Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 305 Still broken!!

I started the day by installing the Webasto heater.  Got it all installed and NOTHING!!  No fuel pump, no heat, no nothing.  It was as they say "dead in the water"--literally.  I called Sure Marine who had fixed it the day before.  Their comment--bring it in--all of it!  So out it came all over again.  This time, I also took out the fuel pump and the circuit board.  I also took out the new thermostat and boxed it all up.

By the time I got it all removed (of course with a smile on my face and with a cheery spirit--yeah-right!!  I didn't want to take my blood pressure right then.  I was not a happy camper), we had time to make the 11:20 ferry to go back to Seattle.  Back to the repair shop.  The heck with eating breakfast.

The folks at Sure could not have been nicer.  They knew our schedule--or at least what we hoped would be our schedule--we'd planned on being out of Brownsville by Sunday morning.  They took the unit in for diagnosis while we took off for a quick lunch at Wendy's.  We took our time so they could work on it.  Got back and it was up and running just fine.  Dan--the tech, had installed even some new circuitry on the old circuit board so we would be just like the new machines.  He turned it on and it ran great.  He showed me how to prime the fuel pump that goes into the heater so I wouldn't screw it up.  I'm much better after a show and tell session than just reading it.  We went to pay for his labor and they said--"NO CHARGE"!!  Man, now that is great service.

We made a quick stop at SeaMar for a new faucet for the stern head.  It currently has two faucets--hot and cold like most older houses.  We wanted to make it so that the water mixes before it comes out of the faucet like the new faucets on houses.  It makes it much easier to wash your hands than alternating between the hot water and the cold to get them clean and rinsed.  I'll install it later.

Back for the 4:20 ferry again (a fast hit and run trip) and back to Zephyr by 6pm.  While Tracy made dinner, I started the install.  In went the new thermostat.  In went the heater and the circuit board.  Next, the fuel pump.  All bolted or screwed in.  With Tracy's help I primed the fuel pump so that the diesel fuel was ready to go at the end of the fuel line and attached it to the heater.  We were ready to go.

I turned on the heater--NOTHING!!  No fuel pump noises, no ignition, no nothing!!  It was dead!!  (God bless blood pressure pills)  I started backtracking and testing.  We knew the fuel pump worked.  They had tested it and I had done the same as I primed it.  We knew the heater worked--they'd started it up.   So all that left was the wires or the thermostat(they hadn't tested it)  I replaced the wire harness for the fuel pump--yes, it had primed well, but we'd had them make a new one for us just in case.  Still nothing.  I checked my wiring schematic I'd made as I took wires off.  All looked fine.  I read the instruction manual that came with the new thermostat.  Wait a minute,  the wires weren't hooked up as they should--even on the last thermostat.  I checked and double checked the wiring at the harness--color by color and what terminal they screwed onto.  Two wires were reversed at the thermostat.  I switched them out and NOTHING.  Now we knew it worked--had on the service bench.  So out with the new thermostat and in with the old one--wired correctly.  Boom, on it came!!!  The new thermostat either doesn't work, or won't work with this particular heater.  It was the only thing that hadn't gotten tested.  We were up and running!!  

I let it run a full cycle as that was what the problem had been, it wouldn't do so with out several flame outs.  Ran great.  The only problem is that the old thermostat has an 8 degree range.  On at 65 and off at 73.  Or vice versa, the boat has to cool to 65 before the heat kicks on.  A bit of a large range if you ask me.  I reinstalled the new thermostat--checking all the wires were hooked up to the appropriate screws.  Still nothing.  It just doesn't play nice with others.  Out it came and in with the old one.  Ran fine.  Go figure!  I'll be calling Sure Marine to get a replacement this morning.  They can mail it.  No more ferry rides.  It's almost $30.00 for a round trip and that adds up quickly.  

Today, packing in stores for the trip.  With Costco here, that makes it easier.  We still plan on being out of here tomorrow though Sea Marine won't have space for us at their docks till Tuesday, we plan of anchoring out for a couple of days.  Finally get away.  Tracy will drive the car to Port Townsend and I'll take Zephyr.  We'll meet up there and take off for a close harbor and drop the hook.  I can sit back and relax for a change.  It will be nice.

I took the photos on the way over to Seattle.  It was one of the clearest and calmest days we've seen on the sound.  We got lucky on each ride that we were parked on the outermost car area so we had a great view all the way over and back.  We could have gone inside but it's more comfortable in the car.  Don't forget, you can click on the pictures and see them full size.

It's going to be a busy day, but hey, if we don't get it done we will just wait till Monday and leave then.  We are after all, living the dream!!

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 304 Back to Seattle one more time.

Onto the ferry by 10:20 for another trip back to Seattle.  This time to pick up the Webasto heater.  They'd called and said that she was all repaired and ready to go.  As we will be leaving Brownsville on Sunday, we didn't want to wait going and getting it.  I'll be installing it today.  We waited till the 10:20 ferry so that some of the snow would be gone.  It can get messy up here even with just an inch or two of snow.  It's not like Colorado where you get used to driving on it in the Winter.

The Webasto was another casualty of our Zephyrs wiring.  When it was installed, the electrician wired it to the "starter" bank of batteries.  This is a bank of two batteries that's sole function is to start the engines--nothing else.  When we were here during Christmas of 07, I had tried to start the engines and found the batteries dead.  The Webasto had been working alright but suddenly had died and refused to start also.  Since the "House" bank of batteries was alright at the time, it pretty much told me it was hooked up to the wrong bank.  Plus, once recharged, the heater would run.  Not like it had but at least run.  Turns out that as the "starter" bank died, the heater wasn't getting enough power to run the blower fan to push enough air through it.  The burner was still heating away but without the proper air movement, it basically fried the burner unit and caused the jets to get clogged and the glow plug that starts the heater to start shorting out.  Even after the heater was rewired, the  damage had been done and we had to replace the guts of the heater.   I'll be installing it this morning.

We had a great lunch with our son Matt.  It was great sitting down and getting caught up on what is going on.  He's been following our blog so he knows our story.  We wanted to catch up on his.  

After lunch, a quick stop to pick up another handle for our dingy.  It doesn't have enough handles to make it easy to move around.  I'll be gluing it on once the weather gets a bit warmer.

Then on to the Sea Marine store by Fisherman's Terminal.  A store that has lots of equipment that you won't find in the "recreational" boater stores.  Lots of basic equipment that is necessary but harder to find.  We picked up some pencil zincs(stops the corrosion on Zephyr) that go to the engine and a zinc that attaches to the Max Prop.  A MUCH heavier one than what I had purchased from Max Prop last year.  A lot more zinc for a lot less money-- none name brand.  Since we appear to be eating zincs quite quickly, I'm always on the hunt for more.

Back to the ferry for the 4:20 trip and home again.  A clear night so down into the 20s again.

We'll see what today brings.  Maybe 40 is we get lucky.

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 303 Busy Busy Busy

I took off the Webasto heater on Tuesday and took it in for service.  I had planned to work on it myself if I could but once I got the cover off, I just didn't feel comfortable doing it.  This thing cost over $3,000 if I screwed it up.  So into the shop it went.  I had hoped that all it needed was a simple cleaning but unfortunately, the main burner was just about toasted and needed to be replaced.  It did heat, but each time, it kept going into "fault" mode and just turn itself on and off and on and off over a period of an hour.  Once it finally shut off, you had to reset the entire unit to get it to turn back on.  They called last yesterday with the diagnosis.  I told them to just go ahead and put in a new replacement unit so it will work fine.  We are headed out to pick it some time today.

We're not sure as to exactly when as it snowed last night.  We have about 2" here in Bremerton.  Started to come down early this morning so the roads are a mess.  Seattle has anywhere from 1" to 3"s and is a mess over there also.  The forecast is for about 40 degrees by this afternoon so I figure we will head over late this morning.  We have a few other things to pick up while we are there. 

We picked up our out board motor yesterday afternoon.  We waited for the rain to slow down.  The repair shop had put it in their tank and finally got it started.  After a few adjustments, it should run much better--Heck--I couldn't even get it started.  I felt a bit vindicated when we went to pick it up and even they had a bit of a problem getting it started when it was cold.  I got a lesson as to how they start their motors so I'll be better prepared when we do it.  I'd hoped to get the motor onto the dingy today, but I figure we will be gone most of it.  Plus add on the snow and it will just have to wait till Friday.  

