Fun…. Not Quite

January 29th, 2022
 W/ wanted to do this one. I’m not blaming her. Her picks for tourist stuff was quite different from mine. We headed out to the Mossman Gorge, the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Truth: I was interested. I wasn’t excited.
The tour company and bus were excellent. The driver knowledgeable. The ride long. The restaurant ok. The information…. well, it was a bit like sitting in a classroom. One with an instructor that was knowledgeable and mildly entertaining.
Again we were picked up at 0730 am. We had this tour scheduled with our tennis mates. After several stops filling up the bus we headed out of Cairns. From here on I felt like taking notes. We traveled for an hour, stopped for a bit, traveled for an hour stopped for a bit, repeat.
Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge, just another rocky creek.

First stop: Mossman Gorge. For my money… not worth the visit. Oh if it isn’t out of the way one where ever you are going stop. If it’s out of the way…. don’t waste your time.

The river tour felt like one of our Florida rivers. All except for the Crocodiles. In Florida we have Gators. We came across a momma and little one (no pic of the baby).

Female Croc

Momma Croc catching some rays

No one got out of the boat. Crocodiles are an apex predator. They will eat people. No questions asked. Everyone snapped some pics and we went looking for the Papa. The male Croc that inhabits this part of the river is said to be… huge. We didn’t see him. We heard how this rainforest is the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on Earth. We heard how scientists came to that conclusion. I’ll not bore you here but for any interested here you go. One pleasure boat had anchored in the river. No one was swimming. 🙂 We exited on the opposite side of the river and an hour later had lunch at an eco lodge.

Now, I’m all for eco tourism. However, I do like my air con. We had fans. Food was…. ok. I’m not going to brag about it. Actually, I can’t remember what exactly I had. After lunch we made our way to Cape Tribulation near Port Douglas. A walk

Cape Tribulation

A beach and a Cape

on the beach, more time for notes and two highlights.

We met to the Lawyer Vine. Not intimately. This vine hangs down from trees and rock walls. Covering the stem are heaps of biological fish hooks. They grab anything and everything on you

and hang on. They’ll rip skin off ya and make you bleed. Thus the “Lawyer” moniker. Another common name is the “Wait a While vine. If you run into one you will be waiting to untangle yourself from it.

Wait a Minute Vine

This will draw blood and make your day unpleasent.

As we left the cape the brightest spot in our day occurred. A Cassowary. W/ wanted to see one so badly and yet here she missed it. This bird can be dangerous to people. The last known recorded attack / death occurred in the 1920’s. And if you travel back millennia there is evidence that once they were domesticated. Not any more. Besides the danger to people they are an interesting bird. Many of the seeds in the rainforest germinate better after consumption by the big birds. Seeds having passed through the birds intestinal tract are clean and deposited in a large pile of fertilizer. Oft times a larger distances from consumption. And the primary care giver is the… male. My brief encounter near the parking lot had two chicks foraging around .

Cassowary

They are not easy to see

On our return from the cape we came across another male with two chicks. Here by the side of the road we could peak out the windows and door. He hung off the edge of the road. W/ scored. She now can mark a wild Cassawarry off her check list. Estimates are that there are about 60 living in the Daintree.

On the road again we transited the river by ferry, then stopped at a local ice cream shop. Time flew by for me with eyes closed more than I would admit. Homeward bound we were. By 1700 we wandered into our hotel. A hot shower, light dinner and more Australian Open to watch. I was looking forward to an evening as exciting as the day.
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Sometimes you Got To Go

January 27th, 2022
Dave and Wendy Ready to Go

Wendy and Dave … All Aboard!

While I don’t call us cruising tourists, sometimes one just needs to do tourist things. With this Covid mess we’ve been getting itchy feet. Time to move, time to do something. W/

mentioned heading up to Cairns and some Tennis friends (Gary and Paula) were interested in the trip too. Thus, the planning commenced.

