Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer in Baltimore - 2017

Jul 10 thru Jul 14

--Blogpost written by Bob

Our stay in Baltimore has been a nice respite from traveling north on the ICW.  Even though we have been busy making repairs and improvements, we are fully rested and ready for an upcoming week-long (driving) vacation in Maine.  It seems like we are fully adapted to our chosen lifestyle as cruising liveaboards.  There are times when we miss a bath tub (no room for one on our boat) and ice cream (it doesn't keep long in our fridge).  As college football season comes around I will miss having a big screen TV for watching games.  However, there has not been a single day that I thought about working.

As we look westward, we see boats on E Dock.  In this photo
the water looks blue because we are getting a good
reflection of the sky.  In reality, the water
is almost black in color.

We got a lot done this morning, Monday, July 10, finally finishing the cockpit extensions (used for sleeping in the cockpit), the new battery tie down bolts installed, the WiFi booster and its antenna removed, and the new 8-foot antenna (for the HF receiver) installed.

I installed these batteries in Vero Beach on our way to the Bahamas
and had to use rope tie downs.  I just replaced the rope
with 3/8-inch diameter stainless steel all-thread. (By 

the way, the batteries are Group 31 Firefly 
Oasis Carbon Foam AGMs.)

These projects were not without challenges.  The old WiFi antenna was fused to the fiberglass antenna extension mast (aluminum threads in the WiFi antenna and stainless steel threads on the fiberglass antenna extension mast)--I had to use some PB Blaster and some muscle behind two vice-grips.

Yesterday, I checked the operation of our HF receiver with the new antenna and the receiver would not work satisfactorily with the old or the new antenna--so, I concluded that the receiver has a serious illness.  This HF receiver can be added to several other electronic devices that failed on our recent trip to the Bahamas such as a satellite radio antenna, my Nikon D300 camera, and an onboard 110-volt battery charger, to name a few.

We ordered a new HF receiver--an ALINCO DX R8T (shown below).  Next season's trip, (leaving this fall) we be to the Exumas which are more remote than the Abacos we visited this past season.  We will need a reliable way to get weather reports.

The ALINCO HF receiver is a little larger than our current SITEX HF
receiver but it has a lot more features and, hopefully, will
hold up to the marine atmosphere better.  This will
be mounted in our navigation station.

We briefly considered installing a marine SSB transceiver but it would be a lot more costly.  The only advantage of a marina SSB transceiver would be to be able to summon help in the event of an emergency which would be beyond the range of VHF radio (35 miles) and to participate in some cruising nets.

With the recent addition of two new photographs, our port
bulkhead is beginning to look quite colorful.


On Tuesday, July 10, we made measurements of the upper area of the bow of the boat so that we can design a stainless steel anchor guard plate to prevent some scarring of the fiberglass gelcoat on the upper bow caused by our primary anchor.  The bow guard plate will cover the upper 15 inches of the bow.  (There have been a couple times where the anchor was pulled too close to the fiberglass by the windlass.  We need to be more careful about this by releasing the foot switch sooner.)  The bow guard plate will be made by Kato Marine in Annapolis and installed by Hartge Yacht Yard during our boat's haulout in late August.

The area of the bow that is in the center of this image is the area
where we will be mounting a stainless steel guard plate
to protect the fiberglass from the point
of the anchor digging into it. 

(Our anchor is a 20 Kg 

We cleaned all the raw water strainers today, a chore we have decided to do weekly because of all the slime (for lack of a better description) that we collect from the Baltimore Harbor.  (I'm sure that we will have to flush all the raw water lines soon too, a project I've never had to do before.)  The water quality in Baltimore Harbor is the worst I've ever dealt with.  I'm surprised that our water strainers haven't yet been blocked by one of the many plastic bags that flow past our boat partially submerged.


It's Wednesday, July 12, already!  We've been in Baltimore for nearly a month now.  Today was cleaning and organizing day.   In particular, the navigation station needed a complete re-organization since the new (slightly larger) HF receiver is coming tomorrow and it needs to be mounted in a different place than the old one.

The navigation station and all the storage bins on the left are now
cleaned out and organized.  The blue rectangle made with
masking tape to the left of the computer is where
the new HF receiver will be mounted.


Thursday (July 13) was hot & humid ahead of a rainy day forecast for tomorrow.  One of the things we did today was to repair a batten pocket on the forward port edge of our forepeak tent.  Apparently, the high winds we had recently allowed the end of the batten to wear through the batten pocket.  We considered this problem when we made the forepeak tent and placed little elk hide booties on the battens.  However, the whipping action of the wind allowed the batten to slide out of the little booty.  So, I pulled the batten out and glued (with epoxy) a leather strip around each end of the batten.

I glued leather strips over the ends of the batten and glued
them in place.  In this photo, they were clamped
in place while the epoxy cured.


We spent Friday, July 14, in Annapolis.  We bought three oil filters (one to change immediately and the other two as spares) for our new Yanmar engine (at under $7 each) and I ordered a replacement raw water pump that I intend to changeout during our haulout in late-August.  I also found out that there are no rebuild kits for the raw water pumps--so, this is something that I have to have changed out about every 500 hours from what I understand.

I also ordered the mounting kit for the new (ALINCO) HF receiver which allows the faceplate to be mounted independently of the body of the receiver.  I bought a number of antenna cable fittings so that I can hook up the new receiver to the antenna and eliminate the antenna splitter currently used with on the VHF radio at the helm. 

We are making a lot of progress on repairs and improvements...stay tuned for more.

Thanks for following our blog!

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