Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hey, it's not all cocktails & sunsets

We've reached Marathon in the Florida Keys. This will be our farthest point south. Time to head east & north. But the wind has been strong out of the east every day now for 3 weeks. We need 2 days to sail to Miami and there is no place for a deep draft boat to hide from an east wind. So here we sit. We did take a side trip to Key West but mostly we hang around here and work on the boat.

Some of the projects we've been working on...

The varnish on the teak needs regular refreshing. I recoated the trim around the cockpit and about 1/3 of the toe rail. Sand, wipe, varnish, resand, wipe and apply a second coat of varnish.

One of the burners on our 3 burner stove top has never worked right. Now, a second one stopped working. One burner just isn't enough. I called the factory, they haven't made stoves in 10+ years. No parts at all for the back burner but maybe something left for the front one...called back with the last thermocouple for that stove in existence! $50 & an hour of work and we avoid having to spend another BOAT unit. BOAT unit? What? Everything for a boat seems to run in multiples of $1000. BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand. The pilot light in the oven also quit so I pulled it out and cleaned the orifice with a needle. The stove is propane and that means tank refilling. Strap the 20 lb tank to the bike rack and run it up to the fill station. 

The 12 volt refrigeration I installed in '08 is working great. But we also have a parallel system that is engine driven. I upgraded that in 2010. But engine drive systems are notorious for leaks and this one is no different. The leaks are very hard to find. I spent several hours here to no avail.

Chris regularly spends time waxing parts of the exterior. We use a cleaner/wax first and then a hard paste wax. Tedious labor but the boat looks good for it. She's also done several touch ups to her excellent canvas work. We bought a second bike and that means a second zippered bike bag was needed. Nicely done.

We're tied to a mooring ball for $125/week instead of at a marina for $125/day. But we have to shlep jugs of water almost every day. We don't like using the communal bath house so showering aboard plus dishes & drinking water is about 10 gallons per day. So we go to the marina office and fill 2 or 3 5 gallon jugs, bring them back & poor them into the water tank.

Our 10' dingy is our mini van. We run it to the dingy dock at the marina to gain shore access. We keep our bikes there to extend our range.

Publix & Winn-Dixie groceries are about a mile away. We bought new backpacks at K-Mart to carry dry goods and we use soft sided coolers for cold stuff. Chris needed a new USB to 12 volt cigarette plug to charge her I Pad. That was a 4 mile bike ride to Radio Shack. Good excercise!

Our wind generator had an obnoxious rattle. I climbed up and removed the nose cone and put some putty inside it. Snapped it back on and it runs much quieter. I just wish it provided more power. I'll estimate it provides no more than half of our electricity. The rest we get from a little Honda generator that powers 2 40 amp battery chargers. And of course the honda needs refueling and oil changes.

The honda also powers my hookah. Not that kind! A snorkel for shallow diving. This harbor is very warm water with very high growth. So I had to dive under the boat to clean it. No bottom paint works well enough in these conditions. This was my first time using the hookah, I'm not comfortable breathing under water. Very stressful. I'll get used to it, I have to. But I didn't do a very good job first time out, I need to get back down. The water is VERY murky and I couldn't see squat. We need to take muriatic acid to the dink bottom, stuff has grown FAST on it also. A project for tomorrow.

The engine tachometer started bouncing and battery charging from the engine was erratic. Removed the alternator and took it to a shop for testing. Works fine. But it had the wrong size pulley! Changed that and reinstalled. The bouncing tach problem went away...for a while! It's back and I need to dig further to fix it. We need to have full charging capability when underway.

Now you know why I post pix of cocktails! The definition of cruising "fixing boats in exotic places".

We're off to the Wednesday evening meet n greet where I can make some more enemies!


Posted by Ed aboard S/V Freedom

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