It takes a village to dock a boat.

High spirits filled the car as we drove down to Shenny last Friday after work.  After only a two week delay, splash day was set for Saturday!  Chatting with people at the Friday night cookout (and sharing my trepidation over docking), it quickly became clear that learning how to dock is a rite of passage that every boater must go through.  Offers of help were accepted (along with plenty of laughs shared about being this season’s dock entertainment), and we went to bed Friday night ready to tackle the next day.

We were scheduled to launch at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, so we were up bright and early to bring the mast over to the lift well and get it ready (attaching the windex and wind instrument antenna, untangling all of the lines, stays, and shrouds, putting on the spreaders, etc.).  The yard guys were running ahead of schedule, and fortunately so were we, so by 9:00 Pegu Club was hanging in the slings and Jeff was slinging bottom paint under her keel and poppets.

It wasn’t long before she was floating on the water, still in the slings, while we checked to make sure there weren’t any leaks and that the engine would run.  After her mast was stepped and the shrouds and stays loosely attached to the chainplates, it was time to do this.  Let’s dock!  Gratefully accepting help from Michael who joined Jeff at the bow to provide an extra set of hands, we backed out of the lift well with only a bit of a hiccup and started motoring down the fairway heading towards slip E-45.

Continue reading “It takes a village to dock a boat.”

Cockpit cushions (and an engine update)

First up: the latest on the engine.  John Bayreuther was able to get to Pegu Club last week and the engine has been fixed.  He told Jeff that he found a cracked washer that was letting air in, and there was also a lot of air in the injector.  He ran the engine twice and all was well, so we are back in action.

This was an inexpensive fix as far as boats go so we’re holding off on replacing the engine until this winter, but we’re definitely getting a new one.  Up until now Thumper has been rock solid for us, but it’s 40 years old, some parts are becoming unavailable, and we have no idea how it was treated by Pegu Club’s many prior owners.  On top of it all, as a single cylinder diesel Thumper is LOUD!   A new engine will certainly be expensive, but it will also be smaller, lighter, (hopefully) reliable, and much quieter.

In the meantime the guys are squeezing us in to the launch schedule so splash is this Saturday at 9:45 a.m.  Yay!

Just because our splash was delayed didn’t mean that all boat projects stopped.  In fact, one big project that we managed to essentially complete during our unexpected down time was finishing up new cockpit cushions.  I say essentially because we still have to make the helm cushion, but the port and starboard cushions are done and those were the two longest ones.  The helm cushion should be much easier by virtue of its size.

Pegu Club originally came with vinyl covered cockpit cushions.  Unfortunately they were hard as a rock and also suffered from the same smell that the rest of the boat came with, so out they went.  I had never made cockpit cushions before, but with my trusty Sailrite and the detailed Sailrite video on YouTube I figured I’d give it a go.

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Splash, interrupted.

Although I was concerned about the windy forecast for our first attempt at docking, we drove down to Shenny with great anticipation.  It had been a long offseason and now we were going to splash!  With Pegu Club about to be in the water, we were going to begin my happy time of the year as I like to call it.

We had two things to accomplish before splash: running Thumper for ten minutes, and getting the mast ready.  First though, I wanted to watch some Shenny friends (who were splashing that morning) bring their boat into their slip.  Since we’ve never had a slip before, I wanted to see what lines they had ready on the dock vs. which ones they took care of as they were coming in.

As their boat came in, I was surprised to see that the piling moved as they bumped up against it.  Wait a minute?  They move?  I didn’t realize that!  One of the reasons I was so concerned about docking was I thought if you hit a piling it’s like hitting a piece of concrete with no give.  Once I realized how much the pilings wiggle, I started feeling much better about this whole docking thing.

Back on Pegu Club, we prepared to get Thumper running.  John Bayreuther (the diesel mechanic we use) had told us last year that after we change the filters and bleed the engine, we should run her for 10 minutes at high idle before we splash her.  Having changed the Racor filter the week before and bled the engine, we filled our 5 gallon Home Depot bucket with water and had the hose at the ready for refilling it as needed.  Jeff put the raw water intake hose into the bucket, Thumper fired up, and I started the timer.

Continue reading “Splash, interrupted.”

I feel like bustin’ loose, bustin’ loose!

As our final weekend before splash approached we compared our to-do list with the available hours in a weekend, and braced ourselves for a Very.  Long.  Weekend.  Fortunately we got off to a flying start when we received a call from John Bayreuther on Thursday letting us know that the rudder stuffing box was finished!

John told Jeff that it took a 10 ton hydraulic puller to break it free (apparently it made quite the loud pop when it came loose) but all was well now.  After hearing that, we felt a lot better about not being able to free it ourselves.  It’s funny – our boat neighbors at Shenny asked us that weekend if we were all set, and when they heard what Bayreuther had to do to free the box every single one of them commented on how we must not have felt inadequate after that.  I guess we’ve all been there at some point!