When we took the Webasto heater in for repairs, we picked up a new thermostat for it.  The old one was built for the Webasto unit but had a temperature range of 8 degrees between turning it self on and off.  That can get a bit chilly having a range that large.  We picked up a new one that has an adjustable range of anywhere from 1 to 3 degrees.  It should keep us much warmer once we are out at anchor.  Plus, once it is up and running will turn itself on and off and not go into the fault mode where it will only run once during the night and shut down.  It makes it quite chilly getting up in the morning.  I installed it last night.

While in the repair shop, I found a set of ratchet wire crimpers!!!  I've been hunting for a set for quite a while.  When you join wires or put a new terminal on the end of the wire, you have to crimp on the fastener.  Most simply crush the little tube the wire goes into.  This can lead to a bad connection that could fail later in its  life.  With a ratchet crimper, it put a uniform pressure around the fitting and makes it grip better with no crushing the fitting.  I've been looking for a pair of these for months.  No one out here carries anything like them.  Even Radio Shack.  They haven't had anything like that it years according to one of their employees. 

We picked up some "middle" layer clothes on Tuesday.  These go between your normal clothes and your foul weather clothes to give you better insulation when you're out in the cold winds while sailing.  Just a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt just don't keep you warm.  The foul weather gear may keep you dry, but there is no insulation factor built into it.  This should make sailing much more comfortable in the cold weather.

We still plan of setting out on Sunday for Port Townsend for the next stage of getting prepared for our trek North.  I'll be calling to check that there is space at their docks for us.  If not, we will probably anchor out for a day or two until there is space.  Hopefully we will be at their docks by mid week.  We really want to be heading North by the middle of the month.  It's a long way to go and the earlier we start the better.

Well, we sit and wait a few hours till some of the snow melts and the roads are better.  We're in no hurry to go out there.  And here I thought when we left Colorado that we were done with snow.  Guess not yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 301 It continues.

Amazingly, the weather forecasters got it right yesterday.  Morning was to be ok and afternoon showers and rain.  I haven't figured out the difference but they seem to think there is a difference between showers and rain.  That's just the way the day went.  

Luckily, we did outside boat things early.  It was calm so we motored over to the pump out station and did what we needed to do and back to the slip.  We pulled in stern first again.  I didn't listen to Tracy as well as I should so it took an extra try to get us in alright.  But, all in all, it went fine.  

One of the marina employees was just passing by and gave  us a hand with the lines.  He told us that the marina offers a POW service.  "Pump Out Wednesdays" where they will come to your boat and do the pump out for you.  It's $5.00 a week.  We've been here over a month and it's the first we'd heard of it.  I can use the practice docking and re docking Zephyr so I don't think we would have used their service any way.  But I have to admit, it's a nice service to provide to the boaters here that don't want to disconnect their electricity,  untie their lines, start their engines, putt putt over to the station, tie up there, pump out, untie, putt putt back and then have to retie to the dock and get adjusted in place all over again.  We do it because--hey, $5.00 is $5.00 and as I said, we need the practice.

While disconnected from shore power, I checked the "Zinc Saver II" in the engine room.  This gizmo helps keep Zephyr safe from stray current that bleeds off other boats in the marina.  If an electrical connection isn't made right,  stray current from wires can go into the water from that boats ground terminal and will eat away at the metal parts on other boats.  This gizmo helps to stop that corrosion.  We've noticed that Zephyrs zincs--attached to the end of the prop seem to be degrading faster than we think normal.  We've only been back in the water since mid-October and it appears to be disintegrating quicker than normal.  They should last about a year under decent circumstances.  We may have to hire a diver to go down and check and replace it if necessary.  We carry no less than 6 spares on board.

Once done with that project and a nice lunch, we took off on errands.  It was just starting to rain.  Costco(of course), Lowe's, Home Depot, Michaels,  another Lowe's, NAPA, and Boater's World. 

I'm not sure I'd go back to Boater's World.  We looked through the store and seeing nothing we wanted, were just walking out the door when one of the employees said "Next time, bring your money".  Say what?  I'm not sure that's the right thing to say to a customer just because they didn't buy anything.  I hit him back with "Next time, have what we need" and left the store.  I've been there twice and each time, I was the only customer.  They had no less than 5 employees wandering around the store or sitting in chairs talking to each other.  Once on a weekend (mine was the only car in the lot)and yesterday, a Monday(again, mine was the only car in the lot).  I don't understand why they needed 5 employees, but I wouldn't buy stock in a company that has that many employees in a store that is not doing any business.  West Marine has maybe three sales people in their store on weekends and two during busier times during the day and one as they near closing time.  Boater's World has far too many employees in their stores given what their business is right now.

It continued to rain the entire time we were out but luckily stopped just as we were getting back to the marina.  We got back to Zephyr nice and dry.  Hamburgers for dinner.  It started raining again just after dinner and continued through the evening.  Today, more of the same.

I'm planning to remove our Webasto diesel heater today and either service it myself or take it to Seattle to have serviced.  It's not running properly and hasn't in months.  It just keeps running and restarting over and over again after the thermostat turns it on.  According to the owner's manual, it is doing repeated "flame outs".  The jets are clogged.  It never got used enough and sediment from the diesel fuel coated the sensors so it won't run right.  If we do go to Seattle, we'll buy another thermostat.  This baby has a range of 8 degrees between when it stops running and when it will restart.  If set to 78 degrees when it turns off, it won't turn back on again to heat until it drops to 70 degrees.  A bit large in range for my tastes.  The new thermostats have a 3 degree range.  It allows for a much more comfortable living arrangement.  We'll see how the day goes.  

With luck, the Mercury outboard motor folks will have our motor fixed so we can pick it up also.  I really want to try it out on our dingy to see what she will do under power.  So far, the only power we have used on her is oars and they aren't that powerful.

Have a great day.  If you have a chance, try Sand Pipers blog.  They're now in Granada. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 300 Hard to believe

It's hard to believe I'm at post 300.   It amazes me the differences in our lives over the past 10 months since we moved on board.  Oh, how green we were that day.  It's surprising how much we have learned since the end of April last year.  We sure know a lot more about Zephyrs systems.

We took off for Sears, etc yesterday to get the new multimeter.  As my teacher told us--don't trust any piece of electronics.  The first one I bought wouldn't go to zero on the digital readout after we installed the battery when we got back to Zephyr.  So back to Sears to get another.  It has worked alright since I got back. 

I checked several systems just to make sure they were working right.  Even though our electrician has a ABYC  certification, it never hurts to check what was done just to make sure all is well.  

Other than that, plus a short stop at Walmart and Safeway, that's about it for yesterday.

Still more to do to get ready for our trip back to Port Townsend next week.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 299 Off to class

(I don't know why the section is underlined above.  It just started underlining as I typed)

There were 11 of us in the class.  I'd been allowed in after some begging as the class had been full.  Dave, a gentleman that had visited us in Port Townsend showed up to take it also.  We started promptly at 9 and off we went.  

Each of us was given a neat volt/ohm meter to use for the class.  We covered a wide spectrum of dc as well as ac power.  What to look for when you are diagnosing a problem and how to look for a solution.  With what I learned, I'll be much better able to take care of and monitor and repair the electrical systems on Zephyr.  I'll be off today to get a new volt/ohm meter.  The one I have is just to old and is not up to the job.  It is a classic piece of Radio Shack equipment.  Now it's time to step up to a new level.

After class, I had dinner with our son, Matt.  Indian curry was the bill of fare for dinner.  Matt always knows where to go for a fine meal.  We visited with some of his friends after dinner at a workshop Matt goes to to work on projects.  I'd hate to think of what the combined IQs would be for this group of people.

Off for the ferry and back home by just after 9. 

Today--rain is scheduled for all day--as long as you believe the weather people.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 298 Chock full of fun.

A busy day today.

It started with installing a new 12 volt line for the boat.  It was to replace the line that had gone under the port side settee to an outlet on the settee.  I'd ripped out the old outlet and installed the new one yesterday.  Today, take out the old wire and run the new wire.  Through walls and through cabinets.  Under boards and over to the leading end of the settee.  Electrical connections were made and connected to the circuit panel and to the outlet.  It took a while to rip out the old and run the new.  Before I knew it, the morning was gone but the job was done.

