Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4th. 2016

Happy Independence Day America!

If you recall, President Reagan addressed America on July 4th. 1986 aboard the USS John F. Kennedy in New York Harbor. At time, I was aboard HMS Ark Royal, in New York, within sight of the Statue of Liberty. That was my first celebration of Independence Day. Today it's 30 years later. Now I celebrate with the rest of us.

This year, we took Eximius down to Bahia Mar for the weekend and joined a bunch of fellow sailboat owners from the HISC. Thanks to the crews of the Host Boats for making it a great weekend, and special thanks to Pam Angel, Pat & Bob Schuldenfrei for joining us for a short sail on Sunday while others went to see the fish off shore.

During all of the past 30 years, it's the HISC members that make celebrating Independence Day special.
And Thanks to Deborah that took this pic from the Flamingo


Paul & Peggy

SV Eximius

Sunday, June 19, 2016

That was Fun

June 17th. 2016 - Port Everglades

We had planned to spend the weekend with Bob & Pat with Espirit Du Vent the Sister boat to Eximius, if things had worked out, we might even have cruised down to Biscayne Bay, but time didn't allow that, so we reserved a couple of slips at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale for Friday & Saturday night, with plans to sail together on Friday and all together on Espirit du Vent on Saturday so that the girls could get some practice in for the upcoming HISC Lady's Race.

Leaving the slip early on a weekday requires that we either get past the New River Bridges before 6am or wait till after 9:30am as they don't open during rush hour. So on Friday morning we were down at the boat by 8:45 am and had everything ready to leave the slip for 9:30. We barely waited more than a minute for any of the bridges to open. As we approchaed Andrews Avenue Bridge, we called in for the opening, but as we came around the bend we could see that the East Coast Railroad Bridge was down, and the current was ebbing at a good rate. So we did a few donuts on the west side of the bridge but even that one opened within 2 minutes of when we sighted the bridge was down. So it was a nice motor out to the ICW. 

As we passed beneath 17th Street Causeway bridge, it really is a nice looking bridge, I had nearly everything done in prep for hoisting the sails. It was a beautiful day, as forecast, and there were several sailboats heading out from Port Everglades. Moderate winds in the low teens, but we had planned to leave 1 reef in when hoisting the sails, we could always pull it out if the weather was too quite.

Leaving the port, several folks in the condos on the North side of the channel waved as we headed out to the ocean, it was going to be a great sail. We called Espirit Du Vent as we approached the Port's outer marker. Bob & Pat were under jib alone way up north, barely in sight and making good speed down towards the port. We had both sails up and started making good speed to the North. Bob & Pat were perhaps less than a mile from us and the plan was to sail past each other and I thought I might get a few pics of E.D.V. to share with Bob & Pat. It was looking like a really good day to be out on the water. A little cloudy way over to the West.

All of a sudden, our Radio screamed, alerting us about an important Weather Alert. As we listened to the forecast it did not seem to match the conditions, but NOAA was predicting strong winds up to 70mph and possible damage to homes and trees. We take notice of those things. So Peggy & I agreed to drop the sails and head back to port. I called E.D.V. and alerted them about the severe weather warning and they too decided to head in under power right away.

I closed up the Dodger with the Eisenglass screen and under motor we headed back.

One of my "Capn's Rules" is that anyone outside the cabin when we are not tied to something has to be wearing their PFD, as the weather headed our way, we donned our Foul Weather gear and secured ourselves to the boat with Tethers. Peggy sat by the closed companion way entrance sheltered by the Dodger while took the helm.

By the time we had the boat and ourselves ready, and we were heading back the way we came, towards the Channel at Port Everglades, the weather hit us! 

First the wind picked up, from the leisurely 10kts when we were under sail, to the high 40knts and visibility started to shrink as the rain came upon us. Rain in winds of 45kts hurts! and the wind kept going up, we know it hit 52kts because our wind indicator keeps a history and records the highest wind as well as a graph of the wind for the recent past.

The rain basically blinded us. I was not prepared to be in the Port Channel during those heavy winds. If we were knocked down in the channel, it would be just a few moments till we would founder upon the rocks on the South side of the channel. So I turned back towards the North and saw that E.D.V. was doing the same thing. 

