Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Replacing the Masthead Sheaves

Replacing the Masthead Sheaves on our Catalina 34 - In the water!

I plan to replace the Standing Rigging on our 1987 Catalina 34 Tall Rig Fin Keel later this year.

My plan  is to replace the rigging while the boat is in the water and not to pull the Keel Stepped Mast.

Pulling the mast would make it a lot easier, but it's crazy expensive here in South Florida. just to have the mast pulled. Just removing the mast and replacing it will cost about $3,000 !!!!! 

So, how to complete the task with the boat in the water?

The Rigging consists of 
  1. Forestay ( $600 )
  2. Backstay ( $1000 )
  3. Port & Stbd Upper Shrouds ( two ) ( $1900 )
  4. Port & Stbd - Fore & Aft Lower Shrouds ( two pair ) ( $1250) 
Rigging materials = $4750 + Taxes and Shipping -- Guesstimate $6000 ( as sold by CatalinaDirect )

The sheaves at the top of the mast are part of the Mast head and there lies the problem. I have gone up the mast several times ( 5 times in one month when our Wireless Wind Transducer Failed ) so I'm very comfortable about going up the mast and do not see any problems working to replace the standing rigging, but the sheaves are another problem because when I go up the mast, I am supported on the halyards that run on those sheaves that I want to replace!!!!

My solution is to install Mast Steps from about 6 feet from the top of the mast, the highest being enough to support me on both sides of the mast while removing the Masthead.

So, the plan would be to measure all of the rigging, purchase the correct size cable and new turnbuckles and any beckets that need to be replaced ( most of them ) and of course, purchase the mast steps.

Then going up the mast and install the mast steps. With the steps in place, I would replace the standing rigging one cable at a time. First I would backup the cable with a halyard or dyneema cable taking the strain off of the piece of standing rigging. Remove the piece of rigging and make up the replacement using Mechanical Fittings.

Next, onto the Mast Head.

There is a halyard that does not attach to the Masthead ( Spinnaker halyard ) I would use this to climb the mast using the other halyards to climb up the mast to reach the newly installed Maststeps.

At the top, I would unbolt the masthead and remove the sheaves, replace them with new sheaves and pins then replace the mast head.

Sounds pretty straight forward, but it is a boat!!!!

Posting this hoping to get some feedback on the project.

Rigging Dimensions

Friday, June 30, 2023

Instant Pot on our boat success and failure

Having had our Instant Pot 6qt at home for a couple of months and I love it. Using it every few days to cook dinners, cakes even cheesecake. So much so that I bought a 3qt Instant Pot for on the boat, although with a little concern about power consumption. We have a total of 3×100AH batteries,  that's over 3kwh if we run them to zero.

Last night I tried the Instant Pot on the boat for the first time and it was both a huge success as well as a dismal failure. 

1st, the Sucess
So the power consumption is 1000 W for the 6 qt model. I think that's right. It's only 700 W  for the 3qt model, and that was not too certain. Different people report different wattages so I didn't know for certain. Because I have ta complete Victron system on Eximius, when I plug something in, it shows me how much power is being used. 

When I plugged in the 3 qt instant pot and set it for high pressure cooking, the system showed the power consumption was 700watts.Thats a good start, but it gets better!

The Instant Pot takes a few minutes to get up to pressure,  it's basically boiling the water inside the Pot. Once it's approaching the pressure level, the pressure lock valve will pop up and the display will soon show the countdown of the number of minutes that were set.

This is where the Instant Pot shines! Once the Instant Pot reaches pressure,  the power consumption dropped to 1 watt! Yes, 1 watt!!!

I was cooking baked potatoes,  OK, they are steamed rather than baked, but I probably cook potatoes every week at home, they are a quick and easy dinner. I make a thick cheese sauce with butter, Ricotta and grated cheese blend adding pepper and salt to taste then topping them with more grated cheese. Delicious! 

On the boat I saw the power consumption pop back up to 700 watts foe about a minute twice during the cooking of the potatoes. 

I didn't time it, but I believe that the cooker only consumed 700watts for about 8 minutes of the 17minute cook time.
Roughly that's 700×8 ÷ 60 = about 90 watthours. And that is about 2% of the available power.

