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Old 10-05-2015, 18:54   #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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Shake and Break, part 9

Shake and Break, part 9 - May 10, 2015

We left you wondering whether we'd see wind and sun, and, maybe, how we made
out on water. We'd been blessed a couple of weeks ago with full tanks, and,
as we had more "weather" (weather among boaters generally means wind and
rain) coming, we didn't feel we had to economize. For the week or so
involved, we were profligate with our water.

The low which is now expected to make shore in the Carolinas, not yet named
Ana, brushed by us. Nearly no wind, but torrential rain. Again, we opened
our tanks, and, shortly had our forward tank full, and also opened the
supplemental 50 gallon gravity fed tank. That filled in about 15 minutes,
giving you an idea of the force of the water coming in through the only-3/8"
pipe. - but that was days ago...

We switched to our aft tank, which had been filled the day we left Vero
Beach, to begin emptying it in the hopes that we'd get another dose of rain.
If we did, we'd start diluting the municipal water we'd put in. We also
hoped for more wind, so our batteries would continue to benefit from the
KISS wind generator.

After the deluge, we tended to the 1-2-3's which had accumulated. Our new
oil pump didn't pump, so we made the trek into town to make an exchange. We
also were in need of a laundry run, as well as some question about our
cellular hotspot. As the marina with the laundry (more convenient than
hauling into town) closed at 4PM, for security's sake, we left Lydia there
at 2:45. We'd parked the dinghy on the public floating dock next to their
fuel fill, and had access to the road. If they were closed when I returned,
I'd take the dinghy around to the marina laundry's ladder.

Which turned out to be a good thing, as Napa/True Value Hardware did,
finally, exchange my pump, but it took 40 minutes. While I was waiting, I
chatted up another couple and learned that they needed a bow roller. We
redid our bow roller system to something entirely different when we went to
our 73# (33kg) Rocna anchor, and I still had several new rollers in stock
which I'd never again use.

Of course, as a fellow cruiser, I immediately offered one to them.
Discussion ensued, and it was determined that my roller could serve until
they got back to the US and could source the type of roller they needed.

Of course, I chortled to Lydia when I returned, as there's the typical
cruisers' fight/struggle about what gets to come aboard. Those things I'll
never use, but someone else may well need, are many among my various spares.
It's times like these that makes hunting for a cubby for whatever-it-is

On up the road with my replacement pump in hand, I find that as is
frequently the case, it's PEBKAC - problem exists between keyboard and
chair - meaning that there were tricks I'd not yet learned about this new
phone and the technology involved. My previous leap into cell technology
was a flip phone so I'm still confused :{)) The other item of concern was
usage; our plan seemed ample, but the way we were ramping up the electrons,
it looked way too small. It turns out that the phone routinely
overestimates usage by half. We'll see when the first bill arrives,
allowing us to log on from that point and check as we go.

Thus armed, it was back to the laundry; it was well we had done it that way,
as Lydia was just finished, and because it was after 4, stuck outside the
office. I took the dinghy around, and we headed back for our dinner aboard.

As it turned out, we never got another rainstorm, and even the very small
showers were brief. We'll get more water, I'm sure, but as it appears clear
and "settled" (cruiser-speak for no rain and not much wind) for the next
many days, just how long it will be before we can refill remains open to
question. But even if it never happens again, we've been entirely blessed
to have had our tanks filled a month from our departure.

So, onward, we tried out the new pump after running Perky (our diesel
auxiliary engine) to get the oil warmed. On my battery drill (which is what
drives the pump) I have two speeds. I discovered after I'd panicked about
my prior pump not working, and again the new one, that I'd had my setting on
"1" - and, apparently, it wasn't fast enough to create the suction in the
tube in order to get the oil moving.

Because I used the "1" position on the pump I'd just tossed in the trash, I
fetched it back out and ran it on high, figuring I couldn’t ruin it, given
that I'd just tossed it. But it worked, and we made short work of our oil

It turns out that most gas stations will accept waste oil, resolving that
conundrum. We're not quite brave enough to do as some cruisers have, and as
the US military does quite regularly, and that's recycle it in the diesel
fuel. It's basically filtered, dirty oil, and diesels will run on nearly
anything, recycled chinese restaurant oil, among them, or french-fryer oil,
fish fryer oil, and the like. Still, with a water cooled exhaust I'd worry
about what sort of accumulations might occur, so we recycle ashore.

