Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Friday, June 28, 2013

Countdown to ONE YEAR!!

In EXACTLY one year from this coming Monday, we will be leaving!  At one level, it still seems far away, however, in reality, our departure is getting emminently closer!

That said, I spent the last few days getting a few more jobs done on the boat and getting things ready to celebrate Canada Day...  As a rule, we are not a terribly patriotic country, but for some reason, I really look forward to CANADA DAY - July 1st....  It may be my favourite holiday because it doesn't involve either the giving or receiving of gifts! It has no religious overtones for people to ignore or pretend about, it is just a day when quite often the weather is good, and people are friendly...  What a great reason to celebrate...

My first job was to get as many cool things as I could for less than $100 at the Dollar Store...  SUCCESS many patriotic items made in some sweat shop in China.... On Monday we will decorate the boat!






Today, as a part of the Canada Day celebrations this weekend, 5 Tall Ships arrived in Hamilton...  I have to say, even with all the awesome technology we have in our world today, there really is nothing more beautiful than the lines of a classic Tall Ship....  Two friends (Ricard & Paul) from the place where we keep our boat accompanied me out into the lake to get a close-up view of the ships...  We were very lucky.  As rain was falling all over the area, we somehow stayed dry!





Here is our "tall ship" coming back tp our slip after we watched the parade from the lake....


Yesterday, I got another big job crossed off the list.  We found some wonderful security bars at Home Depot, that fit the big hatch in the main salon PERFECTLY!  I don't suppose for a minute that they will stop a determined thief, but we hope they will discourage a thief of opportunity...  Who knows...


I also moved the freezer FOR THE THIRD TIME!  I just cant seem to find a place where it is accessible and secure.  However, today I may have finally come up with something that may work...  I moved it to a shelf above the scuba compressor and moved the fins into the cupboard where the freezer used to be...  With any luck, this will work!


Tomorrow, I plan to make a canvas cover for the hatchway for when we are underway.  It will keep rain out of the cabin and keep coming and going easy...  Here is to hoping!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Small Horrible Job....

This week I was suppose to be off work... So far I have worked every day.... I keep reminding myself we have just one year to go....

Last night I stayed on the boat and Shelley brought me some supper and spent a few hours organizing the galley... This morning after I worked for an hour or so I took on a job that I have been putting off since we bought the boat 3 years ago...

The fuel capacity of our boat is 700 liters (185 gallons). There are 3 tanks each 200 liters (50 gallon) and 100 liter (25 gallon) running tank. The 3 - 200 liter tanks feed the running tank thru a small fuel pump and a Racor fuel/water filter. After the running tank the engine fuel pump draws fuel through another Racor fuel/water filter and a fuel filter on the engine.

On the way home we allowed (accidentally) the running tank to run out of fuel causing the engine to quit in the middle of a narrow section of the Hudson River running against a 3 knot current. We threw out the anchor, announced a securite on the VHF and replaced the 2 Racor filters but not the engine filter. Luckily it all went well and we completed our journey home to Canada.

While the boat was on the hard we left the filters alone, but I knew that we REALLY needed to get those filters replaced as soon as we were back in the water....

TODAY was the day... I started with the engine filter which went easier than I anticipated.... Next I tackled the Racor filters... WOW... WHAT A MESS! The clear globes on the bottom were VERY fuzzy. I thought that was age... NOT! they were 1/4 filled with the blackest, grungiest crud I have ever seen!

It took about 4 hours to completely dismantle, clean and re-assemble both of them. When everything was back together I bled the system and started the engine.... SUCCESS!

It then took about an hour to clean up the boat and put all my stuff away. When all that was done I showered in the Marina showers and I literally threw the old pair of shorts and t-shirt I was wearing in the trash. They were covered in diesel and stunk to high heaven. That and Shelley would have killed me if those clothes ended up in the washer and dryer at home...

From now on the Racors will be changed every 300 hours (more often when necessary) and the engine filter will get changed every 400-500 hours.

