Thursday, October 15, 2009

Melon Days: Honey Dews and Casabas

This entry is for those of you who resist the cruising life fearing it represents the end of challenge and effort in their lives.

This week Connie read up on sewing a proper lock stitch and spent two days restitching all the zippers on the Dodger and Bimini. The zippers were originally sewn with all the care and quality that Genco marine could muster. They have all failed after 4 years. Connnie's will last at least 10 years. She figures the blisters and calluses will take that long to heal as well.

While she did this I took used the internet and learned how to remove and rebuild the carburetor on our 10 HP Tohatsu outboard. Twice. Installing the newly cleaned and serviced carb on the Tohatsu the first time I was dismayed to discover that the darn thing would not start. So it was tear it down and do it all again. The second time Connie got out her 10 power jeweller's loop so we could actually see the parts and their little tiny apertures. Success.

The propane stove had been acting up for a couple of years: The oven would light and reach temperature, sort of, but would then shut down and refuse to light again. Connie had to continually reignite the oven to bake or roast anything. Too often our muffins resembled slightly underdone shirred eggs. NOT the fault of the cook. Most mornings the conditions of the muffins was not an issue - they were hot and we were hungry.

So we read a book on propane stove repair and then tore the oven apart and cleaned out the little tiny aperture in the main jet - I still had some carb cleaner left over. Now we have morning muffins and daily bread that are light and fluffy and fully cooked. No longer is the condition of the muffin a test of just how hungry the helmsman actually is.

This done we installed the second set of genoa cars on the track and the stanchion blocks. On Meredith the Genoa sheets must be removed and rerove around one of the gate stanchions if the wind strength varies and requires the genoa cars be moved forward or aft. Now the sheet runs from the forward the genoa car to an aft car and then to the winch. No more removing and rereaving to be done.

New blocks on the stanchions will guide the furling line aft and outside the line of gerry cans storing extra diesel, gas and water on deck. These cans sort of sit on the furling line and really bind the mechanism (like someone standing on a line you are coiling the binding force is all out of proportion to the weight). Things run smoothly now.

While we were working on the genoa track we removed the bimini vertical post and positioned new fittings obtained from Sailrite so we could fit stainless supports of the verticals. This will eliminate the need for those annoying nylon straps that Genco uses to stabilize the bimini. You know - the straps that vibrate at about 60 db in any wind over 10 knots.

We intended to replace our headsail and hoped to take advantage of boat show pricing to reduce the hit. Removing the genoa we spent a couple of hours taking a full set of measurements. Suitably armed with information we sought prices from Doyle sailloft and a couple of competitors (just to keep things honest). Spike Boston, our favourite sailmaker, was known in most of the sail lofts here in Annapolis.

Doyle offered a well priced sail with reasonable delivery so we made the order. The sailmaker attended on Meredith and measured for himself and took a lot more measurements than we imagined possible. Brian DeBrincat from Doyle Annapolis was very thorough and very personable. He not only knew Spike but gave us the stories on several of the Toronto sailmakers as well. Turns out he used to work in Toronto.

Next day a young lad from Chesapeake Rigging came on board to measure Meredith for some new rigging. We are holding off on this for a week or two as I want some prices from Omar the Sailmaker (first cousin of Omar the Tentmaker) in Beaufort.

Finally we installed the new LED replacement bulbs which we purchased: three for the salon and two for the nav lights. Meredith now has six inside light fixtures powering LED bulbs in addition to the anchor light and the nav lights. Last night we sat with the anchor light on, two salon lights and the Hella fan on high. Total power draw was .7 of an amp. It is just so much cheaper to conserve power than it is to generate more.

Our current rain halted the last job of replacing the stainless bolts holding the stanchions and granny bars in place.

Repair operations were limited to half days to allow us to attend the boat show, survey the marine stores and buy booze and food. Evenings were reserved for visitation and drinking.

That is it for the Honey Dew lists on Meredith for the past week. It is our view that cruising is not much of a sedentary life and it opens a number of opportunities to learn new things.

Connie says I am not allowed to write about her casabas.

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