Servicing the Furnace

I got the back locker unpacked and squirmed down there to service the furnace. First thing that looked bad was a rusty screw on the cover plate. As of last month when I tried to start the furnace, it would not ignite. Last time that was caused by a dead compressor. The rusty screw was concerning, so as I'm removing the screws, I'm thinking that salt water dripped into the locker from the hatch and ran down the outside of the furnace and rusted the screw's locking washer.
I was very wrong. Once the cover was remove the insides of the outer case were covered with soot on at the bottom 2 inches of the case. The only way that could have happened is that an ocean wave hitting the back end of the boat washed up through the exhaust system, muffler and then poured soot in to the case through the boiler's fire chamber. Chances are water also washed up the air intake, but that would not have fill the outer case with soot.
I cleaned it up and then cleaned up the injectors. I could not see any water in the boiler fire chamber. I fired it up and she started with no problems.
On the way down here we ran the furnace for the first 3 or 4 days cause it was cold outside. After that we didn't run the furnace but that is also when we hit the really rough seas with swells above 16 feet. The cockpit also got pooped a couple time in that period.
The exhaust cover is rusted (that pissed me off since this is an ocean product, yet after only a day or two of exposure, the threads on the bolt are totally rusted and prevented me from installing the cover when we were in rough seas.) I have penetrating oil on it right now, but if it doesn't break loose, I'll have to use 3" blue tape to tape over the furnace air-intake/exhaust pipe when at sea.
I will fire her up completely tonight to wash dishes and shower. The furnace consumes .2 Gallon an hour of run time… much better than the engine. So if all you need is hot water, the furnace is the way to go!!! But for the last couple of months I've been using the engine to get hot water… while it also charges the batteries, there are time when all I want is hot water and do not the more power in the batteries.
It is nice to have multiple ways (redundancy) to get what is needed.

French Tex-Mex

Tom, Maje and I ran around the island yesterday and we stopped for a late lunch on the French side at a Tex-Mex place. Great views of Oyster Bay from the dinning area. The food wasn't just Tex-Mex, they have fish, steak, and pizza as well as Tex-Mex. I went for a pizza. I haven't had one in a very long time. It was nice thin crust pizza. I payed for it later in the amount of water I had to drink to compensate for the salty pizza. But in typical french style they always bring out a digestive. Usually it is a flavored rum concoction. In this case there were two, a ginger orange flavored as well as a banana vanilla rum. Be careful, they leave the bottle on the table… You don't want to drink much as it is RUM! and almost full proof.
Last week we also went around the island and stopped at Grand Case at a local "low low" for BBQ - very good. I'm gaining weight on the French food.

Winds are Changing

The wind has shifted 180 degrees today. This has caused several boats to drag. The Cruising community here is awesome, they all chip in to help secure the boat that is dragging and minimize damage. But this requires some degree of trust. If you leave your boat, then you should leave with the "windless" powered on and the key in the ignition of the boat ready to be started at any time. This will allow anyone to take your boat, but at the same time will allow cruisers to save your boat when needed and you are not on board. So you are having dinner in Grand Case and your boat starts dragging…. If you locked her up solid and turned the windless and engine key's off then you are doomed. If you left them on then cruisers will save your boat.
If anyone takes your boat, there is a very good chance you will find them as most offshore boats are document vessels and can be tracked by their electronics MMSI and other info. So if you take my boat I will hunt you down and kill you… A friend will share a beer with you. A really good friend will help you dispose of a body… and cruisers have lots of really good friends :)

We all got hair cuts today

Yep, Daddy, Cinco and Jupiter all got hair cuts today. And this afternoon we are all going swimming! The dogs really don't like this, but hey, they are dogs! I also went grocery shopping this morning and came back with lots of fresh chicken, pettties pois, and rice. The dogs love that cause this afternoon Daddy has been cooking chicken, rice, and peas!!!!! Yeh!!!

Posted pictures for the 1960's

My oldest sister (just 29 year old ;) ) is posting family picture that my Dad took many years ago. I have just asked her to exclude me because some of these picture include my older brother that molested most of us before we were 12 years old. THE SOB should DIE a very slow and painful death for all the pain he has caused his brother;s and sister's. FUCK YOU DANA!!! EAT SHIT AND DIE YOU SOB!!!


