Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 336 We're free at last!!

We're free at last!!!  We escaped late yesterday morning!!!  Four weeks after arriving back at Sea Marine, we are out and down at Boat Haven in downtown Port Townsend(48 06.2162N  122 46.3281W if you want to see us on Google Earth).  All safe and sound in a slip.

Here's how yesterday went:

Larry(mechanic at Sea Marine) said they would be at Zephyr at 0730 so we were up early.  I was off to the showers by 0600 since I had no idea how the day would go.  Larry showed up at 745 to announce that he had a meeting to go to but would send Terry down if he felt up to it(had back surgery a few weeks ago).  If not, he would be back by 0930 to get us all finished up. Terry wasn't so we waited.   He finally showed up at 1000 hours and went for the "gold".  By 1100 he was done.  We started the engine and went through all the tests--forward, reverse, neutral--over and over again.  IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!  There was no spinning propeller when in neutral!!!  We were set and done finally.  Larry was off to the next job by 1130 hours and we made plans to leave ASAP.

Now here is where it gets weird.  Tracy went up to pay our bill for the installation of the counter top and for the parts we had had them bring in for the job that were outside the scope of putting the transmission back in(new motor mounts).  She was back in about a half an hour carrying a bottle of wine with the bill all paid.  I will be posting the "missing" blog (Day 323--"the ugly part I couldn't post"--you'll have to go back on our blog to see it as it didn't post next to this one--it's worth the time) after I post this one so watch for it.  It's an amazing story of a manager/owner gone crazy.  Once you read that post, you will understand why Tracy paid the bill instead of me.  She was afraid what I might do or say if I ran into Matt.   Andy, the front counter/jack of all trades(and real nice guy), called Matt(one of the owners and person I had had my run in with) down to get us all settled up.  The bill was printed up and Tracy pulled out the credit card.  Matt was all full of honey and sweet as sugar on steroids to her.  He even gave her a bottle of wine as a going away and christening gift for us.  His next comment "As far as the labor charges to put the transmission back in goes, don't worry about it.  What the manufacturer doesn't absorb, we will just absorb it since you had already paid for the job once."  OK, who is this guy and what happened to his evil twin brother that I had run into a few weeks ago???  Up until that part, we were on the hook for the repairs and would have to pay up front and Sea Marine would send us what money they managed to recover from Great Lakes Power--no if, ands, or buts about it!!  Honey and sugar flowed from his mouth.  Had the drugs kicked in?  Or was he off them?  Don't know and don't care.  We were done and ready to get out of there ASAP!!  

We restarted the engine, untied the lines and headed out by 1230 hours and set off for Boat Haven.  In there before 1300 hours and all tied up.  We were finally free!!!

After a great lunch at SeaJ's, we took off on more errands(took the bus since the car was still at Sea Marine).  To West Marine to say goodbye.  Off to the print shop that is having a rubber stamp made for us.  It has our names, boat name and it's USCG registration number on it.  This stamp will be used on any kind of documents we may run into when we head into any foreign ports.  Most cruising people carry one so that when the immigration people come on board, we can stamp all their documents just like they can.

Over to see Brion Toss to let him know we were having some boxes delivered to his rigging shop.  Two had already come in--new jerry cans for extra diesel and the fans for the freezer/refrigerator to stir up the cold air for better cooling.  Another is due today--replacement cowl vent I had discussed in an earlier post.   Brion told us that the local merchants were having a meeting to discuss what to do about Matt at Sea Marine.  They are afraid that his attitude toward boaters will start having an effect on their business.  If people hear bad stories about Sea Marine, they won't come into Point Hudson and all the local businesses will suffer and they can't afford to have that happen.  

We stopped in at Sea Marine to pay for a few items that had been missed in the final billing.  Parts that I had had Tony in parts order in for us a few weeks ago when we could still order parts through them.  Stainless steel ratchet straps and our four jerry cans for gasoline.  They had been missed when Tracy paid the "final" bill.  There was no way I was going to get Tony in trouble.  He's been to good a friend to have that happen.  Sure enough, their accounting was so bad that they had missed them.  Tracy paid while I sat in the car.  They may be a strange company but honesty is always the best policy.

Back to Zephyr to change the engine oil.  I wanted it changed before we set off.  We had reached the time schedule to have it done.  Plus the mechanic that had last changed it(in Newport) had over filled it and I wanted it back to where it it is supposed to be.  I pulled out the manual pumper that sucks the oil our through the dip stick tube(almost impossible to get to the drain port).  I pumped and pumped and pumped.  It's like a garden sprayer assembly except instead of spraying, it sucks inward.  Ninety minutes later, I had 2.5 gallons sucked out(takes time to get the thick stuff out).  The tanks is supposed to only have 2 gallons in it so he had put way too much in and that's not good for the engine.  I finally got the job done by 1800 hours and we started the engine.  No leaks.  The strangest thing is that when they built this engine, that have the filter upside down.  When you unscrew it, the oil that is in it flows out all over the place.  What's with that?  I put lots of oil absorber pads under it and wrenched it free(stuck solid).  I kept a gallon plastic bag handy to put the filter in once it was out.  Now the engine has nice clean oil.  We ran the engine for a few minutes and then shut her down.  I waited a while and checked the dip stick--we were right where we needed to be and with nice and clean oil.  Another big project done.  

After the exciting day we had it was nice to just sit and veg for the rest of the night and that is exactly what we did.

Today--with the weather starting out crappy and the forecast for more of the same(35 knot winds) we will finalize the last of what we need to have done and with luck be out by Wednesday if Mother Nature cooperates.  Wish us luck.

Have a great day everyone. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 335 Lots done getting ready.

We got lots done yesterday trying to get ready for finally getting out of here.

First item of the day was refill the water tanks.  After a month here, we had made a bit of a dent in what we have on board.  It takes a while to fill them.  We were probably down to about half tanks.  At a capacity of 265 gallons, it takes a while to fill.

Once that was done, I flushed the outboard motor the old fashioned way.  You attach what looks to be a pair of ear muffs with a water nozzle to the sides of the out board where water normally gets taken into the engine for cooling.  Turn on the hose and start the engine.  This flushes water through the entire engine getting what is left of the salt water that had gotten in there when we used it a few weeks ago.  That stuff can corrupt an engine fast if not flushed out.  Now how you flush a outboard motor when you don't have a pressurized water hose is beyond me.  Anyone have any ideas?  I love to hear them.

We took off all the canvas covers that have protected Zephyrs beautiful teak for the past months that we have been here.  All folded and stored.  Off with the canvas that covers the windows of the dodger--folded and stored.  A great lunch at Shanghai--curry chicken all over again.

We loaded the car with more things that we don't feel we will be needing on our next outing.  The worst thing is unloading lots of our wine since Canada will either make us pay duty on it or could confiscate it if they choose to.  While we don't have a lot of it, we have far more than would be allowed in duty free even though Zephyr is our home.  I'm not sure how they handle it with motor homes as they cross the border but we're not taking any chances.  Money is money after all. 

We stopped at Safeway for more provisions for our impending trip.  The bad thing is that rainy, windy weather is forecast for the next few days.  If all goes well, we will be down at Boat Haven in downtown Port Townsend by then so it's not that big a deal.  

We stopped in at West Marine to pick up a knife to strap to the mast in case something should happen and we need a knife quick to get rid of tangled line during a big blow.  They had none that would do the job but we picked up a spool of 1/2" line for a stern anchor line.   When you anchor up in the islands, some of the channels or inlets (real narrow) that you anchor in will require not only a bow anchor but also a line taken to shore and tied off to keep you from swinging at anchor  There are lots of rocks up there you want to avoid at all costs.  We wanted special line that floats so that once it is untied it won't sink in the water and get wrapped around the prop.  Bill had left us lots of line when we bought Zephyr but we wanted a floating line.  We got a great deal--the line we wanted was already on sale plus if you buy 600 feet, it's another 25% off.  Add in that we had two $10.00 "frequent buyer" discount coupons plus being from Colorado, we pay no sales tax and we got the entire spool of 600 feet for only $64.00!!  You can't beat that deal with a stick!!

