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Old 23-12-2007, 14:25   #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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December 24 - For all the saints (a riff on a hymn)

December 24 - For all the saints (a riff on a hymn)

Well here we are in St. Simons, having left St. Michaels some
time ago. However, we're the beneficiary of another couple of
saints, Saint Steven and Saint Michael. There have also been
several angels...

Let me explain, in my usual fashion of starting with the present
and working backwards and then looking forward...

Lydia had, as one of her last customers in Regions Bank, Mike
Paul. Mike, having read our logs, and followed our adventures,
immediately on our wreck offered to let us use his sailboat, in
St. Simons, while we looked for another home (recall that we
fully expected to lose Flying Pig). Of course, we didn't lose
our home, but he invited us to visit him if we ever got to the

Fast forward to our last cruise, where we fully expected to be in
Savannah for several weeks (more below), but on review, thought
perhaps some other area might prove more effective, due to the
distance up the river, the current, and costs of dockage in that
area for an extended period of time. Enter Mike, who invites us
to use his dock in St. Simons, and move his boat to a mooring

So, that's exactly what we've been doing, for the last nearly 5
weeks. During that time (the reason we expected to be in
Savannah for a period), two of my married children with
grandchildren in tow visited with us on successive visits. A
couple of Lydia's children were also going to visit with us here,

Our medical insurance, a big investment in our meager income
stream, will expire in a few months. We'd wanted to get all of
the diagnostic and other stuff done in that time frame, but our
marvelous internist, Dr. Ed Galaid, in Gainesville, was
uncomfortable in doing more than writing extensions on
prescriptions without having a hands-on with us, and so declined
to refer us to specialists. So...

Also among the saints is Saint Steven, Mike's best buddy in the
area. Both are pilots and sailors and do lots of things together,
so he was aware of our situation. He popped up with an offer of
his car for the period of his vacation, which would be 3 weeks,
beginning about a week after our arrival. In the meantime, Mike
had arranged a substitute, a jeep which he was storing at his
home here for yet another friend. So, for the couple of days
involved, we used that vehicle, but before his return, Steve's
wife called and said that she'd pick up Steve at the airport when
he returned from his trip, and why didn't she pick me up and take
me to get his car today?? An offer I couldn't refuse, we've been
blessed with transportation since we arrived here, and a place to
stay where we had power and water included (and, as you see,
internet connectivity, as well, courtesy of the marina adjacent).

So, with transportation available, and Ed's offer to see us on
short notice, we made the trip to N. GA for our medical stuff.
Along the way, we saw all of Lydia's kids as well as the
remaining two of mine, in a quickie trip of 5 days. So, we made
the trek back down, and commenced/resumed working on the boat.

As usual, boat chores are never ending, so we did all the normal
maintenance things, changing the oil, filling the water tanks,
cleaning the engine room, but, also, some very significant
changes on deck.

Most of you know that I installed stainless tubing in place of
the life lines, raising them from 24" to 30" in the process. I
did that by using cast fittings, held in place by loctited (so
they wouldn't rattle out) set screws. Well, those setscrews
weren't really secure, and we've had a couple of instances of
pop-offs. That was enough for me, so I took it all apart, drilled
out each and every hole, reassembling the entire structure and
stainless steel riveted each place there previously had been a
setscrew. The end result was a massively stiffer assembly, much
to our delight.

As well, we've been unhappy with the davits portion of our arch,
because the dinghy has not set securely, despite our efforts at
securing it from swinging. That was a combination of the builder
not directly following our plans, but also because our new dinghy
didn't have exactly the same dimensions as our old one, on which
the design was based. So, I relocated the lifting pulleys, and
the dinghy now sits very tight against the frame. We expect that
we'll have no problem about it moving, now.

However, the biggest excitement has been the arrival and
installation of our new sail systems. Our genoa was damaged
beyond repair in the course of our wreck and our repaired
mainsail later failed (again - I wish the St. Pete maker had
condemned it at the first!) during our trip north, so we bit the
bullet and ordered new sails from Hong Kong, courtesy of Lee
Sailmakers. Extensive back-and-forth with the makers assured us,
in the end, of a perfect fit on both sails, which used the same
cloth and construction techniques as US sailmakers, but at a
savings from the 40% premium (or more) required to make the same
sails here in the US.

So, when the genoa arrived, first, courtesy of our friends Matt
and Joelyn Miller, the first of the angels. We met on the docks
during our first days here and they generously offered to receive
mail and shipments for us. They brought the total mainsail
system to us on the day it arrived and we put it up on the first
windless day. Holding our breath, we were thrilled to see that
it fit perfectly.

