July 2012 - Chesapeake

1 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Start of another month. We’re going away tomorrow for two weeks, so we did a few small jobs to finish off the work that we’ve started.  I tidied up the engine room, so that it’s ready for the generator to go back in.  Glenys pulled the masking tape off the hull and tidied up underneath the boat.  Alba looks good now, but we still need to do some more polishing of the topsides and the blue stripe just above the water line will need painting the next time that we haul out.  

I prepared instructions for the boat yard, so that they don’t get carried away while we’re on our travels.  After lunch, we jumped into our hire car and drove over to Home Depot, where we bought some tools and parts.  We then loaded the anchor and chain into the boot of the car ready to drop it off at the galvanisers tomorrow. 

I tried to practise the guitar, but my fingertips are too sore to do any more than five minutes - idiot...

2 July 2012   Charlottesville, Virginia
I ran around in the morning, organising the yard – Chuck is on holiday this week so I had to run through everything with his colleague, Sean.  We then dropped off the cupboard doors for the heads to a woodwork shop to get a quote for some new ones, dropped off a gas bottle to get it filled and then drove to Richmond to drop off our anchor and chain at the galvanisers.

We arrived in the historic town of Charlottesville in the middle of the afternoon and wandered around the University of Virginia which was designed by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and the man how wrote the Declaration of Independence.  In my opinion, it’s okay -  being designed like a UK university with cloisters and grand buildings with plenty of columns, but it looks a little bit clunky to me. 

We walked into the main town of Charleston but it was just a shopping centre, so we weren’t impressed.  However, we did have a great Mexican meal. 

The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

3 July 2012   Luray, Virginia
We drove up to Shenandoah National Park along the Skyline Way.  We went to the Visitors Centre to pick up a couple of maps and then went for a hike to two waterfalls.  It was a very pleasant walk through woods; only 4 miles, but nice and cool in the shade.  It warmed up our legs ready for a longer hike tomorrow - we’ve not been hiking for a couple of months.

We drove to a cheap motel in Luray passing an area of forest fires.  Western Virginia has had its fair share of problems in the past week with big thunderstorms that have brought trees down, damaged power lines and to top it off they have a heat wave and widespread forest fires.  There are two million homes that haven’t had any electricity for several days, which is causing chaos especially in this heat wave – imagine an American without air-conditioning.

4 July 2012   Front Royal, Virginia
We were up at quarter to six and ate a bowl of cereal in the motel room, before rushing off to the trailhead car park for Old Rag Mountain.  We arrived at seven o’clock and there were already ten or so cars parked there – it’s a very popular route.

Scramble on Old Rag Mountain, Shenandoah, Virginia

It was a very nice hike up though woods and finished off with a long scramble up a ridge.  The scramble is not very exposed, but a few tricky moves where I had to help Glenys up. The view from the top is very nice – you can see why the mountains are called the Blue Ridge Mountains with the hills getting bluer in the haze the further away they are.

We walked down the other side of the hill, which is a good trail for a mile or so, but then turns into a fire road for 2½ miles which, although it’s in a nice, shaded forest, becomes a bit boring.  We arrived back at the car at half past eleven – knackered.

We drove to a hotel in Front Royal and collapsed in the wonderfully cool, air-conditioned room, only venturing outside into the 100°F heat to buy a six pack of cold beer from a nearby garage.  

5 July 2012   Warrenton, Virginia
We had a chilled out morning and lounged around in the air-conditioned hotel room until eleven o’clock, then went to a couple of equestrian stores.  The first one was very up-market with expensive stuff - I needed to buy some short riding boots and half chaps ready for our four days of riding, but they would have cost $250.  The second store was called Saddlery Liquidators and had a huge variety of horsy stuff ranging from expensive to very cheap.  The store name implies that it was all bankruptcy stock.  I managed to buy a pair of leather boots and half chaps for $65, which was brilliant value.

We drove to the cottage that we had rented for five nights and after a ¾ hour wait in the beating sun, a fourteen year old girl eventually turned up to show us around.  After going to a supermarket, we chilled out and watched TV for the rest of the evening.  Glenys left several messages for Debbie who runs the riding school, but had no response – we have no idea what we’re doing tomorrow.

6 July 2012   Warrenton, Virginia
We were up at quarter to seven, but there were no messages from Debbie, so we had no idea what was going on.  Debbie arrived after we had breakfast as we were walking out of the door to go to the barn to look for her – she’d forgotten her phone.  She’d another lesson organised at half past eight and so she wanted us to arrive an hour later – it all seemed a little chaotic.