The only problem with our stop at West Marine was that I locked the keys in the car!!!!   I always make sure the keys are in my hand when I get out of the car before I push the lock button on the door and shut it.  Well, Tracy had thought she was going to stay in the car while I did a quick in and out but she decided to come in so we could look for the line.  I was already out of the car--keys still in the ignition with the radio playing--and violated my own rules.  RATS!!!!  Tracy took off for the city bus to go back to Zephyr to get the spare keys.  OOPS, the boat was locked and keys were in her coat--in the car of course!!  Once she got back, Tracy figured how to get in even with the doors locked.  She popped the latches on the deck hatch in the main cabin, took the ladder off the dock, lowered it into the boat and crawled back in.  Crafty girl that wife of mine.  

The guys at West Marine had given me a wire to try and pop the locks while Tracy headed back to Zephyr.  I had cut my hand (little tiny cut) on the spool of line and  was bleeding like a son of a gun.  It just wouldn't stop.  So here I am jamming a wire down into the crack where the glass meets the frame of the window bleeding all over the place.  Up and down, in and out with the wire.  Give up--try again.  Drivers side, passengers side.  Bleed, bleed, bleed.  Curse curse curse--mumble mumble mumble.  Suddenly--the lock pops open!!!  YEAH!!!  I returned the wire to West Marine and as I was walking back to the car, Tracy called to tell me she was in the boat and would be back on the next bus.  I was already in and ready to go so I saved her the trip.

Back to Zephyr and unload our supplies and in for the night. 

We expect to be ready to go some time Monday.  Time will tell.

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 334 More rain and tax day.

Rain was the standard of the day.  Not hard but enough to get you damp if you stayed out for any time.  Foul weather gear to stay dry was the outfit of choice when we went out.

Other than that, it was "do tax day" on Zephyr.  With us suddenly getting much closer to getting out and up to the islands and actually doing some sailing, it was important that they get done now as April 15th is coming sooner than we think.  Zephyr may be a relatively small space but it is amazing how easy it is to misplace important information that is required to complete the tax forms.  I had to download some that I just couldn't find to get it all done. 

Once I had it all collected and felt alright about the information I needed, we broke for lunch at SeaJ's.  Nothing like a good bacon cheeseburger with jalapenos.  Over for a quick stop at West Marine--just happens to be right across the street and back to Zephyr to start the "fun".  By dinner time, I was done.  Printed and reviewed and I e-filed this morning.  A big job done and off my mind.

And that was how yesterday went.  Not real exciting but an important project done.

Have a nice Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 333 Almost in!!

Larry, Terry and crew showed up at just after 8am with our "new" transmission.  It had showed up Thursday late afternoon.  They were ready to go.  It only took us a few minutes to get Zephyr ready.  We undid the dodger and pulled it aside to make it easier to get the transmission down the companionway.  In she came and into the engine compartment she went.  As soon as it was in the engine room--coffee break!! Can't say I blame them as it was a tough job.  Back in with wrenches and she was attached to the engine.  Bolts, nuts etc and she was well on her way to being in place.   They broke for lunch at 11:00 and only Larry came back.  Terry, the other mechanic had back surgery a few weeks ago--he's had a bulging disk for several months.  Now he looks great but has to still take it a bit easy.  Larry said he could work for about another hour as he had a job that absolutely had to be done that day.  He left about 2:00.  We are 90% there!!!

There are a few hose clamps to be fitted and antifreeze installed the transmission filled and few other things adjusted and they will be done.  They will be back here Monday at 7:30am to finish the job.   It should be done by noon!!  We expect to be out of here that afternoon and take off for Boat Haven in downtown Port Townsend to get away from Sea Marines clutches.   We still have a few things to attend to and the weather is supposed to be a bit nasty (gale force warnings) most of next week.

Larry and Terry have done a great job getting us installed the day the transmission came in.  We can't thank them enough.

Have a great weekend.--Snow in Denver and rain here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 332 NEWS FLASH!!!

Our transmission came in late yesterday afternoon and workmen are here installing it as I type this.  With luck it will be in by some time this afternoon!!!!  We could actually be out of here in the next day or so.  I still have to change the oil once the installation is complete.  I can't do that till the engine gets started and the oil warmed up so I can suck it out of the pan through the dip stick tube.  It's not the best way to do it but it makes the least mess doing it that way.

Stay tuned for continuing updates on the installation!!!

Day 332 Up she goes.

We arose this morning with the plan to hoist the mainsail here at the dock(calm winds).  If you have been following our blog, you know that we have had problems getting it up to the top of the mast ever since we bought Zephyr back in August of 2007.  Even with the new rigging, it was well nigh impossible to get it up to the top of the mast.  

During the refit and replacement of the standing rigging(wires that hold the mast up) we found out that the mast was bending forward instead of slightly backward as is the normal.  We chalked up the problem to a slight pinching of the track as it bent forward.  Well, now that the rigging is long since done with the mast being corrected, it was still tough to get the sail up to the top.  We have a product on the boat called "Strong Track" which is a special plastic product of some sort that allows the slides on the sail to run very easily.  Ours, not so much.  I'd been sent a special slide by the manufacturer to run up and down the track to "clean" it and make sure all the burrs in the plastic were "cut" off and the track smoothed back in February but we have not had the chance to go out sailing and raising the main ever since.  Since we're back in Port Townsend where we had the rigging replaced, we felt it was well past time to see if we had solved the problem.  We took off the sail cover, hooked up the primary main halyard(line that pulls the sail up) and while Tracy used the winch in the cockpit with our electric drill gizmo that turns our winch from a manual(has to be cranked by hand) into an electric winch, I pulled down on the halyard.  It was just as tough if not tougher to get it to the top of the mast.  OK, same problem.  We hooked up the backup main halyard(one is not enough) that Brion Toss (our rigger) had installed--we have backups for just about every line on the mast used for the sails.  This time, I was at the winch while Tracy pulled down on the backup halyard.  While the "electric" winch had really strained getting it up the first time, this time she went up smoother than I think we have ever seen it.  OK, that means that there is a problem somewhere in the mast.  Brion had a already taken out and rerun the lines inside the mast to try and fix the problem.  It didn't do it which is why we tried the track "cleaner" down in Brownsville.  This only meant one thing, there was a problem with the sheaves at the top of the mast.  These are decent size wheels that the halyard runs over to assist in pulling the line up. 

When the mast head was changed out during the re-rigging, we noticed that one of the wheels didn't rotate smoothly but thought it would run fine once all was up and settled.  Apparently not.  It apparently still binds up which means that instead of it going round and round as the line goes over it, it sits still which means the line drags over the wheel instead of rolling with the sheave as it goes around.  

We walked over to see Brion--right across the street to discuss the situation.   He could not have been nicer.  Brion had hurt his back years ago and it flares up causing him a good bit of pain from time to time and yesterday was one of those days.  As active as he is as a rigger--up and down masts and all the bending and stooping that goes with his job, it must be very tough when your back is killing you.  We sat and chatted about what has been happening over the past few weeks.  He's not happy that Sea Marine is treating us this way as it could well affect his business.  When people bring in boats for rigging, many times they need additional work done and it's much better to have a boat yard close by to take care of their other needs instead of having them have to go elsewhere to get the jobs done.  Brion offered to go up the mast and fix the problem as soon as he could but we told him to wait till his back was better.  He has been nothing but nice and kind to us and having a slight delay in getting this problem addressed isn't going to kill us.  We still have to take Zephyr out for "sea" trials once the transmission is installed again.  At least he is now aware of the problem and we're sure he will get it addressed and resolved as soon as he is physically fit enough to do so.

While on our walk to see Brion, we were met by Larry(the mechanic for Sea Marine).  He had just gotten off the phone with Great Lakes Power(transmission people).  According to them, our transmission left there back on March 19, the same day we were told it had arrived.  Larry pushed them more and they have agreed to "participate" in paying the labor charges on removing and installing the transmission--GREAT NEWS!!!  They want an accounting of the charges once it is all done and will evaluate it at that time--hey, that's a lot better than "NO".  They are stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for the problem.  

