Friday, April 24, 2009

Stabilizer Maintenance

We have NAIAD Stabilizers on our boat. I LOVE our stabilizers! It has allowed us - well, really me, as I’m the one who gets seasick - to actually enjoy most any condition offshore. Of course, we have learned to be ever more particular about the weather conditions we go out in. Our motto is “It’s SUPPOSED to be FUN!” But anyone who has done the New Jersey coast knows that there are just some situations where the beam-to seas never cease. Well, every 3 years the stabilizer seals need to be replaced. The last time we were in Ft. Lauderdale and had them done at Playboy Marine by Stabilized Marine - and met Larry since he was still down there. They convinced my husband that this was a job he could learn to do, so he jumped in and helped with the idea of doing it himself the next time. Stabilized Marine makes it all quite easy. You order the seals and they send a metal box with the seals, hydraulic pumps, a mother-of-all torque wrenches, other specialized tools, and a wide assortment of spare parts. Much to our poor UPS driver's chagrin, it weighed 103 pounds! When you’re done, you simply send back the tools and any parts you didn’t use. What could be easier? Besides, Larry offered to help!

Here I must admit that while this escapade was occurring, I was far south assisting my parents with a move. But the summary I received went something like this. In Ft. Lauderdale the whole job took about two hours - of course, there were 3 guys, including my husband. As I remember it, no swear words were uttered and my husband hardly had a smudge mark on him. Well, this time it took 9 hours, several phone calls to Stabilized Marine, numerous trips to Hamilton Marine (the local marine store), and an undetermined amount of off-color language. Oh yes, and large amounts of Advil over the next 24 hours. My husband proudly claims that the next time “will be easy.” I haven’t had a chance to check with Larry on that.

Sorry, as I wasn’t there so I could record the blessed event but the picture above is how they looked the next time I saw the boat.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Larry’s Lines - Perfection

When it comes to making lines there are none better than Larry’s. It is one of the things that he loves to do and still accepts orders from all over the world. Making dock lines for mega-yachts is one of Larry’s winter pastimes. Each line is meticulously hand spliced and whipped, and they are true works of art. It doesn’t matter if they’re dock lines, mooring lines, or even “leash lines” for our dogs, each one is beautiful. Three-strand or braided, without color trace, or hard to find New England Ropes, Larry can get it, splice it and deliver it. Since we met him, only Larry has done our lines. Here in Maine practically every boat sits on a mooring. Larry’s mooring lines have nice leather chafing gear and the ends of our docking lines are custom finished to fit our boat perfectly. He has tried to teach Jeff his techniques and while Jeff’s lines are certainly passable, you would never confuse them with Larry’s. Larry will do lines for others as well, especially during the winter months. Contact him at lreMarine@aol.com, and tell him Karen sent you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Our 24-volt Charger

The last time we went to the boat Jeff thought there was “something funny” about the charger. We had plugged it into shore power as always then did our usual bits on the boat, had a leisurely lunch, did some shopping, whatever. When we went to unplug it several hours later, it hadn’t come up to charge. When we went back in two weeks Jeff brought his meter and tested it more thoroughly and determined it was no longer working. ARGH! Our first expensive equipment failure of the season. Actually, we’ve been pretty lucky in the 6 years we’ve had aCappella - replaced the inverter once and some problems with our KVH satellite antenna which we had replaced at an excellent electronics shop in Cambridge, Maryland on the Chesapeake, Mid-Shore Electronics. They did a great job, were helpful and friendly, and even let us stay an extra two days on their dock while we waited for better weather. We highly recommend them!

Well, Jeff did his research, asked the right questions on the Trawlers and Trawlering forum and ordered new charges - two new 12-volt charger which cost less than the old one! Oh, joy, our next trip to the boat will include the thrill of installing new equipment. Stay tuned to find what will (not may) go wrong.....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Take Me To Cuba?

We have long discussed the idea of taking our boat to Cuba. It could be the purported beauty of their beaches, the thrill of the forbidden, or just the desire to experience something new (to us) and different. Only 90 miles off Key West, it’s tempting. We’ve never had the nerve to break the law and just go. Having met one captain who did, and then lost his boat and faced jail time, we decided that was just a bit too much excitement for us. But we have read up, followed some web sites, and spent time talking about it. We even found a funky propaganda film in our tiny library - came in a cigar box - and watched it this past winter. Well, now the news is abuzz about the possibility of the US opening relations with Cuba. Could our dream be within reach? Might Dyna be swimming on Cuban beaches next winter rather than the Bahamas? Oh, it is still so much speculation. But we are keeping an eye on the news and renewing our research. If it happens we want to be prepared to get there fast before it losses its charm to casinos and big development. Besides we need to fill in our Cuban marinas on ActiveCaptain. Help anyone?