Winter in the BVI

January 2020 had Patricia and I down in the BVI’s on someone’s  boat, not as real sailors but rather that as guest for a week. The Arabella, a 157 foot triple mast sail boat.  The trip was an ASA charter and we had a great time.

I have never been on a ship like this one, With it’s full set of sails flying we skimmed past Whites Bay before dropping anchors off Soggy Dollar Bar.

Our trip was great although we came home to join our family in Delaware where my son Jon was attempting to recover from a heart event. Sadly I need to report that my First Mate, Jonathan Freedman, passed in February. Jonathan will be forever missed.

 

Jumping the electrons

Wow, before this effort we had three unattached networks on the boat:

  1. Raymarine Seatalk – A proprietary RS485 based one for theirs systems
  2. NMEA 183 – A standard network also serial based
  3. The Full Sail Net – An Ethernet/ WIFI system for chart plotter and such 

Now we have tied it all together, it required some new boxes and the use of off the shelf components with new software but now everybody talks to everybody. The AIS radio talks to chart plotter, the Wind gauge talks to the auto pilot, the VHF knows where it is sitting at any given time and reports our location to Coast Guard and everything is reachable via mobile devices (phones, old Ipad etc.).

I am passing data around using a broker (KPLEX) and collecting it from the various components via USB based serial interfaces which can support RS485 and RS422 which is then posted to the broker and is available via TCP connections. Lots of fun. Who said embedded systems can not be made to jump, and proprietary networks can not be hacked and decoded, not me.

Back on the Bay

With Maryland sailing released from lock down it has been a great couple of weeks. Also it was a bit of a rushed trip out.

Laura and I went out the Sat. it opened and I had been doing all sorts of project and the cabin was full of tools and such, but we just went out anyway and had a great time.

This Friday, Patricia came down with me a cleaned up the cabin and organized it and Sunday Laura and I went out for a long sail. down to Bloody Point and then tacking up the bay. We went out at 10:30 and got back at 6pm. Laura sailed us all the way with her finger on the remote while we talked.

The Season just Blew By

Wow, today is December 13th (Friday) and Full Sail is heading up to the hard to spend the winter, napping.

This was a great season, we went out almost every weekend, many time with ASA crew joining us from the GoSailing app. We had wind and sometimes not so much. We sailed up the Annapolis to spend the 4th of July week on a ball and watch the fireworks. We added more toys, got an electric outboard to push the dingy around the make easy runs off the boat.

Must say the sails will need some TLC over the winter but all in all she is holding up well. I am looking at putting a set of davits on the back to hold the Dingy and move the solar panels to a better location, that will be the big winter project.

The plan is to go back in the water the first week of March, till then it will be work and couple of weeks in the BVI to keep my sailing addiction feed.

The Dingy Project

Docks are nice but traveling off them into anchorages or mooring balls requires an easy path to shore (not swimming). So last year on black friday I bought a West Marine PRU-3.

The PRU-3 in a two chamber inflatable that will hold 3 people (900#’s) and will fit in the boat without being tight. It came with a pump to blow it up and a pair of oars. Being the lazy old man I am I went looking for a small outboard and there I learned a lot.

Bottom line I ended up with an electric one (Torqeedo 1103C), which I got from Fawwcett in Annapolis with a small discount. It is light, total weight 38# or 29# without battery, has long run time (6 hrs at 1/2 speed, 20 at slow speed) and is equal to a 3hp gas motor. Not cheap but 2 year warranty and 1st service is at 5 years. No gas, no oil and can charge from either boat’s batteries, solar or dock AC. And waterproof to IP67 standard (it can fall overboard and still work). Even is so smart it will tell you how far you can go (GPS built in). Plus it is a classic case German over engineering!

So all I have to do is put in on dingy (it breaks down to 3 parts to make it light), press the on button and turn the handle and off we go.

BTW: the 12V charger option was $50 but I found the connector in my pile of old wall chargers and a 12V to 24V up-converter on amazon for $13 so I am good for anyplace.

Splash Day

Happy PI Day

Well it’s both PI day and boat day, today Full Sail is scheduled to be splashed (if all goes well). I can’t tell you how excited I am to start the season.

Yes I know it is iffy time, but I have lots of projects to do and being in the water is better than climbing a ladder to get in/out.