According to Larry, they admitted that two screws inside the transmission were not set right and that had caused the clutch plate to become warped(really bad)--hence the prop drag.  They rebuilt it again and shipped it out.  If we had not had it pulled and shipped back, it would have failed in a relatively short order(insert far out to sea in some far off land).  We had made the right decision to listen to Norm from Pat's Marine in Seattle that it was bad and needed to be pulled.  At the time, it was the last thing we wanted to hear.  We thought we had already had enough delays.  Sometimes it pays to listen to the "experts".   I guess my paranoia about them not admitting to any problem was unfounded.  This is one time I'm happy to be proved wrong.

We have another boater behind us(power) that has had work done on his boat by Sea Marine.  He's planning on getting out of here today and asked us to help him turn his boat around so he can make a quick and easy get away this morning.  He's gotten his bill and knew that if he had asked Sea Marine for the help they would bill him for additional man hours.  We were happy to help him with the lines as we swung the boat around.  

Poor Snowshoe(one of our fur people) is feeling ill and is even more listless than he normally is.  He's sleeping even more than normal.  Hopefully he will feel better today.

The freezer is down to -1 degrees this morning!!  Now that is cold.  We're still adjusting the thermostat till we get it at a good temperature that won't break the "amp bank" of our batteries.  It now takes about 2.8 amps to run.  That's half of what our old one used and it keeps the box MUCH colder than the old one ever though of.  I'm glad we have 6" of insulation around the box.  

A few days ago, I'd filled out a questionnaire from Jeppesen Marine about how I felt about their product.  They make the software that is our primary navigation software for when we are out cruising(all in good time).  I'd noticed several bugs in the program late last year and had emailed them about them.  All I'd gotten was a quick brush off that they  knew about the problems and were looking into them and would get back to me.  Don't send me a questionnaire unless you want the unvarnished truth.  I told them my feeling about their product.  Amazingly, I got an email from them urging me to call them as soon as I could so that they could address my concerns!  Go figure--some one actually cares about a product they put out.  This economic downturn may have an upside as companies are actually standing behind their goods to avoid bad press.

I spent a good 80 minutes on the phone with him trying to solve the problems I had found.  We finally gutted the program out of the computer and did a full reinstall.  Not something he likes to do.  Once the program was reinstalled, it was still experiencing the same problems.  He's conferring with tech folks higher up the chain to see what needs to be done and has scheduled another phone call next Tuesday.  He expects to have answers by then.

Now I run two versions of the navigation program--one on each computer.  One the old version and one the new.  We discussed the problem with the old version--almost a year old.  He's sending me a new program disk with the latest version on it free and feels that will solve the problem as they have made many corrections to the last edition of the program.  What's going on here!!!  This is good customer service and all done without an Indian accent!!!  Unheard of in this era!!

West Marine also sent me a survey about my experiences with their company.--hey, don't ask unless you want an honest answer.  While I do feel that their prices are higher than just about anyone else, the quality of service I get from my local store could not be better and I told them so in the survey.  I've yet to find another store that treats both Tracy and I as well as our local West Marine.

That's about how the day went--oh, I also took another shower--after all, we're living the dream!!!

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 331 Unstuck.

The dawn of another day at Port Townsend.  It started with rain and cleared to a beautiful day.

Zephyr is equipped with 6 cowl vents to bring fresh air into her cabin to keep it cool and to get fresh air inside. 
These vents simply screw onto a threaded bronze plate so that you can adjust the vent toward which ever way the wind is blowing  When we bought Zephyr, one at the stern of the boat was missing.  It had been removed many years ago and the hole that the air passes through to get in the boat sealed with a bronze cap.  Over the years, it had "sealed" itself closed and refused anything I did to get it to unscrew so we could replace the vent.  This one vents into the stern stateroom and the head--both important places to keep fresh air flowing in the Summer.  I finally unscrewed the entire assembly(ring and plate) to the Port Townsend Foundry to see if they could get it apart.

They took it back into the foundry and came back 20 minutes later all done.
They told me to coat the threads with Vaseline and it would never cause me any problems ever again.  I "bedded" it in a special goo that is water proof when I reattached it to Zephyr.   

I've found a source for a replacement and will try and get it ordered today.  West Marine has agreed to be my new UPS drop off place since Sea Marine won't do it any more(but that is another story).

While I was getting the fitting off Zephyr, Tracy was repairing two broken snaps on one of the cloth covers on the dodger.  They had broken off a while ago and we had ordered in replacements from Sailrite to get fixed so the cover would fit properly and stop flapping around in the wind.  Now the dodger is all well and ready for the next storm.

We picked up the urethane paint(white) we will be needing to cover the new spinnaker pole at Admiral Hardware in Port Townsend.  Their regular price was less than the "sale" price that was offered at the "Boater's World"store we visited on Tuesday down in Silverdale.  

Larry at Sea Marine was busy so no calls were placed to Great Lakes Power to see if they will cover the transmission.  Maybe we will hear today.  At least they haven't sent a bill for the "fix" they did.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 330. Road trip

We spent the morning getting cleaned up for a road trip to the big city--Silverdale.  Showers all around so we would look our best--WOW!  What excitement.

But first, we had to wait for our package from Sailrite with the new material and supplies to redo some areas of the canvas on Zephyr.  After a drive around Port Townsend--no luck so back to the marina to wait.  While waiting, I worked on our car--changing the air filter and refilling the radiator.  Our car isn't set to run at sea level so it runs a bit rough while we are here.

Once that was done, I went in search of UPS and found them downtown.  Got the box and headed back to Zephyr.   27 pounds of new stuff to "play" with.

The reason for the "road trip" was two fold.  Boaters World has filed for bankruptcy and we wanted to see if they had anything we might be able to use at a decent price.  The second reason was as always--Costco.

We got to Boater's World and saw big banners out front announcing their "Going out of business sale".  WOW--a whole 10% off on most things!!  When we pulled into the parking lot, we were the only people there--no other customers.  When we walked in, we saw two sales people talking to each other off to the side--no acknowledgment that we were there--no "hi--how are you doing", no nothing.  They never approached us the entire time we were in the store.  The biggest problem is that they cater to power boaters--not sailors.  We found very little of interest.  About the only thing we were interested in was the urethane paint we wanted for our new spinnaker pole.  With the discount--20% on paint, it would bring it down to the same price as what we could get it for every day at Fisheries Supply.  We would simply save the freight.  At check out, we told them that we were sales tax exempt since we were from Colorado--8.5% sales tax.  He said that since they were in receivership, that didn't count as far as they were concerned--Hey-- that's state law.  If you're from Colorado, you don't have t0 pay sales tax on goods and supplies.  Tracy told him to just keep what we were going to buy and out we went.  We'll get what we need some where else.  

Off to Safeway for some heavy duty gloves that they don't carry here in Port Townsend.  A quick stop at WalMart and then over to the Port of Brownsville Marina to make sure no mail had come in for us since we had left(nope).  On to dinner at Red Robin and then off to Costco.

It didn't take long as we had a list but we still toured the aisles just to make sure we had everything we needed.  Back to the car and off to  WalMart to pick up a copy of the new James Bond movie.  They have it cheaper than Costco--go figure.  The power of WalMart grows if they can beat Costco.

We were home by just after 7pm and got settled in for the night.

As to our transmission, we did find out that the folks at Great Lakes Power acknowledged that they had "fixed it" and that it has already left to come back to us.  Our principal contact was still out so we still have no idea what they will pay for as to the re installation of the equipment.  Hopefully we will find out sometime today so we can get on with our lives.  If it takes as long to get back here as it took to get there, it should be here by next Wednesday and in by next Thursday.  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, it's raining with the forecast of better weather as the day progresses.  There's a reason it so green in Washington state.

The "new" freezer area is now down to 2 degrees and the frig area in at 30 degrees.  Drawing 2.8 amps instead of 5.8 the old unit used to maintain a temperature no where near this cold.

Have a great day everyone and stay tuned for the continuing story of "The Transmission Of Our Lives"!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 329 Still waiting.

The new motor/transmission mounts came in.  Of course they don't fit the same holes as the original where they bolt into Zephyrs engine room.  That would be too easy.  So I needed to fill the holes with DuraGlass.  It like Bondo for  fixing cars but it's for boats.  Basically a two part epoxy that is full of fiberglass fibers that gets mixed together and sets rock hard in just a few minutes.  West Marine doesn't carry it but I did find it at Admiral Supply for $21.00.  I called NAPA Auto Parts.  They had it for $17.99!!  It's the same thing just not bought in a store that says "marine".  Amazing how much people increase the price once you tack on the work "marine".  

