Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting our Bearings

So we moved down the coast to Stuart, FL but the work continues!

We had our mainsail furler removed to replace the bearings. We also replaced the bearings in our wind generator.

Here is the elaborate setup to keep from dropping important parts into the deep.

Chainplates are big beefy hunks of stainless steel that run through the deck. The standing rigging that holds the mast in place are attached to them. Ours did not look to be in poor condition, but they are old. Stainless steel chainplates tend to have cracks hidden at the deck level and ours had a line of rust at that level. A little preventive maintenance is in order. We removed one, had a new one made, reinstalled it and then did the same to the other. We also had our dinghy davits lengthened by a foot. Every time we raised and lowered the dinghy on the davits it would catch on the stern ladder...a wresting match ensued. Mack Sails has done all this work, furler maintenance, chainplates, and davits. They are headquartered in Stuart and we are very happy with the quality of their work.

The old chainplate, complete with yucky rust.

Ooooh look how it shines. The new chainplate.

We do like it here in Stuart! Lots to do, lots of friends, and a nice little town to enjoy.

A feathered friend.

Love the sailfish fountain.

Love the vegetation.

You can walk to town a few ways. You can go one way and walk over the railroad tracks, or the other and walk under!

The walkway UNDER the train.

Hope to wrap things up this week and get north. It's getting hot here....89 degrees today.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Windless in Fort Pierce

Our three months in Fort Pierce has flown by. It's a great marina with a fabulous community of boaters. The farmers market is one of the best! Lots of wildlife here; fish, manatee, owls and waterfowl. I can't tell you how many times we ran to check if there was a man overboard because of the loud splashing from the fish or pelicans.....there are some BIG fish in the water here. We reconnected with some old friends and met some new ones too! It has been a fabulous time with great sunny, warm weather.

Our dock at the marina

Farmers Market

Circling Fishes


Friends coming to visit

This is the longest time that Freedom has not moved since we started our cruising adventure. We have been without our anchor windless and our mainsail since January.

Lots of projects done! Here is our anchor windless before.

Here it is after! We had it serviced and then Ed painted it.

This is how it was re-installed!

We have a number of items undone. We are headed south to Stuart, FL to have a company finish replacing the bearings in our mainsail furler, to pick up our re-cut mainsail and replace some stainless steel items including our chainplates.....just hardware that keeps our mast standing....so nothing important.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Sky is Falling

There is no such thing as a simple repair on a boat. Our lights in the main salon (our living room) began working intermittently. A short in the wire? Simple, right? No, it's a boat, nothing is simple. The wiring for the lights runs in the ceiling under the vinyl headliner. We have to remove many teak trim pieces and cut back the vinyl. This is ok because we can re-staple the headliner under the trim pieces. We spent a lot of time talking about replacing the headliner, it really should be done. This added two or three new projects to the list. You have to draw the line somewhere! We decided, for now we will put the old headliner back in place.

The sky is not falling, but living with THIS mess is not fun!

With the headliner pulled back we gain access to all the nuts and bolts holding the deck hardware; blocks and line guides. Rebedding/re-caulking all this hardware is on our to-do list. I guess it jumps to the top of the list. There are also old "repairs" from previous deck hardware. Repairs that needed to be dug out and filled with epoxy. All these new filled in holes will require new painting of the nonskid areas on the deck.....add another item to the list!

Here is all the old hardware in place (mostly)

The deck hardware removed with butyl tape to cover the holes in case it rains.

Now, we can't just put back our crummy old stand up blocks, might as well get all new! Our old ones just had turning wheels, the new ones have nice bearings and should make our line handling much smoother!

See the nice shiney new one next to the crummy old?

