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

 

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Building it up

It’s been a little to cold and windy for my blood lately to do a lot of outdoor work. The latest has been the repair and reinforcing of the stantion gate bases since one suffered some serious damage which caused the fiberglass deck to crack. It wasn’t under our watch, but I’m sure it was a fun night! Maybe someone felt the need to test the strength of the lifelines or maybe someone was a little too tipsy or dare I say heavy, who knows? Anyway someone did a real shoddy job of repairing it afterwards as you can see. Pretty huh

Since there isn’t much room to work with on the inside, I decided to repair the area by constructing a large fiberglass backing plate that is permanently attached to the boat in hopes of never having to deal with this issue again. Grinding and two fiberglass layers later along with a generous gelcoat layer here it is! Almost felt like an art project at times with all the sculpting and shaping done in order to make it look decent. You want me to do what!!!!! Do the the other side too! Ok honey…… The fun never ends…….

Other than that, I am excited to say that some sanding has begun outside (but probably won’t continue much due to weather) in preparation for some paint. I’m getting tired of her looking as ugly as she does with the old pealing paint and all. She’s gonna look brand new by the time we are done! IMG_2726
Stay warm my friends.
Until next time,
Señora del Mar 

Electric Motor Adventure

After seeing enough You Tube videos of full time sailors I noticed there was one common ongoing problem they have. It is ongoing engine trouble. So I started wondering how this nuisance could be avoided. We want to sail and enjoy ourselves, not have to repair an engine constantly. After doing much research on the subject we ended up purchasing and installing our 10 kilowatt electric sailboat motor kit from Thunderstruck Motors . Initially my biggest issue was getting the rusty prop shaft collar off the prob with no electricity. That was interesting to say the least. Battery powered drill and hammer to the rescue!

Anyhow, once we got that off it was pretty smooth from there. No engine mounts needed, just pre-drilled and screwed 2 decent size lag into the engine mount runners, attached the prop shaft collar to motor and then mounted the Sevcon controller and relay mechanism to the wall.

The only other issue I encountered was that the set screw for the upper pulley on the gear reduction unit was way to short and kept falling down the throttle cable attachment. I figured I could deal with the set screw later. Do NOT test the unit before replacing the set screw with a longer one!!!!!!! If you do, your alignment will be off and you will not be able to get the set screw in later which leads to other problems.

I tried to attach my exsisting  (not so great condition) throttle cables to the digital throttle unit, but try as I might I could not get the throttle play I needed to make it fully functional, so the cables went bye bye. I was bummed I would not be able to use my exsisting levers, but at least I could bypass the cables/levers and have a digital throttle assembly in the cockpit. Not the prettiest contraption, but I intend to make it look less like a toy in the future.

Our first real test did not go so well due to the fact I could not get the upper pulley set screw back into the upper pulley system. What ended up happening was that the pulley slid back on the shaft close to the motor and started shaving the metal off the back of the housing and the belt edge started shaving. NOT so good! A LOT of trouble to undo this!!!! Do NOT test system before replacing the set screw!

After undoing the upper pulley and getting a longer stainless steel set screw in (thank you ACE Hardware) our second try went much smoother. We probably ran it about a mile on low throttle and all was well, although the motor was getting a bit warm by the end. Maybe install a fan in the future?

Since this is a 48 volt system , you need to build the battery banks in sets of 4. We currently have a system of 4 group 27/125AH deep cycle marine wet cell batteries running the system for now.

Since we are on a mooring field, we keep them charged using our house battery 195 watt solar panel charging system. We do intend on getting separate solar panels in the future to maintain the batteries.

So far we love the fact that the system is quiet, not stinky, not to ridiculously expensive, no marine mechanic needed and it is more environmentally friendly. We will probably at least double the battery bank in the future and go with AGM batteries.

The magic question: How many nautical miles can the motor run for? Honestly we can not answer that as we have not pushed her to her limit. I hope it continues to work well for us. We encourage others to go the route of an electric motor after seeing and smelling all the pollutants (diesel and oils) that go into the bilge, water, and air. All the boats in the water day after day, year after year adds up to a big contribution in polluting our oceans.

Happy sailing.
Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

 

 

 

How many engines does it take?

A journey that expectedly took longer than expected. Isn’t that the way it usually goes? First off we got  a late start from Titusville and didn’t quite make it as far as we had hoped. The wind was not blowing and our engine is not set up for a long journey so we used the dinghy with the 9.8 outboard. Everything was cruising along smoothly and we anchored for the night. It is such an AWESOME feeling when things go so well.

How short lived that was. The 9.8 dies because we ran out of oil, the shaft slips on the inboard and it is no longer operational. We are now left with old reliable, the little 5hp champion that seems to always save our asses. Oh but it always gets better. The sun is setting, we are cruising at a super slow speed and not sure if we have enough gas to get to the marina to dock for the night. There is no place to anchor and we are not prepared to sail at night. The universe was not going to completely kill our spirit, we did make it to the dock. Have I mentioned that I have never in my life brought a boat into a slip. With a dinghy no less. A bit of a struggle but we got tied up for the night.

Morning comes and we start the day with the breakfast of champions, ice cream. We set off for the last leg of our trip. The power boats are out in full force so rather than get upset because the wake tosses the boat every which way, there was DINGHY SURFING to be done. I do believe Murphy was done with us at this point. Our travels to St. Augustine were pretty uneventful. We were going to have to dock again though. There are no moorings till after the 4th. The engine needs to be repaired already. I am saying my prayers and pleading with the universe that it is an easy fix.

Until next time,
Señora del Mar

We Make it a Little Closer to Home

Roger to the rescue!!!!!

