Saturday, January 30, 2016

Where was everyone?

Where was everyone??

Peggy & I were aboard Eximius for a day sail outside of Port Everglades with Bob & Pat from Esprit Du Vent, another Catalina 34.

Bob & Pat arrived early, thank you! and paid attention as I read though the New Crew/Passengers Check List. Then after our Preparing to cast off check list, we headed out from the slip and motored down the New River... and for the first time ever, the East Coast Railroad Bridge was down. Most likely for a few minutes before we got sight of it, and of course, Andrews Avenue Bridge was down as no point in it opening. So we hung out keeping station for less than 10 minutes, then the bridges opened and we passed though without incident.

Sneaking under the closed 17th street causeway bridge in very light winds, we turned out towards the ocean raising the main then unfurling the jib about 10:00 as expected.

Wind all over the place but mostly from the north. After It got a bit crispy, we headed back into Port Everglades around noon and got to Lake Sylvia around 12:40 at anchor.... We had our Burgee out so that everyone could find us, but nooooooobody there ??
So we enjoyed lunch, alone on the hook till after 2pm then pulled the anchor and headed home. Sorry we missed the other club members... we had 4 bottles of wine, lots of cold drinks, Veggie & Fruit Platters, Coffee, fruit, yogurts, wraps, crackers & cheeses, so we dined well! Sorry we missed them.

We heard 'Magic' calling bridges but nothing on the horizon. Then as we headed up the new river, the East Coast Railroad bridge was closed - again! This time we were east of Andrews avenue bridge and heard over the radio that a TowBoatUS was dragging a 'quite large catamaran' out of the river and were upstream of 7th avenue bridge. We called Andrews to let them know we were in line and called Tow Boat US to discuss options for us two passing between the bridges. They agreed that we should head through the bridges ahead of them. We were able to hold station really well downstream of Andrews bridge and could see the railroad bridge from our position. Several boats on our Stbd side were tide up alongside the river, and they were obviously discussing our position holding. But we did really well.

Finally the northbound train passed over the bridge and both the FEC bridge and Andrews started to open. As agreed, we snuck through first, hugging the fenders on the North side of the river. We thanked the Andrews Avenue Bridge tender for the opening and then the TowBoaUS for allowing us to go through first, and then we remarked that TowBoatUS had not told us they were towing a spaceship! Wow, what a great looking Catamaran! SyFy!

The rest of the trip up the river was pretty routine and we tied up after Peggy did a great job bringing Eximius alongside our slip. Then a few minutes patiently swinging the boat to face back East before tying the lines and putting the fenders out. 

Bob and Pat were great company today, we really enjoyed sharing our experiences with them and very glad that they were able to come out even if it was a kinda short sail.

See you on the Water

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Goodbye Florida!

We have enjoyed sailing our boat on the ocean off of the coast of Florida, and we keep her at a slip in Fort Lauderdale, but we don't know how long we can continue to do that as the anchoring restrictions law has just passed it's first hurdle in the Florida House.

What does this mean for us and for other boaters?

1st, if the law is finally passed, then we will not be able to anchor in Florida! That means we have to leave our slip and sail to other places where we can anchor, that's not in Broward county! So the first loser (after ourselves) will be the home owner from whom we rent the slip... that will cost him around $4800 a year!
Next will be the local marinas - as we will not be able to anchor in Broward county, then marinas here will not be able to get our business... that will cost them about $3000 a year.

Then there will be the untold cost of tourists from out of state curtailing their visiting to south florida... they'll head directly to the Bahamas bypassing Florida. Hopefully they won't get caught in bad weather because they have nowhere to anchor until it improves, but if they are caught out in rough seas and have to call the Coast Guard, that will cost the government a fortune.

Next to feel the effect is the Miami Boat Show! When buyers find out that they cannot anchor their boat in Broward county, well... Oh, perhaps we'll by a ticket to fly to the Bahamas or even Cuba!

Whatever way you look at it, this is a disaster for Florida Business, Boat Owners, and Tax Payers!

The 1%er's are buying their politicians to get the bill through. So it comes down to the Ballet Box! They are all up for re-election soon! and their stance on this bill will be recorded.
Some really powerful lobbying has to be going on here.

For the record! If a politician promises to strike down this bill, they'll get my vote.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Under Attack! Again & I didn't win the lottery!

The latest round of attacks on boat anchoring rights is up for grabs on Tuesday this week.

