Saturday, November 27, 2010

A bit of entertainment while you're waiting...

Writing posts together takes a long time! Don and Carl argue about floating paragraphs and indents vs. none; Raleigh keeps gambling away his opposable thumb surgery money at the track; every time I edit something, the formatting gets whacked out and Don has to fix it; Lisa lives in a pizza oven, Andy in an espresso machine, and the internet service in both is spotty, to say the least!

In conclusion, Floating paragraphs win, and until we can get our act together, we'd like you to devote an hour or so of your day to watching this fun and educational doc. This crew makes us (who like to fancy ourselves a motley crew of miscreants) look like yachting aristocracy. We may as well buy ourselves matching monogrammed blazers now! Seriously though, the crew of Pestilence is a shining example of what sailing should be all about. Good laughs, ingenuity, and learning a whole lot about yourself in the process. And they've even made me reconsider my anti "direct-deposit" stance. Haha. Stance. Unintended puns are the best. Click on the pic to read their story and watch the documentary.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inflatible Wishes, and Spreadsheet Dreams

    We haven't posted in a while, so I'm gonna let you in on all the action you've been missing.
    I hope you guys love spreadsheets as much as we do, because that's been the name of the game for the last two weeks. Carl put together a spreadsheet of all the worthwhile stuff we inventoried during our 48 hours of fun. It's riveting stuff; here's but a small taste:

Ya gotta have guts
Main Salon area - under port-side benches
Diesel Kleen - octane boost - treats up to 100 gallons
lighter fluid (x2 bottles)
paint stripper
new winch maintenance kit (Lewmar)
compass fluid

- And how could I leave out these heartfelt lines?:

Locker/lazarette next to deep locker
fish beater
2 boat hook extension pieces
plastic bin
2 fishing weights

  Some of the more interesting things we found were all the original boat plans and documentation. These will primarily be used for storage planning, but it also gives you a better idea of the boat layout.

Don't be a deck
    Inventory is pretty heart pounding stuff, so before you read this next section maybe a little respite is in order.

    Captain selection for the passage from Sausalito to Aldeberan's holiday hang out of Ensenada, Mexico was yet another prime opportunity for a spreadsheet. Featuring such columns as Name, Origin, T Rate, LD rate, Time, Notes, Contact. Now most of those are obvious but the T and LD may not be. They stand for Travel and Lay Day. Ahh the lay day rate, nothing like paying someone to wait.
    Now onto the hotly debated and heavily advertised finale, the life raft research!! This is one of those areas where you're naturally an easy sell on the bells and whistles. Because of this fact I would advise anyone looking into a life raft to not buy last minute.
We would have been easily talked into
something like this on the first day
    After researching what's needed, we found that adequate is not a compromise, it's the ideal. Somehow we'll survive without the 'calming blue liner' of the more expensive model.
    The talk around the cruising forums all refers to life rafts as "the sailor's curse" or some other drama soaked nickname. I guess the reports of people found in a life raft tend toward two main options. Either they're saved but their boat is found still afloat, or they're simply found (not saved). So you have a lot of people who don't make it, and a lot of people who probably should have stayed with their boat. Not very promising. Kinda makes you want to work more on plan A rather than plan B.
Maybe a bit of a compromise
    Now some of you may be saying 'wait the boat doesn't have a life raft already? was this guy nuts?'. That's the kicker. The boat does in fact already have a viable life raft, but it needs to be repacked and certified. This will run us about 75% of the price of a brand new life raft. Considering the one currently on the boat is 15 years old and the apparent technological leap in raft design, it seems like we'll be buying a shiny new raft. I hate buying things I hope to never use.
 Alright, Goldilocks, we get it

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another 48 Hours

   I'm not sure if I (Don) was Eddie Murphy or Nick Nolte in Carl and I's two-man production of this 1990 classic, but either way it was a blur.
   So this trip seems to have cemented what will now be considered standard operating procedure for the next few visits to the boat.
  • First - have someone tell you you need to pay an unreasonable sum of money (we are learning that this is very important to the boating world, the metaphorical guard house to the gated community). 
  • Second - realize that there is a far simpler task that must be attended to before even beginning what we came to do. 
  • Third - realize we are quite uncertain on how to sort out this simpler task. 
  • And finally Fourth - get suspicious looks and questioned as to whether we are supposed to be on the dock, let alone a boat.
   The first step stings, and is one of two major factors to our wanting to get the boat the hell out of Sausalito ASAP (the other being seasonal rough seas in Dec). We have no photos of this as it is truly something we would like to forget.
   Now for the idiot twins in full swing. The second step, in this case, was to hook up shore power. A theoretically simple thing that should have been handled in 15 minutes max. Over the next three hours we managed to to get things going.  It started with a trip to the boat's old slip to recover our left behind shore power cable. Once there, we realize the broker's directions of "it will be the only empty slip" is not going to cut it. So we do what any reasonable person would do---start opening dock lockers. This of course led to suspicious looks and the eventual "Can I help you?". After sorting out that we were not looting the place, the harbor master told us of her time spent in the pacific islands. So then one more quick lap between the broker and the old slip and we have our shore power cable and 30 to 50 amp adapter.
   I'll let the photos tell this next part, but the gist is that we spent two hours running back forth to West Marine for an adapter we didn't need.
Carl realizing the adapter we already own doesn't work.
Of course we didn't bring the cable to measure, so here's hoping the one we bought works!
Crap! It's the wrong one & the shop closes in 5 minutes!
Drive! You filthy idiot!
We somehow managed to get  the man to re-open the shop & swap out our part.
Hey look, it's still wrong! Dammit! Oh wait, what's this other outlet over here? It looks like the cable will plug in without any adapter.......Schmucks.
    So once that debacle was over, we realized we had no clue as to which of the many unlabeled switches switches us from house power (batteries) to shore power (plugged in). Not a fun project after the sun goes down. One headlamp and 30 minutes later, we had lights.

1/3 of of our time in Sausalito spent.................and we have lights.

Now for what we came to do---Cleaning! Oh wait I meant dinner.
Carl post Indian food
Ok, now cleaning.
After an hour or two we managed to free up a lot of the storage space in the aft cabin. Yes that is a dot matrix printer,  yes it weighed a ton, and yes it was slimy (you were going to ask, right?)
 Time to check the lights.
Aldebaran lookin' mean
So one very cold night's sleep later and it's back to work.
Oh wait, first we need to return that adapter we didn't need
And now a lot of reaching into dark places and finding slimy things
Crap, crap, and more crap. Although to be fair there is quite a bit of good stuff too
This is 1/2 to 1/3 of what we threw out.
Another cold night's sleep (but not as cold) and we have a few hours to finish the inventory and meet a friend of Carl's for brunch before getting on a plane home. So we rip through inventory and the one or two remaining corners of the boat. Now we have about an hour and a half to get changed (we haven't yet done this on this trip) and then have breakfast with Carl's friend.
en route
A quick pack between rental car return and terminal
Desperate for a shower
  So in that end we got a ton of garbage off the boat and have a very long list of good stuff still on the boat. And while I don't think I'm much of an Eddie Murphy, Carl is definitely Nick Nolte.