Riding in Virginia

We watched her finishing off her lesson and then we helped her to get my mare (Hobana) tacked up.  Glenys was to ride “Kookabora” who was already tacked up.  I’m not used to working with horses, but Habanero seemed to tolerate my inept handling.

We had a 1½ hour lesson, which was all about reining and Western-style riding. The lesson was mostly walking and trotting around in circles.  By the end of it, Glenys and I were both confused about the various aids that we should be using to control the horses – too much information too quickly.

After lunch and chilling out for a couple of hours, we went back to barn and went out for a 2 hour hack.  This was great fun - cantering up and down a field and then trotting through some woods. We were both absolutely knackered when we arrived back at the barn and my knees were killing me.  It was half past six by the time we’d removed the saddles and showered the horses - it’s not easy this horse riding stuff. 

We collapsed back in the cottage with a nice cold beer.  Glenys cooked some stuffed clams that we’d bought at the local supermarket and we stayed up until half past eleven watching a video on cantering made by some mad Australian horse trainer guru.

7 July 2012   Warrenton, Virginia
We both had very sore seat bones this morning, my knees seemed fine – the Ibuprofen that I took last night seems to have worked.

We had a lesson in the morning and the focus was on cantering on a lunge line.  I really struggled with holding a sitting trot – I just kept losing my stirrups.  After lunch we went for a one hour hack to the training field by the lake again.  I was absolutely rubbish – I was trying to get the horse to walk and control her with my legs, but couldn’t get it right – after twenty minutes both the horse and I were completely confused.   I had a go at the sitting trot, but again couldn’t sort that out.  Glenys meanwhile was trotting and cantering around like a professional.

Glenys demonstrating a sitting trot, Virginia

Totally despondent, in the evening I turned to alcohol for comfort.  After dinner, Glenys and I tried to work out how to control a horse using our legs and resorted to sitting on each other’s backs to try to feel what the horse feels – I think that this worked because (despite the alcohol) I felt less confused as I went to bed.

8 July 2012   Warrenton, Virginia
We were up early again for a morning lesson.  We told Debbie that we wanted to practice controlling the horse with our legs and doing the sitting trot.   It was a very good lesson and we both managed to do good, slow, sitting trots turning the horses in various diameter circles.  We decided to have the afternoon off to rest our aching muscles.

Over lunch, we watched Andrew Murray play in the finals of the Wimbledon tennis championship – the first time that a British man has made it since 1938.  Unfortunately, his opponent, Federer, was a machine and won the match.  Later in the afternoon, we went out for a look at Warrenton, which was very sleepy and incredibly hot.  We took some respite from the heat by visiting a small museum based in the old jail house, which was interesting, focusing on the town's involvement in the Civil War.

9 July 2012   Warrenton, Virginia
It was a bit of a drizzly start to the day.  The insides of my thighs are really stiff and hurting now.  I spent an hour stretching and going for a run before riding at ten o'clock.

I realised that I’ve not heard anything from the boat yard for a few days and became very frustrated trying to contact them to find out what is going on.  Chuck eventually rang me after my third message and told me that they have done exactly nothing in the past week.  The generator is lying untouched on the workshop floor; they haven’t ordered all of the parts for the standing rigging, so basically we’ve wasted a week.  I told Chuck that I wasn’t happy and told him that I was going to end my vacation early to get back to the boatyard tomorrow as it was apparent that things weren’t getting done without me being there

Bucklands Farm, Warrenton, Virginia

I also explained the good old British saying of “Spitting out my Dummy” - for our American friends this translates to “Spitting out my Pacifier.”  He hopes that he’ll be able to get things moving this week, so that I’ll not have to do this.  I sent him a snotty email anyway and copied it to his boss.  Hopefully, they’ll get off their arses and have things moving by the time I get there on Wednesday 11th.

We had a good trail ride for a couple of hours.  Debbie was thrown off the pony that she was riding when it was spooked as we approached some woods - she’s training it to do trail rides, but it obviously needs more work.  We carried on to a large meadow where Glenys and I did our own thing – trotting and cantering around while Debbie gave her pony some intensive corrective training on a lunge line.  My inner thighs were burning for most of this time, but we had a few good canters.  Habana, the horse that I’ve been riding for the past four days is a ¾ thoroughbred horse and was very excited & twitchy as hell as we came back to the barn.  I ended up in the lead and had to keep circling to slow down to wait for the others – hard work.

