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.


  1. I believe the Drunken Sailor quote came from my Dad... who heard it from someone else, in reference to his boat, a Tayana 37.

    And yes, I'm very excited about the composting head. ;-)

  2. Awesome. Thanks for sharing, Donn, I'm glad your adventure continues in such an encouraging manner.

  3. Big ups for getting into the world of composting heads! I know you will love it. It is the best choice I have made for the Clarion ever.Honestly there is no upgrade that I would make with a clearer conscience.