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Live Free 2 Sail Fast

Nightwatch: Barbi vs Sleeping Beauty!

Barbi versus Sleeping Beauty….who would you rather have on night watch?  Let me explain.  Last time we were out for a night run, I snapped pictures of both Barbi and Sleeping Beauty as they came off their night watches…and what a difference.  Barbi had obviously done her hair, makeup and put on new clothes.  She had brushed her teeth and had some coffee, cause she was ready for the day.  Sleeping Beauty…..was sleeping like she should have been after coming off a night watch and sleep is so important coming off watch.  So check them out…Barbi and Sleeping Beauty- 

Barbi coming off night watch. Probably didn’t keep a good watch cause she needed to perfect her look. 

 

Sleeping Beauty doing what she should be doing after night watch….sleeping. 
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Equipment and Personal Milestones- A Very Long week!

This was a great big fun week.  Sometimes the milestones to accomplish the end goal are thrown at you all at once, like they were this past week.

First, my wife retired after working for the same organization for 22 years.  She may decide to eventually go back to work, but we know we’re gonna go cruise for at least the next 3-5 years.  Her retirement is a huge milestone for us, as it means we’re getting pretty close to cutting the docklines and taking off.  There will be a bit of a sting when the money from the paycheck goes away, but we’re gonna take off cruising anyways,  spending less money and already starting to practice better spending habits.  We’ve decided to get rid of both of our cars, so that will be one of the final milestones for each of us….as our cars somehow represent independence for each of us I think…but we cross that bridge sometime in the next few months.

Next, a few months ago we bought a  SilentWind Pro 12V Wind Turbine that’s been waiting on the right time for installation.  We installed it last week while we overhauled the electrical backbone on the boat and fully integrated it into the new power plan for the boat.  I’ll talk through that in another post, but needless to say, I’m pretty excited it’s up and working…nearly completely silently.

SilentWind Pro 12V Installed and Working

We also knew that we would need to be able to be off the grid (a slip with A/C) and still run our watermaker and other power sources for long periods of time.  I opted to overhaul the power backbone on the boat so we would be able to run most of the boat using DC systems…vice having to use a generator all the time.  We opted to route the incoming A/C through a massive inverter/charger that would be able to handle the load from our portable water maker, so we bought a Magnum MS Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger and installed new power cables to push charge up to the panels mid-ship.  The massive Magnum MS 2812 will be able to support plenty of juice throughout Tulum and was a significent investment in our own internal infrastructure.  Although we hired a very, very smart electrical expert to help us install this and the Wind Turbine, it was priceless education for me.  I’ll discuss further in another post on the subject.

Magnum MS 2812 Installed and working. So very sexy!

Finally, the day before my wife’s retirement when we had 15 out of town guests arriving for dinner on the boat….our new liferaft arrived (2 months early).  But…so much better than late.  With me actually getting a haircut to get all pretty and trimmed up, my wife had to write a big check to the gentlemen delivering the raft and haul it on the boat.  I’ll write a much more detailed post on our thoughts on why we bought this particular liferaft, but needless to say…it’s here.  Our Revere brand liferaft arrived shiny and new, with a deck cradle.  I’m pretty stoked as this is another milestone for us…replacement of the old liferaft was one of our mandatory requirements to leave.It’s been a crazy fun week and weekend and now we’re moving on to other projects.  This week we’ll have an expert electronics installer working with me to install our Iridium Go and marine broadband router, helping to modernize our communications backbone.  I’m pretty excited by all this.  Needless to say, there was some stress last week as the entire master berth needs to be torn apart every time we work on batteries or need to get into my back closet…so I’ll include this parting shot of what the salon looks like while that work is going on…while living with a Great Dane and two small children on the boat.

This is our bed and everything from my closet taken out to the salon for several very long days of work installing the Wind Turbine and Inverter/Charger.

We leave with Baja Ha-Ha in early November and invite you to follow our blog to share our adventures.  

All Dressed Up For the 4th

This Fourth of July was special for us as we’re both about to be retired and we’re heading out of the US soon, thus we’re not sure when we’re gonna be in this country again for another 4th.  Like a match made in heaven, we were invited by the Surf-fur crew to watch the Big Bay Boom in San Diego Bay (which we had never done).  To say it was a spectacular salute to the birthday of our country is an understatement.  Just old fashioned fireworks and really cool scenery on San Diego Bay- 

I hope each of you had a great 4th of July, I know we’ve gotten a ton of boat work done this weekend and I was able to get several long term projects closed out-  Curtains (DONE), Varnish and Clearcoating (DONE).  Now I’m moving on to getting the dinghy chaps completed, getting the antenna arch and wind generator support welded on this week and getting the rest of our electronics done by end of July.  I was also informed that our new larger 8-person life-raft will be delivered two months early ($$$$$).  So I can confirm a lot will happen this month alone. 

Here’s Tulum, all dressed up for the party on 4th of July:

 

Tulum all dressed up, including her American, Conch Republic and Alamo Flags.

Quincy’s advice and sage wisdom will come out tomorrow and Monday we’ll discuss varnish and clear coat in more detail. showing you differences in work levels and why it’s taken me so long to get to being done. 