Next, launch the inflatable dingy.  We'd rigged up a whisker pole(metal pole with fasteners on the end to attach to the rigging)to assist in lifting it.  With a line attached to the end of the pole and the opposite end attached to the mast, we were ready to go.  We turned over the dingy and attached it to a set of block and tackle and up it went.  Over the side and into the water--slick as a whistle.  

Once in the water, it was time to unlock the new outboard motor from the stern and lower it onto the stern of the boat.  We'd bought a set of straps that wrap around the top of the motor to make it possible to lift it and lower it.  It again went slick as a whistle.  No problem.  We attached the gas lines from the tank, pulled out the chock and primed the carburetor.   We figured out how to put it into neutral.  It was done with the turn of the throttle handle.  The switch that put it into neutral had frozen so I needed to free it.  With it in gear, I couldn't even pull the cord that starts the motor.  Now that it was free, I pulled the starter cord.  Nothing.  Again, nothing.  Over and over and over.  A bit of a sputter but that was about it.  I called the local service center/dealer and they told me to bring it in if I couldn't get her started.  I called customer service at the factory.  They walked me through the starting--again, lots of pulling that cord with no success.  Tracy went for a cart and I unhooked the motor.  Off to the service center to have them get it started.  They expect to have it ready tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I'll be in a class on boat wiring over in Seattle so it will have to wait till Tuesday.  They're closed Sunday and Monday.

Over to Costco and and PetSmart for more supplies.  A quick stop at West Marine.  We'd broken one of the ends of the whisker pole while putting the dingy into the water.  We bought some hardware and took off for the marina.  Tracy stored what we bought while I took off for the marinas shop.  I needed the use of a drill press to drill holes in the pole.  Not a job for a hand held drill.  Once drilled, I took off back to West Marine for one last piece of hardware and then back to the marina.  We needed to get the dingy out of the water so things won't start growing on her hull.  Since we won't have the motor back till Tuesday at the earliest, there was no reason to leave her in the water.  Again, we used the whisker pole with the new hardware I had installed and this time it worked perfectly.  The pole, a set of block and tackle and a lot of line and up she came.  Onto the deck and that's where she will sit till next week. 

With that being done, the Sun was setting and our time outside was over.  Back inside to get ready for dinner and a nice quiet evening.  I have to be up at 5:30 tomorrow to take the 6:20 ferry over to Seattle.  I don't want to be late since they made special arrangements so I could attend this class.  

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 297 Odds and ends.

Started the day calling companies about information and to correct some problems.  I started with Nobeltec and the update they sent me for their navigation software.  It wasn't giving me all the information that the last edition did.  A few simple clicks of the mouse and the problem was resolved.  They are normally good at solving problems with their software though I'm still waiting for an answer to a problem I discovered back in December while we were out cruising.  Apparently a known error but they haven't resolved it yet.

Next--a call to Glacier Bay Refrigeration Systems about their hatches for boxes like ours on Zephyr.  I'd left messages over the past few days with no response.  Of course, the answering machine told me in its announcement that the person I was leaving them for wasn't checking his mailbox for messages so why would I expect a response.  And yet companies are complaining about no business and this guy can't be bothered to check his messages?  I just don't understand that train of thought.  But heck, that's just me.

I finally got through to him.  I needed information about the sizes they make their lids in.  Their website only gave a "finished size" for their measurements.  OK, is that the "finished size" for the opening at the top or the opening at the bottom of the hatch where the box is?  This thing is shaped like a cork.   I'd found some measurements the day before but couldn't find them again.  Well, he started hemming and hawing about the box lids and finally told me that the "finished size" is the size of the opening at the box, not the top where you need to cut the hole.  BUT--they were revamping their line of lids and he wasn't sure what the sizes would be now.  Apparently, they don't make the section of the lid that you have to epoxy into the counter top.  They just make the lid that fits in it.  They've been having problems with inconsistencies and needed to revamp the line.  He asked me how soon I needed it--NOW.  That's why I was calling.  When I asked him about the drawings of the actual measurements for each hatch and why I couldn't find them on their website, he started talking about the construction and "rare earth magnets".  I couldn't get a straight answer out of him as to where I could find the answer to my question---"Where are the schematics for the lids you make located on your website?"  That's all I need to know.  "Well, what lid are you looking for?"  I just couldn't get an answer.  Ah---the frustration of talking to corporate folks!!!  He finally told me that they had probably been taken off line since they were redoing the line and that he would see what he could put together and email me with information as soon as he could.  Insert the definition for the word "frustration" here.  I finally gave up  and gave him my email address and hung up.  I'll let you know if he ever gets back with us.

We'd talked to another company at the Seattle Boat show about their hatches for refrigeration units.  They had promised to get back with us.  We'd talked several times at the show over the course of our going there so they knew we were serious.  They had even brought in one of their lids for us to see.  They promised to call after the boat show but probably not for several days after the show as they would be settling back into getting back to their offices after the market.  I'd called them a week after the show since I hadn't heard back from them.  Yep, they had my information but some of the people at the show had gotten sick and he was short handed but would get back with me as soon as he could.  To this day( three weeks later), I have never heard back from them.  There's no problem with the economy, there is just problems with the corporate environment that they can blow off customers that are ready and able to buy but they just won't give them the time or day.  And yet, watching the evening news, all you hear is complaints about how bad business is.

OK, the rant is over!  Sorry, I just had to vent.

I got on the website for a company called R Parts, downloaded their information on hatches for fridges and printed out their specs.  Our space is quite limited so after much measurements and use of a tape measure, we finally made a decision.  Back on the web and I placed the order.  The heck with the other companies.  You snooze your loose!!  Job done and we got confirmation that it shipped to Sea Marine in the afternoon.
Into the engine compartment to check two systems.  One, the anti syphon valve I talked about yesterday.  We started the engine and I did as the factory told me and it works just fine.  Then onto a small pep cock on the top of the engine.  You can just make it out in the center of the photo.  When you add any antifreeze to the system, you're supposed to open the pep cock to bleed off any air that may have gotten into the system.  I didn't do that the last time I added to the system so now was as good a time as any.  Once opened, only water came out, no air, so I was fine.  Close up the engine and off to the next job.

After all this, it was time for lunch.  It's amazing how much time you can spend on the Internet researching a project let alone finding a supplier that will work with you.

After lunch and a nice shower, we took off for some more errands.  Bonita--a friend on another boat here at the marina-- told us about a market in Poulsbo.  That's about 10 miles up the road.  "Central Market".  Off we went.  We'd planned to go to Safeway but hey, lets go exploring.  She had raved about it and was right.  It was quite the market.  Lots of specialty items from all over the world.  It took a while to see it all.

Back to Zephyr for a great beef enchilada dinner.  We used some of the enchilada sauce we'd ordered in from "505" company(try it if you can find it--order it if you can't).  We'd always used another companies sauce but it was time for a change.  Wow--what a difference.  It said "medium" on the label but the folks at "505" are on a while different plane as to what Mild, Medium and Hot mean.  Tracy could not believe how hot it was for a "medium" sauce.  I wasn't sure she was going to get through it.   I burned out my taste buds years ago so I just dug in.  Tracy couldn't believe that I didn't feel it was too spicy.  Caste iron taste buds.  I do have a limit as to what I can take, but it's up there a good ways.

And that's about the way the day went.  The weather forecast for today is clear and wonderful.  When I got up, the could ceiling was up at the top of the hill above the marina.  Now that's low!!  Sunny?  So far--No.  Oh well, the day is early.

Have a great day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 296 Boy!!! What a day!!!

Boy, what a day we had yesterday!!  It doesn't get much better that yesterday!

After doing the blog and having a great breakfast, we started in on replacing the bad fresh water pump that pumps all the drinking water aboard Zephyr.  The nicest thing about this companies pumps is that installing the hose to them could not be easier.  They provide a screw on cap that goes into the water line.  One to the hose from the water tank and one that comes out of the pump.  All you have to do is unscrew the old ones and screw them onto the new pump.  Hook up the wires and you're done.  Most other pumps, you have to cut off the hose where it goes into the old pump since it was held on by clamps and won't come off easily.  It tends to conform itself to the barbs of the pump.  With this baby, unscrew and screw on.  A piece of cake.  I made sure to use connectors that once crimped on,  you heat with a heat gun and it melts a small piece of tube that surrounds the fitting.  This tube then shrinks and makes a moisture proof connection.  No water is getting to the connection.  All boat wiring is to be done this way.  Moisture is the enemy.  After the installation, all we  had to do was bleed the air out of the system by turning on the faucets around Zephyr so it was full of just water--no air(it won't pressurize if there is air in the hoses) and we were done.

