Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend was beautiful except for some brief rain early Saturday evening.  Most of the A-Dock fleet is back and there was lots of washing, polishing and loading up all the stuff we'll need - or think we'll need - over the summer.

Act Three has settled into her new dock location and Frances has moved in and carefully stored more stuff that I never knew we had. However, it all fits and although our waterline has crept up an inch or so, I'm sure we'll be fine as long as I can find the vodka and orange juice.
 Lou worked up a sweat polishing his beautiful Four Winns (note the cool black gloves)
While Joel prepped his new outboard for its first sea trial.
Bob and Diane weren't with us this weekend since they had a wedding to attend in Newport.  Not having them there was odd and Carol Ann suggested that we all invade their boat and send them our best wishes. Here's CA's cellphone production...

By Monday afternoon, the work had slowed and at least part of the A-Dock crew could be seen discussing just about anything from their perch at the end of the dock.
It's great to be back among these folks who have become our friends over the past few years.

Weather permitting, we're off to Greenport next weekend and then to Block Island for another five days or so.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A great weekend on A-Dock

 Preparations for the weekend began mid-week with a message from dockmate Diane suggesting a pot luck supper on A-Dock. The responses came in fast and by Friday, virtually everyone had volunteered a dish. For Act Three, Frances offered up a dish or two while Bill monitored the messages to make sure that the minimum nutrition requirements were met. Hey, someone has to do it.

Food aside, we got lots of small things accomplished. On Saturday, the cockpit was cleaned thoroughly with the thought that PolyGlo could be applied on Sunday. In between cleaning sessions, we started the engines and the twin sisters came to life without complaining.  We let them come up to temperature and then shut them down.

During another break from scrubbing the gelcoat in the cockpit with a ScotchBrite pad, we went up to the bridge to see what we could do to get the Standard Horizon GPS Chartplotter to talk to the Furuno radar. Both had worked fine independently but refused to interconnect. We finally resorted to the documentation for each of the two units and discovered which NMEA sentences the radar needed to display a waypoint or a complete route as set on the chartplotter.  After the few minutes needed to change to data being sent by the GPS, the radar lit up with exactly the info we needed. Cross that problem off our list.

Saturday night offered a wonderful dinner contributed by everyone on the dock. Good conversation plus good food has become what we associate with A-Dock.

Sunday morning was a little cool and damp but Frances decided to cook us a real breakfast, knowing that this would be the first time we had used the stove and the toaster oven, which she had contributed to the boat.

I waited, ready for one of Frances' award winning cheese omelets.

Small Galley? Yes, but it didn't stop Frances!

Time to let the chef dig in! Everything works, so now it's time to get ready for Block Island.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Good to be home again

We arrived at the boat on Saturday, a beautiful but cool and windy day. It was time to begin unpacking and putting things away. Sounds boring but was fun, especially filling all those little cabinets and drawers that we never had with our old boat.

A number of our dock mates were either already there or arrived a little later on Saturday. Everyone was doing the same thing: cleaning, packing things away and catching up after a long winter.

We fired up the fridge, which amazingly, worked just fine. The hot water heater made hot water. The AC heated the cabin and switched to cooling when it was supposed to. In fact, just about everything worked as it should.

We spent some time on the bridge to continue to learn more about our Standard Horizon GPS chart plotter. Works fine but we'll need some more time underway to get comfortable with it.

About 4:30 PM, the dock mates began to assemble on the dock. After a while, work stopped completely, the chairs were drawn up and the wine and cheese appeared. I sounded the air horn at 5 PM but cocktail hour was already underway. Eventually, we all had dinner together at the marina restaurant, which was pretty good.

Thanks to Lou & Janie, Bob & Diane and John H for being very entertaining dinner companions. After dinner, we headed back to Act Three and had a wonderful night's sleep in our very comfortable v-berth.

On Sunday, we really got down to work. We stowed the fenders and extra shore cord, mounted towel holders in the head, hooked up the cable TV and installed a wood post to hold our hose and shore cord.

At this point, we think we're about ready to begin enjoying the summer!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What a great time!

Finally moving Act Three from Portland to Norwich turned out to be one of the best cruises we've had. On Tuesday, the weather had subsided and we were ready to go and so were our friends and dock mates. We arrived at the boat on a cold Tuesday morning, a little early and stowed the inevitable stuff.

 Promptly at 8:00 AM, John T, Rob and Carol Anne (Annie to those who know her well) arrived. The engines were warm so the crew untied our lines and we were off, down the Connecticut River.

Bill knows the river well and since there were no navigation markers, he took us down to Essex. We were running at "trawler speed" which was about 11 knots. At Deep River, we hit a submerged log and pretty much shredded it with the starboard prop. That didn't cause a problem. How could it on a day as nice as this one?

Meanwhile, down below in the salon, Annie and Frances were preparing to serve Annie's wonderful soup and freshly baked bread to the crew. It doesn't get much better than this!

