The Voyage of FORTY TWO

 

MARCH 2004 - PREPARATION

 

At last the weather gods have started to co-operate in Illinois and the temperature has got up to the 50’s, so work can finally start on the final preparations for our planned June departure.  The most pressing job is to take all the VC17 anti-foul off and sand the bottom.  Then we will put more Interprotect 2000 over the existing before finally putting an ablative bottom coating.

 

VC17 is a great bottom coat for fresh water but no use in salt and really tough to get off. I’ve found the best is a very coarse 3M scouring pad and water.  The pads come from the Home Depot paint department.

 

Over the winter we have accumulated a garage of gear to be installed. To stretch our cruising budget we have bought used where practical and spent a lot of time on e-Bay.  One trip to North Carolina yielded two plastic water containers, a Whale Gusher pump, an anchor, and a portable hand operated washing machine from a consignment shop in New Bern!  A visit to the Annapolis Boat show introduced us to Bacon and Associates, and discount shopping at Wheems and Plath.  e-Bay was where we found the IMTRA shop where they sell overstocks and returned merchandise at very deep discounts.  Check them out at http://www.stores.ebay.com/id=3919664

 

We have a new anchoring system based on a 40lb Sascot plough anchor, 200 ft of 5/16 HT chain and 200 ft of rope.  Last year we had a new stainless steel double roller system designed and installed – the original Newport design had no rollers at all!  To haul all this up we have a Lofrans Progress II windlass with a hand control. We plan to install a dedicated battery in the locker forward of the vee berth so the cable run will be short. Other electrical installations to be done are installing a 1000W inverter, two solar panels and a wind generator and replace the existing batteries.  The alternator will go, to be replaced with a Balmar and a 3-bank controller.

 

While we were in New Zealand over the New Year we met with John Blundell, the designer of the Kiwi Feather Prop.

 

A sister ship in California has installed one and gets much better performance under power, and ½ - ¾ kn better speed under sail, so we bit that bullet and bought one. The installation three weeks ago was simple – the most difficult part was getting the old prop off.  Information on John’s props can be found at http://www.kiwiprops.co.nz/

 

The Sailrite sewing machine we bought last season is in full use making a new sail cover and new cushion covers for below.  After that we will make a few changes to the dodger, shortening the side panels and adding some pockets inside.  We also have some extra Sunbrella fabric to match the sail cover that will become weather cloths for the railings each side of the cockpit.

 

Of course this is the culmination of four years planning and upgrades.  One of the first acquisitions was an Avon inflatable with a Mercury outboard.  In previous years we have added new Andersen primary winches and Lewmar secondaries.  The cabin top winches were also replaced by Lewmars.  On the back we have hung a Sailormat wind vane system and a dodger at the front end of the cockpit.  On the cockpit bridge there was a teak panel for access to the rudder post to install the emergency tiller.  This always leaked and really did not look good.  The solution was to install a large access hatch that opens down to the cockpit floor and provides quick and easy access to both the rudder post and the back of the engine instrument panel.  All the standing rigging was replaced in 2003, along with a new main and 145% genoa and new blocks for the mainsheet system.  Down in the engine space we added a Racor twin primaries filter system, had the tank cleaned out and the fuel pump replaced.  Engine access was always difficult as the side panel had six screws that had to be removed to take the panel out.  Not easy in an emergency.  The solution was to put pins in the bottom of the panel (brass screws with the heads ground off after installing) that fit into holes in the base timber, and two quarter turn catches at the top.

 

On the navigation side, we put in a fixed Furuno 31 GPS and a Garmin 76 portable as a back up.   New this year is a Yeoman plotter for the chart table.  Still plan to use paper charts, but the plotter will make navigating easier.  The old VHF seems fine for now and we have a hand held for back up and emergency.  The old tape/radio has been replaced with a new CD/radio.

 

Not to forget safety, we have a four man Zodiac liferaft, added a lifesling in addition to the horseshoe buoy, and have just acquired a Jordan series drogue. Flares were replaced last season, but we plan to buy more each year, so that replacement becomes an annual event for one third of the flares, rather than replace all at once.  To round this out we have an ACR Rapid Ditch bag to keep additional supplies, passports etc.  Hopefully we will never have to use any of this on the trip.

 

Then there is the ‘list’.  Spares, supplies, stowage plans all have to be thought through and procured. A stern arch will be added to carry the wind generator and solar panels.  We’ve also decided to cut another hole in the hull!  A new thru-hull will be installed to allow us to empty the holding tank overboard where it is legal to do so.   Our head is a Sealand Vacuflush, so everything has to go into a holding tank first, but once outside of the USA we do not expect to have regular pump out facilities.

 

Plans are to finish the bottom and get the yacht in the water by mid April.  If Judy’s house sells soon we will move aboard at the beginning of May.

 

Fair winds,

 

Brian Dodds/Judy Bloom