Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer in Baltimore - 2017

Jul 15 thru Jul 18

--Blogpost written by Bob

Our main goal today (Saturday, July 15) was to grease our boat's rudder shaft.  The grease makes steering easier as well as helps to keep seawater from entering the boat through the rudder shaft.  The opening of the rudder shaft is above the normal waterline but there are times when it could be submerged and allow a small amount of seawater ingress.  While we couldn't reach the fitting on the casing for the rudder shaft, we accomplished a number of other projects in the general vicinity.  (We are considering having our boatyard add grease during our August haulout and to install a remote grease fitting using a high-pressure hose so that we can grease it ourselves more easily in the future.)

During this past season we experienced rainwater leakage coming through the mounting bolts for the jib sheet turning blocks.  The rainwater leaked directly onto an antenna splitter which caused the fittings to corrode and increased the risk of failure of the antenna splitter and the use of radio devices connected to it.  (A splitter allows two radio devices to use the same antenna.  In this case, the antenna for our helm-mounted VHF radio was shared with our old HF receiver mounted in the navigation station.).  We completely eliminated the antenna splitter and streamlined the antenna wiring.  We also removed both the port and starboard jib sheet turning blocks from the deck and re-bedded them using butyl tape sealant.  (This was quite a task with one of us working inside the hull and the other in the cockpit.)

These projects required that we remove most of the contents of
our starboard cockpit locker and all of the things
we normally store in the quarter berth.

While we had things apart, we opened a round access port located under our propane locker and sucked out some water (using our shop vac) that normally collects in a pocket aft of the rudder shaft--it only turned out to be about 1-1/2 gallons.  We applied a generous amount of TEFLON grease to the access port lid in the hope that it will reduce the amount of rainwater leakage we get into that area.  Rainwater also leaks into that cavity from between the propane locker's drain hose and the cockpit liner--we didn't do anything to reduce this gap yet but we are thinking about a solution.

These projects required that we remove most of the contents of our starboard cockpit locker and all of the things we normally store in the quarter berth.  It took a lot of time just moving things around.  We called it quits around 3:30 in the afternoon despite getting an early start for the day.

For a while we were considering spending the upcoming season cruising the Florida Keys instead of the Exumas (islands in the southern Bahamas) but, after more consideration, we decided to stick with our original plan and go the the Exumas.   We really pushed it hard on our way north on the ICW this spring and I felt that it would be nice to spend this coming season a little more leisurely (like we would expect a trip through the Florida Keys to be) but then Maggie's thinking was that we're getting older but still in good health--so, let's do the Exumas while we can.  We'll just do them a little more leisurely than we did the Abacos this past season.


Sunday (July 16) was a beautiful clear and sunny day with low humidity--a rare type of summer weather for Baltimore.  We took the day off--spent it (well, almost) entirely without working on boat projects. 

The only boat project work we did today was to make a template
for the cushions that will be used on the cockpit seat
extensions.  (Again, the cockpit seat extensions
will only be used when sleeping
in the cockpit.)


Monday, July 17, was spent dropping off our Prius for some minor body work (front bumper replacement), picking up some foam for our cushions for the cockpit seat extensions, and performing the weekly cleaning of our raw water strainers (for our A/C and our supplemental fridge cooling).  Cleaning our raw water strainers took longer than usual because something inside the hose caused a partial blockage--it must have been near the water Inlet where both systems are fed through a tee.  We forced fresh water into both hoses to drive the blockage back out in the harbor using our dock hose.  Eventually, we were able to get both hoses clear and obtain a sufficient inflow rate for both systems.  This is the first time we experienced this type of blockage and it must have been a portion of one of the many plastic bags that float by our boat here in the harbor.

While we were in Annapolis today, we stopped by West Marine to buy a small cooler (which we did) and found a unique little light--it is shaped like a common household light switch faceplate complete with a toggle switch in the middle.  It contains very small LED lights that face outward from the faceplate and it runs on three AAA batteries.  We will use it in our fridge where it is difficult to add a 12-volt light.

Our new GRIP light is about the size of a conventional household
switch plate and is about one inch thick.  It costs
less than $5 at West Marine stores.

Today, was also the day that we started our Atkins (low-carb) diets.  On our way to Annapolis to drop off our car this morning, we stopped at McDonalds to get a quick breakfast.  We ordered bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits--we ate the bacon, egg, and cheese and discarded the biscuit (which contains the majority of carbs).  Later in the day, we stopped at Trader Joe's and picked of some carb-friendly groceries like riced cauliflower, low-carb whole wheat tortillas, etc. 

Riced cauliflower can be used to create very low carb dishes
in many ways--the simplest is as a dish of rice.

We're using an app on our iPhones/iPads to track our carbs.  At the end of our first day, we ended a little over our goal (mine is 22 grams of carbs per day) but we believe the diet is doable and we were not hungry at the end of the first day.


July 18 (Tuesday) started with a lot better day for our low-carb diet--Maggie made scrambled eggs with a slice of cheddar cheese and a couple slices of bacon and it was only 1.8 grams of carbohydrates (less than one tenth of my daily goal).  We had doctors visits and dental visits in Annapolis this afternoon which meant we accomplished very little otherwise.  Let's hope tomorrow is more productive...stay tuned!

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