Monday, June 15, 2009

August 2008 to May 2009, Florida

(I think I am going to finally be able to post this. We are in Nassau.)

Haul Out at American Custom Yachts, Stuart, FL

As we noted in our last post we decided to have FLUKE hauled out for hurricane season this year. We needed to get regular maintenance done on the bottom and the stabilizers. We also wanted to improve the efficiency of our freezer and refrigerator. The very high cost of diesel fuel at that time contributed to the decision not to head north.

In the 150 ton Travelift
In the 150 ton Travelift

We contracted with ACY to have the bottom work done, repair the rail on the top deck where it was bent when the winch let the dinghy drop a couple of years ago and to have Voda Marine do the custom refrigerator and freezer work using Frigoboat keel cooled compressors, stainless steel liners and custom teak finish work to be done by ACY.

Wayne used Google's SketchUp 3D design software to show Voda Marine and ACY what we had in mind. Unfortunately, Voda Marine was involved in a large refit project that continually delayed our project. It wasn't until March that they were “done”. We brought FLUKE home on March 13, 2009 and within a couple of days the weather changed from the winter low humidity we had been having to very humid. This showed a major defect in the freezer installation as it was sweating profusely in many places. To their credit, Voda Marine made several trips to Vero Beach (from Riviera Beach) to expose the voids in the foam that caused the condensation and improve access (by following Wayne's suggestion to remove the washer/dryer) so that they had access to the back side of the freezer which is located where the lower bunk in the 3rd stateroom used to be. The second attempt at injecting the foam insulation was finally successful and we are quite happy with the final result. The freezer is about 8 cu ft (compared to old 5 cu ft) and the refrigerator looks great and has a lot more space than the old GE unit. Of course the project cost much more than expected primarily due to the hours required to do the beautiful teak carpentry work.

During this time we made several trips to the boatyard to wax the hull, polish chrome and paint the black rubber on the upper rub rail that, due to years in the sun, made black streaks below it whenever it got wet.

Road Trip

For most of the month of October, Eddie was gone on a road trip as he drove the PT Cruiser to Georgia (to visit his son and a childhood friend), Ohio (visit his sister) and to his hometown of Old Lyme, CT.

Take Time (Wayne and Carol Watjus)

Take Time is a Krogen Whaleback like ours. There are only 29 total and two of them are owned by couples named Wayne and Carol. Since we had an empty slip we invited them to stay with us for a while on their way to Marathon, FL for the winter. They arrived in early October after a non-stop offshore run from New Bern, NC to Cape Canaveral, FL and stayed until just before Thanksgiving. While they were here we drove to Titusville to watch a night launch of the space shuttle.

Wayne W has done many projects on their boat and can fix just about anything mechanical or electrical. One thing he fixed for us was the old davit motor on the dock. If you could see it, you would never think it could be fixed as it is mostly a pile of rust. But Wayne W took it apart and found most of the internals looked OK, but the centrifugal switch that controls the start capacitor was shot. He wired up a regular household light switch to replace it. We bought a new start capacitor, wired on a plug so we can plug into an extension cord when we use it and lubricated everything inside, and now it works; so we can pull the dinghy up on our dock when needed.

The one project Carol T loved on Take Time was the cabinets Wayne W built above the lower bunk in the 3rd stateroom. Wayne W agreed to make them for FLUKE with Wayne T working as helper. They made them in the garage and took advantage of the planer and drill press that Wayne W has and a used Grizzly table saw Wayne T bought. The most complicated part of this project is making the doors match those in the rest of the boat. They have recessed panels (teak plywood) in the upper part and teak slats for ventilation in the lower part. This project was expanded to make two additional doors, one for the space where the trash compacter we never use in the galley was and the other for the space where the ice maker was in the pilothouse. Everything came out very nice and Wayne T and Eddie installed them after FLUKE returned to Vero Beach. Here is a picture (while still in the garage).

