Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trashy Thoughts

I've been watching animals and their relationship to trash.  Chopper could care less that he's sharing the water with debris of questionable origin. The ducks, if the trash is of acceptable size, will use it like a raft, and bob along the marina looking for handouts. The crabs and fish will gladly make a house out of whatever refuse fits their needs. Birds sift through the garbage finding wiggly things to eat. Muskrats navigate the water pushing aside bottles and branches with equal equanimity. Only the human animal disdains trash, all the while producing it in great heaps.  Consumerism ends its cycle on our sidewalks and in our waters.  We care, but not enough to stop and pick up that styrofoam cooler; the ducks don't care and use that cooler as their personal floatation device. One man's trash is another duck's treasure? I feel there's a lesson here, a metaphor, an irony that I can't pinpoint. What do you guys think?

Monday, June 13, 2011


It has been a long time since Me Voy's cushions were last out, and despite their current ragged condition,  everyone is happy to see them. The cushions arrival signaled the beginning of the long awaited clean -up.  On this day all the tools get put away, materials get taken off the boat, and we begin to wrap up the galley build with several fresh coats of varnish. This magical day was last Saturday, and it was even better then I imagined.

A full galley blog will have to wait,  but for now, here are a few pics from Saturday. We sanded and varnished the countertops and cabinets that Travis has been working on. I got to fully appreciate the difficulty of the job he was faced with, as I sanded the cabinets inch by inch. In true boat style, each cabinet, each molding is a unique piece of artwork, shaped and painstakingly fitted by the sculptor. In the four years of working on the boat, Travis has gone from wet behind the ears, to the "wood guy", to the professional yacht carpenter,  to a magician, making the dreams we dreamt on those very same cushions manifest right before my eyes. It all smells a bit like "The Secret", yes that... and sweat.

There is still some missing details but this is the overall design. Here's what it looked like a couple of months ago and how it looks today.

And in case you thought this was just some kind of hocus pocus job,  I wanted to show you the guts of this construction. No messin around here, all our holds have been painted and are ready to accept our bounty. Likewise all plumbing has been re-soldered, the water tank filled, and we now have running water aboard Me Voy. This is a first in our history together, and another milestone in the project. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Charging system pt. 1

One of our goals for Me Voy this year is to get her off the grid, and the first step in that process was getting batteries. In our system we will have one starting battery and two house batteries. Although there is a wide variety of battery options available, we  chose the AGM battery. The advantage of the AGM (All Glass Mat) battery for a sailboat, is that is is completely sealed  and cannot spill acid if inverted or even submerged. All batteries have a discharge rate, which can be up to 1% of their total charge per day  (or more in the tropics) but because of the tightly packed glass-mat saturated with electrolyte, the AGM makes for a very tightly compressed battery with low self discharge rates. It also makes it a very heavy battery  that we had to load into the boat.

Our plan was to use the boom to lift our first, and heaviest, battery into the companion way and then into its box. My job was to use the winch to lift the battery while Travis guided it over and into the hole.

The boom and lines creaked under the strain but everything went very smoothly.

The gooseneck, which is the part that attaches the boom to the mast, was designed to handle jobs such as these.  Notice that is can swing in either direction and also up and down. Also notice that this piece of hardware, like all of the hardware on Me Voy, from hinges to latches is handmade. I find this incredibly difficult to comprehend and often find myself examining the various shiny bits of stainless looking for grinding marks or polishing imperfections. I have to say that these Spanish craftsmen, were true masters of their trade, and am therefore not surprised that Mr. Holman and Mr Pye, the designers (who went on to design under the name Oyster) chose the Carrabel builders to build their vessel. What I am surprised at however, is that this boat landed in our laps thru Craigslist, with a price tag that was ridiculously affordable.

Our audience that day watched with fascination as we scrambled around deck,  obviously intrigued by the ropes swinging to and fro. We planned on spending a few hours loading and hooking up the batteries, but found ourselves done in half that time. I love it when a plan comes together!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sodden realizations

I've been scratching my head trying to figure out the "Billy Situation". The problem is he keeps falling overboard.  This usually happens at night as he does his secret cat things,  and even though he floats like a beach ball, and climbs the pylons with expert ease, I hate that dreaded soft splash followed by the whining moan of a cat that is totally unhappy. I don't stay up nights worrying about this, but while considering this issue one morning,  something like a flash of inspiration lit the up the reptilian parts of my brain with one word- GRASS!  After all, where does he go on these nightly sojourns but to the parking lot where these is, yes, grass. I know this because the evidence of partially digested grass blades can be found in his pre-hairball spit up. Gotcha!

So I got some sod and planted it in a window box. Coming home the next day I had to smile when I saw Billy, so busy making love to the grass, that he failed to sound the alarm at my arrival. I'm sure this will not completely solve the overboard issue, but it was ten bucks well spent anyway.

Our neighbors were very curious as to why we had a roll of sod on board. After joking that it was to sod the cockpit in Me Voy, something that we did kinda consider, we explained that it was for Billy. Our neighbor then went on to ask...

"So did Chopper get any grass too?"

Without skipping a beat Travis replied, "Yeah, but he smoked all his already" :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Friends with boats

Let me tell you a little secret. It begins with a sweeping generalization which I'm pretty sure is right on. In every marina there is at least one eager boat owner that is looking for someone to go sailing with him. It doesn't matter that you know nothing about sailing, he'll take you anyway, and if you bring beer he might even let you take the helm.

Meet Helmut. He's been working on his boat for 15 years, buying only the molded hull and doing everything else to his specifications. He launched the boat last year and invited us for a sail this weekend.   We didn't have any beer, but  he let us bring the dog, and take turns at the helm anyway.

WARNING the following sequence of events took place to remedy the previously mentioned beer situation, and is NOT to be attempted by your average drunk. These men are professionals!

 It was Helmut's words of wisdom, however, that set the tone for this trip. He said, " I don't want to get wasted, I want to remember this shit!" So thanks to the beer delivery guys, we enjoyed a few cold  brews and lived to remember everything. BTW if you're wondering, Bud Light Lime tastes a LOT better then it sounds.

So for all you armchair sailors,  don't despair. You don't need a boat. Take a stroll around your local marina. You're bound to make a friend.