Friday, September 22, 2017

Tinted windows

After discussing darkening the windows on our boat for about eight months and contacting a number of vendors, we finally decided to begin by having just the three large windows at the rear of the cabin tinted.

We arranged to have Dwayne, the window-tinter who seemed the most cooperative (and who lived fairly close to Norwich), meet us at the boat at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Our first task was to remove the three six-ft. long rear blinds that were in poor condition,  Then Dwayne took over. When he was finished less than an hour later, our boat had a new look.

The amount of light and heat that the tinted windows keep out is substantial and while no one will ever notice but us, look really cool.

Can we see out at night? Yes. Can people see in at night? No, not under normal conditions. This was a fairly expensive job but we're more than pleased with how it looks and the extra room that became available once the blinds were gone. Next, we'll save up some more boat bucks and have the side windows done, as well.

With that spiffy new look to the back of the boat, Bill was moved to wash the exterior, a job that took him the entire rest of the day.

On Sunday, we decided to head over to the gas dock to fill up. Our original plan was to cruise over to Greenport during the week but the aftermath of Topical Storm Jose was predicted to make that an very unpleasant ride. But we gassed up ($450) anyway.

Not a very exciting video but we've added it below it anyway.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reverse Polarity

"I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison."  - W. C. Fields

Reverse polarity is something that most boaters don't really worry about. Those big yellow (and expensive) shore cords that we use to connect to shore power have carefully designed prongs that keep us from plugging them in backwards.

Our boat has two reverse polarity indicators (tiny red lights) on our power panel and neither of these has ever lit up.

On Saturday evening of Labor Day weekend, we were aboard and Frances was busy preparing dinner. Yes, she was drawing a lot of current, what with both stove elements lit up brightly and the toaster oven just getting warmed up.  That was in addition to the battery charger and the hot water heater. Then the lights went out.

No problem. We know what to check. Circuit breakers?  All on. The breaker at the dock? On and ready. Shore power cords connected? Yes, nice and tight. What the hell? There goes cocktail hour!

Since Bill didn't have any useful ideas, we decided to go to bed and sleep on the problem.

The next morning, Bill assembled all of his tools and got access to the breaker panel (with the boat unplugged from the dock, of course). His theory, based on a good night's sleep, was that the main breaker was faulty. Sounded good and he soon swapped in a new one. But that didn't work either. 

Then he went for the socket into which one of the shore plugs connects to the boat. Unfortunately, that looked good too. Nothing black and burnt.

Then it was down on the wet deck to look up behind the shore power inlet plugs. Maybe a wire had broken off somewhere? Yes, this was a desperation play because we had zero additional ideas. Fumbling up behind the plug we could feel the three wires (black (hot), white (neutral) and green, (ground). Each was routed neatly forward into the boat except the black (hot) wire that first detoured into a fixture mounted between the two power inlets. That fixture was our 1980-era reverse polarity indicator that had never worked. In fact it had been ignored for all the years we have owned the boat and we would never have known its function except for the faint words "Reverse polarity" stamped on its face.

The excitement built as Bill disassembled it and pulled it out of its mounting hole. It had a tiny bulb, long since dissolved in corrosion. Hmm. Black wire goes in energized and come out dead. Time for some quick rewiring!
The original Silverton reverse polarity light removed. No continuity between those two contacts meant no juice to all of the boat except the air conditioning.

It took only a few minutes to butt-splice those lengths of black #10 wire together and fasten the power wires back in place. Even with the door closed, we could hear Frances cheering as all the lights came back on.
Now we have some holes where the old light lived. We'll have to fit something in there. We'll bet that Frances has some ideas!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Block Island, August 2017

 On August 10, we finally got everything in order for our cruise to Block Island. Frances was feeling sprightly and our stuff was packed so off we went on a very nice day.

The Sound cooperated, so much so that we didn't need to steer much as we went across Block Island Sound.

It was a Thursday so we knew we'd be avoiding the weekend boating traffic but unlike previous years, Payne's Dock was just about full. We waited a while at their famous flagpole and they found a spot for us up against the bulkhead, which made it easier for Frances to get on and off.

Getting into that spot took some work and we kept the cameras on just so the folks who hate Payne's docking situation could see what they're missing.

Block Island's New Harbor has a way of relaxing you after a day or so. After a while, we simply enjoyed the beautiful weather and relaxed.

Francis met some nice dogs, one of which was also named "Frances." Both of these poodles got a bath using our hose. We don't think we've ever met a boat dog that we didn't like!

One day we ventured across the island the Old Harbor. While we have visited Block for many years, we've rarely seen the downtown area as crowded as it was. The ferries were pouring out hundreds of people and various food delivery trucks waited in the ferry line with their diesel generators roaring. People shuffled up and down the sidewalks looking for something - a restroom, the beach or a place to buy a souvenir. Mopeds scooted by operated by unsure drivers. This is all a result of one of the most successful tourism campaigns the the northeast. The quiet, beautiful island that we knew wanted more visitors and their money and they surely got their wish. At least in Old Harbor, this just isn't "one of the last great places on earth" anymore.

But, on our boat surrounded by other boaters, life was good.

It was difficult for us to stay up much past sunset and that's what makes a good vacation for us.

The Solar Eclipse
On August 21, after we had returned from Block Island, we were treated to at least a partial eclipse. Frances was ready to see it in all its glory. Several days in advance, she had us visit Praxair in Hartford to obtain several pieces of dark glass used in welding helmets. She also talked them out of two small boxes from which she had us fashion two "viewing hats." We looked pretty spiffy as the sky finally darkened.

The video is a little long because we included most of the docking activity but we like that part so we left it all in.