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WEEKLY LOGS FOR MARCH
Week ending March 5, 2000 By APW
This is the week of lists. Phil's list is neatly typed with the date entered on the left and a description of the days activities to the right. His schedule goes right through to the end of April and the week before launch date, where the final entries say "usual chaos". He takes great pleasure in applying extra screeching pressure to the black magic marker as he crosses each accomplished task off the list. My list is a clip board affair, written in pencil, it has things to buy, and things to do. I have crossed nothing off my list. Phil has been readying the hardware to get galvanized- redrilling the holes so they are oversized. Otherwise, the holes would be too small after the galvanizing.
Phil made sixteen or so, deadeyes, from a chunk of locust wood. They are soaking in linseed oil atop the wood stove. He weighed all the hardware- so the Galvanizer's know how much to charge (about 450 lbs).
He built the storage closet and finished the forward berth area, which had been an enigma for two years. It was such an awkward space we didn't quite know how to arrange it. It is going to be nice. Lots of storage space, privacy and easy access to the planking if a problem should arise.
I have been talking to the local papers. They want to have an interactive web page and bring our voyage into the classroom. We can expect to answer thousands of e-mails from school kids. This sounded fine with us. The problem is who will pay for it? At roughly a penny a character, e-mail costs, both transmitting and receiving at sea, can add up. It is not something we could afford to do on our own for the Maine school system..
Our deadline for a reduced rate satellite phone system, with Iridium came and went on Monday. I felt I just didn't know enough about their supposed e-mail capabilities, which they said would be up and running by June, to sign up for their system.
I thought I was finished with the interior green velvet cushions. Now that Phil has finished our forward area, we have a small little seat I will have to make a cushion for. All the others are done. I have started the cockpit cushions, which are made of Sunbrella. It is so stiff and sharp, it actually gouged a big chunk of flesh out of my finger, quite a change from the velvet.
We let the barred owl go. She took off and I haven't seen her since. In her place we got a great horned owl, who has the typical skunk smell. He has a distal wing tip fracture, just like the first barred owl. He is managing his fracture well, and I haven't had to splint it. The less human intervention the better, in my opinion!!
We actually took time off to go to a party last night. It was the first we had been invited to in years!! It was fun and we met some interesting people, one of whom circumnavigated as a teenager with her parents. She had a very good head on her shoulders. We talked about some mutual acquaintances of ours, who were going to leave in a fifty year old wooden boat to circumnavigate the globe last year. Our friend at the party had been quizzing them about their readiness for setting sail. She asked them how they would cope with certain emergencies- the first was a holing in the planking, out in the middle of the ocean answer- "call the coast guard". Her family actually had to deal with that after they hit a submerged object far from land. Changing tacks, blankets and duct tape brought them to where they could get their fiberglassed hull repaired. We got a good laugh when she said that our acquaintances biggest preparation for their trip had been getting all their wisdom teeth pulled out. APW
Week ending March 12, 2000 By APW
This week was spent interviewing potential housesitters. We did not advertise but got the message out through word of mouth. We had originally intended to make money off our place while we were gone, by hiring a property manager and renting it out. I decided that while the money would be nice, I would be spending too much time worrying about people finding our place difficult to live in. It is beautiful, yet quite isolated. The house and its attendant "ghost" are quirky and hard for the average person to deal with. I culled through a bunch of people over the phone just by asking them what kind of car they drove. My mother thinks that, all that is wrong with the country, stems from people who drive S.U.V's. She wasn't too happy when she found out I bought a used Ford Explorer. Once again I became "One of those". A client at work also said to me, when I told her we were sailing around the world - "Oh you are one of those". 'fraid so. We are one of those. Your car says a lot about who you are. We made our decision tonight about the house sitter, but haven't notified anyone, yet. We interviewed a bunch of really nice people and had a hard time narrowing the field down. The front runner came in at the last minute driving a four wheel drive pickup and we will be fortunate indeed, to have them live here while we are gone. They agreed to pay the property taxes, take care of Emily the three legged cat, and even up-date the web page! This is one worry off our minds.