We’ve had a brilliant four days of riding and I would thoroughly recommend going to Debbie if you want to go horse riding in mid Virginia.  (www.Lanternlanefarm.com).  We spent the rest of the day chilling out and getting ready to leave tomorrow to kick arse back at the boatyard.

10 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
We had a lazy start to the day with a lie-in and then drove back to Deltaville, stopping off in Culpepper for a short walk around.  We arrived back at boat yard at four o’clock, which just gave me enough time to go and hassle Chuck.  

He was a bit crinkly because I’d given him a hard time, but it appears things that are now starting to move – the rigging parts are on their way, the parts for the engine mounts and stern gear have been ordered,  the generator’s been cleaned up and they’re getting prices for spare parts for it.  The plan is to be finished by the end of next week – I’ll believe it when I see it.

Rusty anchor chain before and after galvanising

I picked up a few parcels that had been delivered while we were away – I love Amazon.  We’ve received a new depth instrument panel, zincs anodes for hull fittings, a music stand, etc.  I’ve made a mistake with the music stand because it’s huge – that’s the problem with buying things without seeing them physically.  It only cost $30 and it will probably cost me that to send it back, so it’s destined for a charity shop.

We went out for meal at Toby’s – a very rough and ready place, but the food was very good.

11 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I caught up on a few things with Chuck.  He’s finally managed to get a quote for two security frames made out of stainless steel.  They’re fairly simple pieces designed to act as bars for the aft hatch and companion way, so that we can stop intruders getting down below when we’re asleep at night.  Unfortunately, the quote was $1,500 for the two items – I told him not to bother.  It really annoys me that people quote outrageous prices just because it’s for a yacht – I’ll find a small fabricator somewhere else to do the job.

On the positive side, I’ve received some pepper gel spray and a 6 million volt stun gun.  My security plan is firstly to have the hatch bars to prevent the robbers getting into the boat.  I can then put on all the deck lights, scream abuse at them and call for help on the VHF radio.  If they don’t go away then we escalate.  I have a 2 million candle power search light that I’ll shine in their eyes to blind them, and then I can spray pepper gel into their eyes.  If I manage to disable them all, then I’ll be rushing up on deck with my new 6 million volt stun gun and zapping them (preferably in the groin).  This should paralyse them long enough for me to tie them up with some long cable ties.

We drove over to Richmond and picked up the anchor and chain from the galvanisers – it’s all very nice and shiny now.

While we still had the car, we drove around and did a few errands for the rest of the day.  Glenys talked to our son, Craig, on Skype – now that he’s got a steady job, he’s thinking of buying a house in the UK, which is great news.  I fixed up a wall mounting for my guitar, so that it’s out of the way, but easily accessible when I want to practice.  I spent half an hour practising – my left hand finger tips hurt now.

12 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
We had a slow start to the day, easing ourselves back into work.  I spent most of the morning organising various jobs and buying things on the internet.

Glenys polishes the topsides

Clifton, the rigger is getting on with building the standing rigging, but not much else is happening because we’re waiting for parts to arrive – engine mounts, cutless bearing, generator parts, etc.  The winches are being picked up tomorrow and should be fitted on Monday.  I’m guessing that next week will be chaos as everything happens at once.  I’m hoping that everything will be sorted out by next weekend.

I still have a problem with the windlass base.  The Lofran’s distributor has told me that Lofran’s parent company, Navimo are in receivership and he’s having great difficulty in getting anything out of Italy – perhaps the couriers haven’t been paid.  I mentioned my problem to Chuck who said that one of his engineers is very good at sorting things out and may be able to machine the seized bearing out of the base.  I gave him the base and the parts that need to fit into it – hopefully he can do something with it, so I cancelled the order for a new base.

Glenys did the laundry and then cleaned up some of the stainless steel on deck.  While the mast is removed, she can get at some parts that aren’t normally accessible.  I painted the anchor locker with bilge paint to get rid of the rust stains from the anchor chain.  It was a bit of a mission hanging upside down, in the blazing sun, reaching down 5 foot into the bottom of the locker.

13 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Friday the 13th today, but a lucky one for me – Chuck dropped off our windlass base with the bearing and seal all fitted.  It’s a miracle.  I ran a few errands while we’ve still got a hire car and then started to put the windlass back together.

Chuck moved the stands that are holding up our boat allowing Glenys to paint the remaining hidden patches with antifouling.  She then moved back onto polishing the topsides.

I was told that a new heat exchanger for the generator is $1,200 – what a rip off, but I’ve lost the will to argue now and told them to order it.

