Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Planning on Celebrating New Year

Looks like we'll have another go at putting the new sails up this weekend.

Plan is to take the boat out on New years Day and anchor somewhere overnight.

I'm a little grumpy while writing this, Just received news about the latest Rich Guys Law being introduced in the Florida House. House Bill 1051

There was a bill that ran it's course this past year which was disguised as a Vessel Anchoring Safety Bill, but it had absolutely nothing to do with Safety, it's sole purpose was to prevent boats anchoring nearby the homes adjacent to the Florida waterways because it spoiled their view!

This new Bill, House Bill 1051, does not even try to disguise itself, there is no mention of safety, it's plain and simply the thin edge of a wedge that would allow future anchoring restrictions.

Like many sail boat owners, we take our boats out to the ocean, but departure from the inland waterways has to be timed within a good weather window. Nobody would suggest that we head out to sea without giving consideration to the conditions out there. But when someone brings their boat from outside of Florida, they have the imperative to head inland if the conditions outside turn nasty. In both cases, being able to anchor overnight is a vital option. It not only saves lives, but it saves tax payer monies too by reducing the number of off shore emergencies when sailors can shelter overnight, one or more nights, to avoid putting them selves and others at risk.

Members of the boating community are well aware of the efforts by the 1%'s to claim ownership of the waterways adjacent to their property. That public ownership is protected by State Law, and so these few home owners are trying to change the law, or add new laws that override the existing law.

The worst part is that it's our Politicians, the people we vote into office, that are enabling these few, most likely in order to gain political fund raising support (there's a word for it). Those politicians seem to have forgotten who voted them into office and why!

This time around the bill is being sponsored by Representative Matt Caldwell,

Capitol Office 

218 House Office Building 
402 South Monroe Street 
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300 
Phone: (850) 717-5079

District Office 
Building A 
15191 Homestead Road 
Lehigh Acres, FL 33971-9749 
Phone: (239) 694-0161

Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010, reelected subsequently

So he's probably due a job change!

If you want to Email Representative Matt Caldwell, here's the link to his Email Form

I expect that we'll be hearing a lot more from Mr. Caldwell
...and why he sponsored Florida House Bill HB 1051

See you out on the water (but perhaps not anchored in Florida)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Day Mini Cruise with Spruce Goose

One of our best recent Christmas' thanks to Mike & Joyce aboard Spruce Goose!

We didn't rush down to the boat, took out time. Once all the gear (mostly food & drink) was aboard, I opened all of the sea cocks and checked the engine oil. All was ok, so Peggy got the engine running - We've finally decided on a name for the engine, I wanted something distinctive, but also with a wry humorous twang. So we have named the engine 'Geeves', seems appropriate as we depend upon Geeves quite a bit, and he has not let us down.

Weather didn't support getting to actually sail, but we arranged with Spruce Goose to meet them at Sunrise Bay on Christmas Day.

Mike & Joyce arrived before us as we were delayed having to wait for the opening of the Los Olas Blvd Bridge, it opens on the 15 & 45 minutes if requested. The Bridge Tender was helpful and offered to open for us, but I explained we would be at least 10 minutes to the bridge and requested the next opening.

Once through the Los Olas brige, we steamed up the Intracoastal to the Sunrise Bridge which is just south of Sunrise Bay, home of the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. The current was pretty hard outbound at Sunrise Bridge. Geeves accepted the request for more power so we had no difficulty getting past the bridge despie the current.

Mike & Joyce had already anchored Spruce Goose, and they took these pics as we arrived.

Heading up the Intracoastal from Sunrise Blvd Bridge

Navigating to the North of the shallow area of Sunrise Bay

Good shot of our new Doyle Cradle Cover for the Mainsail

Fender out, ready lined up for the raft up.

Getting close, lines in hand, coming along side.

Once we were securely rafted up and lines tied with Chafe Protectors (we learnt not to forget them on out last trip out), we relaxed, it's so good to get out on the water, even when it's just a local trip.

We shared dinner that night, between us, we did a great job of making dinner healthy and hearty! Some wine, Capt Morgan Black Rum and don't forget those awesome, wish I were allowed to eat more) brownies from Joyce's neighbor.

After sunset and watching the Christmas moon rise up from over the eastern edge of the Intracoastal canal, we shared stories, as sailors do! 

Bunks were calling so we all finally gave up and turned in.

Overnight, the wind picked up for a short bit, but our boats held well on the Gooses Anchor. Not unusally, both Mike & I stuck our heads out of the cabin to check things several times overnight, but all was well. Eximius' ports were all open, so the cabin and v-berth were cool. 

Breakfast in the morning, I made too many oats, but Joyce took care of the left overs. That early morning coffee when on the boat is always something special. 

Mike was gracious to come aboard and provide support as I finished the installation of the new Garmin AIS, we just had to connect it to the 12v system. Other than being awkward to get our mits inside the electrical space to make the connections, it was pretty straight forward. Once connected I turned on the Nav Instruments, GPS and the new AIS. by the time I got up to the helm, the system was up and running and already chirping about an AIS target nearby. WooooHoooo! Thanks Mike (I did my little happy dance too.)

Mike & Joyce had plans, so they headed back to the north while we dropped our anchor in their wake.

During the day I fixed the Jib sail furler by re-routing the furling line and moving one block. Easy. I also, finally, finished up the wiring on the pedestal guard. I had secured the wires to the new Nav Platform at the helm station using temporary wire ties. I had not wanted to put the final ties in place until the pedestal guard had been cleaned up. It had plenty of residue from the electrical tape that had held the original wires in place when we purchased Eximius. I was able to scrub the residue off with a plastic scrubber, then secure the wires in place with evenly spaced black wire ties. Looks much neater.

In the 'get things done mode' I also put the new 1st Mainsail reefing lines in place, for now they can only be set by going up on the cabin top, but I plan to eventually lead the controls aft to the cockpit so that there is no need to go forwards in order to reef to let out a reef.

As dusk fell, several boats stopped to anchor for a while before heading south past the Sunrise  Blvd Bridge, one, from Canada, stayed overnight.

Around 3am it started to rain, so I was up closing the ports and  taking the cockpit cushions out of the rain.

O'Seven thirty and we were up making breakfast. Coffee, Oats with Walnuts, and cream cheese on whole grain bread. Mmmmmmm!