Yes, I have started eating Sardines again. I have not found any in mustard (typical in the USA). But they come in almost every other marinade you can image. I particularly like the fillets of Sardine vs the full Sardine.
All the same a tin plus crackers and black pepper, make for an excellent lunch once or twice a week. They had some that were marinated in olive oil, hot pepper, olives, and pickles - they were awesome, I haven't seen them in quite some time. I'm doing the Italian marinade and the classic extra virgin olive oil for now. There is also a tomato, basil and olive version of the fillets that is pretty good with a splash of cayenne pepper or black pepper. There are also lemon "citron" marinade that are good, but they need quite a bit of spice so either hot sauce or pepper is added.

Ahh Sailors

Today ended with a totally sailor event :) . The day started lazy with not much to do other than start my Taxes. At the end of the day, the dogs and went to Explorer Island at 5:00PM Nor as part of our normal routine. Normal… not quite normal… today was different! Today there were people on Explorer Island. We have seen people many time before on the island and that is how the dogs have become friends with most of the kids in the St Martin. But this group was different, they didn't speak English (or much English). The dogs and I did our walk around and then joined a group of Russian and Ukrainian group for a beer.
As the sun went down, Cinco took on "Rat Control" responsibilities. He did a very good job at keeping the rats away from the beach area. I, on the other hand, took to eating the yummy onion drenched and BBQ'ed pork and chicken while drinking Rum. Later I pigged out on potatoes, cheese and chicken that had been grilled while we were eating the pork.
There was lots of discussion in Russian and lots of guitar playing and singing in Russian. It was great fun even though I don't understand a single word of the Russian! The dogs don't care what language anyone speaks as long as they have a hand to rub behind the ears!!! We got home just after 10:30PM. I will have to get a bottle of potato vodka as a "thank you" gift for them. I know where they are anchored as I have seen a couple of them in the area before this night.
Cinco did a very good job of keeping the rats away!!! Really he did. Jupiter just sat by my feet the entire time.

Shopping today

I went grocery shopping today and for the first time in a couple of years I purchased vanilla IceCream!!!!! FU$K YEH. I haven't had ICE CREAM in since a BBQ with Bob and Mary Anne - likely 2 or 3 years ago. Needless to say, Ice Cream come in only once size "A SINGLE SERVING"!!!! I got the pint version of a SINGLE SERVING. It made an awesome lunch :)
Also picked up the material to make a bridle for the Anchor. I'm currently using a Snubber and that would be great, but when the winds are 20+kts for several days a single 5/8" line on the anchor is not comforting. So now I have rigged a bridle with two 3/4" lines connecting to a Mantis hook. Looking good. Instead of splicing the lines I'm trying to use an Alpine Butterfly for the connection to a thimble then to the Mantis hook. The winds are only 5 to 12kts right now, so the knot may not fully tighten tonight.

Liking the additonal Solar

The extra panels are working pretty nice. I don't think we are completely self sufficient, but a whole lot closer to being there. These new panels should pay off in just a few months with savings on Diesel.
Next project is a bridle for the anchor. I'm currently using a "snubber" but a "bridle" will be better than a snubber. Tuesday is shopping day and I'll see about getting the parts I need for a bridle when I'm at IWW in Marigot on Tuesday. If they don't have the parts then I'll run down to Cole Bay and pick up the parts there. Once that is made up, I finish provisioning this week and then wait for a weather window to head down island. Looking forward to the change. I'm getting fat here in the French islands (the food is soooooo goooood).

Additional Solar Installed

After dropping one part into the sea…running to the store to get a couple replacements, the two additional solar panels are installed and producing power! Yeh! Now I have to see how much power and which charge profile will work best. So the locker will stay empty for a couple days so I can easily get in and out to monitor and adjust the controller. While I've got it empty I'll defrost the freezer tonight and charge up the coolant for the system. I may also install a small fan on the air vent to keep that locker a bit cooler (that should help the fridge/freezer run more efficiently.
I still have to tidy up the last two feet of wire in the locker. That will wait till morning.
Once that locker is packed I need to service the furnace in the next locker over. It didn't fire up a couple of weeks ago, but it is over due for service. Normally I service it in October before winter sets in, but this year there was no motivation for that since winter here is pretty warm.
I also have to check all the fuel filters and transmission before I head out. It will be nice to get out of Le Lagoon.
I had divers grease the prop, clean the bottom, and replace the anodes. That was last week and it only cost 130 dollars, much cheaper than Annapolis.
Once the freezer is back working, I need to provision up while I have good shopping in St. Martin.
Sharing a rental car with another boat for part of next week so that will make it easy to get some odds and ends that I need before I go "down island."

