Friday, March 30, 2012

Missing Pieces

In the process of looking for interior ideas for the boat, we've been looking at pictures of other Tartan 42s listed on yachtworld and  There aren't too many for sale so the pictures are few between, but on looking at one of them we discovered that we were missing a piece in our galley, a piece of counter that slides over the stove when not in use and stores down behind it when the stove is in use. The original one that came with the new boat was made of the same countertop that was in the rest of the boat, with mica on it. I wanted something I could cut directly on though, either a butcher block type of top or something similar. After a whole lot of unsuccessful searching for cutting board or butcher block we happened on a piece of cast-off corian that a contractor friend of ours had at a good price.  With a little cutting here and a little sanding there and some teak trim added, we had a replacement for the missing piece only much better. With the completion of this project I believe I can declare the galley finished. Oh wait...there was that new light bar over the spice rack to install...

Corian countertop piece that slides back and down behind the stove on a track.

Showing the counter stored down behind the stove on the track.

Ahh yes...Springtime in St. Louis...

We had our first major hailstorm this afternoon and it was the first time I'd been on the boat during one.  Tim was up in the clubhouse finishing some teak for my new stovetop cutting board (more to follow) but I was on the boat making pasta when it hit.  It was the most unbelievable loud thing I've ever heard, especially on the seahood.  Fortunately none of our new hatches were damaged in spite of some quarter-sized hail.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tick Tick

That's the sound of projects being crossed off the list.  Tim finished my most excellent spice rack yesterday and we installed it today after arriving at the boat a day early. Where the spice rack is now located there used to reside a group of really terrifically ugly placards that have since been moved to a less obtrusive location on the fronts of the companionway stairs. Now I have adequate room for all my spices (I cook a lot as you know from the Cruising Comforts blog). This frees up room in the glasses rack over the galley sink for, well, glasses.  Imagine that. 

After installing the spice rack we turned on our new light and, being the first we'd seen it at night, we just stood there open-mouthed.  It's amazing the difference it makes in the galley. The pictures don't do it justice, but here's the without light and with light pics:

Without light on

It's amazing how much difference it makes. It makes the galley feel twice the size.  I think we're going to get another one and replace the flourescent light over the spice rack as well.  In addition to saving a lot of amps (the light bar is LED), it should give us even more light and not so much glare. This is one seriously happy galley wench!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good Peeps

We have the good fortune of keeping our boat at Boulder Marina on Carlyle Lake.  I say good fortune because, as long as we can't be on the ocean, Boulder Marina is a pretty great place to be.  Aside from the park-like atmosphere and the many varieties of wildlife, the people there are "good peeps" as a friend of mine likes to say.  Whether you're a sailor, or a power boat owner, or a fisherman, or a racer, everyone is welcome.  It never ceases to amaze me.

 A few weeks ago I stopped to talk to one of my favorite of these good peeps, a local fisherman who walks the docks fishing very nearly every day. His name is Ralph, and he's one of the more interesting people I've ever met. I asked him how he was doing today and he said, "Seven or eight good ones I think.  If I had my filet knife with me I'd give them to you". I told him we had a good electric one up at the clubhouse and I would be really tickled if he'd show me how to use it, since I hadn't filleted a fish  since I was 12 with my dad.  An hour and a half, and many laughs later, I had a ziploc full of crappie filets ready for the frying pan. I don't know who enjoyed it more, me or him.

The next day I was getting onto my boat and there in the cockpit was a West Marine "Gone Fishin'" attache case set of filet knives, gloves, cutting board, fish scale, and a few other essentials.  I yelled over to him a dock away that it was too much, but he just waved me away and said he couldn't use the manual ones anymore since he shakes too bad.  I was pleased, he was pleased, and it was a really terrific way to start the day. This kind of generosity is an almost daily example here at the marina.

So, for now, even though we can't quite leave to sail the deep blue sea, we have some pretty compelling  reasons to enjoy the shallow greenish brown here at Carlyle.  If you're ever nearby, please let us know.  We'd love to introduce you to some pretty good peeps.

I don't care anymore!

Naw, it isn't what you think.

