May 25, 2001 150 Federal St., Boston, MA
Psyched...This week I passed an important milestone with the trip...I'm finally psyched and counting the days till July 1. Up until now, I have been totally immersed in the preparations and the magnitude of what we are undertaking. So much to do and so much to be concerned about. Up until this week I really hadn't had that sense of expectation that you normally get when you are anxiously awaiting a vacation or some other big event. Don't know what tripped the lever but now I'm so excited about what's ahead.
This weekend will be another non-stop three day affair. Boat projects are to continue effort to convert oven to propane, manufacture a tie down system for the new 6 Volt and biggg batteries and complete the oiling of all the cabin teak. If weather is OK we may start some of the cosmetic work with the deck.
Our tenants come Sunday for a walk-though and a review with us as to how things work. I hope all goes well. Ellen and Jim seem like very nice people who are looking to find a place on Plum Island as well. They were wonderful tenants last summer while we were living aboard in Boston.
We're getting together with two sets of Amy's friends on Saturday and Monday nights as part of the goodbye process. On Sunday we'll be having dinner with the Bursaw's who will be sailing with us on their boat, Iona, on our shakedown cruise to the Cape. We'll sail to Rockport on July 2 then on to Provincetown on July 3 for July 4th celebrations. I did this same trip with them two years ago when I was doing my month's cruise and had a great time. Amy's mother, sister and brother-in-law will join us as well for the 4th and spend a couple days with us before we cruise around the Cape and Islands.
Memorial day weekend has been a weather bust. We're half way through and its been nothing but overcast and rain. Yesterday we had good news from the boatyard... next week our final work will commence; the re-wiring for the new 6V house bank and starting battery, the installation of the high output alternator, the making of the bimini and the completion of the repairs from last year's storm. We expected that we would come down to the wire and we will. The yard, like all yards always has more work than they can handle but in our case it certainly is worth the wait since the quality of the work is so good.
May 27, 2001
Yesterday we went to a "launch" celebration for a friend's still under construction 48' charter catamaran. "Ninth Wave" plans to take passengers for whale watching and other educationally oriented trips. Quite a machine and quite an undertaking. After the party we met some other friends for a movie and Guinness.
Today it's more rain. We met the new tenants for a walk through, did some boat chores, and purchased a good portion of our medical supplies. Time now to make a salad for dinner with the Bursaws, our neighbors. Their 32' Bristol gets put in the water Tuesday and she looks beautiful after her wax job...I'm jealous since we have not started any of our cosmetic work yet.
May 28, 2001
May 29, 2001
Back to work. As we rode in on the train to Boston this morning we both realized that we're on the home stretch and its going to be a long month of last minutes details. We both want to get on with our much-awaited plans. Stop preparing and begin doing!
Having had our walkthrough with the tenants, its pretty clear that our plan to work until Friday June 30 and move out Sunday July 1 was probably too optimistic. Oh well...
June 3, 2001 Plum Island
Web Site and Propane Gurus
It's June already. I can't believe it! After all the waiting, we're just one month away. We accomplished a lot this weekend. The last several weeks have been spent converting the stove and oven burners from CNG to propane fittings, snaking new hose from the oven to the new propane locker and finally finding someone to put flare fittings on the ends of the new propane tubing for us. Like so many sailing projects, it's not the difficulty of the job, it's finding the one person in the proverbial haystack who can sell you the specific part you need. After two weeks of calls and disappointments, we finally found a great guy who runs a good size oil/propane distributorship. He knows that none of his colleagues want the liability of helping amateur gas fitters/sailors blow themselves up. However, if he senses that a person is aware of the risks of propane, he will occasionally help a desperate soul. I guess we passed his reasonableness (or perhaps desperateness) test. He was so helpful. He had the fittings we needed, he gave us some great advice on the installation, and he joked with Amy about the prospects of her spending a year in small quarters with me...
Speaking of small quarters, Amy was great at squeezing into the cockpit locker to help snake the new hose to the propane locker in the transom bench locker. I never could have gotten my hulk into the required places. The propane conversion is now nearly complete. Just waiting for 1 more promised part from CA. The laid back dude on the other end of the phone sent it once with no success so last Tuesday he sent it again. I'll wait till tomorrow before I call the left coast again... What will we do without easy access to phones?
