Monday, August 14, 2017

The Arch is Installed!

Our new arch is installed and looks beautiful. The main reason for getting an arch was to support new rigid solar panels. Alex, who installed our new lithium batteries, suggested rigid solar panels since they put out so much more power than the semi-flexible panels we currently have. The semi-flexible panels were fine for cruising around the Chesapeake but they were inadequate for the Bahamas. The shorter winter days and longer periods at anchor meant that we had a lot of trouble keeping our batteries charged last winter. 
George has been busy since we returned from the Bahamas researching arch manufacturers, taking measurements, ordering the arch and making arrangements for the delivery and installation.  We would have liked to have had the arch installed while we were in Marathon, FL. Alex could have then installed the solar panels.  Unfortunately for us, the person who makes arches in Marathon was backed up 3-4 months and we weren't willing to wait that long. 
We chose an arch from Klacko Marine in Canada. George found them through the blog of another Hanse 415 owner. We liked the idea of going with a company that had already made arches for the Hanse 415. We also liked the fact that it includes an arm that pivots down to raise and lower the dinghy and outboard motor. In addition, the arch completely replaces the existing pushpit so looks much cleaner and frees up space. 
We also considered  Atlantic Tower Sail Arch and Kato Marine.  The Atlantic Tower Sail Arch couldn't be made to fit our boat. The Kato Marine arch was the most expensive and did not include the pushpit or mechanism for raising and lowering the outboard. We would have had to buy and install a separate outboard motor lift. 
Doug, at Klacko Marine, said it would be no problem to ship the arch to us. He has two guys who make deliveries using a trailer. Our local boatyard, Generation III, installed the arch. It looks as if it has always been there. 
George is now working on installing the block and tackle system to raise & lower the arm.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rhode River/Magothy River

A short while ago we had a break in our very busy retirement schedule (hahaha) and made an impromptu decision to take Breeze On out for five days. It is the first time we have spent more than a single night on her since April. We sailed to the western shore of the Chesapeake, heading first to the Rhode River. 
We took the Porta-Bote with us. George had used our Hot Knife to cut into the transom a bit more so that the outboard would fit better. He had also tightened up a bolt which was the likely cause of a slow leak we noticed the first time we used the Porta-Bote. We were able to assemble the Porta-Bote on the foredeck, although I wasn't as good a help our friend Doug was last month. The outboard fit better than before but the transom could use a little more tweaking. The boat stayed dry, no more leak. We loved how fast the Porta-Bote went. We were able to explore much more territory than we cover in our inflatable dinghy. The Porta-Bote is roomy, really comfortable and handles chop much more smoothly than the inflatable. The only issue was that the black seats got really hot in the sun. I am currently making cushioned seat covers that will Velcro onto the seats. That should take care of the problem. 
During a day of very nice wind we sailed up to the Magothy River and spent a night at an anchorage known as Eagle's Nest, aka Horse Farm. We towed the dinghy and found that it tracked really well behind us. After using the dinghy to explore around Gibson Island we hauled it back onto the foredeck and disassembled it. The next morning we sailed down the bay back to the Choptank. The wind was in the 20's, gusting to 30 knots.  At one point we were moving at over 10 knots! (Albeit with the current). We spent one more night out, anchored in Trappe Creek. We noticed our friends Sue and Gord entering the anchorage on their boat, Unity and invited them to join us for sundowners in the evening. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Catching Up

We have been spending time this summer traveling, working on projects and spending time with friends and family. Most of our sailing has been single nights at anchor or day sails, usually about once a week. Three weeks ago we took advantage of a brief respite from hot and humid weather to spend a night at anchor with our friends Doug and Laura. We were expecting an easy sail in 8 knots of breeze but found wind in the teens instead. We chose to sail with just a full main. As we were tacking down the river there was another boat, sailing with just a genoa, on the opposite tack a few hundred yards ahead of us. George said something was going on with their genoa. I looked up to see it flapping like crazy, then falling down into the water. Next, their mast fell down. It was a very upsetting sight. We turned our engine on, dropped the mainsail and motored close enough to ask if they needed help. They declined our help and the help of another small motor boat. We continued on to our anchorage. George and Doug assembled the Porta-Bote on the foredeck. We used the spinnaker halyard to lower it into the water. George attempted to unlock the dinghy outboard but couldn't get the key to turn. It had frozen since we last used it in April. Doug used a hacksaw to cut the lock off. We used a block and tackle on the end of the boom to lower the outboard onto the Porta-Bote.  It didn't fit!  The transom was too thick for the outboard. George used a chisel to cut away enough of the plastic transom so the the motor would fit over it. By then it was time for dinner so we ate, left the dishes for later, piled into the dinghy and motored to Oxford for ice cream. We had to be quick in order to get back before dark. It seemed like a lot of effort for ice cream but it was worth it. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New V-berth Sheets

By the time we returned from the Bahamas it was clear that we needed new sheets. I altered sheets to fit the V-berth when we first started sailing Breeze On. It was quite a difficult project but was worth it in the end. This time I made a pattern using leftover pieces of Dura Skrim. I purchased two sets of king size sheets. I removed the elastic from the fitted sheet and opened up the seams on the wider end. I cut the sheets using the pattern, sewed the corners and sewed a wide piece of ribbon on the foot end of the sheet. (George requested this to make it easier to figure out which end is which when making the bed). I then made the casing for the elastic and reinstalled the elastic I had removed. I used the same pattern to cut the top sheet into a shape that fit the mattress. I cut a square of fabric to sew to the end and sides of the bottom to form a "pocket" for the foot of the mattress. I repeated the whole process with the second set of sheets so we now have a spare set.  

Bimini Window

Another recent sewing project involved repairing and adjusting the bimini. I shortened the zippers for the side enclosure panels so they could be attached inside the bimini supports. The panels are now much easier to put up and take down. I repaired a small tear in the bimini. 
Finally, I installed a window in the bimini so that we can see the main sail. I also made a cover for the window that attaches with Velcro on all four sides.  George had the brilliant idea to add 2 short pieces of Velcro on the other side of the cover so that it can also be rolled up.  The window had to be located in the center because of the solar panels. It is not ideal, but it is better than nothing!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Outboard Motor Cover

While George is working on his list I have been working on sewing projects. Today I finished an outboard motor cover made from Sunbrella. When we were on our passage to the Bahamas last fall our outboard (dinghy) motor was splashed several times by large waves. Then, when we went to start it up for the first time, it wouldn't start. The person who repaired it said we had evidence of salt water inside the motor. After that we repurposed our rainman water maker cover for the outboard. 
I used Sailrite's project video for instructions and thought it was an easy project.  It has a separate cover for the handle. Both covers are tied with a line that runs through a casing.  I added two lines on the bottom toward the back of the cover. We tie these together under the motor to keep it more secure. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Our Porta-Bote is Here!

Our new dinghy, a Porta-Bote, was delivered this afternoon. We used a hand truck to move it to the yard where we unpacked it and put it together. It took just 18 minutes to assemble it, a pleasant surprise since it was our first time. I think it will be a big challenge to assemble on the deck of Breeze On because of the limited space.