Saturday, April 23, 2011

Its beginning to feel like progress...

Mark and I are very anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new Dyneema running rigging from New England Ropes. Not only are we getting a sweet hook up for the boat but it means that we are finally getting somewhere on the refit and it won't be long at all until we are out sailing again. It feels like we've been relegated to the docks for far too long.

Who could have ever guessed that somethng as simple as putting together a color scheme for the rigging would cause such consternation? Ok, anybody who knows us would guess that.

What made sense to me was fine until Capt. Perfecto's left brain kicked in when he realized I was reusing the solid red Endura line for the jib halyard AND the preventer. I told him it would be fine and that solid red made sense to me on the preventer- red. stop. prevent. Makes perfect sense. Well you can't use a solid line which was for a vertical application everywhere else on the boat for a preventer, which is a horizontal line. Yes, you can. No, you can't. Back and forth for a couple of hours and in the end not only will our jib halyard be red but so will the preventer and really, it will be just fine.

We are excited to try the new line out as Dyneema's superior strength means we can use a smaller size line to get the same tensile strength. Capt. Perfecto made a lovely spread sheet with all the loads, tensile strengths of various diameters, etc. I'm just happy because the bottom line is that smaller diameter means less friction on all the blocks and sheaves which makes trimming less taxing. You can see by the baggy main sail in the photo that I am a lazy trimmer so anything that makes my job easier is aces in my book and going with Dyneema rigging even at full retail is still a lot more cost effective than electric winches.

Hopefully very soon Mark will have that last punky bulkhead glassed and painted, we'll have the main sail cleaned and repaired and with our shiny new rigging installed we'll be doing what we love- spending time together on the water and learning all we can in preparation for our journey. Doing a complete refit with opposing brain types is a challenge. When we are sailing we just fall into a harmonious team rhythm with ease. After almost 2 years of refit follies, I'm looking forward to a little salt water inspired family harmony.

To be sure, there's still tons to do to get Ceol Mor ready to go but being able to sail again, even little day sails will put the wind back in our sails( awful pun intended) as we push onward to the next phase of our journey.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Kitty

Dear Kitty,

You have been with us now for an entire year and what a year it has been! You've been nothing but a joy and delight since the day you've arrived.

Now that you are one, while we still revel in your delicious babyness its so much fun to see you becoming yourself. You've mastered walking and have been talking a blue streak for months, though we don't speak your language yet you KNOW what you are trying to say. We big people are just a little slow on the uptake.

At one year old, everyone comments on how dainty and petite you are. At 27.5 inches and 19 pounds you might be a bit smaller than some (I prefer to think of you as travel sized) but you more than make up for it in personality. People are taken aback to see this tiny, wee girl with such a huge personality. You know how to work a room.

You have an intensity about you when trying to figure out how something works. I think you get that from your dad. You will not lose focus until you are satisfied that you have a good understanding of how things work and boy oh boy do you love tools, wires and light switches.

You love to sing and do so- loudly whenever your sister Maura is practicing. If someone is singing you just have to sing along. You can not listen to music without either singing along or throwing yourself into the music and swaying and shaking your tiny body until the music stops. Its as if the music overtakes you and you can not resist.

Sleeping will never be your favorite activity. There is too much to do and see and sleeping means you might miss something. You still wake up every 4 hours, I like to think of it as you being born to keep a watch schedule. Your favorite thing to do is to go anywhere so long as there are people to speak to and things to look at. You are fearless and take any bumps and tumbles that occur in stride. You are made of some strong stuff my fiery little one and I am so delighted that we belong to each other.

Happy birthday. You are so very, very loved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Technically Speaking....

When I say that we are up to our eyeballs in technical details, I'm not kidding. Some sailors/old salt types kind of wing it when making modifications to their boats. You know the ones of which I speak. They are the MacGyver's of the sailing world and seem to be able to figure out workable, if not elegant solutions to problems presented. While I fall squarely in the MacGyver camp, Mark is Captain Perfecto so any solution must be elegant as well as functional. There can be no winging it for it would break his little Engineer's heart to rerig the boat using duct tape, dental floss and paper clips, which is what would happen if I were left in charge.

Our boat is a Nassau 42. Its the same exact boat as the Tatoosh 42, just imported under a different name. Sort of like the VW Passat/Audi A4- same exact thing, different badge. She was built at the same yard that builds Tayanas and was designed by Bob Perry. One of the nice things about owning a Perry boat (besides knowing that it is a design fit for purpose) is that Bob Perry offers consulting services for those either in the market to purchase one of his designs or those in the process of refitting. Since we love our boat- she sails beautifully, is well balanced and we trust her to take care of us, it only makes sense to trust the designers opinions when you start setting up the rigging, moving deck hardware, adding weight, etc.

We had the opportunity to get a full set of technical drawings for the boat from the Perry office. Talk about making Capt. Perfecto happy. When the tech drawings arrived by post, it was like Christmas morning for Mark.  Details! Specifications! Precise measurements! HURRAY! He was able to see exactly what Mr. Perry designed the deck layout to be instead of the "inefficient tangle created by some previous owning prat". Previous owners had moved things about, removed winches, changed where the sheets and lines ran, etc. We knew that the current set up wasn't ideal but there are so many different ways to skin a cat its hard to know what is the right course to take. Now we know what the designer intended, and its a good idea to" dance with the one that brung ya".

