Thursday, January 17, 2013

Back In The Water And Almost Ready To Go

The day after Christmas we returned to the boatyard in hopes that we could finish up last minute items and be ready to be dropped back in the water on the 29th. I think it was the 29th anyway. Right now the locks on the barge canal are having maintenance done and they are closed throughout the week with only 2 openings a day, one at 7am and one at 7pm. This time of year it means you are travelling it at night as the marina doesn’t open that early so you have to wait for the later one. They are however on demand on the weekends. So Friday around lunch time they put us in the slings and unblocked us.

We spent the day tossing stuff, giving stuff away to other yard people such as chairs given to us, step stools and step ladders. Basically cleaning up our spot so we wouldn’t be charged for them to do it. It was the first time in a long time that I felt the boat move and it was an odd feeling being in a cradle and drifting with the wind. Dirk spent the time grinding and painting the spots under the keel that had been sitting on the blocks, making sure all the thru hulls were exercised and greased. There were a couple that had a bit of sand in them from the sandblasting and they sounded crunchy. Engine systems were checked; anything that could cause a possible leak was checked and rechecked. We were to be dropped at around noon the following day so we settled in for the night. The next morning apparently the schedule opened up and they were able to splash us about 9.

Good for us as a front was headed our way with wind and rain and we wanted to make the almost hour trip back to the marina before it hit.  Once we got lowered in Dirk went below and checked all the thru hulls for any leaks, bone dry, he started up the engine and once we were certain all was good they released the slings and let us go. Our first order of business was to hit the fuel dock and fill our tanks in preparation of cruising. Close to $700.00 dollars later and not even full we called it good. That should be enough fuel to get us through a good part of our travels. The more we sail, the longer we can go without refills. It was a bit tricky getting into the fuel dock as the current and the wind were both against us. With the help of a couple people on the dock we got tied up. Once that was done we pulled away and headed for the bridge we needed to get through, with a call on the radio to the tender we were through in no time. We then had to sit turning circles to wait on the lock as they had traffic coming from the other side. Once it opened we headed in and positioned ourselves alongside the wall. This was my first lock to deal with and I was a bit nervous as I was handling the lines.
Apparently it’s an easy one to get through and as the doors opened and we exited, the winds decided to pick up to 23 knots and the clouds were rolling. All I kept saying was, “please hold off” please hold off” We made our way to the marina and had some friends waiting there to take our lines. Another boat had come in right next to our slip so it would make getting in a bit of a nail biter. It’s a skinny fairway to begin with, with one side being a row of trees; there’s a huge trawler on both sides of us and a finger pier you can’t get to till you are in the slip. I was able to get a rope to Chris who was on the dock and lucky for us the lady from the trawler came out and standing on her boat helped fend our bow sprit off. With the winds blowing from our side it was hard to get in straight and we ended up rubbing the piling on the starboard side. Better the piling then a boat. Oh well, it’s a bit of touch up to do on the varnish but it could have been worse. We were back thank goodness with no problems other than a small leak Dirk found somewhere in all the coupling, drip less, steering mess he had been working on. He tightened a few things down and that did the trick. At least something was easy. So now that we are back in the marina, we have been pounding out our to do list trying to get as much done as we can. The decks will be complete by this weekend, I will try to get the aft cap rail done with a final coat and start coating the drop in boards for the entry way.
We got the double doors done but when we travel we like the drop ins when we need to lock the boat up and use the drop in screen the rest of the time. Lots of cleaning and scrubbing has been done along with organizing and provisioning.


Our neighbor told us about a place right next to where we were in the boatyard that did plexi glass. Our two big hatches are so old and crazed. One has a red tint on it and leaks, the other had a major crack in it that last year we put a band aid on it by buying a very thin plexiglass piece and caulking it on. Most of the time they stayed covered due to the leaking. After pricing the size and thickness we needed and the fact that it would come in one big sheet and Dirk would have to make them we decided to put it off another season. After talking to this guy the other day we found out that we could get 2 hatches for less than what we would have paid for one and the guy would polish the edges and even match and drill the holes for us. It also came with a great tint that will help in the summer heat. I’m a happy camper.

We also got the new water maker in on Tuesday. It’s a DIY and basically comes with all the pieces parts and you have to put it together and install them. I’m not sure what the installation of it entailed because I decided to make a trip up to my sisters to drop off and pick up some needed items and to do a little house sitting. But it seems all systems are a go and after getting it started up, there were only a couple leaks that were corrected by a little tightening here and there.
I managed to fit all the cushions for the aft seating, dive gear and other odds and ends in the car and came back two days later. It was beautiful weather so I took the opportunity to finish up the decks. Yippie, I am finally done and they look fantastic. Now let’s see how long it last. Dirk had to climb the mast to replace the VHF antenna so he took the camera up with him and got a shot looking down. Pretty cool…

I have also started and finished up some other small odd and end varnishing. The last big project I have to do top side is to finish scraping and sanding the butterfly hatch so I can varnish it. I have been procrastinating on it but with everything else looking so nice it is screaming to be done.

Basically we are getting down to the wire here. Last minute projects are being done, spare parts are on order, lockers crammed with provisions and we are shooting to be out of here on the 25th I think it is. We are paid up till the end of the month here so it gives us a few days to play around with. We still need to make one more trip back to the sister’s house to drop the car off and after that I will begin to feel I’m in cruise mode. Our plan is to travel the ICW for a couple days so we can check all our systems out and make sure it is all working well. After being on the hard for so long and all the work Dirk did with the shaft, stuffing box, and other assorted things we want to make sure there are no problems. We met another couple in the boatyard that just bought a catamaran and are planning on heading out the same time frame we are, so we will be in company. There is also another couple that I have been following for a couple years now as they fixed up their boat to travel and they docked down in Melborne for a while. They came up for a visit to meet and since this is the first trip over for them we gave them some pointers. They have left already travelling south and are probably headed the same direction as us so I'm sure we will meet up with them again. As we get closer to leaving I will keep you posted and then once again our spot will be active to show where we are. Till then I will leave you with a photo of Capt. Butters hanging out on the bow sprit.

We had to put a net up to keep him off as we are afraid he will slip in and there are too many gators in this marina that hang out too close to the boat.


Anonymous said...

Yea! I'm really starting to get excited now!! Will be with you in spirit this year. :-) Dan

Dave and Tanya said...

Wow the boat looks amazing! It was great to meet you and we thank you so much for all the great advice. We are going to hang out in West Palm as long as we can before heading over. Hope you guys come down that far before you cross!
Have a safe trip!