Friday, May 30, 2014

Sweet Swag

Alright, I kinda hate the word swag, but I'm using it because that's what we have. Ron's parents got us some sweet Columbia windbreaker/rain jackets and had them personalized. Technically, they were birthday presents for us both even though my birthday was back in January. Turns out I like getting presents for Ron's birthday too.
A personal touch is always nice

But THIS is fabulous!!

Does that spinnaker look familiar?

Cuz it should!!
Ron's mom was able to 'procure' a picture of the spinny from Facebook so the jackets aren't just personalized, they're graphically awesome is that?!?

Gee, if people see us wearing these around they might make the mistake of thinking that we know what we're doing!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ready to Splash!

New haling port
We spent most of the holiday weekend finishing up all the odds and end jobs that had to get done before launching. Like buffing/waxing the other half of the boat. Then, just to give her a little more shine, we went around and waxed her again. Boy does she look classy now!

In addition to that major upper body workout Ron got up close and personal with the engine and:

  • Changed the oil
  • Switched out the water/fuel separator
  • Put in a new water pump impeller 
  • Tried to find a replacement fuel filter for a filter with a part number only found in Europe. 
The fuel filter may be ancient but at least it's still clean and will work until we can either find a conversion kit to be able to use more widely available filters or order another filter. The fuel/water separator was another story, it was packed  full of gunk and sludge and a large blob of gelatiness muck splashed out when Ron emptied it. How that thing didn't fail on us last year I have no idea.

Ron also practiced his splicing skills and re-spliced the mooring pendant to make the eye splices larger so they'd be easier to get over our comically large cleats. This also gave him the chance to point out the need for a splicing kit so he can splice braided line, exactly like the new genoa halyard that we just ordered.

I cleaned the inside of the boat, which still had crap all over from every project we've done this spring. I couldn't believe all the sand paper and tack cloth laying around everywhere, or all the dust that collected on every horizontal surface. I pretty much had to wipe down the whole interior, but now the inside shines just as much as the outside!
Repainted near the waterline and a couple other areas that needed a touch-up,
hopefully we won't see  as much growth as we did last year!
The quart didn't do the whole bottom (duh) but it did do a lot more than I thought it would
We're waiting for the new genoa halyard to come before we put the genoa on the furler but we did manage to get the main sail on...which means we FINALLY got to check out our new mainsail cover!
Our nice, clean mainsail!
Attaching reef lines to the sail

The new cover is a thing of beauty!

And with all that we are READY TO LAUNCH! Ron will be calling the marina this week and with any luck she'll be happily floating by next weekend!
Ron thought it was appropriate to celebrate with an obscenely large ice cream.
Better his hips than mine ;)

Friday, May 23, 2014

On NOT Being Debt Free

Looking forward to the day we truly are debt free

I hear a lot about people working really hard to be debt free, especially those working to go on their own sailing adventure. Afterall, being debt free can be almost as liberating as sailing away. Or maybe that's just me. I seriously applaud those that can get themselves totally out of debt before cruising, particularly the younger cruisers who aren't retired or don't have a stockpile of savings to fall back on. But for us, and many people that are not in the 'retirement bracket', debt free cruising just isn't in the cards unless we want to put our trip of another few years. We don't.

I feel extremely fortunate, and proud, that Ron and I have been able to remain free of credit card debt and pretty financially sound. We are happy living beneath our means and have ZERO interest in keeping up with the Jones', actually we just sit back and laugh at our whitty, sarcastic jokes at their expense. Okay, we have an ipad (that we bought with gift cards from Ron's work related travel rewards). And a boat. But these were certainly purchased with a bigger picture in mind than just trying to impress people we don't know who probably don't care about our plans anyway.

I still have student loans and we still have a mortgage on the house. But I'm absolutely A-Okay with that. Neither of our parents paid for our educations (or our house) and I wouldn't have it any other way. It might sound a bit weird but this debt comes with a small amount of....pride. As in, we are totally independent, responsible, accountable adults who can take care of ourselves. Although I'd probably have an entirely different view if my loans were at the 7.9% interest my poor brother has to pay on instead of the 3.1% mine are at.