We were basically hove to under power but the engine barely running, less than 1500 r.p.m. Rudder hard over, the Sail cover acting as a sail, headed North but drifting 060 at about 2knots. Every now and then, during a gust, the boat would heel over, but it felt solid and I had total confidence in the boat's ability to handle the weather. Peggy was safely tethered in still sitting in the lee of the dodger, every now and then she turned towards me and I smiled back - we were doing ok.

The rain was coming down so hard that it beat down the waves that had been growing with the wind, the Ocean became almost monochromatic grey scale although we could only see about 100 yards. No sign of any other boats or the shore.

I turned the Radar Overlay on and could see the storm surrounding us, there was so much clutter that I could not pick out the other boats. We saw a fishing boat doing the same thing as us, not sure which of us was handling the situation the best. We heard the local Tow Boats calling in about rescuing paddle boarders on the Ocean side and in the I.C.W. 

The radar showed a break in the storm was coming, nothing new here in SoFla - Wait 10 minutes and the weather will change. We called to E.D.V. and heard back from them that we both would have a great story to tell after this one. Another five minutes and the break in the storm arrived and I decided it was time to head back to the channel.

Now the water calmed quickly, the clouds past towards the East and the Sun started the drying out that we really needed. Our foul weather jackets did not pass the test! We were both soaked down to our skins.

As we got into the channel, we heard from E.D.V. that they were already in the channel, that was a relief. 

We motored in, under the opening 17th Street bridge and headed toward Bahia Mar. Bob & Pat were about 5 minutes ahead of us.

Arriving safely at Bahia Mar, we backed into the slip and the local crew helped tie up our lines - they could do with an ASA 101 course - just sayin!

By the time we had showered, changed into dry clothing and hung out the wet gear, Bob & Pat hoisted the Cocktail Flag. Perfect end to a great day.

What I took away from this day onboard.
  • Always make sure the Cabin is ready for a rough day at sea
  • Even in great weather, have the foul weather gear and tethers handy
  • Be aware of the location of navigation hazards - you never know when visibility is about to go away.
See you on the Water.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our First Regatta - Planning

Hospice Regatta 2016

This will be our first Regatta on Eximius, it's a fund raiser for Hospice. My neighbor's husband died from Cancer a few years ago, great family guy, hard worker, didn't get to enjoy much of his retirement. Hospice provided care for him when the time came. His wife has been a friend of our family for as long as I have lived here, nearly 30 years, and she commented that she only had good things to say about the care that Hospice provided.

We sailed in the Hospice Regatta last year on a friends boat. I was really surprised how many folks supported Hospice, but glad they are and that they enjoyed supporting a great organization.

So far we have only raised just over $100, so I'm reaching out to my readers and asking if they would consider a donation no matter how small. I have setup an account directly that friends can donate online at everydayhero.

Thanks for following our Blog, we're coming up to the anniversary of owning Eximius on the Day of the Regatta, so it's kinda fitting that we do something special (Eximius is Latin for Special) that day.

We'll post lots of pics of trip.

See you on the Water.


Thank you!

Bob, thank you for helping support Hospice, looking forward to seeing you guys on Saturday.

Pam, thank you! I really appreciate your donation to Hospice.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New Traveller - Done

We have been struggling with the traveller since we got Eximius nearly a year ago. Tried all sorts of lubricants including one touch specifically for lubricating sheaves. But nothing worked, it took a huge effort to move the traveller without any load and when under any kind of load, forgit abat it!
This pic shows the original traveller.
It's good sail trim to adjust the traveller either up or down (acording to the boat trim) but being unable to move it easily meant that we just didn't use it. And that results in poor sail trim when sailing from a beam reach all the way up to a close reach.

The old system was a 3:1 block and tackle with cam cleats on the ends of the traveller bar. That meant that we would have to stand in the companionway to try and adjust the sliding car of the traveller.

So, as part of our improvements and making it easier for us both to manage the boat sails and trim, we ordered a new traveller from Gahauer in California. A smaller company but great customer service and they made the original, now 30 year old, system that we're going to replace.

Woooh! Can you spell Hardware?
Peggy helped me guide the new hardware onto the track, it almost floated on... Peggy literally said - 'Wooooh'!

This is a serious upgrade.
The new traveler slid on soooo smooth, luckily I had a line around the traveler bar to stop it just floating off the other side.

