Shake and Break, part 2
April 10, 2015 - Happy Birthday to my middle sister!
(This is being sent from a marginal WiFi
connection near Green Turtle Cay in
. This is the first stop in which we had any connectivity, and
thus the delay in posting
. I'll try to catch up, slowly, so as not to
Well, following our pattern from the last 26 months, we expected to leave 2
weeks ago. Every time in the past couple of years, in our shakedown (now
called shake-and-break-down) of all the work we've done aboard, either just
after we arrived on the hook somewhere, or just as we were about to leave,
there was some problem which prevented (as opposed to being merely an item
on the to-do list) our departure until that problem was remedied.
And thus it was that it started to rain just before we left. We'd had the
replacement of our forward hatch
lens on our radar
. We were very nervous
about that, having broken the "legs" getting the two main cabin
in 2009, resulting in buying
new hatche$$. As well, the fitment of a new
lens, as well as FINDING one, might be very challenging.
It had cracks which we'd successfully taped to prevent water
However, a couple of those had now progressed to open breaks. Our rain that
Friday morning exposed the reality that our patching was insufficient.
Indeed, there was active water
entry, despite the rain being only moderate.
In heavy and extended rain situations, we would have collected rainwater.
We've discovered that - compared to lovely, just fine, municipal water,
available free at the fuel dock
- rainwater is incredibly sweet. Of course,
it's also perfectly "soft" which makes for less soap usage, as well as less
water usage for rinsing.
Here on the hook in Vero Beach, with readily available (albeit at the cost
of un- and re- mooring
and the toddle to the dock
and back) water,
conservation is of interest only in the sense that we don't want to run out.
That is, we want to refill before we're truly empty. However, we've had our
sights set on returning to the Bahamas
, where water is scarce, and when
available, may have to be carried in plastic jugs (we use collapsible
camping containers) from some distance to the dinghy
, then to the boat, then
decanted into the tanks
, or, at a price
of up to $0.50 per gallon. So,
we've been practicing our conservation.
But I digress, and get ahead of myself.
Wary of the previous two, over the salon
, hatches' experience (we broke the
hinges trying to remove the pins, and had to buy new hatche$), before
attempting to remove the roll pins (slightly expanding pins which make up
the hinge pin of the hatch), we hit the fixed portion (one has to be secure,
the other half moves freely in the hole) with penetrating oil
a couple of
times over a couple of days. In the meantime, we removed the solar
ventilator (a fan which blows air into the cabin
when the sun is shining),
and then the lens (think of a pane of glass, but it's plastic, which has now
cracked/broken). We wanted to be very careful with the lens, as it would be
the pattern for our new piece of plastic.
The reason for this being a gamestopper (we HAD to address this before
leaving) was that our weather
to be "heavy" - and there was a
real possibility of a breaking wave landing on top of the hatch
sections which had progressed to actual breaks would fail, and a large
amount of salt water
would end up in the forward cabin, landing on the bed
Once wet with salt water
, the Tempur-Pedic clone - foam rubber,
essentially - would be nearly impossible to ever get dry again, as the salt
from the water would stay until we could very thoroughly rinse it with fresh
water. We're talking hundreds of gallons here - and then we'd have to dry
So, we got it all off without incident. In our previous investigations we'd
found a supplier who had what we thought we'd need for the plastic - 3/8"
lightly tinted Lexan
. As it turned out, that was the same folks who'd
fabricated our replacement piece of sole (the "floor" in a boat) when we
were resolving the leaks
in the forward shower
. They'd done an amazingly
fiddly job in replacing and staining the wood so as to look like our other
35-year-old sections. So, I had high confidence in them in general.
We'd already done a lens insertion in the aft cabin hatch, so we felt
comfortable that we could do it. Just in case, I again called the
manufacturer of the original hatch. Oops. It's 3/16", not 3/8" plastic!
That would explain the seemingly very thin lens we removed! To use the
piece we'd expected would mean that it would stick up far too high, making
sealing challenging, as well as a place to catch stuff, including toes!
Fortunately, our Ship Shop (the name of the supplier) had a piece of 1/4" -
and that could be beveled at the edge. Reassured, we set about
reconditioning the frame. It's - to be kind - very fiddly work. However,
with a variety of tools, Lydia and I got it free of previous adhesive
well as the last little bits of the original paint
Off I go to Ship Shop with my old lens as a pattern. Philip drags out this
huge piece of plastic and cuts a blank near the size of ours, and then trims
it to size. He also cuts the center hole for the ventilator, and drills the
holes to mount it. The original had used screws, which is an invitation to
cracking; we make it sized for small machine screws ("bolts" with screw
heads), which I'll get from my stores aboard. He gives me a chunk of
leftover to play with to see about prep for installation
of the actual
piece. It turns out that it's of a size which would replace one of the
smaller hatches' lenses. They have a lifespan of 10-15 years, and ours are
So, back to our "workshop" in the carport of Lydia's mother's retirement
center cottage. Oops. The radius on the corners is too small, making for
the corners not being the right size - and problems with sealing. A call
reveals that Philip is still at his shop, so we take the frame along for
reference this time. Rounding the corners to a larger radius won't take but
a couple of minutes.
However, once there, knowing that this is the sort of thing they do on a
very frequent basis, we elect to have him do the lens mounting. There's no
question that he'd do a better job of it than I, and the adhesive/sealant
that he uses is different than we'd use, with some very fiddly bits but also
some cleanup attributes that were very nice.
In the end, it wound up costing about 30% less than another supplier we
already knew about, and, as well, we didn't have to ship it off to
Connecticut, nor wait 3 weeks for the sealant
to fully cure. Ours was ready
after the weekend, and we reinstalled it without incident. We DID, however,
order new gasketing material, and the special adhesive
it uses, from
Hatchmasters - that Connecticut supplier who'd guided me through the
of our aft hatch lens. We elected not to replace the gasketing
at this time, as that hatch has, in the past, had NO leaks
. We settled in
to watch the weather
, and today - again a Friday - looked perfect to stage
to Fort Pierce, and depart the following morning, heading straight to the
Bahamas, as the weather to go south - a better place to leave from, given
the N-flowing Gulf Stream
we'd have to cross - won't reappear in the
So, we put the dinghy
up in the davits
, all ready to leave. Unfortunately,
despite reminding ourselves after our last (aborted) departure, we didn't
retrieve our mooring
line from the ball. As we discovered/remembered that
just as we were about to set off for the fuel
dock, and we'd have to lower
the dinghy to remove it, we left it. So, there are two there, for the next
Off to the dock for a full load of fuel and water, we're ready to go. As
this is already a bit long, we'll leave you there. If you'd like to follow
our travels, you can see where we've been, for several years, even, by going
to (no leading "www") tinyurl.com/FlyingPigSpotwalla. That's a site which
keeps our tracks for as long as we want; you can look back from immediately
times by adjusting the block on the left. You can also get the
view by clicking the appropriate button. We won't be in the
picture, as it's imagery from previous satellite
scans, but you'll be able
to see where we are/were to within a few feet.
We'll tell you about our crossing, and future travels, in future
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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- Dr. Samuel Johnson