Drilling a hole below the water line…what?

IMG_1437Why would I?  Well, a saltwater pump for rinsing dishes and anchor chains could be a great addition.  Using saltwater in the galley can save a lot of precious tank water.  We’ll be in rivers a lot so that’s even better–a fresh water rinse!

 

The Merlon through hull is one inch thick so I drilled an inch and-one-quarter hole.  Then I backed the hole on the inside with Tyvek tape.  I painted the margin of the hole with epoxy.  I then packed the hole with thickened epoxy and quickly taped over it with Tyvek tape.  Turned out pretty nice I think.

IMG_1439Here is the Merlon fitting bedded with Dupont 5200.

 

 

 

IMG_1441Here’s the mounted Merlon valve. I will continue when I get the strainer. for the pump.

Lovely Whitesport White Canoe by Old Town for sale

IMG_3062I got this vintage canoe from a friend with the intention of using it to paddle my favorite lakes and rivers.  Turns out my focus is on working on my sailboats and sailing.  So I am passing on a classic beauty to some lucking potential owner.  The White sport is a highly sought-after craft made of fiberglass.  Professional repairs were made to the flotation tanks on the ends but otherwise it is in vintage good shape.

IMG_0444 IMG_0448The seats are in great shape.  There are a few small insignificant scratches in the bottom.  This is a beautiful 16 foot canoe ready for some proud owner to take on lake and river exploration.  For more information email me a lwhited1 at msn dot com.  Thanks for looking

Price: $600.00  You pick up in Stone Mountain, GA

Landlocked but The Dream is Still Alive

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0098.Shallow Minded galley as seen with my Gopro.

Yes, it was pretty shabby.  The fit and finish I would characterize as “early chainsaw.”

My mission: to rebuild the sink cabinet with an acceptable quality of finish and solid construction.  So that’s what I’m up to this winter.

Meanwhile, readers have to be wondering what happened to my mad dash off to work.  Well, it just didn’t work out for me.  I’m back in the retirement lane. The money would have been nice but freedom is worth more to me.

IMG_1210The first order of business after ripping everything out was to neatly install the plumbing.  I found all the right fittings to go 1/2 inch quick fit all the way through the accumulator tank.  From then on, it’s 1/4 inch FIP through the filter and to the faucet.  Sadly, the cold weather has made efforts slow to a crawl this winter

IMG_1220I used 3/4 inch “UV-1” birch finished on one side.  The face frame is built with select pine pocket joined and glued.  The doors are simple overlay slab doors with 1/8 inch reveal cut into rounded casing.

 

IMG_1223Slowly I am getting the varnish work done and allowing them to dry on the kitchen counter.

IMG_1222The counter top is cut for the sink opening.  I retained the familiar L shape as the handy drawer under the L.  Formica will be installed later and the holes for the faucet and yet-to-be-bought propane stove will be cut after the Formica is installed.  A few warm days would see this project to completion.

Another installment of retirement income wouldn’t hurt anything either.

 

 

Meanwhile, Karen has retired and is working PRN at the hospital and for the election commission in Gwinnett County.  We plan to begin our serious boat travel in a couple of years.  In the mean time we will spend our spring vacation split between Crystal River and the Cedar Key Boat meet.  In the fall we plan to spend a couple of weeks at St. Andrews Park in Panama City, sailing and exploring based in the RV.

Day-to-day life aboard Shallow Minded, problems identified, and a life changing decision!

Captains Quarters
Captains Quarters

A restful nights sleep is an important part of an enjoyable cruise.  As you can see from the picture, Shallow Minded is well suited at least in terms of space and physical comfort for spending a pleasant night aboard.   A key ingredient is anchorage selection. On this trip for the most part, I have had some really good ones.

With a flat bottom boat, the chuckling of the waves against the floor is quit an amplifying experience so it pays to put as little fetch between the boat and windward land as possible.  Shallow water is preferable.  Lucky for me, “shallow” is her mission statement.

Anchorage at St. MarksWith quiet waters like this, sleep is as restful as at home.  I guess that’s why I stayed so long at the anchorage in St Marks  Or could it be the marina and two restaurants just a short paddle away.

