Saturday, March 7, 2015

The List

Owning a boat means that there is always a list of things that need to be done. Some are things that really need to be done, like fix the head, or stop a leak someplace. The rest of the list is a mix of things that need to be repaired, or added, or improved. This list is so much a part of boat ownership, that any boat owner knows exactly what you are talking about if you say something like "I am spending a few hours today on the list". A cruising couple like Joyce and I, have different lists completely, which is an interesting contrast in how we both view this whole sailboat thing. My list includes very important items like pump replacing and various mechanical improvements. Joyce's list includes very important items like provisioning items and organizing and removing excess accumulation from the boat. Both lists are equally important, and as such, we help each other get this stuff done. In other words, we work together, it's actually kinda fun! Now, at this point, I am sure that you are wanting to help tackle some of this list stuff too, and if you stop by, we can probably let you help. After all, this is Fun! No? OK, it just means more for us. On the list of important items was the leak around the front window. When we sailed from Key West to Miami, we had to bash into a pretty steep head sea, and we found a leak around our port side front window. The best way to fix this problem is to pop it out, and re-bed the window in new sealant. The problem was, these windows are made of acrylic, and they were getting pretty old. Maybe too old, as in time to go old. As these windows age they seem to do two things. They craze. Not like your looney uncle. This means they get hairline cracks in the acrylic. They are most noticeable when the sun shines from the side, and I don't know if the strength of the acrylic is affected by the crazing. Ask your uncle, maybe he knows. The other thing they do is get dull looking, like your Aunt. Just kidding. They just are not as easy to see through, and start to look a bit milky. We wanted to get the leak under control, and decided to just replace these old windows in the process. Simple enough, right? That's better, no more leaks, (my list), and we got rid of the pesky aunt and uncle (excess accumulation, Joyce's list). Slam dunk on this project. I am also proud to finally announce that we once again own a working wind instrument! It has taken an unbelievably long time to get this off my list, just so you know and understand my elation. All it took was to find a fool, I mean, a rigger, to go all the way up there and screw on the spinny part we got a while ago. It turns out , the only guy we could find to go up, was an old guy with a bottle of nitroglycerine pills in his toolbag. Ok then, go on up I say, better him than me. Does this make me a pussy because I won't climb the mast? I say no, it's more of a fear of heights thing. I overcame my fear of splicing (see previous post titled 'Fear of Splicing'), but Acrophobia, or the fear of heights is totally different. I'm not a pussy. No I'm not. Look how he is clinging to that mast, scared shitless no doubt. Another important thing on the list was to visit the Customs and Border Patrol office to apply for the SVRS. The SVRS stands for Small Vessel Reporting System, not Sailboat Velocity Really Slow. The SVRS is a process where you go to the Customs and Border Patrol office with your passports and boat documents, and after they give you the ten second stare (you have seen this stare at the airport), they give you your paperwork back and you are done. This means that when you return to the US, you can call the Border Patrol and Customs office on the phone, and clear in to the US without having to sail the boat to a Port of Entry and appear in person. Cool. In the ultimate irony of injustice, we spent two hours getting permission to come back to the US, while here in Miami, half the people here are undocumented illegal aliens!
All this work is tiring though, and we all sometimes just need a little rest, right Guincha? Oh yeah, the disco ball is here. What's a boat without a disco ball? Dull.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We Are Getting Close

It's true, we are getting very close to done around here in Miami. Things are getting wrapped up on the boat projects list, and the end is near for work here too. The windlass came back from California, and looks great. It all shiny and rebuilt, and looks great out front. I put a reversing solenoid and hand switch in this time, the way it was wired before was only for retrieve. In other words, there is a button that you step on that raises the anchor, but to let the anchor out, you had to loosen the gypsy that holds the chain just enough so that the clutches would let the chain slowly go out. It worked fine, but the new wiring allows you to actually stand at the front of the boat, and reverse the motor, letting the anchor fall slowly and gently to the sea floor. Much more civilized sounding isn't it? I thought so too. After all, Gypsies are notorious for trouble making. Everyone knows that. The windlass came back from Lighthouse Windlass Company in a wooden crate, not the totally awesome wooden crate that I sent the old windlass to them in, but a chip board version that is clearly inferior to the one I made. It seemed to work fine, but hey, where is my awesome crate? Probably on their showroom floor now I am guessing. Opening the crate, I saw the windlass, and two boxes. I opened the box on the left, and all the bits and pieces were in there. I couldn't figure out what could be in the box on the right. So I pulled it out. It was sealed up tight, and even labeled on the bottom. This box was just a plain empty box, from California. My crate didn't have any empty boxes, didn't need any. And it was real plywood too. It's in the showroom for sure.