In the afternoon, we took the hire car back to Gloucester and they drove us back to Deltaville.  We went to the barbeque area in the evening.  We’d planned to have a shared meal of lamb with Stan from “Green Eyes” – lamb is a scarce luxury in Virginia.  There was another group of people who had prepared a steamed, seafood meal with a huge pile of crabs, prawns, clams, sweet corn, onions & potatoes,  all boiled up in huge pots.  We helped them eat the sea food before having a second course of lamb – we were stuffed.

14 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Glenys spent the morning polishing the hull, which is turning into a marathon effort.  I worked on getting the windlass put back together and managed to install it just before lunch - I was so relieved to get it working again because without a windlass, it would be difficult to go cruising again.  The only slight damper on my joy is that there appeared to be a slight oil leak through a seal on the top of the gearbox.  I had a quick go at opening the gearbox, but it didn’t seem to be easy job, so I’m going to leave it and see what happens.  

Putting the windlass back together

It rained most of the afternoon, so Glenys tried to clean up the dinghy while I installed the new depth instrument panel and pulled down the head linings in the back cabin, so that the new winches can be installed on Monday. 

We had a quiet night in.

15 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
We laid out the anchor chain and put markers on it every ten metres, then I used my lovely windlass to haul the chain and anchor into our nice, freshly painted anchor locker.  Glenys then went back to polishing the topsides, while I fitted a new hatch to the back cabin.  

The old hatch came off easily enough and I cleaned up the fibreglass.  Unfortunately, when I dry-fitted the new one, the damn holes are in a different position – sods’ law…  I had to fill the old holes with epoxy and drill new holes.  It was a bit of a mission in the beating sun and I annoyed Glenys by not covering our bed which is directly under the hatch - there’s nothing like a bit of fibreglass dust to make you itch all night.

I managed to get the hatch finished by mid-afternoon – only two more to go.  Glenys took a break from the hull and cleaned the bottom of the dinghy which looks great – we now need to find the small pinhole leaks in a couple of the tubes and make a cover to protect it from the sun and docks.

16 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
It’s the start of our fifth week in Deltaville.  I wandered over to see Chuck first thing in the morning - someone should be installing the new winches this afternoon.  We’re still waiting for the engine mounts which should be here soon.  I was a bit surprised and annoyed that they haven’t ordered the parts for the generator or picked up the winches yet – they won’t order any parts over $1,000 unless I pay for them up-front.  They've sent me a couple of invoices, but I wasn’t aware that I had to pay immediately.  I paid out another $7,000, so that work could proceed.

Mack finally came to remove the cutless bearing.  He tried to remove the prop-shaft, but it won’t come out because the rudder is in the way. He had a discussion with me and said that we might need to remove the rudder.  This is a very major undertaking and I didn’t want to do that.  The cutless bearing is in a bronze housing on the outside of the boat and I suggested that there must be some way to remove the housing.  I rang the Hallberg Rassey dealer in Annapolis and he said that it’s threaded onto the end of the stern tube.  Ten minutes later, with the help of a huge wrench, we had the housing removed – what a relief.

Glenys makes lunch in trying conditions

Glenys continued polishing the topsides and she only has a small section at the stern to do now – she should be finished tomorrow morning.  She took a break in the afternoon because it was so damn hot and wire-brushed our 35lb and 45lb anchors – I’m a slave driver...   I fitted the new front hatch in the morning and then worked down below in the afternoon, fitting a new high pressure gauge and a valve onto the watermaker.

17 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I went to the dentist – I chipped a corner off a molar five weeks ago in Norfolk. The dentist was going to patch it up, but there’s another crack, the tooth is almost all filling and they said that it would need a crown at some point.  It’s going to cost $1200, but I told them to get on with it.  They ground away the top of the tooth and fitted a temporary crown.  I’ve got to go back on the 26th to get the crown fitted properly – I’ll bet $100 that I’ll have my tooth fixed before we get back into the water.

Glenys finished polishing the topsides and spent the afternoon cleaning and patching the dinghy. I went to see Sean who is trying to buy a cutless bearing and can’t find one of the correct size.  It’s a metric bore and the only source he can find is Hallberg Rassey in Sweden – that could take a week to deliver.  I gave him the contact details of the Hallberg Rassey dealer in Annapolis; perhaps they might have one in stock. 

It was very, very hot in the afternoon, so I stayed indoors with the air-conditioning, did some admin and checked our bank statements depressing myself with how much we’ve spent.  We had a quiet night in with a nice grilled steak, which was a bit of a challenge with my temporary crown, so I’ve requested softer food for the next week.

