Adventures of a Maiden Voyage

Finally going Sailing!

There is always more that needs to be done, but this boat owes us some fun! I know I probably shouldn’t think that way, but, after putting in two years of hot, sweaty labor and spending loads of money, I can’t help feel that way.

After finally getting her off the hard and back to her mooring field we felt the time had finally come to bring her out to the ocean. Since we have never done any ocean sailing yet, we thought that it would be a good idea to bring someone more experienced with us the first time around. Fortunately, the seller of the dryer midget dinghy we recently purchased is also a Captain for the local schooner here in St. Augustine. Fl. Seems like a friendly, easygoing guy. For once, the plans actually worked out.

We set a date, Stacey pulled our sailboat alongside his on the mooring field like a champ (yes, fenders were out) and away we went.

We knew we had to use the motor sparingly if we didn’t want to run out of power. We were a little nervous about that after seeing how far out the inlet was. Fortunately our guide for the day, Steve decided it would be wise to tack our way out. We spend six hours on the water getting comfortable with the boat, tacking, rigging up lines for the first and second reef points on the main, along with other good points. Of course we found new things that need attention like a winch that wouldn’t turn with the handle, pin holes in the sails that need patching up, etc. Nothing new there. I did find Steve’s sail patch idea interesting – sail cloth and some 3m5200. Gotta love that idea! No sewing necessary!

It was great to see the jib furler work well as I recently replaced the drum line and had initially rolled it up backwards! I hear this is a common issue. I guess that makes me feel like a little less of a dumb ass.

First sail was successful and thankfully uneventful. YAY!!!!!!!

A week later we set out on our own along with two of our boys (18 and 20). Unfortunately, it was a light winded morning which had our sails flapping around a bit. There is definitely an art to light wind sailing which we have not fully acquired yet.

Coming out of the inlet the waves were pretty large at 6-8 feet. Wow! Our boy’s favorite part, but they both ended up getting seasick. Fortunately, Stacey and I did not.  Because of the large waves and the light winds we couldn’t successfully tack our way out this time, so we eventually motored through. After a while things were going great. We were flying and tacking comfortably with full sails practicing our skills. And then it was time to head back in.

We slowly sailed downwind back into the ICW again along with a mild incoming tide. Again to save motor power. All was going well until we had to wait a short while for the bridge to open and noticed that our motor was puttering out once in a while. Not now! So close to our mooring field! We put all our fenders out in case, and eventually headed under the draw bridge very slowly and cautiously. We made it past the bridge, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk of bumping into other boats in the field. Out came Boat US to the rescue! They brought us to our mooring without a glitch. The main issue did thankfully end up just being low battery power.

Lessons learned:

*Always monitor battery power available. Duh!

*Make sure your stuffing box is not over tightened and has cooling water lubrication. Your stuffing should Not get hot to the touch while in use. Extra friction will obviously cause your motor to work harder.

Which now leads to another big project. Previously, we charged the batteries before a trip, but we could not charge while underway. We will be installing a 48 volt solar charging system (400 watts, fast charging!) specifically for the motor. This will allow us to harness energy while under sail. Can you see the Benjies flying?

Until the next time.

Staying Afloat

Replacing Seacocks and thru hulls

 I had no intentions on replacing these this time around, but our neighbor at the yard suggested we do. They are mostly original Wilson Crittenden which is pretty amazing! Most of them are seized in the open position though by now. The previous owner had replaced 2 and we went ahead and replaced two more (bronze ball type). We will replace the final 2 the next time we haul out.

 I ground the old thru hulls down carefully which made it easy to push the seacocks out. Careful you don’t melt the fiberglass or grind into the fiberglass (like I did)! Ah, more repair work.

 

 I understand G10 is the best material to use as a backing plate (none previously), but not even West Marine sells it locally! I couldn’t even find a fiberglass panel locally. What the heck! So I decided to epoxy over some marine plywood I already had. Not too difficult to make unless you have to later make alterations due to alignment mistakes or foundation obstacles.

 I drilled 3 holes and ended up using SS screws with a plastic washer to separate it from the bronze. Bronze screws are incredibly expensive. Q

 

 First install attempt was a disaster as I have a tendency to over-do things. I slopped on way too much 3M 4200 on the thru hull threads making it impossible to screw on as it dried pretty quickly. Not mention I cut the thru hull too long anyway. Crazy me had to remove everything, including the 4200 and start a new. The second attempt went well. We also bedded the wooden backing plates to the hull with 4200. A little more piece of mind has just been just been purchased.

 Btw, it’s really quite easy to use a metal bar of the proper size or even a piece of wood to tighten the thru hulls with if you don’t want to spend the extra for the special tool. We used a metal flat bar we already had and it worked like a charm.

 Until next time….

Taking a break from boat work

A break from the never ending boat work is a must sometimes. It is a matter of staying positive and somewhat sane.

Silver Springs State Park it was for the day. Dennis, myself and our 2 youngest were going to see monkeys on this day. They have monkeys at Silver Springs. I love monkeys and that was the main reason I chose the park for our outing. Did I mention I Love monkeys!

Upon arrival at the park it was not all that impressive. It is a pretty park but most certainly not worth the 2hr. drive just to walk around the place. But…., monkeys  live there, so it is totally worth the drive right?

After walking around and fueling us all up with lunch, it was time to rent kayaks and see some monkeys. The water was crystal clear, blue and just absolutely gorgeous. It was a very pretty few hours kayaking.

Wildlife was plentiful and made for a great day. We saw turtles galore, huge fish, and alligators that swam right toward your boat as if they were going to eat you before changing direction to go for a walk. I never seen Dennis change direction and paddle so fast in my life. I don’t think it ever had intentions on making a meal out of us. I wanted to watch it and see what it was going to do so reluctantly Gabe obliged my curiosity. You have to understand that just a few minutes earlier I was screaming and about to abandon the kayak for alligator infested waters because a dragon fly had the nerve to land on me. Why I am not terrified of giant things that snack on you and lose my shit if the tinniest of bugs even remotely enters my personal space I have no idea. I have gotten better over the years. Admittedly not much though.

On this day the monkeys did not come out to play. We were all a bit bummed, but I on the other hand was completely devastated. We drove 2hrs. to see monkeys damn it!

The Flamingo museum did cheer me up a bit. It was most definitely worth the stop.  Cindy has the largest collection of flamingo paraphernalia and is in the Guinness book of world records. Nothing is for sale and her collection continues to grow. She took the time to talk to us and share information not only about her collection but also a little history about the site were the shopping plaza currently is and the surrounding area. Definitely worth a stop.

4901 E Silver Springs Blvd STE 701 Ocala, FL 34470

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Until next time,
Señora del Mar