Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unpacking a new Monitor Windvane

A self steering windvane is an essential piece of equipment for a long distance sailboat. I ordered a Monitor Windvane from Scanmar International out in California and it arrived today.
All 73 lbs of it but most of the box was filled with peanuts.
Pulled the pieces out one by one. Here comes the paddle.
Here are all the contents laid out.
There are 2 airvanes at the top of the photo, the body, the rudder and 2 struts that attach to the boomkin.
Also a box of parts above and below the documentation including the manual.
This large purchase was one of about 4 that I was expecting during the refit of the boat. I still have to get an adapter plate from Bud Taplin at to be able to connect it onto my boomkin.
It feels considerably lighter than my current Aires windvane but still heavy enough that I really want to take the mast down before I connect it to the boomkin.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Bullet-proof" world wide navigation Using GE, GE2KAP, and OpenCPN

If you wish to sail the high seas, you need to know where you are going, so you need a map, or in landlubbers terms, a chart.

Firstly, the only thing that comes close to being "bullet-proof" when it comes to navigation are your eyes on a good lookout but the following process of navigating in a boat using readily available tools, is a pretty good.
Many expensive or free charts available to sailors are incorrect and even if you think your charts are accurate, we should not ASSUME that they are. Double check their accuracy. The only maps that seem to be right 100% of the time are Google maps available on GE - Google Earth.
Even if you have seemingly accurate charts, it is important to check them against GE before setting out.
The consequences of making a mistake in navigation can be life threatening so it is important that you get it right.

The acronyms GE, GE2KAP, and OpenCPN suggest a topic that is quite complicated and each have their own online explanations of use.
GE at
OpenCPN at

Approach to Alice Town (North Bimini) in the Bahamas.
If you load the official, freely available charts from NOAA you will find the latitude and longitude measurements do not coincide with those of GE.
Which are correct? GE or NOAA? A check of confirms that the following waypoints specify the approach to Bimini
Outside: N 25:42.658, W 079:18.459
Turn: N 25:42.681, W 079:18.261
Inside: N 25:42.830, W 079:18.158
These appear to be correct on GE but not on NOAA. The third inside way-point is even on land for the NOAA charts.
So what to do? You cannot use GE as a chart plotter and the internet is not available in the middle of the ocean. The solution is to use OpenCPN and offset the incorrect chart using GE2KAP.

Steps to take
First overlay the bad chart into GE using GE2KAP creating a new chart.
Adjust the transparency slider setting and move the bad chart using the green cross-hairs to line up with the correct GE map.
Move the transparency slider back to the right and select OK to complete the process.
Once the process finishes, make a note of the offset that is displayed.
In OpenCPN, select offset by right clicking on the bad chart and entering the offset.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Last Day in the yard

Basically a cleanup day. I decided to clear all the rainy day stuff that had been accumulating on my deck.
A lot of it got taken away by the dumpster divers, including all the mahogany and teak scraps, the bumpers and the stainless steel pulpit. But the boat decks look a lot cleaner now.
 I am a bit of a pack rat at heart but clutter really stresses me out and there is no room on this boat for stuff that is not ideally designed for the task at hand. Take the stainless pulpit for instance. I was thinking of cutting it up into pieces and using these for my solar panel mounts. Trouble is I really would like 1" diameter piping rather than the smaller 3/4" on the pulpit. Anyway for better or worse, it is all gone now.
Did lots of scraping, cleaning and painting inside out of the sun.
It was the hottest Florida day so far so I drank lots of fluids and hunkered down in the air conditioned V berth like the wimp I am. Not like my neighbor............
He works outside on his boat in the searing heat from dawn to about 10 pm, when the mosquitoes or something must drive him inside. I thought I was a hard worker but Ed takes the cake.
Anyway I am done now for another few months when I can come back and work on her some more. She is starting to look quite ship shape but there are a lot of crucial details that need doing.

I had intended to work on the engine and the all important rigging will have to come later but is on the top of my to do list. The problem with the rigging, is that I really need to pull the mast to do a decent job of it and then have plenty of time to work on it before I put it back up. I will be back to check on her October 25 when there is an East Coast Westsail Rendezvous in Melbourne, FL.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 8 in the yard

Last day tomorrow and then back to (paid) work. Today started off with a very nice Nescafe instant coffee and tour of my neighbor's boat.