Last night I discovered that the reservoir for the hydraulic steering was empty. I couldn't find any leak so I refilled it and hope that there was just an air lock which has now cleared.... We will have to keep an eye on it....

All of this reminds me that living on a boat will be an ongoing life of broken and worn out stuff... this will only grow when we move into a salt water / salty air part of the world...

The last job today was to design some security bars for the large (24"x24") hatches... Sad, but another reality of cruising....

Cheers!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 14, 2013

Two Little Jobs...

Today Shelley and Kelly went to Toronto to see Taylor Swift! You have no idea what I went through to buy them each a ticket!  Needless to say I am happy to listen to her music on the radio, so I went to the boat and got two little jobs done.

The first was to replace the lock on the main hatch door.  We had a $100 lock on a $5 latch!  All anyone would have to do is to take a pair of pliers to the hasp and the hatch would be open.  I bought a good lock with two solid pins that will make it much more dificult to break...  After I took the pictures I put 2 coats of clear marine varathane on it and it looks great!



The second job was to build a small table for the cockpit so we have somewhere to eat and put drinks when we are sitting in the cockit.  It is made out of solid pine and after I took the picture I gave it a good sanding and 2 coats of clear marine varathane...





A good day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A WONDERFUL Few Days...

With Shelley's two jobs, the chances of her getting a day off is pretty slim.  This week we were blessed with her having 2 1/2 days off!!

So without any hesitation, I switched my days off so that we could spend some time together.  We went to the boat and had some wonderful time and got a bunch of jobs done on the boat...

We have finally decided that we need to replace the autohelm system on the boat which will turn out to be about a $3500 expense.  The system that is currently on the boat is way underpowered for the new steering ram that we replaced in the spring before launch. Also, the company that makes this unit is no longer in business and so getting parts will be impossible.  Further, at best guess, the unit on the boat now is at least twenty years old so it really is time to consider something new.

We looked very seriously at a windvane system, but the boat is too large (45') and too heavy (17 tonnes or 34,000 lbs) AND has hydraulic steering.  Those factors, plus the fact that a self steering system that could work on this boat would cost more than $5000 have made us go with a new autohelm....

Since we have lots of solar power (and more on the way) and an AWESOME wind generator, we should have ample power to run the new autohelm system.  We plan on keeping the old system in place as a backup for the new system.

That all said, we have ordered the new Raymarine Evolution 400 system and a type 3 hydraulic pump that should be shipped to us sometime around the end of July.  This system is the newest technology available and will seamlessly connect with our existing Raymarine gear (radar and chartplotter/MFD display).
The other (and last, we hope) major expense before we leave will be to install a NEW hard dodger. For now we have re-installed the old blue soft dodger.  We have ordered 2, 2' x 3' tempered glass windows from the same company who made the pilot house windows.  They should be delivered before the middle of July and will cost about $600.  Our friend Mike (see last post) will be making the actual dodger for us.  When complete, this should be an awesome addition to our comfort and safety....

Over the last few days, Shelley and I have some jobs crossed off the "To Do" list...  We put up some "art" from home:





She is not exactly "art" but will keep me great company on long night watches... (her sister is at the helm outside)...

I built some space on either side of our bed for our books:


We found a small leak beside one of the shroud plates.  I cleaned it all out and injected epoxy, then ground it smooth and then caulked around EVERY shroud plate with 3M 5200.


We sewed together what we call our "Poor Man's Bimini"  This has a horizontal pole at it's front and back.  The forward pole is connected to the split backstay from the main mast.  The aft pole is connected with a vertical pole to the rear of the helm seat and secured horizontally with bungee chords and line to two "D" rings on the aft arch.



Then we added a panel on the port and starboard (left and right) ides to make extra shade and get us out of the wind....

Notice the large clear window so if this is up while we are motoring or sailing we can see the rigging from the helm.  When we need shade, the material is velcroed on 3 sides and sewn along the fourth...


