Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 23 - Bon Voyage Party !

Saturday was a party day !  With 3 birthdays and our bon voyage party it was quite a celebration with almost 50 people in attendance.  The festivities started around noon and continued until almost 2 am.  There were cakes, hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks along with lots of beer and alcohol.  Brenda set up the karaoke machine and lots of people took their try at singing.  Its pretty safe to say that "American Idol" doesn't have competition here in Ellijay.  The overall mood was festive with a few sad moments not saying goodbye but good luck on your adventure.  Art celebrated his 80th birthday and we promised we would return for his 85th if not before.  Brenda celebrated her 45th again and Traci enjoyed celebrating her 21st.  Beth made her fruit punch ( almost equal parts gin ) and was pretty well sauced by nightfall.  Daniel, my ever faithful bartender, kept me in rum drinks until he reached his limit and abandoned me.  Leon even celebrated by having a beer but was very good since he was the driver for those who over indulged.  Fortunately all the DD's behaved and everyone got home from the party safe and sound.   It was definitely a party to remember.

April 19 ~22 Almost final preparations

We spent the weekend moving and in Ellijay.  I drove down to Savannah Tuesday afternoon after running a few errands.  The drive was uneventful but long and boring.  I arrived in Savannah in time to get a few errands run but little accomplished on the boat other than unloading the car full of stuff Beth sent went me.  Beth stayed in Ellijay to spend the week with her family and get ready for the big party on Saturday ( 4/23 ).

Wednesday was productive getting the new wind generator installed, the dinghy secured, the grill mounted and the customs and border protection paperwork.  The afternoon was spent organizing and little projects.

Thursday I managed to get the forward boards attached ( These are what the spare water and fuel cans attach to ) and organized the remainder of the crap I brought down from Atlanta.  I really don't know how it is all going to fit on the boat and still be able to float or move around in the cabin.  I think when Beth joins me next week, there will be more stuff sent back to Ellijay with Brenda.

Friday was a drive day.  I secured the boat, propane, etc and headed back to Ellijay.  What a long boring drive.

April 16 ~ 17 Initial moving days

Saturday morning bright and almost early we started packing the apartment into the truck to take things to
Ellijay for storage.  Apparently we have not gotten rid of most things because its going to take two trips and two days.  It is just amazing how much clutter can be gathered in a short time.  Beth did really good on limiting her clothes and shoes going to the boat and I am quite sure we can take everything going to the boat in one trip.

I will head to Savannah on Monday whilst Beth spends the week in Ellijay with her parents.  I have a few last minute "must get done before we leave" projects to complete before I will be happy leaving the dock.  Currently, the plan is to head south on April 29th or 30th if the weather cooperates.

Final Arrangements being made - April 13 2011

All the arrangements we were working on have been completed and out last major tie to land has been cut.
Over the next two weeks we will be moving out of the apartment and onto the boat full time with the full intention of starting our trek down the east coast by the end of the month.
Now its just the little details to get completed but Beth has everything scheduled so we should be ready ahead of time.

Finally the dream is actually becoming reality.

Soon the posts will actually get interesting !!

March 31 - April 7 - Preperations

We came down yesterday ( March 31 ) already a day later than planned.  We got aboard about 4:30 but I immediately got the wind generator down and called the repair depot for a RMA.  They (e-marine out of Ft. Lauderdale ) seem great and hope to have it shipping back by the end of next week.  I fixed the diesel fuel issue with the main generator and started working on the head.  I got very close but was missing a 1" hose to finish the job so with that waiting till Morning, We feasted on fantastic Pizza Hut delivery while watching TV.

Friday -  Up early to get things organized to ship the wind generator back and pick up the hose for the head.
Back on the boat by 10 am, time to walk the dogs and start working. The job to fix the head went as expected, PITA.  A few new nicks on the hands but it is working exactly as supposed to.  I got the shelf retainer for the head and deck boards stained.  I got the head shelf retainer installed and it is perfect.  It really opens up some storage room that was previously unusable.

  Whilst in the head, I discovered the shower sump filter was full so took the opportunity to fix that as well.  We did manage to get part of the starboard aft cabin cleaned out. The dinghy is now in the cockpit, not inflated, but at least out of the interior or the boat.  A project for tomorrow maybe.  We also took down the port cockpit glass and will work on cutting a new one tomorrow and get it installed.

All the little jobs on the list have now been prioritized to what need to be done before we leave and what can be done enroute.  I think we will be 99% complete with the major tasks before we leave from this trip.