18 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake

It was a hot, sweaty night even with the air-conditioner going full blast – I didn’t sleep well, waking up thinking of engine mounts and cutless bearings.

Glenys started to make a cover for the dinghy. It’s a major, three dimensional problem that she’s been putting off for months, but by the end of the day it was looking pretty good – hopefully another day will sort it out.

While it was still cool in the morning, I removed the middle hatch and had to fill a lot of holes which were very close to the new screw positions.  It will take 24 hours for the MarineTex to harden , so I put the old hatch back in position and sealed it with duct tape – what would we do without duct tape?

I chased Chuck to find out that the cutless bearing hasn’t been ordered yet – I emphasised that this was now on our critical path and he said that he’d sort it out.  I saw Clifton who is making progress with the standing rigging, but we still haven’t had the new winches fitted and we’re waiting for parts for the engineering jobs.  It’s so depressing.  Dismayed, I went back to the boat and wrote out a list of things that need to be done and went back to re-iterate to Chuck what he should be doing. 

After lunch, I borrowed the marina’s courtesy car, ran some errands and picked up the new cupboard doors from the carpenter -$390 for the three doors, but they looked very good – the hinges are a bit tight and I’ll have to pack them out after we’ve painted them tomorrow.

We ate a lot of seafood in Deltaville

It was 105 degrees today and quite humid – very oppressive.

19 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I was up before six o’clock because I couldn’t sleep thinking about the sequential nature of the jobs being done on our boat.  I produced a detailed project plan listing out the various tasks that still need to be done and the sent a strongly worded email to Chuck saying that I wanted to have a meeting about the projects.  After breakfast, I went to see him, but he told me that he couldn’t see me until the afternoon – a bit pissed off, I arranged to meet him at one o’clock.

Frustrated, I went back to the boat and finished off installing the third (and last) hatch.  The sun was blistering, but I persevered and finished a few other jobs on deck including the tedious job of scraping the sealant off the front hatch, which took over an hour.  Glenys carried on with making the dinghy cover (and wisely) kept out of my way.

After lunch, I had the meeting with Chuck – the guy didn’t help himself because he kept me waiting until quarter past one while he was on the phone and doing other stuff.  To cut a long story short, there are quite a few parts still on order waiting delivery.  He’s chased some of the orders (because I’ve hassled him) and discovered that some parts are not available, so he’s reordered alternatives.  The cutless bearing is now on order from Sweden (at great expense), but the most worrying is that the heat exchanger for the generator is still not ordered and Chuck is trying to contact Panda Fischer in Florida and also trying to find an alternative in the USA (which I asked him to do three weeks ago.)

It would appear that most parts will not be delivered until the end of next week, so we’re looking at another two weeks until we’re back in the water.  I was not impressed with his excuses and had a bit of a spat, resorting to the vernacular a couple of times.  All he did was to agree with me that it could be better and admitted that they had organisational problems.  That’s all very well, but doesn’t get me launched any faster.

I spent the afternoon doing errands on a bike burning up the anger that I feel about our situation.  We’re trapped on the hard without a generator and a mast and there’s nothing I can do about it, but hassle the boat yard staff.  I’m now going to be visiting Chuck twice a day asking the same damn questions until I get a satisfactory answer.  Neither of us wants this aggravation, but if the yard can’t deliver their promises, what else can I do?

New winches finally fitted

I wandered into the Marina lounge in the late afternoon and chatted to Robert and Heidi from “Nuwam” who’ve had a similar experience with the yard.  They’ve been waiting three weeks to get their autopilot fixed and have similar stories about delays and unfulfilled promises.  Stan from “Green Eyes” was listening in and offered to go and get Keith Ruse (the owner of the boat yard), who was on his boat in the marina – we sent Stan off to get him.

Keith suffered a ten minute rant from me and another one from Robert and Heidi.  He listened politely and seemed genuinely concerned, and his response was that (obviously) he was sorry that we were unhappy, and that they had difficulties with resources and planning.  Reading between the lines, it would appear that they have been trying to attract big powerboats, which pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and this has stretched their resources.  Keith tried to placate us, but only results will really appease us.

After a few beers to calm me down, Glenys and I cycled a mile to Cocomos and had a fantastic seafood meal.

20 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
What a surprise – a technician turned up first thing in the morning to fit the winches.  I had to make sure that he put them in the correct place, and help him but they look good now.  I hassled Chuck and they’ve not managed to order the heat exchanger yet – apparently they’re on it?

