Wednesday, April 30, 2014

(Non)Decorators' Touches

I have been waiting for five months to finally get the new cushions back on the boat and we finally got to do it! Of course it would happen that a single backrest cusion would fall off the bed and onto the floor on the other side of the bed and of course we wouldn't notice that we were missing a single cushion from the heap of cushions that took up the truck bed and back seat until we got to the boat and put them back in place. I have to admit, I spent the rest of the day worried that we didn't actually make another cushion, but as soon as we got home we found its hiding place.

Without further ado:
Ron heaved them up the ladder to me and I heaved them in the boat. Very nice, no?
I am far from a style-guru of ANY sorts but I do think this turned out pretty slick
Love the piping all the way around, good call Captain

Monday, April 28, 2014

Installing the Dinghy Davits

 Ron was able to make it home for a full 46 hours this weekend and with his busy and highly unpredicatable schedule we decided to head to the boat and work on the davits. The pictures may show a nice, sunny day but we had major wind gusts and a measly 45 degree high for the day. Quite miserable really.

As our projects usually do, this one started out with a pretty good amount of cursing and frustration. Apparently our install options were somewhat limited due to the curve on the back of the boat - the further apart the davits were the closer the dinghy would be to the back of the boat and the trickier it would be to raise/lower the dinghy. Plus the rails gave us only a couple options of places to attach the davits to as well. I'm not really sure on the specifics here, I just tried to stay away from the cursing until I was needed. Well, that and I really have no skill or interest in these shenanigans. Luckily the captain has both and took one for the team.

Why is it the first part is always so difficult?!
The first attachment point went okay until the backing plate wouldn't fit over the screws and had to be redrilled a little. This was only made worse by the fact that Ron was crammed in the rear storage area in an awkward and uncomfortable position. Meanwhile I was freezing on the ladder off the back with a screw driver in hand waiting to hold the screws in place while he put the nuts on. I'm happy to report all the other backing plates fit fine. Whew!

Butyl tape on mounting hardware
A couple weeks back I ordered some butyl tape to use for rebedding one of our genoa tracks that has a slight leak and figured this would be the thing to use for this project as well. It basically helps ensure a water tight seal so we don't discover down the road that water is getting into the boat and causing issues. Hence the reason we need to rebed the genoa track, water (albeit a small amount) is getting under the track and causing some wetness in the deck. Down the road this could lead to structural issues and major repair costs...things we'd like to avoid.
I read a blog post from Dani over at Sundowner Sails Again and learned from her experience to not mess around with the cheap stuff. I'm glad I didn't because, although I'm sure the 45 degree temps were probably a little low to be putting on the good stuff, who knows how the cheap stuff would have fared. This stuff is sticky, and even in the cold temps was still very flexible and workable. Thanks for the advice Dani, I now totally understand your slight obsession with this stuff!
First arm on

Once we got the first arm on things started to go better and our moods improved.
After witnessing our good friends' davit debacle a couple years ago, we decided to go with the larger sized stainless steel davits from Garhauer that they ultimately ended up upgrading to (I think ours are 1 1/4" instead of 1"...Ron, Jessica...want to confirm this?). Anywho, each arm can hold up to 350lbs so between our 75lb dinghy, a 50(ish) pound solar panel and anything else we might have in the dinghy when on the davits, we shouldn't be anywhere near approaching the maximum limit. Plus, Ron assures me that unless I gain a lot of weight, I can do pull-ups on the cross bar. Yippee.
Our setup also came with some other reinforcements for the rail, which makes me feel better. Plus, they double as good handrails for the ladder.

I snapped this picture as I ran to the truck to warm up, ready to go!
It was so cold that I didn't dare try to get a coat of cetol in the exterior wood, which kinda bummed me out. But I did get poly coat #3 on the floor so it could have been worse.
SOOOO glad this day is done!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mantus Ambassadors!

Earlier this year, after hearing nothing but fantastic reviews and seeing impressive Youtube videos for Mantus Anchors, I sent a message to Mantus inquiring about a partnership.  Cruisers are always trying to find ways to get good gear while preserving the cruising kitty as much as possible...enter partnerships/sponsorships/whatever-you-want-to-call-them. These relationships really create a win-win for the manufacturer and the cruiser and usually entails a manufacturer giving the cruiser a discount of sorts with the understanding that a review of their product will be done and placed on the cruiser's blog (of which nearly every cruiser has) or some other outlet that is seen by people.

