LINKS FOR THE YEAR 2000
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WEEKLY LOGS FOR MAY
This is the log for the week ending May 7, 2000 by APW
Three years ago when Phil and I were just married, we started buying things with the idea we would be taking them around the world with us. This included our insurance policies. Little did we know that the original health insurance Phil started out with, got switched somewhere along the line with another carrier. The original policy provided health care abroad, the new policy did also, but only for a three month period. Anything beyond that was not covered. We found this out from an insurance salesman over the phone. Usually when we get any phone solicitation, I will make up any excuse to get off the phone. Something about this guy made me not tell him I was just the cleaning lady. Sure enough, the next day I called Phil's agent and after much digging around she announced that indeed , he had no world wide coverage.
Tuesday we spent way too much time signing up Phil and the kid's for the new health insurance policy, through the National Association of the Self Employed. We looked up information on-line and could find nothing bad about it. My health insurance comes from the AVMA, which uses New York Life for a carrier, but they aren't writing any new policies in Maine, even for spouses. The NASE insurance policy seems ok, but if anyone knows anything different, please let us know.
Paperwork and more paperwork. Monday, was spent registering the Epirb and signing up for our e-mail provider-Comsat. Also we arranged to get the "Stinky", the Ford Explorer towed. On the way home from the launching, the wheel jumped out of my hand and the left front axel started making crunching sounds. I had been complaining about it for awhile to the dealer. They replaced the front hubs, rotors and a whole mess of other stuff to the tune of $1500.00 and told me to keep driving it, the "problem" was a shield that would improve with driving. We took Stinky to the local garage knowing full well the bearings were shot. The garage was able to salvage the spindle so it wasn't a total loss. I reluctantly arrived back at the dealer and to their credit, they admitted they messed up and wrote me a check out to cover the new repair bill. I had been anticipating a major hassle.
Wednesday we scurried around, getting the mast wired and ready to be stepped into the boat. I finally got the chance to see the deadeyes and lanyards at work. Already Iwalani is taking on a presence. One of the guys at Robinhood Marina had to motor her around to the crane. Afterwards he came up to me and said what a pleasure it was to steer her. 'She was unlike any boat he had driven' and he 'felt privileged to have moved her!'
For the rest of the week, work has been slow going. Phil got the boomkins installed and fitted the stern rail and stern mast for the wind generator. I worked in the head putting on hose clamps and screwing in brass doodads.(Hooks and eyes, towel bars etc). I lost two days of work lying flat on my back, sick as a dog. Migraines. This made #18 and #19 for my life tally. I thought I had found the preventive by taking extra calcium. My other so called cure used to be to take a dose of Mad Dog hot sauce early in the "aura" phase. I got the idea after seeing the tremendous vasodilation Nathaniel experienced to his head after he tried it and announced gasping "'hatz not 'hat 'ot". Unfortunately, this time the Mad Dog nearly killed me, when it came back up and exited out my nose and eyes... its called the sauce that bites back... it took a bite out of me. I never did get a headache though... so maybe there is something to this unconventional remedy. Phil got the dorades on minutes before a huge downpour, which didn't let up until the next morning. We ran electrical wires from the wind generator to the master panel. Phil got the wiring done for the "Sea Frost" refrigerator system. Robinhood is scheduled to charge it tomorrow with the refrigerant.
We are getting very spoiled with the marina lifestyle. Electricity, water, bathrooms, the boat tied up right at the dock. Robinhood has also become a very pretty marina. My recollections of it as a kid cruising with my father are a blur. That is probably because I spent the whole time running, trying to keep one step ahead of the infamous Georgetown mosquitoes. May is one of my favorite months in Maine. Flowers, birds, nice weather and no annoying bugs or tourists. Its funny how the buzzing, blood sucking brigades arrive at the same time.
Stewart spent his first night on the boat this past week. None of us got much sleep... the next night was much better. Now I think he likes it.
This is the log for the week ending May 14, 2000 By PS
Wet and cold. That's been the weather this week. The photo shows me measuring the grommet size for the main sheet blocks. I wish I were wearing my long underwear. Only in July and August can you go cruising without them.
Monday we made phone calls and did paperwork. EPIRB registration, etc. Amy also picked up our new rowing/sailing dinghy. It's 10 feet long and rows like a dream, even with two people in it. It's also light enough for the two of us to handle. We've been spending nights aboard with the electric heater going full blast. Stewart is settling in to the boat routine. He even gets into his carrier on his own when we are at the house. That's a good sign. I don't think he has a clue what a difference it will be once we leave the cushy marina life.
Tuesday I got the Wind Baron wind generator up and running. It really puts out the amps. With a wind speed of 12 knots it was putting out 16-17 amps. It does wobble the 2-inch steel mast a little at really slow speeds. Must be a resonance frequency relating to the length of the mast above the diagonal braces. Nothing too serious though.