Rember the lights? The LED lights were too small and dim for the job. Yes...might as well buy new, brighter LED's. Thats OK, it's only money....BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I Saw A Glimpse Of The Future

I watched a rather poignant episode of life today. Next to us in the marina is an old beaten 70's vintage Cris Craft 38. Al, the owner, has been coming down to sit aboard for an hour or two almost every day. He told me stories of how he cruised it all over the Chesapeake Bay and down to Florida and the Bahamas for the past 30 years.
He'd been trying to sell it with no luck, so today he gave it away. A marina will strip out the engines and scrap the boat.
While it was getting towed away I was chatting with Al on the dock. A big line of tears began to flow down his cheek. This wasn't just saying good bye to a boat, it was saying good bye to a life on the water.
Eventually I suspect we will be in Al's shoes too. Can't stop the march of time. We're working as hard as we can in building up something to eventually cry over.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

"The only way to get a good crew is to marry one".
-Eric Hiscock

Special Delivery

My sweetie had this special delivery for me for Valentine's Day! Happy Anniversary to you, too!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Grabbing the Brass Ring

Project time on Freedom! Although we got a slow start, the projects are in full force now. Ed and I both came down with our first cold since we started cruising. One of the worst chest colds we have ever had. It was unusual that we started getting symptoms at the exact same time. We are now well and have been working on many improvements. Here are just some.

These brass rings are part of our teak lighting fictures. There are 10 of them! I am polishing them and using an insulater wax (in hopes that the shine will last a while). I also polished our brass trawler lamp.

Here is a before and after of our fender covers. Fenders are used to cushion the boat from docks and pilings and are notoriously dirty and ugly!

I bought some vinyl and made new covers for our jerry jugs (they hold extra gas and diesel). Our canvas ones became stained and ugly. I hope these will wash off easily. I had extra fabric and made this bag for the anhor rode for our stern anchor. We don't often use the stern anchor but the rode (rope used to attach to the anchor) needs to be readily available in an emergency. This bag sits in the back, out in the elements. I put some mesh inserts to allow air flow.

Our salon fixed ports (windows) are really hazy and have needed to be replaced. It was a project that always got pushed down the list. One of them started leaking consistently so this project moved up the list. We now have two of the four done. Here you can see the old hazy port next to the new clear one. The blue is masking tape that gets removed so we have a nice clean line of calk. The silver washers will also be removed. They are there to keep the plexiglass in place until the calk is fully cured (14 days).

We have many other projects ongoing and more projects on the list. Hopefully we'll take a break and update you again.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vancouver Island

We traveled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia for Christmas. Yes it was a very long trip, and yes, it is much colder in the Pacific Northwest than in Southern Florida but Christmas is a time to visit family. Overall our travel went very smoothly. We left early in the morning and arrived at our destination late at night. We stayed with a relative, got a great first nights sleep and awoke to this incredible view of Departure Bay.

I made sure to bring my sunglasses but really only used them one day. It was quite grey, cloudy and drizzly the whole week. But the beauty of the area was outstanding. We kept discussing how we could get Freedom up there because the waterways look so inviting. A summer cruise up to Alaska would be fantastic. Winter in damp, grey, cold Seattle might be more than we could handle. This is the view from the home we were staying at on the one sunny day.

The mountains of mainland British Columbia in the distance

Besides all of the Christmas fun we had with Eds family, we also took some sightseeing trips. I really enjoyed our walk through Cathedral Grove. The grove is an ancient forest with Douglas Fir and Red Cedars. The biggest trees in the Grove are about 800 years old and measure as much as 75 m (250 ft) in height and 9 m (29 ft) in circumference.

Many shades of green


Lots of big ferns too

Our family in one of the big trees

We stopped for lunch at a cute little town known for goats on the roofs. Not many goats the day we stopped (too cold) but I did manage to snap this picture of one brave, or maybe hungry goat.

See the goat? The white guy on th right, on the roof.

Goats are the theme here.

The BC Ferries are are great way to get to the island. We really enjoyed getting out on the water!

The 'sun deck' of the ferry.

Departure Bay from the ferry.

You can also access the island by seaplane. Here they are docked in downtown Nanaimo, at the marina.


Marina in downtown Nanaimo

We had a great time and hope to make it back some day. Now we have lots of work to do on Freedom. We'll do it while we are here in sunny South Florida!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Ferries

Here is a recap of our epic travel adventure to Vancouver Island, British Columbia!

