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The three sections of cockpit table…curing the 13 coats of marine varnish.  I like the reflection of our swimming pool on the wood.

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

A long time since my last post and as I write this blog way more for me than the few who might read it, I had to go back and see where everything was left off. Oh, yeah…OK…I’m back.

Several things were going on when last I wrote. There was the tentative departure…boat cards…the new refrigeration units to install. I had a cockpit table to build…as well as doors for the passageway. A lot was going on. Still is.

Well, our departure has firmed up a bit. The last estimate was sometime in April. That departure date is holding. If I’d guess I’d say the first part of April at that. Husband has given his notice at work and reduced his hours there…and he all but carries the to-do-before-we-leave- the-dock spreadsheet I put together around with him. I see him consulting it often.

We will not leave before we can safely do so, but sometime within the next couple of weeks we will formulate two firm dates: one date will be the date we will shoot for to leave…the second date will be the drop dead date that we will use to dictate the date that by nook or crook we will be gone. The two dates will be a couple of weeks apart. We are excited for sure.

A lot has been done; there is a lot to do.

As mentioned in my last post, we threw in the towel on our existing refrigeration. For many months, husband attempted to repair the old refrigeration system. His success in doing so would have saved us in the neighborhood of five or six thousand bucks. Unfortunately, the old unit just proved too much for him to re engineer. We opted out for the two brand new Technautics units. I’m happy to say that the new refrigeration unit’s (two identical units – one for the refrigerator, one for the freezer) are installed and online. And, what a relief. We could not head out without a fridge/freezer.

The units by themselves were great, but husband has taken it a step further with LED lights that come on when the covers of the fridge or freezer is opened. He also dug up all of the teak grates that were evidently canned when additional cold plates were added to the freezer. We altered them this weekend to fit. I will have them coated in white enamel by the coming weekend. And, he is installing small fans to circulate the cold air as well. Lights and teak grates for the fridge and freezer are the bomb. Anyone who sails knows how deep and dark these refrigeration compartments can be.

On my front, I built our new cockpit table. This is my second custom cockpit table. The last one was built out of a combination of teak, mahogany and walnut. The one I just finished is made out of solid mahogany. It’s gorgeous, coated with thirteen coats of Epifanes marine varnish. It’s curing now, but only needs to be assembled and installed on the pedestal. I’m hoping I really don’t have to ever build any more cockpit tables.

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The mahogony table piece…main table, two fold outs, and the fiddles…

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The offsets for the double hinges.

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The start of the chiseling.

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Chiseling completed and the dry fit.

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Complete with the first two of 13 coats of varnish.

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And, the completed table curing on our patio…ready to be assembled and installed on the boat pedestal.

I also built companionway doors.  OK…I’m building companionway doors.  They aren’t finished, but the hard part is done.

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Virtually all sailboats have what are called hatchboards. Hatchboards are generally four (maybe more, maybe less…depends) boards that fit across the companionway in guides. Their purpose is to seal the inside of the boat from the outside. Specifically, they are meant to keep blue water out of the inside of the boat. Hatchboards are a very simple design and all but bullet proof…which is why most sailboats have them.

The problem with hatchboards is that they can be a major pain in the butt if one has to remove them and then install them over and over. If the seas are relatively calm, when cruising, the hatchboards are generally left completely off…same when at anchor. However, if it’s at night when bugs abound, or at anchor, or at a marina, there are many times when the boat needs to be closed up and putting hatchboards in their guides over and over is just a pain. That is where companionway doors come in. There is a big difference in convenience when comparing putting the hatchboards in over and over…and just opening and closing two small doors.

The upside of companionway hatchboards is that they are strong and won’t come out unless taken out…the upside of companionway doors is convenience.

I’m in the process of building companionway doors for our yacht. The two doors are made of solid mahogany. Each of the two doors are attached to the companionway with breakaway hinges…so the doors can be removed. We’ve glued the mahogany planks together (for width), have cut them to rough size, and have installed the breakaway hinges on both the doors and the companionway. I intend to carve a design into these doors (husband got me some wood carving tools for Valentine’s Day).