Tides dictated that we leave around 10am, so we weighed anchor around 09:45 and got inline to go under the bridge. This was our first real use of the new AIS, and I'm impressed! Both the huge boat in front of us and the smaller fishing boat behind us had AIS transmitters on board. Oddly enough, the smaller boat had taken the trouble to fill in all of the blanks in the AIS data setup, but the huge boat in front of us (it was towing a boat almost our size as a dink) had not setup the AIS properly. I wonder if they know?

We easily made it down to Los Olas Blvd bridge, the current was in our favor and we easily motored at nearly 7knots GPS between the bridges.

On the way back to the slip from the Intracoastal, we stopped at Sailboat Bend (that's where Huzinga spends his money on real estate) for a pump out. The city guys were quick to respond to our request and within 30 mins we were pumped out and casting off just as 7th Avenue Bridge was opening. Perfect!

Peggy did a great job of bringing us alongside our slip and we, now routinely, set too getting our gear ready for the trip home.

Boat Secure, Truck loaded, heading home from a GREAT Weekend!

Thanks Joyce & Mike! 

See you on the Water.

Getting AIS

After months of research and checking out virtually every option for AIS, I found a great deal on line for an AIS Receiver, so I hit the order button and it's due Tomorrow!

It's an easy install, so I should be able to get it setup into our on board network in less than an hour.

Peggy has been interested in having AIS on board for quite a while, this unit will integrate with the rest of our Garmin System via the NMEA 2000 network.

As we plan on heading up the coast sometime, this will help identify other vessels in the area, certainly ones big enough that we need to be aware of where they are located and what they are doing.

I plan on installing it inside the Nav Station Radio Compartment,

  • Disconnect the VHF Antenna Coaxial Cable from the VHF Radio.
  • Connect from the VHF Radio to the AIS via the new interconnect cable.
  • VHF Antenna Coaxial Cable to the AIS.
  • Connect a new NMEA T connector in the NMEA 2000 Backbone which is behind the electrical panel.
  • Connect the Drop Cable from the T to the AIS unit. 
  • Connect the power cable from the AIS to the a spare circuit breaker, 
  • Label the Circuit Breaker 'AUX - AIS', and it should be ready to go.

Using the built in Antenna Splitter makes it easy to install and it will be using the VHF antenna that's at the Mast Head. Saves having to install a 2nd VHF antenna and running cable.

Once installed, we will be able to turn it on when required, not a lot of point having it running when we're heading down the New River, but it'll give us a lot of info about the sea traffic in Port Everglades, or the Port of Miami, and when we're heading to the Bahamas - you might be surprised at the number of ships that head from Port Everglades to the Bahamas and to South America or the Caribbean.

See you on the Water.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Getting it up

The new Topping lift that I purchased a few months ago in anticipation of my next mast climb was installed this week, but only to break when under strain! Grrrr.

I ordered a new topping lift wire, it goes from the mast head to the aft end of the boom and holds the boom up when the sail is stowed. So today, I climbed the mast with the safety assistance of the neighbor (Don) that lives opposite where we keep the boat.

Climbing he mast is a process! This time, I used the bosuns chair that I found on the boat and a home made harness and some rock climbing techniques to get up the mast.

Don acted as a safety while I was climbing the Main Halyard using a pair of Prusik knots for my foot harness and bosun's chair harness, with a 1st safety Prusik knot secured to the bosuns chair and the running safety line being maintained by Don. It's seemed to take a while to climb the mast, probably 15 to 20 minutes, but I was able to get within reaching distance of the mast head and install the new topping lift.

Once the wire was installed at the masthead, it was time to descend. It was actually easier than I expected, just had to figure out the maximum I could descend each transition from sitting with my weight in the bosuns chair to standing in the foot harness.

Safely back on deck, I thanked Don, just having him there helped. Now it was time to connect the topping lift wire to the block and tackle on the back of the boom. Arrrrgh! The wire was too long! The riggers had made it 42 feet instead of the prescribed 38 feet!

To get it adjusted would require that I climb the mast again to disconnect it from the mast head and again to put it back! It's not easy climbing the mast, not a bid deal, but it takes a lot of effort to lift my 180lbs 46+ feet up the mast.

After discussing it with the rigger, I purchased a swage tool and swage ferrules with the intent of shortening the wire without having to climb the mast again.

After an hours work, I finally completed the task, the wire was now 4' shorter and the block and tackle on the boom fit great! Phew!

With the boom topping lift installed, cross another thing off the ToDo list in preparation for our sail on Christmas day. - Of course the weather has some say on that, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.

See you on the water.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas day cruise

Looks like we might be taking Eximius out on Christmas Day - if the weather is nice!

This will be our first time out with the new sails! I wonder if anyone else will be nearby?

We'll probably head out of Port Everglades, head up/down the coast for a while, at least 3 miles out ;) Will take our good camera just in case we get to see any other sailboats in the area and post their pics.

To Do's before then include Oil Change, New Topping lift (the 'new' wire slipped out of it's eye at the crimp!)

High Tide at Bahia Mar is around 07:30, so we should have no problems getting out of the slip on the New River in the morning.

There are no reported closures of the bridges on the New River - There should be tenders on duty, we'll have to make sure to thank them for opening on Christmas day!

So, that means we should be able to get to the Ocean around 10am ish (no rush), Wind looks good too, (but we're 8 days out, might change :)

Low tide (Spring!) is around 13:30, so we'll have to stay away from the slip till around 15:30. But we might hang out at Lake Sylvia or Sunrise Bay overnight.

New River to the Ocean

Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Rags

New Rags (Getting a New Set of Sails)

We knew this was in our future, it's time to replace the Sails on Eximius. 

Our choice was to go local, not the cheapest but there's a lot to be said for giving business to local companies. We chose Super Sailmakers in Fort Lauderdale. Their sail loft is only 20 minutes away from the slip where we keep Eximius and the rep lives even closer.

One choice we made was to go with a loose footed mainsail. Instead of the foot of the sail being attached to the length of the boom and at each end, a loose footed sail is only attached to the boom at the front of the sail (the Tack) and the back of the sail (the Clew), this allows the sail to take a natural shape along it's foot. But the Clew is secured to the boom by the Out Haul, and that piece of rigging is 27  years old! Might need to replace it.

Good decision! While inspecting the out haul rigging I noticed a crack in the fitting that connects the boom to the mast (the Gooseneck) so I ended up taking the boom off the boat and replacing the end fittings, 
Here are the new end fittings (top is the back end bottom is the front end)

Nice new castings and no cracks in the steel.

This is the old front end fitting. Yuk!

