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Old 17-09-2007, 19:19   #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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Sept. 17 - Traveling South

Sept. 17 - Traveling South

For those who have been concerned about us, for lack of contact,
we apologize. We're alive and well and living our dream, one day
at a time. Fortunately, some of it is pretty boring in cruising

We spent the last two weeks enjoying the New York City area, and
generally just "chilling" - for which we are doing as the title
indicates, as well as having recharged our personal batteries, so
to speak.

Time on the hook, and for a few days, on a mooring in the 79th
Street Boat Basin, immediately adjacent to Riverside Drive,
included just about every type of weather you could imagine. Even
at anchor, there were seas in the Atlantic Highlands Harbor - but
the tradeoff was good internet connectivity, over which I was
able to read of at least one of the forums where I'm a regular
participant's collective wondering where we were and how we were
doing, due to the lack of contact. Fortunately, Lydia has written
more often, being the Sunsets and Animals type log, and our
whereabouts and condition were conveyed to those concerned.

However, my original thought that we'd just spend a couple of
days in the NY area, and then head south due to impending fall
weather, while it didn't get fulfilled, at least was
meteorologically accurate, as there were several very cool days
and nights. As I type this, it's piping (windy) out, and pretty
cool/cold, depending on how you like your outside air. So, we're
traveling south, not a little like the Aussie movie "Traveling
North" - except we're in a boat, not a VW van.

Meanwhile, Murphy came to visit us on this leg. I'm still working
on a totally proper alignment of the alternator, exacerbated by
at least one of the mounting brackets having a pivot hole which
has deformed over years of pressure as the alternator was
tightened. I think I have that portion of the issues worked out,
but in the meantime, due to the prior various misalignments, we
continue to go through belts. This last one, occurring on our
sail from Sandy Hook (see below for the start of that sail), was
replaced quickly and we were off again, motoring in nearly
nonexistent wind, despite the rosy forecasts for ideal conditions
(which would have been 10-15 knots, NW). Instead, there were
light winds, NE, directly behind us, making for a very rolly, no
sail-propulsion, trip. NOAA strikes again.

Shortly into that new belt, however, burning smells emanated from
the engine room and I dove to investigate. Sparing you the
technical discussion, a connector I'd cobbled up to overcome a
different difficulty had overheated. I replaced that in short
order, and we went off again.

However, this time we had no tachometer or charging. As we had a
very full battery, and were not far from our destination for the
night, I just ignored that part and we threw out the hook in
Barnegat Light, getting placed just as full dark descended. A
hearty dinner and closed hatches and ports kept us reasonably
warm as the area headed into a frost-warnings night.

Later today, I took one of the (now) several spare alternators I
have, mounting it to see if that cures the problem. If so, we
have a problem with our new one. I fervently hope that's the
case, as if not, we've got systemic problems which I've not yet
overcome in a prior instance, and the learning curve will be
high. For all that, we are secure on our anchor and staying here
isn't a problem.

Update: in the time between when I started typing and now, I did
the replacement. When I took out the old one, I saw what I
presumed to be the problem - a really stupid shortcut on the part
of the new alternator vendor relating to the tachometer. That
shortcut failed, providing all the electrical excitement. The
replacement alternator works just fine, so we'll continue as
weather allows.

However, to back up a couple of weeks, we arrived in Atlantic
Highlands/Sandy Hook in late August and relaxed for a couple of
days before meeting my brother and going over to JFK to pick up
Lydia's 81 year old mother, newly arrived from England. Lydia had
been concerned for her ability to cope with the boat's
realities - bouncing, wobbling, climbing, etc. - but, aside from
a couple of days' remaining on the boat while we did the touristy
bit in New York out of concern for getting in and out of the
dinghy (not that she can't - just that she didn't want to bother)
as well as her having grown up in the area and having no
interesting in touring, she's done extremely well. We've not yet
attempted to make her a sailor, but she certainly does just fine
on our sails and passages.

Lydia and she are stuck together like the umbilical cord had
never been snipped, and they're having a ball together. Louise
(her mother) says she's having more fun than she can ever
remember. Just recently, it came out in conversation that she'd
been here more than 2 weeks, and it seems like just a couple of
days. So, as forecast (by me - most folks, hearing that my
mother-in-law is coming to visit on the boat for 10 weeks think
I'm crazy!), she's doing just fine, and so are we.

In New York and Sandy Hook, we spent a lot of time with relatives
and friends. One of them, my brother, is a professional
photographer (, and graciously took
some pix of our boat under sail, both with NYC and some bridges
as a backdrop, and as we headed south, with nothing but the open
ocean highlighting our downwind run. Fortunately, part of that -
our departure south - included a period where the winds were
appropriate for a spinnaker run, and we now have two marvelous
distance shots from a pretty good height where our "gay pride"
(rainbow color) spinnaker shines. One of those two really
highlights the sailor's prayer, "Oh, Lord, my ship is so small,
and your sea is so large. Please protect me."

