Travel 2020-2021

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Bedding

The Whitby sleeps 6 (sometimes 7, depending on your saloon.) It seems like a lot of owners live in the aft cabin, and use the saloon and V-berth for guests.

The aft cabin is designed to have two widely-separated bunks. 

A lot of couples sleep athwartship. One person is aft — wedged under the deck — and the other person forward. It can be awkward.

We’re opting for sleeping on the isolated sides of the berth. This means CA is  building mattress pads for each side. 

And the means all the sewing machines are in use. A little tiny thing that barely weighs five pounds and does one kind of stitch. And the SailRite LZ-1 which weighs a ton (45 pounds) and can sew through layers of epoxy-impregnated Dacron.

Since we moved aboard (almost ten years ago) we’ve always had some kind of bedding in the back. Even when we moved ashore five years ago, we spend weekends on the boat, and left the bedding all setup.

When we moved to Nevada, we stood all the cushions and mattresses on their sides. There was bedding in the aft cabin. And all the fenders. And coils of dock line.

Since CA was building mattress pads, all the bedding was stripped out of the aft cabin. This was odd look, for us, to see nothing there but the cushions.

It was weirdly empty. 

I think the last time it was empty was December of 2009.

In this picture, the space behind CA is the shadowy under-deck area where I used to sleep. It’s low. And dark.

I did approximately nothing this weekend. I’m — nominally — working on replacing a mast step. Which means unscrewing six Phillips-head screws. It’s a brutal slog with penetrating oil, rubber-bands over the top of the Phillips screwdriver, pounding in a square drive bit. Eventually, I have to resort to the Vise-Grip® curved jaw pliers. I’m reluctant, but everything else has failed. I’ve resorted to shopping rather than panic about the machine screw stuck in the mast.

When I finally get the screws out, the replacement step is aluminum. The mast is aluminum. It seems like four big Avdel AACQ-08-08 Q Rivets would be the right thing to hold the step on. This means buying an F drill bit. What size is F? How the F do I know? It’s the size for these rivets. The TiN finish is recommended for a drill bit to cut metal.

(I’d prefer the weatherproof Gesipa RV6601-8-8, but I’m having trouble buying less than 1,000. I suppose I could buy them and then sell the excess 990 on eBay.)

Less Work — More Doing Nothing

We use Trello (https://trello.com) to track a lot of the jobs on Red Ranger. We also use Toodledo (https://www.toodledo.com). Trello is really good for complex one-time tasks, prioritizing, assigning, etc. Tooled is really good for recurring tasks. Trello requires an internet connection, Toodledo is a mobile app that synchronizes through the web.

And some days, we lay around in the cockpit and talk about what we’re going to do. Someday.

(Cue up Cat Empire “The Car Song”. Someday. I’ll buy and old car. Someday. I’ll get that car to start. Someday. I’ll learn how to drive, too.)

Tasks seem to fall into three categories.

Blue Heron. Easy. There it was.

Epic. Things like encapsulating the rub rail or rebuilding the sails or installing new electronics or rerouting the deck drains. 

Woodwork. Multipart jobs that can’t be done in a single weekend. Applying Epifanes to the hatchboards. This takes days and days to apply seven coats of polyurethane. And. It’s hard to do both of them at once because it seems like it would be awkward to go in or out until it’s hardened enough that you can touch it to slide it open. And we spilled ammonia on the cabin sole — it needs to be cleaned down to a consistent color and then a satin-finish urethane applied.

Minor. Rewriting the connectors on the solar panels. Adding a 12V socket in the aft cabin so I can replace the fan that’s there with a quieter one. Replacing the collection of foredeck panels with two 55W GoPower! panels. And replacing all the MC4 connectors with the correct gender connectors. (I did them all exactly backwards before. Sigh.)

Here are the old connectors that I removed. You can see they’re proper MC4 at one end. The “white” wire was originally red. The red wires are on the wrong gender connector. The outside two are male and usually have positive current flow. The inner two are  female and should have been ground. 

CA has a dozen of these “minor” jobs, maybe more. We need new cloth covers for the windlass and the helm station. We *should* have cloth covers on all the winches. We need proper covers for the jerryjugs of spare fuel we keep on deck. We need a place to keep sunglasses. We need better bugscreens for the companionways. A lot of sewing. Each small. Each super-helpful.