We had expected a big box from Sailrite by UPS so I sat in the car and waited.  They normally show up between 1100 and 1330 hours.  By 1300 I went in search of the truck.  I found it in downtown Port Townsend.  No box!  I had been lead to believe by the tracking number that it would be here on Monday.  I went back to Zephyr and did another "tracking" and found it had gotten misdirected to Bremerton instead of Port Townsend so it "should" be here today though it doesn't say it is on the truck but does say the delivery date is today.  I guess we will see.

I mixed up the DuraGlass in the afternoon and filled the holes.  Boy, they weren't kidding about it setting up fast.  Within 5 minutes it had hardened.  Even what I had in the mixing cup was hard.  Amazing!  Now at least we are one step farther to getting the transmission in.

I called Great Lakes Power yesterday--they have the transmission.  Our normal contact--Charlie was out and Doug didn't have any answers on it yet.  Hopefully today.  We really want to get this behind us so we can move on with out lives.

It blew all day--25 to 35 knots.  All that noise can really get to you after a while.  It's calm now and it's strange to not hear all the noise we had yesterday.  More rain in the schedule.  We may be heading down to Silverdale this afternoon after the box gets here.  I want to be here when the UPS truck arrives.  It's safer that way.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 328 At the grill.

I spent the good bit of time yesterday at our grill barbecuing the chicken we'd had in the freezer.  It had gotten frozen/thawed/frozen/thawed during the new freezer installation and it was just simply time to grill it.  Luckily, it was decent weather to do it.  Lots of thighs and breasts.  Once done, Tracy vacuum sealed them and into the new freezer section.  It took a while, but they froze over night.  Currently the freezer is down to 25 degrees and falling and the frig side is at 35 degrees and holding just fine.  Now we have lots of precooked food for easy meals in the future.

We straightened up Zephyr putting away things to make her look ship shape which was good as we had company last night.  Jenny from one of the boats in the yard came over to visit.  I told her about taking the old Adler Barbour refrigeration system up to the "free" box behind Sea Marine.  This is where people put things that they no longer need but others might be able to use.  She said she had already seen it and had her "significant other" go look at it.  He'd picked it up and taken it back to their boat.  Jenny thought the note I'd left on it saying that it works fine looked like my writing.  We had all the manuals for the system so we passed them on to her.  It's one thing to come upon a piece of equipment like that but it makes it a whole lot better if you get the owners manuals too.  It wasn't the reason for her stop but sure became a bonus for her.  Now they can put the unit to good use and we are glad for them.  I always hate throwing away a perfectly good piece of equipment when some one else can use it.

That's about the way the day went.  All in all, not really that much.

Today--scheduled for more wind and rain.  With luck, we will find out about our transmission.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 327 A beautiful day.

It was a lovely day yesterday.  Lots of sunshine and very little wind for a change.  It was great to walk around in the sunshine.

We got the gas tanks along the side deck filled and added the gasoline stabilizer so it will keep 
longer.  Gasoline kept for a long time can go wrong or at least so "they"say.  I strapped them in with the new stainless steel straps I'd ordered in from Fisheries Supply.  I ordered four straps-one for each tank.  When they showed up, there were actually two in a box so I have four extra for other jobs.  The catalog didn't say there were two in the box so it was a nice surprise.  It's always nice to have extras.

We toured the docks at Boat Haven in central Port Townsend.  Checking out their facilities.  We may end up spending some time there.  Their not as new as the docks here, but there are lots of boats--both commercial and private.

I installed the new breather valve on the anti syphon device on the exhaust system.  I'd checked it earlier and it appeared to be fine.  I'd noticed the salt water stains on the fitting and below it.
While we were under way back from Seattle, I poked my head in the engine room and saw water flowing from around the fitting.   I ordered in a new valve and got it all installed.  Now it should keep the water from coming out while we are under way and have the proper anti syphon break once the engine stops.  With out it, it could allow water to keep flowing into the boat.  I went at the salt water marks with a wire brush and soapy water to clean them up and then rinsed with fresh water.  It look much better now.  I won't know if it works until I can start the engine and that won't happen till we get the transmission back in.  

As to the freezer/refrigerator temps--as of this morning, the freezer is at 23 degrees and the frig is down to 27 so some adjustment will need to be made to get a "normal" temperature.  We have two thermometers down there to monitor the temperature.  We play with the settings--close more of the hole between the two sections--today.  We want to keep the freezer down low and the frig in the mid 30's. 

A great barbecued steak dinner and a good bottle of wine and the day was complete.

We'll see what today brings.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 326 Done and getting colder.

Yesterday was set for fine tuning our installation of the new refrigeration system.  First, I fastened the new thermostat to the wall on the right side of the box.  It came with double face tape to attach it but I drill holes and screwed it under the right side top of the box.  The past one was screwed to the back wall of the box.  This one will be out of the way as we put food in and out of the box.  The thermostat has a wire that has to go inside a copper tube that is attached to the freezer unit so I thread it around the top edges of the box and it was set.  The wires to the compressor unit for it were attached with fasteners going the opposite direction toward the hole in the box that they and the copper tubing came in through.  That part of the project was done.

Now we had to split the box into two different sections.  The left will be the new freezer area and the right will be the refrigerator area.  We bought a 4 X 8 foot sheet of foam--smallest size available--to do the job even though we only needed a 12" X 24 section to do the job.  I had to remove the boards that held the shelving inside the box so we could get it fitted.  With careful cutting and measuring, we got it cut.  Then we had to cover the sides with plastic sheeting to protect the foam and seal it against the moisture that is inside the box.  Sharp knives and a cutting board, a pair of scissors and patience and they were cut.  We attached them with 3M's Super 77 spray adhesive.  In it went leaving a 1" area at the top of the board open for air flow.  I put a bead of silicone chalk around the edges and let it set up.  It takes a while so we cleaned up the mess we had made in the boat and took off for Shanghai Restaurant as a celebration dinner at getting the job done.  Yummy curry chicken!!!

Once back at Zephyr, we started loading the box with some shelves to allow the cold air to flow around the box.  If you look closely at the picture(click on it to make it larger), you'll see a hole cut in the divider wall.  This is how we will be regulating the differences in the temperatures between the boxes.  There is a small flap that covers the hole.  The more of the hole you cover, the warmer the frig side will be.  The cold air from the cold plate unit in the freezer side flows through the hole and up through the frig side over the top of the divider wall and round and round.  Primitive but efficient.

The food is all loaded and the box is cooling down.  As of this morning the freezer is down to 33.8 and the frig is down to 39 and getting cooler each hour.  It has a lot of food that had warmed up and defrosted in the cooler while we did the job over the past two days.  It has it's work cut out for it.  Stay tuned for the continuing reports on our frig system.  WOW---the excitement!!!

With it being Saturday, it should be a quiet day on the dock.  The folks at Sea Marine are still working on the big 54 foot Maple Leaf that they chased us off the dock for back in January.  It has been a big pain for them for months.  They've had it for well over a year.  When they launched it back in January, the new engine wouldn't start--out she came.  Got that fixed and relaunched her.  After a few weeks, the new topside paint they had applied--the under coat-blue-bled through the top coat--white.  Out she came again to have the top sanded off and another re-spray.  They blamed Awlgrip(paint manufacturer) for the bad paint and filed a claim for $50,000 to redo it.  Now that it is back in the water, the top surface that they redid is starting to blister all over again.  It was supposed to be at the riggers to have the entire standing rigging replaced back in January.  Now they have no idea when it will be at the riggers.  The riggers meanwhile had postponed two other jobs to do this boat.  With the delay, they finally scheduled the other jobs they had put off and rescheduled the Mapleleaf for late April or May.

We made the final payment for the new spinnaker pole and will be picking it up next week.  Then we get to figure out how we will be fastening it to the deck.  

The fun continues.

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 325 In it goes and our it comes.

