Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ongoing Refit

Go for a swim anyone?

We sent out our propeller last Thursday for testing and balancing. The hope is that an out of whack propeller is causing our shaft vibration issue. It was really good to hear that Coastal Prop Technology found all three blades set at different pitches rather than perfectly matched. They are currently adjusting the propeller for us and hopefully it will be done by Thursday.

A local marine repair guy pulled the prop off by wearing goggles and holding his breath in the cola colored water of the marina. He is a braver man than me as there are gators in these waters. This morning one of those critters was swimming around directly behind our boat. Gee, I think I'll pay that brave repair guy to re-install that prop when it comes back.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Hurricane Erika

Wrinkles is the 2nd boat in the left row - Green Canvas

So what are our plans if Hurricane Erika decides to come visit us? Right now we are securely tied into a slip at Fisherman's Village Marina. We just committed to another week at the bargain rate of $20/day. This way we can weather the storm if it comes our way in a protected spot. There are plenty of stout ropes aboard Wrinkles to lash her to the very nice wooden pilings at our slip. The concrete piers and solid breakwater offer us a great place to sit this out.

If Erika continues on toward us we will remove all the canvas and sails so Wrinkles offers as little wind resistance as possible. It sure is nice to be in a secure spot with so much advanced warning.


Six Hour Walk To Ace Hardware

Since we don't have a car, we walk or bike wherever we go these days. Yesterday afternoon the plan was to walk to the hardware store in between rain showers. As soon as the sun popped out we headed out toward the store which is less than a mile away. We were disappointed when the store didn't have the 4 stroke engine oil we need for "The Ernie T". Onward we strutted toward West Marine, arriving just minutes before they closed at 6 o'clock. Success, we have oil.

TT's Tiki Hut


The rain clouds seemed to have dissipated, so we headed out toward the waterfront near Tamiami Trail. We decided to walk to TT's Tiki Hut for some live music and a drink. The drinks were cold and the music was tropical. We sat in their colorful adirondack chairs and enjoyed the atmosphere for a while before venturing along the harbor walk toward Hurricane Charley's to see what kind of music they had playing. Scoring a great outside table in the shade we listened to a very talented 3 man group called High Tide. The sunset developed into a splendid mixture of clouds, colors and reflections.

Hurricane Charley's


A light supper was enjoyed while the sunset and wonderful music created an amazing evening for us. A long slow dance topped off the evening before we strolled the harbor walk back to our marina. Arriving at B Dock we stopped to talk to another boating couple enjoying the evening on their boat. They laughed out loud at us when we told them it had taken us 6 hours to walk up to the Ace Hardware store.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Simple Pleasures

A beautiful sunset.

A tasty meal prepared on the grill.

An early afternoon swim in the marina's pool.

A cozy cabin to wait out the daily thunderstorm.

A bike ride to the grocery store in the morning shade.

Just a glimpse of the things that make this lifestyle fun.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Another Step In The Learning Curve

Wrinkles in her first marina slip.


Another name for this post would be, "Manuevering A Full Keeled Sailboat In Tight Spaces Really Sucks!" We tested out the cooling system repairs today and all went well. We still have a pesky vibration in our propeller shaft, but that will have to wait for another day. We hailed the Fisherman's Village Marina on the VHF to get permission to pull up to their fuel dock for pump-out services. They told us to come right in and pull up to the dock. It seemed pretty straight forward, accelerate straight at the dock, hard turn to port, stop smoothly. Hey, that went pretty well!

As we pumped out our holding tank a party boat pulled in directly behind us and a sport fishing boat decided to wait his turn right off our port bow. OK newbie cruisers, how are you going to get this boat out of here now? The attendant pushed our stern off a foot or so as we tried to gather some way and steering ability before we ran into the party boat 10 feet behind us. Not bad, we missed. Forward gear, hope we don't swing our dinghy davits into that nice party boat as we turn to port. Six inches to spare and now let's see if we can miss that sport fishing boat directly in line with our turn. Give it a little more throttle and hope she turns. About to crush said sport fishing boat we go to full reverse gear with some starboard rudder. OK, didn't smash him either. Back to forward gear and we a clear by a couple of feet. Piece of cake.

We motored around through the marina toward our assigned slip for the next three days. Pulling into the slip without other boats in the way was actually quite nicely done. We're learning a little more each day.