Phil applied the soundproofing to the walls of the engine room, fiberglassed both the battery box and refrigerator box, and helped me prime the rest of the newly installed wood work. Phil wired the windlass and packed up the truck with 450 lbs of hardware, for my trip tomorrow to the galvanizers. After priming the woodwork, I made the mistake of deciding the interior was too white. Off to the Hardware store I went armed with paint chips and selected a very nice off white in the yellow range. I came back and painted the inside with the new color. Then I decided it was now too yellow. Off we went back to the Hardware store. We are blessed with having the world's best hardware store- C.W.Rogers, twenty minutes from the house. Trips to this store are always pleasurable and fruitful, especially for the stores owners, when they see us drive up. While I was conversing with the paint department, Phil managed to get most of the hardware widgets we need to finish wiring and plumbing the boat. The paint guy said I should give the paint 48 hours to dry before I judged it. I gave it fifteen hours. The color looked great outside in natural light, inside the store, in the house, in the car, anywhere but in the boat where it counted. There it looked just looked like a canary yellow. I mixed the previous white with this "off" white and arrived at a color that's much less seasick provoking.
It took both of us, plus two sets of block and tackles to get the four AGM batteries up over the side of the boat and into the battery box. They fit in the box, like eggs in a carton. These are very cool batteries. They do not self-discharge. They have exactly the same voltage as when we bought them almost one year ago. They do not vent hydrogen gas unlike all other batteries, so we don't have to worry about a Hindenburg disaster. They can accept a fast charge and will give us over 1,100 AMP hours. Their disadvantage is the expense and their weight!!! They weigh about 150 lbs. each! APW
Week ending March 19, 2000 By APW
On Monday I drove the metal work down to Chelsea Mass. for galvanizing at Bay State Galvanizing Co. This whole area of town looks like there have been no changes to the architecture, streets and even furniture in some of the business's since 1933. Hopefully, they wont take a few decades to get the work done.
Phil has been soldering terminal ends on to all of the wires. We bought out all the lug ends in all the stores, of all our surrounding towns and had to get more in Portland. The wiring in the boat is quite complex and he is doing a very clean job. But, it is taking a lot longer than we had anticipated. He got the windlass installed and it is nice. He designed the bow and stern rails and got them to Fournier Steel to be made.
We got a call from a reporter at the Portland Press Herald wanting to do a story about us, the boat and the flurry of activity towards d-day. The reporter, Dennis Hoey, had received e-mail from a friend/client of mine, Sarah Hammond -a former reporter, now located in the Southwest. I am embarrassed about people coming to the house now, because it really looks like a garage sale special. But, he managed to keep his thoughts to himself and did a very nice story in the Saturday 3/18/00 edition.
Unfortunately, once again Phil tried to give credit to the people that helped him build the Globe at Delorme Mapping in Yarmouth, but I guess that is old news... still we would like to thank- Michael Start, one of Phil's former boatbuilding students who daily helped Phil with the bolting, and unbolting of the five miles of aluminum tubing. Dale Syphers- Bowdoin College Physics professor, who helped Phil with the torque problems, balance, and physical forces on a rotating object; Paul Fournier, of Fournier Steel inWest Bath, who fabricated the fantastic steel base and crimped and made bolt holes (to less than 1/16 of an inch tolerances) on the ends of all the millions of pieces of tubing, comprising the skeleton. I know first hand, that my husband can sometimes be hard to work with and these people really went all out and deserve a lot of credit and thanks.
Back to the boat..yes, we are behind schedule. Our days now start at six a.m. It is now 10:30 p.m. and Phil is still in the shop working on the fuel lines.
Friday we braved another March snowstorm and went to the Maine Boatbuilders show. We went with the mission of deciding on our communications system once and for all. We also needed to get some hatch hardware from Traditional Marine Outfitters, located in a gnarly loft above the boat sheds, - my favorite spot in the show. A small hand written sign said this was their last time at the show, which is a shame because you can get some really great brass and bronze knicky-knacks from them. After I saw the sign I grabbed a cardboard box and proceeded to go on a feeding frenzy, loading up with brass soap dishes, towel bars, drawer pulls, plus the necessary hatch hardware.
We still didn't decide on our e-mail system. I am glad our instincts of last summer, (when Iridium filed for protection) were well founded. Herb and Doris Smith of Appledore fame, left on their circumnavigation with a brand new discount Iridium phone system. As of Friday at 11:59 a.m EST, their dial tone went dead. What is still amazing to me, is that Motorola still owns about 25% of Iridium and their stock is still going up. Go figure.
