Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tool Storage

Travis working on the steering in our future"workshop"
I recently heard some big wig CEO say that five years is a reasonable amount of time to expect a return on your investment. This made me think of MeVoy, whose five year anniversary we will be celebrating this April.

Although we no longer like to make any firm plans that involve boats, I'll share with you our plan pencilled in sand. We are thinking that around Spring time we will be permanently moving aboard Me Voy. She is now the brand new boat we had hoped to have, complete with shiny floors and an interior smelling of varnish. If all goes well we will do a quick haulout early spring,  and be moving aboard sometime in April.  This will allow us to get all of our stuff out of TARA and  give her a good once over. After that we are hoping to throw a party themed "We've sold a boat named TARA', followed many happy nights rocked to sleep aboard our one boat.

The phenomena of the 'monstrous pile' in its early stage

For now, let me show you the rest of this brand new boat. Travis has done so much this year, that I've had a hard time keeping up with his progress. So for this installment of "Our Old Boat" I'd like to show you the tool storage we have come up with.

Because both of us like to do everything, with the exception of dentistry (ouch!) ourselves, we have collected quite a number of tools and materials that we both need and admittedly don't want to part with just yet. In our prior experience, these things either get shoved places, never to be found again, or get left out, eventually forming a monstrous pile that threatens anyone who dares to disturb it. This is not really a problem (yes it is I hate these piles!) on a boat that goes nowhere, but it is completely unpractical, unsafe and unacceptable in our sleek new home, that will be bouncing thru waves, heeling, and in general behaving like a sailboat.

In the old layout there were a couple of holds and drawers that held the basic toolage, but given our previously stated needs this wasn't going to be nearly enough. We needed more space to live our dream of piddling around making little things on aboard. We contemplated turing the crew cabin into a full on workshop, but didn't want to loose the option of hosting family, friends or crew in this already nice double bunk cabin. In the end we decided to change the aft cabin from a single berth with a locker to a workshop/galley.

Since I already covered the galley in a previous posts here and here I'll stick to the workshop area. To the left is what we had to work with.  Actually what we had to work with was much more rotten and foul then that, ( the first picture gives you a better idea of the original state of things) but this is the space we designated for tool storage: one hanging locker, and two chests, painted in bilge coat white and grey.

The tool chest storage was pretty straight forwad. It will hold Travis' carpentry tools, handplanes, saws, etc,  my roll of painting brushes, and also serve as Choppers step to his doggie door (more about that later) The other chest holds all our powertools that have cases, like drill, jigsaw, grinder etc., my airbrushing equipment, and also serves as a seat.

The challenge left was the hanging locker. Drawers were the thing we kept visualizing, but because of the curve of the hull it was quite a daunting project. Travis put on his yacht carpenter hat again, and went  
to work.

He used mahogany for the draw faces, and aluminium for the drawer boxes, that our good friend Eric bent and welded based on T's measurements.  Travis then attached some heavy duty drawer slides,  cut out linings for the tools to lay on, and used brass door locks from Lowes to keep the drawers locked. Its shocking how much we can store in these drawers, and keep the place looking tidy.

There are still some things to figure out in this space, like how to best utilize the vertical wall, but that fun will  be had when we move in and figure out our needs. For now I think we have covered the basic storage/living space and with the exception of some rugs, curtains, and new upholstery we are ready to go! Um...move in that is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Polar Bear Plunge

The other day we had our own version of the Polar Bear Plunge. Chopper was on his way to take us for his daily ball chasing on the grass, and Billy, who in my opinion, has become way too casual about jumping on and off the boat, missed the dock as he was jumping off the boat and plunged into the icy drink. Brrrrr. 

He screamed and struggled to climb up the boat. When he realized that he wasn't going to be able to climb the hull, he turned and swam for the nearest pylon. The tide was low but he climbed the pylon like...well like a cat trying to get out of freezing cold water. When he was within reach I grabbed him and puled him up. The poor guy was soaked and freezing. He was in the water for a good minute maybe two.  I admit I totally panicked and didn't know how to help him as he struggled  to climb the boat. Next time I'm going to remember the good advice of lowering a blanket, a sheet or anything that is long enough that he could climb in case he needs to. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


On a beautiful 60 degree January day in Baltimore, we loaded our trusty truck and headed to pay Me Voy a visit. This was not to be a pleasure call, and we were not doing this because we had nothing else to do. No. This was going to be a day of getting our faces slapped with plastic, our asses kicked by 46 feet of boat. Again.

"Are you building a fort?" someone asks us as we waddle with the 2x4 bundle.

Oh no it much worse then that. We are putting a plastic cover over a sailboat. It has to be done you see, and since paying the small fortune to get it done was not an option, well here we are.

It began well enough with Travis knocking together a frame, while I handed him stuff.

The building of the frame went fairly quickly and was quite enjoyable.  Travis whistled little tunes while cutting and measuring, I fluttered about the deck taking pictures, and fulfilling my other duties ( handing stuff and now also tying knots)  and with the sun still high, Chopper was looking a bit more lively. Perhaps there will be time for ball playing, he was thinking. Perhaps we could come knock off now and come back tomorrow, I was thinking. Both of our hopes were dashed as Travis began to unroll the plastic. The dreaded plastic.

We started with the bow, going around all the shrouds, cutting and taping little reinforcing squares, making sure our cuts are straight and in the right place so everything is lined up when we tighten the lashings that will hold the bottom of the plastic to the toe rail.  It. Was. Frustrating. The plastic we used was called Ma Ka, and it was reinforced with fiberglass threads. Good for its strength, bad for razor blades.  In the end, while a slight breeze blew, I hacked at the flapping plastic with a nearly dull blade, taping whatever I could hold and pull together. I was having my doubts now.  Maybe getting it done wouldn't  be such a bad idea.

I kept these thoughts to myself as we continued to cover the boat. Going around the shrouds was bad, but I'm not sure it was the worst of it.  At least there we could stand up straight. To make progress along the side,  one had to hunch over and slightly lean, and hold that pose for roughly three hours. Ouch. We worked each side together, wrapping the end of the plastic around 1x2's which would then get lashed to the toe rail and tightened.

With each pull on the lashing our spirits grew and our sentences became short and efficient. This might work. Almost done. Need to stand up. Soon over. I vacuum now.

In the end, it doesn't look like much. A simple shower cap to keep the wintry rain and snow off our deck. I will not be mad however, if the snow decides to skip its appearance in Baltimore this year. It may be totally insane to long for  these warm winter temps, but my toes refuse to feel guilty. They are, without the least bit concern, soaking up the January sun in flip flops. They just won't listen to apocalyptic reason.

After finishing up, we stumbled down the dock to the truck. If you notice in the first picture there's the tiniest little corner on a sign on the top left hand of the picture. See it? We didn't. It read No Parking 4-pm-6pm. It was 5:56 when we finished. Rolling our cart back to the truck Travis and I both had the same thought, "Oh No!" That was all we could muster too. There was not enough energy for a good dose of curse words. And guess what... it was there! Just as we left it. Two hours parked illegally in one of Baltimore's prime traffic areas, causing one hell of a traffic jam no doubt. Just sitting there, without even a ticket! "Oh Wow!" was again all we could say. Dumbfounded, with our tails between our legs, but full of the new energy of gratitude, we high tailed it our of there. All in all it couldn't have turned out better.