We met with Amy's sister, Cath, last night to go over her work in progress with this site. Our plan is to e-mail as well as snail mail updates and pictures to Cath who will update our site for us. Although this is rather low tech, I haven't yet found an affordable solution for wireless transmission of e-mail, files and images. The Bahamas has no cell coverage for U.S. carriers and its Internet access seems very limited. Who knows what we'll find in Cuba... So instead of going satellite or SSB which gets very expensive we're going to go with dial-up internet access when available and snail mail when not for communicating with Cath... A big thanks to her... not only for all her current and future work but for sitting through a design session with Mr. Left Brain and Ms. Right Brain... maybe the propane guy was right, how will we survive each other's differences! Stay tuned.
June 10, 2001
All waxed out...
Amy left mid morning on Saturday to go with her sister, Cath, to Vermont to say goodbyes to family. Before she left she helped me align the first several holes for our new whisker pole track on the mast. This project has given me some anxiety since it involves drilling and tapping about fifteen holes in the mast for mounting the track. The tops of 5/16" x 1" bolts, when fully screwed into their tapped holes, sit flush with the top the slide, leaving little room for error for the sliding whisker pole mounting ring to pass over. I had images of the tapped holes not being perfectly centered causing the tops of the bolts not to be flush and therefore hitting the sliding mounting ring as it passed over...surprisingly enough all bolts sat nicely in their holes...My worst nightmare was ending up with 15 unusable empty holes and trying to decide what to do next.
After the track was done, I began the annual ritual of washing and lightly compounding the topsides followed by applying a coat of wax. It always takes the better part of two working days to get it done to my satisfaction and this year was no different. There was no breeze to speak of and it must have been 80 degrees (which is actually hot for New England) which made the job a bit of a workout. On Saturday and Sunday nights after rubbing all-day and lugging around scaffolding I hit the bed with a great sigh of relief. Next weekend will be the cleaning and waxing the deck and maybe some house prep.
When Amy returned from Vermont, we had sushi, went for a quick walk and ended the day by sitting on the deck looking out at the ocean as an early summer's long evening came to an end. Milo sat on Amy's chair and I tried to tell him, "Milo this is no different than the boat...sitting with us in the cockpit, watching the ocean, the boats and the birds and hearing the sounds of the water." I wanted to think that he agreed but I can't tell for sure...
Didn't say anything to Amy but it made me happy that she was in as good a mood as I looking forward to what's ahead.
June 20, 2001
We Might Make It!
A lot accomplished last week...Despite a few anxious moments of testing and tightening, testing and tightening, we now have a fully functioning propane cooking system. Mid-way through the final assembly, Amy had to crawl and squeeze for the umpteenth time back into the locker space to get some slack in the propane line...her words to me were priceless..."You better not give me a hard time the next time I want to go to browsing in a used bookstore."
All the repairs from last year's storm are now finished. We had two terrible rainstorms that tested the seals for the anchor locker and new rub rail. After both storms the V birth remained dry. It will be nice not to wake up in the middle of the night with a start when you subconsciously feel your feet getting wet!
All instruments are now back in place and waiting for the boat to go in to be tested. The bimini is under construction. We decided to put a viewing window in the "roof" so we can view the sails when under sail. Can't wait to see the final product. This September when we get back to Newburyport, we will probably have plastic side curtains added for better protection as we head down the coast to the Bahamas.
I'm 75% down with the engine prep. I was lucky enough to have Jay, the owner of the yard go over with me his suggestions for spares to bring and not bring as well as his wisdom on engine maintenance. Since the engine has had no problems or symptoms we are not going to do anything major in terms of preventive replacements or diagnostics such as compression testing, head gasket replacement, or injector replacements. If problems occur we will be close enough to call Jay for advice and take the necessary steps to get back in operation. Therefore, I did the normal pre-launch worklist of changing the oil, oil filter, air filter, primary and secondary fuel filters and fuel pump filter. This weekend I'll do the transmission fluid, raw water strainer and the engine zinc. If I have time I'll do the coolant but if not, it can wait till September.
The new alternator and batteries as well as the Linc 10 monitor are still in process.
The house is taking shape. We've gone through all the bedrooms and cleared out all our stuff to either the attic or basement. Both our offices are cleared out. Amy, Cath and my mother will be attacking the kitchen and the livingroom this weekend while I'm at the boat doing the last of the engine prep and giving the bottom its two coats of ablative paint.
We've planned a going-away dinner for the 27th with local friends. Should be fun...but also a little sad to say good bye for so long.
Saturday June 30, 2001 Newburyport
We spent the day packing items we could'nt convince the tenants to live with for a year. Lots went to the attic with the balance heading into the basement. An obscene amount also headed for our trusty craft. When the day was said and done the house was looking pretty barren but we were too tired to dwell heavily upon it. We slept like the dead.