Mark spends what precious little leisure time he has carefully going over all the drawings, doing research on deck hardware, etc. We are in a little bit of fast forward mode here as we are getting ready to have the running rigging replaced with Dyneema lines from New England Ropes and ideally we'd like to have it all planned out so that its pretty straight forward. The tech drawings are invaluable in planning our attack. Besides, tech drawings make Capt. Perfecto very, very happy indeed.

Now armed with the boat's blueprints, its on to figuring out how to improve upon our set up. Currently we have slab reefing and have to go to the mast. The goal is to keep us in the cockpit as much as possible so we're looking over the different options and currently, I'm liking the looks of the Dutchman system. Then we have to sort out the traveler, boom vang, outhaul, topping lift, sheets, lines, etc. I'm actually a bit excited about this because its finally starting to feel a little less like an enormous home improvement project and more like getting a boat ready to sail where ever the winds take us....

Ever her father's daughter, Kitty digs tech drawings too

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hey, why so quiet....

I know I've been slow to blog about the refit progress. Mostly this is because while we are so excited that all of the chainplate bulkheads have been recored, reglassed and just await finishing touches on the final 2 its not the most enthralling of tales. Its work and a lot of it. We are also up to our eyeballs in technical drawings as we prepare to upgrade the traveler, rearrange the deck hardware for easier sail trim and handling all in preparation for the rerigging of the boat with our brand new Dyneema (R) rigging. This makes for quite a bit of research and brain work but not a lot of doing until some final decisions are made. So if we are quiet, its not because we aren't working our tales off in fact, its quite the opposite.

We were so fortunate in having our readers support us in our bid to be on the 2011 Dyneema Experience Team that I was hesitant to ask for yet more help. You've all been so supportive it makes me a little bit uncomfortable to ask for more love from you. But. This request is not for me. Its also nothing to do with sailing although the couple in this post are fantastic crew and we'd take them sailing again with us anytime. It is about love and what sailor doesn't really enjoy a great love story?

This is my niece Victoria and her fiance' Ben. Aren't they adorable? They met in their first year at University and fell deeply, madly in love with each other. They've been together ever since. They struggle to keep up with ever increasing tuition and living costs. There is no free ride for these kids. They are completely on their own financially and unfortunately they live in the USA where if you are an academically poor student but can play football, there is help with tuition grants and scholarships. If you take an extremely heavy course load in order to graduate as quickly as possible and still manage to make perfect grades, you are on your own.

So Ria and Ben gamely try to save money for their wedding because the one thing they know is that they want to be together. Always. Unfortunately, grad school costs go up, educational grants go down and they end up spending their wedding savings on frivolous things like tuition and books. The keep a cheerful heart because they feel so fortunate to have found their soul mate and to have this great big love. When school costs eat up their wedding savings,they remain grateful for all that they have and just sigh and try to find yet another part time job.

So here's where you come in. They've entered to win a wedding from Disney. This is not some ostentatious, over blown extravaganza they are competing for. It is a modest wedding but one they would be grateful for because it means they can get on with living the rest of their lives together. So if you've ever been in love or if you believe in love and commitment and working together for a common goal, sign up and vote for them. Yes, its a bit of a pain to go through the registration process but I assure you, these 2 will be so appreciative of your support, as will I.

Besides, if they get married in Florida they will be conveniently located to crew for us in the Bahamas. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool's!

No, we haven't lost our minds and changed horses when we are so close to the finish line. The major work is almost done- the rebuilding of the chainplate bulkheads. Mark has but 2 left to finish up and then we will be sailing again. Thanks for playing along. Back to your regular scheduled scintillating tales of epoxy work, portlight rebedding and very very soon- rerigging!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Change in Plans (if we actually had made plans)

* Not my photo but it is a Nordic 42
Mark continues to work 5 days a week on Ceol Mor. It seems everytime we think we've gotten the list a bit shorter, some new item requiring attention pops up. We've cleaned and put back together the transmission- 3 times. Recored deck in more spots than anyone should have. Remounted the engine, and replaced the exhaust pipe (which Mark made as you can't buy the part!) Had a complete blister repair and bottom job done. Rebuilt and reglassed the chain plate bulkheads. Removed portlights, had yet more recoring fun and the list goes on and on. We've not even gotten to redoing the deck layout and rebedding the deck hardware yet!

In light of the amount of work left to do and our ever shrinking window of opportunity to cruise, we decided to look at other options. We've gone to the Dark Side- power boats. We've put in an offer which was accepted on a Nordic Tug. There won't be any ocean crossings in our future, but she can definitely handle the US/Caribbean/S. America circuit. The amount of fuel she burns is the issue with range. Fortunately, we like to support the Oil and Gas Industry as much as possible so we can see the huge increase in the amount of fossil fuels we consume as a good thing.

We have no idea what to name the new boat. Anyone want to buy an almost ready sailboat?