Off to install the last replacement end on our electrical cord that connects us to the dock power.  This was the original that had come with Zephyr when we bought her.  The cord end was corroded enough that it wouldn't make a good connection.  While out on the dock, the Sun was shining and it felt great to be out there.  I didn't even have a coat on it felt so great.  The fur people came out and joined us on deck.  Snowshoe just plunked himself down and took a bath while sunning himself. 

I found one of our dock lines whipping(twine that is wrapped around the end of the line to keep it from fraying) had come loose.  I grabbed my whipping kit and re did it while I was out there.  It just felt good to be outside on such a beautiful day!

One of our neighbors came by.  Bonita and Jay live on a boat a few slips down and have been out cruising for several years.  Bonita invited Tracy out on a walk.  Off they went.  I stayed behind and stuck my head into the engine compartment to inspect one of the fittings on the engine.  The picture shows the "anti-syphon" valve that keeps water from flowing back into the engine after you stop the engine.  Water passes through the engine from a through hull valve.  Once through, it goes up through this valve and mixes with the exhaust gases to  

cool down the exhaust before it exits the rear of the boat.  If it gets clogged with mineral deposits, water can flow back into the  boat and literally flood the engine.  Take my word for it, this is a BAD thing!!  I called the factory since I wasn't sure on how to dismantle it to check the valve on top.  I talked to a great guy--I think one of the executives--who gave me the entire story on how to service the valve.  It unscrews from the top and you have access to the valve there.  He told me how to test it to make sure it works and offered to send me the schematics of it.  Today, we'll start the engine and test her.

Next stop, install a new 12 volt outlet in the main cabin.  There was one under the port side settee but it didn't work.  I checked the wiring and found that it was wired to incorrect wires running through the boat.  The wires that come off the plug are white and black.  Some electrician had taken these wires and crimped them onto two strands of white wires and run them to the circuit panel  During the rewiring, no one could identify what these two white wires did so they got clipped at the panel.  Today, I'll be installing new wires to a new plug.  The old one needed replacing.  I installed one of the fitting like you find in a car.  These are the standard plug on search lights and other things that require 12 volts to operate.  

Once these tasks were done, I took off on errands.  What should have taken no more than an hour ended up at two.  I didn't get back to Zephyr till after 5.

Shortly after dinner, we received a call from Ben Smithers.  Ben is the original owner of Zephyr!!  Tracy had tracked him down on the Internet with just the information that he was a dentist and lived in Texas.  I'd called and left a message on his answering machine back in December but never heard back.  We thought it had to be a different Ben Smithers.  It ended up that he wrote down the wrong phone number and finally figured out the correct number to get back with us.  I spent almost an hour taking to him.

Apparently Zephyr has had quite a history.  She was almost sunk!!!  Ben had done the same thing I have done several times shortly after moving on board.  The heads(toilets) on boats have a switch on them for flushing.  You turn it one way and it pumps in water--normally seawater.  Turn the switch the other way and it pumps it out and into your storage tank.  If you happen to leave it to the pump in water mode, it will just keep sucking in water from outside the boat--more and more and more.  The only way to stop this from happening is to install an anti-syphon valve like what I discussed above(only smaller).  This breaks the suction and stops the water from coming in.  Well, Ben had left it "on"!!  He got a call a short while after leaving Zephyr that she was sinking.  When he got to her, she had enough water in her that the floor boards inside were under water and the bottom of the engine compartment had flooded covering the alternators.  He got her pumped out and spent God knows how much getting her put right again.  I got lucky in that when I screwed up the head switch, I had stayed on Zephyr and could hear the water flooding out of the toilet.   

At some time, Zephyr had run into the super structure of a bridge.  When Ben was going under the bridge, the autopilot malfunctioned and swung Zephyr over and into one of the girders of the bridge.  He smacked the top of the mast.  This is probably the reason we found the mast head cracked when we had the mast off.  Apparently, it damaged the forestay and he had it replaced.   This is what also made the "stem fitting"(big metal bracket that holds the forestay as well as the anchor at the bow) tweaked.

While out sailing, he ran into a sunken boat that wasn't on any charts as being there.  That's what made the damage on the forward edge of the keel that the surveyor had told us about when we were buying Zephyr. 

It was great talking to the original owner and getting many pieces of the puzzle of Zephyrs history.  He said he would look and see if he could find any of his documentation of when he bought her and forward it on.  As he plans to be in Oregon in late July, we may change our plans to see if we can meet up.  We would love to meet him and I'm sure he would love to see "his baby" again.

That's about the way the day went.  Just about perfect from start to finish.  More projects done and all during an absolutely beautiful day.  Plus we got to talk to Zephyrs original owner.  Now we know two of the three.

Off to the next project.  Have a great day!! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 295 Added charts

The first half of the day was spent on the phone getting the information needed to unlock more navigation charts for our Garmin GPS chartplotter.  We had from the Straits of Juan de Fuca to just South of San Francisco but needed North to Alaska for our next trip.  That took a while to get since I couldn't figure out their website as to how to do it there.

Once I got the unlock code, I then had to "burn" them onto a chip that gets pushed into the chartplotter.  I had to get educated from Garmin on how to do that.  I'd done it before(once) a long time ago so I needed a refresher.  I'd bought extra chips from West Marine when they had them at half price so I "burned" a spare chip just to make sure that if I "lost" one, I would have an immediate backup chip.   Once we get down to San Francisco, I'll have to get more unlock codes for farther South.  At least the next one will take us from San Francisco all the way to the South tip of Mexico.  A BIG region.

There is another class I want to take in Seattle this weekend on "Boat Wiring".  I'd tried to get signed up but either I was too late or there were just to many people ahead of me.  I'd called and left two messages with the registrar with no response.  I then sent an email as a followup.  She finally responded that the class was full and I could put my name on a waiting list for the next class.  I email her back that this was my last chance to take the class as we would be either in Alaska or Mexico when the next was scheduled.  She email me back and told me to call this week.  I did so on Monday and again left a message.  She returned my call and took pity on this poor sailor and is allowing me to attend.  It is given by the same people that gave the diesel class I went to back in December.   I know a good bit about wiring a boat from watching Jack the electrician but now at least I will get a more formal training.  It should be very interesting to see what I have done right and done wrong.  Wiring a house is easy compared to a boat.  Each connection has to be made absolutely water tight or corrosion will get in and destroy the cooper wires very quickly.

We took off for Pet Smart for more flea remedies.  The liquid we put on the the back of their necks that made them drool had just about no effect other than poor Shadow has no hair there now.  Tracy is still finding fleas on the poor fur people.  The flea collars are worthless unless a flea happens to walk past one on his way to the next feast.  We visited the vet area in Pet Smart and picked up some heavier doses of anti flea stuff.  Boy their stuff isn't cheap but if it kills these bugs it will be worth it.  Tracy vacuumed the  entire boat to get any of the bug that might be hiding in the carpets or under the floorboards.  We're not going any where near a dog again.

We stopped at West Marine to look at paper charts for the trip North.  We have some for the San Juan Islands and part of the Gulf Islands that are in Canada along side Vancouver Island.  Electronic charts have their place, but only a fool would set sail without a decent set of paper charts.  The problem with them is that they cost over $20.00 a piece and it could easily take several dozen for a full set.  I'm off to Fisheries Supply on Saturday after class to see if they have any chart books that will cover the area.  They are your best buy as far as getting charts at a more reasonable price.

We mailed the burned and melted cord ends from our power cords to ABYC (American Boat & Yacht Council) for their next show and tell booth at the boat shows.  They were pretty badly charred.  I included the inlet connection that Tracy replaced where power comes into Zephyr outside.  The last replacement plug end came in via UPS yesterday so I'll finally get that cord fixed.

Back to Zephyr for a few small jobs.  We've turned off the fresh water pump so it can depressurize so I can swap it out.  It has been acting even more strangely than it was in the past.  Before, it just started and stopped at irregular intervals--no leaks in the system--on and off, on and off.  The factory replaced it but I hadn't installed the new one yet.  Now, it would just loose pressure and have to be turned off at the main circuit breaker to have it pressurize again.  It is supposed to maintain a constant pressure of 40 pounds so that when you turn on a faucet, the water comes out without having to wait for a pump to turn on like many boat systems.  I'd planned on replacing it earlier and had turned off the pump but it always depressurized as we were about to do the dishes so it had to be turned back on and repressurize the system.  I simply planned a bit better so I would be able to change it during the day.

