Sunday, August 5, 2012

Installing wind instruments

The last couple of weekends were hot and stinky on the Chesapeake.  So we decided it would be a great time to install Lyn's new wind instruments.  Of course, it's never as easy as you think.  

Most of the cabin headliner had to come off in order to get access to the back of the cockpit coaming to install the gauge and to snake the cable up from the bilge.

Earlier this summer, we moved the speed/depth gauge to the coaming and left it offset a little to make room for a future wind instrument.  Shoulda just bought the wind instruments back then and done them both at the same time.  <sigh>  Maybe we'll wait a few months and then add something else to the coaming....

Side by side - lookin' good!  As an added benefit, with both the instruments connected via NMEA, it means we'll now be able to read both true and apparent wind, and boat speed and VMG.  Never had that before so it'll be fun to learn how to use that info. 

Next phase was the stuff at the top of the mast.  This was our first time to try out our new hoist plan using the spin halyard run forward to the anchor windlass instead of the halyard winch.  Worked great!  

There was plenty of room on the masthead, but it took longer than planned.  Turns out drilling the holes and then tapping in the screws was more challenging than planned.  Snapping off the first drill bit didn't help.  Very thankful to have stuck an extra bit in the tool bag!

How long did it take?  Long enough for my legs to go numb.  Kinda hard to stand up when you finally reach the deck again!

Of course, I had to snap a couple pics from the top.  Here's the ever-popular view straight down.

And a view of the marina looking north from our slip.  So many boats!  All different.  Some used a bunch.  Some not so much.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vacation on the Southern Chesapeake Bay

We've never really been to the southern part of the Chesapeake.  I've passed through it a couple times and we've driven around it, but not sailed it.  So the Dalby's joined us and off we went for a week long trip.

The wind started off out of the North so it was a good chance to try our old cruising spin on Paperbird.  It's a little small, but works nicely.  Small made it easy to handle which could come in handy when it's just the 2 of us.

We decided to read and discuss Keller new book on marriage during the trip.  It's a little wordy but made for some good discussions along the way.  His core message: become best friends with your spouse.  Spend time together and cultivate shared interests and hobbies.  Between the Dalby's and us, we have well over 60 years of marriage so I guess we're doing OK so far.  

Of course the week couldn't pass completely without a project or 2.  We finally sorted out the rest of the mast wiring harness.  Turns out a couple of the 12V breakers were mislabeled.  Shoulda known to test everything, assume nothing.

The grill got some good workouts starting with fresh striped bass on day 1.

We visited a couple of museums along the way.  This one in Solomon's with some very interesting restored old boats.  It's interesting to see how purpose-built boats on the Chesapeake were.  Shallow drafts for the thin water, wide beams for working and lots of sail area to catch the light winds.

Of course, ice cream was at the top of our shore search list!

Beautiful scenery!  The southern Bay is different than the middle Bay.  Wider, fewer boats, fewer towns.  Different but beautiful all the same.

Footnote:  Friday night on the way back north, we anchored in Mill Creek behind Solomons at about 8:00 after a 70 mile day starting in Deltaville, VA.  During dinner in the cockpit, we saw occasional heat lightening to the west.  Since the temps had been in the upper 90s, conditions were ripe for thunderstorms.  We had tucked up against the west bank of the creek in about 15 ft of water.  Just in case, we secured everything on deck and got the boat ready for a blow.  A little after 11, we turned in and listened to the VHF weather.  They said a line of storms was moving quickly through the mid-Atlantic with very strong winds.  About 10 min later, we heard the trees on the riverbank rustling as that very strong wind, the derecho, neared.  We jumped up, fired up the engine just in case and watched as the winds blew like crazy for about 30 min.  Later we learned that peak winds were reported at 70-80 kts.  Maybe.  But not at deck level.  Best guess maybe 40-50 kts at most.

Couple things were in our favor.  We were tucked up against the west bank which sheltered us somewhat.  The derecho moved so fast that the winds never reversed like in a normal storm.  So we sailed back and forth a little, but mostly just hung back on the chain.  And, most importantly, no one else was anchored anywhere near us.  One boat had pulled anchor about 8:30 or 9 and left.  Hopefully he was secure before the winds hit. 