 

Sailing to Carrabelle

Eventually, it’s time to get moving, and so I do.  Remember, this is my first sail!  After motoring the eight miles down the St. Marks river, I deploy sail and run off toward Carrabelle with a 8-10 knot following wind.  She makes about 4.5 to 5 IMG_1112knots more stable when I strike the mizzen and depend only on the big gaff main.  Unfortunately the wind dies withing a half-hour and I am left to motor the rest of the 30 miles.  The motor is magnificent.  I make an easy six and one-half knots, having changed back to the factory three bladed prop.  Seems the 4 bladed R7X9 1/4  takes a little too small a bite.  I believe from observation that a R9 4 blade will be just about right.  Oh well, next time.  No complaints for sure.  And the gas used is very nominal. Here we are having arrived at the bight of Dog Island at about 2:30 pm.  Of course she tries to skate all around the anchor until I put up the riding sail.  Wow does that make a difference!  She hangs to the wind in a most magical way!

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This is a beautiful Island, wild and isolated from the mainland.  There are over 100 retirement homes here but only 30 some people actually live here year round

IMG_1122There are definitely more  cars than people!
They say that cars come over from the mainland and just never go back!

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The Gulf beach goes on for ever with not a person in site.

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So what’s going on here?  Yes, this is the premature end of the planned two month voyage.  Looks like I’m going back to work for a couple of years at my old job.  It’s a long story…

 

 

 

Here’s a small to-do list with some to-don’ts as well.

  • Redo the plumbing so no more worries about leaks and add a nice big faucet
  • Take less stuff!
  • Build my own Bimini, smaller adjustable, about the size of the two solar panels
  • Install a mizzen mast track. The current lace system gets caught on the rigging.
  • Try to either re-design the main mast boom jaws or design a goose neck
  • Move the vang forward. It catches on the running rigging and the life-lines.
  • Redo the sole in the galley so as to improve access to the bilge.
  • Change the water tanks to 19 gallons each.

Did I mention, take less stuff?

Conclusion:  Shallow Minded is a very capable cruising and sailing vessel.  With disciplined stowage and some improvements to the rigging, locker areas and Bimini she will carry plenty of supplies for a 3 month voyage for two.  Honestly, if I get too old to handle the masts, she would make a fine river and coastal motor cruiser.

I’ll update this site with my improvements and ideas as I work through the next two years of work and boat work.

Here’s a few picture highlights of the trip.

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Anchorage at St. Marks
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A panorama of the anchorage
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Cooter Stew Cafe in St. Marks for out-of-this-world burgers.  My favorite, the Snapping turtle (with jalapenos).
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Galley, Shallow Minded

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Shallow Minded’s Head, an Airhead composting toilet.

I know, who would have thought this would be one of the high points.  Three weeks and plenty to go.  Never a worry or a smell from our trusty Airhead.

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Yes, the Sunny inflatable kayak was also a favorite! I’m carrying a 50 lb water jug in the back.

I used it to carry my 6 gallon water tank, deploy and retrieve my stern anchor and 25 of chain.  Used it as a dinghy and a fun paddling craft.  It really has served me well over the years.  Most of the time it is all the dinghy I need.

The solar panels ran my refrigerator and served all my electrical needs including a little transmitter time on the ham radio.

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Two 100 watt semi-flex solar panels
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Galley, Shallow Minded

 

 

 

 

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Salon taken from starboard settee looking toward galley. Barrel distortion courtesy GoPro camera.
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A good time was had!

 

 

 

Falling in love with St. Marks, FL

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As if a view from the cockpit like this isn’t enough to cast a spell, the scenery around here is just stunningly beautiful all the time.  It doesn’t hurt that the weather has been absolutely perfect.  Add to that everyone I have met in this cozy little speck on the map beside the St Marks river has been completely friendly, kind and very helpful.  Every meal I have eaten in either the Riverside Cafe or the Cooter Stew Cafe; yes that’s its name,  has been completely delicious.  More later on this unique place.

I was fortunate to meet up Noel and Christy Davis of Furled Sails note (popular podcast some years back).  We had a leisurely lunch on Saturday at Riverside.  We spent a couple of hours catching up on each others lives.  A fun time was had!IMG_1709

Now for Cooter Stew Cafe.  It’s not unusual to see a line of Harleys parked in front on the weekend.  Inside, the waitress is very nice and the jalapeno cheeseburger with fries that I had–well, I just haven’t tasted anything much better, anywhere!

Today I washed my clothes at the marina for $2–honor system.  I took a much need shower–for free.  Just as I paddled into the ramp area the UPS truck rolled in with my order from eMarine in Miami.  Report on my work here will follow this.

As I was waiting for my clothes to dry I decided to wander over to the Riverside Cafe and get some lunch.  As I walked in and took a seat at the rail table my jaw dropped! There sitting at the next table was Cathy Payne!  The Payne’s are long-time Cedar Key Small Boat Meet enthusiast and inveterate wooden boat builders.  Shortly Rex walked out and it was like a family reunion.  The surprise was that they live just north of Tampa and just happened to be passing through on their way to Panama City Beach to meet with some relatives.  What a happy coincidence.

