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Old 16-08-2007, 13:34   #1
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August 15 - Taking a Bath, and other travels

August 15 - Taking a Bath, and other travels

Those of you on our log lists, or in the various forums where I'm
posting our adventures in the form of our log list postings,
would not be aware unless you also read it, but in a usenet
newsgroup,, our adventures are getting a huge
amount of press, much of it acidic or worse.

That's due to my candor (Lydia sez I have no boundaries), not
masochism. I expose our foibles and challenges in the hopes
that, first, I might learn something from someone who's been
there, done that, and have suggestions (other than that I get off
the water before I kill everyone in a 20-mile radius) which might
be helpful, and, more importantly, to allow others to benefit
from our experiences.

Those responding to those posts assume the worst, not that we're
just working through all the hundreds of things which need
shaking out from our massive refit, and, in some cases, the rehab
from our wreck. Some of them aren't friendly, to put it kindly,
but in most cases, I believe, they're motivated to make the posts
they do to expose potentials not just to us, but to others who
may follow our footsteps/wake. Once you remove the venom,
usually there's valid information underneath, and we've already
done whatever's being suggested.

So, I don't relate all our various issues to alarm, but just to
show how we're progressing through stuff. For example, our
electrical system seems now well in hand. The batteries are
behaving entirely normally, and the multi-faceted charging system
is doing its job. So, now, I only occasionally look at our
meters area, that which shows what's happening, in battery state
and charging systems.

Our boat came with some fan belts which were neither new nor the
correct length, and in one case, not high quality, to boot. So,
when installed, there wasn't enough room to take up slack more
than once. As a belt gets slack, it slips when the high-output
alternator exerts its pressure, for example, and you tighten it.
Except, if it's too long, you only get one of those tightenings
until it has no more room, and then slips as it wears. What then
looks like a worn out belt is really just a too-long belt in the
case of the one we just changed, a cheapie lawnmower-belt
equivalent. That, of course, isn't adequate for the loads
imposed by a high-power alternator, compounding the length issue.
Based on someone else' length, that's what we bought in the
high-quality replacement - but it's too long, too, so we're going
to get the proper length in a high quality belt. We assume that
will make a huge difference in the life of our belts.

So, anyway, the most exciting thing we can talk about right now
is our upcoming fueling...

In the meantime, sitting here at anchor in front of Belhaven NC,
I type while I also look at the screen, a luxury (see prior
discussions on touch typing in the dark), and don't have to
maintain a 360 scan every minute or two, nor look at the
instruments or gauges (more on why the trimetric [the guage which
tells me all about the battery condition and charging] isn't
among my get-up-and-look-every-couple-minutes any more, in a
future post). I don't enjoy the ditch (the derisive nickname for
the Intra-Coastal Waterway, the inside passage from the middle of
Florida to NY and beyond, only a few places of the route being on
open water), at all, other than the neat places and people we get
to see, so look forward to getting outside again. Until then,
we'll continue to motor a lot, putting more time on the engine
than I'd normally (recall "normal" isn't, until it's happened a
lot, so that remains to be seen) do in a year, each week, sailing
being a rarity forced either by environment (canal, e.g.) or
weather (dead calm, as has been the case mostly, other than
yesterday afternoon in the Pungo River, where we had a lovely
sail here). Second oil change approaches, e.g., on this trip

So, stay tuned. Things are coming into place nicely, and,
amazing to me, we've not yet even cleaned the slime off the
bottom, let alone polished the keel ("keel polishing", and bottom
sounding exercises, are what cruisers humorously refer to when
they've managed to power through touching the ground under their
boat), something we'd expected based on the other horror stories
of the ICW. Perhaps my dual redundancy of hard charts (a
chartbook, and individual area detail charts) and a working
chartplotter and radar contribute - I don't know - but staying
between the reds and greens has been all that's been required so

I'm sure our maintenance and other challenges aren't over (no
boat's life ever gets to say that, let alone a 30-year old one
which hasn't had every possible electrical, plumbing,
engine-and-drivetrain and safety item removed and replaced), but
it's starting to get boring. Not that I crave crisis - but I do
enjoy troubleshooting, and problem resolution. However, boring
is nice, currently :{))

On which subject, you'll recall the captain who didn't get to
ride with us to his home town, Beaufort NC, after his getting off
another boat he was going to deliver to Annapolis. A 30 year
captain, he gave me what I considered high praise after our
rudder excitment when he said, "Most boats, I'd have spoken up,
saying something about how the owner should deal with this. I
felt no urge to speak up here. Well done." He'd also gotten a
couple of days' view of us from the stern of the boat he was to
deliver, watching how I puttered around, constantly attending to
stuff, and when he was invited aboard, saw how we'd done things
and what we were attending to while in Charleston.