Tonight's Air Conditioning

The temperature outside is just brutal here. We showered (Oh baby that felt good!) and strutted to Harpoon Harry's for lunch and some nerve calming beverages. Tonight we are using our crude air conditioning system. One block of ice in a bucket with a fan blowing over it. Oh yeah, were livin' it up.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Better News Today

Certified Diesel & Marine had almost everything we needed for the diesel repairs. We replaced the thermostat gasket (no new thermostat available), heat exchanger seals and packing, U type exhaust mixing elbow and wet exhaust hose. The diesel pumps a lot of water through it now and the temperature stabilized at 142 degrees at fast idle. That final test will come tomorrow when we pick up our anchor and run it around under load.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Adventure It Is!

After a long hot day aboard, the daily mid afternoon thunderstorm rolled in looking like the usual sort. The wind picked up to the point we started making preparations for a strong blow. The intense thunderstorm took us by surprise with a violent, nasty chop with wind gusts exceeding 40 mph. Letting out additional chain and adding a rope snubber to the chain were wise decisions. The second anchor was moved to the bow in case we started dragging.

After an hour of this uncomfortable storm we popped our heads up to see how our three neighboring boats had come through. One of the three was being towed away from the shore after dragging all the way in. The others looked like us, pretty much holding our spots. Later we talked to the captain of a nearby ketch who was wondering how we were after the storm. Cliff said he has a 3 foot by 4 foot Fisherman's anchor and stayed well set. Our new 44 lb. Rocna and about 160 feet of 5/16" chain did the job for us.

This learning curve is a little faster than we anticipated, but we remain safe and happy. Let's get this diesel fixed and move on.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Adventure or Attitude

Entering the locks

We have heard many times that your attitude determines whether what you are doing becomes an adventure or obstacle*. We choose adventure. As we untied the dock lines, we knew there would be glitches that would show up that would need to be dealt with. We were hoping that we would get to our first anchorage before any showed up. Not to be. To head to our intended anchorage we had to follow some rather mystic directions down the channel, past the dock with the white pilings (they all have white pilings), around the bend staying to the port side of center, etc. to end up at the lock seven miles away. All went well for the first mile or so and then we noticed the temperature gauge starting to climb. Attitude or adventure. The scenery was beautiful so we slowed to just above idle to see if that would cool the engine. Yeah! That worked......for another mile. Then the temperature gauge started climbing again. The boat was still peeing, which is a good sign, but the temp gauge was not slowing down. Fortunately we were entering a wider part of the channel and we could raise the sail and give the motor a break. With less than stellar wind speeds, we crept along and hoped to make it to the lock where we could use the motor just a little if needed. Success! to work this manual lock?? It wasn't pretty, but we made it through. Now we were in a wider body of water, no more than 10 feet deep any place. We knew then that if the wind didn't favor us, we could just drop the anchor. But the wind continued, little that it was, and allowed us to make progress toward our intended anchorage. Guess what? We made it and were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset. We sat on the bow for a long time. Mike couldn't get the grin off his face! This morning found Mike tearing into the engine, when what appeared along side us?? A dolphin! Now I had a grin a mile wide. I think we are going to like this lifestyle!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wrinkles Is Afloat

The day to launch Wrinkles finally arrived and Brady (the amazing yard guy at Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage) skillfully did the deed. The Travel Lift had no trouble picking Wrinkles up and gently setting her into the canal. Jim and Mike checked for leaks and happily reported that all was well. Wrinkles looks so much better in the water. A proper little yacht ready for adventure.

The Dripless Shaft Seal that Jim installed worked great. We fired up the little Yanmar diesel and it purred away. Once we put it into gear it seemed to jump around more than we would have liked. We tried forward and reverse and she seemed to be settling into place. The local prop and cutlass guy stopped by and said that every small Yanmar he had seen would jump around quite a bit. This made us relax a little, but we'll see how she does in the open water. We also found that the Yanmar wasn't discharging any cooling water. A couple hours later Jim and Mike had located all 6 of the missing water impeller fins and installed a new water impeller.


A big turtle immediately came to inspect Wrinkles, but left disappointed that the hull was free of sea life. Although the sun was blazing, we put the sails on and stood back to take a look. What a pretty ship she is!

