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Old 10-08-2007, 09:58   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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August 7 - Land, HO!

August 7 - Land, HO!

Yesterday was a mixture of slow sailing, with totally overcast skies, light
winds, and lumpy/quartering seas, and motorsailing. I'd relieved Lydia at
4:45AM, and she slept soundly for the first 5 or so hours, and then went
back for an extended nap later in the day.

It was the typical cruising day - chat, watch for traffic, read, relax, eat,
rinse, repeat. Unfortunately, the wind was so light as we approached our
waypoint to turn to Beaufort, a heading which would make the wind at our
back, that sails were useless, especially because we'd have to motor, and
make the apparent wind (we're moving in the direction of the wind) drop to
nothing. Worse, in the rolly seas, they banged around and weren't even
useful in roll stabilization. Therefore, we brought them all in and turned
on the
Iron Genny (the diesel which replaces the thrust of our sails) and motored
on into the night at 2000RPM and 5 knots - a pretty economical rate of fuel
and speed.

With the engine running, of course, all electrical (well, all of them after
we'd attended to the myriad of difficulties we'd faced in that system!)
sources were available for use without concern for conservation, so we
continued to have all of our charging-sensitive items connected to the power
grid, and all is well. We even got to grind our coffee with the electrical
Starbucks grinder (we're not - a takeoff on Trekkies - Buckies, but they
sell a very good grinder), instead of my usual 75 strokes on the West Marine
manual grinder.

With the dying wind, the seas moderated, as well, becoming more a matter of
relatively longer swells, and not so defined, so the rolling of the boat
moderated in the night and I slept soundly all the way through to Lydia's
shift change at 4:45.

She's evidently getting her sea legs, as, despite the nasty (for those with
queasy stomachs - several different motions at once) seas, she was fine
without any seasickness prevention. With any luck, working into it a bit at
a time will get her to the point that she's ok in truly heavy weather. This
is quite a change from the previously expected ability to only stand brief
night watches, and a good preparation for our run up to NYC after we leave

Her concerns about reliance on stomach aids are mostly about the various
side effects. Some affect your vision, some make you sleepy, and other side
effects, all of which can compromise your ability to stand a competent
watch. Of course, if you're impaired without the aids, wishing you were
dead is another side effect! Fortunately for me, I seem to be relatively
(famous last words, and all that, so I'm cautious about how loudly I say
that!) immune to mal de mer.

Last night's checkin with the Maritime Mobile Net involved a relay, again.
I was able, barely, to hear the controller, in Phoenix AZ, and some of the
other traffic. However, another controller (they rotate nights so that no
one person has to take all the responsibility), in Miami, heard me very
clearly, and relayed my information for me. Ironically, this was someone
who'd previously had a Morgan Out Island 41 (Out Island is a very popular
line of boats designed by Charley Morgan, the owner and architect of the
early Morgan Yachts, all sharing the same visual features), but had
swallowed the anchor (went ashore) after years of living aboard and cruising
it, and so knew the Morgan line very well. He'll be the controller tonight,
and if we aren't deep into something else at the time, and our signal is as
good as last night, we'll talk to him again when we're on the hook (at

On another occasion where a relay was involved, he'd been the moderator, and
I was still in FL waters, so he couldn't hear me at all. However, someone
in Austin, TX got me just fine, and was able to pass that info along. Those
of you who've been with us for a long time will recall that we'd been
concerned that our HF (High Frequency) radio, the SSB (Single Side Band) and
HAM (amateur radio) set, wasn't transmitting. Last night's conversation,
aside from it being "talk, over" and "response, over," might as well have
been on the telephone, it was so clear.

So, while I've not had the opportunity to play with it like that, I'm
confident that our rig has the ability to span the globe, as they're
designed to do, and that our setup is effective in getting the signal out.
It remains to return the base unit to the manufacturer to resolve
"voice clipping" - a fault at medium and high power transmissions - which
causes interruptions in speech.

Yesterday saw only one porpoise sighting, and that was while I was alone, so
I didn't go forward to see if he was playing in our bow. When there's only
one on deck, or at night in any case, we wear harnesses and use tethers to
our jacklines, webbing stretched from bow to stern, to make sure that were
we to go overboard, we'd at least stay with the boat. However, that's quite
a bit more cumbersome than just walking forward, so I gave that particular
porpoise a miss :{))

Likewise, since we haven't had much dual time topsides, we've not been
fishing. Perhaps today, as Lydia gets back up, before we actually make it
into Beaufort, we'll throw out a line to see if we can find our dinner.

Our trip up and down the East Coast is a shakedown cruise. That is, we're
trying to break anything which will break, while we're relatively close,
have access to our towing policy, cell phone range and the many chandleries
which are all over the coast, in order that it be attended to in calm,
non-emergency conditions. It's also intended to highlight any areas that
need attention or even extensive work. Thus far, it's performed
marvelously, allowing us to find and kill several problems which would have
been extremely more difficult to address out in the wilds of the Bahamas and

This leg of our trip, all of our systems are working well:

Our satellite receiver continues (while the computer's on) to deliver
real-time pictures of what's below the particular bird as it goes overhead,
spanning continents and oceans between the various orbits (we can see nearly
to the horizon with the antenna we have, allowing us, on the east coast, to
see the West coast US and Mexico, and nearly to Africa to the East, and from
the top of South America to, as we move North, nearly to the Pole). We're
very comfortable with the thought that, as we *do* go to the hurricane belt,
we'll have ample opportunity to see and watch any developing systems as they

Because of the ample sufficiency of power, we are also running the fuel
polisher. That's a filter system which runs the fuel through it
continuously, returning it to the tank minus any junk or water it may have
picked up along the way. While not as severe as during our trip home from
Marathon, where we were rolling in a 40 degree arc, our 20 degree arc from
side to side will allow for a good level of slosh in our almost-full tank,
helping stir up any debris for capture. The polisher pulls about 25 gallons
per hour, whereas our engine's currently using only about 2/3 gallon per
hour. Therefore, our engine will receive clean fuel. Well, actually, I'd
certainly expect that the fuel is clean in any event, after all the
excitement of our wreck, but, we're running it anyway :{)) As well, we have
a parallel system of engine filters which will allow us to change over
merely by the movement of a couple of valves, so if the regular engine
filter were to clog, we could recover and change it later, without having to
do it in hot (engine was just on, recall!) and lumpy conditions.