As we drove down bright and early on Saturday, we were excited to see how the rudder post and new hose looked.  What a difference:

Continue reading “I feel like bustin’ loose, bustin’ loose!”

The countdown to splash continues.

The pre-season projects are continuing as we count down to splash for this season.  Jeff had to work on Saturday so we were only able to get in one day at Shenny on the weekend of April 21st.

Earlier in the week it looked like the weather was going to be lousy on Sunday, but we ended up with a sunny day with highs in the mid 50’s – warm enough to sand and fair the keel repair that we started last fall that was needed after we ran aground.  We brought the West System manual with us since it had been a while since we last did this, but soon enough Jeff had finished fairing the keel with final touches to be applied next weekend.

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Continue reading “The countdown to splash continues.”

Time to call in the professional.

After spending the previous weekend in Vermont, we had a three-day weekend of boat work awaiting us.  Amazingly the forecast was for great weather all three days, so we were looking forward to getting a lot done.  First on the priority list was to try to break the rudder stuffing box free.  After all, until that project is finished we can’t go in the water.

I had posted about our dilemma on the Bristol Sailboats Facebook page and received several good suggestions, so as we drove down to Shenny on Friday I was optimistic.  Jeff, not so much.  Maybe because he knew that he would be the one doing all of the grunt work!

Continue reading “Time to call in the professional.”

It’s not always about the boat.

After a very long off-season getting the house ready to sellselling it, and moving into an apartment, we needed to get away.  Typically a weekend getaway for us would be Boston or NYC, but this time we wanted something relaxing.  Vermont during mud season would be perfect.  Although we’ve only been there a handful of times, I have a soft spot for Vermont.  It’s so relaxing. Maybe it’s the lovely topography, maybe it’s the people who are so friendly.  If it wasn’t for the winters and the fact that it doesn’t border an ocean, I would seriously think about moving there.

We drove up to Bennington, Vermont after work on Friday, April 9th, and less than two hours later we were checking into the Four Chimneys Inn in Bennington, Vermont.  We must already be getting used to apartment living because the room was huge!  Making good use of the gas fireplace and the heated private porch, we spent the weekend recharging and reconnecting.  It was fantastic.

Continue reading “It’s not always about the boat.”

Chartplotters, Bits, and Bobs – Defender Warehouse Sale Time!

As the annual Defender Warehouse Sale approached, we casually started making a list.  “You know, we don’t really need much this year” we told each other.  Yet somehow on Sunday the 2nd we found ourselves loading four bags into the car.  What the….

Our sale actually started a week early this year when we picked up a refurbished 7″ B&G Zeus2 chartplotter for $500.  We’ve been using iNavX as a chartplotter on our iPad ever since we bought little Bristol, and although it was o.k. we always knew we would eventually buy a real chartplotter.  We can’t see the iPad screen in the sunlight, it’s not waterproof, it needs to stay out of the sun so it won’t overheat, and we have to keep an eye on the battery.  While it works for some people, it really wasn’t what we wanted to use when we head out full time.  We wanted something waterproof that we could hard wire and see in bright sunlight.

Continue reading “Chartplotters, Bits, and Bobs – Defender Warehouse Sale Time!”

That sucker is stuck.

After taking care of our propeller shaft stuffing box last fall, it was time to turn our attention to the rudder shaft stuffing box.  Jeff had noticed during last season that the hose surrounding the stuffing box was very old with many signs of serious cracks.  Given that a rupture of the hose would result in a significant amount of ocean water coming into the boat, we knew we needed to take care of it this offseason.

Unable to find anything online about servicing the rudder shaft stuffing box, we were essentially going to have to go in blind for this project.  Not surprisingly with a 40 year old boat, its been a challenge, and unfortunately we’re not finished yet.

Continue reading “That sucker is stuck.”

Sold!

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Well that didn’t take long.  After one day on the market the house was sold to the second person that saw it.  One week later we started looking for apartments.

Our luck continued with the first apartment we saw being almost perfect, so after looking at a few others we called the landlord and took it.  At two bedrooms and 1200 square feet, it’s only slightly smaller than our house and aesthetically fits our style to a T.  There is a washer and dryer in the basement, it has gas heat (and a gas stove), more storage than we need, and it’s in the neighborhood we want.  The only drawback is it’s a slightly longer walk to work than I preferred, but I could certainly use the exercise.  Jeff’s work is actually closer now so I teased him that I should just take the car, but honestly I really do enjoy walking to work and wouldn’t want to give it up.

The closing was yesterday.  I thought that I would be sad to be leaving the house, but surprisingly I really wasn’t.  Sure, there were a few tears as I vacuumed over the weekend while we worked to make it broom clean.  After all, at just short of eleven years this is the longest I’ve ever lived in one place in my entire life.  Different memories came to mind as I moved through each room.  But I also saw things that needed to be done (“The floors really need to be refinished.”  The trim in the bedroom has to be repainted”), and I was so thankful that we don’t have to be the ones to do them. Continue reading “Sold!”