Friday, December 30, 2011

We are getting somewhere....

Mark estimates that the wiring is now 85% complete. I am thinking it is more likely that we are somewhere around 70% done but only because we seem to be receiving a new control panel every 2 weeks or so. Control panels that are allowing us to put useful functionality into Ceol Mor but that require components to be ordered, schematics to be redrawn and of course all those shiny bits to be wired in. Mark is a man obsessed with beautiful, functional control panels. Our new panel installation number is now at 3- 2 auxilliary panels and the main panel. No more panels please Mark, we are running out of exposed teak.

Some folks say that you need to solder all your connections, while others say crimping is the way to go. Mark is doing both soldering and crimping as its the "proper way to do it". We will never ever purport to have expert opinion on sail trim. Lord knows we won't point to Ceol Mor as an example of the right way to anchor. Electrical stuff though IS Mark's forte, speciality and area of expertise. Seriously. Trust me on this one. To my friend who said that soldering was a bad idea because wiring moves, well if your wiring is moving "you are doing it wrong". ;) So go ahead and look at the beautifully soldered, crimped wiring with every circuit labeled and the tidy installation of it all. Now you understand why it is taking forever...

Mark made a wiring loom to keep everything neat and tidy. You can't see the carefully drawn wiring map leading to nails which allow us to work in a tidy manner without tangles. I'll try to get a detailed  photo up of the loom because it has made the wiring of the control panels so much easier, I don't know how people work without them.

Mark had an idea for a feature on the blog. He wants me to share his "tool of the month. I said so along as this wasn't a ploy to add the latest and greatest shiny gadget to his arsenal that we could do that. So here is 'Captain Perfecto's Tool of the Month'. A 12 ton manual hydraulic crimper. In Capt. Perfecto's estimation, this is the bees knees. You got ours on Ebay. You can too: 12 Ton Manual Hydraulic Cable Crimper

While we- and by we I mean Mark works on wiring the components in indoors while the temperatures are so cold, the girls busy themselves near by. Maura is keeping busy by beading on her bead loom or by trying her hand at string art. As Maura worked to hammer in nails to create her design, Kitty has to get in on the action because tools are involved and Kitty loves tools. She loves tools almost as much as she loves helping Mark go over wiring schematics.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a few beautification projects for Ceol Mor that will hopefully be installed in the next 2 months at which point we should be sailing again. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to getting this boat away from the dock, if even for only a few hours.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Poor sad neglected little blog. I can't help it. I'm just having a really tough time coming up with a way to make wiring interesting. Its tedious work and since Mark is nothing less than a perfectionist, taking quite a bit of time. No matter, soon enough I shall wow you with photos of the most exccellent wiring which is being installed in Ceol Mor.

Christmas has snuck up on me this year. Its 2 days until Christmas and I still have a million and five things to do and we do a decidely small, laid back Christmas! While I scurry about trying to find the fixings for a sherry trifle (tough job in the Southern US!) and trying to placate Maura who is bitterly disappointed at our lack of a Christmas tree, I'll just leave you for now with an old shot I like and wishes for a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, blessed Solstice or what ever holiday you celebrate.

I'll be back with after the New Year with new photos, scintillating tales of wiring and inept former marina neighbors, stories of our wackadoodle kids and an upcoming transatlantic trip.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Do you like apples? Well how about them apples...

This might be the girls favorite cold weather treat of all.
It is December, 2011. A cold front has swept in and brought with it somber grey skies and flitting rain showers. I am not supposed to be here in the cold. Mark is not supposed to be off in the seriously freaking cold UK for work. We are supposed to be in the Bahamas, on our boat watching the kids play on a sunny beach. Supposed to be.

That's the thing about getting a boat ready to cruise. They don't tell you that you are supposed to be delayed by a year or two. It happens to a large percentage of folks getting ready to cruise, delays due to unforseen boat repairs or cruising kitties needing to be topped off. With very few exceptions, all of the cruising peeps I know have had delays. We are no exception so I suppose that we are actually where we are supposed to be.