OK, time to fessup on the failure. 
The potatoes cooked perfectly, 17 minutes with a quick release (in the cockpit to avoid the heat steaming the cabin) I then removed the potatoes, added 1/2 cup of milk to reminaning water and a packet of cheesey pasta shells and a couple of cups of frozen broccoli then set the Instant Pot to pressure cook high for 3 minutes. 

Don't try that!!,

After the 3mins of cook time, I unplugged the Instant Pot again and took it out to the cockpit for the quick pressure release. 

Don't do that!!!

Cheesey sauce blew out of the pressure vent!! And things didn't get any better.  I scooped the pasta out of the pot and topped each of the potatoes with cheesey broccoli pasta and sauce.

Definitely not a success! Peggy did a stellar job of maybe eating half, but did not enjoy the meal. I should not really call it a meal, more like a mess.

The good news is that the Instant Pot worked great and consumed very little power but the chef needs to practice..... a lot 

Friday, June 23, 2023

Solar Panel Update - problem with shipping

Solar Panels Damaged during shipping - it's a problem

We ordered 3 x 220 Watt Solar Panels from a company via Amazon. All three were damaged upon arrival. They probably worked, but the damage to the frames was something that I could not hide if they were mounted atop our Bimini on Eximius. Everytime I board the boat, I would see those damaged panels and you know how those scratches itch! So I returned them. I took a couple of weeks to get the money back into my amazon account. 

I have searched online many sites trying to find a local company where I could pickup the panels and inspect them before taking delivery of them. None! There was one local company that had panels almost the size I needed but they were literally 2 times the price! So 3 panels would go from $700 up to $1400!

I have previously purchased BougeRV panels, worked great both on the boat and at home ( Solar Hot Water Pump system ) so I ordered three 200Watt panels from them. Their reviews on Amazon were really good and they included details of their packing in their Ad. 

Yesterday, the 3 panels arrived. Two were perfect but the 3rd was destroyed, it had obviously been damaged in transit, the frame on one side was actually bent, the box was concaved on one side. The glass on top of the panel was shattered into several thousand pieces, totally ruined.

Of course I contacted the seller and am expecting a response within 24 hours, of course, it's Friday, so I don't expect a reply till Monday.  I was able to talk to customer service, they were on the ball and didn't hesitate to escalate it up to the Returns dept. That's a good sign!

The good news is that I can go ahead with the install, I'll use one of the panels as a template for the 3rd panel and mount the two good panels, new wiring and the new MPPT controller ( see my other post on the entire process of planning and installation.)

Meanwhile, I won't hold my breath until Monday ;)


Update - Sunday June 25th
BougeRV have been responding and their latest email indicates they are going to replace the panel directly ( not via Amazon ). Their Customer service is staying on top of this issue. They are getting ***** right now. 

Update - Monday June 26th
So far I'm impressed by the customer service at BougeRV, there was an email waiting for me this morning which indicated they are shipping the new panel and that I can toss out the broken one. Understandably, the busted panel is not worth the shipping.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Macerator Failure - you know what that means...

Our Macerator Pump Failed 

After a great cruise down to Biscayne Bay over the Memorial Day weekend, we headed 4 miles offshore so that we could do a black water tank PumpOut. It didn't work!

Our normal procedure is to unlock the Thru Hull valve and turn on the Macerator pump. Peggy would watch lookout over the stern for our dirty trail and as soon as it stopped she would give me the signal that it was ok to shut the pump off and relock the Thru Hull valve ( a Federal requirement that we take seriously ) 

Well, Peggy didn't see the trail! Nothing was being pumped out despite the open valve and the Pump running. I thought that perhaps it was taking it's time to prime so I left it running for another minute. Nope! that didn't work either. Then the Macerator Pump just stopped. Didn't blow the circuit breaker, it just stopped. It wasn't even hot.

After a few calls and advice from several sailing buddies, I was able to connect with a Mobile PumpOut company ( We've used them before, small business, they were having a day off and so didn't return my call till Tuesday ) 

Yesterday the truck pulled up and Chris ran the hose from the street down the side of the house to the dock and got us setup for a PumpOut. I asked if it was ok if I cleaned the tank out when it was empty, that was fine. It was not so pleasant but it was fine!

Just over a year ago, I had installed an 8' inspection plate on the top of the Black Water tank, sure glad I had now!

The tank was only about 1/2 way full measuring from the top of the tank, but it's probably less than 1/3rd full as the tank gets very narrow at the forward end. 

