Thursday, 18 December 2014

December 18, 2014

Saturday December 17, 2014

We are anchored in Ft Lauderdale now.

The engine installation went well. Spent a lot of effort to ensure the output shaft of the engine matched up to the template I made of the propeller shaft in the boat and that the engine was at the proper angle. The actual install went very quickly after that. The engine was in place and adjusted by the end of the day including a couple runs into town for miscellaneous parts.  I ordered new control cables and while waiting for them got hold of the welder again and modified the exhaust to cross over to the opposite side. While he worked on that I had to modify the engine compartment to move the lower edge back an inch or so to give the exhaust more clearance. When the welder came back with the new manifold I gave him the last project to weld up, an “A” arm to attach to the new wind generator tower to lift the outboard off the dingy onto the big boat. The projects this year were, install new engine, install wind generator and tower, weld on brackets for dingy lifting, sand blast keel where it was rusting after the keel bolt and epoxy coat it, bottom paint where needed, install new galley taps, test our new mattress, Repaired the outboard so that it can be tilted up where it was rusted up solid at the hinge. We ordered new Chicago screws for the windows but they never arrived until we got to Ft Lauderdale and they are back in Green Cove and we just found the order is wrong. We ordered for delivery to Vero Beach and installed an Actisense NMEA 2000 to 0183 converter to get GPS data into the radios, and lastly a valve rebuild kit for one of the bilge pumps.

We left Green Cove on Wednesday Dec 3, a sunny but cool day without enough wind for sailing. What wind we had was out of the north. Prior to leaving the railroad bridge had been locked in the down position for a week for maintenance. Once it was opened there was an exodus of boats finishing up and departing to get through and south, some just in case the bridge should get closed again for more work. The RR Bridge is old and they only now seem to be catching up on long needed major work. From what I understand the pivot hinges that the entire bridge rides on had to be replaced. Not a small job for the B&B men to get done.

We arrived at Jacksonville Landing that afternoon and would wait until the next day to try and ride the tide down to the ICW. Someone misheard the Main Street bridge times and we had to wait until after rush hour for an opening. The motor sail down to the ICW was uneventful and we got as far as Pine Island that day. We might have made it to St Augustine that day but we’d forgotten to change the GPS to the correct time zone after changing it the previous year. But Pine Island is a nice peaceful place to anchor and we would have been fighting the current the rest of the way if we’d continued. We anchored south of the mooring field seeing as there were no moorings left after topping up with fuel and water and pumping out. We anchored for two nights and had dinner one night at the VFW hall. Sunday we left St Augustine for a motor sail down the ICW and that afternoon we stopped at Palm Coast Marina. They offer a $25 a night dockage with no services but a nice lounge and gift shop/chandlery and good hot showers. The next day was cold and blustery with occasional showers but we were determined to get farther south. We intended to anchor just north of New Smyrna but the cold wind was blowing straight down the cut. I was already cold so we continued on and I treated Jeanne to a night at the New Smyrna Marina where we could get another hot shower, I took two, and plugged in so that we could fire up the space heater and warm up the boat for the night. We left early the next morning for the long fifty mile run down to Cocoa Beach and arrived there at 15:30 to anchor for the night.

The next morning we left for another long run down to Vero Beach and arrived at the mooring at 16:00 Wed Dec, 10 with ¼ tank of fuel left and 43.1 hours on the new engine. From St Augustine to Vero we ran 27.2 hours on 14.75 gallons of fuel for an average consumption of 0.54 gallons per hour. With a 20 gallon tank and 15 gallons on deck leaving a ¼ tank in reserve we should be able to motor for almost 60 hours.

