Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How To Make It Rain In Florida

Just remove a bunch of deck hardware so you have about 56 large holes all the way through to your living space. That's guaranteed to make it rain for at least two days.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Moving Towards Cruising Again

The deck project is moving along and we are about 2/3rds done. Here's how the KiwiGrip looks. We had trouble getting it consistent, but maybe we're too picky. It is easy though; water based, one coat, good adhesion.

We had been at a dock since October 5th and the cost was getting a bit much to bear, so this morning at slack water we slipped the dock lines, backed out, and motored out to the Municipal Marina on the ICW and took a mooring. We're there at the blue dot now.

From now on things will be a little less convenient; we'll have to dinghy in and out, make our own water, and have the pump-out boat visit twice a week. But in other ways it will be good for us. For one thing, we've lost our sea legs and being on a mooring is already helping us get back in shape.

And we will start feeling like we're cruising again; toting things back and forth, being amongst the other cruising boats, and hopefully gathering information for our trip north.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Out and About in St. Augustine

St. Augustine is a great town to visit. It's so full of history and everywhere you go there is something interesting to see. I hope you enjoy seeing a few of my snapshots from our travels around town.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Re-installing Hardware

We've actually installed quite a bit of hardware lately. We are using butyl tape to seal the holes and are quite pleased with it. It's a bit fiddly, but it goes down into the holes, stays soft for ages, and is easy to clean off the deck. Not at all like that messy goop in a caulking gun, so "Hurrah!" for that.

First we dry fit each piece to make sure the backing plate still fit. Next we countersunk the holes and wrapped a little worm around the fastener. Then we put a layer of tape on the bottom of the hardware and slipped it into the holes.
The first day we tightened each piece really well, then the next day we tightened everything a second time. After the first tightening we picked/pulled off the excess butyl.

On the genoa tracks we put worms of butyl on the top of each fastener and also on the bottom of the riser, and a strip all along the bottom of the riser. We had the new risers made at a local sign shop out of 3/8" thick acrylic plastic because the old ones were broken and crumbling.

We did have a big problem with the bolts though. They are 3/8" x 3" and we thought we would use the old bolts, but there just wasn't enough room. Check out these sketches I made illustrating the problem.
The teak decks were about 3/8" thick and when we removed the wood, the decks esentially became 3/8" thinner. The space between the bottom of the decks and the headliner is only 5/8", just enough for the lock washer, nut, and three empty threads. Consequently we had to order ninety shorter bolts and lost a day waiting for them to arrive.
In other places where there was more room we were able to use old hardware.

One of the really good things about installing hardware is that we can put the lockers back together and install the headliner pieces. Oh, but wait. The headliner is vinyl that has been spray glued to 1/8" plywood. Over the years, because of age and heat I guess, the glue had all dried up and several places were baggy.

By removing lots of little trim pieces we were able to pull back the vinyl, apply new glue and reattach a lot of it. Unfortunatey, some pieces are behind large, difficult to remove trim pieces so we couldn't reglue all of it.

And what a terrible mess that old adhesive made; it was all dried up, crumbly, and dusty, and went everywhere, but we had to remove it before applying the new glue. I cut open large black trash bags and taped them over the walls and cabinets for protection, sanded and vacuumed off the old mess, then sprayed the new glue on both surfaces. After waiting a minute I smoothed the vinyl back in place and we put the trim back. The headliner looks better than it's looked in ages.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pulpit Back On

After weeks of riding around on top of the car, the pulpit was finally re-installed yesterday! WhooHoo!

Now, how will we find the car in the big parking lots?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Just a Liveaboard?

We’ve been here in St. Augustine since October 5th. That’s over four months that we have been in exactly the same spot, tied to the same pilings, NOT MOVING at all.

I don’t really feel like a cruiser anymore.

Way back here up the San Sebastian River, the boat hardly rocks, we rarely see any boat traffic, and we can’t see the ocean. We don’t swim or snorkel or fish. We don’t use the dinghy and we never go sailing.