Projects Coming Together

Slowly, projects have started to come together here on Tulum.  I’ve already ranted and raved about how I usually have 2-3 projects going at the same time, but sometimes it’s hard to know what they are and see evidence they’re getting done.  A neighbor was surprised last week when she asked if we still had major projects to complete on the boat.  I couldn’t help but stifle a giggle, as it’s obvious even our closet neighbors don’t realize all the stuff we have going on the boat at once.  But finally, some projects have started to gel and I’ve pretty happy that they’re starting to come together.

Today I finished the blinds.  I’ve been working on this project for several months and on various occasions it’s really been slow.  The old ones were the metal pull shades that tended to be really nice in port, but would have been a nightmare in rough seas:

 

Michelle picked the fabric and I spent the next four months working on different projects, without thinking through how much work some curtains would be.  They were more work than I imagined, but today they came together and I’m done with that project:

Curtains in my room, complete project done.

Today I also climbed the main again and re-installed our new check stays, made of Dyneema.  They went up quick after I finally climbed the mast in early morning (less wind) and they really seem to sexy up the boat! 

I’m concurrently working on sewing our new dinghy chaps (kicking my ass) and we’ve confirmed our appointment to get our new stainless welded onto Tulum for our new antenna farm and wind generator.  Going to be a busy July! 

Stay tuned, as LF2SF is growing into itself and loves our followers!  You can connect with us on YouTube and Patreon and follow us here! 

 

Baby Steps to November

We’re making baby steps toward leaving in November….one thing at time but at least three projects going at any one time; if that makes any sense.  Last week we knocked a couple things off the list as we were between “Camp Grandma’s”.  We were able to get the kids their new passports (both parents have to be there/you must have a passport with more time on it than 6 months before you leave the country), we did our last Minney’s run (coming home with several great finds) and we officially emptied out and gave up our storage shed!  This last one was huge, as it means we’ve cast off the safety net of being able to throw the junk in the shed and not worry about it.  Ever figured out how much junk can go into your car before you reach a breaking point?  See my wife’s Jeep right about now-

As I said above, I’m in the middle of three different projects with mando mid-July completion dates (before we have boatloads of family and friends here for my wife’s retirement).  I’m currently knocking out the varnishing projects (inside and out), working on making my own dinghy chaps (despite getting several polite suggestions that others could help make them for a fee) and working on getting the stainless project done that will hold our new antennas and wind generator off the stern davits.  This is one of the last major expenses we have besides the new liferaft.  

So, no kids column today as the kids are at Camp Grandma but Quincy will be back Sunday with more advice and wisdom.  Till then, keep reading! 

Don’t forget you can click on our YouTube, Patreon and Pinterest links for more info- 

Strippin Isn’t all Fun and Games

Stripping is hard work!  For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you know that stripping is hard and not all fun and games.  NOW I know why people pay a great stripper, cause it’s long hours in the heat and has sucked the energy out of me big time.   (more…)

Boat Projects with No End?

I’ve commented before that my normal posting days are M/W/F/S/S, so if I miss a post it’s likely that we’re out sailing, I’m swamped with a project or I’ve just been lazy and didn’t get to it.  Time seemed to fold between this week and last week.  Before I realized it the seam of time had thrust May upon us and I had more projects unfinished than ever before.  I knew I could knock out some small projects last week, but several turned into monsters and have stretched into this week.  

Last week I experimented with a 3-part clear epoxy based covering for varnish or Cetol, with impressive results.  The Awlbrite Clear Gloss system comes with 3-components mixed together, easily applied with a brush.  The system says to use multiple coats and IS more expensive than a normal clear coat but is said to last longer.  I was initially told it would hold up to 7-years in direct sun, but then the guys at the store said 3-years in direct sun.  Since the area’s I’ve applied it to are not in direct sun, I only used two coats (but will use at least three coats for areas in direct sun).  The results were great.  The stuff dried fast and hard- but we kept kids and dog off of it for at least 24 hours….a huge accomplishment on my boat.  Here’s a couple of quick pics-

Transom Platform (under dinghy and solar panels) with the system already applied.
Cockpit floor, inside the doghouse.
Another view of the cockpit floor.

Last week I also started messing around with trim on the cabin windows of the boat, especially with the weather getting better.  Here’s how it looked as I started:

Contemplating how much work I had in front of me!
Work in progress with scraper and heat gun, Day 1
Scraping and cleaning done, have to still sand before even thinking about varnish or Cetol.

I have (10) cabin windows to get done as well as multiple other smaller pieces of teak on deck before I even think about the mighty toe rail.  Might I mention that we went from a boat with almost no teak to this boat…with a freaking LOT of teak.  This isn’t a complaint….just an observation.

I skip around on projects when the weather doesn’t play right, when I run out of supplies or when I get bored with one and move to another.  So last week I also started working on the promised curtains for the boat.  This involves cutting fabric, doing the edge work, taking down the old metal blinds and putting up new curtain rods.  This is before I ever get out the Sailrite.  But I did actually get to the sewing machine, get all the curtain rods mounted and made enough curtains for four windows before running out of supplies.  I’m now waiting on the supplies and the boat looks pretty funny with three covered windows out of six in the main Solon.  Here’s what the curtains in my room look like now (I’ll do a full story with before and after pics when the project is finished):

Curtains in my room, keep in mind I did not pick out the fabric.

