Last Few Days Before Heading Down to Mobile

October 8th, 2016

The pieces are all starting to come together with one big push to tie up loose ends both at the boat and the house. I think we've got about 95% accomplished. Always could do a little more here and there but you have to untie the dock lines some point.

The last few things at the house included a fresh paint job. A bit richer and greener than before with bolder trim. Not quite finished in this photo but very close.

I also picked the last big batch of peppers from the garden. It wasn't the greatest year for veggies with the weather being cool and wet during the spring, but the peppers came through as they usually do. The photo is of the cayenne variety but we also have cow horns, green pepper, jalapeno and others.

Another typical autumn day at Green Turtle Bay!

Two of the larger projects were prepping the mast for trucking it down to Mobile, Alabama and finishing up the rear arch. The mast disassembly and wrapping went fairly smooth actually. I photographed every piece and part I removed in hopes of getting them back on the same way in a few weeks.

The mast and boom all wrapped up and no place to go yet. The truck should arrive before October 15th.

The bottom with all the wiring that runs up through the mast.

The top with the VHF antenna, light and windex. I'll add a wind speed and velocity instrument before the mast goes back up.

I discovered a crack on one of the lower spreaders bars. The dirty and oxidized aluminum suggests it happened in the past.

I've already reached out to suppliers for a replacement but nothing yet. Option would be to have it welded before we re-assemble the mast once we get to Mobile.

Finishing off the arch was mostly about adding davits and tackle to support and hoist the dinghy. I may have to upgrade the tackle later as I was just looking at lift rating and not the actual physical size. One of the challenges with being new to all this and having online shopping.

The davits are just schedule 80 aluminum tubes that are bolted onto the arch with lifting eyes attached.

The completed arch with lifting tackle.

The dinghy arrived in a crate and wrapped with a poly bag. Luckily it weighs only 125 pounds with its aluminum hull and slid fairly easily into the back of the Excursion with the friendly help of some of the staff at Green Turtle Bay.

Got the dink unwrap and pumped up. Rowed her out to the boat and nestled her in the slip near the bow.

After getting the arch finished off I could get the boat turned around to hang the dinghy off the back. The new enclosure really adds to the look.

The new dinghy on the back of the Time and Tide. I've ordered more lines to secure it from movement. One of the biggest complaints from boat owners in forums and blogs was not being able to get their dinghy up on a plane and getting waves across the bow. Decided to take these lessons to heart and get a larger horsepower outboard---and electric start.

After having to change out the raw water impeller which cools the engine I wanted to make sure I got all the little rubber pieces from the impeller out of the cooling system. We took a 2 hour shakedown cruise at about 80% max RPM which gives us just over 7 knots. We'll find out what the fuel burn at this speed is in the upcoming weeks but 1 gallon per hour would be typical for our engine.

The sailboat hull slices through the water without much of a wake.

The view forward with the mast and rigging removed. A temporary VHF antenna is installed on aluminum flat stock.

During our last trip the water system developed a leak. Doing some troubleshooting lead to a small leak in the water heater. Fortunately they still make the same model so it was a "simple" drop in replacement. It took longer to disassemble the salon seating than it did to actually change out the water heater. The heater uses both the typical electric element and a heat exchanger from the engine coolant.

The old heater tucked under one of the salon benches

The bottom of the old unit with the rusty metal from the leak.

Old heater removed and a bit of clean-up before the new one is installed

The pretty new water heater in place.

There will be a few times in the coming years where we'd be out beyond coastal waters. Crossing the gulf between the Florida panhandle and peninsula, between southwest Florida and the Keys, crossing over to the Bahamas or a few times going "outside" when cruising north up the intercoastal waterway. We decided to purchase an inflatable life raft for those "just in case" moments.

Also in the same line of thinking, I've installed an AIS system. It's like radar but uses VHF signals to exchange location data, speed and direction between boats. I'd like for the big commercial boats to be able to know I'm around.

The AIS installed and transmitting. The VHF splitter to share the single antenna is on the left and currently has the blue LED due to the AIS transmitting. I still have to wire in the AIS to our legacy multifunction display using a workaround.

The AIS can connect to a computer and display what it sees and transmits. Here is the computer page for what satellites it sees, the signal strength and which ones it is using.

We did have a near miss one morning. We ran out of coffee, even the emergency backup stash was empty!

We had some nice sunrises.....

Probably the most colorful with the wispy mist.

These were more typical.

The cat was scoping out new places to nap as she gets more comfortable.

She seemed to really like this spot. Hard to tell which end was up.

Green Turtle Bay threw a farewell party for those of us making the trip south.

Cake and champagne for all!

The chef and his cake. He will be on Master Chef or Chopped one day.

New blogs will be forthcoming from the inland waterways heading south to the Gulf of Mexico!