Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adios Deltaville!

Today, we are leaving Deltaville, Va and sailing direct to Block Island, RI on our longer term plan to explore New England this season.

We have been delayed several day due to weather and are chomping at the bit to get sailing We've spent 2.5 months getting Terrapin ready and know that things are going to break and fail but we're prepared to handle those issues. It's all part of the journey, we must remember.

We expect to be offshore for 3-4 days depending on the wind and seas.  There are a couple of high pressure ridges kicking up the winds but we hope to avoid those and that the forecast is mostly accurate.

This is a snapshot of Thurs morning at 8 am.  Nice wind from the SW all the way.

Following seas (shown in meters)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Boat Leaks

Yesterday we had big plans...finish boat cushions, do another canvas project for a friend, install hard points in the cockpit (to clip in offshore), play with Kala, go grocery shopping.  At the end of the day...we fixed leaks around the mast and replumbed the bilge to a new thru hull (previously plumbed into the head sink??)  Such is life.

We are tracking towards leaving Deltaville mid-week next week heading offshore up to New England.  We don't want to jinx ourselves, but we'll use that as a guideline.

Wind on the Chesapeake is crazy for the next couple of days - blowing 20-25 kts gusting to 35kts.
Foam cut and in place to check the I just have to make the covers.
My workstation.
Baxter and Kala putting a hole in the side of Terrapin (thru hull for the bilge.)

 A pretty new hole for the bilge to empty out...better than the sink in our head (bathroom)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Week in Review

This week we have been head-down trying to finish up projects so we can leave the dock in Deltaville and head towards New England. We have been working on boats for almost 6 months straight and we have only anchored out for two nights!  Ugh!  

It is so important to reflect on the progress we've made so we realize we are closer to our goal (sailing away - somewhere) than it might seem, especially when something on the boat stops working.

Our projects this week have included:

1)  Install new Xantrex amp meter (which then told us our batteries were barely hanging on and needed to be replaced.)

2) Replace old batteries with (2) new Mastervolt 6v AGM, 340 AH

3) Complete the Kyocera 245 solar panel install.  Complicated by a sloping hard dodger and a rigid very large panel.

4) Add canvas to the dodger glass to shade the cockpit when the sun is beating down at noon.

5)  Rebuild the aft head (ohhh - so fun!) This was a total disassembly and rebuild of the aft pump system. Too nasty for us to take photos this time.

6)  Replace the air intake valve in the forward head.

7)  Install dive tank holder in the cockpit lazerette so we can dive under the boat as needed - for those who don't know, this isn't just for pretty clear azure waters (though that's a nice benefit), but also in case anything gets caught on the keel/prop/shaft and has to be fixed immediately.

8)  Build a method/process for storing 12' stand up paddleboards on deck - fun doesn't just happen, you have to plan for it.

9)  Install a Simnet cable from our Simrad autopilot to our chartplotter so we can navigate course up (see previous post for how if you're going south this can be frustrating unless you're sitting upside down on top of the helm.)

10)  Got up close and personal with our bilge - just because we wanted to see what it was all about.  We learned a lot - more than we really wanted to know, but better to know now.

In the mean time, Steve, who Baxter sailed with up from Marathon, Florida on SV Chandara, replaced things that stopped working during their passage and is on his way to Maine now. We expect to see him again at the end of June.

Solar panel install complete.  Since the panel is so large, it is important the mount is solid and doesn't flex.  One of the pending projects includes a "guard" so in case the topping lift gives out, the 17 ft boom doesn't slam into the solar panel!

Solar panel controller.  It indicates the amount of charge from the panels.

Xantrex amp meter - we bought this so it could tell us that we needed to buy new batteries.

Baxter made this cable himself (crimp the ends with the metal connectors and then heat shrink the ends)
Aren't they pretty (funny how my perspective has changed)?  All 75 lbs!!  These are our new Mastervolt 6v 340AH AGMs.
Batteries installed and holding all 340 AH! Yes, we'll have them secured shortly!
The bilge light that should indicate it is running (not shown lit because we like our dry bilge)
Paddle boards cinched down and new canvas on the hard dodger (other side not snapped in yet for before/after effect)
Tank holders installed on lazarette - Bonaire, here we come!!
After all that work, you have to have SUP fun!
Steve leaving the dock on his way to Maine.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

From Marathon to Deltaville

Baxter and Steve arrived in Deltaville on Thursday.  They sailed over 1,000 miles in 6 days, averaging 146 miles per day.

Click HERE or on the picture below for a video of an average day.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sew What?

While Baxter and Steve do battle with the lows and the Gulf Stream (latest position is surfing north in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Daytona), Kala and I are staying busy in Deltaville.  As I've mentioned, I never learned to sew, never took Home Ec, and never had the desire to learn - until I found out how much cockpit cushions were going to cost.