Yesterday was a BIG day!!  I finally got up the nerve to unbox and put in the new refrigerator system.  Somehow taking out a unit that still works and putting in a new one seemed a strange thing to do.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" has always been the norm but with the old unit using so many amps to run(5 to 6 amps) it needed to be replaced.  We desperately need a system that uses a lot less especially once we are away from the dock and on our own power.  The manufacturer (Technautics) guarantees that this new system will only use 2 amps to run which is a huge reduction in amps.  It's running at just over 3 amps during it initial startup and cooling down phase which is a good sign.

It's not like living in a home where you can use as much power as you like and turn on all the lights and use every appliance in the kitchen at the same time.  On a boat--even while plugged into shore power it has its limits.  Most boats are set up on a 30 amp circuit.  If you turn on something, it is important to know how many amps it uses.  You may have to turn off another appliance to use it.  If we want to use the microwave, we have to turn off the electric heater till the microwave is done.  The combined power draw will blow the circuit if you get past 30 amps.  but I digress from the days labor--but hopefully you better understand our power limits.

As you can see from the pictures, we really had to tear up Zephyr to get at all the wires and coolant lines.  We had to take out the stove, all the drawers and everything under the sink to get to everything.  
Out came the copper refrigerant lines and the cooler unit that was in the box.  Then the thermostat and all its wires.Out came the compressor unit.

It took a while and some careful measurements and a few redos, but the new cooler unit went in all in all quite easily.

Once we had had the new hatch installed, we had plenty of access to the area where the new cooler unit was to be put.  Before, food was kept in baskets and had to be slide in and out under the counter top.  Now all we have to do is lift the lid.  Tracy loves it.

With the old one out, in went the new refrigerator unit.  As you can see, it has a much small "foot print" which will give us just a little bit more storage space for supplies(every inch counts).  By far, the hardest part was running the new copper coolant lines.  Two copper pipes--one 1/4" and a 3/8" line had to be run from the compressor to the cooler unit.  It took time to make the careful bends in them.  We had to be careful not to kink the tubes.  Where they run behind the stove, they are covered with a foam rubber cover to make sure there is no wear and tear from the stove.

We started at 0900 and quit about 1700.  She is up and running and as of this morning is at 28 degrees for the entire box--not bad!

We did get another job done while we were at it.  Zephyr came with an auxiliary water heater that ran on propane.
While it was under code when it was installed, the propane lines were now outlawed under current code.  It was one of the few things the surveyor had found that needed to be changed during his inspection.  The unit ran off propane that came in on the same line as the stove.  New regulations make it a requirement that each appliance has its own propane line.  No piggybacking on existing lines.  While we were taking out the stove, we found the "T" where the propane line joined the one for the stove and took it off and took out the line and the heater.
I was surprised to see the propane line to the water heater was made from rubber, not copper as I would have thought.

We now have a good bit more space on the forward wall of the engine room and one of what could have been a potential problem out.  If it had malfunctioned, we could have had propane leaking into Zephyr which could go boom(bad!).  We installed a new hose for the stove that we had purchased while in Newport last year.  It doesn't appear to fit properly so I will be out in search of a new fitting today.

Today, we will finish the job.  We have to fabricate an insulation panel to separate the new freezer section from the refrigerator section.  This way, we can have more frozen food that will keep longer and just a bit less refrigerator space.  Better for food to keep long term than short which is one of the reasons we decided to install the new unit.  The old one had just a small box (5.75" X 10") that acted as a freezer.  Now we will have a dedicated section of the entire cooler box. 

We already have the foam insulation panel and a large sheet of Formica to cover it.  Now we just have to take measurements and get the last part of the job done.  With luck, it won't take that long.  Tracy is great at making things like this.

It's still blowing in the mid 20 knot range but it is sunny which makes the day much better, not that we will be seeing that much of it.

I spoke with Larry the mechanic about our transmission and was there when he called Great Lakes Marine to see if they had received it.  They got it on Thursday and will be getting back to us early next week as to their inspection and what they have found and what they "might" cover in expenses.  The waiting game continues.

Well, we've got work to do so I end here.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Remember--"we're living the dream"!
(Remember, if you click on the pictures, you'll get to see them enlarged if you like.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 324 Preparation.

We spent today making preparations to install the new refrigerator system.  We hauled everything out of the box just to make sure the new system will fit with room for the new separator that will divide the box into a freezer compartment and a refrigerator compartment.  It's going to be a bit snug to get everything in but it should work.  Not quite sure how we will install a shelf in the freezer area.  That is going to be a challenge.  We had to get some wires and fasteners to make sure it goes smoothly.  I called the manufacturer just to make sure we had the right wares size to run from the battery to the compressor unit.  I didn't want it to small to make it hard to run.  We have a big cooler to store all the food in as I expect it is going to take a day or so to get this project done.  I guess we will see.

We stopped in at Port Townsend Rigging to discuss picking up our new pole.  We figure we'll be getting it some time next week.

We should hear today whether or not Great Lakes Marine is going to acknowledge that the transmission is bad and that they will pick up the labor fees that are adding up getting it out let alone what it is going to charge to get it back in.  Depending on their decision, we will have some decisions to make ourselves.  But more on that at a later date.

We had some company last night.  Jenny, another live a board that has been on the yard with her husband/companion since just before we got here--refitting another boat to take cruising, stopped in and we talked for several hours about what we have been doing since we got here.  It was nice having someone to talk with.  We don't get many visitors. 

We're just taking each day as it comes bidding our time till we can get out of here.  It can't come too soon.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 323 The ugly part I couldn't post.

Ok, here is what I couldn't post back on March 18.  The ugly part of the day.  Sit back--it's a long post.

A few days ago, we got the bill for installing the new hatch in the counter for the refrigerator box.  It was far more than we thought it should be.  The biggest factor was the labor charges.  Sea Marine charges $69.00 per hour for routine jobs.  Electricians and mechanics are lots more.  Our bill came in at 19.5 hours of labor.  This made very little sense to us as it took less that 2.5 days.

I'd asked for an accounting of Bob's(woodworker) hours.  Instead, we got a list of what he did, not what his hours were--started and finished each day.  A quite detailed list.  I know he did the work and he did it well, but I wanted to know what hours he had charged each day, not what he did.

Here's the way we see it--or at least the time totals we could come up with:
The job started on Wednesday with Bob coming to Zephyr at 10:00 to size up the job.  This was his first time on Zephyr.  After sizing up the job and taking lots of measurements, he took off for the shop to start work.  He came back several times in the afternoon for more measurements and even got the first hole cut in the counter top that day.  He was gone by about 4:00.

Thursday, he showed up at 9:30 with the lid in hand and a fiberglass sleeve attached that would take the new hatch(to shallow to get through all the foam)all the way into the box.  He was in and out and cut the opening in the plastic liner that makes up the box and was gone by 3:45.

When Bob had left, I remembered the sleeve that he had made to go between the hatch and opening.  He'd made it sloping inward at an angle instead of straight down.  Using this, we would have lost about another inch of the opening to get food in and out of the box.  Friday morning, I walked up to the shop at 7:00am to talk to him about it.  He wasn't in yet.  I waited till about 7:45 and returned to Zephyr leaving him a note.  I figure he showed up about 8:00 at the shop and was at Zephyr about 9:30 to do the final install with the sleeve redone at a straight angle.  We took off for West Marine to get some varnish to finish off the teak.  Bob was gone by the time we returned at 12:30pm.

So here is the way we see the hours:
Wednesday--at Zephyr at 10:00am--1 hour off for lunch and gone(company closes at 4) by 3:45.
Wednesday---4.75 hours
Mark had let it slip that Bob had billed 7.5 hours on Wednesday  Unless he worked till 6:30pm, there is no way.
Thursday--at Zephyr by 9:30--1 hour off for lunch and gone at 3:45.
Thursday -----5.25 hours
Friday--at the shop at 8am--at Zephyr by 9:30 and gone by 12:00
Friday---------4.00 hours
total:--------  14.00 hours
Even giving him extra time in the shop, it couldn't amount to more than 16 max.
Figuring the difference in hours adds up to 5.5 hours at $69.00 per hour--$379.50 if my math is any good.  That's a big difference.