Up until now I have been keep a detailed account of the funds flowing into the boat. The latest revision shows over 5 SBUs have been spent on "repairs," more than 13 SBUs have gone to "equipment purchases", and there is an estimated 27 SBUs still to be spent on things like a dingy, motor, solar panels...its a long list.
This morning I puttered around installing an LED light bar in Deb's galley. It came in a box full of other LED lights to be installed here and there. Up until today I would have asked how much this box full of LED lights had cost so I could add it to my list. I would have also made sure to add the cost of our new fans to the list, one of which now resides in the V-berth. (Replacing the old one that did move air but had a bearing that screamed like a Tasmanian Devil while doing so, making it a bit hard to sleep.)

But you know what? I don't care anymore.

We had some money.  Deb needs more light in the galley and we needed the air to move around in the V-berth. Money goes to light people to get what we need, lights go into galley to get what Deb needs. Other money went to the fan people and now the air moves (quietly) in the V-berth. THE END.

Why bother counting what it costs and then mulling over it for the rest of my days? We have light, we have moving air, we will eventually have the rest of the stuff we need to get gone. Sure money will disappear. In fact lots and lots of money will disappear. But in exchange we will have a cruising boat and be gone ourselves.

Sounds like a good deal to me. In fact I think I'll start to cheer at every fading means we are getting closer.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's in a name?

Kintala: Gypsy for "A State of Balance" or "Karma"

Today was a pretty spectacular day.  Well, actually yesterday was, as it's 1:38 in the morning as I write this after a pretty wonderful party.  You see, today was our boat renaming day at Boulder Marina.  We had 4 boats at the marina all properly denamed and renamed according to John Vigor's official renaming ceremony, followed by a potluck with way too much food and a rather large bonfire, so our boat is officially Kintala, although the vinyl graphics have yet to be put on her sides and stern yet. The weather reports had called for thunderstorms off and on all day, yet we had perfect weather, mid seventies and blue skies - already Kintala was bringing good luck and her name wasn't even official yet.  With a few notable exceptions due to events beyond their control, most of our good friends were in attendance, including the officiator, a Polish priest who happens to be one of the aforementioned good friends. Not being the superstitious type, Tim (those of you who know him well know how big an understatement that is) thought the whole thing was being taken way too seriously, but at the end of the afternoon even the skeptic was won over and confessed to thinking it was a good day.  Unfortunately, he got called out and had to leave the party early to drive back to the city for a 6:00am wheels up Sunday.

The official denaming ceremony - ooops did I point the bottle in Tim's direction accidentally?

The official renaming ceremony

And the toast with Captain Morgan 100 proof
It was a good day.  Boats, good weather, good food, excellent friends, and an occasion to share, and Kintala certainly lived up to her name.  It just doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

1:1 Ratio

So you're wondering what ratios have to do with a sailing blog? Why it's boat math, of course, like -  for example -  for every project you work on, a new one comes up. Or as in today's case, for every new waterline you install you get one bandaid. While I'm sure my sixth grade math teacher didn't exactly have those examples in mind when she introduced ratios to a class full of blank-looking faces, they are nonetheless a fact of owning a boat and between Tim and I we've scientifically proven the bandaid one.

I spent the morning replacing the cold-water-manifold-to-hot-water-heater hose and the hot-water-heater-to-hot-water-manifold hose. In spite of the 1:1 ratio of bandaids I was feeling pretty good about the job and it was still early so I thought I would take a look at the engine-to-hot-water-heater coolant loop which, as Tim has mentioned off and on, is mostly missing and parts need to be ordered to complete the job. Two mondo hoses (1-1/4" were laying in the engine compartment when we bought the boat, totally unattached and leaving no indication of where they were ever attached, and near the water heater poking out from under the floorboards of the pantry were 2 more unattached hoses of 1" dimension, so my best guess is that the previous owners who installed the new water heater a few years ago just didn't care to take the time to try to locate the fittings that were going to be required to install the engine cooling loop back to it and, to be honest, probably spent most of their time at the dock hooked to shore power anyway so why bother?

Between the engine and the hot water heater there's an access panel in the sole that, when removed, reveals an odd looking manifold that Westerbeke calls a "bypass nipple", but we can't for the life of us figure out what its purpose is or how it functions. What it is at the moment, is a totally rusted out piece of junk that needs replaced because according to the W50 service manual it's required.  Unfortunately, while the ball valve in the middle had a handy part number on the side and was available pretty much on the cheap, the reducing bronze Ts are really hard to find and are much more expensive so it isn't going to get done very quickly.  Somewhere along the line between the engine's 1-1/4" hoses and the hot water heater's 5/8" hoses a reduction has to be made, so stay tuned for what we end up with. In the mean time, a word of wisdom - 100ft of 5/8" water hose is not enough to completely replace all the water line on a Tartan 42. Someone with a perverted sense of humor ran most of the hoses in a convoluted route rather than straight to their destination, although why that surprises me escapes me at the moment.