Budget Marine let me down

I ordered a charge controller one month ago. It was to be shipped in two weeks. I emailed on the second and third weeks and went down there three times. On the third time today, one month after the order they told me that they decided not to place the order because they would have to buy 5 and they didn't want the other 4 in their inventory. The note on the record showed that they knew this within a few days of the order, but nobody tried to contact me and every time I went there and every email I sent included my return email address (they have no problems emailing me marketing materials, but can't email me about an expensive item I paid for in advance) I'm not happy.
Island Water World will get more of my business now. Oh and Island Water World had a similar product that I picked up, in stock.
Never grate cheese on board with Jupiter. He is all nose now that he is bind and he crawls around my feet and in the galley for 30min or more after I grate stinky monk cheese!! He is so cute.

St Martin Radio Net

St Martin has an active radio network hosted by Mike and Sally at Shrimpy's Laundry. The variety of accents of English used on the network is representative of the variety of nationalities here in St. Martin. Big thanks to Mike and Sally for this. It helps make the community vibrant. We have a BBQ at the Pink Iguana today, then a St. Patty's day celebration on Friday, we had a BBQ just this weekend. The other community support comes from Island Water World, they host shopping buses that leave both sides of the island and this is a great asset for getting the grocery shopping done. It is also a social event in the morning as everyone give tips to others about what is good or not and where to find specific items or services.
I had the hull cleaned yesterday and the anode on the prop was not in good condition. Guess that's the result on EYC marina, Nanny Key, and Fort Louis. I wasn't expecting that much damage. I'll have to pick up another anode when I'm down to the Chandleries.
The dogs are great icebreakers, I think all the kids on boats here know Cinco and Jupiter as we see them on Explorer Island every now and then and then the dogs come to some of the events with me to socialize.

Yukon fingerling potatoes fried in olive oil. YUM

i have fresh marlin and fresh potatoes. The taters are frying in olive oil at this time and once they are done the marline will get splashed into the pan. YuMMM
The pups smell the food and they are hovering over the boat in search of yummy bits

Chaps, Mate and other foriegn words

There are so many non-US folks her that "chaps, mate" and other phrases are common. Yes you have to get used to being called mate or chap. It is awfully nice that other countries have such names, in the USA there is no equal. Even "dude" doesn't match the intent of mate or chaps. I don't know that I can use the terms, but maybe one day I'll start.

Live aboard to sail away, part 8

You may want to consider careening your vessel. This is where you purposely pull your boat into the shallows at high tide to ground her as the tide drops. This is the only way to work on the bottom of the hull of boats in some areas of the world. The first time I saw this in Carriacou I was surprised and in awe that this could be done. In Windward this is how all large boats are built and repaired. In some sailing grounds with drastic tidal ranges, setting the boat on the ground at each low tide is normal. Boats designed for these reasons usually have very shallow keels and may have dual rudders used to distributed the weight of the vessel when it is high and dry at low tide.

My target draft was 6.5' or less and a sturdy keel and rudder. I ended up with a vessel with 6.5' of draft and a full keel with a cut back tow. I have run her around a few times in the Chesapeake. Mostly on purpose because in the Chesapeake there is an advantage to driving up a creek at low tide until the bottom touches, then turning and dropping anchor. This keeps other boats from going further back in the creek and surrounding your private anchorage. This technique of running aground produces a strange feeling in that twice a day the keel is seated in the mud and the boat does not drift with the wind. Nevertheless, it provides insurance that 270 degrees of my view will be unobstructed by other boats. At 7' of depth there are anchorages I could not use and my cruising grounds would be limited, yet less that 6' of draft may allow me to cut across sand bars, but I have yet to see that really shallow keel depth would open that many more anchorages. I might be able to get a few more yards up Dividing Creek before I hit bottom, but my current technique works well with 6.5' of draft.