Annoying. These are jobs I’d rather contemplate than do. Here are a few:

  • Replacing the valves in the deck wash down/bilge pump system. It appears I didn’t use proper bronze; the valves I put in many years ago are looking corroded and sketchy. I have bronze valves ready to go. I just have to actually do it.
  • Replacing one mast step with a folding mast step. This involves freeing six stuck stainless steel screws (say that six times fast.) Two have moved. Four are soaking in penetrating oil. The “rubber band” trick worked for one. I hope it works for another of the hard to access screws. This can’t simply be attacked as a job. It has to be done in stages. It requires a lot of patience.
  • Sanding and teak-oiling the handrails and eyebrow wood all around Red Ranger.  This doesn’t count as woodwork because there’s little aesthetic concern to this. It’s not like the spilled ammonia on the cabin sole. It’s just a lot of hunkering down, light sanding, and brushing on teak oil.

This weekend, we did very little. I’m gaining confidence in applying Epifanes, but, it’s still a terror-filled nightmare. CA reminds me I can always sand it out and try again.

Labor Day

Instead of taking a break to honor the Labor Movement, we worked.

Some of it was wildly successful. CA washed down the entire deck. It’s amazing how much grime accumulates when you’re not actively using the boat. CA uses ammonia once each year to gently wash the teak toe-rails. We’ve heard vinegar recommended, also, and may switch to that.

We’re going to start using “Teak Oil” (one of those specialized Tung oil preparations) on the grab-rails and whatnot. It’s very easy to apply and seems to help the wood. It’s a quick sand-paper and sponge-brush operation. Not half as demanding as Epifanes or other urethane preparations. Much nicer-looking than the old Cetol that we peeled off because we didn’t like the look.

I replaced part of the outboard bracket.

It’s not easy to see, but there are shiny, new metal parts in and among the old rusty parts and the flaking blue-paint of the original parts.

At the bottom of the picture, there’s a horizontal bar with a rusty hole in the middle and two Phillips-head screws. 

The metal is slick with penetrating oil.

I used a dental pick to scrape around the screws to make some avenues for the oil to work it’s way into the metal bits.

And still, the screws were immovable.

A wrench and a lot of downward pressure and I managed to rounded out the slots until no screwdriver will stay in them.

The “bolt extractor” drill bits — https://www.richtoolsystems.com/25-Pc-Screw-and-Bolt-Extractor-Drill-Guide-Set_p_594.html — didn’t help. At this point, the left screw has half of a broken bolt extractor jammed down deep inside it. I can’t get another smaller extractor into the original extractor, and I can’t get a screwdriver into the original bold, either.

Sigh.

I think I can use a Dremel to cut parts of the bracket away, then cut a slot across the top of the bolt, and try a big slotted drag link socket —https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-9-34299-Drag-Socket-4-Piece/dp/B007KHDBLG — to see if I can move it. Sadly, the Dremel is not on the boat. So. Sigh. Maybe next weekend.

It’s time to replace the on-deck solar panels. The 7-year-old panels have started to look shabby. I’m pretty sure they’re still working, but I haven’t checked. Semi-flexible panels are only good for about five years.

I’m looking at the GoPower! 55W panels. At 11″ × 42″, they between coaming and dorade box comfortably. Replacing the panels seems to be part and parcel of fixing the sketchy wiring job I did. Simplifying the three foredeck panels to two and expanding the output from 63W to 110W is a huge victory.  

Cleaning and Sailing — Part 2

Yes, we have left the dock. Here’s the cockpit, heeled over in 10-15 kt of wind. Beam Reaching down Herring Bay.

And here’s the view out on the water.

Sun. Wind. Boats. 

We got our reefing lines and lazy jacks squared away. These are hard to finagle into place when bending the sail on. After hoisting it, though, it’s easier to make sure everything is in its place.

I still have a tendency to overtrim. We were looking at the B&G sail steer display and noting the immense amount of leeway it shows when comparing the boat’s orientation with it’s heading and the course we’re actually sailing.

Also. We’ve decided on a policy of going below obstacles. This seems to be  a lot smarter than trying to pinch up into the wind to go above something. Red Ranger just doesn’t point well and we need to factor that into our decision-making under sail.

Some of the confusion is an effect of the location of the compass used by the autopilot. It’s on the starboard side of the boat. Being off-center puts a bit of bias into the system that’s a little hard to completely factor out.

If I was smarter, I’d measure the distance from center line to compass and do the real math to figure out the offset. (Just guessing based on my recollection of the size of the aft cabin, and guessing at the distance to the mast, it looks like 9° to 14°.)