It can be tough to watch your friends leave the docks and to feel a bit left behind. Sure, you are excited and happy for them beyond all measure but getting ready to leave can feel like a slog at times. A slow, never ending slog which can leave you feeling a bit schmoopy.. Well cheer up little would be cruiser. I'm going to give you a very fine reason to be happy to be stuck in the cold. Sure, your friends might be enjoying pristine waters watching dolphins frolic and sipping rum but you my friend have access to fully stocked grocers with all the ingredients you need to make my kick ass brie and apple sandwich. You are in the cold. You have apples. Apples in the Carribean? Not so much. Get ready to gloat.

Since my most used kitchen equipment is burn gel and a fire extinguisher this is a truly special and unique blog post. This will be one of about 3 recipes you will ever find on our blog so tag this post as 'rare and unique'.

 Here's what you need: 2 apples, a big hunk of good brie, fresh baguette, fresh pressed apple cider, nutmeg, allspice and butter. Margarine is an abomination, use the good stuff.

Peel and core the apples, then slice into rings. Put apples in a pan and cover with cider(about a cup or so) add 1/2 tablespoon each of nutmeg and allspice and simmer until the apples are soft. Drain the apples. Save the liquid to make some wonderful cider and whisky cocktail to you know, take off the chill) Slice the baguette, slap the apples and a big hunk of brie on it. Butter that puppy up and toast them in a hot pan until the bread is golden brown and the brie is a warm, gooey mass of unavailable in Mexico loveliness. This sandwich goes better with cold weather.

NOW you can look at your friends photos of their boat anchored in a gorgeously warm location and not feel quite so schmoopy. And yes, I just acted as if I was telling you some marvelously complex epicurean secret and not just how we make grilled cheese sandwiches in cold weather. Enjoy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Anchors aweigh...

masts and clouds, originally uploaded by CidnieC.
We've made do with the standard issue Bruce and Danforth. We haven't been going much out of the muddy bay so there was no real reason to hurry up and spend money until we were a bit closer to actually being able to leave the dock. The same has been true for us remaining dinghy-less. I am very happy to report that Capt. Perfecto has deemed it time to visit these topics and to make some purchases- right in time for Christmas.

After I inadvertantly started an International Incident a while back by asking a simple question about the 2 anchors we were debating on a sailing forum, I got more information than I could have ever wanted on anchors. After my brain exploded, the bits of grey matter left over came to the conclusion that we need a Manson Supreme on our bow. I do believe that there will be one wrapped beneath the tree once we figure out what we have to do to the bow roller to make it happen.

We've decided to add a Fortress to our anchoring arsenal as a secondary/stern anchor. Seems simple enough but Mark has made a friend who we will call "Salty Gene."

Mark views the average Top Sider/Ralph Lauren Polo wearing sailor with suspicion. Sailors whose answer to a given problem is "whip out the Am Ex and get someone else to fix it" are not the kind of folks Capt. Perfecto is likely to listen to. Mark, who is a big fan of doing it yourself, making it work and not wasting anything will take advice with a grain of salt and if the person giving the advice is wearing a West Marine name tag they are viewed with double suspicion. Salty Gene probably does not own a Polo shirt. He does though wear a Greek fisherman's cap and it works because Salty Gene has the requisite grey whiskers as well as more miles under his keel and more years spent cruising than most sailors will get in a lifetime. Salty Gene can make anything (which is tops in Mark's book) Salty Gene said that we need an additional anchor to kedge off and since Mark thinks Salty Gene is the business it will be so.

So that brings our soon to be acquired anchor collection to 3. I made the mistake of asking Mark "Why do we have to have 3 new anchors? Why can't we just use the oversized kedge anchor as our stern anchor?" Because I do not understand physics. Because you don't want an oversized anchor as your secondary. Because Salty Gene said so.

I still don't quite understand why we need a smaller stern anchor AND a larger one as well. I figure if you are deploying an anchor you want it to hold the boat so an oversized secondary anchor could be pressed into service to kedge off when needed and when you haven't screwed up, it can work as a secondary for the stern or the bow and it means one less anchor to take up space. Then again, I do not have grey whiskers or a Fisherman's cap nor do I smell like Old Spice. No matter. I'm just glad that Mark has found a suitably salty pal whose opinion he values, whose stories he enjoys hearing and who is making this stage of the refit a whole lot more fun for Mark.

So 3 anchors it is.