 86’ed. I immediately moved onboard the boat with my buddy, Keith, and we’ve been busting-out boat projects for several weeks. We were really behind on getting things done thanks to the aforementioned job.

To be honest, I sort of feel like I’m cheating. I mean, this is the first time in my life where I’m doing exactly what I want, when I want. Weekends now start on Sunday and end on Saturday. It’s delish. Whenever I go somewhere during the normal workday, I feel like people are staring at me. For example, we went out to eat a few days ago, and I half-expected people to start pointing and saying:

“I know what you did, and I’m telling.”

Silly, huh? I’m sure it will pass once we really get into the groove of cruising. Because, frankly, this freedom business is the bee’s knees.

“The Admiral” only quit her job a few days ago, and the shock hasn’t completely worn off… in fact, she looks like she just got shot out of a cannon. I’m sure she’ll be fine once she comes to a complete stop. But, for now, she may take your leg off if you get too close. I may wait a few weeks before I tell her that we’re now doing our laundry in a 5-gallon bucket. To talk her down from the ledge, her friend Gary took her to the waterfront on her first day of unemployment. She practiced lounging. In a hammock. Yeah, she’ll be fine.

Slacker Training

Slacker Training

For now we’re going to take a few weeks away from boat work to visit family and friends in the Midwest. I had really hoped to leave the dock by the end of July, but, it’s not gonna work out that way. We should be back onboard by August 8th, and we’ll knock out the remaining projects. That’s fine – there isn’t much sailing happening on the Chesapeake Bay in August anyway. And, we will still have plenty of time to cruise the Bay before heading south in October. The tropics are calling our names! Can you hear it, too?

Keep Marching

Man. We’re less than 45-days away from quitting our jobs and moving aboard the boat. Unfortunately, we’re nowhere near ready to leave the dock. In fact, the boat isn’t even in the water yet! Hell, the boat doesn’t even have a mast or boom ready to install. Not exactly where we wanted to be at this point. Unfortunately, some projects have taken far too long to complete, and some unanticipated projects have reared their ugly heads. But, beyond that, our normal jobs and the 70-mile drive to the marina have been the biggest obstacles to progress. It sucks. And the worst part is that I’m entering the busy season at work. I’ll have even less time to get things done!!

The original plan was to leave the dock in early July and spend a few months cruising the Chesapeake Bay before pointing our bow south. Now? We’ll likely spend a good portion of July finishing some critical projects… things like re-installing the mast, electrical system upgrades, windlass installation, etc. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re quitting our jobs to live on a yacht in the tropics! You don’t want to hear me complain any more than I want to complain. But, it still stinks.

That’s why things have been quiet around here. I’ve been feeling a bit defeated lately, and, frankly, I haven’t had anything to write about. A lot of backwards progress and very little forward. I’ve been here before though, and, while dim, there is light at the end of this tunnel. I was given some advice when I was much younger that has served me well through the years. I was still in the Marine Corps and had just broken my leg in training. My platoon and friends were leaving me behind, and my spirit was crushed. My platoon sergeant looked me in the eye and said, “You’ve got to keep marching!” He was right, and I did. So, that’s what we’re going to do.

One immediate bright side? We’re quitting our jobs in less than 45 days!! Can I get a “Hell Yeah!”?

Boat Projects: Stupid Is

I knew back when I ginned up Don’t Pay the Ransom that I did not want to write too many articles about boat projects.  Because, really, who wants to read yet another blog about someone working on their boat? Boring. However, considering that projects are our world right now, that is easier said than done. Don’t get me wrong; project blogs have their place. And they have been very helpful to us as we struggle through our own refit. However, most of them get pretty old fairly quickly, and, aside from people like us (me), I’m guessing that not many people are reading them. But, the main reason that I don’t want to write about boat projects is that I’m not an expert. If you want technical, find someone qualified.

I am, however, a certified crackerjack on stupidity. If someone were to actually employ stupid, my resume would quickly rise to the top of the applicant pool. When it comes to stupid, I’m the cream of the crap! I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve done something the wrong stupid way. Wait until you hear what we’re naming our dinghy! Boy, is it ever stupid! Can you imagine what would happen if I tried to write about technical stuff? Someone may actually try to replicate what I’ve done! Why, they might very well saw off their own arm! Or, hit themselves in the face with a hammer! It’s best that I steer well clear of technical articles and focus instead on writing nonsense about nonsense.

Don't let dangle your extensions cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

Don’t dangle your extension cords across the exhaust of a diesel heater!

See where that leaves us? We’re not yet doing anything that most people would find remotely interesting. Like traveling to bitchin’ places. Or, eating bugs. Or, manually pumping our bathroom business into a tank hidden beneath our living room. We’re just working on boat projects. Lots of them, in fact. So, you’re stuck with reading my best attempt at boat work nonsense. For your own safety,  I’ll report a handful of things that we’ve been working on without providing any details regarding how we did it.

Cruising sailboats tend to have lots of gear and instruments – radios, navigation equipment, battery monitoring, etc. Unfortunately, our Morgan does not have a lot of space to mount this stuff. Rather than cutting into structural bulkheads to mount this equipment, we decided to construct our own instrument panel. With the help of a few friends, we spent last weekend knocking one out using a scrap piece of plywood.  I still have to install a few more items and then stain it. It will also get some fancy-pants trim around the edges. I ain’t a carpenter, but I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I’m also happy to report that, despite the frequent use of power tools, everybody still has all 10 of their original fingers.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (and not yet finished) instrument panel.

Boat helper, Keith, modeling with the new (but not yet finished) instrument panel.

Last fall I mentioned that we discovered a few small cracks in our mast. Masts on a sailboat are pretty important. As you might imagine, the situation really bothered me. I lost sleep while struggling with what to do about them; buying a new mast would really jack-up our plans. I received a few different opinions from various riggers – none of them devastating. However, it was difficult to weigh the alternatives when the opinions varied so wildly. Having no experience, I was relying on theirs. Those in the sailing community will probably recognize the name, Brion Toss. He, quite literally, wrote the book on sailboat rigging, The Complete Rigger’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, he is on the other side of the country. He did, however, offer a positive opinion and a recommendation for a local rigger that he trusted. Steve Madden, from M Yacht Services, answered the call and shepherded in piece of mind. The mast will be fine with only a small, inexpensive and minimally invasive procedure!

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Rig inspections go on despite an outside temperature of 3 degrees.

Let’s see… what else to report? Oh, we gave the entire steering system a once over and will soon replace the steering cable…  even installed a new wheel brake, too. Though it worked fine, I sent the autopilot back to the factory for refurbishing – you know, for good measure (and to spend more money, sigh). Lots of work has begun on the electrical system. New wiring on a few things. Some battery bank modifications. We yanked out the old through-hull speed and depth sensors. We removed the broken sensor from the wastewater holding tank and quickly put it right back. Blech. Disgusting! We’ve also sold a bunch of things and are well on our way towards having a lot of nothing! If you know someone that wants to buy a car, I’ve got a deal for you!!

That’s all for now. Until next time… wear your helmet and don’t flush the toilet paper!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

No, seriously, come and buy this car!

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