I really like his clean decks and it inspires me to get rid of all the old rubbish on my boat.
Another package arrived. This time it is gasket for my port windows.
It was nice to work inside out of the heat.
I tested them all and they do not leak however as a backup I improvised with this.
Lunchtime was cold, left over pizza. Mmmmmmmmm!
I installed my secondary 35 lb CQR anchor.
My intention is to buy a 45 lb Rocna with 300 feet of chain as my primary, but I will put off this purchase for when I start cruising.
Good old Turtle wax make a really good rust remover almost like toothpaste for cleaning up my stainless turnbuckles. It works like magic.
 I nearly threw out this oil lamp because it smells up the inside of the cabin but I like the ambiance out in the cockpit.
Ahhhhhh! Sitting outside at sundown and listening to the quiet is quite delightful.
OK that lasted 5 minutes and the nasty kitchen cupboards kept looking at me so I did a spot of painting to round out the day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

BOAT....Bring On Another Thousand

Made a trip up to Wally World for some numbers to stick on the bow of the boat for Florida registration and came away with a whole lot more.
I have run out of clothes and the laundromat is out of order so I had to buy some even though I have a million T shirts at home.
I needed some ice for my ice box.
I put the registration numbers on the boat.
But after looking at them I decided that they were too close together and peeled them off and stuck them back on again.
That's looks better. Around this time of day it was raining intermittently so I made the mistake of not wearing a shirt because it was cloudy and cool. Boy, what a mistake that was. I am suffering for it now. My first aid kit came in handy yet again.
On a whim, I picked up these boat shoes from Target and even though they are no great shakes to look at, they are the most comfortable all purpose shoes.  I have been living in them along with my anti mosquito socks.
Finally I painted the topsides of the boat with dark brown Rustloeum. Makes the boat look so much better.
I told my neighbor Marcus about the great pizza place up the road so we went up there for good food and interesting conversation. It is 11 pm and I still have to exercise and shower. Phew!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 6 in the yard

Woke with a headache and continued having one all day long. Not a debilitating one but annoying enough to say it is there. I took 4 baby aspirins but I think it is heat related because I never get them usually. I have been drinking lots of fluids because I have been sweating profusely in this bloody heat. I thought Georgia was bad, but this place takes the cake even though the high today was only 85.
I continued on with my shotgun approach to boat maintenance. First off was sewing. Well not really sewing per say but it did involve fabrics.
I didn't want my expensive new winches, or my tiller being reduced to rubbish courtesy of the hot Florida sun, so I made covers for them.
Sort of spooky looking but it does the trick.
Next I replaced the boomkin tangs with beefed up ones.
Then I added a 30 amp fuse protector to the positive terminal on the house and starting battery.
There are 3 connectors that you can see. The solar panel connector bypasses the fuse, and besides the main connector there is a smaller one for the bilge pump with it's own fuse.
Now, while I doing this job, I dropped a nut into the dreaded area under the engine sump. Now this has a diaper that was black as the ace of spades, from oil so I replaced it with a new one. I bet you didn't know that boats had diapers.
Dodging in between rain showers I managed to do some painting with cetol.
This stuff stinks.
So I was settling down to eat a delicious meal.....
....when my Swiss neighbor, Marcus invited me to accompany him up the road for sushi. What a shame.....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 5....already?