The first leg of our adventure was a car service to the Palm Beach International airport.  Our driver was delayed by a train!  It seems our marina is on the wrong side of the tracks. No worries, we allowed plenty of extra time and it was a ridiculously early hour of  the morning so there was not a lot of road traffic.  We got to the airport in plenty of time.   We  checked our bags curbside.   I was selected for a TSA pre-check..a new program allowing randomly selected people to walk right through security without removing shoes and coats.   Ed got the normal scrutiny...as it should be.

Our first flight to Atlanta was uneventful, I'm sure the multiple Bailey's and coffee helped.  We arrived safely in Atlanta, but trains keep trying to derail us. The underground train between terminals in Atlanta had a jammed door. Back and forth we went. Lots of nice tunnels in Atlanta. Some guy with a walkie talkie at each stop pretending to be doing something. Good thing we had a 2 hour layover.  At one stop we could see Santa and his elves.  Could it have been a special Santa Security Zone?  We may never know.  The doors finally were opened manually and we walked to the correct gate.

No more delays, we boarded our flight to Seattle around noon Eastern time and prepared for take off, 5 hours to Seattle.

 No more train problems, for now. Our flight was fine.  Indeed, it was a great ride over a snowy landscape.   We arrived in Seattle grabbed our bags and shuttled to our rental car.  Things are moving smoothly but they have this thing in Seattle called Rush Hour where everybody gets on the road at the same time and drives real slow. Whats up with that?

We decide to pull off the road, get a bite to eat and grab some wine to take to Canada with us.  Back on the road and head to the border.   Oh joy! 85 minute wait at the border. Hope we can make the last ferry of the night!

Sometime during the 85 minute wait at the border we both hit the wall.  Wow, we are tired and we still have a half hour trip to the ferry dock, a 2 hour ferry trip, and a half hour to our lodging...yikes.  The authorities did indeed let us enter the country and we arrived at the terminal in time for the 10:45 final ferry crossing (that would be 1:45 Eastern time).

The BC Ferries are great, well run and on time.  We made it!  22 hours from leaving our marina.  24 hours from wake-up till sleepy time! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hitting the Pause Button

We've parked the boat in a marina for 3 months to catch up on projects.

The main salon windows need replacing, some canvas work awaits, there's always varnish, I want to repaint the cockpit plus many other small things that we want to get done.

Here's some of our 'neighbors'. Must be 50 in the school.

When we're done here we will haul out to repaint the bottom and a few more projects that can only be done out of the water. Hopefully we're all caught up (yea right) by spring in time to head north.

Merry Christmas

We will be traveling to British Columbia to visit family for the holidays, by airport shuttle, plane, rental automobile and ferry.    Stay tuned for our post about our trip.  We hope it will not turn into a remake of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles!   To our readers, friends and family, we wish you the merriest Christmas and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vero Beach

Vero Beach, Florida is a nice stop along the Intracoastal Waterway. In fact, it is nicknamed "velcro beach" because cruisers come to the marina here for a short visit and end up staying a long time. Why? Maybe because Vero has an inexpensive mooring field that is well protected from the winds and waves. They have a weekly cruisers happy hour, a great meet and great. But, for us, it's the free shuttle bus to town for shopping and supplies or to the beach! In fact, it is the first thing we did when we got here. We jumped on the shuttle to ........

The beach

We couldn't wait to kick off our shoes and walk along the beach.

I love watching the seagulls glide in the strong winds

Small birds are running from the surf as they hunt for food

This is the Driftwood lodge. A lodge and restaurant found along the beach here in Vero. An eccentric built the original lodge from driftwood. It has been added on to through the years and is a feast for the eyes.

Now thats a table and bench.

You could spend hours reading.

They have incredible sculptures and antiques here too.

Gotta love the beach.

We met a lot of great new people here. Had lots of fun with some old friends too. We had dinner with Stew and Diana from Casual Class. These pelicans were looking for a hand out at one of the restaurants we went to with them.

Stew and Diana gave us the hand made "star" for the top of my Christmas tree. I decorated it with sea shells found while walking the beaches of the Bahamas. Thanks guys, it is perfect!