July 2009: "People say i'm crazy..."

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I'm leaving in four days, and haven't done
a web site update in two months.

All of my web software is on my backup nav computer. I thought that would be a good idea, so that the backup system gets plugged in every now and then, and the battery stays charged. But, maybe that isn't such a good idea, since the computer isn't in front of me every day.

Oh well. Anyway, it's time to go.

I put all my flags up for my last week. Heck, making them was a real project, and I need to use them sometime!

It's been a really busy time, with lots of little 'quality of life aboard' projects, and lots of organizing. It took a few months to move everything onto the boat and create a spreadsheet to document where things are stored. I was going to post a copy of the 9 page spreadsheet, but decided that it might not be a good idea to publish that on the internet.

The boat's sitting a lot lower, but still sails well.

The number of things to do before leaving, with no home except the boat, is really daunting. Fortunately, internet access is readily available in Mexico, where I'll be for the next couple of years.
So I'm using St. Brendan's Isle for mail, since they have a scanning service that lets me view and read snail mail with a web browser. Like many people, my finances, health care, and most civilized activity is arranged so that I can't function without the internet. But it was still necessary to set things up to handle a month or more without being on line.

There are a number of boat projects that I put off until just before leaving. Some things only make sense when you're actually cruising.

For instance, the whole watermaker installation deserves a project page, but that'll probably never happen. Oh well. I put in the smallest Spectra unit, that does six gallons an hour and draws 9A. It works great. High maintenenace, though, which is why I put off the installation until the last minute.

I painted my outboard cover orange, so that it'll be less attractive to thieves. I also added more handles on the dinghy, and painted them orange as well.

 

I started to get neurotic about ground tackle. I have a 35 pound Delta, a 44 pound Bruce, and a 20 pound Danforth for a kedge. Suddenly that didn't seem good enough.

With everything I own on the boat, and knowing that I would be leaving the boat at anchor for extended periods, the I wanted to the ground tackle to be as secure as I could make it.

So I bought a 55 pound Rocna anchor. It's a bit oversized for the boat, especially since I have a low freeboard and low wind profile. There's the old saying "Keep buying bigger and bigger anchors until everyone on the dock laughs at you, and then you've got it right."
That's pretty much what happened. However, two other long time cruisers on the dock didn't laugh. They own Rocnas, and they just smiled and said I would never regret it.

My bow rollers are too small, but I know a stainless steel guy in La Paz who is going to weld up something special for me.

I needed a swim ladder. Actually, I always have needed one, since I changed the stern rail configuration and haven't had an easy way to get back on the boat.

This ladder is actually made from the old one, that used to swing down at the transom. I had two more steps welded on, and some steel "ears" at the top. It clamps onto the big "H" shaped rails amidships.

Not perfect, but good enough, and it was the least expensive option.

Up at the foredeck, I added a web of Dacron leech line, to keep sails on my narrow foredeck. I also added bow chocks right next to the cleats, to make docking easier.

Oh, and I painted my teak toe rails. Yup. There are about 20 coats of good varnish under the paint, but I don't want to be doing brightwork in the tropics. It looks just fine, in my opinion. The paint is Petit Brightwork Brown.

At the nav station, I added a Sony ICF-SW7600GR shortwave / medium wave / FM / AM reciever. It uses the backstay antenna.
Even though I'd added a good counterpoise by glassing copper all over the bottom of the hull, and had everything ready to add a good ICOM 802 unit, I just couldn't justify the money right now.
Money seems to be flying out the hatches, as I get all the final details finished, and I just don't want to spend any more.

This unit lets me listen to the nets, and get weather. I can't transmit, though. Maybe someday I'll meet someone who's finished cruising and wants to sell his or her SSB setup.

 

Then, finally, it was time to just say "If I haven't done it yet, it must not be that important right now" and pack everything away.
I gave away my dinghy dock, cleaned out the dock box, and tried to make enough room on board to allow three other people to crew on the sail south to Santa Barbara.

But, that's another story.

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