1st up is getting sails back on, then rewiring the log sensor, then the internal lights. Once the systems are all checked out and De-winterized it will be time to do a shake down sail. Then it will be sailing season again!!!

VI School

What a trip!

Jan 7 – 12th I took the ASA 103/104/114 courses down in the US Virgin Islands. It was offered by US VI Sailing School and my instructor was Quincy Briscoe and wow what a guy.

The class was great, we did 7 days on a Cat out of St Thomas, and each day one of us was the skipper for the day. We sailed all over the US VI and BVI learning as we went (Class was just 4 of us).

So now I have covered the ASA 101/103/104/114 as well as a lot of navigation (I don’t need no stinking GPS, give me a chart and a compass and I am good to go).

We all took pictures of the class and sites which you can see at http://sailing.done-that.com take a look and be jealous.

I can’t wait for March to come so I can get back on the water.

Nap time for Full Sail

Dec 1, Nap time for Full Sail

Sadly we pulled the sails and closed up the boat today for the season! Next step is for Holiday Point to winterize her and fine an easy out location for her to sleep on the hard.

I have a few projects for the winter:

1. Install a new knot meter sensor,rerun the AC wires to HVAC (they are a bit short and I don’t like tight wires.
2. Install either an arch or davits on stern for the solar panels and AIS and long range Wifi (Maybe a new Bimini with short hardtop and room for canvas bridge to the dodger).
3. Flush out motor heat exchanger
4. More to come

Highlights of the season:

Connected with lots of people on the GoSailing app, and took quite a few out for day sails.

Went out in bad weather and got lost at mouth of eastern and Chesapeake bay and had to call for tow (thank you Boat USA). Along the way on that trip I got a compression fracture of L-1 while stuck in bow pulpit watching tow lines start to engage (learned from that one! 6 weeks off the boat “sad”).

Got new slip and had to learn how to euro dock (prop wash city).

Got caught in a squall coming out of Annapolis after waiting out another one and was surprised how well Full Sail handled 30 knots wind with main not reefed (long story some time).

All in All a great learning season!

PS: Off to VI Sailing School in Jan to pick up sun, sailing, learning and more certs

On the Hard

Well, if had to come to this! Winter on the bay!!

It is that time of year that most boats on the Chesapeake Bay move to the land, (HARD as they say), and Full Sail has joined them.

We can’t wait for March to come and we can get back in the water, but we are using this time to do some minor work:

New Bilge pump (2)
New Nav Station panel, with built in OpenPlotter-chart plotter, WIFI, AIS receiver, tiring GPS into radio for distress with location calls.
Fresh refinish of Tiller (looks great)
A Mainsail bag with lazyjacks from LeeSails
Maybe a water cooled refrigerated upgrade for the icebox.

Pictures will follow soon.

Pat & Lance on the Bay

Sept 9th, Pat and Lance went “To Sea” it was a great day! Light winds smooth sailing and great time. Of course the Rum and Cokes helped out. One thing that was cool was there were some fighter aircraft practicing around us and it was fun to watch them do fly overs.

We weren’t the fastest boat out there but we held our own., and I am looking forward to having my brave loving wife out again before it gets too cool to be fun.

Great weekend on the Bay!

Wow it could not have been a better weekend, Sat we had great winds in the teens and in the right directions. Jon, Bailey and I went out and within 2 hours were under the bay bridge into the upper bay. The bay was full of sail boats and we saw dock mates running the same track. Only an hour and haft back as Jon keep us right on the edge of the no sail range on a fast close hull run.

Sunday was a big one, the winds were light but my lovely wife and sister in law + husband came out for a sail. My wife Pat has concerns with boats but see went out and that’s a first. At least now she can say she tried it however I think she is a lot less worried that she was before. Stay tuned for updates.
Oh her sister Bernice turns out to really enjoy sailing so we hope to see more of her.

One Cool Boat (AC)

When I overnight-ed on the boat I tried to turn on the AC to no avail.
The problem turned out to be the AC’s water pump which unlike most pumps does not suck, it just circulates water. The lack of the ability to self-prime its self means that the water lines must be filled with water before it can actually work.
So when I was down last I figured out the correct procedure to get it working after being out of the water. And now we have a cool boat when at dock, the weather just needs to get hotter so we will need it.