I walked up to talk to Mark--yard foreman and Matt Elder--one of the owners about the bill and give them a list of what I felt were the actual hours.  Mark started looking at my notes with Matt at his shoulder.  Matt snatched my notes from Mark, looked at me and blew up--big time!!  He was tired of all our complaining(say what).  That they had been nothing but nice to us giving us great service and even allowing us to get mail delivered there and having their order department order parts for us.  That he hated the "live a boards"as all they did was cause problems for him by continually questioning the bills and that if a workman wasn't on board that they shouldn't be charged for his hours.  I disputed that knowing full well that when Bob wasn't on board--at least on Wednesday--he was doing shop work building jigs and making the teak ring that goes around the hatch lid.  Matt just kept on ranting and finally said he wanted us off his dock today.  I told him we would love to but since we had no transmission, where were we to go.  He said they would attach lines to our boat and pull us over to the Point Hudson Marina where we could stay(at our own expense--$53.00/night) till the transmission came back.  He then stormed up the stairs to his office.  After I picked up my jaw off the floor, I left the building.

I got about half way back to Zephyr and turned around to have another talk with Matt.  There had to be a reasonable solution to this situation.  I found him in one of the back buildings.  I asked if we could sit down and talk about the problem.  Nope--he just went off on me all over again standing in the doorway with people passing past us on how we had taken advantage of their generosity and this was how we repaid them.  There was no mention of the $40,000 we had already dropped in their coffers.  Or that the delays were not our fault.  We had to wait for them to schedule us in to get the work done after we got back in the water--why we were still there in January.   That didn't seem to matter.  I had the gaul to question the hours that their workman had put on his card!! How dare I question them.

Well, he hates "live a boards"because we are on our boats and can keep a better accounting of the time that is actually spent on the work.  He has allowed us to order parts through his company--he marks up the price from what he pays--insert profit here.  He has allowed us to get our mail sent to his office(we'd rather have been gone months ago).  He doesn't like to be questioned about what he bill you--JUST SHUT UP AND PAY THE BILL AND GET OUT!!!

It was time to eat crow and have humble pie for desert as he had us at his mercy--no transmission.  Where were we to go since we couldn't get anywhere.  When the transmission came back--what were they going to charge us to reinstall it of the manufacturer didn't cough up the funds by admitting it was a bad transmission.  WE WERE STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE!

Let me tell you, crow isn't that tasty and humble pie sucks but I ate a lot of it.  I apologized over and over again about questioning the bill.  That they were right and I was wrong--over and over again.  Matt just kept ranting at me about what rotten people we are and how we have taken advantage of them.  After about 15 minutes of this, he finally calmed down, accepted my apology and told me we could stay on their dock!  

It's been quite a while since I have had the family jewels handed to me by anyone and let me tell you it isn't pleasant.  As most of you know, I've been in retail since the early 70's and there is no way I would treat a customer this way.  We may not be right, but we are still the customer regardless.  Some times, you have to suck it up and make some concessions.  Apparently, not at Sea Marine.

So, now we are stuck here in limbo just waiting for another shoe to drop.  We don't dare go near the office for fear of having our heads taken off.  They no longer will allow us to order parts through their order department even though they make a profit on each piece that we order.  Go figure!! I can't.  It may not be a lot of profit, but some beats none.

The people here at Sea Marine are first rate.  Their craftsmanship is great and we have found little faults in what they have done.  A few wires hooked up wrong that was easy to fix.  Two masthead lights that were faulty--not their fault.  A transmission that was made wrong--again--not their fault.  But these are all things that we have already paid for and expect to be fixed--and not at our expense.  Unfortunately, that's not the way it goes here at Sea Marine.  Yes, they fixed the wires and the mast head light(at their expense), but once it came to the big buck item of the transmission, well, they were just the middleman and it's not their fault.  

Well, that's the way the day went.  As you can see, there was no way I was going to post this blog while still at their docks.  Several of the yardmen know I blog each day and I don't want this post getting out till we are out of here.  

Day 323 Have to wait.

You'll have to wait for my blog for yesterday.  I can't publish it until we are out of Sea Marines clutches.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 322 Fix the stove, etc.

The "sparker" on our new stove started malfunctioning shortly after it arrived last June.  On our stove, when you turn the knob to ignite one of the burners, it "sparks"to ignite the propane, much like a barbecue grill.  One of our burners(front left) had finally stopped "sparking" when the knob was turned on.  It had worked intermittently but was now officially dead.  I'd talked to the folks at Sure Marine(sold it to us).  They had encouraged us to contact Force 10 (manufacturer) about the matter.  After several emails back and forth, they sent us a new wiring harness to replace the defective one.  The harness connects every burner--even the oven--to a battery.  Push the knob in and turn it on and the battery makes it spark and bingo, you have flame.  I took off the front panel of the stove, removed the old harness and installed the new one.  It now works fine.  I took the old harness switches apart to try and fix the defective one.  I'll keep it in a plastic bag just incase I need another one later on.

We went to the storage shed in the afternoon to pick up the new refrigerator for Zephyr.  Now that the opening in the counter top is done, we can start the install. 

The wind just kept on blowing yesterday.  Gusts up in the high 20s again.  Cloudy with more showers.  I guess the forecast is for more of the same for the rest of the week.  Time will tell.  At least it wasn't snow.  

Spring is coming!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 321 Back to Sequim

Back to Sequim in the snow.  We woke up to more snow this morning.  Mixed with a bit of rain, clouds and 30+ knot winds and that sums up the weather for up here.  This has been the 6th worst Winter in Seattle's history.  Gee, what a surprise.  We bring this where ever we go. Ah--the power we have!!

Back to Sequim to get our hair cut and Tracy's perm.  There just isn't anyone here in Port Townsend she trusts anymore.  She had some bad experiences last Summer but has found a person she trusts over there.  I meanwhile head for Super Cuts.  Cut, cut, snip, snip and I'm done.

Sequim is about to celebrate the 114th Irrigation Festival in early May.  It's the longest running festival in Washington state.  Here's it's history straight from their website:  
The Sequim Irrigation Festival celebrates the work that D.R. "Crazy" Callen and his partners did to design and develop the Irrigation Ditches that brought water from the Dungeness River to the parched prairie. The first headgate on the Dungeness River was lifted on May 1, 1895. On May 1, 1896 the first celebration took place at Crazy Callen's farm. This was the start of a tradition that would become the oldest continuing festival in Washington state. 2009 will be the 114th Sequim Irrigation Festival.
It just goes to show you that every community has it's own reason to celebrate.  

Of course while there, a stop at Costco just can't be denied.  At least this trip we went with a list of what we needed instead of just going up and down the aisles.  It keeps the final bill a good bit smaller.  It also works better since our space is quite restricted on Zephyr.  It's pretty much down to if something comes on, something has to leave.

I stopped at Safeway to use their free WiFi.  I can download all my updates for the computer without using up my allotment that Verizon gives me each month for my WiFi connection.

We made it back to Zephyr by 5:30 to a blustery, rainy, snowy night.  There's more of the same on the schedule for today.

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 320 Wind, rain and laundry.

That about sizes up yesterday.  It was windy--20 to 30 knots out of the South.  It rained on and off and I went up and did the laundry.

Toss in a shower for myself plus reading a magazine or three and that just about covers it.

All in all, a very quiet day-except for the wind in the rigging.  It starts to howl once past 15 knots.

Almost forgot, Tracy made a great dinner of a super sized Taco.  Nice and spicy.  Sure went down easy.

Today--more rain and winds may approach 50mph.  It's going to get interesting in this marina when it gets up to that kind of speed.

Have a great day everyone.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 319 The fun continues.

More tasks yesterday.  I started off hack sawing off the ends of the bolts that hold our new 2 X 6 fuel tank holder on deck.  They were just a bit too long and would catch any stray line that passed its way.  Off they came.  The stainless steel ratchets that will hold the tanks to the board will be here next Tuesday so that project will be done then.  We'll have an extra 20 gallons of gasoline for the outboard and the generator.  I have a few more eye bolts to install but want to wait till the ratchet straps show up to make sure I install them in the right place.

Next, mix some soap and water and wash the dodger to get the stubborn salt off her.  Just plain water doesn't do it.  Once that was done and everything rinsed, I put on the covers over the clear plexiglass windows to protect them from the elements.