We have narrowed the choices down to Inmarsat C, which uses satelites strategically placed around the globe to transmit and receive email and Globewireless, which uses radio waves and 11 antennas located on the ground around the world. The biggest drawback, to Inmarsat C is that attachments can't be sent, so no pictures. Cost is about $12.00 a page. No monthly fees and about $3200 in equipment costs. It can act like an epirb and can also receive weather information.
Globewireless has a monthly fee of about $100, which covers over ten pages of text. The equipment is about $1500 for the modem. It uses the single side band radio. This is where I am slightly pissed off. I originally bought from my buddy Mel Miller, at Defender Industries, an Icom single side band with Ham frequencies. Then we met Bob Ayer from Coastal Electronics at last years boat show. We told him what we were looking for- e-mail capability, ham etc. and he said "send the Icom back and Ill get you a Sea radio". We did as we were told. A move I really regret. Now we have found out from some other people on-line, that the Sea radio overheats when you try to use "continuos duty"-sending data. The output also drops 75%. E-mail takes a long time to be sent via radio waves so we will probably burn the "Sea" out. Bob said he was talking to the company so we can exchange this P.O.C. for a radio that will work. Time is running out. APW
Week ending March 26, 2000 By PS
It's now 10:30 p.m. Amy and I just finished gluing the curved laminations for the ends of the bulwarks. It was on my list to do today. My list. Things are not being crossed off fast enough. I've revised it once and I hope I don't have to again. Priorities are changing. Now I am trying to make sure that the important things get done. Putting the thru hulls in the bottom, getting major systems installed, etc. The days don't revolve around a clock. They are measured by the task being completed.
Monday I went to Rockland to take another radio license test. This will allow me to operate radios on Coast Guard certified vessels. The test was given at Outward Bound School, a "pay to be tortured" camp for kids. After passing the exam they asked me if we would stop at their island camp and give a talk. I said "Sure. It we give us a chance to inspire future adventurers." I'm sure that we will have to check our boat for stow-aways before we leave!
Tuesday I worked on hooking up the four bilge pumps. We have two hand pumps and two electric pumps. People laugh when I say this but "All you really have to worry about is keeping the water out of the boat." I really believe this. Four pumps should at least give us a longer time to get a situation under control. Anyone who has read some of the earlier cruising stories knows that most of the boats had water over the floorboards at some point.
Wednesday Amy and I went to Portland to do a TV interview for UPN channel 35. It was pretty laid back. They aired it at noon that day. I don't think that very many people saw it, as we haven't heard any feedback at all. We needed to buy some supplies in the area, so the trip was still productive. We managed to locate some hard to find plastic fittings for the water system. The place was easy to find. It's the only one story building that has a mobile home on top of it! It's also visible from route 295, the major road through Portland. We stopped at Hamilton Marine for electrical supplies. Going for supplies will be a daily routine. Nearing the end of any boat building project requires a "gopher". It's impossible to get every hose clamp, bolt, reducer bushing, "T" fitting and plastic elbow.
Thursday Amy worked on the cockpit cushions. The Sunbrella material is much easier to work with then the velvet. She has one done and it looks great! There is something satisfying about building something with your hands. Amy's skill with the sewing machine will help support us on our voyage. I spent the rest of the week on plumbing. The hot water heater was a challenge. Trying to get a system put together that will work correctly and be trouble free is where I spend most of my time. Its not like I can just throw it together and then forget about it. When something goes wrong later on, I'm the one who has to fix it!
Friday Amy picked up the hardware that was galvanized. It was a good learning experience for her. Now she can name every piece of hardware on the boat. There are still a few pieces at the galvanizers. They weren't happy with the way they came out. Means another trip to Massachusetts.
Our mind is made up about the e-mail system. Trimble Inmarsat-C. I spoke to a dealer for Globe Wireless and he told me that no one that has the system is happy. The system can be very slow, as slow as 300 baud. That means more drain on the batteries. So much for HF data. Now all I have to do is decide which service provider I'll use with the Trimble. There are two choices, Stratos and Comsat. I'll call their tech support and get a feel for their service. It's a method I use before deciding on a company. It's the tech support that will be important to us when we need help in some remote place, not some salesman's pitch.
Time is running by. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who wishes he had control of the speed of the clock. Will everything be finished when the boat is launched? No. There may not be any fancy cup holders but the important things will be done.