Hatch way project

Looking at the hatchway boards it is clear they need to be refinished, however there is no way to do it dockside in a day. So I decided to make a Plexiglas cover out of a piece my Dad had given me to make my bachelor dining room table.

A quick trip to Home Depot for a 4×4 section of plywood to use as a pattern and some rough cuts and I went down to slice out the correct section. Then back home to cut it out of plastic and back down to make the fit dead on.

OK, now I have the basic cover, but I want to dress it up a bit with some trim and hasp, I hope to have that done by weekend.

Sneaking out and First Overnight

Was working away Thursday when I got a text from Jon saying want to cut out for an afternoon sail, so the answer was yes. Took a couple hours of leave and headed down boat. We went out for an early sunset sail, had nice sail and came back late.

Now my plan was to take Friday off and do some minor work and take a day sail, picked up Alex, local sail boater and we went out for a light wind sail which was nice. Then set about setting up for the night. Tried to get the AC running but could not get the pump working. Things cooled down and I had a nice night in the V-Berth (should have sleep in the main cabin) as there was no reason to squeeze into the V with two nice bunks waiting for me.

Sun came up to fog and a coffee, spent some time checking out the AC pump then off to Sailboat show.

Finished the show, passed up the 300k boats and headed off to the beach.

History – previous owners

I was on the Columbia Owner’s Site (http://www.columbia-yachts.com ) and I saw an old email address for the second owner of Full Sail so I sent him an email and he replied. See Blow:

Hey there skipper,
Good to know that she is doing well. I was the second owner. First owner was the organized genius. I bought her as Vela Lena in 2001. Renamed / translated to Full Sail. Spent 13 years updating and making my own. Good to see you are doing the same. Did the previous owner trade up to another boat? Surprised it was sold so soon. Loved looking through your website.
Rob Fowler
Solomons, MD

Rob also pointed me to the original owner’s site (http://www.svsarah.com/Sailing/SailingVelaLlena.htm) which is well worth perusing.

Full Sail has spent 25 years with first owner, 13 with second, two with the next. I hope I get to spend many years at her tiller.
Capt. Dan

Tax day on the Bay

Saturday on the Bay,

Martha, Minh, Elena and James went out for a short sail out to Thomas Point. As it was the children’s first sail we had a full briefing for them before leaving the dock. Clearly I need to create a before the sail video to help acquaint new sailors to the boat and boat safety rules.

We beat against the wind all the way out past Turkey Island and then we got a nice breeze, a bit cool but nice. From the lighthouse we went south to bring us in to a beam reach coming back in and it was a smooth trip back. With kids and parents on the deck house once we got into Shelly Bay.

Other than some usual kids boredom, and lack of ipad’s to entertain it was a great afternoon. I still need to work more on docking with a breeze as it was a challenge, which we overcame.

Saturday on the bay

We finally got out Saturday, Jon, Bailey and I took to the high sea’s for a quick trip out to Thomas Point lighthouse. We went out fine however it was cool out there and no sun till we came back. All in all we had a good time and it was Bailey’s first time and she was teaching us all water safety from her don’t drown classes.
Fun times

Spring Cleaning on the boat

What a weekend, Pat was off to a silent retreat Friday so went down and started working around 2:30 Friday, cleaning and organizing the boat. Boy that was a job, and I found a few minor things that needed fixing. One of the solar vents was not working so I tore it down and found the fan motor was stuck, however it turns out the whole unit was on sale half off at West so that was easy to solve (fool that I was to think it was that easy).

Saturday was just plain wonderful, mid to upper 70’s so I went back down. Hmm hanging the main was like making a bed with tangled up sheets, it took 3 tries to get it right, but it is up and ready to go now. Got a $30 shop vac at Loews and the boat is now dust free and spotless (except the galley sink). Spotted some paint and staining needed to be done to make her bright and shiny for the season, so I did that on Sunday.

I went by IKEA and got some floating baskets for the galley and the head and hung them, low $’s and high utility.

By the end of the day Friday and Sat I was shot, went home and fell asleep on the couch!

The vent teak trim cover was for 3” and the new unit was 3.250” so that went home to get adjusted. I think the sole (floor of the cabin), needs to be re-varnished as well as the cabin ladder. I will get the varnish and next time I am down as I leave I will lay down a coat.