Interestingly, the next morning, a trawler was anchored not far from us.  He wasn't there during the storm.  Not sure when he arrived.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Sail

For the 3 day weekend, we decided to head over to the Choptank River and play it by ear - or by wind, really.  We left Sat AM and sailed across the Bay in a slightly stronger than forecast southerly breeze.  Just about perfect sailing weather.  

We passed the infamous, and now abandoned, Sharpe's Island lighthouse.  Knocked a little crooked in 1977 by an ice floe, it's makes for good pictures!

We spent the first night in Baby Owl Cove.  It's a snug little bowl-shaped cove off Leadenham Creek.  Quiet, great holding for the anchor and very peaceful.  Of course, then we had to figure out our next stop.

We had to go for dinghy ride (had to), a short swim (still a little cool)...

and, of course, try a little fishing.  Very little... - fishing, not catching.  :-(

The next night we headed over to Flatty Cove just past Oxford.  Not a bad spot in a southerly breeze.  In anything else it would be a little rolly.  

We finally passed the breakin period on the new dinghy engine so we could have fun taking turns ripping around the anchorage!  

All in all, a fantastic weekend.  The sailing was excellent, the cool water kept the temps just right, and the fellowship great.

It feels like we're finally shifting from pure project mode to sailing mode.  Finally!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

davits and motor mount


That's how our slip-neighbor described it. And I have to agree.  We've never had davits before.  Launching the dinghy always meant dragging it out from down below, finding a semi-clear spot on the deck, pumping it up with a foot pump, inserting the floor boards, shifting the whole mess from one spot to another while continuing to add more air.  And finally picking it up and sliding it into the water.  And putting back away was even worse - mostly because it was wet, usually sandy, and never seemed to roll up as small as it started.

We found a set of St Croix davits used and then had some mounting brackets fabricated to mount on the transom.  Of course, that meant drilling holes in the transom.  Drilling holes in a boat is just not my favorite thing!  Necessary, perhaps.  But not very high on the list of good things to do.  But drill we did.

Once we mounted the davits, it was delightfully easy to hoist our new rib (first new dinghy we've ever had) up out of the water into it's new home.  Decadence, indeed!

Of course, once the dinghy is stowed, we needed a place to stow the motor.  So we built a motor mount for the stern pulpit.  Not fancy, but very functional.  The weight of the motor actually sits on the caprail just off to the side where it won't interfere with the dinghy or the aft mooring cleat.

One last step - to add a motor hoist.  We're going with the Garhauer hoist.  One's on order and we'll figure out how and where to install it in the next week or so.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Canvas enclosure

After looking at dozens of boats, and hundreds of photos online, we finally drew up what we wanted in a canvas enclosure.

Then we talked to several different vendors to get their advice and comment on our plans and to gauge how well we thought we could work with them.

After all that we settled on Dan Wood of Canvas Creations.  He did a great job.  The first night we had the enclosure, we cooked ribs on the grill and sat inside the warm enclosure on a cold, rainy evening.  It was fantastic!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Moving instruments

Just a simple idea.  Maybe a couple hours at most.  Just move the speed/depth instrument from the left side of the cockpit around to the front.  Over on the left side, someone is always sitting in front of it.  Not good.  So we wanted to move it to the front just above the companionway.  Step 1: pull the speaker (easy) to get to the back of the gauge.

Well - that's the end of the easy steps.  Crud!  

To get to the new location, the center section of the companionway had to come out.  To get that out, much of the overhead in the cabin had to come down.  It's amazing how many little pieces of wood go into the headliner of a sailboat!  There are trim pieces, headliner sections and backing pieces under all that.  Just to get to the 12 little bolts we needed to access.

Once we got to it, drilling the new hole and installing the gauge at the new location was easy.  

Now just bolt it all back together and voila!

Not so fast, naive one!  Seems like that center section of coaming was press fit way back when the boat was built.  Either that or it was made from some special type of fiberglass that expands when air gets under it.  Whatever happened, it would not go back into place.  No amount of pushing pulling, stomping, or pleading would make it fit.