Just to give you an idea of how prolific their boat-building is, Rex said they are starting their fifteenth boat.  Rex offers that Cathy is at least as good as he is if not better.  In any case, I have seen several of their creations and they are simply spectacular in beauty and quality of fit and finish. The new boat is a smaller Melonseed.

Back at the marina where I have come to appreciate Maxine the very sweet clerk at the store, I picked up my delivery which is two flex panel solar panel supports.  They are plastic panels 8 mm thick honey-combed to be very rigid and cut exactly the right size for my panels.  The flex panels were flexing way too much on the soft top of the Bimini so they need support.  Additionally, they were buckled in such a way that the full sun was not hitting them at an appropriate angle.

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Now, as you can see from the picture they are nice and flat and well supported on the soft top of the Bimini.

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Here is a detail of the honeycomb board  with the custom pads Karen made on our new Sailrite sewing maching.

I took on another project today.  I had disabled the swing panels, two 50 panels with old style charger.  Having thought that the smart charger would be confused by the other voltage.  Turns out as long as the smart charge stays in bulk charge mode more amps is a good thing.  So I wired in a pull switch and moved the fuse to the right place–on the battery line not on the PV line and hooked it up. Magic, another 33 percent increase in the charging current.  If it goes into “acceptance: or “float” modes too early, I can turn off the extra panelsIMG_1067It helps to have the right tools along.  I had to visit the marina store for the switch and wire and the fuse holder.  I do have plenty of hardware and fuses.

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IMG_1051Well, I’m happy to say everything is working at least for now.  After carefully inspecting all the plumbing and fluids in the refrigerator I can account for the water in the bilge.  No leaks that I can tell!

IMG_1047Evenings like this and mornings like this make it hard to want to move on.  When I have finished all the maintenance (this is a shakedown cruise) and the wind is favorable, I will move on.IMG_1697

Big Splash, will she float?

IMG_1026We’re in Carrabelle, Florida at Dockside Marine. Vernon is driving the big travel lift.  The big question for me since this is my first launch: will she float.

 

 

 

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Looks like all s well. But…she’s pretty bow-down.  I see about 6 inches of bottom paint on the rear and almost none on the front.  Time to shift some weight aft.  So I carry the motor to the back and mount it on it’s stern mount.  I had strapped it on the fore-deck thinking the stern would be too heavy.  Turns out with all the weight in the center and forward, not so much.  I then carry the six-gallon gas tank back and strap it in the rear of the port seat.  Next carry a six-gallon container of water back to the stateroom and stow it under the close.  Still it needs more.  So I empty the other container into the water tank and the balance overboard.

Now, down inside I am horrified to find an inch and one-half of water in the bilge.  I rush over and call back the travel lift operator.  I sponge out under the galley floor boards and surprisingly we see no more water.  Well everything must be alright. Could have been some spillage of water internally, right?  Maybe the fill hose leaked under.  Who knows, anyway a little water looks like a lot and there is only about 2 quarts netted from the sponge-up job.  It’s too late to go anywhere and I accept Vernon’s generous offer to spend the night at the service dock.

The next day is a long motoring day and I finally arrive at Shields Marina in St. Marks and fill up with gas.  I also again top off the water tanks.  Next I go below and horror of horrors, two inches of water in the bilge.  Time to panic, right?

Needless to say I first sponge out the bilge.  A couple of hours later another inch is present in the bilge.  I sponge it up and hope for the best.

IMG_1633I spend a peaceful night aboard hoping all will be well in the morning.  In the morning I find another inch of water in the bilge.  Sure looks like we have a seeping leak.  Now it’s time to call in the troops.  I first call Vernon and arrange for a Monday emergency lift out.  I call Karen to turn the truck and trailer around and come back.  I schedule Sunday night at the Franklin Inn.  Looks like my trip is over.  Woe is me! Ironically it is a beautiful night in paradise as Shallow minded rides with the wind on her favorite delta wing riding sail.IMG_1649

On waking early Sunday morning, magic of magic, no water in the bilge.  So, what to make of it?  My conclusion is that the water indeed came from some spill inside.  It found its way under and around various partitions and through limber holes.  Being level without much rocking, it took quite some time for the water to come out.

OK, call Karen and cancel the trip.  Call the motel and cancel the room.  I try to regain my composure and realize, I am here for a while.  If all goes well after I wait it out at St. Marks, I will move south along the coast. The trip proceeds as planned.  I swear, enough drama for one weekend!

IMG_1651Today I had lunch at the Riverside Cafe overlooking the lovely St. Marks.

