It would be trying, hacking away on the boat while the cruising tribe sails in and out of the mooring field and form up mini-flotillas on the morning nets. Every weather window sees a bunch of boats heading out the channel to take aim at the Islands. Particularly since the opportunities for crossing the Stream have been rare these past few weeks. It would be trying, but the visit to family glows on the horizon. The promise of stories, hugs, and the smiles of little ones has added a gentle glow of anticipation to our days. The Islands will be there come January.
All of said hacking has been taking place in the cockpit. Kintala's bimini mount was always a cheesy kind of thing, with the mounting points far too weenie for the size of the cover. It was that way so it could be folded up, something that makes little sense on a cruising boat. One hardly ever sees the sun cover folded away. Chasing the sun is the whole idea, but sub-tropical rays will scorch one's hide clear to the bone. Basking in such radiation is best done in small doses. On those days were there is rain instead, folding up the rain cover would be just as silly. Big time, “here comes a hurricane” weather is best avoided. On the rare occurrence that the frame must come down, it will lift out of the solid mounts to be put away.
In addition the physical mounting of the weenie hinge fittings added a second layer of weenie to be undone, no surprise there. The core under 3 of the four mounts had been soaked because of poor sealing and flexing; the forward port mount sporting wood screws splintering their way through the fiberglass. So, as is normal for ex-airplane mechanics, the new mount holes were over sized, back filled with thickened resin, re-drilled, and through-bolted utilizing ½ inch starboard backing plates that were slightly larger, footprint wise, than the new mounts. (That is a bit of overkill, even for an ex-airplane type. But 0.5 inch is what the store had in stock.)
Kintala always seemed a bit awkward with its bimini sticking up four to six inches higher than the dodger. No only did it look like a bad after-thought, the cathedral ceiling cover reduced the amount of rain and sun protection. Not only is the bimini now lower but, with the mounts moved outboard as far as possible, if feels a bit more roomy on the back porch as well. Given the already minuscule acreage of that primary living space, even the illusion of more space is a good thing. And there actually is a little more hip room when going aft around the helm.
Most importantly, the hope is the new frame mounting will support a couple of solar panels that were donated to a good cause by friends Mizzy and Brian (Thanks again guys!) There is some question as to the solar panel install being completed before heading northwest to cold country, and movie nights might slow things up a bit more. But we didn't come this way to do nothing but work on the boat.
Though, sometimes, it sure feels that way.
|Dinner Key Mooring field with the moon rise and South Beach in the background.|