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.”

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.”

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!”

Vacation, part 2: O.k. I guess we’re not going to Narragansett.

Tuesday, July 12th (yes, I’m behind on my blog posts) we set sail for Newport.  The winds were supposed to start off light and then fill in, so we ghosted along the coast of Fishers Island under the jib alone, and headed out through Watch Hill Passage.

The promised winds arrived, but unfortunately they were right up our bum so we were crawling along at 3 1/2 knots.  Upon turning into the wind to raise the mainsail so we could switch to wing and wing, we realized just how good the wind was so we made a command decision to bang a right and head to Block Island instead.  Sure it was the middle of the summer, but it was Tuesday.  How crowded could it be?

Continue reading “Vacation, part 2: O.k. I guess we’re not going to Narragansett.”

Finally! A day with some decent wind.

As far as the wind goes, this has been a frustrating season so far.  We’ve either had no wind or too much (as in, 25-30 mph too much).  While we wouldn’t mind getting some practice in some 20+ winds, we’d like to get a bit more familiar with Pegu Club first.  There’s also the issue of the waves on Long Island Sound when it gets very windy because they get quite close together which is hard on the boat and its sailors.

The weekend of June 11 and 12 was a perfect example of what we’ve been experiencing.  Saturday was a nice day, but there was zero wind.  We spent the day relaxing on the boat (Jeff even took an afternoon nap), and we also worked a bit on our mast wiring.  For some reason the mast lights weren’t working even though they had worked when we tested them over the winter.  Jeff put on some new connectors which did the trick, except for the spreader light which is blinking on and off.  Fortunately it’s the least important light for the moment. Continue reading “Finally! A day with some decent wind.”

Memorial Day Weekend on Block Island: “I wish it was windier” said no one on Block!

This past weekend marked our fourth annual sailing trip to Block Island.  We had spent the prior windless Saturday installing our solar panel (the subject of a future post), and Sunday was mostly windless so we continued doing small projects and getting the boat ready for our mini-vacation.  We were psyched because the weather forecast for the holiday weekend looked great and we were going to be hosting our friends Vanessa and Kurt for two nights – our first overnight guests of the season!

Jeff and I had taken a few extra days off to get a jump start on the holiday weekend, so on Wednesday we drove down to Shenny.  It was a sunny, warmish day with great winds, and we were really looking forward to seeing how Pegu Club would do. Continue reading “Memorial Day Weekend on Block Island: “I wish it was windier” said no one on Block!”

Wow! That was a productive weekend!

When I last left off, it was Sunday night and we had just finished applying the first two coats of Interprotect.  That evening I voiced a thought that had been rattling around in my head for the past few days.  “Jeff?  What do you think about putting the launch date off for a few days?”  “I’ve been wanting to do that for the last month, but I knew if I suggested it you would say no.”  He knows me so well.

Although I really didn’t want to push back Pegu Club’s splash, I couldn’t avoid the fact that we had only one weekend left and a ton of work left.  It wasn’t that I thought we could get it all done.  After all, the boat to-do list is never finished.  It’s just that it was going to be very difficult to complete the things that we either had to or really wanted to do: painting, cleaning the water tanks, washing the boat, etc.  So we decided to delay until May 6th.  It would give us one extra weekend plus several possible days for painting.

As for painting, as soon as we arrived at home that night I had looked at the forecast.  What had been predicted to be 42 overnight was now a frost advisory with a projected low of 35!  Ack! Continue reading “Wow! That was a productive weekend!”

Step by step, we’re getting there.

With Jeff and I not working on Friday because of the holiday, we hoped to cross a lot of items off of our list over the three-day weekend.  A rainy Friday put a slight crimp on our plans, but overall it was still a fairly productive weekend.

We had actually already been down to Shenny on Wednesday to meet with John the diesel guy.  Pegu Club is our first experience with a diesel engine and we know virtually nothing about them.  Although we bought Nigel Calder’s book, we thought it would be beneficial to have a pro show us the basics, like how to bleed the engine.  By the time John left we knew how to do that, plus we changed the impeller, secondary fuel filter, and belt, confirmed where the zinc was, and received many other tips plus an exploded parts manual.  It was time and money very well spent. The diesel is finally starting to look less mysterious.

It rained most of the day on Friday but we had tickets to Shenny’s annual fish fry so we were planning to drive down anyway.  Arriving a few hours early, we were able to spray down all of the surfaces with our bottle of Pure Ayre (which smelled like peppermint) and we closed up the boat with high hopes that the odorometer would read zero on Saturday. Continue reading “Step by step, we’re getting there.”

Well, we can’t avoid the inevitable – it’s time to winterize.

As a native Southern Californian, I despise winter.  I used to tolerate it, but these last two winters have pushed me over the edge.  I’ve told Jeff that when we finally slip the lines and head out, I want our cruising grounds to be so warm that when it drops to 70 degrees I’m reaching for a sweater.  Jeff, a native of Rochester, NY, doesn’t hate winter like I do but even he’s getting to the point where he’s had enough.  Until we leave, however, we need to deal with Mother Nature’s annual months-long interruption of lovely warm days and nights.

With low temperatures this past weekend expected to drop down to the high 20’s, it was no longer possible to deny reality: cold weather is coming soon.  It was time to winterize.  For us, this meant that we needed to change Pegu Club’s oil and run antifreeze through the engine, top off the fuel tank with diesel and add biocide, and empty the water tanks.  Keeping the hot water heater and pressure water system would have added a few steps, but since we didn’t want those features this was also going to be the weekend to get rid of them.

Continue reading “Well, we can’t avoid the inevitable – it’s time to winterize.”