If we sold the house we'd make enough to pay everything off and have a few bucks for the kitty, but we're choosing to do the rental thing and keep the house....and the debt...for now. This is one of the major reasons I wanted to get the boat paid off before we left, which we've been fortunate enough to do!

I salute those who can cruise 100% debt-free, but I also salute anyone who can make it happen with hardwork and discipline on any financial standing. So get your financial ducks in a row, whatever row that might be, and get out there, we certainly plan to!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Are Boat Surprises Always Bad?

I almost had Ron talked out of going to the boat this weekend. I was not feeling enthusiastic about enduring a cold stiff wind off the lake again but, in the end, wanting to get the boat launched as soon as possible meant we'd have to make some progress now. Don't let the sun fool you, there was still a cool breeze but the sun helped keep things less miserable. Well that and the manual labor.
I was tasked with sanding the epoxy and painting the 'rudder post something or other' and the rudder. Far from perfect but it's done! I decided to paint the rudder as well because the leading edge of it was almost bare and if we're going to eek out another year with this bottom paint there are a few areas that need to be touched up, rudder included.
Severely unprofessional job

But not SO bad once it's covered...right?!?

Interlux bottom paint
 While I was working freezing under the boat, Ron was soaking in the sunshine...while also doing a major upper body workout. Hullabaloo was in desperate need of a good compounding and waxing to get rid of the white, chalky residue that covered her. We got half of the boat done and will have finish the job next time. Yippy. We'd also really like to get another coat of wax on her before she goes in the water but that may have to wait and be done on a calm morning from the dinghy.

Looks easy, no? No, no it's not.
Getting better, but still a long way to go
I've probably mentioned this before, but next year when we redo the bottom paint on the boat we'll also be moving the waterline up...a ways. I think because the boat has always been used pretty lightly that there was never a need to accomodate more weight and move it, but we'll be adding a substantial amount of weight with gear and belongings so up, up, up it must go! How far...we don't know!

Last year when we loaded her down with stuff, which really wasn't even that much, the white strip between the dark blue and light blue was pretty much sitting at/under the surface of the water where most slime and nastiness likes to dwell. Hence the ugly brown stains. And since that finish isn't meant to sit in the water all the time we discovered a bunch of little bubble blisters under that white strip and on the bottom of the dark blue strip. They kind of look and feel like air bubbles under a sticker and they're all smaller than a pencil eraser. We've never noticed them before and know that old boats get blisters but we're just not sure if this is something we can wait to address next year when we move the water line or if something that has to be done right away. In the meantime, Ron is going to do some research and we'll talk with the marina to see what they say about it.

I'm reeeeeealy hoping we can just get rid of them when we strip the area down for new paint next spring.

Just look at that difference!!
Of course, with Ron madly buffing the nasty grime right next to the bottom paint, a lot of that was rubbed off too. I think we're going to have to up our redneck status this year and just use the quart we have to hit the waterline and parts of the keel that need a little refreshing. I say this because the paint in the can is darker than the paint on the boat and there may be a slight line between the two. And you thought this winter with the tarps was bad? You haven't seen anything yet. Budget boating at it's best!
Our poor boat!

You can clearly see the growth line going into the dark blue bootstripe. If you look closely at the bootstripe on the right you can see little white spots near the bottom, those would be the blisters.

Any thoughts on the blisters and/or raising the waterline?? We're very open to input at this time!

We're hoping to have her ready to launch next week some time, you know, unless those blisters turn out to be a major fiasco.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's a Few Thousand Miles Between Friends?

Thanks to Ron's spending habits for work (which we get reimbursed for), we get a lot of frequent flier miles on our credit card...miles that allow us to get 2-3 roundtrip tickets a year for a whopping $10 in fees and taxes. Usually we use these miles to go somewhere together but with Ron's crazy work schedule it just wasn't possible this time. So he kept working while I took off to the sunshine state.

Our good friends moved to Florida this past fall and it was waaaaayyyyy past time I got down there to see them, their new house and check out the general area they now call home. And what a sweet reunion it was!