We stopped at Verizon about getting setup for phones while in Canada.  They can set us up for $59.95, about what we pay now.  The problem is that when we come back into the US, the plan we had been on(2 phones, 2 lines, and 550 minutes) has been discontinued and was no longer available.  We would have to step up the a $79.95 plan with 700 minutes.  The plan we are on now was forced on us when we upgraded our phones three years ago.  Our phones were so old(9 years) that Verizon gave them to us for free just to stop using them.  They were old analog phones--not digital like up to date phones.  I'd had no reason to change until I was advised that being analog, they were being phased out and I HAD to change.  Of course, our old plan wasn't available($39.95) and I had to trade up to a $59.95 plan.  It's amazing that with lots more people using cell phones that the prices for service haven't come down, just up.  Oh well, the price of progress.  To stay hooked up to the internet with the current internet connector we have would now cost $139.95 plus taxes!!! That is up from the $59.95  plus taxes we pay now.  We may end up being without either phone or wireless for the computer for the months we are in Canada.  If we can find an internet cafe or hot spot we can hook up then.  Not a lot of choices.  Pay a lot or do without.  Anyone have any suggestions or ideas?

Well, it's time to change the water pump.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 294 Video?

OK, I took some more video on my poor little Sony still/video camera I've had for 4 years.  It's a whole 5 megapixel camera.  I clicked it onto the "video" section and started recording.  Now the audio isn't too good do to some wind but the rest is OK.  The video isn't up to what I got from my Canon digital video camera but maybe this will up load.

Here we go.

OK, after 45 minutes the video file still hasn't loaded onto the blog so now I'm trying U Tube to see if I can get one of the two I have up loaded.  Right now, I'm only 10 minutes into the upload so we will see.  It's worked before.  The only thing I can think is that Safeways internet connection is just too slow to do the upload in a timely fashion.

I did get notification that a "decal" we have to have to get in and out of the US on our boat has been approved after filing the application in late January.  It's just another form of taxation--$27.00 for a decal.  It does nothing and proves nothing.  Having Zephyr "documented by the US Coast Guard means a lot more and I did that a long time ago.  The decal should be out in the mail to the marina in a day or so and if we are lucky, we will have it before we leave here.

Meanwhile, I measured the top of the counter for the refrigerator and looked up sites that sell the lid I need.  I called one as their web site doesn't really explain in clear language about the sizes of the lids.  The message message machine told me that the person I was leaving it for was" out of the office and wasn't checking his messages".  Makes it tough to give them business when you can't get any answers to your questions.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try again.

Other than that, I've spent a bunch of time here at Safeway and gotten little done.  Tracy did the Laundry late this morning.  The rest of the boats that were here over the weekend left early this afternoon so the marina is nice and quiet again.

It's still uploading to U Tube 20 minutes later.  

It finally loaded!!!   Look in U Tube for videos by an account "mestrezat69".  It is still "processing"so you may have some trouble for a while before you can view it.  I'll try and get the second one up as time allows.  I have to come to Safeway to do it.


Upload failed

I tried for another hour at Safeway to upload the video with no success.  I guess the internet speed is just too slow or the file is too big.

I'll try recording another segment at a lower pixel value and see if that works.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 293 Movies

I pulled out my video camera yesterday after getting an email from Canon telling me that mine may be defective.  Something about the zoom button getting loose.  I called in--they don't want to fix it at all.  They just want to add my name to  list of potential customer service problems for the future.  No such thing as preventative maintenance for them. "We'll just wait till it breaks and fix it then" mentality.

With that news, I thought I would go outside and show you the marina on a video.  It was nice and sunny when I started the day and cloudy by about 11am.  A normal Seattle day except that the weather people had said it would be a nice sunny day.

Tracy and I took off on errands late in the morning.  First to Safeway to post my new video.  After 30 minutes of waiting to complete the upload, we pulled the plug and took off for lunch and Pet Smart for more flea killer.  The lotion we put on didn't seem to work.  Still fleas 24 hours later.  This time--flea collars.  Blue was beside herself when Tracy put it on.  She's never worn one and wasn't impressed.  We sprayed their cat post where they sleep--love that penthouse tray.  It sits above everyone else.  Now they won't go near it.  I hope what ever odor they smell wears off as they really love that post.

We then went on to continue the search for a new microwave oven.  Sears had a nice red one to match our new toaster.  It turned out to be too deep for the space we have for it.  Over to Home Depot to get an LG we had seen the previous day.  It had decent power and the size was great.  As it turned out, they were out of stock.  They checked stock at other Home Depot stores in the area--Poulsbo(8 miles away) had 5 in stock.  Back to the car and off we went.  Once we got there and found the microwave department, the sales person said "We don't have any of those".  I told her that the previous store had checked the computer and that they showed to have 5.  "Boy, I sure wish they had called" was her response.  She took off looking for them.  She even went to the receiving department to see if they were there.  She called the store manager to have him help in the search.  No luck.  Their inventory was off--way off.  Tracy by now had had enough of the search for a microwave and called it quits.  We drove back to Zephyr.  I guess she will live with what we have--at least till it frustrates her again.

I'm back at Safeway trying to get the video to upload.  Tracy is still asleep.  If it completes its upload you'll get to see the marina, or at least a bit of it. 

OK, after an hour, I gave up the download.  I'll try U Tube and see if that work.  I'll let you know.

And that is about all I can say about yesterday.  It was pretty much a wash as far as getting anything done.  But we sure had a nice car ride.

More to come as we're living the dream!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 292 Up goes the antenna.

Our new TV antenna showed up yesterday and made its way up into the rigging this afternoon.   I'd sent several emails to Shakespeare who makes the antenna to see if I could drill a hole in the center of the antenna to run an eye bolt through it so I could easily run her up into the rigging.  After a few emails, they finally said it was safe to drill through it. 

Care to guess what happened next?  Yeah, that's right.  There is a piece of metal that goes right across the center of the antenna.  I drilled the hole and ran smack into it.  Luckily, I stopped before any damage occurred to the antenna.  I put a nice 1/4" hole right through the top.  Out came the silicone sealant and voila, hole sealed.  

Since the bolt idea was out, I used a vegetable net that is normally used to hold veggies inside boats.  It snugged right in and with the antenna cable attached, up it went.  With a line attached to the bottom, I should remain nice and stable.

I set up the TV to find channels--analog and digital HD.  Boy, it sure gets a nice picture on our TV.  Now at least while we are out at anchor, we will be able to watch any TV we can find.  Our Direct TV dish is great if you are tied up to a dock where the boat will stay in one place and not swing around.

Our microwave has started acting up.  Some of the buttons work when you touch them and some don't.  It's getting harder to start it up when we need it.  The hunt has started for a replacement.  We'll see what we can find.  Given the size of Zephyrs galley, a big one is out the running.  If we get lucky, we'll find one that is small in size but big in power.  

Our friends, Randy and Sharon on S/V Blue Heron started their voyage this morning.  They are off to Alaska.  With any luck, we'll be about a month behind them.  

I called Sea Marine up in Port Townsend about cutting and installing the new lid for our refrigerator box.  They don't think there will be any problem.  They told that it would be a lot cheaper if I found the prefabricated lid and had it shipped in.  This way, all they have to do is cut the opening in the box and epoxy the new lid in.  Tracy and I will install the new refrigerator system once Sea Marine gets their part of the project done.  Once that is done, we will finally be off for the North.

We found fleas on Snowshoe late last night.  If one has them, they all have them.  Now these fur people don't associate with other fur people so heaven only knows where they got mixed up with this seedy crowd.  We went to the pet store this morning and bought some flea killer.  It's a mixture of oil and peppermint that gets put behind the kitties head.  Tracy picked several off Snowshoe this afternoon.  The boys were not thrilled with the treatment.  Shadow drooled like there was no tomorrow.  It stopped after a few hours and now they are back to normal.  They get another treatment in a few days.  Now we have to start debugging everything on Zephyr.  It's going to take a while but it has to be done.  

Day 291 A long time project done!