I stomped back to the boat, cut away some damaged teak on front deck and filled it with caulking. I then cleaned up the sealant from the centre hatch.  Glenys continued with dinghy cover – she’s struggling with getting it to stay in place.

After a nice refreshing shower, I did some more practice on the guitar for over an hour – I’m really enjoying learning a new instrument.

We went to barbeque with Robert & Heidi from “Nuwam” and Stan from “Green Eyes” – we had a little too much to drink thanks to Stan’s liberal use of a wine box. It absolutely threw it down at the end of the evening, but we just walked back to the boat and enjoyed the free cold shower.

21 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I was feeling a little bit dull this morning, but not as bad as I expected.   It rained for most of the day, so we spent the morning getting on with indoor jobs, but I had a quick talk to Chuck who still hasn’t managed to order the heat exchanger.  He’s waiting for an email back from Fischer Panda in Germany – we’ll be lucky to get away from here by the middle of August.

Windlass back in pieces

I fitted the new doors for the heads. I’ve had to pack out the hinges by 2mm, but we can get on and paint them now.  Not able to avoid it any more, I replaced the Joker valve on the front toilet – a lovely job with the “residual” water pouring out of the 2 inch pipe over my hands as I undid the toilet fitting – yuk!  Glenys disappeared off in the afternoon on a bike and went for some therapeutic shopping – mostly to get out of my way, I think.

The bilge pump hasn’t been priming properly and isn’t pumping out any water, so I removed it to service the valves.  Unfortunately, while disassembling it, a bolt snapped off in the motor.  Try as I may, I can’t even get the motor off the pump assembly now, so I’ll have to buy a new pump – that’s another $150…

I had a quick look at the windlass and unfortunately the gearbox is leaking oil.  I’m not sure what to do now – do I go through the trauma of removing it and possibly breaking it, or do we live with a slight leak of oil in one of our cupboards?

22 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
It was still overcast with light rain this morning.  I woke up with an urge to remove the windlass and sort out the faulty seal in the gearbox.  Glenys disappeared off to do the laundry with her laptop for the morning, while I cleared the front cabin (again) and pulled the windlass apart.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to separate the gearbox from the motor, never mind disassemble the gearbox.  I sent an email off to the Lofrans Distributor to see if they have any instructions on how to replace the seals.

In the afternoon, I pulled the Series Drogue out the front cabin locker and then designed a deployment bag for it.  The idea is that it will be a long thin bag that will stow on the aft deck below the backstay and ensure that the ropes don’t tangle giving us a smooth deployment.  I’ve based it on the same principals as a parachute container with flaps and I’ll stow the line in a figure of eight to prevent tangles.  If we have to use this drogue, it will be a horrible storm and I want it to be as easy to deploy as possible – the nightmare scenario is getting it all tangled up.

A few more little jobs, an hour’s guitar practise and the day was gone.

23 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Another week starts in glorious Deltaville – our sixth in this blessed place.  First thing in the morning, the travel lift came and moved us further up the yard so that the crane could get access.  Glenys started polishing stainless fittings on deck and when they brought the mast over, she moved onto polishing stainless steel fittings on the mast before they lifted it into place.  Clifton and the crane soon arrived and they hoisted the mast in place – we look like a proper sailing yacht again. 

The mast finally being lifted into position

I showed Mack the exploded drawing of the windlass parts and he agreed with me that it needed a bit of brute force and ignorance to get the motor off the gearbox.  Back at the boat, I used a lump hammer and screwdriver to get it off.  Satisfied that I was progressing with the windlass, I moved onto the new winches.  The yard technician had left the bolts too long, so that they protruded down below the headlining.  I removed the bolts and cut them to the correct length.  This took me a couple of hours, which would have cost me $150 if the yard had done it.

Later in the evening, while browsing on the Internet, I discovered that Panda Fischer have an SOS 24/7 helpline.  I sent them an email hoping that they’ll be able to sort out a new heat exchanger for me - the Panda Fischer distributor in the USA is useless.

24 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I spent all morning in the marina lounge waiting for emails from Germany.  I spent the time ordering new bits and pieces from an online marine store.  Panda Fisher eventually responded and gave me a quote – it looks like they can ship the heat exchanger by FedEx and it could be here on the 27th.  Unfortunately by the time that I’d responded back, it was after five o’clock in Germany and they’d finished work.