New Cabinet Doors
New Cabinet Doors (almost finished)

Bread Making

Last year Carol W on Take Time showed Wayne T how she makes sandwich rolls, and Wayne used this instruction to improve his bread making skills over last year's Abaco adventure. This year Wayne wanted to significantly expand his bread making skills. We purchased some books and Wayne did a lot of research on the internet. One great site is and Barry was kind enough to offer advice and answer Wayne's questions via email. This year we didn't even take the bread machine on the boat since Wayne does it all by hand. Now we buy flour in 25lb bags and yeast in 2lb blocks from Sam's Club.

Our favorite recipe is “Italian Feather Bread” from Beard on Bread. Wayne makes it as free form loafs for table bread or as rolls (round or sub shaped) for sandwiches or even in a loaf pan for slicing. Wayne also learned to make pizza dough and our Italian neighbor in Vero Beach, Al Sammartino, showed Wayne how he makes foccacia bread just like his mother used to. A version of this also makes a great Sicilian style pizza. We eat good!

The other major accomplishment was with English Muffins. Last year Wayne made them on the boat using the recipe in Joy of Cooking and while they tasted great they were always too thin as they fell when handling them after rising. Wayne decided to try to use the ingredients in this recipe as they are not a problem to have on the boat, but used the method described in and this was huge success. Now the muffins are perfect (Eddie says better than the ones we've bought from the store). It is amazing how the same ingredients produce such a different result with the extra steps of rising and folding the dough after a long preferment.

English Muffins

House Still For Sale

We put the house back on the market around the end of January and had several open houses and a few showings (often with short notice!) which was much more painful than last year when we were living on FLUKE and this year we had to live in the house this fall and winter while the boat was in the boatyard.

Boat Maintenance, etc

Once the boat was back home we had several projects to do including getting the injectors rebuilt on the generator, changing its raw water pump, and dealing with a fuel leak on the main engine injector pump. We also did annual service on the Honda for the dinghy. Another project was the installation of a Single Side Band radio, something we have wanted for a while, primarily to get weather in the out islands. We bought a used ICOM M710RT from our friends on ThomKat, Tom and Anice Walker that have spent time at our dock in Vero Beach.

The other major time consumer was moving all the stuff back on the boat that had made its way into the house and garage in preparation for the haulout.

We also had a local dealer that we saw delivering fuel to another boat come to our house to deliver 591 gallons of diesel fuel for $1174 (just under $2/gal) to fill our tanks. This was less than half of what we paid last year and quite a bit less than going to a marina. He had a small tank truck with a 500 foot hose that we dragged around the house, through the back yard and out to the dock.

Post Script

In reviewing Wayne's summary of our time on land Eddie thought of a couple of important items that were left out, especially since they involved one of his most disliked words: WORK. Since I had gone back to work at the University of Florida's Medical Entomology lab, it was only fitting that the guys also tow some of the economic load of supporting the household. I fired the pool and lawn service. Eddie became the Pool Boy (not quite like in the movies!), and he and Wayne became the WE Lawn Maintenance Company. There was a slight problem in getting the WELMC in operation; we no longer owned a lawn mower since I had sold ours the year before, thinking that we would sell the house and not need one anyway. So, I knew one of our other neighbors who had used to mow his lawn and had hired a maintenance company and decided to ask him if we could buy his old mower. He said he had just decided to start mowing his own lawn again, but that we could use his mower anyway. We felt that was too generous, but compromised by saying we would use it if Wayne would mow his lawn too. So, Wayne did really well, so much in fact, two of the other neighbors, thinking the same, and thinking we had become so "poor" that Wayne had to mow lawns for some pocket money, asked if he would be interested in mowing their lawns too. I thought it was a great idea, but it would have been for such a limited amount of time, so graciously declined their offers.

1 comment:

  1. WOW - I missed hearing from you guys!

    I especially liked the story about the 'WELMC' corporation!!!

    Hope you enjoy your time in Nassau - thanks for your wonderful postings!

    Best regards,