Thursday, November 29, 2007

the view that started it all

I stayed in a lovely house in St. John, USVI for a week in May of '06. Great view, eh?

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I have always loved boats and being on the water, but the thought of cruising on a sailboat never even crossed my mind. I mean, that's something rich people do and not something the middle class can afford, right? 2 years ago I would have thought my only options for a sailing future would be playing on the weekends in a Hobie Cat or Laser. But after a little research I realized it wasn't really an unobtainable goal at all. Plenty of people with less than me are out there doing it right now.

So, here I am a year and a half later, with my own little boat to learn on (which I haven't sailed yet but am fixing up to do just that) and a major plan in the works that will have me slowly getting rid of material things that I don't need, paying off my debt and building savings while slowly acquiring the skills necessary to live and cruise on a boat long-term.

Several seasoned sailors have told me recently that I'm on the right track. I must say, it's truly great to hear that from people you respect and who are living your dream right now. So, here's to being on the right track! :D

As for boat work, had a complete wash-out of a weekend last week. Upper 30's and lower 40's and non-stop rain all weekend...and trapped inside with puppies all wound up with too much nervous energy! This weekend the forecast looks good. The plan is to finish up on prep work for the berth supports and to remove the funky keelson. Am still not quite ready for the gallon or so of epoxy I'll need for all the interior stuff. That stuff is expensive. I wish they had after-Christmas sales on epoxy! :D

I also have a plan to go shoot some this weekend. I just got some much-needed cleaning accessories for my Nikon (well, actually they should arrive tomorrow). My D70s has dust on the sensor and I should be able to clean it safely now. It's a very nice camera (a major investment for me)and it makes me nervous to even think of touching that sensor, but it must be done. And I must learn to do it myself.

Cheers, world! See you on the flip side, yo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a gift from Wahoo

Spent a good portion of Saturday working on the boat. Mostly sanding and grinding. Had to wear the Michelin Man suits.

One thing is certain, this kind of work is much easier and more comfortable in cooler temperatures. Can you tell who is who? :)

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After much monotonous sanding, we finally got up the nerve (when almost everything you inspect needs replacing, you tend to want to put off the inspecting) to closely inspect the berth supports. They are the longest pieces of wood in the boat, running from the front of the berths to just shy of the transom. Well, close inspection revealed some surprises. For one, most of the wood itself is okay, just one bad spot several inches long at the bottom of the port side berth support where a weep hole was clogged and water collected. Along many spots the epoxy has deteriorated to some degree as there are places where the fillet at the bottom has become brittle. The wood itself sits above the hull a bit (I think they install pieces like this on top of a strip of foam to protect the hull, thus lifting it up a little) and when we sanded through the several coats of glass and epoxy the wood exposed was still good. So it looks like we just need to remove the few bad spots and repair, then sand and clean good and just reglass the berth supports.

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So this a huge gift that Wahoo has given us. The two longest pieces in the boat are still good! This obviously saves us money on wood and a lot of time that we would have had to spend removing and replacing the berth supports. So that's two major structural pieces of wood that are okay. That gives us hope for the front of the boat. Maybe it's just the v-berth top that needs replacing and not everything underneath it. Not sure though as the clogged drainhole (weephole) kept water trapped up by the transverse support (the piece the main bulkhead sits on top of). We know the transverse support is rotten, but hopefully everything else from there up is okay.

Thanks for the good wood, Wahoo! :D

i love my garage

While cleaning/organizing the garage, I noticed that the few bikes I still have in there work great for hanging things. :)

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Also found a nice area for my laptop (so we can rock out or watch tv), high up enough that I can't spill things (beer) on it, and also protected from any darts that might get deflected during a game of cricket. A dart into my laptop screen would be a bad thing.

I love having a place to work and throw darts. Just need to find that portable heater! It's going to get really cold this weekend, like 40's cold. And us small boat chicks lack insulation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

motors and lonely bicycles

Wahoo came with a nice outboard motor - a Mercury 5hp Four-stroke, long shaft. Besides the rigging that was replaced right before I purchased her, the outboard is the newest thing on the boat.

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Like most things pertaining to the boat, the previous owner didn't take very good care of the motor. Fuel was left in it for an extended period. So it will need to be serviced, but should be in good condition still as it is only a few years old. Yay!

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Not much else to report on the boat at this point. Just in the midst of deconstruction. Still have the berth supports to remove and then it will just be many hours of cutting, grinding and sanding to remove the old glass from the around the berths and the aft bulkhead. Once that is all done it's on to ordering wood and epoxy for the rebuild of the aft bulkhead, quarter berths and aft keelson. Then, it's on to the front of the boat, and all of that needs to be taken out and rebuilt as well.

Last weekend much time was spent cleaning and organizing the garage. Thankfully, a good bit of work on the boat can be done out of the boat. It's only 18 feet long and there is no standing headroom. You have to remove the hatch and slide the top back to stand up in the cabin, and right now the mast is resting above the hatch. So, there is no standing room while working in Wahoo. Having access to a nice work area over the winter will be key in getting a lot done. It was odd watching my 'bicycle shop' garage get converted into a regular workshop again. I still have a few bikes and bike stuff in there but not much. Poor, lonely bikes. No one rides them anymore. I miss them! Cycling was very good to me - riding gave me self-confidence and a healthy body. Cycling is really such a simple pleasure - just turning the pedals and watching the scenery whiz by was as much fun as anything! And I met some of my best friends and had some of the most fun times of my life on a bike. Once I heal up good I'll ride them again, but will probably never race again. I'll race Wahoo, though! :D And I have good reason to believe she is fast, like me. :)

Cheers world! Hope to see more of you soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wahoo's keel winch

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It's not original to the boat, and one of the few things the previous owner changed that is better than the original. Most of the "upgrades" the previous owner made were anything but upgrades. But this one rocks!

It's a worm-drive winch.

The pros:

There's only 2 moving parts, no clutches to wear out or slip, and like a braking winch, you just turn the handle and it moves in the proper direction, let go of the handle and it stops right there. It cannot freewheel or run-away and it doesn't take much force to turn the handle.

The cons - They are not fast, it takes a lot of cranks to raise or lower the keel.

But the best part of all is that it works! It doesn't need replacing! :D (high five)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

pieces and parts......and TOOLS!

Here's a shot of the port quarter berth and rear bulkhead after removal (snort, obviously!):

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And the starboard quarter berth, which was in much worse shape: (ha!)

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And all of this came out of the boat thanks to the new tools:

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The belle of the ball...

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I love this jigsaw! It's small....for small hands! :D

Monday, November 5, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007

2 hours in....


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and after 2 hours...

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Removed both quarter berth tops and the rear bulkhead. Next up are the berth supports.

I'm about to grab some lunch and a cold beer and I'm back at it. It's going much quicker than I anticipated. Hell yeah!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

This is what boat work makes you do

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Or this is what hours of caulking will make you do! :D

Don't mess with the High Life.

the boatyard

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Don't laugh! At least it's covered!