 
There was a train traveling there that sounded interesting, it had sleeping compartments, food and the promise of a nice ride. Train there, plane back. Sounds good. Gary found nice accommodations with some bonus money for

Spirit of Queenslander

Our Ride

tours. That as well as an included Aquarium tour and dinner. Breakfast (called Brekky here in Aus) was included. Sweet! With the accommodation booked and our transport there we found a flight back. All that was left were the day trips.

 
Considering that Covid cut down the international tourists we didn’t think there would be any issues. And …we were wrong. What I wanted to do most was the White Water rafting. W/ wanted the waterfalls and the Daintree forest. We began booking what the 4 of us wanted together and the first issue rose up. Our voucher didn’t work. Paula’s did, ours not. A couple of phone calls, a bit of a run around; call (A), (A) said to call (B). W/ calls (B) and (B) tells us to call (A). Finally working up the phone tree W/ connected with someone that fixed the issue and we made our booking. The four of us would be going on the waterfalls tour Friday. Next; book the White Water rafting, the Daintree forest with Cape Tribulation, and the Aquarium. All booked now with a day off in the middle for some R n R.
 
We drove to the train station and Stella and John on Exocet Strike retrieved our car from the train parking lot. W/  wanted it locked at the marina. 🙂 Upon our return; Dan from Vagabond, would take the car and pick us up at the airport. Our cruising community comes through.
 
The train is a pleasant mode of transport. Cairns is a long, long way from Redcliffe. About the same distance as from Chicago to Miami. 25 hours on the tracks. We were in first class with food and a personal AV station as well as a “sleeping pod”. It was not what I expected. Our seats changed at night to a pull out sleeper which was mildly comfortable but all too public for me. The movies on the AV system were excellent and neither W/ nor I had seen any before. We settled in and next stop for us; Cairns.
 
While trains are slower than planes, catching the scenery is not the easiest. Stops were at train stations and checking out the loading platform is not a “point of interest”. Great views and vistas still flew by. If the camera; aka phone, was not at the ready you missed it. Yet, that said, train travel is much better than driving!
 

We arrived in Cairns, secured a taxi and checked in to our hotel. A lovely view from

Cairns Esplanade

Our View from the Hotel

the 6th floor overlooking the esplanade and the Ocean. Brekky (Breakfast) was a full smorgasbord and the predicted rain was abating. Tomorrow would be another train ride to Kuranda and return with the Skyrail. All through another World Heritage Site. The oldest continuous Rain Forest on Earth.

After breakfast our tour company picked us up at the hotel and dropped us at the train station. A different station this time. Different because I understand inAustralia there are several different track dimensions. The Kuranda train traveled through 15 tunnels and over 37 bridges. The rail bed is 125+ years old.  We slowed for waterfalls and traveled through the rain forest into the mountains.

Another World Heritage Site: Wet Tropics. We stroll through the; now tourist town of Kuranda. Stopped for some ice cream, of course. Visited a few tourist shops and SkyRail Kurandathen we boarded the 7.5 km long SkyRail back down the mountain stopping twice. One was for a opposite side view of the Barron River Falls and the other offered a short hike through the rain forest.

 
The Barron River falls were a let down. While we are in the rainy Barron Falls... Tricklyseason I expected / hoped they would be raging. Unfortunately for the waterfalls officionado Queensland has diverted the majority of the water to a Power Plant. The “trickle” was nice; but, not impressive. (To see the difference and not steal another’s photos check out what the Barron falls can be like! ) The next stop downward we were lucky and hit upon a forest walk with a ranger. There we discovered more ways that life in Australia is happy to make a tourist’s visit an experience to forget. The Gympie-Gympie plant. This innocuous looking plant with heart shaped fuzzy leaves has micro poisoned stingers. Often described as microscopic hypodermic needles covering their entire surface. A light brushing against one with bare skin will implant heaps of glass like needle shards in your skin. Neutralizing the poison requires an acid wash. After which an application of a wax covering the skin. Once cooled; they tear off the wax removing as many of the shards as possible and a thin layer of your outer skin. Finally one must wait 4-6 weeks for the rest of your skin and the hypodermics to slough off. You are now free of any further agony. OUCH!
 