He also invited (well, nearly commanded) us to visit us in his
home. Which is how we got to Bath, NC. We'd arranged to have the
wayward part delivered to his home, it not having been delivered
to either the marina where we were previously, nor any other
prior-agreed place. That it didn't even leave the warehouse to
his home is just another example of the challenges we've faced;
we had the option to stay another day (which would have been a
nice stop; see the following), or head on. We elected to press
onward, having it delivered to a restaurant up the ICW, for our
pickup in a couple of days.

Back to Bath... What a lovely community that is - a part of the
historical society's protected places, it's the oldest town in
NC. We got to see the dolphins mating off his dock on the
Pamlico River, he gave us a truck to do some running around in,
and so on. For what it's worth, that's a truck which he gave to
another cruiser/Captain. When he was finished with the projects
he was doing there, he left it with Joe (our Captain friend),
paying the insurance, and asking him to make it available to
those who need it. Joe will replace the truck when it dies, and
continue, until told that the owner isn't coming back, in which
case he'll continue to pass it along. When he buys the
replacement, he'll title it in the other's name, and it will

Back to Joe, he provided us with a marvelous evening with him and
his wife, and the new band teacher in town. He met his wife as
an experienced sailor, and they've been blissfully married for a
long while. That they're both sailors makes for a great
relationship as they race and otherwise, but he'd not told her of
us, wanting to wait and have her hear the story directly.

So, over dinner, we gave the Reader's Digest version of our
adventures, including all that we'd done to our home, along the
way. They were amazed that we'd stuck with it; anyone else would
have tucked tail and run. He also commented that he'd sail with
us anywhere, another example of reinforcement of how we're
approaching our tasks from long-time, high-experience, direct
(being with us, aboard, rather than inferring our realities from
a distance) observers. They're among the ones we've extended an
"anytime we're not already occupied with guests" invitation to do
just that, with the proviso that you can choose your date or your
place, but not necessarily both :{)) He's yet another example,
his being a Captain aside, of the marvelous people we meet as we
go through our trip. I'll let Lydia tell about all the neat
animals and history and architecture and the like, but it's
enough to say that we liked it.

Oh, and lest I forget... The state, in its wisdom, has provided
a free public docking facility. No services, but you can tie up
free there. There's also a free ferry across the river, and they
maintain the various public places in the town, giving tours,
video shows and so on, all free. Like most really small towns,
you can walk all of it in an hour or so, or take an entire day to
explore. So, my carping about the ICW aside, this is the sort of
experience which drives (pardon the expression - it's what we
call our motoring) folks to never leave the ditch. If you're not
in a hurry, you can just putter along, and stop and smell the
roses. That's exactly what we'll do when Lydia's mom joins us,
and we work our way south, again, chasing the warm weather. For
now, we're impatient to get to NY, because, as seen so far,
there's always something which can delay us, and hurrying isn't a
good word in cruising. And, we'd far rather be a sailboat than a
trawler with sticks, which is the best face you can put on
motoring a sailboat...

Back to the hospitality of our host, and their truck loan, I
tried to find the place which could give us the quality
alternator belt we need, exchanging/replacing the
mistaken-dimensioned one we'd bought in our Beaufort dash, but
they'd closed last year and the closest one was well over an hour
away. A tiny town in the middle of nowhere makes for some
challenges; another stop along the way will have to suffice, but
I'd also tried to find the bolts which Lewmar didn't have in
stock, keeping the order from going the first time. That led me
to a True Value hardware store which could only come close, the
ones I had being 10 millimeters longer (remember the cigarette
ads for the silly millimeter longer brand? If it had been one
millimeter, I'd have been all right!) than the longest correct
size one they had, but it did have a UPS shipping point. So,
yesterday, I got to ship out our old fish finder head end (the
one with the pictures, not the part under the boat) to see if it
can be resurrected. In the meantime, we have a similarly old
looking unit which we bought on eBay, and it's ok for the moment.
We only keep what we have due to the very accurate info presented
by the sensors at the front of the boat, ones which would be a
very expensive replacement should we change to a new unit.