Many of you will remember the problems we have had in the past raising the main sail and that the folks at Strong Track had sent us a "slide cleaner" to drag up and down the track to take out anything that was binding the sail slides from going up the mast.  The first one wouldn't fit and neither would the second.  Both were too big to slide into the track.  I finally took the time to file down the slide so it would fit.   It took some doing.  I started at the shop the marina let me use--big vises and files--but after several trips back and forth after bringing it back to Zephyr to see if it fit, I just dragged out my own file and used the vise on my own workbench.  File, file, file.  It took a good bit of time. 

First, the top piece where it was to attach to the line to be dragged up and down was too wide--filed it down.  Then the slide was too wide--filed it down.   Then it was just a bit too thick to fit the track--file it down a bit.  Finally, it fit.  Only problem was that there was no room to attach the halyards(line that was to raise it to the top of the mast) as the holes were too close to the track slide area.  That's why you see the two pieces of stainless steel wire I had to add so I could clip on the line.  

Up and down it went.  Up some and then down.  Up more and then down.  I took it up and down at least a dozen times.  Some of the track came off each time I took it out after I brought it down.  Now all we have to do is wait for a calm morning and try and raise the sail.  Personally, I'm a bit skeptical that this will have solved the problem.  When Brion Toss replaced the mast head unit(where all the lines go through for raising the sails)--ours had cracks in it, one of the sheaves--wheels--that the line goes through was binding.  He told me that that was no problem as once there was tension on it from the line hoisting up the sail, it would spin free.  I don't think the sheave is rolling free and the line has to pass over a frozen wheel which will generate a lot of resistance.  I guess we will find out once we try and raise the main.

On Thursday, the marina asked us to move down a few slips as another yacht club was coming in for this weekend.  You'll remember we had to do the same last week but moved back so one of our fellow dockmates could get the electric power back he needed to run his heaters.  We talked to them and figured out which slip would work for all parties concerned.  We needed to move down two slips.  Tracy and I scoped it out and decided to try backing Zephyr into the slip.  Now this was something we had never done(ok a few times in Newport) but we needed to see if we could do it.  Now please keep in mind that we have only owned Zephyr for about a year and a half and for much of that we sat in dry dock so our docking skills aren't perhaps what you would call professional.  Add in a 6+ knot wind from the side and the fun was about to begin.  Hey, you have to learn some time and this was as good as any.  I've worked with Zephyr to understand many of her habits.  When in reverse, the stern swings to the right and will keep doing that as long as she is in gear.  It's called "prop walk".  Every boat has it.  Most swing to port, Zephyr goes to starboard(right).  As long as I understood that, I felt we would be alright.

We disconnected the power and took in the dock lines and out we went.  I pulled her back to get positioned in the center of the water way.  Then started backing up all the while being guided by Tracy.  Add some thrust, then let her glide out of gear.  Add more thrust, then let her glide.  The wind pushing us from the side made it even more interesting.  We slid into the slip just fine.  Tracy stepped down onto the dock and started tying off the lines.  I slipped Zephyr into neutral and joined her.  Boom, we were done!!  Each time, we learn more and more.

Now yesterday, the yacht club showed up for the weekend.  First, let me premise what I am going to say with the fact that I don't know everything about boating and how to handle even my own boat in all conditions.  I've had lots of training from the Coast Guard when we were members of the Auxiliary, but without lots of practice you can do a good bit of damage to docks and your boat if you don't know what you are doing.  With that being said,  watching the yacht club come into dock yesterday was more fun that a bag full of monkeys.  Tracy and I watched and watched these "experienced" boaters come in and almost to the boat, screw up their docking.

One stands out in particular.  This guy is in about a 42 foot power boat with nice big engines and side thrusters both bow and stern to make docking a cinch.  He decided to back in as the first few boats had done.  Into the first slip--nope--the wind blew him sideways.  Ok, pull out and try again.  This time into the next slip as the wind had blown him to far from the first slip.  In again,  nope.  Even with three guys there to help him, he couldn't do it.  He kept hitting the dock.  Out he went again.  This time, he turned around to go in bow first.  The wind had blown him even farther down so he tried the next slip.  This time, he would be the only boat in the slip.  He still plowed into the dock.  The only thing that saved his boat was the three guys on the dock.  His wife tried valiantly to assist with the tying off the dock lines to their boat after the guys on the dock had fastened them to the cleats on the dock.  Well, that wasn't good enough for Mister Macho--the captain.  He came out of the cabin and while the other guys were tying the boat off, snatched the lines from his wife's hands all the while berating her(not a smooth move) for not doing it right.  He took the line and passed it around one of the pilings that the dock is fastened to and then secured it to his boat.  Now please keep in mind that we have about a 13 foot tide range here.  The pilings don't move but the dock slides up and down with the piling holding it in place.   So now this idiot has tied his boat(moves up and down on the tide) to an immovable object(piling).  When I made a trip to the "head" on the dock late last night, the line around the piling was tight as a bow string.  It had snagged itself on the barnacles on the piling and wasn't going anywhere.   There have been numerous instances of lines tied off like this sinking a boat.  The boat goes up with the tide and the line pulls the side of the boat under the water line.  All those toys and he still couldn't get his boat in correctly.

Most mornings as I walk ashore, there on the bridge are lots of seagulls standing guard.  I'm not sure what they are waiting for but they are there just about every day.  By afternoon, they're gone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 290 Back it goes.

I played with the multiplexer for a while hooking and unhooking the wires from the GPS and wind instrument that I needed to come together into one electronic stream of info for the autopilot.  No good.  It will read the wind instrument but not the GPS.  As a matter of fact, the GPS has apparently stopped transmitting at all through the wire that it had used.  I hooked it back to exactly where it had come off of on the autopilot and there was no reading by the autopilot that it was getting any information at all as it had before I connected it to the multiplexer.

I called the company that sold it to me and they told me to call the manufacturer(pass the buck).  I talked to NoLand Electronics and they were stumped.  Claimed it just couldn't happen.  Yeah, right.  It had happened to me!  All they could recommend was hooking up a computer to the multiplexer and see if it reads anything--like I have that kind of equipment.  Afraid not.

I called Gemeco(retailer) back and talked to them again.  They agreed to take it back.  So while it's not a big deal, I can still read the information from the wind instrument on the autopilot(really great) and there is still the main GPS display in the cockpit(would have fed off of it to the autopilot).  I can still see the GPS while on deck, it just won't come up on the autopilot.  I don't really care.  It would have been nice but the GPS signal doesn't steer the boat.  The autopilot will steer using the information it gets from its compass and from the information from the wind instrument.  Those are the important things.  Since it doesn't work, I don't really need this expensive multiplexer.  So back it went.

Other than that, we ran a few errands around town--Costco, Wendy's, USPS, IRS, and Safeway.

I took the brass slide(to be used to clean out the Strong Track on the mast) up to the shop above the marina office and started grinding it down along its sides.  They offered me the use of their shop while we are here.  Nice people.  I ground and filed and after getting back to Zephyr still have more to take off to get it into the slide so I can clean out the track.  I'm about to head off to start on it.

Our new TV antenna is due in today so we should be able to get reception while out on anchor when we can't use the satellite dish.  I'm going to try and figure out a way to get it hoisted up into the rigging so it will get a better signal.

Another day living the dream!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 289 Errands and installation.

I spent the morning running errands.  First, West Marine for wire to install the new "multiplexer" for combining the information from the GPS and wind instrument into one signal for the autopilot.  

Over to Fastenal to pick up the wing nut to finish installing the bolt that will keep the anchor from falling off.  They had been out of the wing nut and needed to get more in.  It's not easy to find a 5/8" wing nut.  These things are huge.  They'd told me that it would be about $7.50 for it.  That was more than what I had spent on the bolt, nut and lock washer I bought on Monday.  Like I said, it was huge.  They were supposed to call me when it came in on Tuesday but hadn't so I stopped in anyway.  After they rang it up, I was told it was $12.85!!!  There was a $4.00+ freight fee for bringing it in.  Say what?!!  Now Tracy and I had run FanciMats for years and the thought of charging a customer postage to bring in something that we normally kept in stock but were out of would never have crossed my mind.  These guys wanted us to pay the freight to get something in that they were should have had in stock anyway.  The manager was out of the store so I had the person that was there call him.  He told her to take off the freight charges BUT, I was advised that they normally added freight when they needed to bring something in like that.  Sorry, but I don't think that is any way to get customers to come back.