Fortunately after a few setbacks including the weather and availability, we were blessed to have a part-time mover help us out that seller had found on craigslist. Roger is a pretty neat guy, from Trinidad who enjoys sailing, is very experienced and isn’t afraid to tackle an issue,  our motorless sailboat. On top of that his price was more than reasonable.

So here was the plan, we would hiptow her using our dinghy and a used 9.8 outboard that I purchased for this one purpose, figuring I could resell after and make my money back from the motor.

So the big day arrived. Would everything come together as planned? (insert hysterical laughter) Of course not. After replacing spark plugs along with the upper and lower oil in the Nissan outboard and learning everything I could about this outboard, we could not get the motor to stay on. After spending about 2 hours of frustration we decided to try the 5.0 Tahatsu 2 stroke (no tide pulls out here thank God). Low and behold she worked flawlessly and tirelessly, until…… we ran out of gas. 

Roger and I knew better (2 strokes love gas!),  the previous owner assured us that the the 2 gallons of gas we had would get us from Cocoa to Titusville without a problem. Never happened! Looking back it was a good experience to learn how to handle these types of situations. Stacey was trailing on land so she bought us some gas and 2stroke oil, waited at the nearest marina and asked someone that was headed out for a day on their boat to bring us the gas. We pulled over to the side of the ICW and set down our anchor while we waited for the saviors. Boat people are a very helpful bunch

After we got going again we did manage to set a our head sail up for while while trying to conserve gas. (We were headed towards another gas shortage). Unfortunately, the wind was against us most of the way, but we did end making it to Titusville!

After a long grueling day of boat towing (Roger took on the brunt in the dinghy for the entire ride) and paying the man for his awesome service and teaching us a few things along the way, we invited him and his girlfriend to dinner and drinks and had a good time getting to know them better

By this time and because we woke up this morning at 4:00 am to make this thing happen we were exhausted. Would you believe it that Roger, this guy from Trinidad that we first met this morning invited to stay at his rental property for the night for free so that we could get home safely the next morning. We took him up on his offer and It was a good decision to stay the night.

Working with Roger was an absolute pleasure. We spoke about family, work, and boats all along the way. We learned much from him and I admire that he was always patient and thorough from the beginning of the trip to the very end. I hope we can continue a long friendship with Roger and his girlfriend Tangy.

With all being said, I must say we were blessed with an honest and very helpful seller. I have heard of many horror stories out there. Fortunately, we never had to experience any of that.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues. We still have to get her home to St. Augustine.
Until next time,
Dennis

 

We found our sailboat

After passing our depressive state from the last boat we decided to pass on (Allied Seabreeze). Our impatience was growing so we couldn’t help but continue to look for “our boat”. From what we could tell the best deals seamed to be on craigslist, so we continued to do some hard window shopping. By this time we were in a much better financial situation as we had put together the money for our fourth and final kid’s braces and we have managed to pay our home off!!!!! (WooHOO!!!!). Now we felt like the timing was right.

I was particularly looking for a strong and worthy classic with a broken down engine (Clearance Sale!). It was slim pickings, but we ended up taking a look at a Bristol 29.9 in Cape Canaveral Fl. that had it’s engine removed (bonus!) and was being offered for $6,000. The seller just had the lower hull redone and painted and also just replaced the rudder stock and a couple of through holes.

Senora del Mar on the hard
Senora del Mar

We could not find a single bad review on this boat and although it was a little smaller than what we were looking for, it’s layout and beam made up the difference. Besides smaller is more affordable to maintain (more fun money!).

I must admit although it sounded like a fair deal, I still hesitated a bit knowing that once we said yes a financial hurricane would come our way. It did not disappoint!

So we did say yes to the deal after negotiating to $5,500 dinghy and 5.0 outboard motor included. Ok so we bought this boat so now what? The owner had now taken her off dry storage where he was getting ripped a new one and and had her docked at a friends house in  Cocoa Fl. while she waited for us to pick her up. Only 1 problem, she has no back up engine and I don’t currently have keel boat sailing experience, yikes!

After having an acquaintance bail out on me, another friend too busy at the time and looking into over water and out out of water transport fees I was a bit stressed and overwhelmed. How can we get this boat from Cocoa to St. Augustine, Fl. or at least Marineland Fl. safely without breaking the bank?

She Floats!!!!!!
She Floats!!!!!!

Stay tuned to the adventure. We will find a way to get her home. Surely it will be full of amusement for all.

Until next time,
Dennis

The Dangers of “Window Shopping” Boats on Craigslist

As I lie here this morning slightly depressed, my brain is still trying to “make it work” even though we already decided that it’s just not the right time yet.

We took a look at a 35’Allied Seabreeze that a gentleman was selling for next to nothing yesterday and drove a several hundred mile round trip with full intentions on purchasing her. The largest obstacle to get around was the fact that the Westerbeke diesel engine was not working. Between towing, mast destepping, lifting, trucking, lifting again and once again towing , along with whatever other adventures happen to pop up, the reality of the numbers were starting to unfold.

 

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She was a beautiful boat inside and out

 

My plan was to borrow from the nest egg account and pay it back after I finish getting braces on my youngest. In the mean time the boat would have to sit and wait until that financial obligation was taken care of. I still believe that we would have come out ahead in the end and we believe the boat was a perfect fit, but we just felt uncomfortable with the outlay of cash to make it happen. And we know to expect the unexpected surprises, and then what!

It was not all a loss as we learned a lot by speaking with the owner and made a friend, we just felt deep inside that it just wasn’t the right time.

Thanks for reading, until next time……

Dennis