We performed a proper little renaming ceremony and pleased the sea gods with some tasty libations. Now she can proudly be called Wrinkles by all who sail her.


The best friends ever


Monday, August 17, 2015

We Splash Tomorrow!

Ready to splash!

Along with our amazing friends Jim and Joni we have sweated our way through the quick refit on Wrinkles. We have painted the bottom, replaced the cutlass bearing, replaced the dripless shaft seal, checked over numerous boat systems, removed a worn out staysail furler, replaced our dinghy, bought an outboard, installed new boat logos, drained and refilled the fresh water tanks, repaired sails, replaced the stern light, sealed hatches, replaced a port window, replaced the Yanmar belts, added a solar panel, added padding to the V-berth, installed a gas grill, installed a Wi-Fi range extender antenna, put registration numbers on the dinghy, replaced the bilge pump float switch, removed the diesel stove, cleaned and painted the prop, .............

Wrinkles in process
Brenda repairing the mainsail
Jim in his favorite spot
Can I come out yet?
Joni working on the Ernie T

In between all these projects we drove the 4Runner up to Orange Beach for storage and then drove back down to our boat in a rental car. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Actually we had plenty of fun, food and laughter with Jim and Joni both at their nice rental house and wandering about some of their favorite places in this area.


Casey Key Fish House watching the PGA finale.

The refit has been hot and tiring, but having our great friends sweating by our sides has made it so much more fun. We love you guys and can't imagine our lives without you.


Friday, August 14, 2015

A Sad Day

Mike and Jim toasting the hat.


It was a sad day in the Greene household. Mike's favorite hat was not worn once today and was officially retired. Mike realized it was time to retire this hat when he was told that he had a sunburn on the top of his head that resembled reindeer feet.

It seems that once Mike finds a hat that is comfortable, he will wear it until it is well past it's useful life. He likes to consider himself faithful to old friends. Unfortunately today was the day his old hat was left unused and sent out to pasture. Please don't tell him it just went into the garbage, it would break his heart.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cutlass Bearing And A Shiny New Car

This picture shows Jim working on the very forward end of the propeller shaft. When he needed to access the dripless seal and cutlass housing he had to submerge his entire head and shoulders down into that hole.

Cutlass bearing almost installed

The cutlass bearing along with a brand new dripless shaft seal are now installed. Yippee!

We also found a deal on our new car. A like new 2010 AB RIB. This little dinghy is in nearly mint condition. We think it will be a perfect tender for our Island Packet 31. We plan to name it "The Ernie T" after Brenda's small and feisty late father Ernie Tresch. We know he will be beaming that oversized smile of his when he reads this.

Now we can start working on some fun projects like installing the Wave Rouge Wireless Antenna, wiring in the solar panels and finally getting the interior organized. But these projects will have to wait a day as the four of us are taking a day off to wander Ft. Myers. Tiki bars here we come!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sweet Rewards


Brenda and I have been joined by our friends Jim and Joni in Port Charlotte. They arrived Sunday after driving a long, long way to Punta Gorda. Their route of Wisconsin to Kentucky to Wisconsin to Punta Gorda included one blown motor near Kentucky and a rental truck/trailer trip back to Wisconsin to drop off their dead Audi and renting a car for the return trip.

Jim and Joni rented a very nice 3 bedroom house with a pool in Punta Gorda. So Brenda and I are roughing it each night with a pool, comfy bed, air conditioning, great food and enjoying time with our favorite people.

Since Jim worked so hard to get here we let him work down in the bilge of our boat on his first day here. 95 degrees, humidity measured in quarts, sweating, sitting on a diesel motor, head between his knees....... Geez, how lucky is he?
Jim did an amazing job of being "Mike's Trained Monkey" as a boat contractor referred to him. He managed to squeeze down into the diesel compartment and remove all the dripless seal components, flanges and cutlass housing bolts. Between the two of us we had the cutlass bearing housing removed from the boat by lunch time. We took a well deserved lunch break meeting our lovely wives at Gators Bar and Grill before returning to the boat to remove the ugly diesel stove from the galley.

A good days work followed by a cool swim and a really nice supper prepared by Jim at the rental house. A few refreshments and a celebratory Drambuie. Truly some sweet rewards.