We use 'Oderless' after every PumpOut and it works, the stench from the tank was almost zero, but I'm guessing one quickly gets used to it.

As the PumpOut progressed, I could see pieces of calcium scale collecting near the exit point ( that would be the bottom aft port side of the tank) and guessed that was what prevented the pump working and it's ultimate demise. The pieces of scale varied in size from dust up to about 4" by 2" and about 1/16th of an inch thick

I had setup a hose and spray nozzle so that I could rinse the tank sides down. That successfully detached even more of the scale from the sides of the tank.

Wearing nitrile gloves, I scooped out the scale by the handful, there was enough to fill a 2 gallon bucket. Rinsing and repeating and then Chris helping by moving the PumpOut hose from the deck connection to down in the cabin. He was able to suction out almost all of the grot in the bottom of the tank. A few more washdowns with fresh water and a few more scoops of gross scale and stuff. The tank was as good as it was going to get.

Next step. Order new hoses to replace the hose connection from the head to the tank and from the tank to the clean out on deck. Got that! 14' of 1/2" sanitation hose $297.80

New Macerator Pump. Ordered from Amazon, got it.

New 8" access panel, ditto. I just hope that the removable lid fits the old plate holder. If it does not, then I'll remove the old and install the new.

We now have all of the pieces to complete the project. Need a few extras to make the job easier to manage:- Puppy Pads to put under the hose ends when they are removed from the Head and from the Macerator Pump.  A new box of Nitrile gloves. New hose clamps - got them, I always have spares. Finally, new Electrical Butt connectors to connect the new Macerator Pump to the power supply.

My plan is to disconnect the old hose from the head, apply some liquid soap to the outside of the hose where it passes into the forward bulkhead of the head and into the void below the Hanging locker and then the void beneath the floor of the Nav station and into the Holding tank locker area.  The tough bit is getting the new hose to follow the old.

To get the new hose from the head to the holding tank area, I'm going to join the old pipe and the new pipe with a few pieces of wooden wedges and then push the old pipe with the new pipe so that we don't lose the end of the old pipe.  Sounds awkward, probably is but I don't see any other way to get the new pipe through the bulkheads.

I'll take the opportunity to clean up the grotty area that is currently under the pipe from the tank that connects to the Macerator Pump

So, other than dealing with grot and the challenge to get the new hose from the head to the tank, I think it should be a quick job, maybe 3 or 4 hours.  But---- it is a boat!

Well, it took 3 1/2 hours just to remove the hoses. The good news ( I hope ) is that where the hose from the head passes forwards under the floor of the Nav Station is not a blind space. The hose exits forwards by the Starter Battery and then it's a clear run towards the holding tank area. That means we don't need to use the old hose as a messenger. That's good news, because it was a beast getting the old hose out without anything on the aft end! 

The hose from the tank to the Macerator pump includes a 90ยบ elbow connector, that piece of hose was about 90% occluded. I was able to remove the entire hose assembly from the tank to the pump in a single piece and wash it out with fresh water, it came clean. We're going to replace the piece of Sheilds Hose from the tank to the elbow, but from the elbow to the pump is a rubber flexible connector. It's now clean and should ( !!!! ) be easier to install.

--- The pic shows the Connection from the tank to the elbow connector ( double clamped at each end ) it also shows the Tank Sensors that are adhered to the aft end of the tank. ( at the bottom of the picture. )

This pic shows the disconnected hose from the head that goes to the top port side of the aft end of the tank ( that Elbow connector ) I had to snip the wire reinforcements of the hose to get it off of the Elbow Connector.

I spent quite a while trying to clean the hull beneath the hoses. The pic above and the pic here show how bad it was and how well it came up.

Not sure if scrubbing it with something to see if it will come up any better, but it worth the effort

One thing I'll have to make sure to do is to clean the connections on the tank. This pic shows the build up of grot on the end of the connector.

Another thing to note is the thru hull for the pump output, the white hose is connected to that thru hull. I was very careful when easing the hose connection there. I do not believe that that particular thru hull has a suitably sized backing plate. 

Plan is to put the boat on the hard later this year, so I'll add replacing that thru hull and incorporating a decent backing plate.

Here's a close up of the tank fill connector ( for the hose that is connected to the head's Pump )

Should only take a few minutes to clean that up.

Note, I put a wadding of paper towel into the ends of the tank connections just to try and reduce the odor coming from the almost empty tank.