It was a challenge to get the end caps off. I drilled out the screw heads but could not drill out the screw shaft. In the end, I just punched them through with a nail punch. They were self tapping screws into pre-drilled casting holes.

There's a lot of surface corrosion, the sheave has a couple of broken edges and the split pin holding the gooseneck fitting is a renown failure point.

Of course the tackle looks pretty shot too.
 This is the aft end boom fitting, a bit of corrosion, it's missing the topping lift tang and the sheave has a few broken edges.

You can see the out haul wire, it's in pretty good shape, but I hope never to have to open the boom again, so I'll change it out now.

This shows the tackle that is inside the boom, it's a 3 to 1 purchase and the line is pretty much past it's best by date. The blocks are ok, so I don't have to replace them.

The inside of the boom has typical surface corrosion, but the end where the caps fit (this is looking from the front of the boom) inside need a clean up, a hard scrub should suffice.

Notice the lines have suffered over the past 27 years.

Looking deep inside the boom, nothing other than surface corrosion showing that might bee snagging the lines, so I'm assuming the line damage is just ages of abrasion against the edges of the boom.

Thinking about putting a pvc tube inside the boom, nice clean smooth surface, that should eliminate the abrasion.
Had a really good day working on the boat!

Completed the replacement of the outhaul and the Gooseneck Casting Assembly and aft boom casting.

Replaced the Topping lift control line and the Main Halyard that's the white line with blue flecs.

The line is a bit long right now, but I'll wait till the new sail is installed on Tuesday before I cut it shorter.

Have to find out something to do with the 100' of the old halyard line.

With the new lines in place, I put the Cradle cover back on the boom, the support lines are temporary (the old lazy jack lines) and the cradle is empty right now, waiting for the new sail to be installed on Tuesday.It's starting to come together.

Next projects are:
  • Repair the broken stitching on the aft end of the dodger canvas (the blue cover over the cabin entrance)
  • Modifying the Bimini beneath the solar panels to eliminate the puddle that forms every time it rains.
  • Re-working the jib furler system so that it's easier to roll in and let out the jib as the wind dictates.
  • Install hand holds each side of the dodger to make it safer to get out of the cockpit and go forwards without having to grab hold of the canvas (that's why I'm having to repair the stitching on the dodger!)
So today was a really good day, crossed off several items that were bugging me and got the boat ready for the new sail install Tuesday, assuming the weather co-operates.

Talking about weather - do I really need a wind turbine? Hmmmmm.

See you on the water.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Thanks 2015

What a great weekend!

As planned, with a slightly later start, we left the slip and headed down the New River on Saturday morning. Bridge tenders were all on the ball and bridges opened without any delays, thanks guys!

Once we got into the Intracoastal and turned North, we headed up towards Los Olas Blvd bridge, past all of the Mega yachts tied up by Bahia Mar Marina. Bridge opens on the 15&45, and no issues despite a really strong current through the bridge fenders. Then a sprint up to Sunrise Blvd Bridge in time for the Noon opening. Wind was building up, but nothing nasty.

As we left the Sunrise bridge behind us, we called Spruce Goose on VHF 68, they were already at anchor. We agreed to raft up tied on their port side. Peggy did a great job of getting us along side, no sweat!

We both had fenders out, just as well as the wind was due to pickup. There were several boats in the bay, 4 rafted up included Valhalla, Cheshire, Kokomo, and Alebrije, Diversion (Bob & Joyce) were between us and the yacht club, Bold Prospect was nearby, Blue Belle and Hullabaloo were in slips. Sorry if I missed anyone.

The club boats had the Blind Man Dinghy race before we got there, hope I get some pics. Around 2pm, we all headed ashore, the dinks back in action acting as ferries, for games at the club.

Hector had setup a Knots Quiz, we all learned something, (like - next time, make sure your partner participates, else you only score half points!) It started to rain, but nothing serious. Bob & Pat from Esprit Du Vent drove down to be with the club members - they probably knew about the food!

We all headed back to our boats (dingy ferry again) to freshen up and get ready for the 5pm BYOF dinner.

If I have not mentioned it before, let me state it here - the HISC knows how to socialize, and that include how to have a feast! We all ate very well and desert was - incredible! Thanks everyone that brought something, (I think it had to be everyone, there was so much food!)

Back to the boats in the dark. Anchor lights around the bay, we all got back to our bunks safely.

Sunday Morning we all ferried back to the club house for Brunch - they told us it was going to be good! IT WAS! We beat the crowd, arriving at the club around 9:45, and not only was the food great, service excellent, but the conversations at the tables were lively, great social.

After brunch, we ferried back to our boats ready for departure. Eximius, Spruce Goose, and Cheshire were about the last boats to leave. They all headed North, while we headed South with Hullabaloo in front of us waiting on the Sunrise Bridge opening.

Getting back to the dock was an easy motor. We spent a while packing up gear to take home and loaded up the car. Home for a shower before heading out to the store for the week's groceries. Back to solid ground.

It was a great weekend, now we're looking forward to the New Years celebration in Lake Boca, should be a good turnout.

Thanks everyone for making the event awesome! Especially the Ferry boats.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Comment to USCG reference New River Drawbridge Regulations.

The USCG asked for Comments to be considered during upcoming meeting.

Comments may be left until December 3rd at:

Here's the link to the Comment form
Here are my comments:

Agency: Coast Guard (USCG)
Document Type: Rulemaking
Title: Drawbridge Operation Regulation; New River, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Document ID: USCG-2015-0271-0010
The bridge being closed for 60 minutes will cause a back up of marine traffic in both direction.
The Rule should include a maximum period that the bridge can be closed to marine traffic. eg. the Maximum time the bridge may be closed to marine traffic is 15 minutes. This would help alleviate the back up of vessels waiting for the bridge to open.

There would still be an issue with vessels held up at the bridge forming a backup to the east and west, impacting the opening and closing for vessels at the Andrews Avenue Bridge, and the 7th street bridge and beyond in both directions.

The ambiguity in
2. The bridge tender will utilize a VHF-FM radio to communicate on channels 9 and 16 and may be contacted by telephone at 305-889-5572.
Should be removed.

Replace it with
2. The bridge tender will utilize a VHF-FM radio and telephone to communicate on channels 9 and 16 and Pone: 305-889-5572.

The ambiguity in:
6. When a train approaches, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, pauses, and then continues four blasts then the draw lowers and locks.
Should be removed, it does not clearly indicate the opening sequence nor does it specify the timing of the events.