Initially, we had a fair bunch of wind, which is great with a wind
generator. Unfortunately, ours has been noisy, and, as well, we had some
suspicion that the way I'd reassembled it after the last rebuild might have
compromised the way in which the thermostatic cutout switches were placed.
Our unit had been cutting out at unreasonably low wind speeds. Down she
comes, and when opened, we decide on new bearings, as these had a bit of

One of the major advantages to a KISS wind generator is that it's entirely
user-serviceable. I already had the replacement bearings in stock, along
with a front seal. After consultation with the maker, we altered how our
thermostats were inserted into the housing, and reassembled it.

The other part of what makes a wind generator noisy is the blades. Without
being very carefully balanced, it can vibrate as it rotates. Given the
chips and dings on the tips and edges (those raindrops are HARD at those
speeds), I expected that it would be way out of balance. Much to my
surprise and relief, it was still perfect.

Up she goes, the electrical connections are remade, and I put on the blade.
Whisper quiet, and an immediate 10-15 amps. But that was from a "cold
start" - and soon we had the usual cutouts. It happened that there was a
brief period of rain and no wind, and then, a gust. I was very happy to see
the ammeter climb from 15 through 25 and peg at 30A being delivered - that's
the KISS I know and love. New thermostats are in our future, though we
haven't decided whether to go to the nuisance of getting them here - but we
may change our mind if we have lots of lost amp-hour opportunity!

I started (again - I did that frequently in our prior visits to Marsh
Harbour and George Town - and even a couple of times in Long Island) my
stint as the anchor for the Cruisers' Net on Thursday, and quickly regained
my rhythm. Unfortunately for the net, this area has recovered nicely from
the previous slowdown; the harbor is full, and all the local services are up
and running.

As 68, the VHF channel on which the Net occurs, is also the local hailing
channel (call out for somebody on the channel, and switch to a 'working
channel' when you make contact), we try to keep the net extra brief. Other
areas with the same issue use another channel; this one may have to make
that transition sometime soon.

Anyway, that takes up the first few hours of the morning, as I get up early
to check the weather from a variety of sources. Blessedly, we are starting
to believe that our Shake-and-Break portion of our sea trial may be drawing
to a close. The difficulties are finally beginning to look more like the
1-2-3's (do three small things for your boat every day and your boat will
take care of you), rather than the gamestoppers we've had for more than the
last two years.

However, cruising is defined, among cruisers, as Fixing Your Boat in Exotic
Locations. My next challenge was to figure out our 4' fluorescent tube
light fixture over my workbench. It's 12V, just like almost anything else
on the boat (some electric tools, our laser printer, and the mini shopvac
being the exceptions), and so had a special ballast, as well as a true 40W
bulb (politically correct green forces have made that no longer standard;
instead, it's 34W).

All my troubleshooting suggested a blown ballast, but on close examination,
there were some possibilities that it was merely a bulb. As this is
second-world, just walking down to the local big-box, picking up a
replacement (which we could not store if it proved not to work) and bringing
it back if it didn't work doesn't exist. Return and refund is basically
unknown in the Bahamas, complicated by the new (this year) 7.5% VAT which
has been imposed; they've not yet got the bookkeeping organized simply.

So, as there was not a single working 4' fixture to test our bulb in among
the various hardware stores we called, Thursday we bit the bullet and bought
a new 34W bulb and prayed that it would work. Once back to the boat, it
did, in fact, work, albeit unhappily, being the wrong wattage for the

Along the way, we'd gotten our exercise in by not only stopping, on the way,
into Maxwell's, the very well equipped and stocked grocery store for some
veggies for that night's dinner, but walked all the way up to the Anglican
Church, to see what the service times were. Round trip was probably about 3
miles, and did us good.

Friday we headed out to the very tip of Great Abaco, as it's exposed on both
sides by the Sea of Abaco, and had some very interesting homes and views
along the way. That was the first time I'd been out to the end, and it was
very interesting to see how the other half lives - those who come to the
Abacos for brief periods, but landbound.

On the way back, we stopped at a place we'd passed many dozens of times in
our prior visits here. In the past, I'd always walked up to see if it was
open, as it featured home made ice cream, among many other delectables.
This time, it was, and we shared a bowl. You have to eat quickly here in
the Bahamas, as it arrives somewhat soft, and goes
downhill/downchin/downfingers quickly from there. We managed...

