165 watts of solar, the wind and a happy birthday to Dena…

First: Dena built the panel whilst I cut the forward solar panel-mount pieces. Dena (above) turns 36 years old this next week… She is an incredible writer, a fantastic marine electrician who was recently mentioned with honors on sites like www.contractorstoday.com/electrician-contractors-near-me, she’s  a pretty good mechanic, a damn fine woodworker and a grit-yer-teeth and get-her-done plumber, She’s an intuitive lover and by-far my best friend, ever! I love this woman with all my heart and can’t wait for the next adventure. Happy Birthday my love… …  Didn’t I tell you? Fantastic!!!   Then: I wired the solar panel above decks and Dena did the interior panel for the Solar Panel, The Mast and the LED lighting. And of course we went sailing on thanksgiving… So’s we could test the gear you know (wink). We did get around to hooking that propane heater back up as well as the clock, the barometer and the all important paper towel rack. So now the boat is ready for another winter in Fells point and we’re ready to celebrate Dena’s birthday on the boardwalk empire, winter’s off to a good start.  

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What We’ve Been Up To…

When we’re not working on the boat. I don’t talk much about that on this blog, do I?  That’s partly because we do a lot of work on the boat.  It’s partly because James works full time, with another hour or more devoted to travel time.  It’s partly because we’re not that interesting at the end of a long day…a.k.a. how much do you want to read about us watching another episode of Misfits or Doctor Who or Star Trek or Boardwalk Empire or…? Even so, we don’t spend all our time working and watching.  We also work out at MAC, the gym in Harbor East.  And on the way to the gym, we see some lovely things. Most of the photos I’ll be sharing here aren’t Nikon shots.  We got Android smart phones and there has been some great in-the-moment shooting.  Picture quality was low at first until I found the settings…grin. And a third from the same sunset walk… And then there have been some odd sights on my walk to work.  I’m still largely unemployed, but I have one shift a week (some weeks) at West Marine on Boston St.  It’s a half-hour walk or 10 minute bike ride, so easy enough to get to.  A little extra money is appreciated, but then there have been days like yesterday – rain coming on soon and a beautiful day that I spent inside rather than working on the boat. Of course, I wouldn’t call this beautiful, but it was an irresistible subject. In what is slipping into monomania, I mostly take pictures of boats.  Live on a boat, work on a boat, photograph boats…but such beautiful boats! That is the Mystic Whaler passing a sugar ship.  The cargo ships come in loaded to the waterlines, warp into the[…]

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… And then the mast went up!

We lifted the stripped mast on to the deck and rigged it up on deck. The day was, at this point, perfect… … With the wind generator tied off and the boat and crew ready to DO THIS THING!!! … We hoisted our mast. The new wind-direction-indicator was telling us that it was our last chance to “beat the storm” (HA!!!) back to the slip. It kicked up a bit on the way back home but the rig was totally in place and the crew was elated, The Mast Was Back UP!!! Not a creak, not a groan, every single piece went in place and it was an awesome feeling. We even beat the storm that put the rig to the test that night. (When does that ever happen?!) …So, next!

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Tongue and Groove

The repaired bulkhead is now clad in 1×3 tongue and groove oak boards.  There are some trim issues to be sussed out, and the fasteners need to be bunged, but it’s as solid as it gets.  Here’s the story. We bought two bundles of oak, which seemed likely (but not guaranteed) to be enough.  We won’t be able to do all the surfaces we’d planned with the wood we have, but we’ll give it a go.  I broke the bundles and rebundled them so I could carry the wood from the truck to the boat.  That shit is heavy! My first job was to mock up the boards, trying to avoid putting board-ends near one another.  I taped across where my rows of fasteners would go, to give me a good visual. Another factor was allowing access to the mast compression system’s fasteners.  I had to make sure that they would be covered, but not by more than one board.  This was a good try, but partially covered a fastener. I changed things up a bit as I went, but mostly followed the plan.  When I took these boards down, I numbered them and arranged them on the cabin sole. I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better, so you get to see both. Then I started putting the boards up.  At first, I tried to gauge the proper angle using my smart phone’s spirit level.  That was a massive failure, as I was doing this during peak water-traffic time.  Every time I tried to figure out whether or not something was exactly vertical, another wake would toss the boat around.  I cut three pieces (incorrectly) before I gave up in frustration. That meant I needed to work from my one and only guide line – the hatchway.  Working with[…]

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