Replace it with something that could be adhered too:
6. Within nn seconds of an approaching train, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, a pause of XX seconds followed by a 2nd set of four blasts, then after YY seconds and if the waterway is clear of passing vessels, then the draw lowers and locks.

My input on these articles does not endorse the concept of giving the railroad operations a free pass on how long they may obstruct a citizens right to use the waterways, they simply indicate the need to provide rules that will hold the railroad operators responsible for unreasonable delays to marine traffic.

Because marine traffic may be held up for a considerable time, the railroad should maintain signage that indicates where vessels may anchor in the New River adjacent to the Bridges (all of the bridges on the new river as a backup at the East Coast Railroad bridge will impact marine traffic at the other bridges on the New River.) Vessels cannot be stopped on the spot in the way that Road Traffic is held up when a Bridge opens for Marine traffic. Vessels are on a moving roadway! They only way they can remain safely on station awaiting a bridge opening for more than a few minutes is by dropping anchor or going along side.

Unlike the Intracoastal waterway, the New River traffic has to deal with multiple bridges within a short distance. Marine businesses and businesses that rely upon the New River Traffic will be impacted if the New River navigation inhibits use of the river. Many of the recreational vessels that use the river have to do so when the water depth permits. Adding more restrictions to navigation of the New River will result in many vessels moving out of the area, further impacting businesses on the New River. Visitors will be impacted by navigation restrictions as businesses that provide visitor services will be impacted.

Getting this bridge opening and closing management right is vital to the area residents, businesses and visitors.

This information will appear on

First Name: Paul
Last Name: Alcock

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Must do - upgrade the shore power plug

Seeing yet another sailboat destroyed by fire today, and suspecting that the shore power system had something to do with it, I must get to do the install of the new Smart Plug Shore Power Connector before the weekend.!

Plans for going to the HISC Thanksgiving Cruise 2015

Thanksgiving Cruise with HISC

Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving with the HISC on Joint Decision, our Catalina 250, this year, we're taking Eximius, our 'New to us' Catalina 34. We have spent the past few months working on upgrades and repairs on the boat, it's time get her out of the slip and down the river.

I'll spend some of Friday (day after Thanksgiving) on the boat finishing off the Water Filter system, replenishing the water tanks, and cleaning the cabin, generally making it look nice. Cooling the Fridge Freezer down and stowing food & drinks for the weekend. Making sure all of the necessities are on board and stowed: Pots, Pans, Bedding, Linens, Towels, Toiletries, Books, Electronics, etc. etc. I'm working on building a check off list to make things easier in the future.

The plan is to get to the dock before 8am Saturday, final few bits to be loaded on the boat and cast off by 8:30am. We'll check all of the Electronics and the Engine before disconnecting the Shore Power and casting off the lines. The Dodger windscreen will be in place, we're expecting some crummy weather, but it will be fine. 

We'll head down the New River, past the Swing Bridge, 7th Avenue Bridge, East Coast Railroad Bridge, Andrews Avenue Bridge, and 3rd Avenue Bridge, that will get us through the New River Bridges and it's clear till we get to the Intracoastal. When we reach Sand Bar Park, we'll pass on the North side keeping clear of the shallow waters there. It's really skinny inside the markers, on Thanksgiving day there'll be a good crowd of power boats, anchors hanging just off their bow, partying big time. 

Once past Sand Bar Park, we'll head up the Intracoastal, ok, we'll be motoring East, towards Los Olas Blvd Bridge, that opens on the 15 & 45 minute marks, so we'll time our arrival. Next bridge is at Sunrise, that opens on the hour and half hour, 00 & 30 minute marks, so we'll have 15 or 45 minutes to get between those two bridges.

Our destination is the lake on the North side of the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. So that's only a few minutes North of the Sunrise Bridge on the West side of the Intracoastal Waterway. We have read about the shallows on the southern side of the lake entry, so we'll be entering closer to the North side of the lake.

If all goes well, we'll be dropping anchor by 10am (ish). Remember the Sailors Motto - Better late than dead on time.

If you're heading over the Sunrise bridge, you might see us at anchor, beep your horn!

See you on the water.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Do you drink that stuff?

It seems that most boaters don't drink the water from their water tanks unless they live-aboard full time.

When we fill the tanks with water from a dock in the USA, the water properties are pretty good, but the hose can be a source of contamination. 70 gallons of water aboard sitting in the tanks for several weeks has the ability to go bad! But if we're filling the tanks with water that is not up to USA standards, then the old garbage in - garbage out concept comes to mind.

So we're tackling the issue in three steps.

  1. Clean the tanks, that's simple (not easy, but simple), we just have to empty the tanks and power wash the insides and then flush out all of the water hoses between the tanks and the faucets.
  2. Install an internal water filter for a dedicated drinking water faucet by the galley sink. We've purchased a double filter with UV treatment for that. It's pretty big! That'll be an interesting install.
  3. Add a water filter to the fill system. Currently the fill system just uses whatever hose is at the dock which gets stuffed down the water fill point on the deck (amid ships and stern fill ports). We've purchased a single high volume filter with adapters to fit practically any type of hose that we expect to meet. The plan is that we'll connect the dock hose to the filter and it has a fixed hose that will get stuffed down the fill port on the deck.
So, here's what I have done so far...

The complete filter system is mounted below the galley counter between the Sink and the Freezer (that's additional foam on the right to help keep the fridge cold.)

The filters can be removed by reaching in through the lower door of the galley draw unit. If I need to replace the UV lamp, it's pretty easy to extract it but does require that I remove the draw unit completely.

The plumbing is compression fittings between the spigot (shown in the photo in the top left hand corner) and the filter system outlet (right front of the lamp unit)
The inlet to the lamp unit is on the left and connects to the output of the Carbon filter (left blue container) which is connected to the sediment filter (right blue container) and then to the water supply T'd into the the Pump output. The UV lamp is going to be powered via the Water Pressure power supply and switched via the pump pressure switch, so the lamp will be on when the pump is running.

The new 'drinking' water spigot is mounted in the starboard corner of the sink, it was easy to drill a pilot hole with a 1/8" bit, followed by a 1/2" bit.

Pretty easy to attach the securing nuts from below, I did have to drill out the corner of the counter slightly to allow the nut and spring washer to get all the way up the spigot pipe and seat against the lower side of the sink.

Looks good. I used a hole cutter and multi vibro saw to cut out the corner of sink cover board. I have it at home to clean up the edges of the new cuts and apply a couple varnish coats.