Down to the Post Office to mail my brother a can of B & M Brown Bread(Yeah Rick, it's on its way).  Growing up, our mother used to serve us baked beans and brown bread regularly for dinner.  Since she was raised just outside of Boston, it had been on her table for years and she made sure we got to experience it also.  Now we were raised on bread with no raisins, but I couldn't find that so, sorry Rick, this cans got raisins.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  It's a great meal for those cold Winter nights.  It's worth the search to find it.  It took us about a half dozen stores to find the brown bread.

Back to Lowe's to swap out the dehumidifier we had purchased about a week ago.  It would no longer drain down the hose into the bilge.  It would only put the water it filtered our of the air into the bucket that is in the machine.  When I called "customer service" they told me to just take it back and get a new one.  We had purchased the last one that still had the straps on it that keeps the box closed (four others had already been opened)so I picked up one that had already been opened.  When I got back to Zephyr and pulled the box off, it was packed upside down in the container. obviously it had been used by some one and returned.  We'll see if it works any better than the last one.  So far, it is running fine and there is no water in the bucket.  I'll check the bilge later to see if we have more water down there.

A while ago, I changed our registration address for our VHF radio license and the new one came about a week ago.  I stopped by Office Depot to have it laminated.  This way, water will never hurt it.  Plus, I'm supposed to carry a card in my wallet with my part of the license.  The person that helped me pulled a few pieces of laminate out and did it while I waited.  She then told me there was NO CHARGE!!  She used a few pieces of laminate that she had used part of earlier and she wouldn't charge me!!!   Now there is great customer service!!  Guess where I will do more shopping in the future.

Back to Zephyr for lunch and get the new multiplexer installed.  I measured and cut wires, stripped the ends, drilled the holes to hold her on and rerouted wires and boom she was in.  I fired up the necessary electronics and guess what--it doesn't work!  The autopilot gets the signal from the wind instrument, but not the GPS.  As a matter of fact, I disengaged the rest of the wires and just hooked up the GPS the way it had been without the wind instrument and it won't read it that way either now.  The GPS on deck reads just fine on it's screen, but doesn't transmit the signal to the autopilot.  It was after 2:00 so they were closed(East coast company).  I'll try calling them today after I try a few more ways of hooking it up.

We'd purchased our out board motor last year after finding out that the one we had couldn't be repaired.  A nice 8hp Mercury motor.  I attached it to the stern rail on a bracket to keep it safe and sound.  It made it on the rough trip from Newport to Port Townsend last year just fine.  For security sake, I'd attached a steel cable and lock to make sure it didn't go for a walk some dark night while in the marina.  Well, after a few months, the salt water had taken its toll and the lock--a Master Lock--was corroded shut with no chance of getting it off.  So out came the cable cutters since the lock wouldn't open and off it came.  I'd bought a proper out board motor lock last year while in Port Townsend but had never gotten around to putting it on.  Hey, if I couldn't get the lock open, I figured no one else could and the engine was fine.  The big steel box you see next to the handle is the new lock.  It slides over and totally encloses the bracket that unscrews so you can take the engine off.  You can't get to the screws to take the motor off.  Now the plus side is that your motor isn't going anywhere with out a key.  The minus side is that if someone wants your motor bad enough, they are really going to trash the boat to get it off.  I have heard numerous stories of people having their motors taken.  Normally, they also take the dingy it is attached to at night if you leave it in the water.  One of the cardinal rules of cruising is to never ever leave your dingy with the motor attached floating beside your boat while you are away or at night.  They are prime goods in most harbors.  You always take off the motor and at a minimum attach you dingy to your boat with a stout cable or BIG chain.  It may still be gone when you get up.  It's better to hoist it back on board if you can.  It's harder to steal a car from a closed garage than parked in the driveway.  To make our motor easily identifiable, we plan on painting the cover.  How many men will steal an out board motor if the cover is painted pink?  Easy to identify and it will standout in any marina. 

Well, that's about if for yesterday.  More odd jobs for today.  

Oh, we had a "comment" yesterday asking about how long we intended to stay out sailing.  We think about 5 years or so.  Not really sure.  We're in no real hurry to get anywhere or get back.  It really depends on how long the money holds out.  Once we finally finish getting Zephyr prepared for long distance cruising, our monthly expenses will drop like a stone.  We get closer each day  If you have any question, just put them in the "comment"section and I answer them if I can.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 288 Frozen pea soup.

That's pretty much what yesterday was--frozen pea soup.  No Sun, no  clouds, just a thick impenetrable fog of rain and snow.  Mother Nature just couldn't make up her mind as to what she wanted to do.  The docks got very slippery as the slush mounted on the concrete and wood on the bridge back to the mainland.  It got so bad that our Direct TV went off the air for several hours.  We ended up with a black screen.

The "multiplexer" I need to have both the GPS and wind indicator communicate with our autopilot came in yesterday, a day early.  I checked last night and as I expected, I don't have the right gauge of wire to complete the job.  I'll be off to West Marine to pick up some this morning.  I'll need 16 to 18 gauge multi strand wire to complete the job.  

I disconnected the previous connections late last night so the job will be easier today.   Once installed, the autopilot will know exactly where we are and be able to steer us by the direction of the wind in relationship to Zephyr on the water.  A great feature that will make sailing long distances much easier.
Our new "Bottomsider" cushion came in yesterday among other packages.  One of the problems
that I have had since day one on Zephyr is seeing all the way forward when I am at the wheel steering.  I'm just not quite tall enough to see over everything that is between me and the bow of the boat.  This new cushion will boost me up the 4 inches I need to see clear to the bow.  In the past, I've had to pile a couple of cushions at the wheel to see that far.

Our new refrigeration system also came in yesterday.  The folks at the office keep asking me what we are doing to our boat as we keep getting more and more boxes every week.

We expect to travel back to Port Townsend to have the new lid cut and installed in the counter for this new system.  We'll be taking out the old system and having to run new copper tubing under the cushions and through the cabinets to get this baby installed but the benefits will be really great as it uses far less amps than what we have now.  What we currently have is an old Adler Barbour that uses 5 to 6 amps every time it runs and the new one for Cool Blue by Technautics will only use 2 while it is running.  A great energy saver.

I'm not sure how long the installation will take.  It will depend on how busy Sea Marine is and how soon they can get to us after the first of March.  Our slip is paid for till then and we see no real reason to head back up there till then.  I don't think the entire installation will take more than a week.

Matt(our son) called yesterday.  He is coming back to Seattle for a month starting in a few days.  He's going to be apartment sitting for some friends that are going on a trip for about a month.  I expect we will be making several trips back and forth to see each other before we head off North to Alaska in mid to late March.  It's been quite a while since we've seen him.   

One of our friends here at the marina had planned to be gone yesterday to start their trip North, but with all the bad weather we have been having, won't be getting underway till Thursday or Friday at the earliest.  

Yesterday--no Sun or blue sky.  Today--clear blue skies and lots of Sun.  The weather up here is crazier than it is in Colorado.  It just can't make up its mind as to what it wants to do.  Oh well, I'll take the sunny weather any day.  Sure hope it lasts so we can get more projects done outside.

Have a great day everyone.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 287 Odd jobs

Here's a picture of our stem fitting that holds the anchor and the large roller furling Genoa sail at Zephyrs bow.  The other day, while inspecting Zephyr, we found that the two bolts that you see in the picture were not fastened on properly.  Both require a cotter pin that goes through the nut as well as the shaft of the bolt.  This keeps them from ever coming off and causing gear failure some time down the road--or sea if you will.  Neither of ours had these cotter pins.  I guess I missed them when I inspected the boat before we launched her back in October.  We found that the top bolts nut was about to fall off and the bottom one was too tight and was keeping the big wheels on the bow that the anchor line goes through to bind up and not turn as they should.  Out comes the box we have of cotter pins and problem solved.  A lesson learned--inspect your boat often to see what may be going wrong even if you haven't taken her out sailing.

I went out shopping for the stainless steel bolt and nuts I need to "lock" the anchor to this same stem fitting.  It goes right through a hole in the shank of the anchor.  It needs to be stainless steel as it will be constantly exposed to the corrosive effects of salt water anytime we go out sailing.  I found a 1/2" bolt at Lowe's--over $10.00.  At Fastenal--a 5/8"(bigger!) bolt was only $3.75!! It pays to shop around I guess.  They have to order me in a wing nut I need to complete the job, but it will be here today.