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I visited San Marcos de Apalache Historical State Park.

IMG_1665Walked on some quiet beautiful trails

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Saw the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla rivers.

 

IMG_1653And got a little taste of nature.

 

 

 

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 And finally paddled back to home, sweet home!

Dinghy gets numbers attached

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Getting the PVC ready to apply the banner.

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I’ve tried almost every other method of “doing the numbers” and the numbers always smudge or fall off.  This PVC patch comes from BoatNumbersPlate

It gets applied with standard two part PVC glue as if you were applying a patch.  The decal portion of the plate is specially treated for decal adhesion.  The numbers and letters are embossed into the fabric.  The plate is reflective which is a good thing on a small boat at night.   I think it is the most novel solution I have seen to date.  Needless to say, I am very pleased with the results.

 

Hatch adjusters

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I love these hatch adjusters from Duckworks.  You can buy them here. The only caveat is that they are all facing one way.  Just take out the small screws and reverse one so the handles will face in.

 

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I labored long and hard over this decision.  I felt I needed a way to call for help and also to communicate when out of site of land and outside of VHF range.    This fine unit will sent 160 characters of text to any phone or even face book as well as send an interactive SOS to a professional rescue operation center.  Because it uses Iridium satellites instead of Globelstar its coverage is world-wide.  I can even post my locations to Facebook!

I have started buying the food supplies for the voyage.  Looks like I’ll be able to carry staples for 3 months with stops for fresh stuff every 1-2 weeks for a nice variety.

With the two extra Jerry cans I will have 38 gallons of water.  Fuel will be 36 gallons for around a 280 range.  When we do the Tenn-Tom we will need at least a 240 mile range to make it between fuel stops.

We’re down to the nit-picky stuff now.  Luckily I have plenty of time yet to finish.

Dinghy Dilemma

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I had my heart set on using Swift as my tow-behind dinghy.  She is a beautiful boat but a very large, cumbersome and very heavy boat.  The more I tried to get even her sections up on Shallow Minded, the more frustrated I became.  I just couldn’t seem to figure out how to get her to the launch site, let alone deploy and manage her.

I hope I won’t be judged too harshly for succumbing to the inflatable urge.  This boat, a Saturn 8′ 6″ dinghy with inflatable keel and floor seemed the best compromise.  At just under 80 lbs it is far more doable.  I can deflate and stow it below.  Notice I said “it” when referring to this dinghy. It is not a her because it is so utilitarian that “it” will sport numbers and a Georgia sticker with no name.

Alas, an inflatable is actually what I need.  I am more interested in enjoying Shallow Minded than I am in accommodating another personality in the form of a wooden dinghy.

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I’m sure this keel will help the boat track much better.

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There is also a lot of rear buoyancy which will support me and my 6 hp motor with 3 gallon gas tank for nice forays up rivers creeks and around the everglades and keys.  I don’t plan on leaving the dingy out for long periods in the sun or towing it for long distances.  My 12 volt high speed inflater/delfater will make quick work of putting it to bed and waking it up.

I also plan to take my inflatable Innova Sunny for more intimate paddling and for quick runs to shore for exploration.  If I need to carry the bike to shore, it’s out with the Saturn.

If anyone wants a really nice 11 foot Spindrift dinghy ready to convert to sail, Swift is for sale at the cost of the paint I have into her.

Shallow Minded back in the shelter

IMG_0771Shallow Minded is back under the shelter.  The survey went well.  I had three deficiencies noted.  First, one set of wire nuts had not been replaced with crimp connectors.  Second, the AC plug did not have a shut off.  Third, the 2000 watt inverter was housed in the battery compartment.  I have address all three of these complaints.  The survey with my response to deficiencies has been forwarded to the insurance company.  I just received the insurance binder.   As of August one, Shallow Minded is covered for $100K liability and $825K accidental spill liability.   $131 a year is a small price to pay for peace of mind!

AC Cutoff and GFCI receptical
AC Cutoff and GFI receptacle installation

I am now starting to load tools and supplies for the trip.

Oil change pump

WEST MARINE Manual Oil Changer – 2.9 Quart

Model # 11097714
I got this and placed a filter, 2 quarts of oil and the dipstick oil pump in a bin in the aft lazarette along with a quart of 90 weight lower unit oil with pump and adapter.  I will have to change the oil along the way so need to be ready.
Outdrive antifouling
Out Drive anti-fouling

The lower unit was upbraided wiped with Interlux 202 and painted with this.

IMG_0774An ultra efficient turbo fan was added just above the aft cabin berth.

This is a tedious stage of getting ready but once I am off I must be ready to live “out there.”