I decided to get the ball rolling early on because we had planned to replace our current 35# CQR this spring with a 45# Mantus before putting the boat back in the water. When I got an enthusiastic response that same day I felt a wee bit silly as we still had at least 4 or 5 months before we would need the anchor. I thought for sure it would take at least a few weeks of back and forths to get things squared away. I was wrong. In good conscious I couldn't just accept their agreement without disclosing the fact that we had a few months before we'd be able to use the anchor and write a review. True to their form, they were a-okay with that and said 'just do it when you can'. 

Well, as of today, the boat's not in the water and we don't have the anchor...yet. BUT I did just order it!

Mantus has graciously added us to their sponsorship page and it looks like we're in (a lot of) good company!

In case you're wondering why we've chosen to go with Mantus, here is just a couple videos that helped us make our decision. Pretty impressive.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Congratulations, I'm Sorry

This is my last week of school. It's taken me 2 1/2 years to complete my Master's of Public Health, and arguably I haven't done it quite yet, but I'm thisclose. And it's about time, after promising myself I was done with school forever after getting my Bachelor's of Nursing I somehow found myself enrolled for more torture a mere 6 years later.  Really, it wasn't that painful. Just a pain. But now I'm 99.99% done and it feels pretty good.

A lot of people ask me what I'll do with this new degree and I usually respond, "keep my current job, not get a raise and quit my job in a year". The looks are pretty priceless. Regardless, my statement is true, that's exactly what I plan to do. I do have hope however, that when I go back to work that my advanced degree will be beneficial and open some doors for me.

I came home this week to a box on the doorstep. Again, I just assumed it was another thing for the boat. Upon opening it, I was surprised, it was the watch I'd been wanting for a while. I started playing with it and trying it on when I noticed the personalized note that came with it. I was sitting in our house alone, hysterically laughing. The Captain sure has a way with words.
Best congrats/apology note in the history of history
 I promise that I'm not really the financial Natzi this note makes me sound like. But I may be pretty close.
I luuuuuuurve it
 I'm also hoping that my new found free time will let me do some blogging more regularly, assuming I have something worthwhile to write about that is. Yay for freedom!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

More Poly And Some Cetol

Wow! What a gorgeous weekend!! I think it's safe to say that Spring has finally sprung. This was especially noticeable when I got to the boat on Saturday and our little alley of boats was jammed with at least 7 or 8 other cars, the last few weekends there was maybe a car or two there intermittently, nothing like this weekend. It was nice to see other people excited about getting their boats ready for the water and hear the friendly banter of people out enjoying the nice, sunny weather.
Nice day with some company in the yard
 I first tackled the project of cleaning the companionway trim, I got out my bucket, scrub brush and Soft Scrub and went to work. Boy, if I thought the cabin floor was dirty the trim was an epic disaster. It could have gone a little better if I'd remembered the old toothbrush for the nooks and crannies but overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. I would have never thought that dirty, stained, beat-up wood would polish up as good as it did!
 While waiting for the trim and traveler to dry I went around the boat and sanded down areas of the toe rail that had been rubbed by lines or otherwise dinged. The previous owners had applied Cetol Marine Natural Teak and Cetol Marine Gloss right before we bought the boat so the vast majority is in great shape. Depending on who you ask, the general recommended maintenance includes a coat or two of gloss done every 1-2 years. We didn't do anything to it this last summer and now that we're fixing some areas we'll do those maintenance coats sometime this summer.
Bare spots from lines and more evidence of the slop-job on the Cetol
We also recently ordered something to help prevent this wear and tear - stay tuned for that report
After a little sanding
Of course I couldn't leave without adding a second coat of poly
 This time, however, I didn't just stop with a coat on the floor. I also sanded down the edges of the counter in the galley and the interior trim around the companionway so I could add a much needed coat of poly. Actually, these areas probably should have been stripped and cleaned like the rest, but this will have to do for now.
I'm not even going to tell you how many times I stuck my hands
and my hair in wet poly and Cetol
After sanding
One coat of poly, more to do....of course
When the companionway trim was dried it got a coat of Natural Teak. LOVING the color.

 I read somewhere about someone sanding and patching their Cetol Marine-covered exterior wood and they recommended using foam brushes. I usually hate those things but liked the idea that I could just throw them out when I was done. So I bought some and used the smallest brush. It took a little getting used to not having a good workable edge on the brush, instead of being able to edge something in long strokes I had to pretty much jam the brush into the corner and dab until all the wood took some of the stain. It's a good thing that the blue tape was still on, the back and sides of the traveler were a little messy...but the foam brushes worked.
Now I can kind of understand how the previous owners got Cetol all over the place (like on the cleat) 
Frames back on the hatches
These ongoing projects are not satisfying my need to cross stuff off my lists, we need to get crackin'. Actually, we need the trusty Captain to get home first so then we can get crackin'. And we need to just make a decision on the new Hullabaloo decal design already. Seriously.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

The piles of boat related stuff that is taking over our spare bedroom and trickling out to the living room is getting to be a bit much. 
Could be worse, right?
 We've been trying to order everything we need for projects to be done before launching so that if when Ron makes it home again we are ready to get them done.  All this just adds to the load stuff we took off the boat last fall and the projects like the cushion reupholstering and refinishing the companionway stairway that we did over the winter.