Also, I ran across an interesting post on another blog that has drawn A LOT of comments so it's obviously relevant, on the topic of "Are refits worth it?".  When you have a few spare minutes, mosey on over there and take a look and then let us know what you think.  There are some times that Tim is completely discouraged by the list and in those moments I'm tempted to answer "no".  Then there are days like today where it was 80°, the breeze was blowing in the hatches, tools were clanking, moldy hose was being flung out the companionway, friends were stopping by to chat, and life was good, list be damned.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Check √

Another check on the to-do list.  Tim had to take off again today for a Sunday pop-up trip and since we only had one car here my choices were to go along, which meant packing up in a whirlwind and running out the door, or staying until Tuesday when he can come back to get me.  Staring at the to-do list made it a pretty easy decision.

I've been waffling back and forth about what to do with the backsplash in the galley.  I thought about tile, but due to the curve shape of the cutout to the salon, and the rounded shape of the non-removable trim, tile would have been too difficult to cut and too thick. Next idea was mica, but it would have been impossible to match the off-white of the existing counters so it would have made them look old(er). Next I thought about that stamped tin that some kitchens use, but it turns out it's actually plastic and the patterns are too big for my small galley. I decided on polished aluminum which would match the doors on the cabinets behind the stove. It was a couple hour job, mostly because I'm not quite as handy with tin snips as Tim is, not having his 35 years' experience in aircraft fabrication, but I got it done and I'm pretty pleased with it. It definitely adds some reflecting light into a very dark corner. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weekend loomings...

The pile of stuff that needs to go to the lake accumulates throughout the week, slowing engulfing the living room floor around the front door. Clothes, tools, delivered bits and parts, food... since we never seem to take as much stuff off the boat as goes on I sometimes wonder how it is Kintala has any room left for us. A big part of the pile has to do with projects currently underway, seven of them at the moment. (That does not include fabricating and installing a dodger, though there is some stuff in the pile that relates to that job.) My major plan for the weekend is centered on plumbing, replacing the rest of the potable water lines and linking the engine / water heater together - or at least figuring out just how it is I am going to make that happen. There is also a spice rack build / install and splash guard fit / install in the galley, and the never seeming to end drive train repair. Oh, and replacing the missing cutting board that used to sit over the stove. So far behind the curve, I'm about to post a ban on mentioning any more projects until at least a few of these get finished.

It is good that, once buried in a job, tools scattered about, bits coming off and other bits going on, wood getting measured and cut, assembled and installed, my inner kid / mechanic / fabricator comes out to play. Time passing is forgotten, replaced by concentrating on the work being done. We bought the boat to reach a goal that seems far, far away at the moment. I still talk of heading off "soon," joining those who have made the break from land living. "Soon," on a boat that doesn't seem anywhere near ready to leave the dock at Carlyle Lake, let alone take on big, blue water.

But this weekend, like most, will be a weekend spent living on a boat, floating (barely) on familiar waters, in a pretty place with good friends coming and going. Not the clear, warm bays of the Bahamas or Keys, nor the more challenging waves of places further north. It isn't sailing of any kind really, just a big project being done in an out-of-the-way lake far from adventure. From the outside it looks like a project that has commandeered all of my attention, absorbs all of my energy and drains my bank account.

But that is the way of any dream worth having, and I am looking forward to the weekend.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I could feel something coming on last Saturday night. Spending most of Sunday in the V-berth corralled enough energy for the drive to the city. By the wee hours of Monday both Deb and I had landed firmly in Zombie land, felled by a persistent, nasty little virus that consumed an entire week of our lives. It wasn't until Friday morning that I managed to get out of the house for a couple of hours work time. (Tuesday was so bad I couldn't even do emails from the bedroom!) Friday late afternoon we were back on Kintala. It is strangely quiet around the lake this weekend. Only 4 of us were on boats last night so Friend James joined us for an evening meal of Mexican Dip (see the Cruising Comforts blog on the tab in the header). Our first real meal in a week - it was a good one.