And as a parting shot to make you smile and tell ALL your friends to follow LF2SF:

The morning after the second coat of Epoxy Clearcoat in the cockpit, Quincy CANNOT figure out why she can’t get back in her doghouse.

PS: Weds coming, are you signing up?

A Dirty Post- The Last Pumpout

Thursday afternoon, Tulum got it’s last poo-poo pump out (from Pepe La Pooforever, as we had ordered and were set to install the second Air Head Composting Toilet on our 51′ sailboat.  I’ve been longing to go away from toilets on a blue-water sailboat that consume both electricity and fresh water, knowing we had several options to achieve this very goal.  First, we could have kept our toilets and pumped saltwater through them.  They still would have used electricity, but we could have run saltwater through them.  This means you get saltwater in the lines and the holding tank (which means associated smells) and you still have to macerate/pump to get the stuff out of the holding tank and out of the boat.  We could have also gone to pump heads that used saltwater and we could have installed a 3-way valve, meaning the remains just go over the side when we’re at sea or out of the US.  This would mean no electricity and no freshwater + nothing going through the holding tanks.  Or Option #3 was to get rid of the systems and install full composting heads, meaning I don’t have to rely on holding tanks, power or water to get the remains out of the boat.  I like that.  So, I’ve just installed the 2nd Air Head and we’re up and running. (more…)

ReBlog: Shipyard Vid: Install of Our New Composting Head — Have Wind Will Travel

I’ve been working on projects non-stop in anticipation of some down time while we’re visiting my brother and his family and attending the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show (soon).  I also know we’ll be heading to Catalina Island over spring break for a bit of a shakedown cruise, gotta knock out a few things first.  So this morning I’m adding more detail to the “Boat” page on LF2SF.  I’m also super excited to have one more of my milestones knocked out for cruising, which is adding composting toilets to Tulum and getting rid of the electric, freshwater toilets we have currently.  I’m halfway there, one toilet installed and one to go.  I’ll bring you more about the install on Wednesday.  In the meantime, you gotta go look at the “Have Wind Will Travel” website with photos and video of their own install.  Make sure to check out the site and consider following them.   

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Saturday Sailboat Musings

I’m up early Saturday morning as usual because Quincy the Dog needed to go out, and when a Great Dane won’t let you sleep, there’s no ways of it you can avoid taking her for her walk. I used to just be able to open a glass door from my room at home and kick her out into the backyard, but here I’ve got to walk her and will continue to do so until November. When November comes, we’ll have to start taking her to shore 2-3 times a day for her walk and runs whenever we’re sitting in a harbor. It was a long week but I’m not sure why. I was in my 3rd class in a series at TRLMI, called Marine Electrical Systems. The course runs from 6pm to 9pm and after a day of work, it often turned into long days. I’m glad I took it, but there was alot of theory and equations. My days are filled with working on the boat and doing boat related projects, which I love to do + picking up and dropping off kids and dog. This week I was able to tour and photograph a 41′ Formosa Yankee Clipper built in 1980 in Taiwan. She was very similar to the boat I grew up on and brought back lots of memories. She’s on Sailboat Listings and will soon be available through a broker, but I’ll bring that to you in a separate story Mon or Weds. I also needed to get the Check Stays down from Tulum’s masts (so I could get them to the rigger for updating), so I rigged up my pulley’s and went up the mast for some adventure. Tulum’s Main Mast is 65′, so the second spreader is well off the ground:

Tulum’s Main with the check stay already taken off. It goes to the 2nd spreader on this main mast and to the top of the mizzen mast.

Here’s the connection at the second spreader that you have to manipulate to get the wire Check Stays off:

Shackles that have to be undone mechanically and by hand, with seizing wire that must be cut beforehand.
Tulum 5, from the second spreader.
And two Check Stays, off the mast and into the Riggers.

Next time up the mast, I’ll bring my track lube and my anti-corrosion spray for the metal parts, plus I’ll start the laborious task of getting mast steps back onto the mast. The frustrating part about this for me is that there’s tons of open mast step holes all over the mast (that’s how I’m getting water in the boat from the rain) and I finally found the mast step that matches those holes exactly. However, that specific mast step is priced at $20.65 per step, as opposed to the steps I can afford at $8.56 at the same store. Both steps are aluminum, but the more expensive one is also larger, meaning it would take fewer steps to get them up the mast. Very frustrating for me. So I let out a big sigh and bought a rivet gun. I’m gonna tackle that project myself and rivet the new steps on with holes I drill as much as I have to-

Ok, we’re changing up the website, we’ve turned on Patreon and I’ve started messing with my new video camera to try to start getting the editing and filming started. We’re gonna streamline our look a bit and try to professionalize the site a bit more. If you’re reading, keep it up. If you’re visiting, cool, thanks.