Monday, May 23, 2011

Just go

Why aren't we sailing yet?

Three reasons...

1. Leaky raw water pump. This seems like a simple fix however Travis' research has shown that our Perkins 4108 was built in Spain, and has a different timing cover on the engine that the standard Perkins waterpumps will not fit. The  TRANS ATLANTIC DIESEL company finally solved this mystery that had Travis scratching his head for nearly a month. They got us a list of parts that we will need, and fortunately for us, we were able to find them locally thanks to Craigslist and avoid the B.O.A.T. phenomenon.

2. Broken windlass. No its not a critical part of a day sail, but just like having a running engine, we like to have a working windlass for those just in case scenarios. We found a windlass at Bacon Sails, our favorite local marine consignment shop, and since it fits our previous windlass base almost perfectly, we are only waiting for some new bolts to have this project checked off our list.

3. Main sail traveller swap. We are replacing our old Lewmar main sail traveller with a spanking new one also made by Lewmar. The old one was difficult to adjust and had a tendency to get jammed in the most inappropriate times. The new one is a lower profile design, that uses ropes for adjustment rather then little knobs you have to lift and slide.

So a few more weeks and we should be ready to shake the dust off the sails. In the meantime to those who say "just go",  I say we will... in a couple of weeks, unless we get raptured first.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Us

What a sneaky boat Me Voy is! She must have been planning this surprise for weeks, although just how she influenced events over 100 miles away,  will remain a mystery. Its not surprising however that her previous boatyard would remember her, as even in her awful state of disrepair, one couldn't help but notice what a special boat she is.

It was one of the boatyard workers, who found the surprise, and asked our friend and mentor, Richard, if he knew how to contact us. Finally, on Mother's Day, Richard gave us a call with the wonderful news. A set of Me Voy's sails was found in the sail loft!   Wooooo hoooo!

The stars aligned to make the trip to Oxford the following day to get the sails and visit with Richard.

The town of Oxford, where Me Voy spent her years prior to us finding her, is on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is a quiet little town, with pristine waterways,  clean sidewalks, and beautiful boats.

Everything in Oxford is postcard perfect. Flowers smell better,  the cars are always shiny, and even the squirrels carry little baskets for their acorns.

Chopper reveled in the familiar smells, sensing the boatyard where he romped for three years. We were all very excited to see what changed, what was the same, and what our sails looked like.

Everyone was hard at work in the yard, getting the boats commissioned for Spring. Steve, the rigger, lead us into the sail loft and pointed to three bags waiting for our arrival. They had Me Voy's name stamped onto them and like everything else in Oxford, looked clean and proper. We had to be satisfied with only peering inside the bags, as it was too windy to unroll them for a detailed inspection. We did see that we were now in possession of a 140 Genoa, a complementing staysail, and a small handkerchief of a sail used in stormy conditions instead of the main sail.  This sail we hope to never ever use, but the other two will sure come in handy! (We have since unrolled them and the condition of each of the sails could only be described as brand new. This means we now have two main sails, one in need of repair, one jib, three different staysails, one genoa, and the small main whose nautical name I can't remember. Our cutter rig is now fully equipped with the exception of a spinnaker, which we hope Me Voy is saving for next years surprise)

It was time to celebrate with some afternoon beer and chips on the beach, while waiting for Richard to come home so we could spend the evening catching up on our lives and solving the world's problems.

Chopper decided he was going to play till he dropped, and stared us down every time we refused to throw the ball. We obliged for most of the day with relief coming near the end of the afternoon, as new and yet untested ball players took over.

Squeals of delight egged on our exhausted pooch as he jumped, dove, and swam for the ball. We watched with joy as he ran and played, knowing this meant we were off the hook for the rest of the evening, free to be entertained by Richard's stories, without being politely reminded that there was a ball to be thrown.

Richard, with his customary white shirt and jeans, and his boat, the 103 year old Roslyn, deserve a post all their own. In short, Roslyn is Richard life long love and companion. He saved her from sure death, as he replaced the trees growing thru her deck with new boards, and converted her interior from a fish hold to the cozy salon that we are now privileged to enjoy. 

It does seem like every good news is tamped down by bad news. Is this the law of balance that we must accept? We were elated at hearing about our new sails and deflated upon hearing that Richard has throat cancer. He will begin chemo in two weeks and was told to prepare for "hell". His chances, he was told are 80-30 , 80 being that he will come out of this fine. In thick British accent, with an irreverent smirk  he says, "I've had chances worse then that at sea... at least 50-50". 

He is in fact preparing for chemo as he prepared for a long voyage, lots of pre-made soups and easy to make meals. The difference however will be the absence of his tobacco pipe and vodka, two constant companions in Richard's long history as a yacht captain.

