Sunday, July 17, 2016

Next stop: Block Island

Wednesday or Thursday morning,  we'll pick up some gas, cruise down the Thames River to New London harbor and then follow the upper course on the chart above. That takes us east through Fisher's Island Sound and then out into the ocean at Watch Hill Passage. Then, it's just 16 miles to Block. It's a cruise that we've done many times and have always found it pretty easy except for Watch Hill, where you have to be mineful of the exposed rocks. The channel markers are your friend there.

The lower course on the chart is one that we haven't used in some time because it is three miles longer. It has only two headings once we leave New London. But, we're cheap New Englanders so the shorter route is the one we take.

All trips to Block Island require some respect for the weather. It's normally fairly calm at this time of the year but why go when it's raining? We'll check the weather and cast off when it looks good.

This weekend it was as hot as hell in Norwich. We took that time to check our engines and found everything okay. We did waste some time fooling with the ignition timing on our starboard engine and managed to screw up the ignition timing. However, the Frances' help, we managed to get that engine running again and we think, better than before.

We got through the weekend with the boat's AC chugging along, and it did a great job of keeping the cabin temp at a nice 74 degrees when it was 95 outside. But, once the sun went down, we moved our cocktail hour outside and sat in our deck chairs and admired the sky, the birds and our old boat.

Good summer, so far.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pooka spends a night on the fly bridge

 A blog post from Frances...

 Wednesday, July 6

I awoke a little later than usual because Pooka was not howling in my ear for some grub.  I jumped out of the V berth and went looking for him.  He was not in the usual places. 

The first place I checked was his man cave (under our Klobo-IKEA couch) but no Pooka.  Next, I searched all the cabinets because he is sneaky when it comes to hiding from his humans. But still, no Pooka.  My next step was to get off the boat to check for a floater…what could I do? Did our Pooka take an accidental swim? Time to find out.

Just as I was getting off the boat, I heard a faint meow and I looked up on the bridge (the ladder up there is 5 steps), and I spotted a bedraggled, wet triangular head of a blondie cat peering out from the bottom of the canvas. Pooka!

That cat was sure was glad to see me, and I him.  I climbed up and unzipped the canvas. It had rained the night before, so I dried the steps to prevent slippage.  After several friendly head butts, he was ready to descend.  However, it wasn’t to be his usual procedure.

First he tried the railing and I told him “no.” I did protect myself from potential claw damage with the towel.  He decided, without consultation, to use my head as a springboard.  Apparently my “familiar” scent comforted him.  It worked and I was able to carry him down to the deck.   

All is good with a happy ending. Never a dull moment with Pooka, the First Cat Mate.   

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A tinkle in the engine room

We're heading to Block Island in a few weeks and Saturday seemed like a good time to check out the engines, fluids etc.

Almost everyone on our dock was at Napatree for the long weekend and we were enjoying the beautiful weather here in Norwich. It's nice to just take it easy for a day or so.

For those of you who don't know our area, here's where Napatree is:

It's kind of a cool place where New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut intersect. Good holding ground and lots of boats raft up there.

Anyhow, back in Norwich on Saturday morning, we were poking around our engines and we heard a drip. Not the water slapping against the hull but a true drip.  We felt around under the deck over our starboard v-drive and yes, there was water but from where? It seemed to be dripping around from above but there was noting "above" that could emit any water. We groped around the many hoses and finally found the culprit: our Jabsco accumulator tank, which was squirting two tiny streams of water straight up against the bottom of the deck above it. The top of this thing was cracked and as such, needed to be replaced.

What's an accumulator tank? Its just another item of boat crap that the recreational boating industry has put there to substitute for good engineering. In effect, it's just there to take some pressure off the fresh water pump, which we only use underway or at anchor. But it's in the water circuit so even when were were using city water at the dock, it leaked.

So, we took a quick drive to Defender Marine in Waterford and bought a new one for $81.00. To be fair, this is one the last things left over on the boat from the previous owner, so I guess we were due. We installed the new accumulator and the tinkle stopped.

Now we know why Frances had mentioned that she heard the bilge pump come on from time to time.

On Saturday night, after really enjoying an hour or so of cocktail time in the setting sun, Frances produced her great shrimp dinner. Shrimp, garlic and whole bunch of other stuff, served with spinach. God, was that good!