Problems Continue

Well, I promise that I won’t write everyday normally. But, things are interesting right now. Isn’t that an old curse “May you live in interesting times”? It certainly has been this year.

Yesterday morning, we arose early and started the engine as normal. But, it wouldn’t slow down and kept revving quite high. Mur dashed below and did something to stop the engine. And discovered that the throttle cable was broken, in fact when he got it out, it was rusted to bits. So, we tore apart the aft cabin, the cockpit locker and the steering pedestal. After about 4 hours all was in readiness and we headed out once again.

The rest of the day was uneventful and, with the sun shining, quite enjoyable.

At Daytona, we turned off of the ICW to anchor for the night. Then I found that I couldn’t shift the transmission into neutral. The shift lever was frozen! At first, we suspected the transmission which had been re-built recently. On further inspection, the cable connecting the gear shirt lever to the transmission was broken.

Two in one day! And we only had one spare. So, this morning we launched the dinghy and headed down the waterway to a marina with access to the local West Marine. They had the correct parts on the shelf. Back to the boat, take everything out of the aft cabin, empty the cockpit locker and tear apart the steering pedestal. Now the job can start. Mur is going to replace both cables as the one that he had installed in the morning had ridden around in our bilge for many years. It was already rusty.

So, eventually today we will get underway. Or maybe, if it is too late, we will wait until tomorrow. Hopefully not another interesting day.

Hugs to all,
Heather & Murray

PS the funny thing is that we are anchored in the same place where we landed when our damper plate broke two years ago. It was deja vous drifting in to anchor with no engine power.

Oops!

Well, we got away from the marina as scheduled on Wednesday morning at 0800. We motored up the river into a cold breeze,not much above freezing. I know, we are whimps down here complaining about near freezing temps, but we were chilly.

Things were going well. I had gotten the computer up and running, and the GPS was interfaced with it, showing our position on the chart. The new chart bag kept everything organized in the cockpit. Mur tidied up the lines and fenders from the dock and we both took a breath of relief to be underway once more.

I made some nice hot oatmeal for breakfast and we kept boogying along. About 1000 hrs, Mur went below. While there he noticed some water on the floor and, like any good husband/sailor, he wiped it up. Then noticed more. He pulled the floorboard giving access to the bilge. Yikes, his finger got wet pulling it up! We have water almost up to the floor. We are sinking! He had turned the bilge pump off as it was running on his last trip below and sometimes it gets stuck on. In retrospect, it might have
been running with a little water although he did check and saw nothing unusual. He sprang into the cockpit, grabbed the manual bilge pump handle and said ” We’re sinking!”. I slowed the boat and took over the pump while Mur looked for the leak. He check all the thru-hulls and things were ok there. Now, empty the cockpit locker to get access to the engine. “Shut her down” he said tersely. He had found the leak. It was the stuffing box. The locking nut had backed all the way off and water was pouring
in. While he repaired the problem, I continued to pump. Soon, the water was all pumped out and we started the motor once again and put it in gear while Murray watched the stuffing box. Slowly I increased the revs while Murray watched. All was well.

What had happened? Well, in the workyard Murray had removed the old packing material from the stuffing box and put in fresh. To do that, he backed off the locking nut. This is always difficult to do and Murray remembered a friend saying that he just leaves his finger tight. This seemed like a good idea and that is how he left ours. And, it was fine at the start, while we putted along the dock. But eventually, it worked itself loose and allowed water to pour in around the prop shaft. So, needless
to say, our locking nut is now locked down tight.

That was enough excitement for that day. The rest was quite enjoyable and even warmed up. Murray put up the spare VHF antenna and hooked up my new ais system. This connects to my computer and shows, on the computer charting, the position and course of ships around us. It is a wonderful addition to our nav station and, since the radar is about dead, saved us spending another $4000US. This ais unit was only $189 plus the cost of a VHF antenna.

Today, Thanksgiving down here, we traveled with little other company and made good time. There is a turkey breast roasting in the oven to be enjoyed later. Because of the cold and because the boat’s system were mostly untested yet this year, we decided to stay inside on the ICW. So, it will take us a few days to get south at approx 50 to 60 miles traveled each day.

Take care and hugs to you all,
Heather & Murray

Heading Out

Hello all,

Well, the boat is stuffed with food and so is the fridge and freezer. The decks are scrubbed, the sails are on and the new sewing projects are installed.

New cockpit cushions and weather clothsHere you can see the new cockpit cushions and the weather cloths. The cushions seem a little too full at this moment, but they should lay flat soon. If not, we will trim a little off of the edges of the foam. Otherwise, the cushions seem to fit well and are more comfortable than the old closed-cell foam ones. Closed-cell foam floats and is found in most life jackets. So, we used that foam for our cushions. But, it is hard!! Not soft seating at all. The support post for the bimini passes through the weather cloth, neatly measured by Murray and also cut out of the fabric with his handy dandy soldering gun.

