Calculating our power needs.

One of the many things that I find appealing about cutting the dock lines is the challenge of living off the grid.  Pegu Club will be our full-time floating home, and since we’re planning on being at anchor 99% of the time we needed to figure out what to do about electricity.  

While the simplicity of not having any electrics on the boat is appealing, even I can’t go that far.  We’ll want to recharge the iPad and the music player.  We prefer a chartplotter with paper charts as a backup vs. paper charts and a sextant.  The Nature’s Head works best with a small computer fan for venting.  Clearly, we need and want electricity, but how much is enough and how should we get it? 

Continue reading “Calculating our power needs.”

Wait – where’s the fuel gauge?!

Our Catalina 30 boat-yard neighbor (who is also getting a new engine this winter) gave us yet another good idea for saving a bit of money on the engine installation.  Thanks to his suggestions we had disconnected all of the wiring and hoses before the engine was removed (saving several hundred dollars in labor costs already), and we will be reinstalling the sink ourselves.  Talking to him a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he had recently installed his new engine control panel.  Of course!  Why didn’t we think of it?  So last weekend saw us down at Dutch Wharf doing exactly that.

The timing was actually pretty good for this small project because a few weeks ago I fell on my way to work, bruising my ribs.  This seriously limited the boat projects we could do because I couldn’t climb down into the main cabin.  The sink has been removed for the engine installation so the stairs are not in place (they don’t have the same lateral support with the sink out).  That means getting into the main cabin involves stepping onto the edge of the quarter berth which is a LONG way down for me.  At 5’3″, I don’t exactly have the leg length of a supermodel.  Until the steps are back in place, climbing down (and back up) involves a lot of upper body work which I was definitely not in any condition to do.  Keeping Jeff company while he completed a relatively easy task that didn’t involve going down below?  That I could do.

Continue reading “Wait – where’s the fuel gauge?!”

It takes a while when you don’t know what you’re doing.

One of the projects we’ve wanted to tackle this off-season is the wiring on Pegu Club.  The plan was to replace all the wiring and upgrade the original panel which had fuses, to a breaker panel.  We were originally going to do this before we went on vacation in September, but then thought better of it and decided to wait until we weren’t pressed for time.  Smart choice.

Electrical work is our achilles heel – well, that and engine work.  We don’t know much about it, and although we have plenty of reference materials they never seem to answer the exact question that we have.  If there was a book called “12 volt Electrical Work for Dummies” it would be too complicated for us.  With Pegu Club out of the water, however, there was no time like the present.

The first thing we did (after disconnecting the batteries of course – we may not know much, but we have some common sense) was to remove the old panel and cut the wires off of it.  We labeled them as we cut them (see, there’s that common sense thing again), and noticed that we had more positive wires than negatives which didn’t make any sense to us.  We weren’t surprised, however, given the comment Mike (one of our Shenny friends) had when he saw how Pegu Club was wired.  Mike knows all things electric inside and out.  When we showed him the back of our old panel and asked for some tips, his first comment was, “Oh my god.”  Yes, this was going to go well.  We decided to worry about the positive and negative wire count later, and pressed on.

Continue reading “It takes a while when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Sewing our foredeck bag.

When we decided to remove our furler and switch to a hank-on jib we knew that one of the things we would need to do is get a foredeck bag.  The foredeck bag is attached to the headstay and allows you to keep the sail hanked on when not in use.  When you’re finished sailing, simply drop the headsail, place it in the bag, and zip it up.  You can use the jib halyard to raise the bag off of the deck, and there the sail sits waiting until you need it again.

We could have purchased one, but as is typical with canvas work it was much cheaper to order a kit from Sailrite, saving us at least $40 compared to a pre-made bag.  Using their handy-dandy YouTube video along with the written instructions that came with the kit, this actually turned out to be a very easy project.

Continue reading “Sewing our foredeck bag.”

Chipping away at projects.

With the exception of our weekend in Annapolis we’ve been heading down to Branford each weekend hoping to take care of some projects before the really cold weather sets in. Things are going well, giving me hope that we may be able to avoid working on Pegu Club in January and February.  Dare to dream!

So far we’ve been able to glass in another thruhull and we’ve also been diligently working on our electrics.  Because we like to keep things simple, working on the electrics hasn’t been too bad (well, except for the fact that we don’t know much about electrical work).  Pegu Club is a strictly 12 volt system, and with the exception of engine-related items, the only other wiring she has is for running lights, interior lights, mast lights, instruments, a cigarette lighter charter, our Nature’s Head fan, the bilge pump, and the VHF.

