Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chipping away,

This week have been focusing on the inside of Viking Star.  Specifically:  we ordered a couple of sheets of Formica and are replacing the counter tops, plus new tops in the aft cabin.  The pattern Kristi picked out looks very nice against the varnished Mahogany.  Am about 2/3 completed with this project, just need to finish up some banding on the main table, make fiddle rails for almost all, and do the forward head.

Have also been cutting, and now painting drawers to fit into the cabinet  frames I made last summer.  To date we have just been using them as shelves, drawers will make them much more efficient in their ability to hold stuff.  Made up 12 drawers.  It takes about 3 hours to put one coat of paint on them, and I hope to do the last coat on tomorrow.  Then give them a good solid 2 weeks to harden up before we start using them.

Am about to finish up on the design of the anchor platform, and the welder says he might be able to get started on it in two weeks.  Need to replace the seals in the Windlass, as well as paint it.  Then ‘just’ the matter of installing it all back together!

This weekend Kristi and I are going to the Seattle Boat Show.  Based on the really poor Portland boat show (it was like walking through one of those movies where everyone was taken by aliens, and just the things were left…) not sure what to expect.  But we still need to get immersion suites and a life raft.  Then I am off to San Jose for the week to make some $  (Got to pay for this stuff somehow).

And final, we ordered the cork flooring to use on the soles.  This will take about 6 more weeks to come in, so figure the 1st part of April will be Cork Weeks! 

And well, that should be about it for stuff that NEEDS to get done before we leave.   Oh, and perhaps a couple of doors for the aft cabin:  Cabin door, and head door J

Oh, and stuff the rest of our Stuff onto Viking Star. 

And does anyone know where I can get a Metric hose barb?  M10-1.25 --> 10m hose?  Tuff to do here in the states it seems...

Friday, January 22, 2010

A bit of bragging.

Ok, have been into this Boat Thing for a while.  And one thing I have always valued is training (not that training alone is sufficent, one does need to get out there and get their feet wet!).

This week I received the following placard highlighting the highest level of acheivement available in the United States Power Squadron, their Educational Achievement Award.  This in short means I have taken ALL the classes offered by USPS and am considered one of their highest members.

It has taken about 10 years to get to this point, and I will say I am a bit proud of it.  Combined with the experience we have had with Viking Star, and much more to come, I feel Kristi and I are off to a good start.

FYI:  Kristi has also taken many USPS classes.  In fact, she has taken through the Advanced Piloting, plus Weather.  These two levels will be a good match for any of the cruising we do within 50 miles or so of  the shoreline, or shall we say most of what we are planning on doing in the near term.  If we take a trip to Hawaii, well, I guess my Navigation training will come into play :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two dates: April 19th, and August 23rd

Schedules can kill. In the maritime world, weather is perhaps the biggest variable that WILL determine comfort, speed, and most of all, safety of any voyage. Commercial vessels are often driven by schedules and this is reflected in their vessels, crew, and a vast support system. Ships must ship, Crabbers must go out during Crabbing Season (winter), and so on.

Perhaps one of single biggest risks to recreational boaters is a date. ‘We NEED to get to Vancouver by June 12 to x, y,z’, or ‘We only have one week of vacation, let’s go to..’ One of the advantages of a cruising life style is they have the opportunity to adjust their timing. If a passage looks snotty, well, just stay put. Or, as Kristi once responded ‘Why?’ to the statement ‘Hurry up, they are forecasting Gail Winds in the straight and we need to get going’. (That day has some good stories out of it..)

See, we have often told folks there is always room for guests, you tell us the When, we will tell you the Where (and that might change).

Yes, Schedules can kill.

Having said all that, last night we selected two Dates. . .

April 19th à This is the target date for us to finally ‘pull the plug’. On that date (or very soon after it) we will have moved out of the apartment, sold the cars, given back all the furniture we have borrowed (or some other way of getting rid of it), drop the lines and leave our slip for the last time. Our intention is to take a leisurely cruise up river to Lewiston Idaho which is the furthest point up river one can navigate without using a jet boat. 5 weeks and we will be back in the Portland area in time for a 1st Birthday of one of the grandkids.

Then we will float around the Portland area being River Gypsies. At least until:

August 23rd à The weekend just prior will be the USPS D32 Cruise. Our idea is to attend that, then when it is over, slowly make our way down river and turn Right. Will see, am told August can have some Fun winds, so…

Yup, Dates can be dangerous. But after 10 years of this, perhaps it is time to set a couple.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bringing on the Big Ones!

The new 85-29 cell vs. the old L-16 battery
It has been 10 years that I have been working on Viking Star, Wow...

One of the early decisions was about the electrical system. I decided to go primarily 12v, with a good inverter to cover Hair dryers and the Refrigerator. In researching batteries I compared normal flooded lead-acid, AGM, VR, and even looked at some Telco-type batteries. In the end I decided to go with old-fashioned lead-acid. This was mostly due to cost, and seeing as I have good access to the battery compartment, I could easily keep up on their maintenance.

The other decision was which ones? Golf cart batteries are very popular. I personally like the L-16's better if you have the height. Typically folks look at batteries just by cost per AH (Amp Hour, the amount of energy a battery can 'store'). But if one also puts in the number of cycles a battery is designed for it brings new light. Those golf cart batteries are designed for 3-400 cycles over 4 or so years. The L16's, maybe 6-700 cycles over 7 years or so. In the end I selected Industrial Cells, these guys are designed to give 4,000 cycles over a 20+ life span.

I hade been using two L16 for the past 6 years - that gave us (barely) enough stored electricty for a weekend. Here you can see a picture of the old L16's we have been using for the past 6 years, and one of the new cells. A bit bigger, but should point out the new ones are 2v cells while the L16 is a 6v battery. A more apples-to-apples photo would have 3 of the new cells in comparison to the old L16!

All Ready for the new ones!

Dan the Electric Man!

Careful now!


Up and Over

Down she goes

Half way there (Well, more like 2/3rds...)

Ok, these are a bit over the top. That is true. But one thing I like is quiet. These new batteries should allow us to sit at anchor for 4-5 days without having to run the generator. Then we can recharge the batteries with the main motor in 1 hour of moving the boat for each day we were at anchor.

That is why I picked these batteries.

However, do have to tell ya, if something goes wrong with these beasts - I am selling the boat!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goodbye, Tangles

Tangles is my 15-year-old cat. That means she has been with me for nearly a third of my life. HER life began in a blackberry bramble on the Fourth of July. She also has a 'knot' in her tail. Two reasons for her name.

But tomorrow she becomes part of my past, and she will have no more future.

When our lives began changing fast last year, and especially when we sold our home, Tangles' life began to change also. She doesn't adapt well to changes, so we knew she wouldn't like life on a boat. After trying for a month to find her a quiet no-child atmosphere, Casey and Richard stepped up and said they would take her. Granddaughter Madalyn spent much of her time at our house 'finding the kitty', so we thought keeping her in the family would be best.

But, as many have experienced, Casey and Richard have had a hard time making ends meet, and they are moving in with his mother. Which leaves Tangles without a home again. And this time, we can find no one to take her. No one wants a 15-year-old cat with a hairball problem.

So, tomorrow, Tangles' life will end. And we will carry her to a resting place next to Troy's pet rabbit, Bear. I have missed her alot this past six months. And I have been missing her alot more the last couple of days. And it will be even more tomorrow.

Goodbye Tangles.