We're talking 'SMOOTH' it's amazing, I would never have guessed that it would be so much smoother than the old unit.
The new control lines are led back to the cockpit, along with all the other sail control lines.

They are routed back to the cockpit via a pair of turning blocks on each side. It is simply amazing how much better this setup is compared to the original.

Now we can control the traveler from the helm without having to step down into the cabin companionway.

As the pic shows, the control line passes beneath the traveler bar and along side the 4 line clutch system.

Is it inappropriate to get all psyched up about a few pieces of rope and a bit of stainless steel?

Now we can simply adjust the traveler from the cockpit by lifting the line out of the cam cleats and re-positioning the traveler either up or down and then pulling the lines back into their new position in the cam cleats.

This is a big deal for Eximius! it changes the control from something that has been almost impossible to something that is easy for both of us. Peggy should be able to adjust the traveler position easily compared to being totally unable to make any change previously.

The Garhauer equipment upgrade has turned out to be a total success. Well worth the money.

Thanks Guido!

During the installation I had the normal issues: Screw that holds the starboard turning block strap in place broke, so I had to drill an extra hole aft of it to mount the turning block. The drill broke while drilling the hole for the inboard starboard cam cleat hole, but luckily it broke below the length of the screw, so it did not impact the secure attachment of the cam cleat. I miscalculated the length of the traveler control lines and had to buy a second set of lines from West Marine - they were really good about taking the short lines back, that saved me $60.

Total cost of project was $490 but really was worth it.

We're taking Eximius out for a test sail tomorrow, Sunday. Just a day sail, but it will give us a chance to practice our sail trim - so looking forward to this sail.

See you on the water.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weather forecast got it wrong!

It happens.

We set out on Monday for a week long trip that would take us down to Biscayne Bay to enjoy sailing in our old (previous boat) grounds. The forecast was East Winds through mid-week turning to southerlies at the end of the week. Perfect! We could have a reach all the way from Port Everglades down to Miami followed by a few lazy days in the north end of Biscayne Bay.

But the forecasts were WRONG! It Happens!
Monday night, as planned, we were at anchor in Lake Sylvia with the intent of heading out of Port Everglades early Tuesday (8ish). But Monday night the wind howled all night long, from the East as predicted, just much higher winds than expected. I guessed that the waters off the coast would be churned up from 12 hours of high winds and that would make for an uncomfortable ride down to Miami. So we decided to work on a few boat projects remaining at anchor in the lake till Wednesday... if the weather was ok.

Tuesday afternoon, buddies arrived from Miami at Lake Sylvia with reports of the winds already being from the South but not high enough to fill the sails running north. So they had motored all the way, about 50 miles. We enjoyed Dinner with them aboard Eximius and shared, as boaters do, ideas and stories of adventures past. 

There was virtually no wind Tuesday night! The cabin was sweaty despite have all ports open to encourage ventilation. We could have flashed up the Generator and turned on the Air Conditioning, but as that thought came to mind the wind picked up a bit. So sleep was fitful last night.

Wednesday morning and our buddies left early. As we had planned to for a week on the boat, we had plenty of provisions, including wine and liquors, gotta have my Rum! 

But by mid morning weather reports were forecasting nasty stuff in our location, in fact the radar was showing nasty stuff already out in the South West, a quick decision and we flashed up the engine and headed back to the slip.

We cut it a bit fine. The low water in Lake Sylvia can trap the unwary, but we kept away from the skinny bits. Heading up the New River with the Jungle Queen (JQ) behind us, we headed to the first bridge - SE 3rd Avenue. Called in our request for an opening and cleared with JQ who was ok if we lead the group of boats heading to the bridge.

Literally within sight of the bridge, our engine died! A quick call to JQ that was right behind us to inform them of our engine failure, we then slowly drifted over to the north east side of the new river and was able to tie up along side to secure the boat. Once secure, we restarted the engine and left it running a few minutes. Confident that all was now ok, we called into 3rd avenue bridge and advised them that we would like to take advantage of their next opening, it would be in just a few minutes due to outbound traffic. JQ was headed back down the river followed by a pretty big motor yacht. We cast off and held our place to allow the other boats to clear the bridge before we motored ahead and passed under the open bridge. As soon as we were clear and thanked the bridge tender, we called into Andrews Avenue Bridge requesting an opening. 