Also, this past week or so, we had some items powder coated. Our four chrome dorades needed the insides powder coated white…as well as a bracket for our stern rail to hold our wash down hose. Our boat crane/winch was powder coated black…as well as two custom made aluminum pedestal brackets…one for the binnacle, the other for our Garmin 7212 Chartplotter.

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In other news, when we left Fernandina Beach, Florida to bring our yacht back to Texas we hastily installed our new Garmin GMR™ 24 HD Radome.  We felt we really, really needed state-of-the-art radar for the trip back…and we did. However, we didn’t feel we had time to run the electronic lines down the mast when we installed it. We knew it would look funky but it simply would be just too time consuming to chase the lines down the mast considering we needed to get off the dock. We decided we could run the lines down the mast after we got back.

radar installation

Well, 18 months later, we had the lines run down the mast. We will move our smaller display Garmin 740S Chartplotter below to the nav station and link the two together.

On a slightly different note, we counted the other day and have at least six separate and different GPS systems on our boat. We have three chartplotters, one handheld GPS, and a GPS feature on each of our two handheld VHF radios. Of course, we always have paper charts as well.

Topping off the recent work was the instruments. By instruments I mean the wind instruments, depth gauge, SOW instruments. One might recall that when we were looking at the boat it was advertised as having all new Raymarine instruments. At the sea trial, we were mildly surprised to see that indeed, the yacht did have all new instruments, however, they were still in the box and not installed. LOL

Well, it was time to break the seals and install all three of the new instruments clusters. When the radar lines were chased through the mast, the new mast head wind instruments (direction and speed) were installed at the same time using the cable from the existing instruments.

And, then there are the screens.

I think most who actually cruise/sail/stay on their boat have at one time or the other been all but carried away by mosquitoes. I remember one weekend we cruised to Harbor Walk, just West of Galveston and right on the GICW. The moment the sun started to set the only tolerable place was inside the boat. The bugs made it impossible to do much of anything but stay inside. Thankfully, we had AC on our last sailboat…as we do on our new yacht. But, for a variety of reason, at times one wants to simply keep the hatches open and enjoy the fresh air.

Our yacht has seven hatches and nine ports that open. Our boat is teak intensive. All of the joinery, including the hatch framing is out of teak. When our yacht was built, each hatch was fitted with screens framed in solid teak. Each screen is attached to the inside framing of the hatches by hinges, allowing the hatches to be either open and free to the wind, or closed via screens. The issue, of course, is that all but two of these screens are ripped, and all seven of them need to have the teak brought down to bare wood and refinished.

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Replacing the screens and refinishing their frames is an ongoing project and isn’t as daunting as it seems, but is time consuming. They must be complete before we leave. Once they are done, with so many hatches, we can open them all up when at anchor and really air out our boat. Fresh air and boats go together, particularly when it goes down below.

More to come on the screens.

Anyway, a lot has been going on. Again, still a lot to do. The AIS situation is still working, and we really don’t know a single thing about, or a even a clue, how to operate our Raytheon 152 single side band radio.

And, finally, we made a trip out to Santa Rosa.  This was the second trip out to CA, since my wonderful mother-in-law passed in October, to handle business.  It was a great trip highlighted by me and Ms. Allyson Mitchell getting to spend most of mid day together.  Allyson and I go back to 1976 when she and her husband Steve moved into the same apartment complex I lived in.  Steve held his USCG 100 Ton Masters license and was working as a boat captain in offshore Louisiana.  Both of them were from Northern California.  I looked the both of them up a couple of years ago and this trip seemed an opportune time to catch up.  And, we did.  Allyson actually grew up in the Santa Rosa area.  It was an easy time and even though it was 37 or so years since we’d last seen each other, the time went by quickly.  We had such a great time neither one of us took even one photo…a big mistake.  Anyhow, love ya and loved seeing you Allyson…I’m sure we’ll visit again.

bodega bay

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While there, we took a ride out to the coast to visit Bodega Bay.  Just about every time we head to the area we make time to visit Bodega Bay.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place to visit.

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