I figure the wire run from the DC panel to the pump is less than 12 feet so I'm going to replace the existing wire with a larger AWG as the pump and filter may take 8 amps when running. And I'm going to use my new label machine to label all ends so that I'm heading in the right direction working on the boat's electrical system.

Should have it all done on Friday.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A little Air Please!

Our first trip on our first boat, JD - 2005 Catalina 250 Water Ballast, was a melt down! It was the first week in July in Biscayne Bay, and it was hot! After one night on the boat, we decided to install Air Conditioning.

And now we are there again but this time on Eximius, we learnt that requirement during the Shake Down Cruise

Maybe I'm not handling the heat so well or maybe it's just hotter and more humid, but any work inside the boat and, well, you would be hoping I'm using a good deodorant.

So time to start installing Air Conditioning on Eximius. It's not rocket science, goes something like this:

Install the AC unit:

  • Install a shelf to sit the AC unit (that's going to be under the V-Berth so as not to use up any valuable storage area)
  • Mount the new AC unit on the shelf and clamp it in place.


  • Put a two new Thru Hulls and shut off valves for the AC Supply & Discharge water (they'res going to be under the V-berth too)
  • Install the new new AC water pump in the V-Berth, it has to be below the water line.
  • Connect a hose from the Supply Shut off valve to the Pump via a sea strainer
  • Connect a hose from the AC Discharge to the Shut off valve on the Discharge Thru Hull (above the waterline)

Electrical Installation:

  • Connect the AC unit electrical control box on a bulkhead under the v-berth
  • Connect 110v from the AC Aux circuit breaker in the Electrical Distribution panel to the AC unit electrical control box
  • Install the AC digital control panel at the Nav station
  • Connect the AC digital control panel to the AC unit electrical box

Ducts & Return Installation:

  • Manufacture a Teak Box to go on the V-Berth Stbd hanging locker top with vents into the V-Berth and through the Main cabin bulkhead - they will provide air to the V-berth and stbd side of the cabin.
  • Connect Duct T to AC unit
  • Connect Flexible Duct from one side of the T on Stbd side to a box on the top of the hanging locker
  • Connect Flexible Duct from other side of the T on Port side to another T in the area beneath the V-Berth draw unit.
  • Manufacture a Teak Box to go on the V-Berth Port Draw unit top with vents into the V-Berth and through the Main cabin bulkhead - they will provide air to the V-berth and port side of the cabin.
  • Connect Flexible Duct from the T below the draw unit up to the box on the draw unit top.
  • Connect Flexible Duct from the T below the draw unit aft behind the bench back storage shelves, behind the Nav station, behind the head (inside the head storage lockers) and then over to a vent in the Quarter cabin.
Phew! I find that on bigger projects, it's best to write out a plan, then, on site, walk through the process to figure any gotcha's. It also helps to identify which tools are needed, supplies and fittings etc.

We'll have to haul the boat out to install the new Thru Hull for the AC water Supply, but as we need to replace the Depth/Speed/Temp transducer, we'll be able to do that at the same time.

I'll update this post with Pics of the Process.

October 11th.

Step1. Clean out the V-Berth Storage and mark up the location of the shelf support beams.

I had measured up the beam dimensions and cut them out of ply at home this morning.

After scribing, glue them (one of the rare times I'm open to using 3M 5200 adhesive.

Need to let the glue cure for 24 hours.

Pretty pleased with progress today. (Sunday Oct 11th.)

I plan on going down to the boat mid week to make the shelf template.

Monday October 12th.

Quick visit to the boat tonight, I took several sheets of cardboard to make a template of the shelf. The 3M 5200 had cured and the support beams were firmly in place. In reality, the weight of the AC unit will be spread around the edges of the shelf so the point loading on the beams will be minor. I will glass them into the sides of the hull as well as glass the shelf to the hull and the beams. This is one of those 'do it once, it'll last forever, so do it right' things.

I emailed Dometic yesterday asking about the pump size, I was a bit concerned that the pump I purchased might be too big. They confirmed, I need to move down a size from the 3CP to the 2CP, it's about the same price. I went back to West Marine to return the pump and ordered the correct one. While at WM, I picked up the materials to glass in the shelf.

Possible Change in plans
After discussing my project with several other owners, the plan to pull the boat could be  off the table. Originally I had intended to T the AC Supply (input) into the Head Supply hose and save having to cut another Thru Hull in the boat (and save having to haul the boat to do so)

Other owners consensus is that it's ok to T into the head hose.

So I'm going to see if I can run a straight line from the head cupboard to the V-Berth. If successful, then take that route, if not, stay the current course and plan to haul the boat.

Marked up the ply using the template, ready to cut that and paint the surfaces with Resin.

We're hoping the weather forecast improves so that we can take the boat out this weekend, if it does, we'll relax, if not, I'll get more of the AC install done.

Slight Mod. Someone suggested that I put Anti Vibration matting beneath the AC unit, sounds (no pun intended) like a good idea, but the shelf position is to high to allow that. So I removed the support beams and glassed the shelf directly to the hull (just had to slide it down and aft a bit, fit very like a glove)

After 24 hours, the GFP had set and my neighbor helped bring the AC unit onto the boat, I really didn't want to slip or trip while carrying the unit.

The AC unit is set on the shelf with a 1/2" Anti Vibration rubber mat to help keep the noise down when the unit is running and we're asleep just a few inches above it.

The fan outlet is pointing aft and the raw water supply and discharge ports can be seen to the left of the fan assembly.

Setting it in place gave me a good idea about the location of the ports, the electrical panel and where the ducting will connect. It also indicated that the discharge port (top left) needs a port side thru hull.

The AC unit's return air grill is on the port side.

There's about a 2" gap between the top of the AC unit and the underside of the V-Berth mattress support. I hope to install some marine sound proofing material on the underside of the mattress support. My experience with Dometic AC units has been really good, it's the FAN that makes the noise or rather the sound of the air pumping through the duct work. But I'm hoping the Anti Vibration mat beneath the unit and sound proofing above it will keep noise to a minimum.

We also purchased a Honda EU2000i Companion Gas Generator to power the AC when we're on the hook. I'll have to make a support for the generator so that it can be mounted outside the Cockpit to keep any CO from being an issue. Then a second support to keep the generator in the aft locker when we're underway.

If we ever have to have the AC unit serviced, I'm hoping that having comparatively easy access to the gas ports that are on the top front end of the unit will make service easier.

Next step is to make the Thru-Hull and connect the electrics.

1st the Electrics:
The AC Electrical unit is separate from the Main AC unit.

Easy to install: Cut a piece of ply and rounded the edges. Sanded it and a coat of resin all over.