The new main hatch screen should keep most of the bugs at bay. I say most because of the ” no seeums” . They really are no seeums and sneak through the tiniest screening imaginable. We use screening that is like silk stockings, it is so fine. But, it doesn’t allow any air through either. On a hot, airless night it is the pits. Yeah, turn on the a/c right? No a/c aboard, sorry. But there are a couple of fans for such occasions.

You can see the screen in place under the dodger. It snaps in place and yet unsnaps easily to allow access to belowdecks.

So, about our plans. We will leave the marina tomorrow morning early. It will be cooold! Almost freezing. But, by 5 pm we should be anchored at Blount Island, near the entrance to the St John River. Thursday morning, we will head on down the river and into the Atlantic, if the weather stays clear. Within 36 hours we should be in at Ft Pierce and at anchor. If the weather turns against us, there are several ports where we can duck into smoother water.

Because it is unlikely that we will have a wireless connection when we leave the marina, make sure that you write to us at our winlink address. Just in case you forget, it is ve3zua@winlink.org and reaches us aboard through a slow radio connection. So, we request that you do not send photos or jokes to that address. If you have something that we really MUST see, send it to this address and we will get it eventually, whenever we have access to the internet.

Once we have had a chance to test the boat’s systems, we will watch for a window to cross over the Gulf Stream. But, we will keep you posted.

Hugs to all,
Heather & Murray

Launch

Windswept IV is launching on November 19th and here are some photos of preparation for that launch. Now we must finish the stocking of the boat. Plus clean the decks of a summer’s crud. Hope to get out of here by Wed, 26th.

At the Boat

Hello all,

Well, the car got fixed, sort of. There is still a problem with the alternator but it will be addressed in the spring. They had to order a part from Europe! That may take a day or two.

So, we left on Wednesday, Nov 5th after spending the night at Steve’s. It was just easier to leave from there as we wanted to turn off the water, drain the waterheater and generally winterize the house as if it might freeze. That shouldn’t happen but if the power is off for a few days, then there is no concern about pipes bursting etc.

The first day got us as far as Tennessee, near Pigeon Forge or Dollywood. Motels were inexpensive there which was a pleasant surprise. For less than $50 we had a very nice. clean room. In the morning we headed off early again. About 100 miles down the road, Murray said “I have a new warning light on the dash”. Upon checking the book, we discovered that it was a bulb failure. Then, just a few moments later, a warning light for the brakes flashed on. Then another, indicating a serious brake failure. We pulled off at the next exit. The brakes were working ok and the brake fluid level was just fine. But, both headlights were burned out. We debated whether to find bulbs now or keep going and try later. Now won out and, following directions, we found a store selling the correct replacement lights. Nearby was a grocery store with a good supply of boxed wine in 5 litre boxes ( not available in Florida where only 3 L is sold ). So, with only a half hour delay we headed out again. No extra warning lights showed on the dash.

We tried a different route down from Columbia, South Carolina that took us off of 95 and through small towns. I enjoyed it very much and there was much less truck traffic. But, it was slower traveling.

Staying near the boat that night was much more expensive than TN. In fact about $40 more! But, before 9 am, we were at the boat. In just one short hour, they lifted us into the workyard and life on the hard commenced.

As there had been 28 inches of rain this summer in the two hurricanes that went over this area, I had expected to see a lot of mildew in the cabin. But, there was very little! In fact she was in great shape. I will still wipe each locker out with vinegar and water before putting anything away.

The batteries were dead, so Murray got the cords out and plugged us in. The inverter/charger hummed away and the batteries were soon being charged. Murray checked fluid levels and added a lot of distilled water. When we climbed into bed that night, I noticed that the wall between the cockpit locker and the head ( bathroom ) was very warm. “No worries” Mur said ” there is a temperature sensor that shuts down the charging if the temp gets to high”. Well, that sensor didn’t work and we were lucky that the boat didn’t burn down with us in it. The batteries were almost melted in the morning and so hot by evening that Murray still couldn’t touch them. Needless to say, they will need replacing. We thought that the inverter/charger had failed somehow but, checking with another battery, it seems to function just fine. The other batteries must have shorted out.

So, work goes on. There is very little space on the dock so we will probably be on the hard for two weeks and do most of the work before launch. It will be a pain to carry all of our supplies up a ladder but there may be no choice in the matter. I will check with the office on Monday to see if we can schedule our launch for the 18th and see what they say. Even that is longer than normal. We have to take the transmission out and get it repaired but I am not sure if we will do it here on the hard or wait. Murray said that the easiest way to get the transmission out was to pull the engine. We have done that before and it is easier than it sounds. Our cockpit floor comes up and then the boom is right over the middle of the engine. Using halyards and pulleys, we lift it out. Of course, it isn’t quite as simple as that as all wiring and hoses must be disconnected first. Oh well, I’ll worry about that later.

That is all of the news from here. Write when you have time. Hugs to all,

Heather & Murray