I fixed the female end of the second electric cord in the afternoon.  While inspecting it, I found that the male end was also shot so I ordered a replacement plug from Defender, a marine outlet that sells things about 20-30% cheaper than West Marine or Fisheries Supply.  My order came to $24.98.  They have a minimum order of $25.00 so I had to add an oil absorber pad to take it over the amount listed.  I guess that is how they keep their prices low though I don't really understand it myself.  A buck is a buck, be it a $10.00 order or a $100.00 order.  Oh well, it should be here in a few days so I can get that job done.

I stowed our Winslow life raft in the forward hold to get it out of the weather.  Until we set sail, I don't think that we need to keep it on deck(it could go missing).  Strangely. the factory advises you to keep from being exposed to water.  Hey, it's a life raft!!  Where else are you supposed to store it for when you need it in an emergency?  Down in the bilge?  You want it ready to go at a moments notice.  That's why we had it strapped to the stern rail, all ready to go if needed.  It made it just fine during our fun trip from Newport, Oregon to Port Townsend back in July with no problems.  At least for the time being, she's out of the elements.  

We had some snow yesterday morning and the threat of more last night.  So far, it's just rain.  I hope it stays that way.  I have more orders coming in today that I need to get installed.  Nice weather is due later in the week, that is if you believe the weather people.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 286 Bigger Liberty

Ever since we moved here, I have stared at a big boat across the marina.  It looked sort of familiar but I just couldn't place it.  We took a "dock walk" yesterday and when we finally got to the boat it suddenly dawned on me,  it was another Liberty, only this time a Liberty 49.  The big sister to our 458.  It's the first one we have ever seen.  She looks huge in relationship to ours.  Ours measures 45.8' unless you use a tape measure, then she is closer to 48'.  This baby is supposed to be 49' but measures in at over 53 feet with her bowsprit(the big pole that sticks out the bow of the boat).  Her name is "China Cloud".  She is #6 in the line and was built in 1987.  We were lucky enough to talk to the owner(yelling across the marina).  He bought her in 2007 in Bellingham, Washington.  Close to where we bought ours.  He is still working on her.  He's planning to have her hauled out in a few weeks and bow thrusters added to her.  I can't say I blame him.  Once you get to a boat that size, she can be hard to handle, especially in winds going against you as you try and dock.  I ran into that yesterday when we moved Zephyr back to where she started before the Poulsbo Yacht Club showed up late last week.  We had to move down the dock so there was room for all of them to be together.  It was great to see another Liberty.  I'll still stick with ours.  A 458 is big enough for Tracy and I.  Anything bigger and you really need more crew to sail her.  

After our move down the dock last Wednesday, the poor guy next to us had been using two electric cords to get power to his boat.  His heater would blow the circuit breakers is there was anything else on the line with it  so he needed two lines.  Once we showed up, all was still fine as we could hook ours up to the outlet in the next slip.  Unfortunately, the owner of the boat in that slip came over for the weekend and wanted his outlet back.  The poor guy next to us had to relinquish one of the outlets he was using.  During the night, the circuit breaker blew and he ended up with a temperature of 48 degrees when he got up.  As soon as the yacht club left yesterday, we moved back to our original slip.  He's now got both his cords plugged back in.  I'm sure he is a lot more comfortable on his boat.
I ordered and installed two Alpenglow lights on Zephyr a few months ago in the main cabin.  We were so impressed with them that I ordered two more for the galley area.  Boy they sure make a difference.  Not only in light output, but in their amp draw.  One is equipped with a red light so we can have light at night as we sail without ruining our night vision.   The halogens used 2 to 2.5 amps for each light.  These Alpenglows use less than 1/2 an amp for each light.  A huge savings and we get more light out of them.  They showed up Saturday and I installed them yesterday.  Wow, what a difference.  

I few days ago, I showed pictures of our melted electric cord where it comes into Zephyr.  It pretty well trashed the cord end and made it useless.  I had ordered replacement ends for the two cords we had and I replaced  the end of the cord last night as we sat watching tv.  I still have one cord left to do today.  We will then have plenty of back ups or extra cord in case we run into an outlet farther than what our existing cord is in length.

We ran errands to Costco(more supplies) and Home Depot and Lowes looking for a stainless steel bolt to lock up the anchor on the bow so it can't deploy itself unless we want it to.  Currently, it is only held to the bow by its chain.  We should never have come up the coast with it the way it is.  Unfortunately,  neither of the big box stores carry a bolt that will fit Zephyrs bow roller.  Today, the hunt continues.

Have a great week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 285 Bills big adventure.

My first stop of the day.

My day began taking the 7:20 ferry from Bremerton to Seattle.  My class on Ford Lehman diesel engine was scheduled for 12:00 and I didn't want to be late.  

Since I was heading to Seattle, I tried to combine it with other errands.  I needed to go to the Apple store to see about questions I had on my MacBook and my IPod.  My IPod won't accept all the movies I have been trying to download into it and my MacBook keeps coming back with "error" messages when I do a "repair preferences".  This isn't a PC so I didn't expect these kinds of problems.  

I was smart enough to make two appointments--one for the IPod and one for the MacBook--with the "Genius Bar".  That's one great thing with Apple, they always have tech support for you machine no matter how long you own it.  

I got there right on time for my first appointment and got shuffled back and forth between two "geniuses".  The answers I got were not what I expected.  "Oh,the error messages--that's normal.  You will always get them"!!!!  Say what!!! this isn't a PC where you expect to get "errors".  This is a MAC!!  As to the IPod, the answer was, "Well, the file must be corrupted.  That's why it won't download".  Now the TV show I was trying to copy over to my IPod was on a DVD that had three shows on it.  This was the middle show.  The one before it was fine as was the one after it.  I think I got the "I have no idea what the problem is and so I'll just go with the "file is corrupted" excuse so he will go away"excuse.  What a disappointment!!  I thought I would get some good help, especially from one of the company stores.  I have gotten great help in the past from the store in Littleton, Colorado.  We checked on Tracy's IPod and the show that won't transfer to my IPod is there just fine.  I think I got the "bums rush"!!  Oh well, there is always phone support.

Since I got done a lot earlier than I figured, I had time to make a quick stop at "Fisheries Supply" to look for a replacement dorade (big metal wind scoop that is screwed onto the deck).  One of ours is missing.  No luck.  The one they had was too big.  I did find a magazine I wanted.  While checking out, the man in front of me was buying a bunch of life jackets.  These are normally big money items and since he had 5 of them, he was in for a big bill.  I passed him one of the discount coupons I got at the boat show.  That saved him some big bucks.  I wasn't going to use it and he could put it to good use.

Next onto the Inflatable Store.  We want to add two more handles to our inflatable dingy to make it easier to handle when on deck or on shore.  The address on the Internet was wrong so I got lost.  The phone number wasn't good either.  So I just went to Pat's Marine for class.  I was there by just after 11:00--real early.  I told them of my search for the Inflatable Store.  They knew exactly where it was so off I went.  Found it just fine.  Not even close to the Internet address.  Only problem--they were closed!!  What retail store is closed on a Saturday?  They had a sign with a phone number to call for an "appointment" to get into the store!!  I called them and got an excuse about why they weren't there but they promised me and email with particulars on the handles and the glue to attach them.  We'll see.

I returned to Pat's Marine with plenty of time for the class.  They covered all the basics of our engine.  It was great having a class with pictures of our engine as the model of what to look for as you worked on your engine.  I did find out that some of the components of ours isn't original which means some parts are newer than 1981.  That's a good thing.  Now I have a better idea of exactly what I'm looking at in our engine compartment and how to work on it.

After class, I went to "The Second Wave".  A used marine supply store with tons of used(see the definition of the word "junk") equipment.  I don't think I have ever seen a store more crammed with just about worthless stuff.  None of the electronics were newer than ten years old(obsolete).  Lots of this and that.  Other than some mast steps that I could have used, there wasn't a thing I could find a use for.  A disappointment.

My last stop was Qdoba for dinner.  They had sent me an email for a free burrito with the purchase of another burrito.  Qdoba has always been one of our favorite restaurants and since there are none out here on the peninsula,  this was a no brainer.  I just brought the second one back to Zephyr for lunch.  Add on some of their queso and chips and it was a great meal.

I made it back to the ferry and took the 6:45 for Bremerton.  Home by just after 8:00.  A long day.

Our son used to live in Seattle.  I can understand why he never owned a car.  Driving in Seattle is a challenge.  It feels a lot more cramped than driving in Denver.  The streets just feel narrower than back home.  It's nice to be back home.