On the last Skyrail leg we noticed a water ski lake with no boats and several skiers. Cables attach to an overhead track and drag skiers / wake boarders around this lake. Jumps are placed at various locations and should a skier fall they grasp the next cable. I had to ask about this park. So I did. The park is about safety as well as fun. In Northern Queensland there are Crocodiles. These Crocs are the apex predator, meaning they are more than

Cairns View from SkyRail

Cairns View from SkyRail

willing to eat… people. A skier struggling in the water appears to a Croc as lunch. The park is a safe and fun place to water ski / wake board with no Crocodiles.

 
Tomorrow is my day… white water rafting Yippee!
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Juggling in Paradise

December 28th, 2021
Cruising isn’t all Sunsets and Mojitos. Cruisers often refer to life on the boat as “Projects in Paradise”.  And while a good part of both views are true; there are frustrations. Today is one of the many holidays in Oz. A month or so ago we discovered our depth sounder doesn’t work. As we’re not leaving immediately we added that to the project list and began to address the issue.
 
I had the same thing happen in Fiji. The TackTick read “Reset data”. There I replaced the battery and bingo. We were back in business. Not that easy but not bad. Thus, I ordered a new battery pack. That was after I discovered Battery World couldn’t make / replace the batteries. The cost went form 50 bucks or so to 100. Ok, life isn’t easy or cheap when traveling thus I bought the new pack. Installed it. Now I have a good battery but I still get the notice “reset data”. I did some web research and found my old post on the same issue. But; I discovered a Raymarine response on their website that when the unit does this it needs repair.
 
I called Raymarine and after a bit of discussion they would repair / replace the unit for $450 bucks. Fill out the web form and send it in. Well… my cruising brother Dirk told me years ago, in industry the rule of thumb is when the cost to repair exceeds about 40% , industry replaces with new. A new TackTick display would be $800. I bought a new display.
 
Received it 10 days later, all looks good and fire it up. Good charge and yet it does not connect to the base unit. I try everything. I try to be inventive with the 4 buttons. Still it will not connect to the master unit. I check the master unit; there is power there, I get a program to check radio signals and I have wifi from the unit. It still will not connect. I get out my old wired Display and try it. It will not connect.
 
I dig out the replacement mn-30 we bought while in Fiji. (See my way earlier post on this issue). I tried to connect it to the unit. Still no data. I search around, check the wiring on the transmitter. All good, voltage to it, good, transducer wiring solid. Check the transducer. It is a shoot through the hull and has worked flawlessly for 15 years. The fluid that transmits the sonar to the hull has slowly leaked out / evaporated. I replace it and try. Still no connection. I reset the mn-30, still no connection. I try the new unit I purchased, still unable to connect.
 
More research and I discover that the hull transmitter too has a battery. Maybe that is why the display has no signal. I leave the hull transmitter connected to power for 24 hours to charge and still no connection. I call Raymarine Australia. Guess what. They’ve shut down for the holidays.
 
Ok, I remove the hull transmitter and sure enough there is a battery opening on the back. Nothing in the literature indicates a battery there. Luckily I have a new battery. I put it in the older unit. The older unit doesn’t work so I figure to swap it out. I do. Reattach everything and still no signal to the display.
 
Now I think to my self. Dangerous; I know. When I was considering sending in the older unit for repair I believe I replaced the old battery. That means that I have now put an old battery in the hull transmitter. My head is spinning! I check the voltage on the three battery packs I have out, 1.2 v; 1.8 v, and the one I removed from the hull transmitter; 2.2 v. The pack when full ought to read 3.0 v.
 
I left the hull unit connected to power all night.
 