Wealthy waterside home owners must be pumping big money into our politicians in an attempt to introduce legislation via Florida House Bill HB1051 - That Bill (and in my language, Bills are normally expensive) would set the stage for anyone to request implementation of anchoring restrictions in their neighborhood by quoting the HB1501 as a precedent.

In Short - If HB1501 is passed, boaters will be unable to anchor anywhere in Florida within just a few years. That means a lot of boaters will avoid Florida as they won't be allowed to anchor overnight.

And... you can bet that once they have the option to ban overnight anchoring, then daytime anchoring will follow quickly.

Please read Wally Moran's post about this Bill on Anchoring Restrictions in Florida, I have put a link to his article at the bottom of this post.

Here's the link to the Florida State Legislators. 
If you are a Floridian, then email the members of the subcommittee and then PHONE them on Monday. Put a mark in your Calendar!

Here's the email that I sent to Katie Edwards (D) 

Paul Alcock

01/24/16 8:04 AM

To the Honorable Katie A. Edwards;

Hi Katie,
I appreciate that you allow us to reach you by email and I do so today because of my opposition to HB1051.

My wife & I own a 34' Sailboat on which, this past year, has cost us approximately $60,000, all of that spent at local businesses, private marinas, city marinas, and taxes.

As a home owner and Florida voter and am writing to express my opposition to HB1051 Recreational Boating Zones.

This bill will restrict overnight anchoring in five areas that have historically been used by Florida cruisers and visitors from out of state.

The bills interfere with our maritime rights to navigation which include anchoring. Anchoring restrictions impact many Florida recreational boaters who regularly cruise the waters and rivers of the state by limiting places to safely stop for the night, reprovision and get out of severe weather. Four of the proposed areas are in Southeast Florida where thousands of boaters transit yearly. Many marinas in Florida do not allow transient docking or in many cases are full and unable to accept additional boats

I urge you to vote against this bill.

Please be aware of the basis of this Bill: There is no safety concern, no government financial benefit, and no purpose to the Bill other than to remove the rights of us Citizens to be able to anchor our boats overnight on the public waters around Florida.

Once again, I urge you to vote against this bill.

Thank you.

Paul & Peggy Alcock
Florida Democratic Voter, Broward Resident, American Citizen.

Here's the link to Wally Moran's Article

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chicken or Wise?

The Sea demands attention, if we ignore her, we do so at our peril.

Plan was to head down to the Lake (Sylvia) today and meet with a bunch of HISC members to celebrate a Birthday (Happy Buffday Dale!) - But a front came down our way and everyone chickened out, or were they Wise?

I vote for the Wise designation! It's only a lake, and for most of us, about an hour on the boat to get there, but... Wind is already in the high 20's and expected to rise gusting to 40! It might be bright and sunny outside, but the wind chill is ... well ... chilling! Water temp is probably pretty low (by South Florida Standards) so the boat would be CoooooL!

So I think we all made the wise decision to postpone till another day.

Time to head over the the Marine Flea Market that is in Pompano this weekend!

See you there, or See you on the Water.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Genny Power

Putting things together for our trip to Biscayne Bay next week, I wanted to make a cable to connect our Honda Generator to the boats AC power service.

Recently I had upgraded our shore power cable to a Smart Plug, this gives us greater reliability in the boat's shore power system, much less prone to unplugging and reduces the risk of fire due to the old style power connector.

The Honda has both the traditional 3 prong 15Amp 110v receptacle and the twist lock 30Amp connector similar to most Marina Boat Docks. So I decided to use th 30Amp connector on the Generator and connect that directly to the boat's shore power connector.
Of course, the Genny max rating is 2KW =~ 18Amps, but I prefer the twist lock all the same. I have to make an Adapter cable to go from the 30Amp twist lock to a 15Amp recepticle just in case we ever come across a dock that does not have the 30Amp shore power. I just dislike having Adapters, IMHO they are not a good thing to have in an outdoor supply line.

9' 30Amp power cord

Monday, January 18, 2016

Took a Dive

Was headed down to the boat this afternoon. Stopped by SuperSail makers to pick up  the Sail bags that came with our order for new Sails on Eximius. Had a chance to talk with Owen and about his trip this past weekend in the Key West Race. Like a couple of my friends, he was part of the race and got wet, cold and sleepless, but like all sailor's would not have missed the opportunity.