The plan was to remove the old wiring and replace it with new, and also get rid of our circa 1977 fuse panel so we could install a new 12V breaker panel.  The cigarette lighter looked like a fire hazard, and we are replacing our VHF with one that has an AIS receiver, so it was easy enough to pull out that wiring.  Our old instruments also went because we’ve upgraded to the B&G all-in-one display.  So far so good.  Now it was time to pull out the wires for the interior lights and the running lights.  Hold on there, skippy. Not so much. Continue reading “Chipping away at projects.”

The Annapolis sailboat show – a three day party!

After a stressful week at work, I was more than excited to be heading off to the Annapolis Boat Show.  This was our second go-around.  The first time was five years ago after we took our sailing lessons but before we bought Little Bristol.  During that visit we had fun wandering on the different boats and browsing in the vendor tents, so with some big purchases on tap for this offseason it wasn’t a hard decision to go check it out once again.

Honestly, we had fun the first time we went but nothing like this trip.  As we have become more involved in the sailing community over the past five years, we have met many people (both in real life through Shenny and the Seven Seas Cruising Association, and on-line through Women Who Sail), we’ve read a lot of books, and we regularly follow several blogs and vlogs.  Even with all of that, we didn’t realize what a small community it truly was until this show.  Every few hours we ran into someone we knew, or had followed online.  It. was. so. much. fun.

We flew down early Friday morning, dropped our bags off at the Air BnB we had rented (only a 7 minute walk from the show), and we hit the vendor tents hard.  The plan was to decide on a windvane and a watermaker, along with some other purchases, and we had lots of questions so there was no time to waste. Continue reading “The Annapolis sailboat show – a three day party!”

And so the offseason begins.

Jeff and I have an ambitious offseason planned, hoping to knock as many #1 items off of our category one to-do list as we can.  I took it as a good omen that our offseason began with a sunny, warm weekend.  In fact, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80’s, it was the warmest weekend we’ve had in a few months!  Project number one was to glass over another thruhull.  What were we getting rid of?  Well, read on.

Continue reading “And so the offseason begins.”

Our longest trip of the season – too bad it was to haul out.

Our decision to get a new engine this offseason unfortunately dictated an early haul out. We could have waited until our traditional mid-October timeframe, but we are having our engine replaced at Dutch Wharf Boat Yard in Branford.  They do several repowers each offseason and it’s first come-first serve, so to speak.  We didn’t want to wait too late and end up being last on the list which would risk a late start to next year’s boating season.  So out she goes!

It was clear as the weekend of September 16th approached that it was going to give us decent weather, so we bit the bullet and decided to move Pegu Club to Branford on Saturday the 16th.  Typical for the way this season has been, there wasn’t a speck of wind.  Oh, we saw 4-5 knots for maybe a total of five minutes, but the rest of the time the wind instrument showed 1-2 knots, and that was only because we were motoring.

Regardless, we still had a good time.  Shenny to Dutch Wharf is 40 nautical miles door-to-door, and since we knew we wouldn’t have much wind we were off by 6:45 a.m. to be sure we would arrive during the daytime.  We have never taken the boat west of Niantic, so I was looking forward to a new adventure with different scenery.

Continue reading “Our longest trip of the season – too bad it was to haul out.”

“You just can’t rush these things.”

Based on our experience in every single sailing vacation we’ve had, I’m giving up on making destination plans as long as we’re on a schedule.  We have yet to actually go where we were planning or hoping, and this vacation was no exception.

Initially this was going to be the year we made it to Martha’s.  But then we needed to have measurements taken for our new sails, and scheduling dictated that it was going to occur one week into our 11 day trip.  Scratch Martha’s off of the list.

How about Narragansett instead?  That would have been lovely, but the week was filled with repeated small craft advisories and we would have had to come back with the wind on the nose and 6 foot seas.  Forget it.

Fine.  We’ll go to Long Island.  Nope.  See the above small craft advisories with wind on the nose and choppy seas.

Continue reading ““You just can’t rush these things.””

This and that – and vacation prep!

We’ve been spending the past few weekends doing a mix of sailing and little projects. The weekend of August 12th we simply had to get away from the dock.  Saturday was going to be windless (unfortunately the lack of wind has been a recurring theme this season), so on Friday after work we sped down to Shenny so we could head over to West Harbor for the weekend.  We were all ready to go when we turned the key to start the engine and – nothing. Not even a click. Hmm. This was new. Batteries on? Yep. Has the wire come loose from the starter? Nope.  Argh!  Did this mean we were going to be stuck at the dock for yet another weekend?

Continue reading “This and that – and vacation prep!”