Tracy meanwhile had taken off the canvas cover that protects the teak rail on the port side.  It had gotten torn on the journey back from Seattle.  It had a problem with the water surging up and over the sides as we headed North.  Tracy pulled out the extra fabric we keep on board and our Sailrite sewing machine and at it she went.  Now we've had plenty of sewing machines over the years but few rival the weight and strength of this machine.  It's made to sew through just about anything you throw at it.  Multi layers of canvas.  The same with leather.  It's a brute.  

Once she was done with that, she tackled the job of making a cover for our Honda generator.  We've been using a black plastic garbage bag ever since we brought it on board and it look a bit tacky.  Now, as you can see, she has a nice new cover.  We're looking better everyday.

I even took a few minutes and sat on the stern and listened to some music while reading a magazine late on the afternoon.  It felt strange.  

The day had been beautifully sunny but the clouds were beginning to build for the rain that was due today and over the next few days.  The showers have already started.  I'm glad we got as much done outside while we had the sunshine.

We had a nice dinner at the Shanghai Restaurant last night.  I had great Curry Chicken while Tracy went with Almond Chicken Stir Fry.  A delight for the taste buds.

With it raining, I plan on going through all the magazines that have piled up over the past few months.  It's been a while since I gutted the bucket we keep them in.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 318 The tasks continue.

Back into the engine room this morning to change out the hose clamps on the starboard side.  They fell apart as I unscrewed them just as the port side ones had yesterday.  Fatigue had set in, along with a bit of rust.  On with the new ones and the job was done.

Next, on to all the through hulls.  If they don't get used for a while they tend to bind up and won't close with just the pressure a hand can exert.  It requires a pipe slid over the entire handle to get them to turn on and off.  If you blow a hose or a clamp fails, it's important to be able to close them quickly and easily.  I sprayed each with PB Blaster and moved each several times open and closed.  Some took it easier than others.  The one for the galley sink just refused to move and required the use of the pipe extension.  I'll be turning it on and off quite a bit over the next week or so.  The rest all work much easier now.  It's all part of the "routine maintenance" that is required on a boat.

We're replacing the motor mounts that help support the transmission and the rear of the engine.  They were rusted and shot.  It was recommended that we also change the mounts on the front of the engine but the cost for that would cripple us.  They would have to raise the entire engine to get to them and that is a tremendous amount of not only effort but time and in this yard, as in any yard, time is money.  We opted for replacing the stern ones only.  With the transmission out, it's the perfect time since they not only support the transmission but also the rear of the engine.  We fully expect that the new ones won't fit the existing holes that are drilled in for the bolts that hold it to the stringers in the engine compartment.  They will have to be filled and re-drilled.  They will be here by next week, long before the transmission gets back.  We'll see how they fit and fill the holes with epoxy ourselves to save the labor charges to have them do it if they don't align properly.

Off to the showers to get all the oil and dirt off from changing out the clamps in a dirty engine room.  It's not really that bad, but the dirt just jumps off the surfaces and onto my hands magically.  I can come out looking a mess. 

On to the next project.  Finding out where we will stow the new gasoline jerry cans we bought.  We tried on the stern and along the rail amidships.  Amidships worked out the best.  I headed off to the hardware store for stainless hardware and a 2 X 6 to attach the tanks to.  I'll be fastening the 2 X 6 to the stanchions with "U" bolts--2 on each end--and then drilling and installing "eye" bolts to hold the ratchet straps on that will be around each tank.  We have four tanks that each hold 5.3 gallons.  Plus another spare tank is already fastened to the stern so we should have plenty of fuel for the generator and the outboard motor while we are out cruising.  As is my norm, I got fittings that were too big so back to the store for the proper ones.  I got the board cut, drilled and installed by about 6:30 last evening.  Today, I'll be cutting off the extra threads that come out past the nuts that I used.  I can't have them hanging out there to snag anything that passes as we sail.  

We ordered stainless steel ratchet straps to hold the tanks on this morning.  They will be here by next Tuesday so I can get the job done.  I have other ratchet straps from last year and since they aren't made out of stainless steel, they have rusted quite well.  I'll be replacing them over the next week or so.  I have Sea Marine order them in with their supplies.  Being from Colorado, we pay no sales tax on items we buy here.  We pay tax on labor.  Totally the opposite in Colorado.  There, you don't pay tax on labor but you do on materials.  

It's sunny now and should be all day with rain set for the weekend.  I need to get as much done outside as I can before it sets in.

More to come.

Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 317 Organization and more tasks done.

With the transmission out, I can easily get at two through hulls at the rear of the engine compartment.  I'd meant to work on them when it was out the first time but had forgotten.  The one in the bottom picture still needs its clamps changed but I've gotten the right one done.  I first had to get the valve handles to move to make sure I can close them should an emergency arrive.  I borrowed a long pipe from the folks at Sea Marine that would slip over the handle all the way to the base of the flange.  I'd used a wrench once to loosen another valve and had broken the handle off.  I had to replace that through hull.  I won't make that mistake again. It gets expensive.

I applied some PB Blaster to the valves and let it soak in.  This stuff is supposed to loosen and dissolve most rust and allow you to get old stuck valves to move.  After about a hour, the port one moved just fine.  I can now open and close it with just the use of my hands.  The starboard side needed the use of the pipe to get it to move the first time.  It was still hard to close so I applied more PB and let it sit.  I'll be opening and closing it numerous times today to make sure it works easily while I still have easy access to it.  

I went in search of stainless steel hose clamps to replace the ones that are on the hoses.  They were pretty well shot.  When Norm from Pat's Marine was in the engine compartment, he pointed our the hose clamps and recommended that they be replaced.  They had already been on my list.  Instead of unscrewing as I loosened them, they just fell apart.  The screw section just came right out of the clamp.  I found some at Admiralty Hardware for $3.49.  The same at West Marine were $6.49!  Same stainless steel clamps.   I'm just glad I checked and bought at Admiralty Hardware before I went to West Marine.  I guess I'll be checking there in the future before I go to West Marine.

I washed deck all over again yesterday.  With brush in hand, I went at it.  I still didn't get all the salt residue off the windows of the dodger.  That stuff is tough to get off.  The wind was blowing at about 10 knots and it was maybe 40 so the wind chill got a bit much.   I'll be doing the dodger again today with soapy water to get the salt off.   

Once it was rinsed, I went about lubing all the hardware on deck.  Two big block that the lines for the genoa got dismantled and lubed.  They need to run free so the lines don't freeze up.  I slowly worked my way around the deck.

Tracy had the biggest and toughest job of the day.  She emptied all the food lockers and re inventoried all the food we have on board.  Then she organized it into categories and put it back in a logical order.  She made lists as she went so we can find things later.  It gets really frustrating knowing you have a particular can on board and can' t find it.   With all the re stowing, lots of areas have been opened up for more provisions.  She's a great packer.  One of the best I've seen.

And that's about the way the day went.

I checked this morning and the transmission has left for the manufacturer to be inspected and fixed.  We'll see how long it takes.  Meanwhile, more tasks today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 316 Out she comes-sort of.

Now you see it!
Now you don't!

About 0900, Larry the mechanic showed up at our boat.  They had decided to not pull us out of the water but were going to yank the transmission right here while we are in the water.  That works out fine with us as we will then be guaranteed 30 amps of power plus we can wash the dishes without having to take the dishwater off the boat in a bucket to get rid of it.  We can fill out water tanks as necessary and can take showers inside if we want to instead of going on shore and using theirs.

I discussed the money end of the rip out with Matt--one of the owners before they started.  His estimate is about another $3,000 labor fees for this time.  He feels though that the people at Great Lakes Marine will stand behind the transmission and pay the fees after they get the transmission back and find out that it is not right.  Anyone out there believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny?  We all know that they won't find anything wrong with it just to keep themselves off the hook for the labor fees.  Times are tough and that is just money most companies won't want to part with if there is an easy way out of it.  It's easier to say there is nothing wrong and we're not paying than to do the right thing and cover the expenses.  I guess time will tell.  Just call me a realist or a pessimist.  If they don't pay, we get too(for a second time)

We drove Matt--our son--to the ferry on Bainbridge Island for his trip back to Seattle.  He is off to meet up with his girl friend when she flies in in the afternoon.  It was great seeing him again and being able to spend some time getting to know him again.