Another Lazy Day, everything is closed on Suday (the way it should be)

Puppy walks, batt charge and more hot water. Otherwise, just taking it easy today. Pups slept until 8:00 they had too much fun at the Beach BBQ last night.
I've just been putzing around today, taking it easy. Not much else going on in St. Martin. The wind is calm, 10kts.
Happy Sunday to all.

Live aboard to sail away part 7

The boat I chose was 43'10” aft cockpit vessel that provides a balance to my requirements. The free board is low enough that I can board from the dinghy without using a ladder and the combing is six inches or more in height surrounding the cockpit. Water is drained off the deck via hole in the toe rail and the toe rail is only 3 inches in height. I can manage the sails using manual winches without too much difficulty. A powered winch would be nice to have for the main sail, but currently I do not have a powered winch and can manage the sail without such a winch.

Draft 6'5” or less
“Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.” [Shakespeare: Henry VI III.i]
“A great ship asks deep waters.” [George Herbert: Jacula Prudentum]

My experience with draft is limited. In the Caribbean there are many anchorages I have used that are 3 meters or a little less. I have also seen large Swan sailboats in Annapolis with 11' draft or more that are seriously limited. In some cases, just entering or leaving Back Creek in these large Swans requires 10 minutes or more running the engine at full throttle to plow their way through the mouth of the channel. I have a friend with a small boat and a 3'5” draft. He can sail over sand bars in the Chesapeake with ease were I have to divert a mile or so around the bars. There are also boats with swing keels that have a shallow draft built into the hull and a swing, drop, keel that can be lowered in open water to increase the draft.

The selection of draft is going to depend upon your cruising plans. If you are going to spend a significant time in very shallow water, then look for a boat with a very shallow draft. If you are sailing only in deep ocean water and large navigation channels then very deep drafts are possible. My plan is to sail in a variety of conditions, and thus my draft restriction and construction restrictions.

No matter the draft you choose, you will hit bottom! All sailboats that move in the water hit bottom at one time or another. Sometimes this is done intentionally, but usually not. So another important factor is hull strength and the underwater structure of your boat. Once again, fin keels and spade rudders may have a disadvantage in that their design may be prone to more damage when grounded. Larger keels and rudders above the depth (shallower) than the keel can provide some protection in groundings.

Beach BBQ

The pups and I went to a beach BBQ on explorer island. It was a great gathering of cruisers and their families. I even when to hunt "monsters" with some of the kids after it was dark. The pups had constant attention as everyone wanted to pet and snuggle them. They each had a little signs that said, "Read This, If you feed me then you come home to my boat and clean up the puke and shit on the rugs for the next two days" Needless to say nobody gave them food. (much to their disappointment). The pups are exhausted and sleeping now. I shouldn't hear from them until mid-morning.

Very windy today

The winds are to be 15 to 20. They are running 18 to 28kts instead. Nice for making power with the wind generator.
Last night I went to Pink Iguana for an Electric Violin Trio. It was awesome entertainment. Tonight I think I will be joining a few cruisers for a french/vietnamese restaurant.
Saturday is a big pork roast on Explorer Island. I'll have to bring the pups on that one, I do hope they behave.
Today was grocery shopping, the police no longer let people ride in the back of the truck, so some of us walk to the store, but it took and extra 1/2 hour to get a ride back.
I'm planning to be in Antigua for the Classic Boat Regatta that starts on April 18th or 19th. I'm waiting for some part for the new solar panels and then I'll be waiting for a weather window to head east-southeast towards Antigua.
Not much else going on, just relaxing with the pups.

Emptied the V-berth

I found my Cameras in the V-berth, YEH!!! I figured they were located there, but couldn't prove it until they were actually found. Today is a rug, puppy blanket, puppy bed wash day as well as some other small projects. Jupiter was sick for the past two days so there is lots to clean. He is doing better today, back to his old playful happy self. I'm waiting for parts still, I haven't heard back from Budget Marine on that yet. I need to run into Marigot in the next couple of days to pick up a few items. I also need to check out the furnace. It didn't fire up yesterday to make hot water. I hope it is not the air compressor (that was the cause of the problem 3 years ago and the compressor is not cheap or easy to replace). I'll run the engine this afternoon to get hot water and top up the batt bank. Windy again today, but very few clouds. It was 77 deg F this morning and that is COLD! Once you get use to the warm temps anything below 80 deg feels cold.
I can't get FaceTime to connect. Will try Skype later today with Jolene.