We spent a few days in Vero waiting on parts and just relaxing. The Actisense arrived first and once connected we now have lat/longs and time fed to our two radios. Our butyl tape arrived the next day but the screws still hadn’t shown up back in Green Cove. We decided to move on to warmer parts. On Sunday December 13th we pulled up to the fuel dock at dawn and took showers while we waited for the marina to open. We were fueled, watered and pumped out and left the marina at 08:20 in the company of Tangara and Panonica for the run down to Ft Lauderdale. We anchored for the night in Hobe Sound and continued on in the morning. At Lake Worth we headed out the channel and continued on to Port Everglades, Ft Lauderdale Arriving at the entrance after dark at 19:00 and had to dodge a cruise ship turning in the basin to head out. Distances can be very deceptive at night and it appeared that the ship was backing out. The rate of turn and the visual on the AIS and the appearance were confusing but a pilot boat that was accompanying the ship could see us on the AIS and called to ask our intentions. We told him we’d be going north once inside and he told us the cruise ship was turning to head to sea and that we could hug the north side and all would be well. We told them that if needed we could wait at one side for the ship to pass but that was not necessary and we continued up the ICW to Lake Sylvia. We slid in along the east side close to shore and were safely at anchor about 20:00.

Monday, 1 December 2014

December 1 2014

It is now December and we are finally ready to go. Spent the day working on the dingy outboard. It was seized in the frame and could not be tilted. Took most of the day but now all is well, the engine tilts and runs like a charm. We have a new hoist mount for lifting the outboard and new mount points for lifting the dingy. The new Yanmar runs well the boat is cleaned and most of the stuff is put away. We'll need to refuel and last minute wine shopping  and maybe a few groceries. All we are waiting on are the new screws for the side windows, should be here tomorrow. We plan to leave Wednesday  for Jacksonville and then on to St Augustine.
The journey is about to begin...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

We departed Windsor on Thursday after a slight delay. We had to see Dylan off to school one last time and crossed the border about ten in the morning. Our first stop was to Woolf Aircraft to pick up some pre bent 321 stainless elbows for the new engines exhaust crossover. I knew that it was one exit off of the I-94/I-275 exit but seeing as it had been six years since I was last there I chose the wrong direction but with a little help from Jeanne insisting that I ask someone… the guy at the gas station googled the location and we got our parts and were soon off heading down the highway. Next stop, North Carolina at Janice and Greg’s new mountain top home.

The last part of the drive was through the mountains along some winding twisty roads. The sign said speed limit of 50 but we were doing mainly 30mph in the dark along the “you better pay attention” roads. Greg met us at the turnoff for their road and led us up the gravel switchback access road to their place. In the morning the view was spectacular making the drive up the mountain worth the effort. Even seeing it start to snow Friday night was not such a hardship especially knowing that we’d gotten south ahead of the winter storm watch for Friday night.

So now with the wood stove fired up all is well as we take a break before the last part of our drive to Green Cove and the beckoning boat. Even last nights inch of snow doesn't bother us with Greg whipping up a pot of chili.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

October 2014

It is now October and the summer in Canada is ending. To update what we have been up to the last year. All through the last cruising season we had issues with our Volvo diesel engine. We still managed to sail the Bahamas, Exumas, visit Long island. We sailed back to Black Point via George Town to meet friends from Windsor on Afeica who had the same transmission problem we had two years previous. we helped them repair a transmission, sail back to George Town where they helped us replace the first of a few broken starters. We sailed to Salt pond, Long Island then over to Conception for a few days. Broke starter number two on the way back to Long Island and spent a few rough days at anchor before sailing back to George Town to order and replace the starter. Then we sailed up the island chain and over to Eleuthra and visit a few spots I missed the first year with a broken strut. Then sailed up to the Abacos for the first time and visited several unique islands. Eventually we sailed back to the USA entering at Ft Pierce and made a slow trip up to Jacksonville to break another starter and replaced it with starter number three and find and buy a spare starter. Then to Green Cove to haul out and drive back home at the beginning of May six months after launching the previous fall.

We pulled the engine and took it home and after investigating the cost to rebuild all the deficiencies in the engine decided to buy a new 30hp Beta. With the deadline for ordering the engine closing in we discovered that Beta could not guarantee delivery in time and switched to a Yanmar 3YM30 which should be waiting for us when we arrive in Green Cove at the end of the month.

We will try to update this blog better than last year but will not always have internet access.
We are heading to Green Cove about October 29 or 30th and will post more as the time and work schedule permits.

We hope to meet up with many old friends and make several new ones this season. Life and adventure and new vistas and rewards beckon.

For those that have asked the greatest challenge to this lifestyle is untying that dock line the first time and turning the bow out to traverse the waters that you have never crossed before. Remember that many others are doing it and most are happy to help and answer your questions.
Sail Away my friends