Even with the somber news, the evening was a celebration. It was good to be back in Ros' cabin sharing drinks, smokes and stories with Richard, who in all our time at Oxford, was the only person who never doubted that we will succeed in restoring Me Voy. He understood in a way that only someone who did the same thing 50 years ago could. I know that his sincere support, understanding and encouragement were crucial to our success. Richard here's to you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Suite Tara

While the work on Me Voy is progressing at a snails pace recently, I wanted to take you on a tour of our new stateroom aboard TARA. Its not actually that new any more, as we completed it last year, but it has taken this long to catch up.

As you may know, two years ago Tara jumped into our lives and stole our hearts. This was a true case of 'love is blind' as we enthusiastically handed over some green in exchange for a rotten wooden boat. You know what happened next, you've seen the deck replacement, the hull repairs, the paint jobs etc. Beneath all that however, waited the aft stateroom, or the master bedroom as you'd call it in house. We used it mostly for storage, and for a brief time a workshop. We slept in the guest stateroom, in small bunk beds, while the ideas for the aft stateroom ripened. 

 The hole you see will be covered by plywood, that will be the ceiling of our stateroom below as well as the floor of the deck above.
As far as the interior of the boat goes, the worst damage occurred in the aft stateroom, as rain leaked through the deck, rotting out ribs, planks, bulkheads and of course the deck/ceiling itself. Most of the damage was initailly hidden from view,  with only minor water damage actually visible. That's how it is with most boat jobs. There is a small section that is visibly in need of repair, which soon turns out to be  a huge section that was simply being hidden by paneling or fiberglass or whatever material that is hiding the damage. Fiberglass boats are especially good at hiding huge problem areas for years. We've seen some boats that looked perfectly reasonable on the outside with only a small soft spot, only to discover that the whole core of the boat is soaking wet and the boat is garbage. This wasn't exactly the case here. We knew there were very ugly things hiding beneath the bulkhead, and we were right.

This was our first introduction to the stateroom, port side.

First introduction to the starboard side of the room. 

The first step, after burning lots of incense to get rid of that funky grandma smell, was to remove the existing bulkheads (walls) and beds, along with all the rotten ribs and beams, replacing them with new wood. In case of the overhead beams, Travis scarfed white oak of the same dimension to existing beams at a point in which they were no longer rotten,  epoxing and screwing everything as he went. In the case of the hull beams,  he scarfed some ribs and also did what is known as  'sistering' where new ribs are attached next to existing ribs that are solid. An invaluable resource in this operation was the Gougeon Brothers book called The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction. Its very well written, with lots of pictures to keep the instructions both clear and detailed.

Some new ribs are sistered while others are scarfed in place.

Overhead beams scarfed and epoxied with epoxied Okume plywood

Port side of the aft stateroom with new ribs 
After all that, the fun part began.  We have been tossing around ideas for the room all along this process, ranging from cedar lined walls for a cozy cabin feel, to bamboo plywood for the ultra modern look. In the end we decided to keep it classic and continue with the white and mahogany theme  that was already present throughout the boat.

We debated over the layout of the room, and decided that the previous arrangement of two twin beds on either side of the room was unacceptable, and opted for a full size bed on one side and an office/library on the other. We borrowed the idea of the cutout shelves along the side of the bed from the guest bedroom, making the cutouts oval to complement to windows (ports). These little compartments are quite handy for storing all kinds of things without intruding on sleeping space. They also keep many things tucked away and impossible to fall out during particularily moody seas.

This Chris Craft Constellation was built in 1961 for a Navy admiral who must have had a fancy for mirrors. We kept one mirror in our salon, but the mirror in the stateroom had to go. We were dreading this project, as it was a big and heavy mirror glued to the wall, but our fears were unfounded as it easily slipped off the wall, out the companionway and next to the dumpster all in one piece.

 With the mirror gone, the design agreed upon, and the materials purchased, things were moving pretty quickly. We worked together on both sides of the room at the same time using the back deck as our workshop to cut all the big pieces of plywood and mahogany. Creating something new was a nice break for both of us from the usual restoration and maintenance work. We did this during the hotter days of summer, utilizing the room's air conditioning system making the work very pleasant and gratifying. With both of us working together the room started to come along rather quickly.

The office area is beginning to take shape as mahogany plywood becomes a table.

For the office area we envisioned a large work table and shelves all in mahogany, with mahogany drawers set in white for bottom storage. Rather then making the table top square, Travis had the brilliant idea of giving it a sweeping curve in the front. This gives it both more room and looks awesome in profile. We also included some hinged compartments for extra storage. The back half of the desk top lifts up for storage, and the small rectangular cut out you can barely make out in the front hides my scanner.
In less then a month we had the room ready for habitation. We were very happy to leave our bunk- bed style bedroom and stretch out in the master suite. My computer was also very happy to finally have a home other then the galley table. It didn't take long for this room to become one of our all time favorite places to chill. 

A light from Lowes turned upside down with a switch installed. I can't believe they didn't think of this.
Stained glass film on port windows looks beautiful anytime of day and gives us much needed privacy.
This is pretty much the sleeping orientation every night with Travis and me squeezed into the empty spaces.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Misty Morning

 Spring is here, and with it come the emerald seas of pollen.  This urban paradise is breathtaking.