We then drove down to Silverdale to Walmart and Costco for more supplies.  They just have things we can't get here in Port Townsend.  With the car all loaded, we headed back home with a quick stop at Port Townsend Rigging to see our new spinnaker pole.  They had called us while we were heading up the channel from Seattle on Monday.  At 22 feet, it sure is long.  If it's too long, they will be happy to cut it down at no charge.  They also have the fittings to attach it to the stanchions.  We'll see if those fit as our stanchions are a bit bigger than standard.

Once back home, I washed off Zephyr to try and get all the salt residue off that had washed on during our trip back on Monday.  The canvas was all encrusted in salt and left a white stain on the fabric.  I'm glad there are faucets nice and close to make it easier.  I will probably have to do it again just to make sure it's all gone.  That stuff can get down in the crevasses and be tough to get out.  It can mess up fittings real easy.

Once that job was finished, it was off to the showers.  It was nice to get clean again.  I'd planned on taking a shower as soon as I got up, but we had to take down the cockpit canvas so the mechanics could get the transmission off the boat without killing themselves.  It's much easier when you don't have a canvas roof above you that makes it impossible to stand up when you are lifting something as heavy as this transmission is.

A nice dinner of beef fondue and making plans on what we need to do during our extended stay here.  I have quite the list already and I'm sure there will be more items to add to it.

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 315 The Royal Snap!

As Amy on Sandpiper(see other blogs linked to our site) would say: OH SNAP!!  

Norm from Pat's Marine came down to Zephyr to inspect our "new" Paragon transmission.  After an hour+ of looking and tinkering with it, his report--TAKE IT OUT!  Norm said it could be adjusted by removing a washer on the side of it, but that probably wouldn't solve the problem.  The transmission just wants to rotate the propeller shaft when we are in neutral.  With Zephyr having an "Aqua Drive"(like a universal joint on  a car) the drag on the propeller shaft is non-existent.  With out this "drag" on the shaft, it just wants to turn and that is a bad thing.  If we started the engine at anchor to charge the batteries(regularly done when out cruising) the boat would most like drift around the bay on the end of the anchor chain.  With other boats in the harbor, there is a good chance that we would hit them as we moved--again--not a good thing.

Norm also said that the water pump needs replacing(already have a spare) and that the anti-syphon device on the engine exhaust cooling system needs to be replaced(lots of water blows out the top of the fitting when the engine is going.  I'd checked that fitting a month ago and it had appeared fine but will now needs to be replaced.  More projects to be done.

Calls were made and the discussion has started as to who is going to pay for this.  We contend that we already paid for the transmission and it's installation.  Sea Marine says that they are just the "middle man"--all they did was install it.  Great Lakes Marine(dealer that sold Sea Marine the transmission) says they want it shipped back to them so they can put it on their bench and inspect it and if they find anything wrong(which we all know they won't find anything wrong), they will pay the freight both ways but that is the scope of what they will cover.  No one is about to take responsibility for the cost of the labor to pull it out and put it back in!!!  The finger keeps getting pointed at us for the costs(insert lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$here).  I spoke to Sea Marine and they are willing to give us a free haul out and put us in their yard at no expense plus give us a reduced rate on the labor fees(can range up to $115.00 an hour) to get the job done (because we have been such a good client) but that's all they're are willing to do at this time.  Keep in mind that there are some times that up to three people will be involved in taking this out and putting it back in.  The labor fees grow quickly.

Later in the afternoon, I got a call from Larry of Sea Marine(head mechanic).  He had been talking to Great Lakes Marine about the situation and they "might" cover some of the labor fees but want pictures of the boat(Good knows why) and the engine room sent to them.  Larry talked to several people and as they say--"the lines of communication have been established".  They want an accounting of the hours that get put in doing the job and then and only then will they make the decision as to how much they "might"cover in the labor fees. 

With this information in hand, there was no longer a reason to stay in Shilshole Marine another day as the weather was deteriorating so we decided to head back to Point Hudson at Port Townsend.  We left in cold weather and it just got worse.  Snow.   Winds built to 35 knots--of course straight at us from the North and lots of rolling waves(up to about 4 to 5 feet) about an hour out.   We took lots of water over the bow sweeping the deck and splashing into the front of the cockpit area.  The snow was on and off but the winds just kept at us.  The tidal currents hadn't changed so we were still fighting the end of those so we were only doing 3 knot at some times and got knocked down to 1 knot several times.  We didn't start making decent time till the last leg of the journey.  What took us 5 hours to do on Sunday, took us over 7 hours yesterday.  We left just after 1115 hours and got in about 1840(6:45pm) hours.  A long slog.  The fur people were NOT impressed.  We never saw Shadow.  Blue drooled and lost her breakfast.  She then plunked herself down in the galley and didn't leave.  Snowshoe took it the worst.  He came up into the cockpit for a while and just looked miserable.  Drooling--even after getting a sea sickness pill and yarking down in the cabin.  He just isn't a great sailor.  He spent the majority of the trip in the cockpit sitting and drooling in someones lap.

The Garmin chart plotter started acting up again just as we were setting off.  It had been fine for the trip down.  On and off, on and off.  I checked the bus bar that it is attached to(feeds the power from the main circuit board) and got no power there at all.  As I went about other jobs getting ready, Matt started in on finding out the problem.  It ended up being a loose screw at the circuit breaker.  He checked and tightened up all the screws while he was at it.  It's great having a circuit savey person on board that can diagnose and fix problems like this.  I'll get there in time.  Once he was done, the plotter worked perfectly.

We passed freighters and several tug boats all heading up the channel to Seattle and had several Coast Guard helicopters fly past us.  There was a "Small Craft Warning" out for the Admiralty Inlet.  We got passed by a Coast Guard cutter about mid afternoon.  Sure look big as they passed us.  

About 5:00pm we heard on our VHF radio a call from the Coast Guard that there were 4 people in the water off Point Wilson--just past Point Hudson.  A call was put out by the station at Port Angeles and two different cutters responded.  The race was on to see who could get there first.  Apparently a boat sank or floundered in the winds and surf and four people ended up in the water.  The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett got there first and pulled the people aboard.  From what we heard on the radio, everyone was fine.  As cold as it was yesterday, I can't imagine how cold the water mixed with winds were on them.  YEOW!!

We pulled into Point Hudson just before sunset and got tied up.  The winds had dropped so it wasn't to bad getting in.  Matt--our son came along for the ride.  He got chilled to the core being out there.  During the trip, he went out on deck to take a look around.  That last about a minute and he was back inside the enclosed cockpit area(thanks Bill & Susan-sure glad you had it installed).  The Webasto heater was fired up and by the time we got back from dinner, the cabin was nice and warm.

Today(still cold) will be spent cleaning Zephyrs exterior.  With waves crashing over the bow on the trip up, we are pretty well covered in salt and all that has to be cleaned off before we get hauled out.  I'm sure more discussion will be had over the next day or so to iron out the monies involved in this latest chapter on us trying to "live the dream".  

It would appear that Alaska is now out of the running for us to see it.  Figuring a minimum of a month to get the transmission out, shipped back,  inspected, shipped back and installed.  Plus then there has to be hours put on it to make sure it is functioning the way it is supposed to and it will be June at the earliest and that is too late to head North. OH SNAP as Amy would say!!

Time will tell.  Stay tuned for more of the continuing adventures of Zephyr and her motley crew.  Some day we'll get out of here!?!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 314 Safe and sound

Other than taking off yesterday in snow, it was an uneventful trip to Shilshole Marina.  We left at 9:25 and got here about 2:25.  Saw a freighter and a few tugs plus a Coast Guard ship and that was about it.  We unfortunately docked at the wring dock so we had to untie and move to the right dock but that was no real problem.

We got signed in and plugged in.  After that, a quick tour of the dock where we were to look at other boats for sale--LOTS, and then back to Zephyr to wait for our son to join us for the night.

We put in a call to Pat's Marine Engines to let them know where we were so they can come down and work on us today(just got off the phone--be here at 0800 hours) and that was about it for the day.

I'll let you know how the transmission inspection and service goes.

Have a great day.