Back at the boat, it was so bloody hot that it was difficult to do anything. I received two new blocks for the running backstays, so I fitted them and the new Dynema running backstays. Then I went to the chandlers to get some ¼” rope and small blocks for the tie down lines to pull the runners into the shrouds.

Glenys lurked down below and started painting the cupboard doors for the heads.

25 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I was up at 0400, so that I could communicate with Fisher Panda in Germany – it was ten o’clock over there.   They sent me a quote for the part and FedEx delivery, so I paid it immediately.  Hopefully it will be here by the 27th. The cost of the part was 50% of the price quoted by the US distributor - I'll never deal with them again.

Now that I had all the parts on order with delivery dates, I stayed in the lounge and worked out another project plan to ensure that I’ve not missed tasks.  As I walked into the car park at ten past six, I met Chuck coming into work.  I told him the good news and said that I’d be back later to run through another project plan – for some reason, I don’t think that he was pleased to see me at that time of morning.

The damn heat exchanger

Glenys was still in bed when I got back to the boat, so I quietly started to pull the windlass gear box to bits.  I had some success, but wasn’t able to separate the main helical gear from the top section. It’s a bugger that the seal that I want to replace is right inside the whole assembly, so I have to pull the whole gearbox apart – very scary.  I took the gearbox across to the workshop and asked Chuck to get someone to pull it apart for me.

Mack had lifted the generator up on a hoist for me, so I grabbed a load of tools & cleaning stuff and spent three hours cleaning up the generator – I found a few more small things to be fixed in the process and gave a list to Mack. Hopefully he’ll be working on the generator tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I routed the wires from the mast back into the goose neck ready to connect tomorrow.  Glenys painted the doors again and cleaned up some removable woodwork such as towel holders, cup holders, etc. that need varnishing.

The other parts for the generator arrived yesterday, so I was hoping that Mack would be working on it this afternoon, but that didn’t happen.  When I asked Chuck if it would be done tomorrow he said he didn’t know, but hoped that it would be.  I told him that I would be “spitting out my pacifier” if there was no work done tomorrow.  Later in the afternoon, I bumped into Keith in the car park and asked him how I could get someone working on my boat tomorrow.  He said that he’d talk to Chuck.  I’ll not hold my breath.

26 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Magically, I had people working on my projects today - funny how moaning to the boss always works.  Mack was busy finishing off the generator and getting the engine mounts & cutless bearing ready to fit. 

I had to go to the dentist and have my new crown fitted - $1,200 - thank you very much.  Once back at the boat yard, I found that one of the engineers had separated the helical gear from the windlass gearbox, but unfortunately there’s a bearing that is badly corroded which needs replacing.  I managed to get hold of Jim Thomas at Imtra and ordered a replacement – it should arrive tomorrow.

Glenys persevering with the dinghy cover

The courtesy car was available, so I took our old hatches, 35lb anchor, EPIRB and a 20A solar panel regulator down to the marine consignment store.  This is a great system where you leave your things to be sold, typically getting half the value of new items.  The consigner gets 25% of the selling price.  I told them to hold the cash for me and I’ll pick it up when we come back past here in the autumn – hopefully I might get $1,000 for the lot if it sells.

Glenys meanwhile, was sanding down various pieces of woodwork that need varnishing and finished off the cupboard doors by fitting the hinges and latches.  In the afternoon, I did a few more small jobs and went shopping again for more parts – rope for the outhaul, fittings to adjust the bimini, etc.

As it was our 32nd wedding anniversary, we went out for a meal with Robert and Heidi from “Nuwam” which was very nice – steamed seafood all round.

27 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Mack turned up first thing this morning, installed the cutless bearing and then spent most of the morning replacing the engine mounts.  Unfortunately, the boat yard has ordered the wrong propeller shaft seal, so that will have to wait until a replacement arrives on Monday – I despair!  

We had a bumper day for deliveries, receiving five packages from Defender – Sunbrella for the storm drogue bag, a 2 million candle power search light, SSB antenna cable, etc, etc.  I also received the windlass bearing from Imtra which was good news. The heat exchanger also arrived from Germany and Mack fitted it to the generator in the afternoon.

The fabricator finally graced us with his presence and took away the aft bimini frame to make some modifications to it.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the equipment to bend stainless tubing, so I had run around trying to organise someone to put an additional 15 degree bend in the tubing - I was severely hampered by not being able to take the courtesy car outside Deltaville town limits.  Finally, I managed to get Chuck to sort it out for me and it should be bent by Monday morning, when I’ll have to deliver it back to the fabricator to finish the job off.  