Tampa Bay
Jay had to work during the week so that left me, Britt and the kids to run amok...minus the murderous frenzy and desire to kill of course. We checked out beaches, old towns, got lost a few times (which may have been the most fun), swam in the pool and otherwise did what we felt like doing. It's amazing how you can not see someone for six months and the second you see each other it's like no time has passed at all. I've missed these people!

We took a trip to the Tampa Bay Brewing company in Ybor and walked around taking in the history and scenery. It was so pretty during the day that you'd never have thought it was dangerous to be there at night. Apparently there is a lot of gang activity in the surrounding area, who knew?? Too bad, this is an awesome town!
I'm a sucker for blonde beers and this one did not disappoint!
This place had some awesome (and old) tile work

Anna maria Island
Whoever said that you're most likely to burn on an overcast day wasn't lyin'
The only picture we got of us was on Britt's phone. Shucks.

Gotta have a little seafood on the beach
I know this was a great vacation because a) I had to come home to recuperate and b) I was too busy having fun to take many pictures. It's only been two days and I miss them already...I can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Painting the Saildrive

Ron usually just likes to do his own thing his own way, he's not so much into the research overkill that I am. He tends to roll his eyes when I mention something I read on "the forums" and usually consults with the fleet captain where he works for input and advice on boat maintenance and care. To my surprise he actually did some of his own research prior to ordering supplies to repaint the sail drive and prop and coming up with a plan for the project. Except for the statement, "I think this will work, I guess we'll know later" being said a few times, I feel pretty confident that we'll be in good shape with the saidrive.
Saildrive sanded down to metal, ready for primer and paint
We went with Interlux Primocon primer

Pacifica Plus Antifouling paint for the saildrive/prop
Pretty and primed, minus the zincs of course
Painted with Interlux Pacifica Plus antifouling paint
The saildrive system has been the topic of much debate when compared to the traditional shaft and strut set-up and, honestly, it was a concern (for me) when we started looking at this boat. But after doing a lot of research I actually feel pretty good about having this set-up. There are cost and performance benefits of saildrives but they come at the cost of regular maintenance demands.

Becuase the saildrive is basically a big hole in the bottom of the boat (too much sensationalism???), it's really important to keep up on its maintenance. Regular maintenance on saildrives is a must and although we're far from experts, our particular marina is an authorized Volvo service center with decades of saildrive experience and knowledge who can help us make sure we're all up to snuff in the saildrive department. We will definitely be hitting them up this fall for a good look at Hullabaloo.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Rudder Post Something or Other

Ha, I'm not even sure this area actually is considered the rudder post, if it's not it's pretty close to it. As you can see, this section of the bottom had some issues with adherence between the paint and hull. It wasn't easily chipped off but once you got a scraper under it big, thick chunks could be pried off. There is no rust or water draining from the cracks, which I've read can be very bad and thankfully the rudder itself it totally fine and just needs to be repainted next spring. 
After doing some favorite!
Edges sanded down
 To fill this area we used Interlux Watertite 2 part epoxy.

Watertite® Epoxy Filler

All filled in
 Now all we need to do is sand it down and paint it...we think. Either way it just really needs to hold up for a couple months since next spring we'll be doing a complete bottom job on her for cruising.

Also, I apologize for sounding so clueless on this matter, but I am :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Anchor Assembly Barely Required

Ron has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new Mantus anchor. As soon as it arrived Ron just had to put it together of course, but with 3 main pieces, six nuts/bolts and a couple bags of grease I think he was a bit bummed when it was all put together in less than ten minutes. Pretty easy.

Looks like caramel. Doesn't smell like it.
Greasing up the nuts/bolts
Slightly larger than our 35# CQR

If I don't sleep better with this hoss on bottm I probably never will
Most of the boats of similiar size in our boatyard have 35# CQR's. With our new Mantus I feel a bit conspicuous, but I'm sure I'll get over it. A 35# anchor is rated for a boat our size (36ft) but we chose to upgrade to 45# just to be safe so I could sleep better. Can't wait to try it out, just a few more weeks hopefully!