Parts are still not in

Here in St Marten awaiting parts, but they are not here yet. They should be in Miami at this time. So a few more days waiting in St. Marten (not bad). That is okay cause the weather is not good for sailing down island. I may have a sailing window this weekend if the parts are in and installed by then.
Jupiter is still sick, not nice, but we are dealing with the messes he makes. We will head out to explorer island early today (3PM) to let them play. I may bring a cold six pack with me so I can sit and relax while they play. Raining a bit today, I got soaked by a squall while returning with the groceries in the dink this morning. I have the boat set to put the rain water into the starboard H2O tanks; that will save me having to run the water maker to fill those tanks. Rain water also taste great and it is so soft for showering.

Periodic rain, cooking more puppy food, washing rug and laundry

Some type of weather is moving in. They are calling for 30kts of wind for a few days, rain today and on Tuesday. I'm cooking puppy food and every time I make noise in the galley Jupiter comes running in to sniff. He was sick this morning and I've been washing rugs as well as normal laundry. I think he got sick cause I gave him a slice of cheese rind after the begged and pestered for almost 15 min. I won't do that again!
His sense of smell is getting better and better each month since he has been blind. It's getting to be a PITA. I'm going to have to figure out ways to cope with his little nose and what it make him do. He has also become very vocal when is nose or ears tell him something he likes is about to happen. When he senses this he start yelping and wining until I tend to him. This is also a PITA but very predicable at this time. It is also very cute to see him react to the sound of the life vests or the sound of the food bowls.
Blind Boy Jupie is still a puppy at heart.

Remind me not to volunteer

Today was a long day at SMYC and Kemshaw beach. The venue looks great. Tonight is the first concert and public party. I just got home and I'm not going to the party tonight. I was working from 10AM until 8PM. Hopefully tomorrow will be lighter. I will show up at noon and spend 3 hours there then go home and return just before 6PM. I plan on staying Sunday for the UB40 concert. I'm looking forward to that. My solar parts should be in next week. I'm hoping the memory I ordered for the computer will also be delivered to Florida next week. I will not be going anywhere next week as they are calling for winds for 30kts+ next week from the east and I want to go to Antigua (that's not a good combination).

Anchor Drag

I was at SMYC most of the day today and when I got home I was wandering why the boat that was next to me moved. Then I read my email. He didn't move, I moved. After over 6 weeks in the exact same spot my boat moved and the winds today were only 25 to 30kts, We had seen much worse in the past 6 weeks. I let out more scope, now I'm at 120ft in only 10 ft of water, that is 10to1.
I'm watching carefully and will have to dive the anchor in the morning. I have the dink set to go if I need to run a second anchor out at night. There is no-one directly behind me, but I'm in less than 10 ft of water, so don't want to drag too far. I think I'm still dragging but only by a foot or two every hour. It was a shopping day today and I picked up more ingredients for puppy jambalaya. I also got "lambis" boudin… Still they use clove in their boudin here. I think it would be better with cayenne. Oh well, I had to try it. I also picked up another pork loin marinated. Saturday will be lots of work, we have to setup Kemshaw beach for IT for Saturday and Sunday plus the race participant area for the U2 concert on Sunday. I have a free pass for the U2 concert!

Windy day here

Wind has been 20kts all day. That is great cause the wind generator is charging the batts. Not so good in the dink cause it gets wet.
I spent most of the day at the St. Maarten Yacht Club configuring their computers for the Heineken rally that starts on Thursday. I have to go the Kemshaw and configure a bunch of computers over there too. So much for retirement… though this doesn't pay it does give me free Heineken. I'll bring the pups with me Thursday cause we will be out until about 10PM. I'll have to get chicken cooked for them at Kemshaw beach for dinner. Should be fun. The rally runs until Sunday and there are about 200 boats registered. There are some really big yachts in this race. No Comanche… he is not racing this rally.