Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boat warming

Boat warming over the Thanksgiving weekend was a good choice after the sub-freezing weather we experienced the week before  The cold had been harsh, with morning temps in the very low twenties.

People kept asking us if we were staying warm, which was reasonable indeed, considering the icy winter wonderland that Seattle had become.  Brigadoon was covered in ice and snow, as was our dock.  This was a good test for us, a little more than a week into living aboard at the marina.

With the temperatures forecast so low and snow in the picture too, we had prepped the boat as best we could, filling the water tanks before the water supply was shut off at the docks.  We also purchased a second DeLongi oil filled radiator the week before.  The heaters are completely safe for boat use, not using any hot coils or fans.  They are quiet, provide a soft heat and made the inside of Brigadoon cozy and warm.  They do draw as much as 1200 watts at full tilt but, we only had to run one at 1200 watts and the other at 700 to maintain temperatures above 55 degrees.  Yes, I said 55 degrees inside the boat.  Now that seems cold but, really, it isn't.  Our large V berth is very warm and comfortable and waking up to a cool cabin was just fine.  Also, I was able to figure out how to operate the Dickenson Newport heater on the boat.

I really love this little heater. It's simple, easy to light, runs on the same diesel the boat engine needs, and only burns about a gallon if fuel a day.  We had a little trouble with it at first as we figured out how to get it lit and keep it that way but, once that was past, it will happily push the cabin temperature up to 70 degrees, even with ice and show all over the boat.

We have had a couple instances where it has done out and belched black smoke into the cabin, but we have learned to deal with that quickly enough.  It happened last night, during out boat warming when a strong gust of wind came down the stack but, because we knew what to do, we aired the boat out ad had it re-lit in a few minutes.

As an added bonus, when it is running, we can make tea directly in our tin cups, place a small pan of pud thai or reheat pizza on top of the thing. 

Then, there is the berth where we sleep.

I have rarely had a more comfortable bed.  We added an inexpensive foam mattress topper to the already adequate cushions.  A few warm blankets, a comforter and a pretty girl are all I need to sleep warm and safe, on Brigadoon, surrounded by ice and snow, looking out over Lake Union towards the city.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The View

This is what it looks like, at midnight, looking out the starboard pilot house window, on a very very calm night.

I sat there, while my beautiful girl slept in the fore-cabin, looking out over a supremely calm lake -- at this.

I could not help but get out and take a shot or two.  I placed my camera on the pier tops, taking eight second exposures without a tripod, in the drizzle, at this place, this lake, just north of the city.

I live here.  I do.  It's, so far, magic.

Because the best part is, I get to go to bed on Brigadoon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And now, the list...

Now that we have Brigadoon, I have a list.

* solves survey items -- some of these must be fixed in by Dec 1.

1) Remove the electric head, close the inlet and outlet sea cocks, cap the sea cocks, pull the macerator, pull all hoses, pull the holding tank, wreck the electrical serving the macerator. *
2) Install a Natures Head (Composting Head). *
3) Relocate the Dickenson Diesel stove. *
4) Verify the safety and integrity of the propane stove system. *
5) Relocate the aft nav light (blocked by dingy on davits). *
6) Replace corroded hose clamps.  *
7) Ground fault 115v socket in galley. *
8) Rebed all eight of the chainplate escutcheon plates to stop minor leaks. *
9) Review and clean up *all* electrical connections.
10) Inspect, wash, and condition all the lines on the boat.
11) service the winches.
12) secure batteries better. *
13) get new battery boxes.  *
14) investigate increasing battery capacity.
15) deal with chafe issues on some hoses and electrical lines. *
16) replace some of the lifelines. *
17) bond some unbonded through hull fittings.  *
18) replace welding cable for actual tinned battery cables. *
19) service manual anchor windlass

Long term:

1) cutlass bearing in a year.
2) refrigeration system
3) get sails inspected, cleaned and resewn as necessary
4) maybe get an assy spinnaker for the boat.

So, that's the short list.

There is, of course, a complete inventory of the boat, some rerouting of lines to make single handing easier, a lot of creature comfort stuff.

So much to do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleaning out the house

You get four bins.

One is for trash, another goes into storage, another is donated to charity, the final one goes on the boat.

The trash is emptied continually as you finish each room; kitchen, wardrobe in the living room, your closet, the drawers of your dresser...

You put as much as you can into the donation box.  Why waste?

You put as little as you can into storage. Remember, this is not about stuff, memories, mementos (life isn't stuff), and things. Room costs money and carries weight.

The final bin is yours. You only get one.  It's what can go on the boat with you.  22 gallons of bin is all the personal possessions you can take, besides the clothes that can fit in your half (15") of the hanging locker, the two drawers, the one cabinet, and the shoe storage under the cabin steps.

That's it.

Four bins of stuff.

Only one is yours.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Camping on the boat...and heads.

There are a few moments when it really hits you; this is mine.

