Travel 2014-2015

Things you can’t store on a boat


#1: Leather.

It mildews rapidly unless you’re airing it out constantly.

Here are CA’s gloves that we wore last winter as we worked the boat south.

These were bagged to prevent them from getting wet in their storage locker.

Whatever spores were in there loved the dark confines. 

Many of the clothes are in our apartment now. The rest should probably be laundered as part of winter layup.

I think all of the shoes and boots are off the boat. We kept some nice-looking shoes aboard in case we had weddings for funerals to attend. They didn’t fare so well. They were rarely worn, and suffered from some mildew. They were shoes, though, so hard cleansers work out fine.


The paper books are bagged. But I’m starting to think that they may all benefit from some airing out while Red Ranger sits on the hard.

Plus, there are some tools that might be helped by some oily wipe-down.

GPSNavX and Yosemite

Upgraded the laptop to Mac OS 10.10, Yosemite.

This leads to many software upgrades.

It leads to GPSNavX not working at all. 

Sigh. The Involuntary Upgrade. Unpleasant, but necessary.

I went to the App Store and plunked down my $59.99 for the latest and greatest version. 

I open the new version and…





Remain calm. Breathe.

I am a professional.



Stop shouting. It will be okay.

The Commodore asks her calming, soothing question:

“What was the last thing you changed?”


“Stop shouting,” she says.

Okay. She’s right. Stop shouting.

I went to the documentation and found that the files reside in a hidden folder: my ~/home/Library/Preferences folder. A folder I didn’t know existed.

The five relevant files are in there, with dates in the past and sizes that indicate that all is not lost.

What to do?


I can hack around. Or I can remain calm and email the tech support folks.

The answer came within minutes.

Let me emphasize that. Within minutes they responded with a simple copy the files to a new location.

From the old ~/home/Library/Preferences folder, where they remain untouched to the new ~/home/Library/Application Support/GPSNavX folder.

That was it. Nothing much to it.

And they responded to the email within minutes.

None of this “Here’s your tracking number, someone will get back to you within 24 hours.” 

Within minutes. My tracks, routes and waypoints are all back in place.

For only $59.99.




The fun thing (two weeks ago) was ascending the mast to examine someone else's lighting. They had a short. Somewhere. I want aloft to look around. It didn’t seem to be up there. The Aqua Signal was clean and tidy. Bulbs looked good.

Sadly, they’d looked at the wiring at the base of the mast. On a Whitby, it’s a connector block in the forward head. Wiring was good up to the block.  And it looked good at the top of the mast. 

That leaves just the 56’ of wire going up the mast as the likely cuplrit. They decided that perhaps they could continue hanging and all-around white light from their mizzen rather than use the mast-head all-around white light. 

The rules are clear: “where it can best be seen.” Masthead clearly meets “best”. Any white light above the dodger would also be visible all around the vessel and would constitute a workable “best”. 

Some folks don’t like using the masthead light because power boaters aren’t in the habit of looking up. 

I couldn’t solve — or even properly diagnose — their problem. But I got to play aloft. That was fun.

Real WorkIMG_0956

On Red Ranger, we did some real work. 

That’s us getting hauled out for the winter. Bottom paint looks good. Some slime, some barnacles, but generally intact. 

The zinc was gone. Again. The last time I looked was in February or March in Florida. No zinc. It barely lasts 6 months. I’ve got to rig an additional zinc that I can use in the slip and at anchor. The prop shaft zinc is going way too quickly.

Martyr makes a big grouper-shaped anode with a big old electrical clip. I know some folks who have one clipped to a bonded part of the rigging. I think I can use a small 30A female to 15A male pigtail in the AC socket to expose the AC ground — which I think is bonded to the rest of the boat, and should provide a handy place to clip the zinc fish when at anchor or at a dock.

The Downgrade

Have we mentioned this yet? We’ve been downgraded from cruisers to weekenders.

And that means hauling out and winterizing.

No Florida for us. No Bahamas, either.

Here’s CA putting the famous “pink stuff” into the cooling system.


The previous owner had a 5-gallon drywall pail with a ¾” garden hose fitting punched through the bottom. Drippy, but acceptable for this job.

Red Ranger's sea chest has connections that provide raw water for engine cooling, head flushing and the sink. This also has a matching ¾” hose fitting.

Very nice. 

Raw water from the sea chest can also be used for refrigeration and air conditioning. Both of those have been removed from Red Ranger. We left the aft head and fridge hoses capped but still connected. The old A/C hose is connected to the galley sink.

CA connects the magic bucket to the raw water input. She pours in 6 gallons of West Marine Pure Oceans Antifreeze. (30% Propylene Glycol.) I start the engine and let it run for somewhere between 30 sec. and 1 minute. 

Once pink stuff is blowing out the exhaust, the raw water system is filled with antifreeze. We can pump what’s left in the bucket through the galley sink and head. Raw water replaced with Propylene Glycol water that won’t freeze.

Then we turn on the freshwater system and let it run until it’s pumping air. That assures that the freshwater plumbing won’t freeze and crack, either.

The 5 gallon gocery store drinking water jug is left in the sink. If it does freeze, it’s not going anywhere. The distilled water used to top up the batteries is left in the forward head sink. Same contingency. If it freezes and cracks the jug… So what? I drains into the parking lot under Red Ranger.

The cushions are turned up on end to let air circulate. 

Here’s a typical checklist: We could stand to be a bit more scrupulous on draining the hot water heater. January and February do have nights below freezing. If we’re only going to weekend, I do need to change the oil before winter layup, since we’re unlikely to hit the 200 hour mark in a given year.

If we can sail even 20 weekends (ha!) that would be 10 hours of motoring each weekend before normal engine service intervals were reached. Realistically, we might get in 10 weekends; 20 hours of motoring? Doubtful. Need to start changing the oil based on the calendar, not on the engine hours.

Next spring? 

Paint the bottom. Polish the stainless steel wheel. Look at redoing the cockpit benches with new teak caulking. Rig a zinc fish.

  © Steven Lott 2019