Glenys spent the morning sanding and varnishing again, replaced some of the completed items and then went shopping on her bike in the afternoon.  It was absolutely blistering in the afternoon, so I did a few small jobs and then retired down below to tidy up and re-build the windlass, which went together well – we’ll do the final fitting tomorrow.

Generator finally ready to go back into the boat

The generator is now ready to go back into the boat, so the grand plan is to use the crane to install it on Monday morning and then try to launch us on Tuesday – it’ll be a miracle.

28 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Glenys went to the local farmers market first thing in the morning, while I prepared the front cabin to install the windlass.  It’s a right palaver – remove all of the junk that has been stored in there, then remove the mattresses, then clear the cupboard and get a pile of books ready.  Why books?  Well, the windlass is very heavy and needs to be lifted up to four screws in the underside of the deck fitting and the best way of gradually lifting it up is to slide thick books under it.  When Glenys came back we fitted the windlass which now works perfectly – tick another job off the list...

Glenys carried on with sanding and varnishing, while I pottered around doing small jobs and running into town to buy bits and pieces.  It was so hot in the afternoon that it was impossible to work outside, so Glenys retired to the lounge to use the internet.  She had a long chat with our son Craig who is planning to put in an offer on a small house in Reading.

In the evening, we went out to the Deltaville Marine Museum to watch a live band.  We went to one of these events a month ago – it proves that we’ve been here too long. 

29 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
It was Sunday today, so we had a late start - getting up at half past eight.  Once up, I set to work, moving the fittings for the back bimini frame and sealing up the old holes.  Glenys did some more varnishing; did some more work on the dinghy cover and helped me.

I then moved onto fitting the various blocks and cam cleats for the “tidy line” for the running backstays.  It was a bit of a mission because I had to drill quite a few holes in the topsides and I had to pull down headliners and check where the drill holes were going to come through – the last thing that I want now is to drill through some wiring or pipework. 

It was so hot in the afternoon (again) that I was becoming incoherent with dehydration even though I was trying to drink lots of water.  Glenys gave up and hid down below with the air conditioner.

We had a quiet night in.

30 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Start of our seventh remorseless week here in Deltaville.  The plan was for the yard to install the generator today, but Mack didn’t get started on it until mid-morning because he was being pulled onto other jobs.  I was getting frustrated hanging about until Mack finally arrived with the crane and I was able to help out.  Glenys continued with her varnishing and is still trying to sort out the dinghy cover which is proving to be a challenge (so she keeps avoiding the job.)

Mack managed to get the generator lowered into the engine room within half an hour, but then took ages while he laboriously connected the base tray, the mounting struts and numerous cables and pipes.  The generator was hanging in the crane for about three hours, while he tried to get everything fitted, before it was finally lowered down onto the mounting frame.   In my humble opinion, he’s tried to assemble the mounting components in the wrong order and, by the end of the afternoon, he still had eight bolts to fit in the flexible mounts - it’s going to be a struggle to line it all up.

The generator finally being lifted into position

I’m a little depressed by the situation, Mack is a very good mechanic, but is seriously overloaded with work and doesn’t have time to think through and plan a job properly.  The result is that the job is taking longer than it should and potentially I’ll end up paying more for his time.  I sent a warning email to Chuck saying that the time for this job will have to be adjusted.  God, I want to get out of here.

On the bright side, our son Craig has had his offer accepted to buy a house – he and Kristen are so excited.

31 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Mack turned up at half past seven and said that he’d been given a bollocking by the management because of my email – I apologised to him, but he seemed pretty cool about it all.  He was convinced that he’d be able to get the generator installed and proved it by having the mounting studs all fitted an hour later – he’s a really good engineer. 

I left him to it and pottered about doing a few small jobs including fitting a sealing plate to the front dorado vent that has been leaking every time that we encounter heavy seas. Glenys finished off her varnishing and reworked the dinghy cover – it’s nearly there now.  Chuck dropped off the new aft frame for the bimini which has been bent to fit exactly between both of the main winches, so that we can use the winch handles effectively.  Glenys and I fitted it in place.  It still needs a couple of inches cutting off the length, but I want to adjust it a little bit more when we have the main sail installed.

Mack worked on our boat all day (at $75/hr) and managed to get all of the stern gear job completed as well as most of the generator installed, so we’ll be going back into the water tomorrow – we can’t believe that it’s actually going to happen.  There will be a few more days of work to be done, but we’re now hoping to be sailing away on the 4th August.  The wind looks to be perfect for heading north on the 6th and 7th, so “Maine here we come.”