So as I lugged my groceries down to Skylark this evening, I noticed a very large orange object being pushed and pulled by a couple of tremendous tugboats about a mile off the marina headed south down the river. After staring for a couple of minutes, I looked around and noticed quite a few of the local liveaboards standing on their boats for a better look as well. A quick conversation was had, and I found out that it was the large solid fuel tank that the Space Shuttle attaches to during lift-off. It was on a barge headed for Green Cove Springs, just down the river where it will be moved to the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum at the Keystone Heights Airport in Starke, Fla., about an hour southeast of Jacksonville. Here is the story from the paper with some great pictures of the fuel tank as well as my grainy attempt of a picture with the phone. collectspace.com
It was very neat to see in person to say the least. I was finally in the right place at the right time!
Have been down in Jax now for about a week. Have enjoyed the weather, being in the high 70s, although this weekend was a washout. Zachary's baseball game was cancelled, so we headed over to the Barnes and Noble for a bit to check out the new magazines and of course for a coffee.
Nothing too much planned at this point. Work has been outrageously busy, so I am just going day by day.
Have been doing small projects on Skylark while I have been here, but I am happy to say all the major work is done and working great. Would like to get some deck scrubbing in tomorrow afternoon if the weather breaks, but that too will be decided as we go. Think the rest of the day will be spent below doing homework and reading. I could use the break, and will be happy to sit still and relax. Maybe even a nap, can you fathom??!!
Wanted to say congratulations to my friends Doug and Tina on S/V Pieridae. About 2 weeks ago, they sold off the rest of their land based possessions and officially moved aboard Pieridae, their O'day 40. They are currently bobbing happily in Southport, NC and will be there for a bit before setting off into the sunset. I wish them fair winds and look forward to seeing them out there.
Yacht sets record sailing from New York to San Francisco A racing yacht named after one of the world's fastest cars has docked in San Francisco after what organizers said was the fastest passage of a single-hulled sailing vessel from New York to San Francisco. The 70-foot Maserati sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge late Saturday morning and tied up at Pier 39 Marina around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, 47 days after pulling out of New York City, said Judy Laws, a spokeswoman for the event. The 13,225-mile journey around Cape Horn at the tip of South America is what sailors have said for centuries is one of the most challenging sailing journeys in the world. The Maserati finished the trip in 47 days, two hours and 33 minutes, easily beating the most recent record of 57 days, three hours and two minutes set in 1998, Laws said. "They beat it by a little more than 10 days. They smashed it," Laws said. The eight-member crew of the Maserati — led by its Italian skipper 47-year-old Giovanni Soldini — left New York City on New Year's Eve. Though calm winds late Friday had pushed back the vessel's expected arrival by a few hours, Laws described a festive atmosphere as dignitaries, including Mauro Battocchi, Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, and others greeted the crew when they arrived at the dock. "It's just been a happy, happy time," Laws said. Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2013/02/yacht-sets-record-sailing-new-york-san-francisco#ixzz2LALuYEFD
I will be heading down to Skylark on Friday for about a week. Looking forward to some time on the water, warm weather and spending time with Zachary. It's been so cold up in NC for a few weeks now, have really had enough. Going to try to get out at least overnight, but of course need to be back for the Superbowl. Even though New England is out, you still gotta watch. :)
Just looked at the stats for the first time in a while and noticed a lot of folks looking through the posts. Feel free to say hi or ask questions. You would be surprised how much useless information I have to give. :)
Sorry folks, life has had a nasty way of taking over and keeping me up in NC longer than expected. Was also in Houston Texas for a week on business. Lots of running around but I was able to spend 5 days last week on Skylark. Had a fantastic weather window and enjoyed day after day of mid 70 degree days, a light breeze and perfectly clear skies.
Skylark was waiting patiently to see me and all was well with the new systems. Was too busy to get out but was able to run the engine in gear for about 45 minutes and was very happy with what the gauges were telling me. I had a problem with oil pressure and engine temp at first, but Ralph seems to have taken care of everything at this point (what else is new:). She started right up and ran very smoothly. I do think the engine is ready to go. Now if I can just find a few days to make that happen.
Nothing else really to report at this time. Just preparing for the holidays and working. I did get a new toy for when I am in NC, perfect for the mountains and the Blueridge Highway. It's a Heist from CCW, a small company in Cleveland. If you are looking for something small to run around your home town, I highly recommend it. Check it out... Cleveland Cycle Werks.
Next on my list for winter sailing. A propane heater for the cabin...