Cleaning and Sailing — This is the life

The galley is finally starting to feel like we live there again. We spent four days aboard; I did my day job from the boat using Herrington Harbour’s WiFi.

CA has cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned. And investigated stuff we hadn’t looked at in years, and probably don’t need on the boat.

A Whitby has two deep insulated bins where refrigeration goes. (We’ve removed the cooling plates and compressors. For us, they’re not a fridge, they’re storage.)

There's another bin outboard of the sink. Plus shelves. Plus the secret space under the stove (where up for 14 wine bottles can be kept.)

It’s a lot of odd, unusual places to keep clean. CA pulled out every dish so she could clean all of it.

Surprisingly, we have a lot of dishes. Maybe service for six, I think. In addition to the galley, there’s the bar, with yet more glassware to be cleaned and stowed.

Here’s a view of some clean shelves. And the clean cooker.

Batteries

When you leave your boat for an extended period of time it’s very important to take the batteries out of everything.

This isn’t a casual “most things.” This is every damn thing on the boat with a battery.

That includes the AA battery that ignites the Force 10 cooktop. (It’s underneath the stove. Release the gimbal and tip it up.)

That includes the Brother PT-1290 Labeler. It has a handful of AAA batteries. We use it rarely. And it was hidden in the bottom of a cupboard. But. The batteries hadn't exploded (yay!) It seems designed for extended periods of being powered off.

I didn’t check my photo tachometer (used to measure engine RPM’s.) The batteries had exploded. It was almost salvageable. I got the ground wire soldered back on, but could not get the positive lead cleaned up and soldered back into place. Sigh. 

Everything else had the batteries removed. They’re all clean and waiting for the massive battery replacement.

Old Wiring

Some of the old wiring was sketchy when it was new. It hasn’t gotten any better with age. 

This dark image is two MC-4 FFM solar panel branch connectors.

The bits of white and black wire connect (eventually) to a pair of SunWize 24W solar panels on the foredeck. These panels had a simple wire harness with no connector. I put something together and wrapped it in electrical tape.

Electrical tape.

Exposed to the elements on the foredeck.

(And a rat’s nest of wires that are too long and coiled up in the cockpit. It’s pathetic. And has been pathetic for years.)

I’ve decided to start replacing the sketchy electrical mess with some better, IP67 connectors that involve much less electrical tape. That also means new MC4 connectors to the existing solar panel power feed. (There are five panels on the foredeck, four interconnected to one controller, and the fifth has no good explanation. There are way too many wires.)

I think this points to an interesting change in the way panels are sold. When I put the two 158W panels on the dodger, back in 2013, the wires were both black. I’m pretty sure they both ended in a female MC4 connector. 

I vaguely recall simply buying the only thing available: FFM MC4-style branch connectors. Since both wires were black and and had female terminators built-in, I had to label one as power and one as ground with loops of tape to be sure I wasn’t shorting something out. I suspect the panels might have been on sale for cheap because they were not compliant with the modern standards.

It appears that some time between 2013 and today, solar panels now have mixed Male (ground) and Female (positive) connectors, black and red wires, and less confusion about connecting them to a controller. There are kits with FFM plus MMF branch connectors, since you’ll need both pairs. Also. Now that adapters and parts are more common, I think I can remove the rat’s nest of writing used to combine two dodger panels and two deck panels in parallel.

Upgrades

I think I need to move some of the planned 2023 maintenance up a few years, and replace *all* the solar panels before their 10-year life span. Why? Efficiency.

The existing deck panels are SunWize SC24 units, 13″ x 21″, producing 24W each. Nowadays, the Solarland SLP080-12M is a single 80W panel 13″ x 58″, about 16″ longer than the pair. There’s a SunPower CMP23070F that’s 70W and only 21″ x 28″. The Solartech SPM110P-FSW panel is 110W, but an immense 26″ x 48″. The replacement size may be too big for the spot between the hatch cover and the grab rail. If it can fit, though, we get 1.5× or maybe even 2× the power output. And cleaner wiring. And 5 more years of happy battery charging.

Outboard Fix

Our Nissan/Tohatsu 2-stroke outboard is (with some care) still going strong. Early on, we broke a thing called a lift bracket.

It’s part of the frame on which the outboard motor hangs of the transom of your dinghy. Studying the drawing, it’s seems to me there’s a motor, a choice of long or short drive shafts, and a “lower unit” with the gears and a propellor.

The lower unit tips up, to keep it clear of marine growth. And to make it possible to run the dinghy up on a beach.

This rusty thing has been broken since — I think — they day we first put our first dinghy into the water. 

