Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Working my way backwards...

It seems a long time ago now, since we started this blog. In fact, it was a long time ago. As the days, months, and years passed we had a good time writing about the journey from being land dwellers to making it to full time cruiser / live aboard status. And we are still having a good time. For example, first thing this morning I climbed up a ladder into a bare hull that we will soon turn back into a boat. At the moment it lacks engines, plumbing, wiring, navigation, and a helm. It wouldn't even float if we dumped it in the water, for it lacks thru hulls and all of the normally associated bits and pieces that keep the water from flowing freely through the holes.

A little later I climbed back down. After that I climbed back up. And later down.

All that up and downing is just part of the fun. Though that may sound a little odd I think of it this way. Boss New and his bosses have pretty much dumped the task of equipping and wiring this boat, from scratch, in
my lap. I am ordering stuff (lots and lots of stuff), planning on where to mount stuff, and figuring out how to get power to the stuff. There are two alternators, two cranking  batteries, a house bank that will (hopefully) be made up of a dozen 6 volt batteries, a 4000w inverter, a battery charger, two separate shore power plugs, four pumps, water heater, refrigerator, navigation boxes, lights, and other sundry bits, that all have to play together without throwing sparks or melting down any of that expensive stuff. There is stuff like trim tabs, spot light, bow thruster, and underwater lights that I haven't played with before. The DC master panel is being custom designed, mostly by me, through the internet.

Once upon a long time ago I was in charge of a crew that rebuilt a King Air that had been turned into a snow plow. It ended up in a ditch with the nose landing assembly torn from its well and both of its engines broken in half from the sudden stoppage. That same crew and I rebuilt a smaller plane that had tangled with a real snow plow, breaking its wing strut in half and tearing out part of the fire wall. Those were big, complicated jobs that pushed the limits of repairing something rather than just taking check from the insurance company and buying a replacement something. Being involved in another job like that is an unexpected but interesting visit back to where I used to belong.

If I have to give up cruising for a while in order to fill the kitty, there are worse ways than being elbows deep in a job like this one. There are some things I question, but there are people around here who know more about boats in general than I do, and they assure me that things like the boat's center of gravity (center of gravity being something I know a bit about) and buoyancy (something I know less about) will be fine. Other
things I find a bit puzzling. Word from the boat world is that two alternators on twin engines don't play well together, it's best if they are not both tasked with charging the same battery bank. We never had such problems on twin engine airplanes, so clearly there is something new to learn here. And even with the uncountable electrical repairs and modifications I have done on airplanes, they were all DC power systems. I am less sure-footed with the 110v AC that will be going into this boat. More fun is that the inverter / battery charger means these two distant power cousins are going to be getting awfully familiar. Which, as one can imagine, has the potential for way too much drama.

Writing abut cruising is a bit of a reach at the moment. We are not cruising. There is no clear blue water around here, no sandy bottoms to catch and hold an anchor, no isolated islands to explore. Sometimes writing at all is a bit of a reach. Fun job or no, it is still a long day's work in a harsh environment. My weekly word output has dropped dramatically since the end of the day is a chance to stop doing things for a while, including writing. Reading the blogs of friends who have sailed far afield is often more attractive than trying to come up with something interesting to say about living at a dock. Living in a Tiny House and working hard to stay one step ahead of a world that is clearly having its problems is, in my opinion, a reasonable and responsible thing to do. But there isn't much more to say about it than that, other than to add that our Tiny House is looking pretty good at the moment, and I am playing a lot of drums.

So if, sometime next year, you are anchored at some isolated island and happen to hear a joyful rhythm being pounded out and echoing over the clear blue water, it just might be me celebrating being back where I belong...again.

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