Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last Night at Sunset

This evening I moved Annie to the fuel dock and I will spend my last night here at Sunset Bay Marina. This has been my home for almost a year and honestly, it has been a wonderful place to live. The staff is professional, helpful, and efficient. The sailors here are all friendly, (for the most part), and the sunsets...spectacular!

I will miss Sunset Bay.

New adventures lie ahead. I will fuel Annie in the morning and travel the Port Saint Lucie canal to Lake Okeechobee. I will go through two locks to be raised to lake level and if time permits, I will cross the lake and spend the night in Clewiston.

Let the journey begin.

Fair Seas and God bless.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men Go Oft Awry"

John Steinbeck was right.

In my previous post, I announced how I would timelapse record the entire trip to Carrabelle, Florida on my GoPro clone... That plan has gone awry... my clone froze up on me... it went awry.

Oh well, I still have two old cell phones, one old IPhone, and my current Android phone which I will use to catch various clips and pics throughout my 480 mile passage. Single handing, I may have to forego certain events due to safety concerns, but if taking pics/video does not imperil safety, I will gather as much media as I can and post it at the first opportunity I have.

Technology is an amazing thing. I have two pads with Navionics HD installed and my course is charted with over 400 waypoints. I have a 20 feet long Micro USB charging cable so I will not exhaust my pad batteries. I also have set up a charging station where one pad will always be charged and ready. What I don't have is water proof enclosures for these devices... enter The Reynolds Group with their famous one gallon Hefty Ziploc bags. Not exactly high tech, but they'll get the job done.

Sorry about the GoPro timelapse but again, "The best laid plans of mice & men go oft awry."

Fair seas and God bless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Testing the GoPro Clone...

I had a little free time today and decided to test my GoPro clone's time-lapse capability. I'm hoping to record the entire passage from Stuart to Carrabelle. At one shot per every 5 seconds it should provide a interesting documentary of the journey.

This test was to determine mounting angle, view, and gather needed experience. It's a shot from Annie's port side facing forward. It looks like Annie is tugging at her lines, ready to start her journey.

I also figured out how to set the time and date AFTER this shot. I also figured out how to better the resolution of each frame.

If I had it to do over, I would have spent a couple of more bucks and got a clone with wifi. That would have enabled me to use my Android phone to control the camera. Hindsight.

Here's some recommended GoPro clones...

Canany WIFI Action Camera Full HD 1080P

PPLEE Full HD 1080P

Legazone WIFI 2.0'' 12MP HD 1080P 170Wide Sports Camera

Fair seas and God bless.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Odd Job Day

I've had some odd jobs that have been laying there for weeks...
low priority jobs that did not have to be completed before the trip to Carrabelle. However, since the monsoon season appears to have begun here in South Florida, I decided to tackle these odd jobs.

Painting the ice box/reefer. This odd job has been laying there the longest. Done!

Relocated to Microwave to the small cabinet just right of the area it used to occupy. I then realized the area it did occupy needed painting as well... done! (Of course now I don't know what to put in this huge space - I'll think of something).

The V-Berth has become my mobile storage unit as well as my tool closet. I have various tool boxes organized into various categories and odd tools and parts for Annie. It needed organizing organizing, (duplicated words intentional),... done! (I have cargo nets that I will install in the V-berth before casting off lines in two weeks).

My GoPro Clone is ready to go and I will time-lapse the passage and post it once we have arrived in the Panhandle.

I'm also working on my "Ditch Bag." This is basically a waterproof floating pack of survival gear, PLB, water, rations, and a number of other things I might need if I had to abandon ship, (knock on wood).

Odd job day... done!

Fair seas and God bless.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Pressure is ON!

Before I get into the meat of the post, I want to thank my son, Jeremy, for the ResQLink+ PLB. I feel safer already and know that if I end up on a desert island somewhere, I will fare better than the castaways on that island called Gilligan's. Thanks Jer!

The Pressure is ON!

