Monday, September 29, 2014

One fun project - Masthead plate

I realize that reading about a boat project may not be that exciting, but boat projects have been pretty much my world for the past couple months, so that is what you get to hear about!  This project was one of the many unplanned projects.  It is amazing to me that stuff that had been working for years (in this case, about 30 years!) suddenly decides to break now, just as we are trying to whittle down our long list of planned projects.  Maybe I should chalk it up to the fact that we are inspecting all aspects of the boat more carefully now than ever before ... and obviously it's better to be able to fix it now than try to do it in Mexico.  So I should be happy about it, right?!

Breaking welded extension on mast top
plate for halyard mounting
So, anyway, I was up at the top of the mast about two weeks ago, cleaning up some loose wires, and I noticed a rather disturbing thing -- a welded aluminum plate was about to break off!  This piece is an extension off the front of the mast top plate, which holds a U-bolt, onto which is mounted our spinnaker halyard.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Excited is the new word

Tessa is constantly learning new words and phrases, and the latest one is "I'm excited". Excited to see friends, excited to go to Happy Hour (which basically means going out for dinner at 5 PM at reduced happy hour prices).

We are excited too....our final days here in Berkeley. Excited to start this new phase in our life, excited to show Tessa new places. She has been talking about going to Mexico for quite a while. When friends ask this almost 2.5 yrs old " where are you going to" she will say " to Mexico", and " when are you going" she has been saying  "on Saturday" for a while.

But we are also sad to say goodbye to all dear friends we have made in the Bay Area. We hope to see all of them again, but when that will be...time will tell.

And lastly, I would also describe feelings aboard as exhausted. Tod is generally up until way past midnite and even I don't go to sleep until close to midnite. No need for an alarm for us, because at 7AM Tessa is happily and loudly singing in the V-berth! Tja, doing this kind of journey with a toddler adds a totally different dimension to life.

our happy camper singing in her room
Tod trying out our emergency rudder for our self steering windvane,
the rudder we hope never have to use

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Separation anxiety

With just about ten days to go before we depart, I must say that I am having some serious anxiety about leaving.  But not for the reasons that may be typical --  I'm not really worried about the boat, or the challenges of the sea, and not even all the people and places I will miss here.  Instead, I am anxious about not being able to easily get stuff!  I realize how incredibly easy it is now to get the things that we need for the boat -- engine parts, sewing stuff, mechanical stuff, electrical.  Just being in the US and having the Internet at our fingers makes all of that quite simple.  And being in the Bay area makes it even easier -- we have dozens of chandleries and specialty stores within just a few minutes drive.  Just this past week, I went to several chandleries (Whale Point, West Marine, Svendsen's); a place specializing in marine diesel alternators; and worked with two machine shops to get some parts made, and another shop to have some aluminum parts anodized.  And I'm not even thinking of all the stuff I ordered online this week!

So I am just a bit freaked out by the idea that very soon things like these will become much more difficult.  I realize that there are still lots of things available in Mexico, but for some really specialized things I think it will be either a long and annoying search, or it will simple not be possible to obtain without importing it from USA (and dealing with the cost/delay/bureaucracy of doing that).
We have been going a little crazy trying to decide what spare things to get.

Just this evening I came to the conclusion that our sump pump is dead -- we have a little sump pump because our shower is lower than the waterline, so the shower (and bathroom sink) drain into a little box, which is then pumped overboard.  I had *just* ordered two days ago a spare sump pump, so that is good... but of course, we should now get another spare!  Why is this stuff all breaking now?!  (In a separate post, I will write about two other unexpected projects which popped up this week... sometimes the project list feels like one step forward, two steps back!)

Monday, September 8, 2014

companionway much more than for the companionway!

Sailors are a creative bunch, and if you plan to go cruising for a while, that creativity will go a long way. Sure, in our final weeks of prep, I did call our dear friend and ask if we could borrow a regular 6 feet ladder, but as luck had it (or not) she did not have one. And it's wide base would not have worked for our purpose anyway. Our neighbor suggested we use an companionway ladder (the ladder that you use to climb in/out of boat), and with some more thinking and setting up many secure lines.....we had the companionway ladder tied outside on the stern. For what reason? Dada, check it out, Tod installing the blades on our 10 feet stainless steel Marine Kinetics 450 wind generator pole (yes, 10 feet, more than average, as Tod is married to a more than average height Dutch woman)!

Yoho, it's silent, and it's providing lots of amps/energy!

On a complete different topic: either I have already reached the age where one does need less sleep, or it's the excitement/adrenaline of our final weeks before departure that keeps me going. It's all good!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh, that waterline....

No, we are not sinking, but boy is Bliss riding low in the water with all her new cruising gear aboard. Today we ordered  200' of chain and 200' of multi brait nylon, so that's still coming aboard (and for the time being we are keeping our "old anchor chain/rode" deeply stored far up in the bow). Maybe raising the boot strip would have not been a bad idea when we were in the yard......

Ah well, Tod bought a dive compressor to clean our bottom.  Tessa likes to make everything into a party lately ("mama, we are having a cereal party" at breakfast), and she knows how to float/swim, so let the boat dive party begin!  We promise you a future picture of that boat cleaning party, and you are invited to join!

Bliss at the Petaluma  before our cruising upgrades