My first project was the binnacle cover (binnacle aka helm aka wheel and pedestal) and we'll just say it looks like a first project.  It will do for now, but it will need to be redone once I understand exactly what I am doing.  Today I made a cover for the outboard motor and the windlass (motor that brings up the anchor).  These covers are just to help keep salt and spray off the moving parts so they'll last a little bit longer and don't get corroded.  Again, they will work for now - I'm learning as I go.

The companion way (stairs down to the cabin) on Terrapin are rather steep and deep.  We don't want Kala to spend years pounding on her paws (shoulders, back, etc...) jumping up and down, not to mention the claw marks from her holding on for dear life.  So, while Baxter is gone we needed an alternative to lifting her up.  I found a great ramp on and it was cheaper than any pet supply store and free shipping!!  The first time Kala saw it, she looked at us like "What is that thing for because I'm not going near it".  I wouldn't say it's her favorite thing in the world yet, but she loves the treats she gets every time she uses it.  Of course, nothing can replace the lift she gets from her daddy, but this will do for now.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Passage Update

Baxter and Steve left Marathon yesterday afternoon.  Baxter said there was a low pressure system off the coast that looked like it might force them to "duck in"to Ft Lauderdale to avoid.  I have not been able to talk to Baxter but tracking him on shows Chandara's location off the coast near Boynton Beach, FL - still moving north at around 8 kts!  At that speed, they will be in Deltaville around Wed or Thurs.  

I had this all typed out and then I looked at the weather off the coast of FL - pretty nasty.  Looking forward to Monday when it gets a bit calmer.  

Moving north.  All of the other items are boats - you can see how busy S. FL can be and why a vigilant watch is so critical.
This is the grib for today at 2 pm, off the coast of FL.  As you can see...pretty high winds.  The flags show the speed and wind direction - the winds are coming from the "arrows" and moving in the direction of the line.  The speed is 10 kts for a full bar and five for a half.  
Looking a little better around Cape Hatteras on Monday at 2 pm.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Holding Down The Dock Lines

Our friend Steve is bringing his Valiant 40, Chandara, from Sarasota up to Maine by way of the Chesapeake and that task is always easier with crew vs. single-handing.  Baxter has gone to help and I am staying in Deltaville to take care of Terrapin and Kala.

Baxter flew out to Ft Lauderdale on Tuesday, where Steve picked him up and they drove down to Marathon (Steve had brought his boat over from Sarasota to Marathon over the weekend.)  Funny thing...guess who was in the mooring field at Boot Key Harbor - Logan and Gillian on Stella Blue!!  They were all able to get together and talk about boats, passages and weather.  Ahhh - the weather - always a was pretty nasty for a couple days in S. Florida so Baxter and Steve (as well as Logan and Gillian's passage to the Bahamas) have been delayed but they are all set to leave today on the tail of the low that has recently passed.

Meanwhile, back at Zimmerman Marine, Kala and I have been working on sewing projects and staying busy with friends.  Kala makes friends everywhere we go, she tends to attract boys since she is so pretty.  Her newest BFF is Cody, whose dad runs Miss Diane Fishing Charters (on a very cool Dead Rise).  She also has a friend we like to call "Cookie Man" who runs Restin Easy Fishing Charters.  Don, aka Cookie Man, loves Kala and gives her the biggest treats I have ever seen.  He has even taught her to go up to every car that pulls in the parking lot and ask if they have a treat they'd like to give her (we need to "untrain" her of that.)

But it's not all sewing and furry friends - I also did an update on the chart plotter.  We were having an issue with the E7 having a course-up presentation vs. north up.  North-up drives me insane because if you are going south, the boat is upside down on the plotter...makes it challenging to be at the helm avoiding crab pots, watching your depth and figuring out which way you turn the wheel to go the direction you want.  Hopefully this software update will help.

Baxter created a route using Navionics app and they have 1,000 miles to sail door-to-door Marathon to Deltaville if they aren't stopped by another low - in the Gulf Stream that could go fast or it could go slow (if weather moves in from the north causing nasty conditions) but in any case, I expect they will be here around next Friday.  We are finding lots of projects to keep us busy and have the boat looking perfect before they get back.
Baxter's welcoming weather in FL on Tuesday PM.
Logan and Gillian, S/V Stella Blue!  You never know when your paths might cross with some fun people!!
E7 Chartplotter with the new software update.  Fingers crossed that Course-Up presentation works.
Newest hobby - sewing.  The first project, throw pillows.
Kala's newest BFF, Cody, and his dad's Dead Rise Fishing Charter, M/V Miss Diane
The planned route (using Navionics app) - riding the Gulf Stream north to the Chesapeake.
Steve aboard S/V Chandara.