There’s a spring and a handle. The idea is for it to easily latch in the up position. You pull the handle to undo the catch holding it up, and it drops into the water. (Except in reverse, of course. With the transmission in reverse, it has to be held down by a separate “reverse lock”, and you can’t tip it up.)

Since this rusty bit never moved, it didn’t latch. Instead, we used a piece of line to tie the engine up. We did that for a while, but it’s a pain. I think we left the lower unit dragging in the water when we lived in Annapolis at anchor. Bad idea. Lots of propellor cleaning required.

After — what? — ten years of this lift bracket not working, I finally printed out the drawing. It’s been an open browser tab for at least two years. That’s how slow I am at jobs like this.

I lay the outboard on the deck where I could get a good look up inside the bracket. On the drawing, I checked off  the broken, missing, or impossibly rusted parts. $75.00 of ‘em. 

That’s not so bad. When the parts arrive, I have to reassemble it, but that seems manageable. The bracket “simply” bolts in place. I think.

If everything goes well, the outboard will latch up like it did when it was new. Yay!

Zincs (Sacrificial Anodes)

Having dissimilar metals in a salt water environment is important. Life-or death. The galvanic current flow means your metal bits are dissolving. There are some clever tables providing details on how “noble” each metal (and alloy) is. The “Galvanic Series” and the “Anodic Index” show you what's happening to destroy your underwater metal parts.

This is simple chemistry. It’s inevitable. It cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be stopped. It’s relentless, ruthless, odorless, and grease-free. Since we can’t stop it, the best we can do is subvert it.

Some metals (for example, gold) barely have any chemical interactions with other metals. Then there’s zinc. It’s highly anodic, so a boat will carry sacrificial zinc anodes. In the presence of galvanic electrical flows, the zinc dissolves. The rest of the underwater metals — which are doing important work — can remain untouched. 

Until, of course, the zinc is gone, then the next most anodic part starts to dissolve. Aluminum. Iron. Copper. 304 Stainless. Bronze. Brass. etc. You can see how lack of a zinc slowly destroys your boat.

The joke about aluminum hull boats is you can recharge the batteries with the galvanic currents that arise from throwing a penny in the bilge.

Stainless steel screws in an aluminum mast? Eventually, this combination will corrode even though it’s sticking up in the air and only touched by fresh-fresh rainwater.

Red Ranger has four sacrificial zinc anodes.

  1. A standard zinc wrapped around the 1¼″ stainless propellor shaft. Awkward to replace. One of these: https://anodeshack.com/streamline-collars-shaft-anodes-zinc?attribute_pa_shaft-size=1-1-4
  2. A tiny zinc on the outboard. This has lasted years. Unless the outboard lives in the water, in which case, it doesn’t last a year. One of these: https://www.defender.com/product3.jsp?name=tohatsu-nissan-outboard-motor-replacement-oem-sacrificial-anode&path=-1|299255|2284698|2284699&id=54202
  3. A zinc in the engine cooling system. This used to last about a year. Now that we have solar panels and the batteries are *always* charging, we have more current flow and the engine zinc is good for about six months. Mr. Lehman needs an E-1 zinc pencil. Here’s what they look like. https://www.boatzincs.com/engine-sizes.html
  4. A multi-pound zinc fish. This is connected to the ground plane. Because boat ground is interconnected to the rigging, it’s a simple clamp on the backstay. This: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=150598

The fish is easy to inspect. Pull it up. Look at it. How much less than five pounds does it weigh?

The outboard is easy. It’s right above the propellor. A 10mm wrench is all you need to replace it.

The others? Not so much. The shaft zinc either requires a diver or a haul-out. This costs money. I replaced one in the Bahamas with a shark watching me. I was worried more about dropping one of the tiny nuts or bolts than I was worried about being eaten by a shark. 

The engine is a messy job because the zinc is nearly inaccessible. Bonus: a half gallon of raw water pours out of the cooling system when you take out the zinc. This was today’s chore. Get a wrench on this zinc to see what condition it was in.

Here’s the first stage of the journey. Engine room. It’s in the shadowy corner. Top Right.

Here’s the reverse angle on the engine room. Top right of the image is the exhaust riser, wrapped in asbestos tape. To its right is a little rusty-looking elbow. (The rubber hose near them vents crankcase smoke into the air intake.)

Meanwhile, under the rusty elbow… 

Where you can’t see it… 

Is the main heat exchanger.