Embarrassed by my lack of progress and still waiting on the machine shop to hack chunks off the coupler, this morning it seemed reasonable to worry a couple of minor cosmetic projects to a close. That proved encouraging so why not start another big project? After all we only have 4 or 5 of those in progress at the moment.

"Marine water line" is printed on the box. Pretty stuff, 5/8", bright white with colored reinforcing threads. Once I started pulling some of the old stuff from under the sink something became distressingly clear - there is not a single piece of marine grade water line anywhere in this boat:  NONE. Was there no such a thing in 1982? The junk to come out so far is clearly something no healthy person would use to move drinking water. This is going to be a job high on the "glad we did that" list.

It is going to take a while though. At some point in her checkered past Kintala has had either a pump or her lines changed. The pump has 1/2 inch fittings, the lines are all 5/8s. But if one takes soft plastic 5/8s tubing with no reinforcing, it will crush down onto a 1/2 inch fitting tight enough to "fit". Of course one can order the proper fittings for about $3 each - but why bother when Mickey Mouse and Captain Shade Tree can do the job both cheap AND dirty?

And why would any Certified Master Boat Survey Hack bother to mention it?

Nice new clean water hose.  Yippeeee!
He wouldn't.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Teak Source

When we run across a good company to deal with, we like to pass it along.  I happened on this company through a simple Google search and I've been incredibly pleased with their price, speed, and most importantly, their customer service.  I've emailed Rex a list of teak boards that we needed for some projects and he has had them cut, planed, and in my hands in just a few short days at a price that just can't be beat.  If you happen to need some teak custom cut for anything I highly recommend contacting Rex at

Sunday, March 4, 2012

60 Seconds of Peace and Quiet

Just in case your life is as hectic as most people, I thought I'd post a video of 60 seconds of peace and quiet from the marina this morning.  It was a perfect morning, full of the promise of Spring, with red-winged blackbirds and bluejays and white pelicans and snow geese and terns and gulls all playing around the boats.  If you weren't so lucky, then please enjoy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I hate it...

when a plan doesn't quite come together.

The big winds and rain at the boat this weekend resulted in water pooling on my oh-so-pretty forward hatch. Said water leaked through one corner, (leaked as in flowed in a constant little stream) which soaked my side of the v-berth. Deb quick sewed a new water-proof hatch cover to cover (literally) my manufacturing defect. Additional sealer to be applied as soon as I haul it from the home shop to the lake.

A shipment of teak arrived at the house last week, including a piece needed to fix the forward trim of the companionway. The old one was split, broke, major ugly looking, and would leave a splinter in any hand placed there for support while entering the boat. Measured, assembled (two parts fit and glued together), screw holes plugged, wood sanded and finished with several coats of hand rubbed clear over stain, the new part fairly glowed in lush teak glory.

It didn't fit.

It did fit when I got done...sort of. It looks yards better than the old but it isn't exactly what I was aiming for. Rats - oh for two.

At 1500 yesterday afternoon I got a call from work. More than five years have I flown these good folks around, never have I had a short-notice pop up trip. Suddenly I had three hours to be wheels up with the airport being two hours away from the boat. Fortunately the Z-car is the ride to have when one is in a hurry, though even it can't help much in rush hour traffic. My co-captain saved my corporate pilot butt, got us ready to go, uploaded fuel, did the preflight. I had about 10 minutes to spare, just enough time to load the FMS with the flight plan before the pax arrived. I didn't have time to stop by the house to change, so I hid in the cockpit in my jeans and tennis shoes while the pax were on board. It was pretty late when I got back to the lake. The flight got done, everyone was happy, but it was a bit ugly for those who could peak behind the curtain. Oh for three.

This morning has been a flurry of emails as we try to put the finishing touches on trips tomorrow and Monday. I don't know if those plans are going to come together...sometimes getting the travel plans of a group of busy VIPs coordinated is like herding cats.

Seeing as I was on such a roll, I was going to start in on Kintala's new storage rack today. What could go wrong with that? Before I cut a single piece of wood we took another gaze at the galley / nav area and decided to rethink the starboard side spice rack. Plan abandoned before plan even started. Oh for four.

So instead we went to cruise home supply stores, see what kind of ideas came up. I bought a $5 hinge to put on the 'fridge lid so it wouldn't fall on Deb every time she went looking for something. I had to shift the cold plate a little to make room, but it came out pretty good.

One out of five. That will have to do this weekend.