Chatting to Owen, I mentioned how pleased I was with our new sails when we went out on New Years Day. The boat behaved so well even when reefed. I'm still smiling just thinking about how well that sail went.

Then, after picking up the sail bags, I headed down to the boat. Plan was to put the newly repaired dodger back in place and take the side panels home for a 2nd round of cleaning/repairing. I used our West Marine boat cart to carry the canvas, some gear for the boat and my wallet and tablet down to the boat.

As I boarded the boat, the bottom of the cart fell out! Everything in the cart dropped down impeding my step onto the boat. I tripped and fell backwards towards the stern and then ... oh no! Big Splash as I fell into the canal water between the boat and the dock! Arggggh!

Quickly reaching for the surface I saw the cart contents starting to sink! That included the new Sail Bags, the Dodger, my Tablet, Wallet, Baggy of sail repair kit all ready to hide in the murky water next to the dock.

I picked up the pieces and tossed them onto the dock that was a couple of feet over my head. The bags had already started to float under the dock and head downstream in the Canal. My phone in my pocket and my car keys too! This is not going well!

Now that I had as much as possible up on the dock, it was time to try and get myself out too. No way could I just pull myself up, so I grabbed hold of the toe rail on the boat and put my feet on the spring line from one of the dock poles to the aft cleat on the boat. Then walking my way aft on the line, trying to prevent the boat moving closer to the dock and thus crushing me, I was able to get myself out of the water and struggle up onto the dock.


I quickly opened my tablet case and put the tablet up onto the high and dry. Grabbed the boat hook and reached down to the downstream side of the dock to catch the barely floating new sail bags.
Reached down between the boat and the dock to try and recover the remains of the dock cart, but no luck.


Drenched, I went back to the truck in the driveway and got the boat keys, then, leaving tell tale wet footprints, I headed back to the boat.

Once on board, I took off my two layers of shirts and grabbed a towel to dry off a bit and prevent any issues from the cold (that's Florida Cold) water.  I keep a sweater onboard in the V-Berth hanging locker, so that kept me warm.

Having taken care of the immediate issues, I put the wet towel and shirts into a crate we kept on board and carried them ashore. Locked up the cabin and put everything in the truck to head home.

Stopped by T-Mobile on the way home as my phone had quit. So there I am sopping wet, leaving puddles on the showroom floor and explaining to the manager that I had fallen into the water with my phone in my pocket but I have insurance. He suggested that I remove the battery. Did that and the phone booted up ok. 'WATERPROOF' at least to the depth that I took it. So seems like I'm lucky and don't need to spend a $99 to replace the phone. Just as well, it's only 9 months old (on a 2 year plan).

Home, took a shower and fresh clothes, and time to rinse down all of the canvas, and put my clothes in the washer.

I guess you could say today was a wash!

See you on the Water (and not in it unless deliberate. )

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Era ahead

We have owned Eximius for nearly eight months and have been making steady progress on making her 'ours', it's about time to start a new era for the three of us (Peggy, Myself and Eximius).

Step 1 is to stop Working Full Time. That comes this Friday. I have worked with ACT Security as an Administrator since 2011 and have learned a lot about Alarm Systems, Customer Service and why so many folks have alarm systems in their home and businesses, but it's time to move on.

Step 2 is to work on the exterior of Eximius, she needs some TLC on her deck and cockpit, including the standing & running rigging. So over the next week I'll get some shine going up top.

Step 3 is to get out on the boat and practice our sailing techniques. We're heading down to Biscayne Bay on Sunday January 24th (after celebrating with Shoal Mate on Dale (Kern's) birthday.

From there on we'll be making improvements that make Eximius more livable. New Bunk cushions, refresh the canvas on the Dodger and clean up the rails around the cockpit. All this in preparation for Step 4.

Step 4. Head over to the Bahamas for a Month! That will be this Spring.

If you have any suggestions on where to head to in the Bahamas, please leave a comment. Remember, our keel is 5' 7" deep, but perhaps we should add a couple of inches to that when the boat is loaded with supplies for the month long trip.

See you on the Water.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Our New Sails Work!

1st impression - love them!

We took Eximius out today for our first sail of the year. As reported previously, my Son, Bob came out with us.

An early start from the slip, Bob joined us about 9:15am and we completed a safety briefing and got the boat ready to start. Geeves (our Engine) started without hesitation, and we were under way a couple of hours after low tide.

Heading down the New River, all of the bridges opened with a cheerful new year's greeting, but we were not the only boats out for the day.

