The Revolution is on!

Jul 01, 2016 by James in James' Blog

So we got rid of our aging Rutland 913 wind generator last year in hopes of “finding the funding” for a not-so-antiquated system of 12 volt wind generator power and after almost an entire year of searching for the proper replacement, we finally found it! Not only did we find that motherfucker, we finagled it and ultimately installed that bitch! Yeah! (I mean the Zeke, YEAH!!! not the Bumrush YEAH!!)

Today is revolution day, I mean for most mortals it’s just saturday, the dullass 25th of june or the first of july or whatever, in the hohum year of 2016… but for us, it is the 25th of June or some-shit in the year of our…(hahaha) REVOLUTION! We are making power like a motherfucker!

Making Power! The joke is not lost on me (James)… I’m a human being that gives up on wage slavery whenever I can, I run away from it every chance I get and I’m, anyway, making my own mother fucking power… Stealing it from the sun (a formidable foe) but I’m making it… I am Making it, (and I think I can give us both major props here)! Yeah!!!

As I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m not talking about being powerful, I’m talking about making your own god damn power… Being able to produce enough 12 volt electricity to be able to not extract one more drop of petroleum or one more granule of coal for combustion in my name ever again! That’s the goal (it is indeed very nice to have goals) but we must also live in the 21st century.

“So we do what we can with the tools at hand!” I don’t know who said that, I just know it’s apropos…

So,

On my third day of work at the chandlery I found a strange hidden pile of gems (not real gems but metaphorical, the kind that a person who doesn’t believe strip mining is a good idea would like) under a pile of sails in the very back of our top secret marine hardware wharehouse. I asked about it to a few people, I got shrugs… I asked about it to the right people, I got the wink-and-point, you know what I’m talking about!

Anyway, in this little pile of jewels was 2, 50 watt monocrystalline solar panels, an Air Breeze wind generator, a stack of mounting hardware, a blue sky MPPT charge controler and one hell-of-a well built mast.

All the mounting hardware was very specifically designed for another sailboat so I had to dig through several tons of discarded marine hardware at work to ultimately discover this…

TheBase

…A deck mount for a 9 cm pole, like the one we just got!

We cut a base out of a sheet of 2 cm azek, and mounted it to the fantail deck, all the way aft right between the two starboard, aft cleats.

Electric

We, completely rewired the mast and added two more stanchion supports above and below the two electrical cables.

OnTheBoat

After all the pre-production we laid it out on the dock and wired it to go live.

OntheDock

DownBelow

Down below I ran and rigged the charge controller to the battery, at this point we were getting very close!

Please keep in mind that we both had to work on this while somehow managing to hold down jobs, get and recover from a nasty unseasonable Cold of some kind, and the always unpredictable rapidly closing springtime weather windows, anyway we got the thing up and although there wasn’t even enough wind to move the wind generator the solar went right to work.

Aboard

It was beautiful, like some kind of  strange bird hovering over our transom, feeding us electricity from the world and protecting us from the evil Sunday-go-a-boat’n, plastic destroyer crowd!

…So lets go sailing!!!

DenaSailing

We couldn’t help ourselves, we had to take her out and see if we could put the system to the test and we did, on a Sunday? just before sunset?! ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?

SailingSquare

Okay, it wasn’t all that bad, hell, it wasn’t bad at all, it was a blast and we had a wonderful time. We went out to the mouth of the Severn River, turned 180 degrees on a tact and headed back in.

We really wanted to grind the new rig out with our “Living-at-Anchor” brutality test so we didn’t go back in to Dena’s Marina, we put the hook down in the Back Creek anchorage and felt right at home!

AtAnchor

I have finally discovered what it is I want to do when I grow up!!! After 52 years of searching for the right vocation I believe I have discovered what it is I want to do with “the rest of my life” !!!

I want to make power!

No really, I want to hang out on my boat, all fucking day, and manually track the sun with my solar panels!

There is no better vocation for me… Okay, back to work, this revolution is hungry for power.


I am…

May 15, 2016 by James in James' Blog

… A ship chandler, and I think that’s a pretty cool thing to be!

Back in the day, a ship chandler was the guy (I’m talking the “day” when not many women went to sea but I sure do think that’s a great idea for an adventure story! Hmmm) who was responsible for getting the stores filled up with the supplies that would ultimately saves the lives of every single member of the crew… Or kill them!  He was the guy that found the vitamin C when the ship was in an unknown port! That person had to find all kinds of shit before the locals very gently, or not, asked them to move on. The chandler was sometimes the only person that was aloud off the ship, especially if the ship was a boatload of disease infested, toothless starving dudes! Wow, then it was up to the chandler to convince the locals that he was healthy enough to go out and find the supplies they might need after they got that all important vitamin C.

… And that list of supplies, was Pynchonian in scale!

23-thomas-pynchon

Hemp, rosin, rope, turpentine, tar, pitch (resin), linseed oil, whale oil, tallow, lard, varnish, twine, cordage, oakum, tools such as hatchets, axes, hammers, chisels, planes, shit all the tools to build the boat that went overboard on the journey to… Wherever! Lanterns, nails, marlinespikes, boat hooks, caulking irons, hand pumps, brooms, mops, galley supplies, leather goods, paper, tobacco, RUM or whatever, and of course, water!