Our radar continues to confirm that there has been no storm activity
anywhere near us, and notifies us if there's any traffic (any other boats,
of any size) so that we can be sure we don't become debris in the wake of
some freighter on autopilot with no watch nor radar alarm.

On that subject, one of our projects will be to ask a fellow cruiser to see
how we show up on his radar. Our arch on the back of the boat, with its
solar panels and all of its metal, should present a pretty good reflective

So, we're very happy with our home. Beaufort came on the radar horizon about
noon - but Lydia came up about the same time, from her sleep, and reminded
me that we wanted to go to Cape Lookout, a hook below Cape Hatteras. In
that area are reported to be lots of sea turtle nests, so she'll be in

We threw out the hook in the cove near Cape Lookout and lowered the dinghy
to go exploring. However, along the way down, the stripper on the windlass
(the part that makes the chain go down as you retrieve the anchor) totally
jammed. Broken pieces of high-density plastic showed up in the area of the
chain on the wheel, and nothing moved. So, I got out the tools and took it
apart, revealing that it had broken. Ah, well. Just another day in the life
of a full time cruiser.

Getting the anchor up now will involve (I'm awfully glad I have it!) my
reaching down one of the original hawse holes (the original boat had mostly
rope anchoring line and a bare windlass which allowed you to use two
anchors - a difference in the 45 and 46 models - but which required manual
feeding of the line as it came in; that hole was available for me to reach
under the windlass) and feeding the chain, link by link, so it didn't jam in
the gypsy (the thing which fits the specific size of the chain, allowing it
to control it) due to no stripper (that's the function of the broken part -
directing the chain below rather than to keep going around in the wheel). As
we left, I got a chance to demonstrate my extra-long arms, which did,
despite the nuisance factor, allow us to up-anchor relatively uneventfully.
However, I digress...

We went to the museum of the lighthouse, one of the few remaining in the US,
and got the tour of the entire area via story and pictures, as well as a
short video. Because we'd arrived on the hook at 3:30, there wasn't much
time before the museum closed, and we headed back to the boat. Lydia made
dinner while I ran around in the dinghy, testing different motor settings.
Our new dinghy is fun to ride, and if we're willing to wait a while for it
to get up on plane in the motor-all-the-way-out position, it's very quick.
To get it going quickly, however, requires the engine to be all the way
down. That provides a considerably flatter ride, with the attendant water
spray and slower speed as more of the boat's in the water. We'll have fun
experimenting with both of us, and other passengers, to see what works best
in all situations. With just one aboard, though, all the way up is the
fastest and driest ride.

In the time between our going to the museum and my return for dinner, the
wind had picked up notably. Where was this when we were on the way here??!!
However, due to our being tucked in behind the sand dunes relatively close
to the end of the cove, the water was quite calm. We did enjoy lots of wind
power that night, of course, keeping our amp-hour usage to a minimum;
charging, overall.

Today (the 8th) as I write, it's honking outside, with winds in the
mid-teens to 20s. Lydia's off to search for sea turtles and otherwise enjoy
the beach, and I'm assuming my usual position, that of chief mechanic
aboard. I've researched the part numbers for the replacements for the
windlass and set about other chores. By the time Lydia returns, I've managed
to get several things accomplished, but not nearly all I'd set out to do.
Some I've crossed off the list, and others will require a return visit.

While I continued to work, Lydia returned and set to cleaning the outside of
our boat as well as the dinghy itself. We are totally amazed at how dirty
sea water seems to be, as there's no other place we can figure for all the
dirt which adorns our topsides, right after our diligent scrubbing of same
on each anchorage or dockage. Of course, like nearly any other sailboat, we
have exhaust grime on our stern and immediately in the area of the outlet
(which is under water due to our ever rising water line!). We enjoyed our
swims and got cooled down; the area is under severe heat warnings and
watches. However, as Lydia was going around the boat in the dinghy scrubbing
the sides, she was entertained by - she guesses - a 3.5 foot shark which
wandered between her and the boat. I rather like sharks; they aren't
interested in stuff that doesn't look like food to them, and certainly, one
that size would not attempt eating something our size. The good news is that
when you catch one by accident in your fishing, they're marvelous eating...

So, here we are, in Cape Lookout, wind howling, but tiny wavelets. Perhaps
it will be enough wind that the extreme heat will be tolerable...

Stay tuned :{))



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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Old 10-08-2007, 14:00   #2

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Clipping on the radio can be the result of overmodulation, which is sometimes adjustable from a front-panel control. Check your manual, check with other users of that radio, it may not have to go out at all.

You say ham & marine SSB...what is it, one of the ICOMs? A fast phone call about that to them might get you the exact answer, no return for repairs needed.
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Old 10-08-2007, 15:51   #3
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A large percentage of the Icom 802s have clipping problems and Icom is aware of it. Nothing to do with modulation but a problem with the radio itself. But I am not sure Icom has a fix for it yet even if it is sent back.
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