Daniel called about 4 pm and we gave him a great story about being woken up at 2am with water rushing in the boat and were in danger of sinking.  We must have gone on for over 5 minutes before letting him know it was APRIL FOOLS.  We all had a good laugh and relayed the story to a few more people.

Saturday morning I got the dinghy inflated, floating and powered.  I celebrated by taking it for a spin around the  marina.  Later Beth, I and the dogs repeated the tour.  Everything went perfectly and by lunch time the dinghy was hung on the arch and it fit perfectly.  Considering I designed the arch but had never test fit the dinghy to it, I was very pleased.  It looks like it will hold well.  Later Beth worked on the lifeline netting and helped me install the new cockpit glass.  I think she has finished the starboard side and has plans of tackling the bow tomorrow. I still have to come up with a plan for the stern.   Dinner was perfectly grilled steaks after watching a great sunset.

Monday.  The weather was great but a bit windy to work on the shrouds so I decided to work on the fridge while Beth worked on the bow netting.  Let me say that whoever installed the fridge had tiny arms.  The project was to get the propane side of the fridge working. I called several service companies in the area and no one would come out.  One guy gave me great advice on things to check, how to check them and apologized that they didn't have a mobile service.  Taking his advise, I decided to undertake the job.
The hardest part was getting the thing out of the cabinet.  Once that was done I checked the voltages, cleaned the burner and generally cleaned up around, behind and under.  This worked out really well as now I understand how it works, where all the connections are.  The entire job took about 5 hours but I am VERY happy to say it is re-installed and works on propane, 120V and 12V.  The propane operation is necessary since it draws a lot of power on 12V and when cruising, you don't want to squander power.
Beth made good progress on the bow netting getting all of the top rail done as well as a decent sunburn on her back.

Severe storms are forecast for later tonight and after watching the news while dining on chinese take out, the storms really tore up Gilmer county with several tornadoes touching down.  The forecast for Tuesday is rain and wind so it will be an inside the boat day cleaning up and organizing.

Tuesday was pretty much as forecast.  Bad storm around 5 am, nasty until about 1 pm and then lots of wind.
Usually wind on a sailboat is a good thing but considering we are attempting to get some work done on the deck, it makes it much harder.  We opted for an indoor day.  I worked on straightening things up and finishing a few indoor chores while Beth took care of essentials like washing and cooking.  All in all it was a rather relaxing day.  Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.

Wednesday.  I picked up all the tools and equipment I had scattered all around the boat and put things in their place as well as removing a few items that hopefully we won't be needing.  Beth continued working on the bow netting but didn't get to finish as the biting gnats swarmed and chased her off.  All the buoyancy tanks have been checked, water filters cleaned or changed and I added reflective tape to the arch and mast.  The list is getting smaller as the date grows nearer.  Dinner was a fantastic roast and the sunset was beautiful.

Planning on heading back to Atlanta tomorrow, Ellijay this weekend.  Maybe before we leave I can get the SSB radio auxiliary antennas hooked up and tested.

Thursday.  Got up early enough before the wind started up and got the shrouds sealed which is an annual chore.  It went well but the gnats were out but not as bad as in the evening.  I double checked all the rings and marked that item off the list.  Beth worked diligently on the bow netting with the help of Catie and Cocoa.
By mid afternoon it was time to head to Atlanta with a few projects to be completed but several major jobs got accomplished and the rest of the list are pretty small items.


Another major step accomplished

Beth had to say goodbye to her car today. With about a month before departure, we are in the final stages of what can go with us and what can't. Unfortunately, Beth's modified Suzuki Vitara won't fit on the boat. A guy in Tennessee met us today and gave it a happy home.

Route Planning

I guess it isn't like the old days when you just set sail and hoped you would find land again. With all the technology ( winds, currents, weather and forecasts ) you have to plan everything. Right now, since we are planning a spring departure, we have to decide if we want to head south to the Caribbean or hang out around the east coast until after hurricane season. If we head south we would just make Mexico's Yucatan peninsula before hurricane season officially starts. Most insurance companies will not cover the boat if you are in the "box" between July 1 and November 1. So, if were actually depart on 4/30 that gives us two months to make Mexico. Actually and logistically that is quite doable but may lessen our time to see things on the way down. Still pondering the possibilities and the decision may not get made until we are in South Florida.


March 16 - 20 ~ St. Patricks Day

Thursday Savannah has a HUGE Parade for St. Patrick's Day so we had to come see it. Leon, Brenda and Lorette joined us and we got really lucky to get "seats" in such a great area. This is truly a huge parade and lasted about 4 hours. Everyone we met on the street was super friendly with a few of them being pretty drunk. We all went for a walk down River St to take part in all the festivities. With almost 500,000 people being in the area for the parade, it was a sea of green with all the St. Patrick's colors being worn. We headed over to Hillards on Skidaway for dinner to end the night.