If you take the the Hemp, tobacco, rum and water out of the above list what you get is a list of the shit I sell and a huge percentage of that is recycled.

And that’s cool I think!

 

 


A story of a raw water pump

May 08, 2016 by James in Dena's Blog Posts, James' Blog, Life Under Sail

DenasMarina

So we up-n-decided to pull up anchor and head-on in to Dena’s Marina as soon as we both got off work!

(which is working out famously, BTW)

We rowed out and as soon as we got aboard Dena went forward to ready the anchor bridle while I started the engine, turned on the electronics and readied the dock lines. After getting the motor running Dena came back to the cockpit and very hurriedly asked if I could hear water coming out of the exhaust. I stuck my head over the side as Dena went aft to answer that all important question for herself… Nope, no cooling water exiting the transom! Fuck, fuck, fuck! Before shutting her down I went down below, opened up the view hatch in the engine box and very quickly saw, what I thought was, the problem.

The belt wasn’t turning the raw water pump and the pulley was screaming like two metal birds fucking…

…”Okay, let’s shut her down!”

I pulled apart the engine box, got out the big screwdriver and the 12mm socket and went to work tightening the belt. After I got it all secured Dena started her up and I watched as that little raw water pump quite literally destroyed itself! The pulley just tore the internal bearings to dust in seconds after the engine started running again.

Dena shut her down again and went to work trying to find that god damn engine part.

oldpump

We’re in the “sailing capital of the world” (woo-hoo) so it didn’t take her very long to find the damn thing. Of course we were going to have to kidnap and sell one of her brother’s children, or one of my brother’s children, or one of my sister’s children’s children to pay for the new pump.

We made a fancy plan on how we would get up extra early (we’ve been getting up at 5am) so we could work out and shower and still get to the marina (across Back Creek, which means the easiest and fastest trip would be by dinghy) by 8am and get me (Dena) to my short-timer job by 8:30. I had just finished up on the rowing machine when James popped up with a bright idea.

Why not use our new connections to try and get a better deal? I was all over that.

When it comes down to it, though, Yanmar deals are not to be had on the fly. Those parts are imported, distributed, and priced-up in a way that makes their profit margin feel like a hot shave with a straight razor…almost too close for comfort.

So our boat continued to sit at anchor without an engine – an uncomfortable situation, especially once the harbormaster boat paid us a visit. As nice as the young man was, we’re more-than-once-bitten by the authorities and I couldn’t help but run the hauling anchor under sail possibilities through my mind.

The next day, James and I went to the gym in the rain. When we got out, it was pouring so heavily that we gave it 5 minutes to slack off…which it didn’t. I shrugged and rode to work. James shrugged and rode back to the dinghy.

Once in Tinker, the row from the dinghy wall at the end of 6th Street, past our boat, and across to the Bert Jabin Boatyard is about a quarter of a mile. Compared to some of our epic rowing adventures of the last year, it really didn’t seem like that big of a deal. But as I (James) started rowing, it seemed like with each stroke of the oars, the rain got even harder. By the time I got mid-channel, visibility was less than a quarter of a mile. I couldn’t see the boat or the marina and Tinker was filling up quick. I had to stop in the middle of the channel to bail because it felt like she was going to sink any second.

When the dinghy gets heavy with water, stroking with the oars makes the water surge with a slow roll. The water’s inertia can shift enough weight to flip a small boat.

So I bailed and bailed but as I did it seemed as though I couldn’t bail fast enough to keep up with the rain so I decided to continue my row until I got to the Bert Jabin docks. By the time I got to the docks the little boat was so full that I had to bail again just to get out of the boat and not sink her.

I waded my way through that immense marina complex and finally found the parts building but by the time I got there I was soaked through-and-through. My shoes squeaked and squished across their perfectly polished floor and I was shivering visibly by the time the parts guy took my order for the new pump… I paid and left.

The rain didn’t let up the whole time I was sloshing my way through the marina yard so the little boat was almost sunk by the time I got back. I had to lay on the dock and bail for about ten minutes before I could get Tinker dry enough just to get in.

I rowed back to the big boat stopping twice to bail and by this time I felt as though this story was getting a kind of Mel Brooks comedic edge to it. The rain got harder!

It wouldn’t hurt to mention that it’s been raining for three weeks now so everything’s already soaked and this just seemed kind of vengeful.

Ultimately I got back to the boat, jumped aboard, and about five minutes later had the new pump installed and the engine was running perfectly, pumping water like nothing was ever wrong.

PumpFin

(Lower left)

I ran her for about an hour, cranked up the heater, dried off the best I could and passed out cold on the main-cabin settee. About a half hour later we ran out of propane for the heater!

Fuck you Mel Brooks!

I had plenty of dry Smartwool so I piled on the layers, opened up my Kindle and read my way through some Azimov until Dena called me to come pick her up at the public landing. Believe it or not the rain slowed to a trickle by the time we got back to the boat so we moved to Dena’s Marina.

DDock

…And then the sun came out!