Here’s a view of the bottom of the heat exchanger. If you look closely by the rusty red thing on the right, you’ll see gray hair and an eye. That’s me. Taking a selfie holding my phone underneath the heat exchanger. 

That’s an 11/16″ bronze fitting that holds the zinc pencil. And. The wrench can barely turn through an inch or two. It’s a long, slow set of tiny wriggles to back that piece out. A patient amount of fiddling to get the new one threaded correctly. And a lot of tiny wrench wriggles to reseat it.

(And yes, I neglected to paint the heat exchangers Lehman Red, which is also Rust-Oleum High Heat red. They’re still primer gray.)

I think with two universal joints and an extender, I could rig up a socket wrench to get that out. As it is, the ratchet box wrench is the tool of choice.

“Recommissioning”

What’s required to get Red Ranger ready? 

Cleaning. After over a year of sitting empty, Red Ranger is very dirty. So far, the galley is clean enough to cook in. The cockpit is now clean enough that we can start to look at the heads and berths.

Water. The port side tank (we thought) was mostly empty. It turns out it’s nearly full. And. Weirdly. The water is very, very clean. The last time we even looked in the tank was at least 18 months ago. Maybe longer. 

I blame a chlorine shock treatment years ago. We put in about a quart of chlorine. It smelled like a swimming pool for weeks. But. Everything is still shiny clean inside the tanks. We’re able to wash (and shower) and generally run water through the system as fast as we can.

Heads. We’re going slow on commissioning the nature’s head. We’re at the dock. We can walk ashore. Forward head will be cleaned in the normal course of events.

Oil Change. Step 1 is to start Mr. Lehman to warm up the oil so it can all be pumped out. This is a nervous thing. Have we done all the maintenance rituals correctly? 

After over a year of sitting idle, the engine started right away. Amazing. 

The oil change went “smoothly” (Heheh. Smooth. Oil. Heheh.) I recall many years ago having absolute fits because I didn’t have the right tool or I slopped oil all over the place. This year? It was a thing of beauty.

Okay. It’s an oil change. But. I did it without any slip-ups or confusion or shouting from the engine room. So. I think it was delightful.

Same for the outboard lower-unit oil change. This is (generally) a nightmare because you push oil up into the lower unit until it’s full. Then slap a screw in the upper hole and rely on surface tension and atmospheric pressure to hold 12 oz. of 90-weight inside the lower unit until you can manage to get the other screw in place. Ugh.

Did it this year with minimal spillage. Nothing a yogurt tub and oil pad couldn’t handle. 

Software. The updates are in an “all but one thing” state. The Simrad NAIS-400 has a software update available. But. There’s no easy way to do this from a Macintosh. There’s a windows app. But. I don’t think I want to go full Boot Camp for this. I certainly don’t want to pay a Windows licensing fee for one small job.

So. I’m still researching how to upgrade the SRT board inside the Simrad unit. A possibility is reverse engineering the .EXE file that comes with the download. I suspect there’s a NMEA command that’s required to upload the new software image (maybe some variation on the PSRT command? One hates to experiment and create a $500 brick.)

There’s an “admin” password required for these kinds of things. See http://yachtelectronics.blogspot.com/2011/02/srt-proprietary-ais-commands.html. We’ll be going slowly here.

Dock Lines. CA doesn’t like the old dock lines. They came with the boat, making them at least 10 years old. Some of them are looking ratty. They’re ¾″ double braid: heavy and kind of short. Some experts suggest ⅝″ line will work just fine for a 42′ boat. Some experts also suggest the minimum length for a dock line is the length of the boat. Add to that two spring lines that are 1.5 × length. So. I’m thinking of 4 40′ ⅝″ and 2 60′ ⅝″ double braid. Maybe we’ll keep the nicest two pieces of ¾″ and put the rest in a recycling container. 

Or. See the classic Hervey Garrett Smith The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime). There’s a way to make a rope mat. I’ve made a few, and they’re super handy. Made out of ¾” line… They’d be fat. But. They keep heavy things from banging around.

We’ll keep the two pieces of 50′ ⅝″ twist, since they’re handy and not very bulky.  I may tie a lineman’s loop into the middle of each one to make it slightly easier to drop them over the midship cleat.

We’re getting there. Much to do. Stay tuned.

Software Science Project

Sailboat mysteries are bad. Knowing how everything works is sort of the point. And knowing how everything works may also be life-or-death.

The electronics on Red Ranger can be split into two groups:

  • Portable. This includes phones, iPad, computers, watches. A hand-held VHF radio.
  • Fixed. This includes the two chart plotters, the instrument repeaters, the AIS transponder, the two VHF base stations, the entertainment system.

