Tuesday, June 17, 2014

For Sail

Hello strangers….been really busy lately and have let the blog fall to the wayside…sorry. Since I've last written, many projects including the rewiring of the battery system as well as the re-insulation of our fridge have been completed.  The rewiring turned out, as expected, to be a real pain in the ass.  In typical boat fashion, it was one of those projects where no matter how many lists you make as well as how comprehensive think you are, you are always inevitably going to forget something.  Grrrrr….more on that in another blog post.  

Frank also re-insulated our fridge with Aerogel, which is this silica-based insulation originally developed by NASA and way more efficient that fiberglass or foam.   It has an R-value of 10 per inch and was cheaper and easier to work with than vacuum panels.  Though in truth, less efficient in comparison to vacuum panels, which have an R-value of 50.  But vacuum panels are puncture prone and once punctured, their R-values drop from 50 to 0, making them useless.  Aerogel does not suffer the same fate.   It is hydrophobic (it repels water) but we still took the extra precaution of adding an extra moisture barrier.  Once insulated, he finished out the interior with a textured FRP panelling from Home Depot, that is typically used in shower stalls.  At the same time, he also installed our new Frigoboat refrigeration which is far superior to our old AC Fridge, that I had previously written about. It's tiny, quiet, and a power miser. When I say small, I mean the compressor is 1/4 the size compared to the old one, and we even opted for the larger Danfoss BD-50.  A smart speed controller was also installed to help the compressor run more efficiently.  This project was well worth it and we are very pleased with the outcome.  

The biggest recent news which I have to report is that we took Moitessier out for the first time this weekend.  It was an unnerving day to say the least, but we did it, and it was fun as hell. Going out of the inlet was surreal.  It was the culmination of everything we had worked towards for the past 3 years and to be driving your home around with everything you own inside is sort of an odd feeling.  I remember the day before I kept thinking, what do I need to bring, and then quickly realizing that anything I could have brought was already there.  

We left bright and early along with 2 buddy boats which happen to live on the same dock as us, as well as being some of the first friends that we made here in St Augustine.  Frank and I kept wondering if we were actually dreaming and had to remind each other that we weren't (though Frank is still asking me if that really happened).  We couldn't have picked a better day and though the winds were light at 8-10 knots, Moitessier sailed like a queen.  Far better than either of us had expected in fact.  For being a notoriously heavy and slow boat, we were surprised when we were averaging half the wind speed with only the main and jib up and were gliding along comfortably at 4.5-5 knots on a beam reach.  We kept playing with the sails trying to eek out what we could.  As it always seems to happen, dolphins made an appearance at exactly the right moment.  As soon as we hoisted the mainsail and killed the engine, a pod of around 50 dolphins came to play with us, slapping their tails as they dove down.  It was at that moment, I turned and told Frank that I thought that it was the best day of my life and he warned me not to jinx it.   

After having a beautiful day of sailing, we made our way back through the inlet at exactly the same time that everyone else decided to.  Since it was Father's day and there was an offshore regatta, the inlet was packed with traffic that reminded me of the Williamsburg Bridge at rush hour.  Because nothing had gone wrong thus far, we kept awaiting our usual dose of humility, which made our return slightly more stressful.  Having checked the radar several times throughout our sail, we knew we could possibly be faced with some pretty strong thunderstorms, so we accepted that that was going to be our fate.  Luckily for us, it was not. As we were making our final turn to approach our slip with large thunder clouds directly at our heels, everything came to a sudden stop.  Thud….we had run aground in the middle of the channel.  Apparently a sandbar had formed, even though it had recently been dredged. Derrrrr.  It was a dead low tide, so our worst case scenario would've been having to sit with our bruised egos for another hour or so until the tide came in, but luck was on our side…. Not five minutes after our grounding, our friend, Eddie who works at the boatyard came around the bend on his jonboat with its big ass outboard and pulled us right out of the mud. After creating such a scene with our grounding, we even felt lucky for the crowd that had formed as it's always nice to have extra hands catching my ill thrown dock lines.  Especially since this was both of our first times docking a boat….any boat, EVER.  Yeah…docking drills are definitely in our future.