Goodness me. Time flies when you are having fun. I had a very successful day today.  You never know from one day to the next just how it is going to turn out. When I came down here I decided that instead of picking out the projects that I wanted to tackle like in May, I would just cherry pick the ones that were the easiest to do. Last night there was an advertisement on the bulletin board here at the marina for some sails for sale. Now when I bought the boat, there were basically 2 sails on-board; one a Yankee head-sail and an older main sail. The Genoa was shredded in tropical storm Beryl. Now as with everything nautical, sails are very expensive. It would be nothing to spend a couple of boat bucks on a mainsail. Word of clarification.........One boat buck is a thousand dollars. So going into this I decided that I would buy a new Main sail and try to pick up some used head-sails. Ideally I wanted a good large Genoa, a storm jib, a tri-sail and a drifter. I had looked around with pickings small but managed to pick up a very good but small head-sail back in June. This morning my prayers were answered. Jim was getting rid of sails from a similar sized boat he lost in Hurricane Fay. Fortunately I am not a superstitious person, otherwise I would be running a mile. He sold me 3 very good sails for $200. One a full size Genoa, an excellent storm jib and a spinnaker. Now I have had some bad experiences with spinnakers and I really don't want one, but this one is pristine so I couldn't say no. I will bury it in the bilge and bring it out when I get desperate.
When I got back to the boat from buying the sails, I was approached by one of the marina staff about speeding in the marina. Not good. It is true that I have a heavy foot. So I am on notice to reduce my speed to 5 mph. Here is my humble pie for lunch.

I needed some bolts for my new winches and I visited Steve here at the marina and got them installed finally.
Those little babies run a boat buck each.
I had been waiting for the wind to drop so I could install the other boat name. Time was of the essence!
Everybody who walks by the boat now has to have an explanation of the meaning of Onapua. I have found that if I tell them it is my stinking wind they just keep moving.
I dropped my lifelines off at a marine shop locally to get them swaged and when I came back later he said he wouldn't do them because he didn't want to be held liable in case something happened. However he kindly lent me the crimping tool.
So after 16 swages, the boat is starting to look a bit more ship-shape.
I still have a million little things to do, but as Lao-tzu said, a journey of a thousand miles.....
Dinner was spinach, beetroot, and Lima beans

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's a tough world at the moment

So I am supporting the economy.

I actually have way too many projects going on concurrently. The solar air vent is for the broken one you can see above the head but it doesn't quite fit. So in the meantime it sits above the dorade vent above the nav station where it fits perfectly.
I actually have 4 vents and I will see how well the solar vent works out before I commit to more of them. I also received some fuse mounts for the batteries and that needs to go to the top of my to do list.
I had a great day today. Last night in my heat induced stupor, I fired up the AC and had an excellent night's sleep as a result. Today was a balmy 90 degrees. Phew! What a difference a day makes. This morning I drove up to fast signs and picked up the boat signs. I asked Lonnie how I could remove the old sign adhesive and he showed me his secret weapon.......citric acid. He gave me a little amount and that stuff is incredible. Easy, peasey (how do you spell that?) to get the old stuff off. He also explained how to mount the new sign. It sounded simple enough but it was so windy when I came to do it that I messed it up. So the port side sign will have to wait for another day.
After Fastsigns I went to Sailor's Exchange and swapped an old coastal liferaft and a magma grill for 9 turnbuckles for my lifelines. I spent time cutting the lifeline to length getting ready for crimping.
I also stopped by Chuck's machine shop and paid $30 for my Swiss cheese winch supports.
My diet went south today. Lunchtime I grabbed a sub sandwich to go at a gas station and tonight I ate a 12" pizza. Mmmmmmmm!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 3

Today it was hot.

It sapped all my energy and needless to say I did not have a very productive day and spent most of it removing the adhesive residue from the old boat sign. The new sign is ready so I will go and pick it up tomorrow and hopefully install it.
 I also took apart the whale gusher manual bilge pump that does not work.

I took it out of a devilishly difficult place access wise, tested it and found out that it worked OK so I put it back in again and it still doesn't want to work. Never mind. It is not as if anyone is pushing me to do all this stuff.
While I was taking the whale gusher out, I had quite a serious accident. Now one of the terrible things about getting old is that you have to put up with wearing glasses. However there is one good thing that you get from all this inconvenience. When you are working underneath something like changing the oil in your car, then without glasses you get all this junk falling into your eyes. Wearing glasses protects your eyes. This afternoon though my glasses slipped at the most inopportune time and I got a big chunk of rusty metal in my right eye. Time to try out my new first aid kit.

Tomorrow I hope to install some new lifelines.
By the way, living at the marina is not for the faint of heart. The shower block is a sight worse than death and I sleep in my V-berth at the bow of the boat.