I know I said I was getting away from the refit stuff going forward, but I have had quite a few people ask about the nav panel, solar and LPG tank install, so I figured I would end out the refit chapter with a bang. Everything we set out to do is complete and I am ecstatic. Thank you Ralph for all the incredible work you have done, which of course was pretty much everything!
Solar Panel After doing a lot of searching online, I decided to go with a 100 watt panel from sunwindproducts. I was very happy with the customer service, prices and options. If you are in the market for solar or wind products, check them out. It's early in the game, but the panel seems to be doing exactly what it says it would and is putting the amps into the batteries as expected.
We decided to mount the panel to the stern rail with hinges that will allow it to be swung down in bad weather. Used a deck fitting for the wires, but other than that, it was straight forward. The charge controller is a basic 7 amp unit from Sunforce. Since I only have the one panel generating less than 7 amps, I didn't see a need to spend hundreds of dollars on a bigger unit. It fits nicely behind the nav station making it easier to hook into the system. Both the solar panel and wind generator can be set by the main battery switch to charge what ever battery bank I want. Of course the house bank gets most of the juice, but in an unforeseeable happenstance that both banks are drained, I can send all the power to the starting battery and get the engine running.
The final components to the Nav Station have been added. All the wiring has been replaced with proper gauge, tinned marine wire and connections. A new 4 stage Protech 1220i battery charger was installed behind the panel as well as the 7 amp solar panel charge controller. Included in the panel is the LPG solenoid switch, VHF, stereo/CD player, amp meter for the wind generator and wind generator control switch, Raymarine chartplotter, 120 AC breaker panel and the DC 12 breaker panel* with built in volt meter.
These were all placed in a custom built panel that was mounted on the starboard side shelves above the quarter birth. It's a great feeling to know that when I flip a switch, it's going to work. It was a big job sifting through the rats nest that was there, but Ralph knocked this one out of the park.
* As you might have noticed, I am still waiting for the new breaker panel labels to arrive. I promise there are no trim tabs on Skylark.
LPG Solenoid, Switch and Tank Locker Skylark did not come with a propane tank locker, so we had to build one. Actually, we were able to get a "tub" that would fit a 20 pound tank that was left long ago and sitting in the marina. From there, Ralph cut a hole in the aft "seat" behind the tiller and mounted the tank from underneath. There was plenty of room below that area in the locker, so it was the perfect place for it. A spill hole, tube and through-hull were installed to get the propane gas overboard in case of a leak, the purpose really for the locker in the first place. A square water proof hatch was then installed over the tank making it very easy to replace when necessary. In addition, a solenoid control switch was installed in the galley which operates the solenoid valve attached to the tank. This is a safety feature that allows you to easily turn the propane off from the galley as well as monitors pressure from the tank.
So that's it, time to start enjoying the fruits of out labor.
I woke up to the smell of something cooking this morning. That in itself is rather odd, but at 8:00am, it's unheard of. When I could finally pull myself up to investigate, I found Amy in the kitchen making beignets for breakfast. If you remember from a previous post, we went to the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans for their famous beignets and coffee. Of course we were not disappointed. Somewhere along the way, Amy had found a box of mix and planned on surprising me one day...it was today. They really were excellent and came quite close to the real thing. If you ever wanted to try them and can't get to Nawlins', give these a shot. Enjoy!
If you have been following for the last few years, you have probably noticed a lot of project posts...a lot. There was a few weeks of sailing mixed in as we brought Skylark down from Washington, NC to Jacksonville, FL, but that chapter was a quick one and ended way too fast for my liking. Don't get me wrong, I have truly enjoyed all of the feedback and had a lot of fun talking to folks out there working on similar projects. I have learned a tremendous amount about the boat and myself along the way, as well as the ups and downs of a full classic sailboat refit. I have a lot of thoughts on the matter now that it's done (you are never really done, just in a spot to start enjoying the fruits of your labor) but I will save that for another time. I am happy though to be turning the page and moving to the next chapter.
Since we have finished Chapter 1, The Refit and Chapter 2, The Short Journey Home, it is now time for Chapter 3, Skylark is Finally Out There. So unless there is something specific that you would like to see or hear about in more detail from a project perspective, I will start gearing my posts to what this Blog was always meant to be, Sailing Adventures on a Cal 34. Let the games and nightmares begin!
I think Chapter 3 will start off with a nice shakedown cruise north to Cumberland Island, GA. It's a wonderful place to anchor out and enjoy for a week or so making sure all of the systems are working as expected. Zachary and I will make the trip at the beginning of July, weather permitting. There is a good chance one of my friends and his sons will be buddy boating with us from the marina. I am very much looking forward to getting away from the dock and getting back out to sea.