Glued it to the hull with some 5200

Screwed the box to the ply after connecting the 110v wiring.

The 15' cable from the Electrical box to the AC control unit was too short, but it's a standard CAT 5 cable, so a trip to lowes for a 25' cable. (max length according to the manual that came with the AC unit is 30')

A few minutes with my multi tool and I had cut a hole in the face of the instrument panel at the Nav station and installed the control unit. I'll connect the electrics to the boat's electric distribution panel tomorrow and run the new CAT 5 cable to the control unit. That will complete the AC unit electrics.

I should get the Thru-Hull completed tomorrow too.

Ok, didn't get to the Thru-Hull, need to make a backing plate at home first.

But I did get the electronics box wired up.

The white wire is the 110v supply to the AC unit

The grey wire is a Cat 5 Cable from the AC Unit's electronics box to the AC Control/Display unit.

Nice and neat. gotta love tie-wraps

That's the AC Electronics box complete.

The 110V has to be connected to the Electrical Distribution panel, and I have to research that project.

The Panel has a 110V block of circuit breakers, some are 15Amps and the rest are 38Amps.

The 'Aux' breaker has a wire on it right now, but I don't know where it goes, have to find that. But it's also just a 15amp breaker and I think the AC needs to be on a larger breaker.

The ply panel that the electronics box is mounted is glued to the hull with 3M5200 marine glue. that should hold a lifetime.

Here's where the 110V has to connect in.

Can you spell nightmare? The wiring monkeys were smoking when they put that together.

Ordered a 25Amp Circuit Breaker & a spare 15Amp for whenever.

Going to be fun wiring up to the new Breaker.

Still going: (November 1st 2015)
Over the weekend, I managed to get the raw water hose run from the Head locker to the V-Berth, connected up the Pump to the hose and to the A/C unit.
The challenge was to get the hose run with minimal bends in the hose and a flow generally upwards from the Thru-Hull.
I used a fiberglass bendy rod to fish beneath the cabin floor under the Nav table, shower pan and into the locker in the head where the Thru-Hull is located, that was pretty straight forward, but you know it took a lot of tries to get the rod where I could reach it in the head cupboard.

Next was to run the hose beneath the holding tank forwards into the v-berth. I used a flashlight and a mirror to view under the tank from the only area where it's visible. My concern here was having to drill through the bulkhead between the holding tank locker and the locker forward of it, there's a heavy duty fiberglass partition between them. Drilling was only possible from the forward locker, which meant the tip of the drill bit would be out of sight when it broke through the partition, and my fear was that it might penetrate the holding tank, that would be a real mess!
After careful measurement, I figured I had 3 inches of space so using a short hole saw I would be safe. Phew!
Cutting through the two remaining partitions on either side of the V-berth 3 drawer cabinet was easy. Then I used the rod to pass a line through each stage of the hose install and got the hose easily into the v-berth. This was one of the toughest parts of the install so far. I had tried several different routes for that hose, and finding one that worked was a big relief.

Making progress.

Left to do:
.. Mount the pump on it's new shelf (make the shelf)
.. Connect the raw water strainer before the pump.
.. Hook up the pump to the electronics box.
.. Secure the A/C unit to it's base shelf (easy)
.. Hook up the electronics to the Boat's AC power
.. Install the A/C discharge Thru-Hull
.. Install the condensate drain.
.. Turn the A/C on - just so that we know it works - no duct's in place yet, so can only run it a short while to prevent it freezing up.
.. Install Duct into v-berth hanging locker
.. Build the duct in the v-berth that will house the A/C vent
.. Cut holes into the Main Cabin from the v-berth for the A/C vents that will be above the cabin table settee
.. Turn it on (just a short while, no duct installed yet)

We'll see how much of that gets done tomorrow, we're really looking forwards to our next trip away from the dock, it could be anywhere, even lunch at a dockside restaurant!

Update: 11/4/2015
We spent a couple of hours on the boat today, installed the Water Strainer (Pump mounting shelf not ready yet) Then hit a snag, the tube of sealant I had intended to use to seal the Thru-Hull was useless! That's the second tube... Better go buy some new tubes.

I did get a couple of little projects done, but not related to the A/C. Looks like this weekend I'm going to focus on that.

Update 11/8/2015

Finally managed to install the A/C discharge thru-hull, after I went to WM to get a 2nd new one as I cut the first one too short! Grrrr.

That brown goop around the thru-hull flange is epoxy resin with a brown filler. Makes it easy to check that the filler is evenly spread around.

It's really awkward to get into that area, but it's installed, right, and very firmly attached to the hull. That's not going to go anywhere!

That completes the water lines to and from the A/C unit.

Next I installed the new 25amp circuit breaker and connected the power to the Electronics Box, the lamp says it all - we have power!

But sometimes things don't go right. I had assumed that the RJ45 Ribbon cable was a standard straight through connection, but when I hooked up the A/C control panel at the Nav Station, it was totally dead, not a glimmer of power or control.

Looking at the ends of the supplied connector, I could see that it's not quite a standard Cat 5 Cable, the ends are swapped, so Pin 1 goes to Pin 8 on the other end.

I used the old, short, cable and the A/C flashed up for the first time and was blowing COOOOL air!

So I need to makeup new ends for the Cable and then it's time to start on the Duct work. I'll head down to the boat on Tuesday night to make the cable and cut the first duct hole.

I was able to cool the boat from 87 F down to 79 F, that's going to make working on stuff inside the cabin a whole lot more comfortable.

Stay tuned, I hope to complete this project this coming weekend.

Almost there! Peggy & I worked on the A/C system this weekend. All the ductwork is in place, cable is replaced and working, built the wooden duct from the Stbd locker top to the Cabin and V-berth grills.

Last part is to make the return grill beneath the V-berth and varnish the wooden duct on the Stbd locker.

Hope to get these done so that we can take the boat out on Saturday.

So, varnish the new woodwork, put all of the cushions and covers back in their normal location, and make the interior of the boat look nice for visitors.

I'll post a bunch of pics on completion.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shake down cruise

What's a Shake Down Cruise?

Several buddies (not the sailing type) asked me what I meant when told that we were taking Eximius on a Shake Down Cruise.

It's pretty simple really. Over the past few months we have been fixing things on the boat: Some new instrumentation, a couple of engine issues, new Radio, new wind instrument (on top of the mast) it seemed like a lot of work, but the list is pretty small. But all of it was with the purpose of getting the boat ready for us to take her over to the Bahamas early next year.