17th Street Bridge was not yet open, but tide was low enough to allow us through easily. We motored out of the Fort Lauderdale Channel and prepared the new sails to be hoisted for the 1st time under sail. And they looked good!

1st reef set in the main and 60-70% of the jib unfurled, the boat was beautifully balanced.
We headed out of Port Everglades, turned Southwest while I adjusted the sail. Eximius was going really well. Then we turned to the Northeast and headed out, almost as though we were going to West End in the Bahamas, but not today, we just wanted to get the sails up and trim them to get a feel for how they fly. And we were thrilled! They are great.

Within a few minutes, we had Eximius on a close reach and heading out to sea at over 7knots. And Balanced! Hardly any pressure on the wheel, I kept her pointed at about 60 degrees off the wind and we hit 7 knots again and again. First sail - great!

After passing the 3 mile limit, we turned back to port and eased off the sails. Again Eximius responded with a balance sail back to the Port Everglades channel.

There was a ship showing up on the AIS, we could see it off our port quarter. According to the AIS the ship was heading directly down towards the channel and we watched as a Pilot boat delivered and then headed back into port. The 'Broward' Tug was waiting inside the channel to chaperon the ship into the docks, we skirted by 'Broward' and stayed on the port side of the channel as the ship plowed her way into the port. Now on a beam reach, we were still hitting 7 knots even in the decreased wind of around 9 to 10 knots from the South.

Once inside the turning basin, we turned South under motor and into wind to drop the main sail. This was also a test of our re-rigged jib furling system - phew! that worked great too. The new sail dropped easily into the Cradle Cover with just the slightest supervision to ensure it flaked down neatly. Once stowed, we turned North towards the 17th Street Causeway bridge which was about to open. I called into the bridge tender and advised that I thought we would be able to pass, and once the larger boat was clear of the bridge, the tender started to lower the span. With 56' of clearance, we passed beneath it without any concern, but there were a bunch of folks ashore taking pics as we passed under the bridge.

Now past the bridge, we headed up the Intracoastal, keeping the Green channel markers on our starboard side as were heading away from Texas. (The Intracoastal goes to Texas, so we were effectively 'leaving' Texas). As we passed Sand Bar Park and turned East toward Bahia Mar for passage into Lake Sylvia.

Lake Sylvia was probably the most crowded we have ever seen it. Perhaps the impending Northerly due later this weekend/ early next week, is causing a lot of vessels to hold back till after it passes before they head over to the Islands.

Peggy, Bob and I enjoyed a lunch on the hook in Lake Sylvia before we headed back out of the lake. As always, we hugged the West side of the Lake entrance to stay clear of the shallows that have grabbed our keel previously. We cleared the lake entrance and turned Westward and to the North side of Sand Bar park. The channel was busy! Lots of small boat traffic, a couple of bigger boats, and another sail boat were following us up the River.

The Bridges all opened without much delay and we quickly passed the last of the Bascule Bridges and turned onto the North Fork of the New River. The sail boat behind us turned into the South Fork as we headed towards our slip.

We touched bottom briefly just before we turned into the canal where our slip is located, but it was really brief, probably a bit of shoaling due to currents in the canals. We easily pushed out way past it and turned into or slips channel. Peggy kept our speed up a little from our usual sedate transit up the canal just incase we caught the bottom again but it was clear and we quickly approached our slip.

I was able to step ashore on the dock as Peggy put Eximius in reverse to bring us to a stop. I think Bob was impressed with the ease that we brought the boat alongside and swung her around so that she was pointing down the canal ready for our next trip.

It only took about 30 minutes to secure the boat and take what needed to be ashore. A quick washdown of the deck and hull and we were ready to head home.

I hope Bob enjoyed it as much as we did, it really was a great day. It proved that we can participate in the club races next year. Perhaps Bob will Crew for us.

Great Start to 2016

2016 - What a great start! 1st time out on Eximius this year, 1st time out with new Sails, 1st time out with my Son Bob. Great sail on the Ocean outside of Fort Lauderdale, headed out to the 3 mile limit, then sailed back. Hit the 7+ knots several times, sailed all the way back to the turning basin. then dropped sails and motored to Lake Sylvia to find it crowded! Lunch on the hook, then motored back up the new river to the slip.

Awesome 1st sail of the year!

Leaving a crowded Lake Sylvia.

Happy New Year!