Next job is to finish cleaning out the tank. We put a flashlight in there this afternoon and could clearly see about a quart of grot - effluent and scale at the far end, forward, of the tank.

The opening in the top of the tank is an 8" access plate, I'll be able to get a small shovel to scoop out the goop.  Definitely going to suit up for that project.

That brown mark by the tank's connection to the Macerator Pump is the left over from a corroded Jig Saw Blade. I was able to remove the blade but need to do a bit more cleaning.

The picture is taken from above and aft of the Holding tank.

I used Spray Nine solution to try and clean the area. I'm taking some more aggressive scouring pads with me next time down at the boat.

The easiest hose connection to remove was the one in this photo. That black connector is at the aft, bottom, inboard corner of the tank. It connects to a piece of hose about 6" long. That connects to an Elbow. The elbow is connected to the Macerator Pump via a short rubber hose.

So that will be the last connection to make when I put it all back together.

So next steps are:-
  • Clean out the inside of the waste tank.
  • Clean the inside of the hull just aft of the black water waste tank.
  • Clean the ends of the tank connectors
  • Remove the toilet for easier access to the head bulkhead.
  • Use a dremel to clear out the area just inside of the bulkhead on the forward side of the head and then seal the area with epoxy. I hope to expand the hole by about 1/8" of an inch, that should leave a little room to add some caulking around the hose.
  • Install the hose from the lower outboard tank connection up to the deck pumpout plate.
  • Install the hose from the lower inboard tank connection to the Elbow for the Macerator Pump connection.
  • Run the hose from the head into the storage cabinet ( by the Starter Battery ) thru into the Tank area and connect that to the top outboard connection on the tank.
  • Replace the tank access plate as the old 'transparent' plate has broken down probably due to the chemicals we put  in the tank to reduce odors.
  • Connect the power supply cables to the Macerator Pump.
  • Give it a test and check for leaks.
Probably another 3 to 4 hours of work.. but, don't forget - It's a Boat !!!!

Well we blew through 7 hours and it's still not finished.

Removed the toilet and cleaned that up.
Cleaned up the hole in the head's forward bulkhead
Installed the hose from the tank up to the waste clean out deck cap. That actually went pretty quickly.
Installed the hose from the head area forwards thru two bulkheads. It took an hour and then a small amount of liquid soap eased the rest of it in a few minutes.
Got the tank connections made for the pumpout hose and the fill hose.

Then, I thought it a good idea to test the new Macerator Pump. The old wires had been joined with solder and liquid rubber insulation, mucky stuff. Stipped the supply wires back and found they are not Tinned, Not Thin Stranded and of course, not labeled. So add an hour to replace those two wires with 10AWG Tinned Thin Stranded copper wires, new terminals and labels. A couple of butt connectors to join the supply wires to the Pump - Turn the breaker on and WooHoo! It works. Quickly cleaned up the connection and applied heat shrink.

Next job, mount the pump and connect to the waster tanks pump out connection. That took another hour of sweating and swearing but finally got it done.

All joints now have hose clamps, two where they fit.

Only thing left to do is to secure the Macerator Pump to the bulkhead, check tighten all of the hose clamps in the tank area, then reinstall the toilet and secure the hose with a couple of hose clamps.

Another visit to the boat and we have finished the project. The toilet is secured with new Stainless Steel lag bolts, the bulkhead forward of the head has been cleaned and caulked, the hole with the hose through that bulkhead is also neatly caulked.  We flushed a gallon of water with some Oderless and watched it as it poured out of the filler inlet into the tank - watching with the tank access panel lid removed.

I also ran a wire snake up the Vent hose from the tank to the elbow just below the Port side clean out and did the same for the Midships water tank vent pipe. That midships vent has proven an issue as the tank expands when we fill with water unless the fill cap is removed in the cabin.  

I'll probably replace the entire toilet in the next few months but meanwhile I need to run a bead of caulking along the base of the head's forward bulkhead and around the hole that the new hose passes through.

Things learnt that could be shared.

I could have used a pair of snips that were ground down so that it would be easier to cut the reinforcing wires of the new hose.

Apply liquid soap to ease the hose passage through the bulkheads.

Get larger size rubber gloves to make it easier to change them more frequently.

Plan on it taking a whole lot longer than anticipated.'

