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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Well, once again Christmas is just around the corner.

I fly out later this week to Sacramento before renting a car and making the drive on over to Santa Rosa and The Valley of the Moon.  I’m flying in a few days early to spend some time with my mother-in-law.  She’s a wonderful, 87 year old woman who loves to talk, and has loads of wisdom; I simply love visiting her.  I’ll spend a few days with her before driving back to Sacramento on Tuesday, the 21st, to pick up my husband who’ll be coming in late from Houston.  He and I then intend to drive on over to Lake Tahoe, spend the 22nd taking in one quick day of skiing at Heavenly before driving back over to Santa Rosa at the end of the day.  He will fly out the Monday after Christmas while I, on the other hand, will take a flight out later that week in order to be back home before New Years.

Skiing is a “being in shape” kind of thing.  Last year at this time I was in excellent shape; this year I’ve gained a few pounds.  On the up side, last year I was almost a two pack a day smoker; this year I quit smoking on my birthday back in September…as a side note, it really wasn’t that hard to quit.  Anyway, both of us are advanced intermediate skiers, seldom fall, and both love the sport…so a day on the Tahoe slopes will be a lot of fun.  In February, we go back out to that area so that my husband can help my mother-in-law get her tax data together.  We always work in several days of skiing during that period.  I’ll be in much better shape by then.

I’m looking forward to it.  Hopefully I will be going early enough to miss most of the Christmas rush at the airport and coming back early enough to miss the New Year’s one as well.  And, then there will be the new security thing.  You know, the pat down/body scan procedures we have been hearing the uproar about.  They can do whatever they want to me and I’m fine with it.  Call me a coward if you will, but there’s just something about being a passenger on a crashing wide body jet that I’m…well…just a tad bit uncomfortable with…it’s strictly an inertia thing, mind you.  I have often thought that what they need to do is give passengers a choice:  fly on a plane in which all necessary security screening procedures are followed, or keep things the way they used to be and allow passengers to fly on those planes instead.  Thank you, but speaking just for me, I’ll be on the secure planes every time.

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For those who may not know, a lazarette is defined as “a small storeroom within the hull of a ship, especially one at the extreme stern.” Strangely, it is also known as a glory hole…why glory hole? I have no idea.  To those of us who have spent time on sailboats two things stand out about a lazarette.  First, they are indeed quite small.  Often, on sailboats up to forty feet long and even a bit longer, they are so small as to barely be able to be entered at all.  And, secondly, generally, they are absolutely filthy.

On sailboats up to or perhaps just a tad bigger than forty feet long, the lazarette is entered through one of the seats located in the cockpit.  All sorts of things are located there.  For instance, much of the boats wiring harnesses pass through this area.  On our Hunter 31, the auto pilot and knot meter wiring winds its way through it.  The engine room air exchanger/blower along with their hoses live there…the engine exhaust hoses as well.  The fuel tank is there, as are the fuel filters and hoses.  The pressurized water pump, the battery charger, hot water heater, and one of the three battery banks make their home there.  The refrigeration system and much of the 110 AC shore power wiring is also tucked into this space.  Once inside, not an easy act to accomplish in itself, one sits on the battery with barely elbow room to work on any of this equipment that might need servicing.

Now, as some of you might know, I’m an Industrial Engineer; my husband is a mechanical engineer.  Between us, we have almost eighty years of engineering and construction experience, including professional engineer (PE) credentials.  Between us we have fifty to sixty years of sailing experience…general boating experience that goes back to when we were kids.  And, to boot, we are both excellent wood workers with a shop that has almost any major power tool one can imagine including joiners, planers, band saws, table routers, etc…and a collection of small tools, sanders, routers, drills, etc that would rival Home Depot or Lowes.

When we bought our Hunter 31 sailboat, though it was in excellent condition and we got an absolute wonderful deal on it, nonetheless it was a 1986 model and 25 years or so old.  Most sailboats have a lot of finished cabinet wood on the inside.  In the case of ours, everything is either teak or mahogany.  Though neither one of us said anything to each other at the time of our purchase, we both knew it was only a matter of time before the interior of our boat was redone.  For us, with little said, that work started about a month ago.

We have completely ripped the entire interior out of the boat right down to the sole (floor).  The sole itself has been removed and used as a pattern for its replacement.  We chose not to go with a traditional teak and holly sole but teak by itself.  All of the cabinetry that will not be modified has been sanded down to bare wood and most have already been refinished with six built up coats of polyurethane.  The sole itself has eight coats of polyurethane on it (two more coats to go) each coat sanded with progressively higher grit wet sand paper.

The pressurized alcohol oven/stove has been modified to full propane.  The hot water heater, though functional, was completely replaced this weekend with a new one.  And the entire electrical service panel is in the process of being moved from under the passageway to the chart table area as is the air conditioning.

The settee/dining area is being completely redesigned.  The original design was for two booth style seats on each side of a rather large fixed-in-place table on the starboard side of the boat.  Our new design will convert that same set up to a completely curved, eliptical booth area with a much smaller, elliptical table located in the center.  We have already made this smaller elliptical table from solid mahogany.  The dining table will be removable so that the entire curved booth back will act as a headboard for a queen size salon berth running across the beam.  There will be additional counter space with this design allowing us to convert an existing food locker into an additional and larger refrigerator/freezer.  We’ve replace the enameled sink with one of 316 stainless steel.

This, of course, is a lot of work and somewhat stressful as the old adage of “measure twice, cut once” comes into play.  Solid teak and Honduran mahogany, as well as teak plywood and marine plywood is not cheap…one sheet 4’0 X 8’0 piece of ¾” teak veneer, exterior, lumber core plywood is over $170 with tax.  The two coats of deep penetrating epoxy resin that was needed to coat just the underside of the cabin sole was about $90.  The kind of work we’re doing does not lend itself well to screwing up and we are both constantly looking over each other’s shoulder to assure no time and money consuming screw ups happen.  But, it’s fun, and both of us really don’t need supervision from the other, only communication.  We both work well independently…if we didn’t, we’d never get this project done.

Pictures, of course, will be forthcoming when or as we are finishing things up.