Again I am thinking.. more research. I check my blog entry in Fiji. I mentioned I had not installed the new hull transmitter yet I wanted to get the older one working. Damn, where is the new one we bought in Fiji. I check our inventory. The inventory has saved us many hours of hunting for things. But! Not today. We do not have anything listed under TackTick or Raymarine. Ok… the hunt is on. I can’t believe it; I find a newer mn-100 that we must have been using since NZ.  I had forgotten about it. I bring the display out and try to connect. It doesn’t connect either. Now I have 3 displays that do not connect to one hull transmitter; mn 30, mn 100, and an mn 100-2.
 
There is only one thing to do. Replace it all and make sure everything works. I return the display and order a new TackTick system.
 
All the while the wx here is … sorry… crappy! Rain and wind, wind and rain. The end result is that we are getting nothing done on the outside wood work. Patience Grasshopper, Patience. (Sorry about the reference to the old Kung Fu TV show).
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Cruising Maintenance Magic

November 25th, 2021

Well, at least one trick. Working on our home often means working in uncomfortable places (Boat Yoga) and doing near impossible jobs. Here is where the trick comes in.

If you haven’t discovered Butyl it is time you do. The stuff is magic. First it is even sticky when wet. I was searching for an impeller blade in my heat exchanger. I didn’t want to remove the exchanger and plumbing. It was wet still in where the blade had settled. I could feel the blade in the opening but couldn’t retrieve it. I tried a thin wire, tried an allen wrench, everything I could think of I tried. Then the light bulb went off! I took a small piece of Butyl and stuck it to the end of my finger. Then gingerly dipped my finger in the hose opening, pressed to the blade and slowly, slowly withdrew my finger with the blade attached. Voila!

 Butyl keeps screws in place.

Today I was twisting around in a small area working in the electrical cabinet. I had a terminal strip in there where I would make multiple electrical connections. Those damn small screws are real PITA! I remember Butyl. A little dab will do you. About the size of a pin head I stuck it in the screw slot. Then insert the driver and bingo! I could hold the screw in place until I could begin to thread it in. What a life saver.

So; do yourself a favor, find where Butyl is sold near you and pick some up. That is; if you want to make short work of frustrating projects.

 

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Something’s all Happening at the … Boat.

November 16th, 2021

Progress! We’ve removed over 1/2 the external teak coating and are making progress towards a new protective… good looking coating. Two reasons: first is that after 15 years the fixes and many spots were failing, and second; the Honey Teak coating is no longer available. If it would be available, shipping to Australia would be expensive and time consuming. We are using a clear epoxy coating that is advertised to last 5 years. We are hoping for 3 years. While we are removing the old coating on the boat I removed the anchor roller nose piece. When I had it made in Annapolis I messed up and the rollers were not aligned right. Our Steel (SS) shop has already modified it and it is now ready to reinstall.

Beyond that we’ve sold one of the items we bought for comfort and our time here. So…. basically…. beginning to downsize… back to cruising mode. Just a little! 🙂

We’ve removed the SailoMat Wind vane and disassembled it. I really, really, REALLY, get annoyed when companies use Aluminium (Al) and SS together. The base of the unit could have been cast in Bronze and I doubt it would have cost significantly more. It would have lasted better, required no paint. Stainless Steel and bronze like each other better than Al and SS. The painting we did in Panama was peeling and corrosion was having a field day with the Al. I was able to disassemble all except one bolt. That needed a larger impact driver than I had. I hauled it to a local machine shop one morning and boom, $10 AUS later the bolt was out.

From there I drove 5 minutes to a local blaster for cleaning all the corrosion and paint off. Five pieces plus priming ended up being $100 AUS. Three doors away there was a powder coater. All 5 pieces cost me…… get this….. $50 AUS. Next step, re-assemble and install.

Green is Firm, Beige is Memory

Inside the boat we are having some new foam for the main salon seat cushions. The foam we changed to in Panama was too firm and when offshore sleeping; for me, it was like sleeping on a rock. We’re adding 2” to the over all thickness and making one side firm and the other memory foam. Turn it over for sleep and keep the firm foam on top when in port. Hopefully, this is a good compromise for sleeping offshore and sitting / lounging in port.

We purchased a Vesper AIS XP-8000 setup. We need this for heading to SE Asia and this system will integrate well with how we navigate.

10 mm Hayn Rigging Cones

The cones for the rigging are in Australia. I was contacted by the importing agent (Vanguard) for the paper work. I don’t know if I told you, I screwed up… again! 🙂 If I would have had the order broken into two shipments I could have avoided the duty. Australia charges duty on anything over $1,000 AUS including shipping. They call that “High Dollar”.  And further they do not recognize “Yacht in Transit” for the boat. Anyway, the order was something like $100 US dollars over a the $1,ooo  AUS so we now pay an agent plus AUS duty and GST. Total: an extra $380 AUS. Live and learn. Tis a good thing I ordered these parts in June. It will be close to 6 months before we receive them and can begin any of the rigging project.

For the most part, things are looking up. The boat is getting cruise ready again. Everything we need to finish is now here in Australia. Both of us are getting itchy feet. Especially, as I go through our pictures of where we’ve been and the adventures we’ve had. The website has been eating up my time. I have new galleries of French Polynesia, the San Blas, Fiji, and Vanuatu up. A few hundred images so if you’re bored any time and want some far away place to dream of; have at it.

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Biding our Time

October 18th, 2021

it has been awhile. I guess I need to just stop apologizing and blog when ever I am thinking of something. I’ve been working long hours on the website. Thus I have two new larger picture galleries . One, of our travels though French Polynesia and the the other of our three visits to San Blas islands.

Trying to play catch up on web stuff is not easy. I now know a little of the web add ons. The styling part called CSS, and even less of some of the under the hood programming for the web, called JavaScript. But, like the turtle in the classic race with the hare, I will keep trudging on.

Then too is our time here in Australia dealing with Covid. While the Covid fight hasn’t effected us all that much, it is effecting other cruising friends. One, who I will not name, is going to ship his yacht back to the Caribbean at great expense. I asked him about it and he said; he’s not having any “fun” now. A sad point to be at in life. I understand.

Fortunately, both W/ and I are having fun. We enjoy the boat projects. We don’t want to work full time on them but improving the boat and keeping it looking; in our minds good, is important to us. We play tennis 3- 4 days per week and have met a great group of Australians. None of whom are yachties, but that is how we like it. We cruise not to to be water tourists but to experience life as others live. And luckily for us, Covid struck while we were in a place that is like what we had at home. Weather wise, traffic wise, supply wise and tennis wise.

Oh there are differences. Australians drive on the side of the road that feels odd. I’ve gotten in the wrong side of the car looking for the steering wheel a couple of times. People drive the wrong way around- Round Abouts. Round abouts, those circles at intersections where there are no lights. Some words have similar meanings and others like “Fanny” are verboten. Luckily when I used it once, a nurse I knew came up to me and whispered what in the local culture fanny refers

Epoxy Varnish Removed

Signature Finishes Epoxy Varnish removed

to. To help one understand, it is the slang for a little kitten – part of the female anatomy.

Needs to be cleaned up and Powder Coated

So we plod on. I’ve ordered some new parts for the rigging. They’re at the shippers for posting them to Aus. We’ve taken the Sailomat wind vane apart and those parts are at the sandblasters and powder coaters. We’re having a new memory foam pad made for our new aft bedding. We plan on three new foam cushions made for our sea berth in the main salon and then I get to make new sets of crew covers. We work a bit each week on the teak. The idea is to have the exterior teak Varnish completed when we leave here.

If all goes well, if the governments around the world get their act together, if Covid is under control, we will be heading North and back to the tropics; next winter in Australia. Remember now, cruisers plans are written in the sand at low tide.

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Chain Galvanized – Done!

September 22nd, 2021
Looks a little ....bad

What she looked like after 8 years

The anchor chain project…. complete. We hauled the main chain up to Bundaburg for new galvanizing and what a job they did. Excellent! Approx $1 buck per lb. It actually came back looking shiny (almost)

We carried the chain in the passager footwells

A lot of extra weight.

and like new. Yep, it took two trips. We did however make mini vacations out of the trips. W/ found one wonderful AirBnB and another that was only a place to sleep.

Returning the chain to the boat required two carts. Same as from the boat to the car. We used cardboard and plastic to protect the

The chain markers we use

This tells us how much chain we have out of the boat.

upholstery and loaded it in the middle of the vehicle. Once returned to the boat we laid it out on the dock and added colored webbing to the links every 25’. These small webbing pieces sewn on a link last forever and run fine through the chain gypsy. I can’t tell you enough how great they are. The down side is that the company we purchased them from at a boat show no longer sells the kits. 🙁

One key ingredient all boaters need to do is to secure the bitter end of the chain. Too often I hear of some newbee who lost their anchor rode/chain while out for the days adventure. Most likely

Chain Stopper

Teak Donut connects to the bitter end

an adventure they never wanted. I’ve actually found lost anchors while snorkeling. Sometimes there would even be barnacles growing on the anchor rode or chain by the time I discovered it.

To save your anchor and your day, take some small line (1/4” 5 or 6mm ought to be good), strong enough that it will hold the chain and anchor as dead weight. Run the line out of the chain locker a fair bit on deck, double it and add a few cm’s to it. Next there ought to be a hole, or slit in a bulkhead or major structural member for this line to be attached to. I don’t attach mine directly to the bulkhead. Instead I made a teak donut. I loop the line through the donut and back on itself making a secure connection. Run the double line through the bulkhead up and out the chain pipe. The reason I use a donut is that if somehow the bulkhead fails the donut will stop at the chain pipe and stop. Also, using a long enough line, should I need to cut it, the end of the chain will pass over the gypsy and hang by the line. I can then cut the line. And last; if the fecal material hits the fan as it did for us in Suva, Fiji, letting the chain rip out , the line will snap. Then you’ll have a speedy exit

Only cast off your chain on purpose… and I hope you never need to.

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Working On Website … and..

September 12th, 2021

Well, boat work has been slowly progressing. W/ and I have been diligently

Ready for the final Epoxy Teak protection

working away on the new Teak coating. And it is looking … great. The one big caveat is that our work time in application is about 20 minutes. So, we do what we’ve always done on the boat… baby steps. Eventually we will get there.

In the off time I’ve been working on the web site. I think it will actually display and work fine now on tablets and phones. Although the pages have a great deal of images and phone screens for my part are so damn small.

I’ve also added some new galleries: the Chesapeake, some of our history in the Bahamas, and our two visits to Columbia.

I’ll try to add more galleries as our time permits. And with Covid still having travel in the world shut down for cruisers I’m seeing time in my future.

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A Little Worry

August 30th, 2021
I’ve been working on the website and think I have it in pretty good shape. Updated a great deal and cleaned up more. But, as time is not infinite for us humans I’ve not made a lot of progress on the boat. Yes, the large awning is completed and W/ and I have made inroads on the teak. Some parts are completed and others in process. If the Signature Finish was in good shape we’ve stayed with that. Hey, we had some material still good on the boat and those that know me, know I don’t love to throw much of anything away. Those pieces will wait to be stripped and completed in another 12-18 months.
 
Some of the new finish looks great but the larger areas we are still learning how to deal with the epoxy coating. I’ll share the process with you in the next few updates.
 

One Zinc is past due.