The diesel mechanic arrived this morning at 8:00 AM. If you read the last post, you know that my oil pressure gauge was reading 0 PSI after I changed the oil in Annie. My assumption was a bad sending unit, bad gauge, or bad oil pump. Turns out the gauge was the culprit. At the Yanmar parts store they said the gauge was over $500 bucks! What?! Was it made from platinum and 24ct. gold?! After they picked me up off the floor, I refused to spend that much money on a gauge.

Solution, a $19 manual oil pressure gauge from Advanced Auto. No more sending unit and electronic gauge.

Oil is sent to the gauge from the tapping in the engine's oilway by a small-bore (3mm) pipe, usually copper or plastic.  The pipe enters the passenger compartment via a grommeted hole in the bulkhead, and joins the stub on the back of the gauge via a knurled connector. The gauge contains a flexible coiled tube called a bulb, the open end of which is rigidly mounted to the gauge's outer casing. The other end of the bulb is closed and connected by a lightweight linkage to the bottom end of the needle, which is itself mounted on a pivot. Oil is fed into the bulb from the supply pipe at very nearly the same pressure as it left the engine. The bulb tries to straighten under the pressure and in doing so moves the needle around the calibrated gauge scale. The greater the pressure, the more the needle moves... simple.  (see diagram below).

As with all boat projects it was a little involved, but all in all, it was an easy job. While the diesel mechanic was here, he also adjusted my dripless seal to ensure I had proper shaft lubrication on my trip to Carrabelle. Annie is almost ready to cast off on her voyage.


Pics below...

Not a perfect match with it red needle, but that's fine
Yes... I cleaned off the excess butyl tape
Fair seas and God bless.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

One Job Leads to Another...

As with many boat projects, one job leads to another.

On my moving list, (my list of things that have to take place before I can move the boat to Carrabelle, Florida), was "change engine oil." I purchased a neat little tool from Amazon to make that job run smoothly, the ABN 12 Volt Oil Fluid Diesel Extraction Pump... and it worked like a charm.

Ready for the oil change...

Once the oil was changed, I checked my levels and everything looked good. I opened the raw water thru-hull, and fired her up, (Annie always cranks right up and this time was no exception). I checked my water exhaust and it had good flow. I checked the oil gauge and it said, 0 PSI. I immediately turned her off and called the diesel mechanic to come check her out.

I do not have the time, tools, inclination, or knowhow to deal with this problem. I'm pretty sure it's the gauge or the sending unit, (the read out has always been a little low and jumpy at times), but considering she will be motoring at least 150 miles and probably more, she needs to be checked out by someone who knows what they're doing. I'm just a hack when it comes to diesel engines.

Considering I have 17 days, 18 hours, and 45 minutes until launch... there is no time to dally.

Best case scenario; the sending unit or gauge is bad. Worst case scenario; the oil pump is bad and the oil pump will have to be replaced, (I think the engine will have to be pulled in order to accomplish that repair).

Fair seas and God bless.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Plugging Along...

I have less than 20 days left before I set sail for Carrabelle, Florida. I still have over a dozen things that need to happen before I leave.

Today, I inspected my rigging and adjusted the roller furling and some of the shrouds. Good thing too; a couple of cotter pins were not spread and one was completely missing.

Also, the cockpit floor is removable on a Westsail 32 allowing access to the engine room. The problem is water intrusion in turbulent seas. Many West Sailors have come up with numerous ways to deal with the problem... I simply installed a rubber water seal. Will it be completely water intrusion proof? No, but it will be adequate for my easy passage to Carrabelle.

While at dock I am able to supply my boat with water via the marina water supply, but once I'm unplugged, I have to depend on my two forty gallon water tanks. Both were filled to the brim.

Water - Check!

I also secured my non-pressurized alcohol stove. Again, while at the dock, the stove is not tempted to move, but once underway and sailing, the boat will heel over at various angles. I installed four
L-shaped brackets, two in front, two in back. The stove now fits snugly between the brackets and unless Annie is actually knocked down, it will not be moving.

