Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Captain's log, adventures of Big Bird 2018 05 05


I finally spent the night on the boat, I would consider it to be a liberating experience. At the beginning of the night the wind had kicked up and it was rather noisy because despite b]my best efforts there were still things slapping around up in the rigging, not to mention the rub of the boat against the fenders, and the howl of the wind. The wind was officially only about twenty knots, but it was still enough to make a racket. I fell asleep like a log and I stayed that way all night, at least until closer to dawn when I reallied how cold it had gotten after the wind had switched off the lake. I believe the official outside temperature was 43 degrees and although the main cabin of the boat was sufficiently warm, the v-berth was a little ice cube. I think I can fix this with a little fan, something that would not be that difficult to obtain, and air circulation has never been noticed as a bad thing. I was pondering this winter about installing some dorades, I believe that is spelled correctly, but that would have only brought in more cold air, which was the last thing I needed, I already had plenty of that.

I bought one of those oil filled heaters, so it does not have a fan on it to blow hot air around, which means that for the most part in heats its immediate vicinity, and anything directly above it. I guess that is the price I have to pay for not burning the marina to the ground. When I ran home today, on top of splitting a trailer full of firewood, and moving another persons boat out of storage in the garage, I grabbed another blanket. Now I just need to work on taking more application for the still open boat-bum cuddler position. I wonder how you would word that one on craigslist, wanted, little spoon.


In the morning I woke up an made a pot of coffee on the fancy new hot plate, and then I made a bagel in the toaster. I then proceeded to sit out on the back deck by the steering wheel and eat my food, drink my coffee, and watch the marina owner (Joel) run around in a little run about trying to get the storm damage to the plumbing under the docks fixed. It looked like he was making progress, but I still do not have any water. I did get my boat in the water really early though, I was the third sailboat in the water (I think in the entire area) and there are still only about a half a dozen or so boats in the entire marina! I think on my stretch of ~35 docks there are three boats, one of which is a charter fisherman and fishing is already open on the big lake.

Todays adventure was an attempt to change the oil in which I discovered that the plumbing line that goes to the sink leaks like a sieve. I fixed the leak, but after getting was dripped all over the engine I am going to let it dry out before I attempt the oil change again. I am also waiting for my brother to remember to bring home the little portable oil change bump that he brought to the tugboat and left there. It will make the oil change really quick work.

I did get the hose fixed, and I also discovered the problem with the wood piece at the top of the steps before killing myself when it let go at an inopportune moment.

The interior of the boat still looks like a train wreck as all of the cushions with the exception of the v-berth are still in storage, there is a big pile of mainsail to my left, as that one did not come with a sail bag, and I have not fixed the leaky stanchion above the q-berth so I cannot use that space as life jacket storage yet.


Thankfully the leaks I have left to track down and fix are all topside, which makes life easier. I do have power though! Which means I can sit here and work on my laptop to my hearts content! And since I do not have Internet I can actually get something accomplished!

It is an odd thing to think of the lack of in this day and age, but I do not have a clock on board. Not that I really need a clock with the prevalence of cell phones and what not, but to have a nice mechanical clock on board would be kind of nice. I did adjust the barometer today so that it actually ready correctly and not ¾ of an inch low. The thing was constantly reading change, it was enough to give a person a little bit of a complex.

I think I am going to take a couple of pictures of the interior of the boat in its current state, and make a pot of coffee. The fun thing about the appliances is I have to remember what are big appliances and what are small appliances, I can run several small appliances at any given time, things like the trickle charger on the batteries, the laptop, the interior lighting. But things like the toaster, hotplate, heater I only run one at a time. None of them draw over 1000 watts, and I should technically have about 3000 at my disposal, but why take chances when there is no reason to do so.


Although I am not ready to take the plunge into staying on the boat all of the time, the date when that starts is coming up pretty soon. I have to wait for the weather to warm up a little bit more first. It is still too cold at night to stay on here, although the heater helps, it can only do just so much.

I think tomorrow (Sunday) I may go out for a little bit of a cruise, and Wednesday as well. Savannah is getting back in town this week and I can bet that she is getting a little antsy to go out and go for a sail. I want to make sure that some of the electronics are working the way that they are intended to, like the autopilot. I never got an opportunity to fire the thing up last year, but if we go for a cruise out on the lake I will have a long enough run, and enough open water on all sides of me to fire the thing up and see if it sails me true. I also need to bring the little USB GPS dongle out and see if it is functioning with the open-source charting software that I downloaded to see where I am going when it comes time to do some more extensive cruising. Going around Park Point is fine, but sometimes you need to lose sight of land to know what it really feels like to be out on a boat. It is difficult to get far enough out on Lake Superior to actually lose sight of land, but it can happen, especially at night once you get away from the sky glow above Duluth.


I have a lot of work yet to do on Big Bird, but I have a whole summer to accomplish things! There is no reason to rush the non-critical stuff. Oil Change is a must, fixing leaky stanchions is a must, varnishing the grab rails is a must. I also have one chain plate that is towards the top of the to do list, although considering I have to dismantle half the interior on the Starboard side to get to it, it is somewhere between the leaky stanchions and varnishing. Where the chain plate attaches into the fiberglass of the hull it is solid, but the wood that it attaches to is a bit questionable, considering that it was marine plywood I am going to venture a guess that the chain plate has been leaking for a few years, or maybe decades and it still has not failed. But it is definitely going to have to be fixed for real, re-fiberglassed where the wood is gone, and an extension to the chain plate at the bottom so I know it is biting into something substantial before I go on any hard cruises in any conditions where I can’t just drop the sails, start the motor and cruise back to port.

Now that I have had the heater on for a while I have noticed that it is really nice and warm in the top two feet of the cabin, but all of the cold air is still pooling near the floor, meh.