Monday, August 04, 2003

It's a sailboat again!

Originally posted on SailBillabong

The countdown continues, 89 days left!  I just purchased a new watch (specifically for the trip of course).  I'm under tight budget (as should anyone who plans on being without income for an extended period of time), however I read that having a good watch with a timer, alarm, back-light, and dual-time keeping was recommended, and of COURSE that meant I had to have one, right away!  It was like receiving permission.  My need was further confirmed this weekend, when my 'fancy' watch twice unclasped (nearly dropped into the water) and left lovely black marks all over my wrist after getting wet.  Plus, I'm in shopping withdrawal since I'm no longer allowed to purchase shoes (per Captain's orders on the number of shoes I'm allowed to bring aboard).  Anyway, what's the point in confessing to this purchase?  Well, it has a "Day Counter" mode, and today I set it to Nov 1, 2003 ... which is precisely 89 days from now!  I can't wait until it flashes [time's up]!

But, enough about the watch, it's not why you're reading this ... what's new with Billabong and the trip is what you're really after, right?

Raising the Mast

The biggest news of the day is that the mast is back up!  We raised it on Friday (Aug 1st).  Apparently it is customary to put a coin under the mast (so many boat superstitions, I'm not sure how we'll keep up with them all).  Chris spent the prior week searching for the proper coin.  We finally settled on a Massachusetts quarter he found heads up in the marina parking lot.  Why?  We figured MA was good because it is where we want to end up, and being found heads up (which is good luck on it's own) in the marina were we live just seemed to be "fate".  And so it sits under our mast, hopefully protecting our boat
It's a sailboat again!
To see this exciting process pictorially click here (or visit the picture index anytime).

Nothing in the boating world occurs without a hitch though.  After motoring over to the boat yard, raising the mast, and tuning the rigging, Chris powered her up to motor back to our slip.  But our engine was not spewing water. [Oh, I'm sure spewing is NOT the proper nautical term, but I believe it to be an accurate description of what occurs].  Finally, about an hour later, with the help of two engine mechanics under Chris's guidance, the problem was found -- a stripped water pump.  Luckily Chris had a SPARE!!!  (Chris has a spare for everything).  Chris replaced the pump and we were able to successfully motor back.  The engine still seems to be leaking copious amounts of oil, but that is a problem for another day.

On Sunday we put the boom back up, reattached the main sail, and added in the reef lines. I also took my first trip up the mast (unlike the guy from the yard, I sat in the chair while Chris used the roller furling to raise me).  I went up twice (running the jack lines) -- my first time lacked a bit in the grace department (or as Chris stated I had "the grace of a water buffalo"), but the second time up I looked like a pro (or at least felt like one, and Chris, being the smart boyfriend he is, didn't bother to contradict me!!!).  

Finally, with the insides of the boat put back together and a promise from Chris that it would remain as such, I went to work cleaning and organizing, while Chris continued to work on the engine. Typically, it is not an extremely large task to clean such a small space, however with the possibility of actually doing some sailing in the near-term, it took quite a bit more effort and thought (I'm still adjusting to the idea of living at an angle and objects flying around with each tack).  All of our hard work this last weekend was well worth it though, she looks beautiful and (more importantly) we are hoping to get in some after-work day sailing over the next few weeks.  We have also [tentatively] planned a trip to the islands for next weekend.

Over the weekend Chris also ran wiring from the navigation station to the forward main cabin.  This will allow him to hook-up additional instruments in our cabin, such that we won't have to get out of bed in order to monitor things like wind speed (really I think he just wants to check the compass setting when I'm on watch to double check I'm not taking us to Tahiti when we are aiming for Fiji). Monday he marked and added 350 feet of chain to the boat, surprisingly our water line was barely affected.

Of course, there is still much to do!  The wind vane Chris ordered just came in, and it, along with our water-maker, needs to be installed.  We need to get down to LA at some point in order to have our life raft repacked, pick up the water maker, and visit the appropriate embassy's for visas.  Plus the other zillion projects, which honestly I can't keep track of (lucky for us Chris has a spreadsheet!).

We've recently received a quote on some canvas work and are now trying to decide what is worth the cost versus what we can do ourselves (or as Chris says, what I can do -- although I have a feeling Chris may be a better sewer than me!).  I do know I'll be attempting to make BBQ covers, line bags, and a few other things.  Chris and I (or mostly Chris) will also be making our full boat awning (we both went into shock when we read that particular quote!!!).

Other (non-boat specific) projects are moving along nicely.  We recently sent in for passport renewals, will be receiving our second round of vaccination shots on the 22nd, and have our first First-Aid and CPR class on the 7th.  We've also just received a sample case of canned meats to try out in the galley.  The pictures on the cans look a bit scary, but supposedly this brand got rave reviews!  We'll keep you posted.

Oh yes, and we've also been working on designing our official boat stamp.  Supposedly it is extremely handy when doing custom's paperwork and what not, and wins you big points with the officials (I've also heard that fresh baked muffins work wonders when checking in - I'll let you know).  Here are a couple of our test stamp designs, once we finalize one, we'll be sending off the design for a self-inking rubber stamp.

The logo is a Hei-matau fish-hook bone carving and represents prosperity, abundance and fertility.  Wearing the Hei-Matau is a sign of respect for the sea and its creatures so it is also regarded a good luck charm providing protection and safety while traveling over water.  Chris picked the logo, and I've been working to make a design suitable for a stamp.

I guess that about wraps it up.  I'm sure things will be much more exciting and interesting when we are actually sailing, but for now you can never be too prepared!  Of course if there is anything you'd like to hear about in these journal pieces, be sure to let us know.

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