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.
Wow, before this effort we had three unattached networks on the boat:
- Raymarine Seatalk – A proprietary RS485 based one for theirs systems
- NMEA 183 – A standard network also serial based
- 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.
So last week we went out for a day sail (8/17) and the only wind we found was the result of the motor pushing us along. It was a nice day with good company but I do miss the winds of the spring.
This weekend looks better, wish us fair winds as we charge off Sunday!
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hmm, someone up above must have said be home, we had an early dinner planned and I thought I could get an early sail in. So off I went and the wind gods must have said “hey Mother’s day”.
Wind in my face going out, calm once out, the 20 knots in my face coming back. Next Mother’s day I stay home.
But still worth the trip!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wow, Jimmy Cockerill at The Rigging Company is great! He came in was able to identify the problem with furler quickly but was able to create a simple solution to the problem quickly and efficiently (without having to go up the mast!).
Along the way he identified other potential problems, trained me on how to prevent new problems all in an outstanding way. I never felt like he was selling work, he just looked at the problems, addressed them and said down the road you should fix this and that, all for a third of what he had quoted to come down.
I will be going through his company for all the things they do from now on!
Thanks to Ron and the Team at Holiday Point, we got in the water today. Boat is painted and waxed! Tomorrow (3/21) the Rigging Company will come down to go up the mast and start the repair of the Furler.
While the sail repair work is being done we will start cleaning and refitting the boat for leaving the dock. The De-winterizing of the boat will take some time, but it will be fun work.