So I missed out on all of last season. We converted my wife’s old house back from a rental and fixed it up to sell. That involved a two hour trip across the bay every weekend last summer to work on the house. Everything. Gutted the kitchen and two bathrooms, new carpet, painted inside and out, vinyl soffits, aluminum fascia. The works. But it’s done, and soon it will be gone.
So now it’s time to sail. I bailed on work for a Small Craft Advisory and headed down to the boat. We found the mizzen sheet hanging overboard and spent way to long cleaning the marine life off of that. Engine fired right up and we got underway around the point to Bayfields outside Popham creek. The wind was out of the WSW moving South all day, probably blowing close to a sustained 15 knots. We hung all the sails, which went well except for the jib. I need to make sure the halyard it all the way up per the riggers suggestion. I also didn’t have the jib sheets? I guess they’re home somewhere. I improvised with an anchor rode, so that’s a good thing to know. I also forgot the boat seats, and have realized I’m probably due to replace all the running rigging. Yay. We set out about 1 pm and headed out to the bay. The breeze was aft on the port quarter, made it easily out and were able to follow the breeze north passing Thomas Point light. Gorgeous day out there, a lot of bigger boats, but no ship traffic. A nice schooner was out there hauling the mail, got a few good pictures of her. About halfway to the bridge we came about and headed for home, beating as close as we could to make the river. It took two tacks before we started the iron spinnaker and made for port. Overall a fantastic day and a good shakedown cruise. Fridge ran perfectly, beers were ice cold, and we didn’t lose a single amp with the radio running all day as well. Tucked it in, next cruise should really involve bringing it to Smith’s for haulout and bottom paint.
Video of the day.
Great seminar on marine electrics by Jeff Cote at Pacific Yacht Systems. I stumbled across this online, it’s a fantastic explanation of mistakes and misconceptions about electric, followed by a basic overview that evolves into an in-depth discussion of DC systems. The guy covers it all, from wire gauge, to solar… from chargers to inverters. Definitely one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen.
Not sure how practical it is, but it sure is nice to look at.
So tell me about your anodes… Those “Zincs” that you put on your boat every? year. Are they zinc? Is that what’s best? Much like this article explains, an anode made of zinc is probably not the best choice for your boat. I switched to aluminum two years ago after doing a bit of research, and I immediately regretted it. Yard workers, diesel engine guys, and anyone with an opinion on the topic said that zinc was the only way to go. So, I researched it.
Turns out aluminum is better, higher electric potential, higher overall capacity, and doesn’t suffer from the calcification layer that lowers it’s protection. My original anode fell off just prior to pulling and painting. I installed a new one late last summer, so I’m hoping to get some good data over a year or two timeframe. Sadly I forgot to take a pic after I put it on, but it looks more or less like this.
It was 72 degrees a few days ago thanks to El Niño, and the warm weather has delayed winterizing here in Maryland. Good thing for me, because Dad retires at the end of the year and wants to go sailing on Jan 1 for his first day of freedom. But… it will eventually get cold, so it’s time to prep the Winterizing List. I decided to digitize it so it’s a little more accessible and easier to modify.
Winter is coming, or so I’m told. It was 72 degrees on December 13th, thanks to El Niño, so the Winterizing procedure has been off to a slow start. So far I’ve pumped out the holding tanks, checked the dock lines, took stock of my filters, and making the list for the end of season oil change and winterizing. I have lists from the previous owner, amplified by what I’ve read in Don Casey’s books, and seasoned with a few years of experience. The newest things I’ve added to that list are from the Boat U.S. Boater Safety Course for Maryland. I already took the course when I was younger, and miraculously I still have an old tattered card. Unfortunately, it’s not long for this world, and there is no way to replace it. The course is great, it’s free, and it covers all those basics you know you know but you realize after reviewing them that you don’t really know completely. Lately I’ve been focused a bit more on safety equipment. Maybe I’m getting older? Wiser? Maybe it’s that I think about the girls more? Maybe it was the high number of fatalities on the water in Maryland this year. Who knows. But I found a few more things to check off on my winterizing list.
- Life vests – Check for rips, tears and holes. Also check seams, fabric straps and hardware are okay. Give the belts and tie tapes a quick, hard pull to make sure they are secure. There should be no signs of waterlogging, mildew odor or shrinkage of the buoyant materials. Clean them if necessary.
- Air horn – I’m good at putting it out when underway, but I haven’t tested it in ages. This should probably be part of every pre-cruise check.
- Visual Distress Signals – Yep, flares. I have a ton, but the latest batch is probably expired now. Flashlight batteries. And at least one signal mirror. Hmm, where is that mirror?
- VHF – I monitor 16 every time I’m out, but I haven’t transmitted on it… ever? It looks fine, it receives, but assuming it is working probably isn’t a good idea. Need to fire off the Sea Tow Radio Check, and probably make it part of the daily cruise routine.
- Fire Extinguishers – Expiration dates? No idea. Definitely on the checklist.
- Gusher pump – I know it worked… 5 years ago. Might be worth a check before it gets cold.
- Stuffing box, strainer, and seacocks – Make sure everything below the waterline is secured with two quality (AWAB) stainless hose clamps, and check that they’re in good condition. Check the boots going from the stern tube to the packing gland. Check the strainer to make sure it’s clean, and that the strainer glass is intact. Check that the seacocks can be moved easily.
- Navigation lights – I haven’t been out at night in a while, and the front lights are brand new, but need to check them all around.
- Vented loops – I installed one on the head even though it is rarely plumbed to the seacock overboard. But the valve on top does need occasional servicing. Really not looking forward to that… by the way, don’t I need one of those on the raw water to the diesel?
That’s a lot to add to the winterizing check. But for good reason. It’s for the safety of my boat, myself, my family, my crew, my friends… and for anyone that might need to come and help me if I get in trouble.
When you call the Coast Guard … you are asking them to risk their lives to save yours. The rescuers neither ask for nor get much in return, and they value their lives as much as we value ours. It is the duty of those who go to sea to avoid getting into situations that require the aid of the rescue services — heed the season, equip your vessel properly, keep a sharp eye for weather changes, shake down a new vessel conscientiously, don’t expect your ship to do something she can’t, pump for your life if you’re sinking, maneuver your vessel if you’re not, think ahead. Anything less and you will be asking more of others than you ask of yourself.”–Peter Spectre – North Atlantic shakedown: The abandonment of the John F. Leavitt from WoodenBoat Magazine 33:20-29.
That’s what the loan statement says now. It’s a very happy day, she’s all PAID OFF!!!
I already own the slip, so now it’s just condo fees and maintenance. That big hole in the water just got a little smaller…
Fair winds and following seas…