Ship's Log

May 16th, 2008:

We are now officially a bubble free establishment!  

Fresh air is flowing through the boat again, and we can actually see things out of the portlights, instead of vague shapes and colors.   SARABANDE feels much more like a boat now, although a rather scarred one after all our drilling and filling in the name of leak killing!   Nothing a little primer and paint won't take care of, though.


The sunset peeks through the bubble's holes on one of its last evenings /  Some of the deck's former leakers:  reamed, epoxy filled, and ready for hardware again.

There was a last minute rush of activity before we took down our little bio-dome.  

We mounted our new propane locker to the deck first by seating the bottom edges in a hefty bead of thickened epoxy, and then laid several layers of heavy-duty fiberglass matting and roving to overlap the deck surface and the locker's inner perimeter.  Since anything on deck is subject to abuse by boarding waves, we didn't want to skimp on strength.   If we encounter a wave strong enough to punch this new locker into the ocean, we're bound to have bigger issues at hand that day anyway!

We also, in a marathon 10-hour session rife with curse words, pulled and rebedded all six chainplates.  These anchor the shrouds to the hull, and they're under powerful and erratic strain as the rig gets yanked around underway--not ideal conditions for any sealant to maintain it's hold. This is why chainplates are a classic source of leaks in fiberglass boats.  We used an incredible amount of LifeSeal to rebed these, so hopefully we've bought ourselves some time before these start leaking again.

Don't let that innocent look fool you.  Brian verbally abused those bolts horribly and also the bolts' mothers.

We put our tools away and braced ourselves for our first bubble-less rainstorm and the verdict came in:  no more puddles inside!  What peace it is to lie on a bunk directly under a hatch to watch raindrops fall, splatter on the clear plexiglass, and slither away while you stay comfy and dry. Whereas this same hatch last year leaked so badly that we had to lay plastic sheeting down on the whole bunk and station a bucket underneath whenever the forecast called for rain.   SARABANDE may be beat-up looking, but at least she's dry inside now!  Pretty is as pretty does, after all. Cosmetic work is coming soon enough.

Moving on in our steps to get the boat sailing again, we've begun work on her electrical system.  One of the main reasons we didn't take any overnight trips on SARABANDE last season was that her tired, old batteries didn't hold a charge, meaning we risked a fridge full of rotten food, no lights, and possibly even no engine if we were away from shore power too long.   There were so many other pressing issues on the boat that we just kept our engine idling while we sailed, knowing we'd have to attend to the issue before the big cruise.  This past weekend, we removed the huge, heavy dead batteries and purchased 10 spanking new golf cart batteries (Trojan T-105s).  

Golf cart batteries cost about 1/3 of what their equivalents in boat batteries cost, they're perfectly suited for the type of load a cruising boat puts on its system, and they hold up in the marine environment nicely.  Because they cost so much less, we were also able to buy some extras to boost SARABANDE's capacity even higher than her old system allowed.  The only drawback is they require regular maintenance, which we don't really mind.  We can't take credit for this idea-- saavy cruisers on a budget have been using golf cart batteries for years.  

Once we hook those babies up, we'll be free to leave the dock for as long as we please!  Brian's consulting his hero Nigel Calder on the proper configuration, and Alicia's consulting guide books and planning weekend jaunts.  First stop:  South Amboy and Lockwood Marine for some much needed rig work.  After that we'll be in the sailing business again!

Alicia's settling into life as a full-time boat lady.  With so many jobs to be done on board, it's not the life of leisure she pictured, but she's glad to be kept busy.  There are two huge job lists that hinge upon the weather, since, like  a young Paul Simon, she now gathers all the news she needs from the weather report.  

Happy Birthday (May 13th) to Alicia's grandfather John Izzi, who's now 95 years old!  When asked what his secret to longevity was, he replied without hesitation, "Take up with dirty women!"

Well said, Pop Pop!  



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