For a nice set of pix, see our gallery (in my sig) under the
"Away We Go" and "Enroute" subgalleries in the "Flying Pig Is
Aloft" thumbnail. Clicking any of the thumbnails will get you
larger shots, if you like. He got these from the lifeguard
station on Sandy Hook, and Twin Lights in Highlands, NJ, as we
were headed out to our southern destinations...

And, as one of the events we enjoyed in New York, we went to see
Ground Zero - which was truly amazing. It boggles the mind to
think what happened that day. However, every year, there is a
tribute to that occasion, the "twin lights" - massive
accumulations of spotlights which project two perfectly vertical
beams into the sky. Lit before dark, they rise into the sunset,
and left lit overnight, fade in the morning. Paul's captured
this event every year, but he says this one is the best yet. His
not-yet-published site for that shot, should you care to see it,

Our alternator excitements aside, we have been blessed with
little of concern mechanically on the boat. Oh... That...

Murphy was in high dudgeon this trip, causing a broken dipstick.
From looking at other versions of Perky, I see that deformation
of the dipstick (the thing which tells you how much oil you don't
have because Perky was thirsty - think "Captain Ron") is common
to this engine. Probably because you have to climb over it to get
into the engine room from the walkthrough, nonetheless, it broke
off, and tried to fall into the engine.

Fortunately, I was able to retrieve it. It had already broken
once before, and the patchup which was used to make it useable
led me to believe that if I could extend it by the amount it had
broken previously, I could reuse the part below the handle. No
such luck. The indicator end broke off.

Fortunately, I was able to find a generic replacement at a NAPA
store, and, using the combined length of the old parts was able
to make the new one fit. Unfortunately for our engine's design,
the old dipstick was made of a coil of spring steel, and nearly
filled the tube. That protected, in part, from the fumes which
come up from the crankcase under heavy load. The new one,
unhappily for the comparison, is the more typical flat metal. It
does nothing to impede the light smoke under pressure.

So, my next project will be to fabricate some sort of plug which
will cure that minor nuisance, and work on one of my prior
projects, evacuation of the crankcase by the filter we installed
for the intake. All in all, though, once I get the replacement
large blower (the one whose hose was wrapped around the
crankshaft in the last episode) installed, all that can be
exhausted, in addition to cooling the engine room.

So, this afternoon, as the deadline for getting out the channel
in daylight, we considered whether to make the run from Barnegat
to Cape May overnight. After asking a new arrival about weather
and sea conditions (generally lousy), and looking at all the
marine information points we could find, we elected to go,
despite some lumpy water, as the winds would be reasonable, and
we should arrive at Cape May at dawn.

Well, Murphy has apparently taken up residence here, because, as
we were working our way out the channel, Lydia informed me that
we had no fix on our chartplotter, which meant that we had no GPS
signal arriving there. The waves had become large and confused,
and our radio and other electronics panel came down. I'd been in
there for other things and had forgotten to turn the latch. That,
along with various other things which normally go flying in
45-50* rolls had been making noises so I went below and dealt
with resecuring all of them. However, apparently, that drop and
associated shock had caused the GPS failure. Well, failure to

I've had a similar experience in the past which I've succeeded in
remedying by cleaning the contacts for the power to the unit.
However, this time was not successful, and I'll have to take it
apart in order to see if there is any obvious means of
determining the problem. So, we turned around and headed in to
anchor before it got dark.

The way in was a real sleigh ride on a tilt-a-whirl. Quartering
seas, breaking waves, and all the rest. Very invigorating, as
Flying Pig took it all in stride, and all the crew did fine.
Well, Portia wasn't very happy, but she didn't run and hide, nor
was she sick, the behavior we've seen in other boat cats in
moderately rough weather.

So, tomorrow will be another example of cruising being boat
repair in exotic locations. As usual, we aren't very exotic on
this trip, and the repairs are pretty boring, but as always,
we're looking at it as an adventure. Just this evening, just
before we left, another couple anchored next to us, and, in the
course of discussing anchor lines and spacing in a tight
anchorage (we're fine, even with our reanchoring in front of a
trawler which had been behind us last night, and next to them
again), we became friends. They're going the same way we are,
though for different reasons, and had, ironically, come from the
same anchorage as we when we left.

Likewise, our dear friends from Salt Creek Marina were among
those we saw in the NYC area, and we traveled a few places
together, including on the way here (but not leaving today due to
our alternator excitements), and we'll catch up with them in the
Annapolis area. So, we're making new friends and meeting old
ones - this will be just another lovely stop to smell the roses
(and the electronics!).

As always, stay tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
Follow us at Flying Pig Log | Google Groups and/or
TheFlyingPigLog : Morgan 461 Hull #2, Flying Pig

"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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