Andrews and 7th Avenue bridges opened pretty quickly and we were able to dance around the outbound traffic by the bends before each bridge. Then it was up past Coolies Landing and up towards the split in the New River and the last bridge in our course. 11th Avenue Swing Bridge was closed but ready to open and we didn't have to hang back as it opened up for us. We cleared the bridge passing a couple of Kayaks and headed towards out slip.

Turning up the canal that led to our slip, I prepared the boat to go alongside while Peggy helmed the boat slowly up the canal towards the slip that was on our Port Side. Our plan is to bring the boat to a stop as the bow is just past the first slip piling so that I can step off and secure the bow to allow the stern to drift around so that the boat is Stbd side to ready for our next departure.

As we came up to the first piling, I used the boat hook to cast a line over the piling and back to the boat, but the boat slithered to a stop before it reached the slip about 4 feet away. At first I thought that perhaps Peggy had misjudged the arrival, but it was not her doing, we were aground! I was able to pull the boat using the line around the piling and step onto the dock. Once the bow as tethered to the piling, I got back on-board, took a spare dock-line and went forwards and stepped off again. Now I used that long dock-line from the center cleat on board to the dock and heaved in to bring the boat around Stbd side too. Gray clouds were forming. 

By the time I had secured the boat and moved the spare fuel canisters from the boat to the slip, the first cooling spit of rain started. By the time I had all 4 fuel tanks in the back of the truck it was raining solidly. During the arrival, the boat hook had separated and half of it was floating in the river, but now was not the time to try and get it, mid river is about 25 feet away. 

Peggy was below after covering up the instruments, shutting down the engine and prepping our gear, bedding, clothing, food etc. to be carried ashore and put in the truck for the drive home. 
I took a line and went to the neighbors home as the book hook had floated near to their dock. After clearing with them that it was ok to go into their backyard to try and retrieve the pole, it only took a couple of minutes to snag the pole with my line and recover it before heading back to Eximius thanking the home owner as I left their property.

Now the rain was coming down with a vengeance! All of the ports on the boat were closed and we needed to wait it out. Peggy & I put together a lunch sandwich and an Ice Coffee (gotta love left over morning coffee with Ice!) while waiting for the rain to subside - this is Florida, wait 10 minutes and it will blow over - It might return, but rarely seems to last more than 10 minutes continuously.

Once the rain stopped, we hauled the important things, food, and phones, to the truck and joiined in the afternoon traffic on I95 for the journey home.

At home, it was raining to hard to unload the truck, so we left that till later.

So that was our 'Adventure' for this week, as I said at the start - It Happens!

See you on the water.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Battery power

Power woo hoo!

With the batteries fully charged, we put them to the test this evening. Pegs wanted a hot shower and our only means of heating the water was running the inverter. 

So... 10 mind of DC to ac inversion and we had hot running water woo hoo!
The system drew 118 amps compared to nah Nutting doing on the old batteries. Running the engine for 30 mind should recharge. I'm stoked. Here's a pic as peggy came out of the shower 
😂 we're good to go.

See you on the water. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Cruise 2016 - Prep

May Cruise -2016

We planned on a short Cruise this month. Commitments and getting the Batteries upgraded cut the cruise down to a single week. So we plan on just heading down to Miami and hanging out near Nixon's with some sailing in the North end of Biscayne Bay returning home on Friday. The Kids are keeping an eye on the house for us and our neighbors are always on the ball, so we keep them informed of our plans.

The boat is ready: Sunday Night time to pick up a friend at the airport and fill up the spare diesel tanks just in case. So Monday all we have to do is head down to the boat load up the food, and cast off in time to get to the first bridge after 9:30 as they stay closed during the morning and evening rush hours. 

This will be our first decent sail in several month, so we're looking forward to the 53 mile journey down to Miami on Tuesday. The Wind is forecast to be from the East, ideal for that trip. We have our clothes packed, bedding is on the boat, the only thing to do on the boat is top up the aft Fresh Water tank - 10 mins max.

Here's our sailing area. The screenshot is from my Samsung Tablet running Navionics HD. At the top is Port Everglades, we plan on heading out to the Ocean early Tuesday Morning after a night on Lake Sylvia.
Here's looking towards a peaceful night so that we get our early start.
Monday afternoon/evening will give us the chance to check that everything is secure for Sea.

See you on the water.