Monday, June 1, 2009

Climbing Your Mast

This weekend was a project weekend on Neptune, and I made it my personal mission to get our VHF radio working.


We arrived Friday evening, and I got to use our "new"dingy. Consequently this was my first experience rowing a boat... don't laugh, I have actually never done this and let me tell you, its was hard. It didn't help that I was carrying a weekend full of dead weight in a large rubber made container, I repeatedly punched that thing almost every time I returned my paddles to the front of the boat. If your wondering, no I didn't throw it overboard, but I did decide to let it ride behind me in the future. This is only half the trouble tho. After I would smack my knuckles off the box, one of two things would happen. I would go to dig into the water a little with the paddles only to whiff completely nearly splashing my passenger and throwing the oar. Or two, I would dig into the water fine but the oars would fly out of the oarlocks. First one side, then the other, then sometime on very special occasions both would fly out at the same time. Yes! Lucky for me Sophi was able to catch them a few times, I must have looked really funny out there oaring in a zig zag pattern. Don't worry, I got better after about 4 trips and now I can row all over the place, mostly in the right direction.


I got more practice rowing when Sophi and I went into Portland so she could spend some time with her parents, which meant I got to go to Hamilton's. I did well tho only spending two hundred dollars on two 35 foot jib sheets, anchor rode with chain and fishing pole holder. I was all by myself with a lot of good project ideas so I made RF connectors, then got busy fishing, after about 20 minuets of not catching anything I decided that I had better get busy or face the wrath. On our shake down cruse last weekend we discovered something that we are calling a boom
vang holder thingy, yes, that is it's name, even in the ships log. this holder thingy attaches to the same rail as the jib sheet pulley so I took everything off each rail so I could put them on in the right order. This D ring will hold the bottom boom vang pulley on either side of the boat... this will help her when we race?? more importantly, when we are running with the wind it will prevent the boom from swinging aka an accidental jibe. I took what we had been using as our temporary main sheet and simply moved it to the boom vang position, check that off! I also created a main sheet from what we were using as our jib sheet. To "make" the main sheet i had to sew the sheet through two pulley blocks that each had 2 pulleys in the block. I'm a novice at sewing anything let alone a main sheet, so I found the tasks time consuming. I was copying the boom vang pulley threading pattern but found that as soon as I had stitched two of the pulleys the entire mess would twist. GRRR! I spent a good part of the day twisting and untwisting a good length of rope. does anyone have experience with this... suggestions? I completed the job and was really ready for something easy. I rounded off the day scraping the registration letters off the hull and oiled some interior teak. Now off like a rocket in my me powered row boat to pick up Sophi.


Sunday we were hard at work just after a light breakfast and lots of coffee. I was all ready to get up that mast to strap that antenna on. I put my harness on that I stole I mean borrowed from work and was ready for Sophi to send me up... Minor glitch... Sophi didn't think she would be able to handle my massive load with the limited amount of pulleys and the winch we had. That's ok I said sadly, I really did want to get up there and look around. After we switched gear I was ready to send little Sophi skyward. I attached the main halyard to her, then that went around a pulley ending in a winch. I gave the halyard a few wraps around the wench and up she went. It only took a few minutes to get her aloft, when she was there I cleated her off and let her work, when she was done I used a wattmeter that I also "borrowed" from work and was please to see the radio put out 50 watts forward power with only about 1 watt reflected. Sophi did a great job adding a safety feature to our future sailing adventures. Now we can monitor and transmit using our VHF radio.

Now that the radio was working we listened to the weather report and confirmed what we already knew, it was going to rain. So many things can be done in a sail boat under any conditions but when it rains, we sleep. Sleep we did... not really tho, Sophi was tired and needed rest, I however, only wanted a cat nap so I listened to the Red Sox's on the Big Jab and lay with my girl. We had a very rest full nap, but when the game was over I was feeling lazy so I decided to tackle our head. A marine bathroom is a total mystery to me, in fact I'm not real sure I'm 100% with a house bathroom. Other then a few clogged toilets my experience is mostly in the plunging area. this miniature looking toilet fits perfectly in the miniature room it's in. From there a large flexible pipe that looks really nasty moves the stuff you flush under the starboard settee where it Y valves to either a seacock or a holding tank. A smaller seacock also goes to a Y valve to pump fresh water into the toilet to rinse the bowl.. there so now you have an understanding of the system. before we commissioned Neptune we tried to flush water onto the ground with no success, but there was one Y valve in a hard to reach position that we didn't want to break by forcing it to move, today we had fresh eyes.. and a hammer. I was ready to break everything if it didn't work, however, in no way was I going to be able to get my hand around the handle as it was up against the settee and I mean hard... it was hammer time! I used the claw end of the hammer to get the Y valve motivated and to a point where I could use my actual hands. Once it was moved, Sophi broke up celery into tiny pieces, effectually taking a celery poop then flushed. It must have looked odd from shore to see both of us run out to the stern pulpit and hang out selves over the rail, eyes beaming into the water, we just really really wanted to see celery poo... and we did. After all the poo and rain we were ready to head for home.

I have been contemplating living aboard this fall as to avoid paying rent. Before I make the move, I was wondering if there is actually a way to make the rain stay outside? Also I want to kill all the mold in those hard to reach areas and possibly paint the fiberglass with an anti fungal paint... does that even exist? If anyone knows of anything like that let me know, also let me know if that is a ridiculous idea. Up in the air is a storage idea too, I have a lot of space under the cockpit where the inboard would go if Neptune had one. So I'm looking for ideas for "dry" storage.

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