Measure the length of the hose removed before buying the replacement hose. I have 4' left over and at $20 per foot, that's $80 :(

Plan to replace all of the hose clamps, luckily I had enough.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

2023 Memorial Day Weekend

2023 Memorial Day Weekend Leaving the Dock

Original plan was to 'sail' down to Miami on the Ocean.  Weather forecasts this week were expecting afternoon storms. That put a bit of anxiety into the options. We finally agreed that we would go down the ditch, but there was a hiccup - The 79th Street Bridge, just North of Miami on the AICW, is undergoing maintenance,  and is basically closed from 09:300 to 15:30, opening only upon a 4 hour advance request. So basically if we go down the ditch, then we'll have to leave Port Everglades after calling the bridge to schedule an opening 4 hours later.  It's crazy! There has to be other boats that are going to request openings and it's unlikely they'll all request the same time!  Try and figure that out!

So basically it means that we have to leave PE about 3 hours before 3:30pm when the opening restriction is removed.

We left the dock around 11:45. not sure of the exact time. I would normally look back on our InReach data record online and grab the time there, however, we didn't turn the InReach on to Track until we were on the Ocean.  But I was able to find the time data on my Google account's Map Timeline.  Gotta love the technology.

We motored down to the PumpOut station on 15th Street to empty the poop tank rather than head out 3 miles off shore as that would basically take us North in the Gulfstream.  The PumpOut Station didn't work too well, it needs a new nozzle end as it leaks suction. So it's clean but the suction loss means it will take ages to empty the tank. It took over 20mins to empty a 25gallon tank.  When we approached the floating dock at the PumpOut station, there was a boat tied up but not using the PumpOut. That's a big No-No, the accepted rule is that once you're done pumping then get off the dock. But when we called to the crew, they quickly moved the boat, they were waiting use the Boat Ramp to haul out.

We finally got to leave that PO dock around 2:30 and then headed down under 17th Street Bridge, very little boat traffic. As we got to the point where we could see the Port Everglades entrance. We could see that the Ocean was like a millpond. I asked Peggy how she felt about going outside rather than down the ditch, her response:- If you helm, then we can go outside. HWHL. We headed out of the entrance and turned South on the Ocean towards Miami.  I'm really not fond of the 5 hour ride down the ditch having to either slow down or rush at max RPM to time the opening of the next bridge.  

It was an easy motor down to Miami, a few minutes of rain, didn't get wet. Unlike the ride down the ditch, sailing or motoring about 3/4 of a mile off shore is pretty boring, so we make a point of checking the weather, the clouds, if any, and what we can see on the shoreline. It's always fun to look directly into Haulover where the fixed bridge only allows power boats to risk the bumpy ride in and out of the entrance. There's even a YouTube channel that shows the seemingly endless stream of vessels that try to make it in or out of the channel during days when the Tide is ebbing and the Wind is from the East, fun.

We were passed by Affection before we arrived at the entrance to Miami - Government Cut. Jeff, on Affection, called to advise that there was at least 2 knots of current in the Cut and that he would proceed to the planned anchorage at Miami Stadium Marina. He was right! We hit 2.4 knots against our progress into the Cut.

Following the markers and keeping clear of the overhanging crane gantries of the cargo ships tied up to the docks as we passed them on our Stbd Side. Several high speed boats virtually flew past us with total disregard to ourselves and any other small craft in the local area. I guess it's a Miami thing.

It was well before dark, but as we approached the turn to port that would put us back on the ICW, there was a craft in the water that we could not distinguish, the late in the afternoon sunlight between the tall buildings seemed to make the waterline in that area appear to be much darker, one tow boat was only visible due to it's flashing lights.
Once we turned South on the ICW it seemed to lighten up, I guess that was the effect of not having the Sun low on the horizon dead ahead, it was now off to Stbd and it was magically daylight again.

The channel down to Rickenbacker causeway is well marked but very narrow, maybe just 50' in some places.  We kept in the channel almost until we were at the fenders of the underpass of the bridge, then turned to Port and followed the GPS depth markings to head East. As we approached the Rusti Pelican Restaurant, we needed to navigate around the boats that were either anchored or Sunk, yes 'Sunk' and of course the very shallow areas that are clearly marked on the chartplotter.