One of those is when you sleep on the boat.  It's reinforced when you sleep on the boat again, and you've addressed issue raised during the first night.  We stayed again on Saturday night too.

We took delivery of Brigadoon on Monday the 1st.  We didn't get to sleep on her until Thursday night.  We stayed there, sorting things out, went out for dinner and shopping in our new neighborhood.  We made plans to address some things short term and get a list for long term.

Our friend Thor, who lives at the Fremont Tugboat Marina, on his Catalina 36, stopped by on Saturday and Sunday to lend us a hand.

One of the things we had to do was make some more room in the salon.  This involved removing the huge teak salon table and putting it in storage.  We are planning on building a smaller, fold-out table in the next few weeks. We also removed the custom boat cover and other unnecessary sundry off the boat while we were at it.

Sunday, after a night learning how to quiet my main halyard from smacking the mast (smack, smack, smack) at 3:00 in the morning, we woke to a beautiful Lake Union outside our ports.

Sunday was the day we would full the water tanks, figure out if the propane systems are working properly, learn to get the boat off the dock and get out in the lake.  I needed to learn how to handle and drive my boat before we took her over to the boat yard for some engine repairs.

 So, we spent the afternoon with Thor on board, driving in circles, backing her up, and generally playing around in the middle of Lake Union.  This boat "backs like a drunken sailor," as my friend Thor put it.  It took come coaxing but I finally learned out to handle her with proper use of throttle in forward and reverse, some cursing and Popeye facial expressions.  

I finally became confident enough with that we....

Actually Went Sailing! Finally! For the first time in our possession Brigadoon had some real wind in her sails.  We sailed her under main and staysail, leaving the genoa out of the mix for now. The boat really pointed well.  As soon as we got the sails powered, she heeled about 20 degrees, stiffened and took off.  I'm going to love sailing this boat.

Kerry did a great job as first mate, making an awesome lookout and doing her hand at the wheel.  Thor and I handled the lines and mostly drove the boat, except when we threw the wheel at Kerry and said, "steer this boat into the wind."  She did great.

The sky to the south was starting to threaten. We didn't want to be docking at the boat yard in a pouring rainstorm so, we stowed the sails and headed west to raise two drawbridges.  I drove the boat more and more, getting the feel of making her spin in place, hold station and drive under the bridges.

Brigadoon, at full throttle (2800 rpm), seems to make about 4.7 kts, though it seemed faster.  I'll have to verify the knot meter with a GPS.  Throttling back to 2400 rpm still showed 4 knots, so that looks like my cruising speed.  My research says we have to calibrate the knot meter.

We made it to the boatyard dock and, after puttering around and deciding how to land her, did so with no drama, no dents, no scuffs and no stress.  It was awesome.  It looked like this when we were done.

Brigadoon will sit there a week while the engine work is completed.  We don't get to sleep on her until Saturday night.  Until then we get to plan to work on planning the following big project:

1) Wreck (decommission) the head and septic system on this boat. It stinks.  I see no reason to throw money at it to deal with sewage on my boat. Besides, we want the storage.

2) Order (done today) a composting head for Brigadoon.  We have two friends that use this system and, aside from being Coast Guard approved it, doesn't stink, it requires almost no maintenance, and is very very green.  It basically turns poop into dirt.  You dump the liquids at the marina head.

We are getting a Nature's Head.

Removing the head system will provide many advantages.  Kerry has been very excited about doing this (she won't shut up about it -- and that's good).  I've been moving along slowly, weighing options, before doing the wrong thing.  Well, it's the right thing so, we are doing it.

I have to wait a week for my boat. That will give us plenty of time to plan before we move aboard the weekend of the 13th.

 Thanks for your help, Thor.  I couldn't have done this as easily without you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And....we've just begun.

Brigadoon has a new home, nestled against the end of our marina, on Lake Union.  I surprised my broker by wanting to move the boat today, just as a storm system was leaving.  We had a dicey moment at the marina but, once we got out into the lake, it was a pretty easy shot to our slip.

We took no pictures today.  There was too much to do to fumble with a camera.  A good friend, who is making a documentary about live aboard folk, did come along and videotape our maiden voyage.

Brigadoon now sits against the doc.  She's still afloat (we checked after a celebratory dinner at 9 Million in Fremont) last we left her.  I'm sure I'll go by and check on her daily.  We return Thursday night to settle some more things and plan on camping out on her this weekend.

There's much to do.  I'll be busy re-bedding chain plate covers, stopping a few small leaks, sorting out the entire boat, building a big todo list, scheduling some engine maintenance, and transitioning to moving aboard the weekend of the 13th of November.

It's taken eight long months, looking at possibly a hundred boats, talking to tens of brokers, until we found Brigadoon.

Thanks for listening and, as I said to Kerry tonight, "Whew!  Done."

"No," she replied. "We've just begun."

Gosh I love her.

The boat isn't bad either.

Here are the pictures we have so far.