We've spent three years cruising to the Bahamas on Pegu Club, our Bristol 29.9. Time to switch it up a bit and head to Southern California for the winter, tent camping our way across the United States.
The anchorage in Calabash Creek is not a place you want to spend multiple days. Deep sea fishing charters speed by all day throwing a large wake. It’s tolerable for an evening, and that’s about it. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next five days called for heavy rain and thunderstorms. We stuck it out for one day and then called an audible.
We do seem to be in the midst of a streak of adventure. Hopefully it’s almost over and I can go back to more boring posts (we swam, we snorkeled, repeat) complete with pretty pictures.
The cold front had finally passed and we decided it was time to get out of Norman’s Cay and move to one of our favorite anchorages last year, Pipe Cay. We were down to slightly over a half tank of diesel and our reserve tank of water, so it was time to make tracks down to Staniel Cay where we could replenish both. The plan was to stay in Pipe Cay for a few days, wait out a mild front with westerly winds, move to Staniel, and then backtrack north and spend some time in the Land and Sea Park. Well you know what they say about plans.
After leaving St. Augustine, our next planned multi-day stop was Vero Beach.We left early on December 29th, anchoring in a place known as the Cement Factory and at Callilisa Creek the next night.
On New Year’s Eve we were motored down Mosquito Lagoon and then the Indian River.Although the forecast had called for 10-15 knots, we were instead getting a steady 20-25 knots, right on the nose.The water was rather choppy and the channel was narrow with depths of about 2 feet right outside.
Because there are never any engine issues in calm conditions with plenty of room all around (it’s always in rough water, or when you’re going through a narrow cut with rocks on either side, or trying to dock), at that moment the RPM’s on the engine dropped, almost to the point of stalling.Almost as quickly as it had dropped, it went back up again.A few minutes later, it dropped again, but not quite as severely as the first time.Once our heart rate returned to semi-normal, we decided to siphon our remaining diesel from the jerry jug into the tank on the off chance the choppy water was interrupting the diesel flow from the tank.Continue reading “It takes a village to change a fuel filter.”→
We’ve been making some decent progress since leaving Coecles Harbor one week ago.First we went to Mattituck, and then we stopped in Port Jefferson where we spent the afternoon doing a few boat projects.
Our initial plan was simply to install the cockpit VHF microphone which we wanted to have available before going down the East River.However, earlier that day while we were enroute I went down below and saw some water on the floor in the head.Hmmm.That’s not good.A quick taste confirmed that it was saltwater.That’s really not good.We prefer to keep seawater on the outside of the boat.
We were hoping to spend a lot of time sailing during my month off, but alas it was not to be.Despite having four weeks off, between a delay in getting Pegu Club to Shenny, a trip to L.A. for my dad’s memorial service, multiple doctor appointments and cardiac rehab for Jeff, and a bad cold that I likely picked up on the flight back from L.A., we weren’t able to sail. At. All.
So if we weren’t sailing, what the heck did we do?Well, we did bring Pegu Club back to Shenny on Tuesday, June 5th.Pegu Club had been splashed the week before, but her sea trial revealed that the new propeller needed to be repitched.Sam at Dutch Wharf did yeoman’s work getting the propeller back to us as quickly as possible, so at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5th we were at Dutch Wharf and ready to go.It was an ungodly hour, but we wanted to take advantage of afavorable current, and hopefully get to Groton before the forecasted rain and thunderstorms.It was a nice sunny morning without a speck of wind.What better way to break in the engine??
Saturday we drove down to Dutch Wharf to say hello to Pegu Club and check out the engine progress. As avid DIY’ers it felt very strange to see that things are being completed without having to do anything but write a check. I think we could get used to it, but alas, the bank account won’t let us! Sam at Dutch Wharf has been doing a great job keeping us up to date, but it was still fun to see everything in real life.
Our Firefly batteries arrived just after Jeff got out of the hospital. Given their weight we knew there was no way we could install them ourselves, so that was our first non-engine outsourced task. We knew they wouldn’t fit in the existing battery box, so the guys removed it and did a new install that looks like it’s always been there.
While the engine was out Sam called and said the 40 year old fuel tank looked a bit suspect and the fuel tank hoses weren’t looking too good either. We had planned on pulling the tank out to inspect it prior to Jeff getting sick, and we had bought an extra five gallon diesel jerry jug in anticipation of the task. After briefly debating whether I could just pull it out myself, we ultimately decided to have the guys do it – our second non-engine outsourced task. A pressure test confirmed that it was time to get a new one. Cross that off the to-do list.
Since we were getting a new engine and shaft, we figured we might as well have the cutlass bearing taken care of and a new PSS shaft seal installed. We’ll consider that an engine-related task! Although we had replaced the packing in the stuffing box last winter, we were tired of the water in the bilge that resulted from the drip-drip-drip. We had heard good things about the PSS and checked it out while were at the Annapolis show in October. Now seemed like the logical time to install it. This is the marine version of buying a new dishwasher which leads to an entire kitchen remodel! Continue reading “Hello, boat!”→
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.
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 forecast for Memorial Day weekend promised more of the same that we’ve been experiencing this month – below normal temperatures, clouds, and rain, with the added bonus of little to no wind. It’s getting really old. Regardless, a weekend on the boat is better than a weekend anywhere else, so we drove down to Shenny bright and early on Saturday morning.
After stopping at Jan Electronics to pick up some terminals that we needed to replace for our wind instrument, we arrived at Pegu Club ready to finish rigging her. Chuck from Sound Rigging had driven down during the week to reattach the forgotten block so now we were ready to put on the sails – hooray!
The mainsail went on easily, but we still need to put in the reefing lines. We forgot to bring the pictures that we took last year so we decided to wait until next weekend for that. Besides, it’s not like we were going to need to reef with only 5 knots of wind forecasted for the weekend.
The jib went on much more easily than in prior years thanks to our decision to get rid of our furler and switch to hank ons. After we attached it to the forestay it took a bit of fiddling to figure out the best way to put it in the foredeck bag, but eventually we prevailed. With virtually no wind, Pegu Club was officially all dressed up with nowhere to go, so we spent the rest of the day doing various boat chores and then finished it off with our first improptu social gathering with our fellow E dock boaters.
Sunday was calling for only 5-7 knot winds, but we were determined to get out for a sail. At the very least, we needed to get away from the dock. We hadn’t left since we splashed last weekend and I was anxious to give it a go without instructions from our friends. I was worried that if we didn’t do it on Sunday I would just continue to get more and more nervous about it, so we decided that even if there wasn’t any wind we would head out. But first, a few more boat chores.