The main was sent to the vendor who, at the Annapolis Boat Show,
had sold us the Strong Track System (all of whose users I'd met
in person or on the net said, to a man, that they wished they'd
done it years earlier). He put on our existing batten hardware,
and the new ones we needed, as well as installed the batten and
intermediate slides hardware to match up with the Strong Track

All of that hardware and our sail arrived in due course,
courtesy, again, of angels Matt and Joelyn. We installed it,
again, holding our breath to see whether it would fit as we
wanted (it's always a challenge to measure sails properly; that's
part of why the local vendors have the premium, as they come out
and do that). To say we're thrilled would be an understatement,
but we've not yet tested them out. That will come on our next
sail, immediately after you see this (more below)... Because our
new main is loose footed, we took off the track on the boom. We
will use that track to install a storm trysail track on the mast.
The same stainless rivets we bought for our railings will work on
that, as well. We'll use the old sail to construct our trysail,
recycling that material, and using the excess for bags for
miscellaneous stuff.

Among the bags needed are for a folding bike which we have been
given by another friend we've met here. Curt, the second angel,
is a young guy who is preparing his boat for a solo
circumnavigation, and decided after acquiring a Dahon folding
bike on the internet that he would not have room for it aboard
his small boat, after all. It requires some age-related repair,
but otherwise is literally new, having not been used by its
original owner, either. So, when we get to Miami, we'll hunt up
a bike shop and get it in top nick. In the meantime, we'll make
a bag for it.

Another bag will be for our Porta-Bote, living uncovered on our
port rail, along with the sculling oars I modified the Porta-Bote
to use. Rope bags and other coverings will take up the remainder
of the excess cloth from our main and also a jib we salvaged from
another wreck. Lydia will get a lot of exercise on our SailRite
sewing machine :{))

Yesterday I spend the entire day in plumbing, most of which was
in the engine room redoing the forward bilge pumps systems, as
they'd been the victim of one of the fan belt explosions in the
past. All is now well there, as well as in the aft head, where
the pump was leaking in two places. Between the exterior and
interior work, none of which was "new" - other than the sails -
we're very happy with the state of our home at this time.

There are some other chores, too, which most likely we'll do that
in Miami, where we'll be getting the remainder of our medical
stuff attended to. Lydia will be getting her annual mammogram,
visiting an ENT for review of breathing challenges she's had for
most of her life, and if my course of antibiotics doesn't produce
a change, I'll be in for a colonoscopy, even though it's only
been a few years since my first.

Once those are done, we'll think about where else we'll go - but
in the meantime, Saint Steven has offered us his car in Miami, as
well, as he would like for one to be there in order to use when
he flies in there, as well as to pick up Mike, his wife, and
Steve and his wife, when they come cruise with us in the coming
weeks! So, once we're there, we'll rent a cheapie car for a day,
rush back here and drive his car down there. No doubt, while
we're in the south of Florida, we'll have other friends and
family visit us and enjoy sailing in those waters, currently
still in the mid-70s.

Backing up, as seen in my November 12 log, we had a nearly
becalmed sail down from Charleston to St. Simons, but arrived in
good order and got docked and Mike's boat moored with no
excitements. When we left you, we'd been in Charleston for some
more repair stuff. I'll shorten the saga to say that the shop in
CSC sold us something they should not have back in the summer,
and it was fried. The one I was given by another guy in
Charleston was killed by a miswiring, and proven dead during all
the testing. However, three of the alternators - the ones I'd
started with - needed only a small part for two of them, and the
other was fine. We changed the pulley and the type of belt we'd
been using, and have yet to change it again - so, while, it's not
definitive proof, it appears we have our alternator challenges
behind us. Given the prior frustrations, this has to rate as one
of the most exciting experiences we've had for a long time. With
any luck, the other two alternators we have will remain in our
spares for the rest of our cruising lives!

So, on to our cruising lives, we're leaving here for Lake Worth,
if our Kiwi cruising buddies are still there, or directly to
Miami, where there's a mooring waiting for us courtesy of Saint
Steven. We'll be there, or (as well) in Lake Worth, for several
weeks at least.

Finally, and especially to those who picked up on the "Bothered"
part of my last posting, I want to say that while it ("The last
week has been very difficult, and I'm still trying to come to
grips with it all; my life is irretrievably changed. I just don't
know by how much, yet.") was indeed true, as the signature line
directly below shows, in problems there are always gifts. I'm
thrilled to say that the irretrievable change has migrated from a
negative to a positive (it's still an irretrievable change, but
very good in the end), and Lydia and I are positively delirious
with joy. Life couldn't get much better.

So, as always, stay tuned. More later when we have put down the
hook after our open water trip of somewhere between 3-400



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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