Davit boxes in the living room
More stuff
At first we were worried about having all the stuff on time to do the projects, but now I'm a little worried that the Captain will be unavailable for a lot of the projects.  We don't have a date scheduled to launch the boat, which is good, but I'd like to get her in the water as soon as possible...I miss her!

I guess I can't complain a whole lot about Ron working too much though, he's doing a great job feeding the cruising kitty. Besides, I can always finish the projects if I need to. Sure, they won't be 'pretty' or 'done right' but they'll be done.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More stripping

Just look at that sad, pathetic, mistreated companionway trim! It's an atrocity. And the condition of the traveler (the track across the companionway) right next to it is no better. The majority of the finish must have been worn off for quite a while because, as you can see in the pics, there is a lot of mold/mildew/junk on the wood. Not the nicest welcoming for boat guests if you ask me. And quite embarrassing too.

On Saturday night there was a pretty nasty storm with hail, uprooted trees, branches/debris all over the roads and traffic lights out. Luckily the boat survived with no noticeable damage. Because of the storm the companionway trim and traveler wood were still wet. I had no idea if this was bad for stripping them but went ahead with it anyway.

For most of this stripping I used a screwdriver because there were small spaces and angles that the (metal) scrapers couldn't touch. Even with using the screwdriver, I was making pretty good progress and actually having fun doing it. Admittedly, I'm a picker. My favorite part of my painting/power washing job in college was scraping the old paint. It's an illness. I would take stripping small areas like this, even with the nooks, weird angles and tight spaces, over stripping the cabin sole anytime. It didn't hurt that the sun was peaking through the haze and I was actually getting hot while working either.

Right side of the companionway mostly stripped.
I love the instant gratification!
Let's not talk about the traveler. Oy.

The stripper doing it's job.
Disregard all the splatter, told you I was enjoying myself :)
I was having a grand old time and about halfway done when the winds got crazy and temps dropped about 10 degrees from a cold front blowing in. And boy did it get cold! It went from being in the upper 50s and sunny to the low 40s and windy. Yuk. The stripper stopped working as well as before and I had to put a lot more muscle into it. It helped keep me somewhat warm but at this point the fun was gone.
Cold front with major fog
More progress despite the cold
I wasn't done with just stripping the trim and traveler, I still wanted to squeeze in the first coat of polyurethane on the cabin sole now that it was spic and span cleaner than before. When I first got to the boat I rubbed it down with mineral spirits to get it ready for the poly. By the time I got done with the trim and traveler it was dry, clean and ready to go.
Mineral spirits on the floor
First coat of poly down.
Sorry for the awkward pic, I was precariously perched with
one foot on the quarter berth and one on the galley counter
I also brought the floor hatches back with me. I had planned to screw the frames back on them in the cockpit while giving the poly some time to dry before closing up the boat but I was so cold I decided to wait to do that until next time when it's (hopefully) warmer.
Complete with 5 or 6 coats, I can't remember which.
Psshhhh, who needs a man?!? Oh, wait. I do. I'm not handy, I can't sew, I don't have fancy wood shop skills. Fine, I guess I'll let Ron back on the boat when he gets home.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Hullabaloo in serious project mode
This weekend's to do list got done with some good old fashioned girl power! Saturday was supposed to be the nicest day of the weekend. Instead it started down pouring just as my mom and I arrived to the boat. She hadn't seen the boat yet, last summer we had a couple weather-related cancellations, and although I would have rather she seen it for the first time in a little better shape, it was great to get her aboard...even if we were still on the cradle in the boatyard.

Since we were stuck inside we tackled cleaning the floor. When we got done the floor was nowhere near spotless, but then again the boat is 33 years old and if she didn't have a little character, she wouldn't be as special as she is. Plus, a perfect boat would not be a perfect boat for us.