Friday We did some early morning shopping for supplies and then took the boat out for some local fishing. Leon picked up some shrimp and Beth took us out. We motored about 1/2 way to the ocean and anchored. I don't believe anyone got a bite but it was a great day just relaxing. Dinner was a generous supply of KFC provided by Leon and turning in for an early night.
There were a few issues that came up such as the head decided it didn't need to flush anymore but I got it working and will change the output design soon. The bad news is that the wind generator is only putting out 10V and that won't charge the batteries. After looking into the issue, its pretty dead as in the internal components need to be replaced. I will be researching that. Also developed a nasty diesel fuel leak on the generator fuel supply. I stopped the leak and doused everything with Dawn. Just another issue that takes time. I can't imagine ever being bored on the boat, there is always something to issue.

Saturday Woke up early feeling absolutely miserable. Pain and what appears to be a cold and a serious sore throat. I chilled in the cabin with the TV and AC while Beth worked on the starboard lifeline net. After having done the port side, it seems like she has the hang of it and only took here 1/2 the time. The most I did was prep the new shelf retainer for the head. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and can work on some things before we leave.

Sunday Woke up not feeling much better. Beth worked on the lifeline netting while I fiddled with the diesel tank. After further investigation, the "leak" was
where the connector hooked to the tank. It appears to be a bad "O-ring" so at least this will be a quick fix. Since I wasn't feeling much better, we left Savannah shortly after lunch. As the date of departure draws nearer there are numerous things that must be done.


Feb 24 ~ 27 - Working on the boat

After our trip to Cancun, MX, we were energized to get things going so we could go back on Second Chance. Beth wanted to get the lifeline netting up and I had a few projects I needed to work on.
We got to Savannah around mid-day and got right into it.
I worked on installing the new pantry shelf which fit perfectly and matched the interior to seem if it had always been there, and belonged there. This takes advantage of previously unused space and gives us room for about 60 cans.

I got the clutches installed on the Genoa halyard and the Mainsheet halyard which frees up the winches for the spinnaker or other halyard. The install went much better that I had imagined and they look great!

The Wind Generator issue turned into a non issue as it was never re-connected after the arch was reinstalled. A simple hook up of two wires to the regulator and that adds 400 watts of power to the battery bank !
Beth got the port lifeline netting up and secured. She took the time to burn the ends so there wouldn't be any unraveling and she intertwined it with the lifelines so it isn't going anywhere.
I installed an additional line between the bottom of the stanchions to attach the bottom of the netting to. It looks very good and is quite solid.
Sunday we both spent cleaning out the various storage areas to remove duplicates, take inventory and get crap off the boat. No sense hauling what isn't needed.
I would guess we removed over 150 lbs of "stuff" and that was just the aft port berth. We will work on the dinghy and aft starboard cabin on our next trip.
We have a few errands to run in Atlanta and Ellijay as well as attend our Spanish Classes.

Getting excited as we are now projecting departure on April 20th, 2011.


Cancun Vacation - by air 2/12 ~ 2/19

For Beth's Birthday and Valentines day I decided a trip to Cancun Mexico would be a great thing.  We had not taken a vacation since the honeymoon and a great deal came along.  We stayed at the Royal Islander which was a perfect resort, highly recommended.

Over the week we ate some of the best food Mexico has to offer and did a few tours of the local attractions.  This is NOT a destination for cruisers. Cancun is the most expensive place in all of Mexico.

We did the Chichen Itza tour and learned about the Mayans. Very interesting but alot of it appears to be theory because the records were lost.  It will still be interesting to see what happens on 12/21/12.  The Xplor tour is a nice "waterpark" in caves but I didn't feel it was worth the cost.  We took a 15' Hobie cat out on the lagoon for about 2 hours and Beth really enjoyed sailing as she had control the entire time.  We took a 75' catamaran over to Isla Majures to snorkel and explore the island.  It was a commercial trip but the Captain allowed me to steer while motoring and it was a nice trip.  The reef was kinda disappointing but a great boat trip.  I think this was the first time I was on someone elses boat and didn't find something I needed to put on Second Chance.

The trip did re-emphasize the need to get Second Chance moving.  We are headed to Savannah next week as Beth wants to get the lifeline net up for the dogs and I need to work on the wind generator and mount our new pantry shelf.  If the forecast holds, I am sure we will take a day sail.