Image Capture from Jeff's Instant 360 Video

Once North of the Rusti Pelican, we could see Affection anchored further to the East, towards the actual Stadium. Peggy took the helm while I prepared the fenders and our new dock lines ready to pass to Affection when we got alongside.  Peggy did a great job of slowing the boat and bringing us along side and to a stop. Jeff took the Midships line and the Bow line. It's all quite hectic when coming alongside another boat, concentrating on not 'hitting' the other boat and just as important, bringing the boat to a complete stop when we are alongside. Peggy managed it perfectly. 

We all took a break to bring our stress levels down to zero. I went below and heated up my favorite dish - Sailors Pie - it's not a pie! I'll make a separate post about it.

Peggy was exhausted, it had been a pretty long day. We were up early and had been pushing the boat for about 9 hours. As the weather had promised to be pretty gnarly, that added to the stress of the day. The fact that the weather was really quite nice helped calm the crew.

We were tied up to the Stbd Side of Affection and due to the winds, facing to the North. So we could not see the view of Miami that was visible from Affection. Peggy turned in for the night and missed it. It really was a kodak moment, the sight of all of the sky scrapers lit up like christmas trees, reflecting on the water was really spectacular. Now I know why Jeff & Judy like that anchorage so much. Thanks for suggesting it Jeff!

Friday morning, we had an simple Cereal and Toast Breakfast, with Coffee, obviously. Then we discussed with Jeff & Judy about the options to move ahead down to Billy's Point. The weather today was much more certainly going to get nasty, Storms were forecast to start up over the West side of the Bay and head eastwards later in the day. We knew we were very likely to get wet but not sure how bad they would be. My conclusion was that it would be Rain storms with not much wind. Peggy anticipated the end of the world. Luckily my guess was the right one.  Of course, that didn't' stop peggy from putting our portable electronics in the oven as a Faraday Cage and ensuring we were wearing our Tethers. 

We kept an eye  out for Affection, not knowing what time they would be hauling anchor from the Stadium Marina, but knowing they could easily double our speed. Affection did not have AIS so I was unaware of their location. I shared a pic of our GPS when we were right in the middle of the rain storm. I did see a similar boat to theirs but it had something on the foredeck that I was certain was not on Affection. Turned out it was them and the thing on the foredeck was actually their fenders on the Stbd side of the foredeck. 

About an hour before we arrived at the Featherbeds, the Channel at the mid point of Biscayne Bay, I saw Summer wind - Chris & Kelli Whitlock - appear on our AIS. We couldn't see them astern of us due to the amount of water in the air, it was just a pale grey mist back there. I called Chris on VHF and we shared our weather situation.

It was a short while later when I noticed that our speed had dropped by over a knot and that we had what looked like Steam coming out of the exhaust! That's not good! We check the 'heartbeat' of the engine at least every 10 mins - that's checking the RPM, Temperature, Fuel Status and Voltage, then we check the GPS speed and compare it to the Speed through the water. That's when  I noticed the issue with the engine, every thing was good except the speed and the steamy exhaust. 

Going for the simplest things first, I checked the Engine Intake Water Strainer - a small amount of crud but definitely not blocked.  I checked the Engine Coolant, that was fine, a little low but barely. Checked the Oil which was really a waste of time as the engine had been running and so the Oil would be dispersed all over the inside and would take a while to drain down to the sump.

Peggy wondered if we had something on the Propellor! Duh! I dropped the RPM to idel ( about 400 rpm ) shifted into Neutral and then Reverse, pushed the throttle forward and watched as a bunch of seaweed spued out from under the stern. Back into forward and back to 1800 rpm, and magically our speed climbed back up to 6+ knots. Phew! Oh, and no more steamy exhaust! 

As the weather improved we could see Summer Wind astern of us watching as we navigated through the Featherbeds Channel. Of course, we hardly saw any power boats near us between Miami and the Featherbeds, but it felt like very power boat on the Bay decided to pass us at high speed during our transit of the channel. As I said, it must be a Miami Thing.

Chris in his Catalina 36 followed us to the place I had set as our anchorage just West of Billy's point. I could see two boat in the distance but thought they could not be Affection and, our 3rd cruise host boat, Deli Marvi, they were not expected to be there yet, Deli Marvi was not expected until Saturday.

With Peggy at the helm, we dropped anchor but Summer Wind motored past us heading to those other two boats, Chris reported that Affection and Deli Marvi were already there and anchored. They were about 800 yds further to the SE from us. Chris advised that there was plenty of depth, about 9.6',  for our 5'7" keel. I figured we were over 18" above low tide and so could anchor much closer to the three of them. We agreed that the weather was too lumpy to raft up that evening and planned to review that on Saturday morning.