We needed to know how things worked out for us when we were on the boat for more than just a night on the lake. By planning a shake down cruise, we would get to use every system on the boat, water, electronics, sails, lines, anchors, instruments, charts, bedding, cooking, relaxing, the many things that we would do if we were sailing to the Bahamas or elsewhere.

So the plan was to sail Eximius down to Biscayne Bay, spend a couple of days down there and sail back, roughly 40 miles each way.

The Friday before we left, a circuit breaker at home in the interior sub distribution box, blew, I picked up a new breaker at the local hardware store, pulled out the old and inserted the new. All looked good until Peggy flashed up the laundry dryer - the hot terminal in the sub distribution box was glowing yellow hot! Time to call an electrician. My go to guy is at EWI, Ben is a professional and is fair. He had a guy out to our house by mid afternoon. They had to re-route the interior electrics so that most of the house had power, but it needed a new distribution box, that would take time. They knew we were headed on vacation and I trusted them enough to grant them access to the house while we were away, if they could fit us in their schedule - good professionals get busy all the time.

We headed down the to the boat, after the electricians left, to load up - trip 1. Then off to the store to get the perishables before an early night at home. Crack of dawn and we were loading the truck ready to go. We stopped at McDonalds for a drive through breakfast en-route to Eximius.

Shawn, owner of the home where we keep the boat, met us in the driveway and we parked the truck where it would stay for the week. Quickly loaded the boat, ran the engine for 5 minutes while we unlocked all of the topside lockers and stowed everything. Not long and we were ready to cast off.

Normally we leave a few lines at the dock but this trip we wanted them all with us - turns out that was a good idea.

We motored down the New River, easily passed through the bridges and into the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) it was a really nice day. Our destination was Bahia Mar. We had figured out the tides at the various points on the trip and we needed to leave Fort Lauderdale pretty early to get the tide right as we crossed from the Ocean into Biscayne Bay the next day.

Our arrival at Bahia Mar was awesome, we're getting much better at docking. Our latest technique is to get the boat kinda lined up with the slip and moving really slow to pass lines to the crew ashore. That was an easy docking.

It was hot at Bahia Mar, really hot, humid and very sweaty! Did not sleep well.

Up early for a quick breakfast and that oh so important coffee, we cast off and headed out from Bahia Mar and back into the ICW for the motor out of Port Everglades.

As we motored out, I took this short video. The deck is cluttered as it's not yet made ready for our trip outside (in the Ocean) and the ICW is not too busy.

The Universal Diesel engine can be heard in the background and the new wind instrument is working great.

I put the sails up while we were still sheltered inside Port Everglades, so we actually was able to motor sail out of the port. The sea state was pretty calm and there was enough wind that we could sail out towards the transit line we had selected for the trip South.

That didn't last long, we were doing well, sailing at about 5 knots but the wind was veering towards the South and even though we could still sail without the engine, tacking for the next 33 miles would take too long if we wanted to get into Biscayne Bay during daylight. So we motor sailed down the coast.
After passing Key Biscayne and turning west to follow the channel markers into the Bay, it was getting late in the day, but we had this beautiful view of the Miami Skyline. Time to get busy so that we could get into Dinner Key where we had reserved a slip for the night.

Getting into the slip at Dinner key was a bit of a challenge, our first where there were pylons on each side of the narrow slip. But following our plan, we were able to get the boat turned stern in and tied up with the grateful help of a couple of guys on the dock.

Dinner key is a City Marina and is getting a lot of upgrades. The new marina building is a modern 3 story design that looks like it was built to withstand hurricanes. The middle floor has the main office, bathrooms, showers, and laundry. There are quite a few live-a-boards at the marina.

For some reason, they opted to not have a dinghy dock at the marina, instead they rely upon the dinghy dock that is adjacent to the boat ramp between the marina and Coconut Grove sailing club. Even the marina staff take a golf cart ride to get to the dinghy dock.

At least were at the dock for the SuperMoon. The sky was clear enough that we could easily see the Moon moving into a full Lunar Eclipse.

We dined out on the Patio (the cockpit table). Our first Seal-a-Meal dinner this trip. They work great. Beef Stew, one of my favorite hot dinners on the boat. A glass of wine for Peggy and a Jack and Ginger for me.

The cockpit table works out great, the light is from the dock, so if we were at anchor, it would probably be dark. Add to my list - need cockpit lighting - this list is going to grow, but that's the whole point of the shake down cruise.

Dinner key was HOT, HUMID, and SWEATY - that's two nights of not a lot of sleep. The downside of being in a slip is that the boats heading is fixed but the wind is not. So, unlike being at anchor, the boat doesn't swing into wind. It was really hot and humid!

Then, just before midnight, a squall hit! Lesson learned! in the future I'll double up on all the lines at a dock before turning in.

While at the Marina, I asked about mooring ball availability for later in the week as we had planned on returning to Dinner Key before leaving Biscayne Bay.

I took this picture of the marina's mooring field, the same pic is online, but having it handy in my phone might be handy - it was!

Still pretty tired from a lack of sleep for two nights, we opted to stay at the marina for a 2nd night. We slept a bit better, but it was still very hot, very humid and very sweaty.

Add Air Conditioning to the list.

Leaving Dinner key on Tuesday morning, we first visited the fuel dock. Their fuel nozzle was too big to fit into our tank fill. So we had to use a funnel to slooowly fill the tank to 3/4 full. We've used a little less than a quarter tank of diesel for the trip so far.

We headed south along the route of the ICW, keeping the red markers to starboard - Red Right Returning - and the ICW goes to Texas!

The North and South parts of Biscayne Bay are separated by the Feather Banks, no wind, we're motoring down to the Feather Banks Channel (the yellow line on the deck is my safety Jack Line, I clip my harness to it with a tether and can securely move from the cockpit to the bow knowing I'll not fall over board, it works really well, although I've not actually had too rely on it to keep me on board the boat.

As we approached Elliott Key we had a little excitement! The US Customs & Immigration Service boat approached us and we put the engine in neutral as they came along side. They stayed a few feet away from the boat, and they were very well armed! After a few questions, to which we obviously gave the right answers, they declined to come aboard and they motored off to visit the only other boat we had seen that afternoon.

We anchored off Elliott key for the night. Not so Hot, Not so Humid and Not so sweaty!

I was able to take a swim with a 100' line tied to a float, just as well as there was quite a current. Sure felt good to get in the water!