A job that we have finally completed was to measure and mark our main chain rode.  Our main anchor is a Bruce Anchor attached to 4 lengths on various sized chain all linked together to form a 400 feet rode.  at 7 to 1 scope we can now safely anchor in up to 60' of water without adding any rope.  We do keep another 200' of rope in the lazerette if we ever need to anchor in water deeper than 60'.


We also have a second forward anchor (CQR) with 50' of chain and 300' of rope.









And we have a Danforth anchor in the lazerette with 30' of chain and 100' of rope that can be used for a stern anchor.









We had all kinds of fun laying it all out.... We have marked the chain every 25 feet.  At 25' & 75' there is 4 bright yellow cable ties, at 50' incraments there are orange ties and at 100' increments there are purple ties...  All the ties are attached to a link in a way that they won't fall off when they go through the windlass.




Shelley took some time to inventory all our clothes and has organized them so we can find them...



The last job was to measure the tiny little cockpit table so I can make an extension that will give us a table we can actually use...



Finally, Shelley used our new oven to make us some more AWESOME cinnamon buns...  Yummy!


I am pretty sure that Shelley will not get anymore time off before we go on holidays, so I have really appreciated her time and our time together...  I have to say that there is NOTHING more comfortable that sleeping on a gently rocking boat....  This morning we woke up to a terrific rain.  It was during that rain we discovered that we had a few small leaks around the deck.  This morning we fixed what we could and the next time I go to the boat I will caulk around the wooden gunnel with 5200 and caulk the stanchions with 5200.  This should take care of the last few places water is getting in....

More later....  Cheers!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Security On Board....

Over the last year we have been reading peoples blogs talk more and more about people getting dinghy's and motors stolen from their boats....  While I'm sure theft in the islands isn't much worse than theft at home, we have decided to make our boat a little less attractive to thieves....

We have a 5/8" cable that locks the dinghy to the boat and a piece of 3/8" chain that holds the motor either on the boat transom or the dinghy transom.  We also have dinghy davits that we will use to lift the dinghy out of the water at night. The interior of the boat has always had a motion activated alarm that makes an awful racket whenever someone enters teh main salon. (I forget to turn it off all the time!)

Yesterday I added the last piece of security gear that should help.  We added 2 outdoor Uniden security cameras which connect to our on-board computer and start recording when the motion detector in the camera is activated...  This way we will know when someone is on the boat when we are below. (It also is connected to our TV in our stateroom, so we can look outside the boat from our bed.)




When we are away from the boat, the computer will automatically begin recording every time the motion sensors go off in either of the cameras.... This won't stop the theft, but might help catch the thief...

We also made the "weather resistant" cameras, more "weather proof" by adding a thin bead of good quality silicone on all the edges and seams...

Today our good friends Mike & Patricia came by for breakfast.  (Cinnamon Buns in our new oven!) They own a 43' Formula and are a few slips away at the marina and live a short distance away our house...  Our daughters are also good friends.  Anyway, Mike owns a company that adds exteriors to large buildings and suggested that there is a material that he uses that would make us an AWESOME HARD DODGER!

He is going to check with his engineer on Monday and all going well he will be making us a hard dodger in the next few weeks!  I have also contacted the folks at Bomon (the people who made the pilot house windows) to see if it might be possible to get 1 or 2 more windows made to go on the front of the dodger....  All going well, we can make that happen and have the greatest dodger we could hope for....

The last project this weekend was to start the bimini.  Next week, Shelley and I hope to get to the boat and finish it before the summer gets into full swing...

More later... Cheers....

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Jobs Just NEVER End....

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get to the long list of little jobs that need doing before we take our holidays this summer....
Shelley wanted a way to store our DVD's so she came up with this idea:









The DVD's should stay put even in the roughest seas...
Today I installed our new 20lb. propane cylinder.  This came from Defender and is made of fiberglass.  It will not rust or corrode.  I made the cover to keep it lasting as long as possible. I then connected it to our barbecue.  It should work really well...






















We also ordered an extra set of pot holders.  Shelley also ordered a new double boiler...





This weekend we hope to get the dodger and bimini done... Wish us luck!