The quick release straps are now on Little Annie, (the dinghy), and she is ready to go.

Oh yeah, one more thing... I installed and activated my Delorme InReach Satellite tracking service. A couple of good Christian friends donated the funds for the device, (Thank you Harold and Emily). Now, my friends and family can follow the progress of my passage to the panhandle. Here's the link where you can keep up with my location: https://share.delorme.com/DavidFincher.

All in all... I'm plugging along.

Fair seas and God bless.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Bought Another Boat!

I thought when I bought Annie that I would never buy another boat... I mean, she's a Westsail 32, why would I ever need another boat? She can take me anywhere in the world! BUT, when at anchor, she can't get me to shore. So, I bought another boat.

She's a 9 feet long Achilles Dinghy with a 4 HP Yamaha outboard that I have named, "Little Annie." She barely fit on the bow, but fit she did. I knew this project was coming for a couple of weeks now, so I ordered flush mounted stainless steel tie down rings to secure the dinghy during passages. (I removed my handrails when I bought Annie because they were in bad shape and I did not replace them, (Butterfly Hatch and Hand Rails), hence, I needed tiedowns).

I am looking for some quick release straps to tie Little Annie down, (the bungee cords holding her in place for the moment are temporary). You see, Little Annie, is also going to serve as my lifeboat on my trip to Carrabelle. I'm hoping to get a real liferaft by the time I leave for Saint Lucia in a year, but for now, Little Annie will serve double duty as my dinghy and my liferaft. In an unlikely catastrophic event, quick release straps seem like a good idea.

Here's the pics...

Fair seas and God bless.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monitor Windvane... Check!

When I bought Annie two of her selling points was she had a stainless steel bowsprit and a Monitor Windvane, (in addition to the fact she was a Westsail).

Today, I finished rigging the Monitor. During my trip to Carrabelle, Florida I will be sailing the gulf no less than two days. Obviously, single handing I cannot stay at the tiller 48 hours straight so the Monitor had to be readied. This involved a number of things but one was attaching the tiller to the windvane. I chose to go with cam cleats. They allow a quick set and a quick release.

We're getting there...

BTW... I sure miss this furry face! (Well at least he's with his Nanny... that makes him happy).

Fair seas and God bless.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Leaving Fuji...

For those of you who follow this blog you know I have a bestfriend named Fuji. He's my buddy and my pal!

With my departure date only 24 days away, I have been in a whirlwind of activity. From moving stuff on the boat, to packing, to repairs, to a wide assortment of projects... it has been a little crazy. All this craziness was making my buddy nervous and somewhat unsettled. Having just turned twelve, he prefers a regular routine of sleeping, eating, and a couple of other doggie things. Therefore, I called my mom in Tallahassee and asked her if he could come visit and stay with her for a few weeks while I finished readying for the move. She approved and we headed to Tally. He is now very happy, getting treats, sleeping, and enjoying mom's full time company as well as her dog, Bella.

When I left Tallahassee, I headed to Carrabelle to discuss with Dockside Marina having Annie put on the hard once I arrive in June and I visited the C-Quarters Marina where Annie will be docked when she eventually goes back in the water.

Carrabelle is a fishing village with mostly fishing boats and a few sailors. I actually like the small town atmosphere and old style Florida.

Dockside Marina is the only marina with a travel lift and a work yard. The rate is less than half the rate down here and I can frequently stay overnight. While on the hard, Annie's bottom and topside will be painted and she will finally get her name painted on. I may also finish her cap-rail repairs while she is out of the water and if I really get crazy, I will lower the v-berth.

I have purchased a dinghy that comes with a 4 HP outboard engine. I installed an outboard motor mount on Annie but I will not be able to finish it until I get the engine on Monday or Tuesday. Then I will cut and size the mount.

I am excited about finishing up everything and making the move, but leaving Fuji was harder than I thought. The boat doesn't seem like home without him here.

Fair seas and God bless.