The two lists are (intentionally) short. It’s essential to be sure of each item, and where it is. The classic “I think there’s one in the forward hanging locker. Or. Maybe I gave it away to someone” isn’t really a good policy.

The Commodore is pretty sure we should be able to list all the things we own. Off the top of our heads. In an emergency. This is either a consequence of minimalism or one of the reasons we've adopted a minimalist life-style. 

There are two other ways to partition the electronics.

  • Updatable Software. The phones, iPad, computers, watches. The nav station Zeus2 chart plotter. The instruments, for the most part, all have updates available. This is a worrisome thing.
  • Firmware only. The Standard Horizon chart plotter, all three VHF radios, the entertainment system. This is a “yay”. Turn them on and they work.

There’s some overlap between items in the Portable and Updatable categories. That means a few hours of WiFi and many of our things are all patched and ready for use.

The lack of overlap is notable. The Zeus2 chart plotter and the instruments need an update, but we’re not dragging Red Ranger into the marina lounge for some quality WiFi. 

Shout-out to Herrington Harbour North for having fabulous WiFi on the docks. Shout-out to B&G for making it possible to connect to WiFi and download patches and updates.

At this point, we’re several updates behind. Each time I turn on the nav system, there’s this kind of thing.

We’ll be applying as many updates as we can through WiFi. It’s easy and nearly painless. (Not completely painless. Each reboot involves silencing a warning that we’re moving too slowly. It’s the “adrift” alarm, and I think I need to disable it.)

We have at least one known problem. And one mystery.

The Zeus2 can’t update the Simrad AP44 Autopilot Control; it needs its software on a USB drive. (Formatted FAT32, which can be challenging enough.)

There’s a list of updates on the chart plotter that can’t be applied. I’m not sure precisely what this means. A mystery is a potentially bad situation arising at sea. I’d like to have no mysteries.

This coming weekend, I’m going to make a careful list of what needs to be updated and how the updates are performed. I have a theory that I need to download the files and put them into a MicroSD card that the Zeus2 can read and propagate. I’m not sure how this is going to work, so stay tuned.

I’ve also got to update the charts. For the US, this is a download from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. Outside the US (i.e., the Bahamas) I need to buy charts. 

The sidebar task is to actually write down the steps required for software and chart updates. The software update *should* be as accessible as bending on the stays’l with a halyard and two sheets. Emphasis on should. There should be no science project software or mysteries on a boat. 

Red Ranger Prep — High Heat Index

She’s been on the hard for about a year. 

We had emptied every battery container (except one.) We had opened every locker and drawer.

We’d even disconnected the vent fan for the Air Head composting toilet. The only thing left on was the bilge pump. On the hard, she takes on water through an obscure path, and a pump has to be left running.

This was my “we’re back home” picture. Sailbags and our canvas tote bag.

There’s a lot to do. But. The Chesapeake was unforgivingly hot. A year in Nevada taught us that 40°C (104°F) is manageable. If there’s no humidity. And you’re not doing anything.

35°C (95°F) with a relative humidity over 50% is about the same as 40°C in the desert. The Heat Index suggests we take it easy.

As soon as we start working, we enter the realm of projectile sweat.

We're dripping everywhere. On everything. 

We have to drink more-or-less constantly. And the water tanks haven’t been cleaned. So we’re bringing dock water into Red Ranger in buckets. 

Jobs are broken into pieces where you can sit down in the shade and sweat for a while.

  1. Move the sail to the cockpit. Rest.
  2. Move the sail to the mast. Sweat Break.
  3. Bend on the sail to the extent possible. Water Break.
  4. Furl or flake and maybe think about the cover.

Four sails. Two weekends of two days each. That’s a day for each sail.

One was particularly difficult, though.

The yankee required restitching the sacrificial panel. Most of the panel is still in good shape. The threads had started to fail. So we staged all 49’ or so feet of yankee in the cockpit and forced it through the SailRite machine. 

Three times.

Once for each line of stitching on the sacrificial panel.

Then we took a long break.

Then be followed the four-step procedure for getting it onto the forestay. Which involved long breaks after each step.

We think next weekend may be down to 30°C. We might be able to start washing the interior. Maybe change the oil. Maybe add another USB charging port (we have four pairs, but, you know, everyone has a watch and a phone, and if we have guests we could need as many as six pairs.)

Stay tuned.


  © Steven Lott 2020