We have our weekly routine of working on the decks and social activities on Wednesdays and Sundays. We have a car that a friend loaned us. We make regular trips to Home Depot, Harbor Freight Tools, Sailor’s Exchange, and Marine Supply. I’ve even become familiar with the grocery store layout where we shop!

But this isn’t cruising.


At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel on the deck project. We have done the messiest part, figured out all the materials and methods, gathered our new parts and products, learned how to brush these primers and paints, and are almost ready to apply the final coat in the waterways and gutters. Then we can re-install the hardware and finally apply the KiwiGrip. And then maybe we will be cruisers again.

It's been too long.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jigsaw Planet

Hi, my name is Laura and I'm a puzzleholic.

When we were in Costa Rica waiting for the Captain to recover from his surgery, I was desperate for some entertainment other than the TV (which was all about the election) and I stumbled across Jigsaw Planet. It's a site where people create, share, and play jigsaw puzzles and it's totally free.

You can search for popular subjects, follow people, and spend hours just playing anonymously. Or you can start your own account and create your own puzzles to share with others.

I found the site to be a perfect diversion and played many colorful and interesting puzzles while we waited for the Captain to heal. When we came home I continued to do puzzles in the evenings and realized that since I take lots of photos, I could create an account of my own and use all my own photos.

So here's my account: Fortunes Afloat. Contrary to many accounts, these are all my own photos. I've gathered them from my old blog, my present blog, and my jaunts around town.
When you create puzzles you can adjust the number of pieces from 4 to 300. You can also select from seven different styles of cut and select "rotation" which forces players to not only find the piece, but rotate it before placing it into position. You can create albums of similar items that interest you. I have six: Food, Signs, Travel, Still Lifes, Boats, and Nature.

Another thing the site does (and I have no idea how they choose them) is to present "featured" puzzles that everyone sees and frequently plays. This gets you exposure and helps you get followers. And one of my puzzles, Custom Converse, was a featured puzzle today!

If you visit my account at jigsawplanet.com, you'll undoubtedly see photos from my blog, and others from St. Augustine. I hope you enjoy them, but try not to get addicted!

Monday, January 30, 2017

One Month In

We've been working on the decks for one month now and we've gone from chiseling the teak off.....
and scraping polysulphide where the deck met the cabintops.....
to repairing sections of wet balsa core......

and incorporating the piece of deck that's under the caprail into being part of the caprail.

We've also had to route rabbets in the deck and reset the deck drains. We used "Bed-It" (a butyl tape) and are very pleased with it. We'll used it when we re-install all the deck hardware too.

We've skimmed lots of Bondo over the rough spots, and sanded off lots of Bondo.
And we think we are getting close to applying primer. As usual, this project has taken longer than expected, but we're doing it ourselves, and for some reason we can't work as hard as we used to. Go figure!?

Friday, January 6, 2017

If we make it through this

It will be a miracle.

I knew removing the old teak decks would be difficult, but the reality of living aboard while it's happening is just ugly. To remove hardware we have to take everything out of the locker right below it to access the bolts, so there are bags of clothes, toiletries, and foodstuffs scattered everywhere.

Then we have to remove the trim and keepers and headliner, and sometimes shelves, so there are boards and pieces of wood everywhere too, and of course all the hardware, cleats, windlass, and bags of bolts.

Sometimes the nuts are hard to get to; above bulkheads, behind unremovable pieces, behind hoses and wires. Like this one. Not only was it above a non-removable piece of the bulkhead, but the hole in the plywood spacer was too small to fit the socket into even after we drilled an access hole. After a little work with a chisel we got the socket on it and removed it.

It took three hours to disassemble the port quarter berth area, two hours to remove the genoa track and two stanchions, and another hour to clean up the mess and put stuff back.

Another problem is that every nut was slathered with goo on the bottom side of the deck. Not only does that make it difficult to get the socket onto the nuts, but it serves no purpose and DOES NOT help to stop leaks. The sealant needs to be on the outside. In fact, if it's on the bottom it only helps to conceal leaks and actually can force the water into the core causing rot.