Rob took the helm in Essex and squeezed us under the railroad bridge in Old Saybrook. Here are shots that Annie took as we left the Old Saybrook inlet:

Once we were a few miles into the Sound, We wandered across Long Island Sound, not quite hitting our waypoints but once we straighten out the electronics, that won't happen again. John then took the helm and brought us all the way to New London and up to Norwich.

Annie recorded some video for us:

We hesitate to comment, but we will. In a time when "friends" are defined by Facebook, the folks who took time from work to accompany us on this trip are really friends. We're sure there are many others, but John, Annie and Rob helped us get though the long winter and come spring, showed up to see what we had accomplished.

At this point, we're "home" for the next six months. Thanks to you three for helping us get there.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gale warning

This is not the type of weather you normally see at this time of year in Long Island Sound.

Gale Warning
Winds from the north at 25 to 30 kt gusting 35 kt. Seas 4 to 7 feet.

We were looking forward to joining some of our dock mates for a nice calm trip from Portland to Norwich today but that obviously wasn't going to happen. In fact, beginning yesterday afternoon, they were not opening the railroad bridge in Old Saybrook, probably because they were afraid of wind damage when it was up.

Tomorrow, Monday, is now showing a small craft advisory. Guess we are stuck in Portland for a while.

But, we used the time to good advantage.

On Friday afternoon, we started the engines and, with the help of a tablespoon of gas down each carb, they came to life immediately after the long winter layup. 

On Saturday, Frances was busy cleaning and making the boat into the perfect summer home and I tackled putting up the bridge enclosure. Frances asked if I wanted some help and I replied that no help would be needed.  The top has 11 sections and Frances had marked the position of each one last fall when we took it down.  After I put up the first section backwards, I called for help and once Frances arrived on the bridge, the installation of all those sections went quite well.

Once the bridge was enclosed (it was cold and very windy) I got the radar and the chart plotter to communicate with each other and tested the steering and transmissions. Everything worked, just as it should. We hosed the winter grime off the boat and called it a day.

On Sunday (again cold and windy), we stowed more stuff, mounted the last cabinet door and then began applying the cleaning solution that precedes PolyGlo to the bridge and cabin sides.It was truly amazing to see what came off the boat with the aid of a Scotch-Brite pad. There was mold and dirt that must have been there for years. Then we applied a coat of PolyGlo and it simply disappeared into the old fiberglass on the cabin and bridge sides. Since we still had some time before cocktail hour, we applied a second coat of PolyGlo. The shine began to come back, although it will take at least two more coats of this stuff to make it really nice.

Here's a picture of the starboard cabin top. Notice the land yacht in the background.

If you look carefully, you can see where the PolyGlo stopped.

That's it for this weekend. Hopefully, we get the boat the Norwich this week.

Friday, May 7, 2010

In the slings

While we weren't there to see it, yesterday afternoon the crew at the boatyard moved the boats in the shed in front of us and moved the our boat out into the sunshine. (We had circus duty or we would have been there.)

Later in the afternoon, our good friend Stu Noelte arrived and applied the name to the transom.

When we arrived early this morning, there she was, waiting for us.

The guys were waiting for me to scrape and paint the spots on the hull where it had been resting on the jackstands all winter. Here are two of the "spots" with barrier coat applied.

As soon as the barrier coat dried, we brushed on some black bottom paint and when that had hardened, off Act Three went down the driveway, into the well and in a few minutes was floating happily in the Connecticut River. We were towed into a nearby slip where there was both water and electricity, a rarity at this time of year at Portland Riverside.

We'll start the engines tonight, put up the bridge enclosure and give her a quick wash job.

We took some video of her being lowered into the water. Let's see if this link works:


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ready for launch

At 4:10 PM today, Sunday May 2, we offloaded a winter's worth of tools, extension cords, worklights and other stuff and declared the boat ready to go. Enough, already! Time to enjoy the old boat and rejoin our dockmates on A-dock.

Saturday was consumed with lots of small things, several of which decided not to cooperate but eventually gave way to our persistent energy. The Type 1 PFD was mounted on the bridge as was one of our four fire extinguishers. Hope we never need either one.

Then the door to the head needed to be reinstalled and that broken reading light in the lower berth replaced.  All small stuff but better to get it done now.

Forgot to mention the CO detector. A boat like this with a big sliding door needs one.

Sunday morning, the list had grown shorter. We'll be so glad to not have a list for a while.

We chewed through just about everything on the list on Sunday.  Frances put things in order and loaded up for the end of the day.  She also vacuumed the boat.

The plan is to take the boat out of the shed on Wednesday at the end of the day, leaving it hanging in the Travel-Lift slings over night.  Our friend Stu Noelte will apply the name to the transom while the boat is in the slings and we'll show up and scrape and paint off the "spots" on the boat's bottom where it has rested on the jackstands all winter.

Before we left on Sunday afternoon, we put out lines all the way around for the launching crew and positioned our new fenders.

That's it for what has been a very interesting winter in storage.  See you all in Norwich were our blog will continue with our summer adventures.