Along the way, I'd also pulled up the three different speed
sensors we have (that involves pulling out a 1 1/4" stick with
the sensor on the end), which lets an impressive spout of water
into the boat if you're not ready for it, but we had our plugs
ready and the usual cup or so of water went into the bilge. As
expected, the paddlewheels were encrusted with marine life, but
once that encrustation was removed, they (after the reverse
process of pulling the plug and reinserting these) performed as
expected. So, now, one of the features of a couple of these is
that we have a distance log. It shows how far we've come on this
leg of our journey, from Beaufort. Unfortunately, unlike our
at-sea travels, where we knocked off triple digit mile days,
these days, taken up with anchoring, sleeping in, and
up-anchoring, combined with the slower pace of motoring, we're
lucky to get in 50 miles a day.

We had our first meaningful measurement of our fuel usage after
this fueling, in that we'd been running at cruising speed -
enough so that we made significant progress, but not full
throttle which would use a disproportionately high amount of fuel
compared to the amount of speed gained. At cruise, we use right
at .8 gallons of fuel per hour. Our BoatUS membership has gotten
us a dime's reduction in the price of fuel at each stop so far,
so we've managed to save a little bit each time. And, we
continue to be pleased with our engine's performance. All the
specs have been well within tolerances, and our oil pressure
system must like the oil I put in this time, as it remains
consistently higher than it was any time before in our use of the

So, we continue our way up the road, and will anchor tonight
before heading on to our pickup point for the new part. That is
a restaurant and full service marina. It's famous for its
2-pound rib eye. We expect to be there just in time for dinner
so I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps dinner (and fueling)
includes the right to tie alongside (no services) overnight.
Unless there's some excitement to relate, this will have to hold
you until our next internet access.

We're having fun - are you :{))



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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Old 16-08-2007, 14:36   #2

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So when do you expect to make NY?

There are only a couple of months left up here in the NE before the fall chill starts to set in.

Will you have time to see the sights?

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Old 16-08-2007, 15:25   #3
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Location: Culpepper, Va
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I always enjoy ALL of your updates and your web log. I have learned several things and beleive that you have probably saved me time and or money down the road. Thank you for all your updates and if anyone gives you to many problems I will send you my email and you can just send me the updates and I will pretend to be hundreds of people reading them.

Keep up the great work

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Old 16-08-2007, 16:50   #4
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Skip, I would not give the morons on that other board a second thought. We stopped participating in the discussions on that board a long time ago because of all of the idiots that have congregated there. I think most of them have never been on a boat and probably live somewhere on the side of a mountain where your spouse and sister are one and the same. Great to hear you guys have overcome the adversities and are finally enjoying the cruising life a bit even in the ditch. We have done it ten times now at least. I am sure those that have not yet or for whatever reason will not be able to cast off the lines enjoy your posts, so if nothing else keep posting for them.
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

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Old 16-08-2007, 16:59   #5
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Originally Posted by ssullivan
So when do you expect to make NY?

There are only a couple of months left up here in the NE before the fall chill starts to set in.

Will you have time to see the sights?
Hi, Sean,

We're expecting to get to NY in a week or so, give or take. We're in Coinjock, to leave tomorrow after picking up some fan belts (heavy duty, this time, exchanging the wrong-length one I have). Once we clear Norfolk, we'll go outside direct to Sandy Hook.

We're picking up Lydia's mom on the first, and are painfully aware of the lack of hot weather time remaining. We're expecting to do a little sightseeing and then head south to make the Annapolis show, probably via the inside, only because of all the touring possibilities for her Brit mom, but who was born in NJ and didn't leave until she was 36 (not back other than to visit since). After the show, we'll head south to keep up with the warm...

Sorry I won't get to Maine; if we decide we didn't get enough of it, we'll likely head there to start the southward journey to the warm next year, getting in the parts north of NYC...


Skip and Lydia, in Coinjock, stuffed with their cruiser-famous dinner, just because everyone said we had to do it. Once was enough, though marvelous :{))
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