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.