Summer Wind and Eximius at Sunset off of Billy's Point

The Crew from Affection and Summer Wind came over to Eximus for cocktails, but no sign of the crew from Deli Marvi - Christ took his dinghy over to wake them up. Turned out it was not Deli Marvi! Did I mention they were not due to arrive until Saturday! Duh - we all got a laugh out of that.

Saturday morning we were suffering from a lack of sleep, it had been a bumpy night and I was really glad that we hadn't rafted up with anyone overnight. It was still too lumpy to raft up and it was too lumpy to have the planned Dinghy race, so we all just hung out on our boats. I'm not sure if the others did the same but we made up for the rough night with a few Naps.

The major event for Saturday was the Host boat gathering at 6:30pm, The plan was for everyone to meet up at the Host boat ( Eximus ) and bring something to share. Eximius is 34' and Summer Wind is 36 and they have a BBQ ! Chris had planned to BBQ Burgers and Hot Dogs. We had prepared a big pan of Mac-n-Cheese ( far too much! but that's normal for HISC BSTS events ) So we agreed to move the party to Summer Wind. There was plenty of food and a bit more room than on Eximius.  By the middle of the afternoon, Lady Gray and Deli Marvi had joined us at the anchorage. So by 6:30 we had five boats and 12 members ready to party. Ok, so some of them started to party a little earlier - but what happens in Biscayne Bay stays in Biscayne Bay.

At the party, Chris had put together a quiz based on Memorial Day, I only guessed one answer - why is Memorial Day held in May? Because that's when the Spring flowers blossom at the Gravesites of those we remember.

Our part of the Party was a 'What's in the Bag' game. I had made up 12 bags with hidden contents from my garage and players had to try and guess what was in the bags just by feeling them. Everyone won a glow in the dark necklace and each boat won an LED bottle cork light kit. 

The food was great, the company was great and the weather was great - that's what it's all about!

We slept a little better Saturday night, not much, and had a light breakfast of Fruit & Yogurt before the Bagels and Cheese break Sunday aboard Deli Marvi around 10am. There's a lot more Room on Deli Marvy and all 12 members found somewhere to sit and join in the chit chat. Oz & Rita did an awesome job of laying the table. Jeff brought his Expresso Maker aboard and made custom coffee for all. Oh, and  Oz & Rita's Dog, Leeloo, seemed to want to be friends with everyone, especially anyone that had something to eat! I say Oz and Rita's Dog, but really she is just a woolly rug on legs. Totally Cute.

We didn't have anything else planned for Sunday, just as well as Eximius was getting hot and we had issues with the Air Conditioning. Our Batteries can provide power for AC for about an hour, so we have a Honda 2000 onboard. However, the Victron system was not happy and kept switching off the Inverter. It took us a few hours but finally got it working. ((  When I got home on Monday, I looked up the issue on the Victron Website and discovered that I should disconnect the USB Mk3 adapter from the Victron Cerbo GX when the USB is not in use! ))

Lady Gray departed the anchorage sometime Sunday afternoon. We were having breakfast Monday Morning ( Memorial Day ) when Affection pulled their Anchor to head North. We pulled ours and headed North at 0705. Summer Wind must have left before us and Deli Marvi were still at anchor after we left.

It was an uneventful motor into the wind up to the Featherbeds, we reversed the prop a few times to expel a build up of Sargassum. We lost sight of Affection before we exited the Featherbeds Channel.

Our plan was to head out  through the Stiltsville channel and determine if the Ocean conditions were suitable for heading up to Port Everglades or nip back in through the Miami cut and go up the ICW. 

Jeff called us on the VHF and advised that the ocean was calm, so we elected to go 4 miles offshore to gain advantage of the Gulf Streams flow northwards.

When 4 miles off shore ( we check by putting the cursor of the Chartplotter on the location of the shoreline and the Chartplotter gives us the distance from Shore ) we planned to Pump-n-Dump the holding tank. Well, we tried! but the Macerator pump failed, probably it over heated as it failed to prime. We carry a spare onboard, that was left by the previous owner 8 years ago! I'll arrange for a PumpOut at the dock in the next few days as I don't want to be playing with the Macerator Pump when the tank is full - that's a really crappy job.