And we did find some rot along the port genoa track so the Captain removed the fiberglass skin, replaced the wet wood, and fiberglassed it back together.

We've been working on the decks about three weeks now. Above is what it looked like in the beginning, below is how it looks today. Weve filled about a million holes and the Captain is smoothing and fairing now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Flagler College

aka Ponce de Leon Hotel

The Ponce de Leon Hotel was built by Henry Flagler in 1888 as a winter escape for wealthy Northerners. He and the movers and shakers of the era came here for the three month "Season" from January to April. A season's lodging cost around $4000, which would be $100,000 in today's dollars.
This beautiful four story building boasted many modern amenities for the era; it's own pressure water system, electric lighting, and poured concrete construction. It's Spanish Renaissance Revival facade contains precious works of art including murals by George W. Maynard, windows by Louis C. Tiffany, and ceiling murals by Italian artist Virgilio Tojetti. 

This grand dining room has seen a fascinating sweep of history and on March 31, 1964, the first sit-in of the civil rights movement occured right here. In fact, St. Augustine has a rich history from the civil rights era with many buildings in the Lincolnville neighborhood boasting "Martin Luther King was here" or "an important site in the civil rights movement" on their historical plaques.

This is the ladies' drawing room, furnished much as it would have looked at the turn of the century. The faculty and students at Flagler created some period dresses which are also on display here.
The history of St. Augustine and the legacy of Henry Flagler have been an interesting diversion from working on our boat and we hope you've enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

There's No Turning Back Now!

There comes a time, when you own a twenty-year-plus-old boat, that the decks have been scrubbed, cleaned, scraped, and refinished too many times. When you can see the fiberglass peeking out of the thin spots you know it's time to do something about it.

Before we left California, we cleaned, re-plugged, and re-caulked lots of spots on the deck. We learned that it was originally 3/8" thick, laid edge to edge in a bed of epoxy with a V-shaped cauling groove at the seams. The epoxy sealed the whole deck and made it okay to remove screws over the years as the teak got thinner. And that method kept the deck water tight. We've had no leaks, but it looks horrible.

We could replace all that thin old teak like we did in the cockpit, but considering the cost of new teak, that's not an option here. So we've decided to remove the teak, refinish the surface, and paint the decks.

We started chiseling it off yesterday.
Within ten minutes I was having that panic attack feeling that I felt back in 2000 when we Sawzalled our house into pieces and loaded it into a dumpster. "What the hell are we doing? Will this really work? Are we doing the right thing? How long will this take? Will it ever be right again?"

This is how it looks after two short days. We can't seem to get started before nine, we take a good hour lunch break, and we never work past five. Everything is so much harder at our ages.

We figure we'll have all the old teak removed in about a week, then we'll remove the hardware, which might be harder than the teak. All the stanchions, cleats, tank fillers, windlass, and (the worst) the genoa track must be removed. All those bolts have nuts on the underside, behind the headliner inside the boat. I just want to CRY about that.

Well keep you posted.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Glitter Houses

Now that we're on a dock and not moving around so much, and it actually feels a little like Christmas (it was 47 degrees this morning), I am doing some artsy-craftsy projects; like these glitter lighthouses.

I made them out of cardstock, painted them with craft paints, and used a little battery operated tea light for the lamp. The top lifts off to access the light for turning it on and off. The hardest part was finding a clear plastic cylinder for the windows. I ended up using old spice jars which are just a bit bigger than the tea lights. (I had to trim off the top and bottom, of course.)

I'm really pleased with them, but I'm already beginning to debate the wisdom of glitter on a boat. I tried to be neat, but I see glitter everywhere now.

(BBB) or Back Before the Boat, I made a bunch of glitter houses for Christmas. I used a string of mini lights under some snow (batting) instead of tea lights. Here's a blog about them: