Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Name Is Official and Not Enough Water

Boat name is on and it doesn't look half bad!  It was pretty easy to install.  I bought it, like my last boat name, from BoatUS.  They have good prices and a good product.

I spent quite a while measuring and checking and double checking and getting my wife's input to make sure the name was perfectly straight.  On my last boat, I put the name on while it was in the water and I was in a kayak.  That made things difficult and my wife swears it was slightly crooked (even though all my measurements said it was not).

With the name on the boat I was ready to put it in the water and scheduled the launch for last week.  I received a phone call on the day of the scheduled launch and learned that the boat could not be launched because there was not enough water at the marina.

It turns out that several days of strong northwest winds earlier in the week had pushed all of the water out of the creek and it was too shallow to launch.

I ended up going the marina the following day anyway to load some things on the boat and run the power for the new chart plotter.  The water level in the creek was indeed quite low, with a few boats tied to docks near the marina leaning their sides.  We will try again this week.

I also happened to get a picture of another boat name, below, that is very crooked, far more so than my last boat.  It is so crooked, that they had to cut the top part of the starboard side off to get it to fit on the transom.  I will use this boat forever after as my "could be worse" boat name.  (You can also see the low water level in the creek as it looks like "Jackie" is sitting on the bottom.)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

What's In a Name?

With the purchase of the new boat came the discussion about what to name her.  The old name was "Pursuit," which I was OK with but the other half of the purchase thought the name too intense and serious, not to mention how much she enjoys playing with the boat lettering tool on the BoatUS Boat Graphics site.

Picking a boat name is tough.  Let's go back to my last boat to see how that name came about.  My daughter is ever the reluctant boater.  For a teenage girl, spending the night on a small boat in tight quarters with her parents is akin to cruel and unusual punishment.

In order to get her to join us with as little guff as possible we made an agreement to play the Pokemon card game on the boat with her.  After playing the game and learning about various "water-type" Pokemon with cute names, my wife thought it would be fun to name the boat after a water-type Pokemon, and thus Poliwhirl was born.

With the new boat, I did not want to go down the Pokemon route and decided instead to scroll through the countless boat name suggestions on the Internet.  After looking at few thousand names, I started leaning toward boat names that were related to music, the occupation of both my wife and I (education), or ancient Indonesian gods and goddesses.

The short list I started creating ended up like this:

Hall Pass
Job Site
Maybe Later
Sun Dog
Summer School
School Skipper
School's Out
Ramble On
Rain Song
Black Dog

After much deliberation, we settled on the name "Ramble On," one of my all-time favorite Led Zeppelin songs that I thought fit a boat very well with its notion of travel and adventure.

So there you have it, Ramble On was born.  Alas, as these things go, Ramble On is not a truly unique name.  In fact, soon after deciding on the name, I found a boat of the exact model as ours with the same name, also in the Chesapeake Bay.  I was somewhat dejected by the discovery but ultimately I really like the name, the song, and the band, enough that I'm not going to pick another name.

After picking the name and while peeling the old name off our boat, I saw another boat (pictured above) with the name "The Dave" and a picture of a dog.  This was truly one of the coolest boat names and picture combinations I've seen in a while.  I almost considered copying the idea and using my dog, Rutus as the inspiration.  But the graphic was already ordered and as my daughter said, Rutus, a pug, would make for an ugly picture on the transom.

Pictures of the new boat with lettering attached will be forthcoming.  I plan to go down to the boat again in February to put the lettering on before she is launched.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Boat Update 1/22

Pearson 28-2
I visited the boat yesterday to take care of some things.  In the last post I included a list of things that I needed to do.  Here are the results.

  • I didn't make much headway on mounting the plotter.  As you can see from the picture to the left, there are not many options for mounting it near the wheel.  It pretty much has to go on the rail in front of the wheel.  I have been looking into mounting options for rails and have come up with one option I think might work.  It's a mount from RAM Mounts that has a rail-mount adapter.  I just have to figure out what to do with the power cable from there.  I also looked for places to mount the transducer for the sonar.  The best place would be in front of the keel.  I found a compartment there where you can get access to the knot meter and the through-hull transducer that is mounted for the depth gauge, but I doubt I could put my sonar transducer there because I want to do the "in-hull" mount.  That would mean the transducer would need to sit directly on the hull.  The compartment I found looked to be part of the liner and not the hull.  More work to do on this I guess.
  • Replaced the rubber foot on the swim ladder.  In fact, I replaced both since I had a pack of four anyway and it looked better with both matching.
  • I didn't touch the keel bolts.  I will wait until later.
  • All spaces I could think of were measured, including the galley sink for the cutting board that I plan on making.
  • There were two types of lights on the boat.  The first was a large, round, older-looking fixture that I think I want to replace.  I found some similar-looking LED fixtures in the West Marine catalog that I think will work.  The other lights were small 12v fixtures that looked newer and looked like flood light bulbs.  I think I also found an LED version of these at West Marine but I'll have to do more research.
    The 12v flood light.
  • I did not bring the stove cutting board home.  It actually looked really good so I left it.  After thinking about it for a while, it looked like it had been sanded and refinished.  There were very few knife marks and the few that were there were covered by finish.  The finish actually looked like polyurethane.  I don't think that's a good finish for a functioning cutting board.  I may bring the board back next time and sand all that off and refinish with mineral oil.
  • The pin rail idea will not work.  The shrouds do not run fore and aft, but abeam, which means I wouldn't be able to fit a rail in there anyway.  So scratch that idea.
  • I inventoried all of the stuff on the boat.  The previous owner took good care of it so it had a lot of good stuff in good shape, including belts, impellers, lubricants and tools.
While I was there I also checked the battery fluid levels and found one battery low.  I refilled both batteries and checked the voltage.  The voltage was low, 12.25v, but that could be because of the low water level and because it's only been getting a light charge from a single solar panel.  I'll check the voltage again on the next trip to see if there is any change.

I also scraped off the name and hailing port in preparation for the new name and hailing port.  I plan on going down again in February to do that and get it ready to be launched.  I have to check with the marina about the launch procedure.  Regarding the name, I think I'll put a post up later about the new name, the my old boat's name, and boat names in general.

I'd like to have the boat launched the first week of March and then I could spend the weekend moving it up to my marina further north.  I'm getting anxious for that time to come.  In the meantime I'll resort to blog updates to satisfy my thirst for the sea.  Until next time...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The divided nation.

There has been much talk in the last few years about our divided nation and equally as much assigning of blame for the divisions or failure to heal them.

I think the division is not the responsibility of Obama, or Trump, or any other politician, but technology.

Not very long ago, our sources of information were somewhat limited.  There were three major networks to choose from and one or two newspapers depending on where you lived.  For the most part, the majority of people in the U.S. got their news from the same sources and these sources usually reported the same facts in varying amounts of detail.

Generally, major news outlets broadcast news and very little opinion on the 5 o'clock news.  Newspapers also printed mostly news, except for one page clearly labeled "Opinion."

Then came a cable news network.  It takes a lot of news to fill 24 hours and really, not that much is going on of national importance.  Why not fill that extra time with opinions?

Next came other cable news networks and the quest for ratings and advertising revenue.

With more than one news network, each network could be tailored to target a particular audience, an important element of marketing and advertising, creating entire news networks that focus on one target audience and as such give the appearance of being politically biased (Don't believe me? Compare commercials on Fox News and MSNBC.)

Opinion is always more entertaining than news.  People like someone giving an opinion that they share.  They don't like opinions that they don't share.  People like opinions more than facts, even opinions that aren't based on facts.  It's much easier to form an opinion by listening to someone else's opinion than compiling facts and forming your own.  That begins the rise of Bill O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow.

Enter the Internet.  More and more people get their news from the Internet.  Now there are not only two or three sides to choose from, but thousands.  You can find sources of "news" and opinion that fit exactly with your way of thinking, facts be damned.

In fact, you can can find sources of information that support your opinion and tell you why all other opinions are wrong.

We are no longer all getting the same set of facts and forming reasonable opinions based on those facts.  Instead, we are fed custom streams of information that support our beliefs and shun competing beliefs, creating huge divisions.

If that's the case, what's the fix?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lists, lists, lists...

I was planning on visiting the new boat today to take care of some things, but alas the weather was uncooperative this weekend.

I'll try again next week, but in the meantime, here is a list of things I need to get done on the boat before it is launched in the Spring.

  • Sort out a place to mount the new Garmin Plotter/Fishfinder I bought.  Also need to figure out how I'm going to mount the transducer.
  • Replace rubber foot on the swim ladder.  It is missing one so I bought a pack of replacements the other day.
  • Torque the keel bolts.  Still thinking about this one.  Some people say it's better to do this when the boat is in the water, others say out of the water.  Either way, removing and inspecting the bolts followed by torquing sounds like a good idea.
  • Measure lockers and storage spaces for future purchase of boxes/baskets to store things.
  • Look at light fixtures and consider upgrading to LED lights.
  • Measure sink to make a cutting board that sits on the sink.  Also bring the cutting board on the alcohol stove home to refinish.
  • Measure shroud distances for possible pin rail.  I'm considering making one or two belaying pin rails because I like the look of them and I could easily turn that on the lathe.
  • Inventory all of the maintenance items on the boat (spare parts, oils, greases, etc.) to see what I need to buy.

It looks like the weather next weekend will be much improved.  Expect to see another blog post soon afterward!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

One year later...

Sad!  Every time I get on here and tell myself I'm going to write more... I don't!  I'm sure I've said it before (and I bet there's a post here to prove it), but this year I'm going to write more.  The best thing I could think of to write about was my boat.  So, I looked at this blog and the last thing I posted was a boat story, almost one year ago!

C22 "Poliwhirl" on the trailer, ready to be sold.
Well, that boat is gone.  It was a Catalina 22 I purchased in the Summer of 2015 and sailed throughout the 2016 season.  I kept it in a marina off the Chesapeake Bay in Middle River.  I got quite a lot of use out of it and spent up to a solid week at one time staying on the boat.  Spending a solid week on a 22' boat makes you realize some things.  First thing being, you need a bigger boat.

And thus it happened.  The plan was to buy a "bigger boat," something in the 30' range.  I pulled the C22 out of the water in November 2016 and put it on the trailer.  I planned to start seriously looking in Spring 2017.  But since I had the time, I figured I'd check out a nearby boat dealer that specialized in used boats in the 30' range and within my budget.

The "new" boat, P28-2.
First trip to the dealer in November, I came across a very good condition, 1985 Pearson 28-2 at an OK price.  It was slightly more expensive than I wanted but worth every penny and the perfect boat for what I needed.  I couldn't wait until the spring so I went ahead and bought it right then.

This P28-2 had newer sails, solid fiberglass all around, well-maintained engine and all systems in great condition.  At 28', it was slightly smaller than I wanted but the cabin layout more than made up for the length.  It has a non-traditional v-berth/head layout.  Boats of this size usually have the v-berth as a compartment at the fore part of the boat, separated from the main cabin or saloon area by the head and hanging locker.

Pearson 28-2 Interior, looking forward.
The P28-2 has a different layout that uses a more open v-berth, separated by curtains from the saloon, and the head is in the starboard aft quarter of the boat.  This leaves the port aft area as a quarter berth that is fully enclosed from the saloon with a door.  It seemed to give the shorter boat more space below but still with enough separation to provide some privacy.

Buying the P28-2 left me the owner of two boats at the same time.  I quickly threw the C22 up on Craigslist and after a couple of bites, a nice couple from Pennsylvania came down to buy her.
P28-2 interior, looking aft, slightly messy from cleaning.

The P28-2 is now on the hard at the marina where I purchased her.  I plan to launch her in late February/early March and sail her up to my marina in Middle River where I am still maintaining a slip.  The boat is in sail-away condition but there a few things I want to do before launch.  My wife wants to change the name.  I bought a small chartplotter that I need to mount.  I want to do some maintenance things like greasing the seacocks and changing the prop shaft zinc, and as anyone who has ever owned a boat knows, the list goes on.

I am really excited to have the new boat and can't wait until it's warm enough to get it in the water.  As I always say, but rarely do, I'll be back here for frequent updates!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Boat Updates!

The picture to the left is the view from my new home away from home.  It's been awhile since my last post so here's a summary.

We took the boat out into Deep Creek Lake a couple of times.  DCL has a size limit of 25' for boats.  Ours is 22', so it was one of the bigger boats out there, definitely the biggest sailboat.

We sailed it around for a bit and that was fun, but there were a few things that were pains in the butt.  Stepping the mast is chore, but one I was able to simplify over time and with some research on the Internet.  Trailering the boat is a chore.  It's heavy, at the upper range of my vehicle, and it's wide.  Getting back to the DCL ramp requires travel on some small, hilly roads.  You can't really spend the night on the boat at DCL unless you get a slip somewhere.  That means putting in and taking it out on the same day.  DCL is not that big, especially the part accessible from the ramp on a boat with a mast (i.e. getting under bridges).  It was OK to learn how the boat works, but you can only sail up and down the lake so many times.

Given all of that, we decided to find a bigger stomping ground, that of the Chesapeake Bay.  We shopped around several marinas down there.  We were looking for something affordable and with some amenities.  We also wanted something within a couple hours drive from us (Western Maryland).  That left Middle River, Patapsco River, and Magothy River.  We looked at a dozen marinas in each place and finally settled on Cutter Marina on Middle River.  The picture above is the view from our slip there.

They are usually booked solid but we lucked into a slip with uncanny timing.  Our slip contract starts in March.  I'm planning on trailering the boat down to Cutter as close to March 1 as possible.  Cutter looks to be a great place.  It's well protected, very clean, 24-hour lounge, nice showers and bathrooms.

Right now I have all of the teak trim from the outside removed and I'm sanding and refinishing it.  I'm just about done and I'll be putting everything back together between now and March.  Once I get it together I'll post pictures.