Wednesday the marina charged up the refrigeration systems. They didn't find any leaks. I'm getting a reputation for tight installations. As a matter of fact Herb, the refrigeration mechanic, mentioned that he was glad that I would be leaving soon. He's afraid I would put him out of a job. I told him not to worry for at least three years!
Thursday I found problems with a couple of things, The head had an air leak. I traced it to a valve improperly installed at the factory. Amy called Wilcox and got a part shipped the next day. But it was the wrong part. She called again and now the correct one should show up on Monday. In the mean time it developed a water leak around the pump shaft. Now we call the head a "Seeping Skipper" (Skipper is the brand name). Another problem was with the "Heart Link 20". This is our battery monitor system. After doing extensive diagnostics, it seems that the unit is defective. Brand new, never been used, and not working. It's no wonder people sail away on time. Amy was once again on the phone, but "Heart" had no heart. Because the warranty time had run out we were out of luck. Well, almost. The tech took pity on Amy and told her she might be able to get it fixed by the original manufacturer. It's going out FedEx on Monday. I've got my fingers crossed. It cost almost $300.00.
Friday I spent pulling lots of electrical wire. About 800 feet of it. Amy says it looks like the inside of a pasta pot. Of course she would rather have me doing trim.
Saturday I crimped and soldered the ends of all that wire. I don't believe in just crimping. There is something about the molecular bond of solder that eliminates corrosion between the wire and the terminal end. Corrosion causes resistance, resistance causes heat and heat starts fires. Next to hitting a container, fire on board is my biggest fear.
Sunday I built the jaws for the gaff and Amy worked on the dodger. Amy did find out some good news to end the week on. It seems that our two-week stay at the marina was on the house. We wondered why we hadn't received a bill. We are very lucky because now we will be paying the going rate of $1.50/foot/day. $75 per day for us. Ouch! That would have cost us over $1000.00. Needless to say we'll be leaving soon.
This is the log for the week ending May 21, 2000 By APW
Sometime in the middle of last week it hit me that I might not be seeing my dogs again. I sort of came unglued. They will be staying with my sister and will be well taken care of by my nephew Max, but this is the hardest part of the trip for me. They won't be able to understand why I have abandoned them. I had hoped to bring Polly the dachsund, but she freaked out while the boat was still on land in the barn, she'd never make it through a storm.
Phil "bent" on the sails as he calls it, and the boat is now looking like a sail boat. The four part blocks are easy for me to haul the peak or the throat halyards up. He also put on extra big line which is easier on my hands.
We have been staying at Robinhood marina since the launching and have gotten very spoiled by the marina life style. The stay at Robinhood allowed us to get back on schedule. Tomorrow we will bring Iwalani around to the mooring in front of our house. We will have to work around the tides or drag the old half dead dinghy up and down over the seaweed covered rocks to get out to the boat. The new maroon dinghy will stay on top of the cabin, if I have anything to say about it!!
We got the Inmarsat-C up and running and sent email to the house. It is illegal to use the Inmarsat in U.S. waters, which seems totally insane to me. It explains why the US is so far behind Europe in communication technology. So, any e-mail we do is just for "testing" purposes. In order to install the inmarsat program you have to get into true DOS. Which, on our computer you do by holding down the left control key at start up. I called Inmarsat in California to find this out. It was 6 a.m. their time and the company receptionist said "Let me give you a number for our technical service. This is his home phone" I said 'isn't it a little early to call?' She said no, not at all, it's his home. 'Exactly', I thought. I called the number anyways and got this rugged sounding guy answering on the first ring. His name was Roger Roy and he was out on the range waiting for some truck to come and pick up a load of horses. I kid you not. He was tremendously helpful and steered Phil through the program installation while simultaneously whistling and herding horses and shipping them god knows where.
I spent a lot of time on the phone to the Interlux paint company to find out why the $800.00 of bottom paint I put on the boat is rapidly peeling off and falling to the bottom of the sea. George Wright at Interlux, thinks it is because of the high oil content in the Southern yellow pine, which is what turpentine is made from. We will have to haul the boat out in June, scrape it down, dry it out, wipe it with solvents and put three more coats of bottom paint on. Think Interlux offered to pay for any of this??? The True value house paint, (also painted on the yellow pine) is holding up wonderfully. So much for $149.00 a gallon paint.
The money thing is very depressing and we haven't even left yet! My income is virtually nil and the coffers are low. We got the bill for the bow and stern steel railing from Paul Fourniers- $4000.00, which was twice as much as I had budgeted.
I am working on building our dodger. It didn't help to have the boat next to us get a new dodger from Fortune sails. On Wednesday the guy was there making patterns and taking measurements, Thursday I was still doing our aluminum framework, Friday the Fortune guy was back with the finished dodger, while I was still fighting with the plastic pattern material blowing in the breeze and working on the framework.