And, most important to me; we have replaced the zincs on the boat. I was getting a bit worried that in the marina I would be out of metal protection below the waterline. A diver was cleaning a boat near by and I asked about replacing them. For $75 Aus he replaced two of them. Personally, I don’t want to dive in the marina water and as the water is rather opaque with sharks that have visited boats in the marina, I felt it would be in my interest to pay someone.

 
Luckily, both zincs, the shaft zinc and the prop zinc were still there. Zincs to be replaced when they reach 1/2 that has disappeared. The shaft was about 60-70% gone, the prop was only about 20%. Whew. I dodged a bullet there. On to something new to be concerned about. 🙂
 
A few projects left. I’ve ordered new cones for the Hayn fittings but haven’t received them yet. Don’t even think they’re shipped yet. Not good. The chain we dropped off today for re-galvanizing. Will pick back up in a week to ten days. In removing the chai, I discovered the anchor windlass isn’t wired correctly. I moved the solenoid when we replaced the refrigeration system. I moved the Exeltech Inverter and all the wiring around it. Something new to check out. I have some LEDs to add to the engine room lighting and then we’ll be close to cruising again. That and when the world gets its head around fixing the Covid mess.
 
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Awnings…

August 21st, 2021

Time Does Fly

I’ve wanted to blog once per week but already see I’m past two! 🙁 We’ve been working like crazy on the awning and epoxy /varnish teak cover. Well, let me clarify that statement. We’ve been working cruiser crazy. As cruisers we try to put in 20 hours / week of boat work. For us, we’ve found 20 hours works to keep the boat functioning and our life aboard comfortable. We’ve actually been doing a bit more lately. All this while maintaining some social connections and exercise (playing tennis).

Playing tennis does tire us out – a bit. The Aussie social tennis style is to play without the normal 90 sec break every two games. And the groups like to play straight through the morning; somewhere between 3 to 5 sets. As I said; with few breaks. Thus many afternoons as we return to the boat there is no desire to start new or continue a project. Some of those days slide by.

Other times are full on. We get out the sewing machine, a beefy Sailrite zig zag and begin work on modifying the awning. The awning was brand new 5 years ago and we never used it. I was waiting for our old awning to blow out. After 13 years it never did. I had some chafe and it was getting brittle in places. Yet it still held together. We did try to take it down if the winds exceeded 25 kts. On a cruising boat we like to extend the life of a product to the fullest. Sometimes even more, finding a new purpose for it or to use parts elsewhere. Anyway…. the new awning sat for 5 years. The old awning was getting to be a PITA because we had changed our mainsail storage system. That and the fabric was getting too brittle. We added a Stack Pack with Lazy Jacks in Fiji. To use the old awning we needed to release the lazy jacks and drag them to the end of the boom. (Lazy Jacks help to store the sail as the sail is lowered.) . The old awning sat over the boom. The new awning had been sewn like the old one; before we made the switch to a Stack Pack and Lazy Jacks. That switch was forced because in NZ we had a new sail made with full battens.

To change the new awning we needed to split it down the middle. Each side would attach to the top of the Stack Pad with a Keder Track. New shorter poles would rest in the boom and hold the awning taut. If all works well we will again have shade while anchored in the tropics. And I have checked out temps before. There is a 20º F difference on the deck under the awning vs outside the shade of the awning.

Modified Main Awning

Attaching the track to the awning sounds simple. Not quite. Moving pieces of the awning the length of the boom around in the boat makes Twister look easy. All the forward attachment points on the awning would change. The after piece would be different because the boom is now centered on the boat with the awning up. Sewing / moving / rotating 10 meters of Regatta fabric in the boat was NOT a bucket of joy. One day we hauled the awning up to the community room/lounge. There we spent all day remaking attachment points and adding a new end.

So far, it is looking good. Good enough that we can get back to the epoxy / varnish job at hand.

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ps  I hope to have the new website up and functioning with in the week. I’ve been cleaning up all the links and fixing pages. From there I will then begin to add more content. Of course… for the nitty gritty on the cruising life… this blog is it.

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