We used a little Soft Scrub, some water and a lot of elbow grease to get the job done. I chose to use Soft Scrub because it's a nice, mild cleaner. We could have used a harsher cleaner and probably got more dirt out, but I didn't want to beat up the teak anymore than it already is. I didn't realize how much dirt we actually got out until we dumped the bucket in the sink. We could have probably scrubbed the floor ten more times and gotten more dirt out each time. But I'm happy with how it turned out and not too worried about what dirt is left.
Welcome to the boat Mom, now get to work! It's a good thing she loves me so much.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Aaaaaallllllll Byyyyyyyyyy Myyyyyyyyyyyself

Everyone needs a little Bridget Jones every now and then - unless you're Ron
 This weekend will mark my first attempt to get to the boat on my own.  Ron is out of town for work for a couple weeks and if we want to launch in May and still get our projects done before launching, I need to get busy.  My biggest fear revolves around man-handling the Little Giant Ladder and setting it up between multiple boats without any 'whoops' moments. We might hit 70 this weekend (Whoo-to-the-Hoo!) so there should be someone around to at least hear my screams or watch me fall down a ladder.

My job this weekend is to finish stripping the teak around the companionway and clean the sole teak so I can start putting some polyurethane on it next weekend. The wood picked up quite a bit of dirt where the finish had worn off and the last thing I want to see after all this work is all that dirt sealed under the poly. Ron was able to get the floor hatches clean at home with warm water and dish soap but I'm not taking any chances driving all the way up there with just dish soap so I'm packin' the Soft Scrub. Yeah, I don't mess around with my mild cleaners.

We would like to get at least 5 to 6 coats of poly on the flooring so we can make our lives easy in the future and just do a maintenance coat every year or so. No more of this stripping, cleaning and sealing business for us, we hope. I'd like to try and get as many coats on as I can in the next couple weeks so we can hit up the larger projects still on the list when Ron's home.

 I'm pretty sure we're putting Cetol Natural  and Cetol Gloss on the (exterior) companionway wood since that's what's on the rest of the exterior wood. I should probably confirm this with Ron, but I'll probably just do it.

After the woodwork is finished we still need to:
  • Remove current name decals and replace with new one
  • Add haling port to transom
  • Wax/buff the tar out of the deck and topsides
    • No actual tar but she's got some major chalk action going on
  • Scrape/prime/paint the saildrive
  • Scrape/prime/paint the rudder
    • Some of the paint is chipping off down to the fiberglass
    • Our bottom paint is good for another year (next spring we'll switch from ablative to solid paint for our trip)
  • Replace the genoa halyard from a line/cable combo to line only
  • Mount davits
Guess we better get started.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quality vs. Quantity

Ron and I often have conversations about our hypothetical cruising lifestyle. Why? Well, it gets us on the same page, helps us both to better understand what to expect from eachother and it's just plain fun!

You may or may not know that I've never been the go-out-and-blow-my-money-on-'stuff'' kinda girl. And since the ingenious inception of our cruising plans these tendencies have gotten a bit more...outlandish. Example numero uno: You should see the clothes I wear to work. Eek. It's not that they're dirty or gross, they're just not of the latest styles and trends. Seriously, I once got complimented on my plain-Jane brown Clarks by a lady who had to be pushing 80. Most items I've had for at least a couple years. And I really don't care. In fact, when I get desperate and have to go get some new items I can get downright grouchy.

I'll drop $500 on the boat or boat gear without even batting an eye but spending $30 on a shirt will nearly put me in a rage-filled meltdown.

Considering this little quirk of mine, it should come as no surprise to you that Ron and I have had some heated discussions about our (hypothetical) cruising style. After a while I even started adopting his 'I work to live not live to work' mentality....mostly. One day when I was being particularly stubborn on the matter (Who me? Stubborn?) Ron passionately proclaimed, "I'd rather cruise for six months and run out of money having fun than cruise for years and be misserable".

::JawDrop:: He totally got me there. Bingo. Point taken. Touche. Aha moment.

I get it. Now LETS DO THIS
The point of all this work and sacrifice NOW is to HAVE FUN later. If it's not fun later then what really is the point? Our trip might be shorter than expected but who cares as long as we made a great adventure out of all of it?

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm wired to just blow money on stuff, but I've never had any qualms about spending it on memories and experiences and that's exactly what this trip is all about.

Of course I say that now, but the more we talk about it the more I know that it really is true and the more likely I'll be to loosen my white-knuckle grip on the cruising kitty when we're out there. Afterall, a strangled kitty does not a happy crew make.

*Don't overestimate my personal growth, this 180 is due in part to the fact that I know we can easily ship Ron off to work if we get in a financial bind. And I could most likely find work as a nurse if absolutely necessary, but that's a last resort ;)