But you know, I was thinking about this while hanging upside down in the storage area under the pilot berth stapling in the copper foil for the single side band- Phil and I know every inch of this boat. We built everything. It is way more satisfying than being a rich guy who calls the boat yard and says "can you have such and such installed by next weekend?" Bread has a much better taste when you are starving than when you are satiated. We also know every inch of this boat. Which brings to mind a story last year about a boat in the Carribean that nearly sank because of a bad through hull, that drained the ice box. The owners didn't even know it was there and blamed the surveyor of the boat. They probably made lots of money on books and articles, hyping up their travails, not to mention the law suit with the surveyor-Augh!!!! All because they were ignorant.
Saturday Phil was supposed to get the general class upgrade on his ham license. It had been scheduled for some time. He showed up at the appointed place and hour, only to find no one there. I called one of the examiners in Union Me., just to confirm it and he said, nothing had changed on his schedule. But they had changed it, and didn't bother to correct it on the internet or put a sign on the door, that the location was changed. They announced it on the 2 meter band. Phil was beyond angry. More because of the four hours he wasted. The examiners have taken pity on my having to live with "Heir Philkraut" and have made a special exception , so he can get the paperwork filled out, without having to do it at a scheduled exam, which is all he has to do for this upgrade. Paperwork. (FCC paperwork- even worse).
I still have cushion fabric left, and made a quilt for the foc'sle bed, canary cage cover, place mats and tea pot cozy. I am trying to see how many things I can make from the scraps, just to annoy the decorator lady that said I was totally wrong to return the "extra' twenty yards of fabric. The interior cherry"trim" is getting closer to completion. The doors are actually on the boat. Phil might actually have to start on that next week.
This is the log for the week ending May 28, 2000 By PS
Iwalani is now on her mooring at our house on the Back River. It was an exciting departure from Robinhood Marina. I had just installed the self-steering tab before we left. The tab is a separate rudder attached to the back edge of the main rudder. I decided to let it swing free as we motored out. As soon as we cleared the dock I discovered that I couldn't steer. As we were heading for a boat on a mooring I pictured the worst, Iwalani slicing through a plastic boat like a knife through hot butter. Before disaster struck (oop's!) I grabbed the tab tiller and steered from there. It worked perfectly! I could steer a 44,000-lb. boat with two fingers.
After clearing Goose Rock Passage, we continued on into the Sheepscot River. With plenty of maneuvering room I decided to try hooking the TillerMaster to the tiller on the tab. The TillerMaster is a device used to steer a boat from its helm, whether it's a wheel or a tiller. These devices are limited in the size of boat they can handle. There was no way that the TillerMaster could steer Iwalani's tiller, but it should be able to steer her through the tiller on the self steering tab. Well, it wasn't to be. As soon as the TillerMaster was turned on, Iwalani began steering more and more off course. First off to starboard then off to port. Back and forth worse then a drunken helmsman! I finally gave up and we steered the old fashioned way.
There was little wind, but we did set the sails to see if we could bring on more. No such luck. They set well though. It was a good exercise for Amy in setting gaff rig sails. We arrived in the Back River just as the tide was high. As the mooring still had its winter float, we had to wait till low tide to retrieve it. We set two anchors with the electric windless. It worked great! I would not have wanted to set a 60 lb. and 45-lb. anchor by hand. I've got to be sure to keep the windless in good repair.
Once we had things settled down I began to investigate the self-steering problems. In desperation I called Dr. John Letcher, the author of "Self-Steering for Small Boats". He and I talked for a while on the phone. He admitted that he hadn't thought about self-steering since he wrote the book in 1974. After I quoted from his book several times he said "Hold on a minute while I find a copy". I could tell our conversation was reviving his interest in self-steering. I was very grateful for his time.
Then I called my friend Walter Greene. Walter is well known for his early entries in the single-handed Trans Atlantic races. After listening to my problems he offered me the use of his more modern auto-tiller. The TillerMaster that I have is one of the original designs. As a matter of fact, Walter sailed with the designer while it was being developed. Walter's auto-tiller has a few more adjustments then mine. Hopefully this will make things a little easier. My final goal in all this is to have the auto-tiller steer Iwalani when there is not enough wind for a wind vane to work well.
The rest of our time this week has been spent on getting moved out of our house. The house sitters will be moving in on June 1. How we could accumulate so much "Stuff" I just don't know. It seems that the more space you have the more you try and fill it up. We started with the attic and are now ready to move the heavy things out to the barn. Once again, Rick and Teena Patton will be helping us. They also helped us move here from West Bath. We are extremely lucky to have them as friends. I hope that someday we can re-pay them.
There also will be a change in the crew. My son Nathaniel has decided to go to Florida on a Boy Scout trip. I have to admit I am a little disappointed. I guess I can't expect everyone to share my enthusiasm for this trip. He said that he would join us in Tabago over Christmas vacation. There is better diving there, which I know he enjoys. Ben is still enthusiastic about the trip to the Azores. I am very grateful for that.
I believe that we should all try something at least once. If you don't try, then you never really know. Sure, you can imagine how a food might taste, how an opera might sound or what flying a small plane might be like. But you can never say that you know for sure until you have experienced it. That's why I want sail around the world. PS