Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Assault and Battery

One of the most important projects keeping us from taking the boat out for a daysail is our battery situation.  The batteries we currently have will not hold a charge without some sort of power source (i.e. engine, battery charger).  This means that we can't go for a sail without leaving the engine on, as shutting it off would mean no battery power to re-start it. We all know that with our minimal sailing experience, docking without power would be catastrophic for dear Moitessier.  Since I've been crowned queen of our electrical system, this is something I have been meaning to tackle.  We are in the midst of rebuilding both house and start battery banks as I have seen many faults in our current system.  Frank has been waiting patiently for me to get the ball rolling on this, but with my busy work schedule, I simply have not had the time.  Fortunately for me, Frank has decided to take the initiative and do what he can to help start the project.   A couple months ago, before we splashed, Frank had built us a battery box made from fiberglass and plywood.  He based the measurements off of the footprint of the batteries, and created a box that would very snugly fit the house bank.  From there, he bolted the box to the floor and the wall of the space where we are going to place the batteries. Since the new battery bank is being relocated closer to the centerline of the boat, in the space that our old generator used to occupy, this posed a slight problem.  This meant that we had to figure out how to lift four 110 lb batteries up and into our battery box, which is in a small space under our staircase.  

One night, while I was at work, Frank designed a block and tackle system that would help lift the weight.  When I returned home, it was just a matter of me pulling a line, while Frank helped to lift and guide the batteries into their places.  It was, as usual, a stroke of genius as the system worked out perfectly as he had planned.  Now that they are sitting nicely in their new home, it is just a matter of wiring them up along with our new start battery. If only there were a few more hours in a day...

On a side note, we recently discovered this really repulsive alien creature called the Bristle worm.  One night, while walking from the boat to the car, we noticed millions (not exaggerating here) of these little red creatures squiggling around in the water.  At first, we thought that perhaps they were baby shrimp, but after looking more carefully, we realized that they did not dart around the same way shrimp do.  Instead, they were literally swimming around frantically, much like tadpoles.  After grabbing some in a cup and inspecting them at the fish cleaning station, we saw that they were most certainly NOT shrimp.  These red things looked like tricolored slimy caterpillars, and upon a quick google search via smartphone, Frank discovered that they are called Bristle worms and that they come around once a year to mate when the salt water warms up.  Now if that doesn’t give you nightmares, he also found out that the bristles sting you if you touch them and that they have “strong jaws that bite.” Ackkkkk! After running away from the scene of the crime, with our skins crawling, into what we thought was our safe haven, Moitessier, we found that a few had made it into our head! We were surrounded.  I thought we were experiencing the eleventh plague of Egypt, and conceded that the water was going to turn into blood and that the locusts were about to swarm the boat. Fortunately, that didn't happen, and the little worms eventually died in our toilet.  I guess you can say our head is not considered a hospitable environment.  

Notice how many there were!
Bristle worm

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dingy Dinghy Fitting

With the outboard motor finally remedied (or so we thought), we decided to go for a dinghy ride yesterday.  Since I have been marathon bar tending, working 6 days a week since we got back from NY, it was a much welcome respite for my one day off.   Midway through our ride, the motor conked out on us.  This was due to a faulty fitting (the fitting that attaches from the gas tank to the outboard), which to our surprise failed after only one day of use.  Piece of crap!  Luckily for us, Frank had the foresight to carry an extra fitting with him and quickly jerry-rigged it as I was in the midst of very slowly rowing us back to the marina.  With a quick jaunt to West Marine, a new fitting was bought and re-installed.  We resumed our chilly, but fun ride on the water in search of dolphins.  We never did find them, but being on the water, feeling the wind blow on my face, and seeing wildlife everywhere most certainly made my day.