Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer in Baltimore - 2017

Jun 21 thru Jun 25

--Blogpost written by Bob

Today, Wednesday, June 21, is the summer solstice in North America (and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere), when the sun reaches its northernmost point from the equator.  The summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the year--today has 14 hours and 54 minutes of sunlight here in Baltimore, Maryland.  The more daylight hours we have, the more solar power we can harness with our solar panels.  Even when we are in a slip hooked up to shore power we still use our solar panels for normal onboard electrical needs (like refrigeration).  However, we use shore power to run our onboard air conditioner (which is a necessity here in a slip because the boat can't simply turn into the wind like it can at anchor).

This morning, I felt like Tim the tool man (if you can recall that TV show, "Home Improvement", from the mid-to-late 90's) since I now have a neighbor (though I'm sure is not as eccentric as Tim's neighbor, Wilson) I can speak with over the finger pier (well, it's kinda like a fence if you use your imagination--it's just horizontal instead of being vertical).  Air conditioners were our most recent topic of discussion, over the finger pier.  I told my neighbor (his name is John but he looks somewhat like Wilson on the TV show) that we have 16,000 Btu A/C unit on our boat.  He already had an 8,000 Btu unit that was not enough--so, this morning I noticed a big cardboard box containing a new 10,000 Btu unit to supplement the smaller one--now, he has a total of 18,000 Btu's!

Tim's neighbor, Wilson, can be seen waving from behind
the fence that separated their homes on the TV set.

We made a trip to Annapolis today and I put our Bruce (secondary) anchor on consignment at Bacon's and purchased a (used) Fortress FX-23 anchor to use as a secondary anchor--it is much lighter (only 15 pounds compared to the 44-pound weight of the Bruce) and won't be mounted on the bow.

The used Fortress anchor came without mud palms but I was
able to buy them too at Bacon's.  The mud palms (clean
silver-colored plates) assist the anchor in digging
into soft mud sea bottoms like we typically
find in the Chesapeake Bay and ICW.

The change in secondary anchor was primarily to save weight.


Today, Thursday, June 22, we pulled the boat's bow over against the finger pier and removed all 225-feet of chain from the chain locker to inspect it.  Once all the chain was out on the dock, Maggie re-painted the markers with bright yellow (Rustoleum-brand) paint.


Friday, June 23, was spent replacing a Harken cam cleat (the ball bearings were coming out of the old one) on the starboard cabin top used for traveler control lines and installing a ventilation fan in the navigation station.  Both of these small projects were on my project list for this summer.  Knocking off two projects off the list in one day is quite an achievement.

I replaced the old Harken-brand cam
cleat with a new one.


On Saturday, June 24, we took our old v-berth mattress to Magic Sleeper in Pottstown, PA (my birth place) to have an improved replacement mattress constructed.  Magic Sleeper makes custom mattresses for boats and campers mostly, in addition to selling popular standard-size mattress brands to the public.  We considered a lot of different materials of construction and finally decided on what we liked best.  Our new custom-made mattress will cost about $1100.  Our new mattress should be completed within 2 weeks.  In the meantime we are sleeping in our quarter berth.  With a 3-hour drive both ways and a brief visit with my sister who still lives in Pottstown, it was a long day.

When we got back to the boat, I got another (the third) coat of varnish on our new companionway step.  I'm using Epifanes-brand varnish and lightly sanding between coats.  I will likely apply ten coats of varnish before I'm done with it.  So far, it's looking good!


Removing the old lifeline stanchion has turned out to be a real tough job.  The old stainless steel stanchion seems to have fused to the aluminum alloy stanchion base over the last 34 years.  I had to cut the majority of the stanchion off with a side grinder and I'm trying to dig out the stub of stainless steel tubing with a chisel and Dremel--it is very slow going.  I've soaked the joint with PB Blaster, hoping it will help loosen it up.  I've worked on it several hours today, Sunday, June 25. 

At the end of the day, there was still a small section of the
old stanchion still fused to the stanchion base.

Meanwhile Maggie thoroughly cleaned our bimini and connector to the hard dodger--they are now drying on our lifelines.  Tomorrow morning we will saturate them with waterproofing solution and remount them.  There are a lot of things we need to fix after our recent trip to the Bahamas!  Stay tuned for more...

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