Of course, that's when we ran short of time and had to leave for a couple hours for a 1 year old birthday party, leaving Phil alone with a dremel tool, a saber saw and a too-big piece of fiberglass. Who knew what we would find when we returned.

Nothing to fear!  When we got back, the coaming section was about a 1/4" narrower and it fit perfectly!  A little filing, a little butyl tape and it was time to snug it all up.  

Next time I suggest an easy, 2 hour project, someone please knock some sense into me!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Greg!!

Back on the water!  After worship on Sunday, we headed out for our inaugural voyage of 2012.  

We were able to get all the projects done that needed to be done before we could go sailing just in time to get out on the water for Greg's birthday.  Jenny, Damien, Becca and Eliana come with us. Phil and Kathy, no excuses will be accepted next time!

A busy couple of weeks!

The final push to get ready for the season.  Seems like no matter how many projects get done during the winter, it's always a rush at the last minute.  But first a very necessary diversion...
Sock burning party at the marina
The door of the propane locker has long ago given up it's wooden core and turned into a spongy trap on the starboard deck.  So off it came and out came the dremel tool.  Cutting away the inside skin allowed access to vacuum out the old rotten core.  New core in a thickened epoxy bed, followed by a couple layer of fiberglass cloth.
Rebuilding the door for the fuel locker
Now to reinstall and test.
Installing the new door
Aahh.  Much better.  And the new core is isolated from the now through-bolted hinges so there shouldn't be any future core issues.
Now it's safe to walk on 
Who goes sailing without tunes?  But the ipod playlist needs a decent stereo and speakers to be heard.  It's amazing how easy it gets to disassemble all the interior cabinetry after the umpteenth time.
Installing a new stereo
We're having a new canvas enclosure built.  They started while up in the yard.  And continued in the water.  Should be great when it's finished!
Meeting neighbors at the marina
Now on to one of those ugly projects that's not hard, just a pain.  Rebedding all the lifeline stanchions.  The old ones were gasketed and the gaskets had hardened and flexed way too much.  Off with the stanchions, in went the thickened epoxy to reinforce the holes, then back went the stanchions with a solid bed of butyl tape.  Much stiffer and dryer!
Removed all stanchions to re-bed them
While working on the stanchions, we found out that the headliner in the aft cabin was great at soaking up all the winter condensation.  So off it came to be dried, re-glued and re-attached.  That project wasn't even on the list!
Headliner from the aft cabin being repaired and reinstalled
Then the fun stuff.  Get the sails back on and turn Paperbird back into a sailboat.
Jib coming out of winter storage 
A quick washdown and we're ready to go...
Swabbing the deck

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Splash Day, 2012!

Almost exactly a year after we purchased Paperbird, she's in the water with her new name, new electrical system, chainplates, and so on. 

It's been a long winter filled with lots of projects, time spent dreaming of future voyages..

...lots of coffee...

Come on down for a cup of coffee!

... and great times talking with our friends Phil and Kathy, whose help, advice and fellowship has truly been fantastic all winter.  They have proven me a liar.  I always maintained that boatowners have no friends in the spring, only in the summer.  In the spring is all the work getting the boat ready for all the fun in the summer.  But Phil and Kathy have not only been steadfast in the spring, but all through the winter, helping with the dirtiest, crummiest chores and projects.  We are forever grateful and in their debt and are looking forward now to enjoying with them the summertime fruits of those labors.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Naming and Christening

Now that the hull refinishing is complete (except for the wax), part 2 of the renaming can proceed. Part 1 was getting the old name - Phoenix - and hailing port, off.  

We started with the hailing port as practice.  

Then it was on to the main event, the new name decals on each side.

On goes the decal...

Off comes the backing paper!!

And, of course, the new name has to be christened,

and then toasted.

Paperbird was the name of our first boat many boats ago.  She was named after a Roger Whittaker song that I used to listen to when soaring.  Soaring, however, is not much of a family activity.  So we decided to take up sailing instead.  Lyn chose the name Paperbird to mark the transition.  We thought it would be fitting to come full circle.  And so Paperbird will sail again!