As net control, I get to hear about all the various vendors, chief among
which are restaurants. I try to meet the ones I'm speaking about, in my
travels ashore, and so had a chance to chat up one which featured free hors
d'oevres on Friday nights. Having identified myself as a cruiser, and
noting his every-day appearance on the net, but being disappointed that he
didn't have more cruisers there on Friday, this time he offered a free rum
punch to those identifying themselves as cruisers. It was lovely :{))
Snappa's is the place to be Friday nights!

So, interspersed with ice cream, free wings and meatballs, dinner, free rum
punch and sightseeing, we put another 5 miles or so on our Crocs. For those
who don't know, Crocs are standard footwear for cruisers, soft composition
material with lots of holes for breathing - not the least bit fashionable,
but style is no competitor for comfort and function among cruisers - and,
I've found, are actually pretty good in cold, as the air remains around the
foot, but isn't transmitted from the ground. So, we wear ours everywhere.
Folks already know we're a bit weird in our families ashore, and among
cruisers, we're entirely normal!

With all of our 1-2-3s solved for the moment, we set sail Saturday for Fowl
Cay, one of the National Parks in the Bahamas. Our passage was notable
solely for its ordinary nature. As it was only 6 miles away, and we would
be on a broad reach (where the wind comes from slightly astern of the
middle) in light winds, we decide to use the genoa, only, despite the part
which needs resewing. Because winds were generally light, and nearly behind
us, there would be much less force on the sail than if we were sailing

We got the anchor up and rinsed without any drama at 11AM, and headed
outside, a very short hop through a couple of marker buoys. As it was very
comfortable outside the harbor, we let Otto drive as we ambled along.
Apparent winds were generally in the area of 120° and 8 knots as we headed
out at 035°T, but made, due to the sideslip under the keel, only about 26°T.
Winds were light, and we had a slight tide against us. We were fortunate to
see mid-3 knot speeds, but it was entirely comfortable. We trimmed the sail
once or twice, and were comfortably anchored in about 9' of water by 2PM.

Outside, in the Atlantic, there are amazing reefs with the expected crowds
of colorful fish. We'd expected to throw out the hook and go in the water,
but it was looking pretty nasty out there, so we decided to do what a dear
friend of ours, a charter captain who happened to be also a master
fisherman, recommended in such instances: Wait 15 minutes.

Sure enough, the summer weather pattern had finally taken hold here in the
Bahamas, and one of the unexpected, as well as impossible-to-forecast,
afternoon showers occurred.

Well, technically, it was a squall; it had 37 knot winds at one point, and
30 knots sustained, and, again, a LOT of water. Once again, we're full to
the brim. Thank you, Lord! But it was beyond rough for snorkeling, and too
dark, too. The squall didn't lift until nearly dinner, so we passed on the
snorkeling for the day.

Small world department: As mentioned in other logs, we keep running into
folks we know from past anchorages. That big charter cat which parked
behind us just before the excitement started was captained by someone we
knew from St. Augustine. He rolled (well, waved) up in a massive dinghy
after dropping his charter guests, and we had a lovely half-hour or so of
catching up. When we get down to Hopetown (another spot I can broadcast the
Net), we'll get together with his wife and kids.

Just up the street, so to speak, there's someone we've known for over 10
years, dating back to before we even started looking at boats in person (vs
books and listings). Wayne B will recognize himself when this log shows up
in one of the very early usenet (newsgroups - like email and also like
forums, but in text, mailed, format, not requiring being on the web)
newsgroups we'd participated in. Small world, indeed.

So, today, while all is clear, it's pretty breezy. Still a bit of a
challenge for snorkeling, but not for being in the water, in the lovely
little beach opposite of our anchorage, off we go to scrub our dinghy; my
announcement on the net that we were broadcasting from anchor at Fowl Cay
apparently appealed, as we now have 4 other boats in the neighborhood.
Dang. Gotta put on the bathing suit.

I hope all who had reason to want to had a great Mother's Day. I think,
given the nature of what we're experiencing now, this will be the end of the
Shake-and-Break series. I'm not sure what I'll call them, but it will be
more about where we go, how we got there, and how we overcame challenges, if
any, along the way. So, until next time, Stay Tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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