Oddly, the Gulfstream was much further offshore and there was an Southerly flowing eddy of nearly 2knots. Despite that, we made it up to Port Everglades and the 17th Street bridge by 15:06 and back to our dock by 16:04, not too shabby for a lazy Motor Sail in the Ocean.

After passing 17th Street Causeway bridge, we followed the ICW to the New River Turn off at Sand Bar park, packed! No surprise it is Memorial Day.  Turning to Port to join the New River and heading up river, we joined 3 other boats inline to navigate all of the New River bridges. This was one of better days to go up the river! The first boat, a sailboat 'Rendezvous' was the first boat inline and we each called the first bridge ( 3rd Avenue Bridge ) to request an opening, before we passed under 3rd avenue, I called Andrews Avenue for an opening, we heard the FEC Bridge was going to be open and all four boats passed nicely under all three bridges, then, all lined up, we all called and passed under 7th Avenue Bridge. We didn't have to do a single doughnut in order to slow down for any of the bridges - SWEET

11th Avenue bridge opened for us and we were on the home run. No traffic on the rest of the New River, we turned into our canal and Peggy brought us alongside like a Pro! The boat was stopped and just 2" from the dock when I stepped off. 

We turned the boat and set to unloading it. That took another hour. Locked all hatches, closed all thru-hulls and swapped the Depth transducer for the blank, checked all of the electrical switches, had a bite to eat and set off home.

We slept really well Monday Night!

Any day is better when it's on a Boat, a whole weekend is better still.

See you on the Water.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

2023 Memorial Day Weekend Sail Plan

Eximus Sailplan Memorial Day Weekend 2023

We're heading down to Billy's point for the Memorial Day Weekend 2023

Our Sailplan

Thursday May 25th 11:00 - 11:30 -- Depart our Dock on the New River Head down to Port Everglades, Turn South and head to Cape Florida Channel then up towards No Name Harbor to anchor overnight west of No Name Harbor

Friday May 26th. 0800-0900 -- Pull Anchor and head towards the ICW then South to Billy's Point (ETA 1500 )

Saturday May 27th - remain at anchor
Sunday May 28th - remain at anchor

Monday May 29th 07:00 - Pull anchor and head North - If weather is good we'll go outside, else we'll go North on the Ditch. Return to our dock by 1900

Crew: Paul & Peggy
Fuel: 35Gallons Diesel
Water: 71 Gallons
Food & Drinks for 7 days.

We'll have a cellphones and should easily be in range for cell coverage.

On the New River or ICW VHF #09

On the Ocean VHF #16

Position Tracking. 

Our InReach tracker and Victron World Locator will be on for the entire weekend.

Our AIS will be on unless we are anchor. 

We're looking forward to a fun sail to Biscayne Bay. 

See you on the Water. 







Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Storage Area Restraints

Restraining the Storage boxes beneath the cabin seats.

The previous owner raised the cabin seating around the table, that created a huge amount of storage. However, the when we're out on the water, all of the boxes that are stored beneath the raised seats come flying out when we heel during heavy weather. My solution: Add two levels of webbing between the seat supports and just buckle them up before heading out. Quick and easy to release them in order to gain access to the boxes which can barely move when strapped in.  We're going to refer to them as Seatbelts! 

I purchased the belts from Amazon, it was cheaper than making them myself from my webbing supplies. 

The picture shows Orange Straps, but the set I purchased were all black 1" wide & 60" long.

All I needed to do was cut them into two pieces and put loops on the cut ends. Then mount Footman Straps to the ends. Wrap the webbing end around the inner leg supports and thread the long end through those loops. All done. The buckles are positioned so that they are easily reached without having to climb under the table. 

I can see a lot more Seatbelts in our future. :)

The Noodles fit nicely :) Peggy was illuminating the area with a flashlight, otherwise it's pretty dark down there. 

This pic shows the storage area lit from above. I can see some LED strip lights under the high level seats in the near future.  With the two levels of strapping, I can store two boxes on on top of the other and neither will slide out when heeled.

This has not only worked out great for securing for Sea, but it also encourages being a bit more tidy.
As we don't have to worry about gear falling out in a seaway, all of the boxes ( mostly tools & spares ) are no longer in the Aft berth - we were actually able to have Crew stay overnight during the Palm Beach Regatta.