The next morning, we Sailed back towards the Feather Banks and motored through the channel, our destination was a small deeper area just west of Boca Chita Cay, we planned to stay there over night before heading back to dinner key Thursday morning.

Overnight a storm passed through, but our anchor held firm and the anchor alarm didn't go off at all - Not so Hot, Not so Humid and not so Sweaty! it's nice being at anchor.

 A quick look outside prompted us to prepare for a squall 
 It was approaching quickly
 Excess canvas stowed
 It's rolling through - going to be a train ride!
 Last pic before hunkering down below
 Handheld GPS shows a very quick move when the wind hit.
 All the ports are closed, it's pretty loud, and water is streaming down the glass.
 The horizon is much closer, sea is not so bad, but the wind is whipping up
Looking up at the cabin top hatch, it's wet out there!

My shake down cruise 'list' is growing, but nothing major.

Thursday morning we motored out of the anchorage, and just as we passed the channel markers that are the outer most for the channel to Boca Chita Cay, the engine temperature gauge started to read higher.

Oh, oh! I have been trying to get that gauge working for several weeks, checked the electrics, installed new temperature senders, and finally figured, with the help of buddies on the C34 forum, that the problem was the engine thermostat. So the engine runs cool. Now seeing that gauge read higher was not good. Checking over the stern of the boat, I could see white steam coming out of the exhaust and very little water with it.

We shut off the engine and I dropped the anchor so I could check out what was causing the overheating. The engine got up to 175 degrees (with the faulty thermostat, it normally runs at around 110 degrees)

1st check - look at the engine raw water inlet filter - it's full of grass, that could be the issue. Clean it out and restart the engine. Still no water pumping out the exhaust.

2nd check - look at the engine raw water pump impeller - it's new, but was it damaged when the water was blocked by the filter? It only took a few minutes to check out the impeller, it looked fine. Put it back together.

3rd check - is the raw water inlet blocked? I removed the hose from the through hull shut off valve and ah ha! I was pretty sure the top of the shut off valve was below the water line, and so water should rush out pretty quick, it barely dribbled out! I pushed a long plastic tie wrap down the open shut off valve and it would barely pass through! It's blocked!

I closed the shower sump pump-out valve and removed the host from that, opened the valve and water poured in! Ok, I have a source for engine raw water. Within ten minutes I was able to rework the hoses and connect the engine raw water to the other through hull. I replaced the water filter with a new one that had arrived in the mail just before we left home. Started the engine, good strong pumping water out the exhaust, no white steam and the engine was running at it's normal 110 degrees. Phew!

With the wind on the nose, we motored back North to Dinner key, now checking the heartbeat every few minutes, the engine was running fine.

It's a long channel into Dinner Key, and as we were taking to a mooring ball, we called in to the Marina for directions. As the photo of their mooring chart shows, the dark blue areas are the deeper points, so knowing where we were heading was a plus.

The Marina has a shuttle service that runs each hour if called on Channel 68, so I was able to catch the 4pm shuttle (to the dinghy dock) take a brisk walk up to the office, pay our mooring fee, then a fast walk out to the main road and head north to the Fresh Market store to grab dinner (spinach & blue cheese salad), some coffee creamer (I used the last we had on board that morning) and some bread (the bagels we had onboard had gone moldy) then I high tailed it back to the Marina building for a shower and dash back to the dinghy dock for the 5pm shuttle.

Except for the noise of a bad generator in a vessel not far from our mooring, we slept better that night and climbed out of the bunk before dawn for a coffee & cereal breakfast before the long trip back to Fort Lauderdale.

We had decided to head up the inside on the ICW. Peggy had researched the route and the bridges using a chart and the waterway guide, so we felt confident we could stay inside rather than outside on the ocean. Hurricane Joaquin was building the sea conditions off shore and we felt the inside was the more comfortable route.

The trip out to the ICW from Dinner Key was really peaceful, and as we passed outside of the mooring field I took this pic, it really was that good.

Then, after clearing the outside marker of the Marina channel, we headed up towards the Rickenbaker Causeway bridge, not a boat in sight!

We were treated to this view of Miami, city in the clouds. It would take a while for the sun to burn off the haze and low cloud that morning.

Plenty of clearance under that bridge, and the route is well marked. As we approached the Dodge Island railway bridge, it started to close! So time for a few cicles. It gave us time to check out the landscape around Bayfront Marina. When the train did show, about 10 minutes later, it was crawling! Not a surprise, the bridge is not far from the railhead on Dodge Island.

Once the bridge opened, we cruised through.

The trip up the ICW was not so bad. We tried to time our arrival at bridges that had preset opening times, Hollywood Beach Blvd Bridge was one. We were there at high tide, water was on both sides of the sea wall on the East side of the ICW. A tall trawler was having issued because of the strong current on the north side of the bridge, so we called them on VHF and agreed we would wait till they passed.

The rest of the journey was uneventful, but I have to mention the bridge tenders. It seems that the men and women manning the bridges come from all over, but the guy on the Dania Beach Blvd Bridge has a radio voice that is the best. His rolling banter as he welcomes each arrival at the bridge and his wishes for the passing boat captains to have a great day, just made it worth passing his bridge to hear his down home chatter. He would get my vote for Bridge Tender of the Year!

Once we were at the turn to the West opposite the Port Everglades entrance by the Nova SouthEastern Oceanographic Institute, we headed up to the 17th Street Causeway bridge. It was close to high tide, and we reach up around 53 feet to the top of the VHF antenna at the mast head. The bridge had clearance of 55 feet according to the fender boards on the starboard side of the bridge. So we passed under easily.

Passing the 15th street marina and leaving Sand Bar Park on our port side, we turned as if headed to Bahia Mar, but instead we turned into Lake Sylvia, hoping to meet up with Diversion, an Out Island 33 owned by Bob & Joy Tigar. They were anchored in the lake and we had our first raft up, fittingly with Bob & Joy as they were the ones that told us about the lake in the first place during a regular HISC club meeting a few months ago.

A few drinks and dinner on board, some late chatting with Bob & Joy where I started to build my mental picture of our first trip to the Bahamas next year.

We slept really well that night. Nice breeze, we even had to break out the blanket to keep us cozy in the V-berth.

Saturday morning, after breakfast and coffee, I passed our frozen ice cube trays, and we said farewell to Diversion, looking forward to the club meeting next week.

After stopping at a pump out on sailboat bend, we headed back to our slip.

Great week, my shake down cruise list is pretty long, but getting that stuff done will make us more prepared for our longer trips in the spring.

See you on the Water.