To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

The Daily Grind

Over Thanksgiving we landed a great resource: boxes of Rhodesian teak that CA's grandfather, CA, bought sometime before she was born. Yes. We now have the family heirloom 50-year-old teak from a country formerly known as "Rhodesia". And yes, CAB has the same initials as her grandfather, CAB.

I used the Dremel as a poor-man's router to grind out a channel for wires. That allowed to remove the power-hungry (and annoying) fluorescent galley light over the sink and replace it with a small LED on a gooseneck. (And yes, gooseneck lamps aren't the best thing, but it's an awkward spot for a lamp. )

After grinding a channel into the teak parquetry, I could mount the lamp on this base. I used four big-old screws through it to make a conduit for the wires.

The little vertical stick of teak was already there acting as surface-mount conduit. I was doing my best to add a lamp without a lot of exposed wires.

Lesson learned. Parquetry is for the floor. The adhesive between the sections is flimsy. A smarter design would have been to glue it to some thin pieces of plywood. That would have saved trying to route a channel into teak.

The Pickle-Fresh Smell

CA did some major cleaning. This seems to be an ongoing chore. More of an annual grind than a daily grind.

  • The inside of the fridge boxes, now we've finished our Painful Fridge-ectomy. The bottoms had bits of metal and plastic. There was a bead of silicone goo that made the insulation block between the fridge and freezer air-tight. This had become a haven for some kind of mildew.

  • The inside of all the starboard-side lockers. This appears to be an ongoing maintenance chore. We need to increase the airflow in some of the lockers to keep things drier. Leaving the boat shut up for two weeks in cold weather (with the resulting condensation issues) is probably the root cause.

She uses a 1:1 vinegar and water solution that seems to defeat mildew for year or two and gives the cabin that pickle-fresh smell. Since it's just white vinegar, we don't mind letting it slop down into the bilge to get pumped overboard.

I also "patched" another hideous hole with a piece of the family heirloom Rhodesian Teak. This hole was formerly covered with a pretty big teak device that is best used in the head to hold a container of soap.

The hideous hole was surrounded by various screw holes, leading one to conclude that some piece of sophisticated electronics used to live there.


Last winter, we did nothing for the cold weather. We did, however, worry about the remote possibility of water freezing hard in the boat with no place to expand to. In the engine, of course, this can be fatal. However, the engine's interior water is 50% anti-freeze. The engine's raw water is the creek's brackish water which doesn't freeze easily.

There are a number of tasks that are part of the annual grind of boat ownership. Winterizing is one. Even if we flee south, there are still annual jobs.

This year we bought six gallons of "The Pink Stuff"—the Pure Oceans -50°F anti-freeze—and ran it through the engine and the head plumbing. It was a quick and painless process. The reasons why it was painless are important.

  • The Previous Owner (pbuh) had a 5-gallon bucket into which be plumbed a short stretch of hose. This bucket's only job is to supply anti-freeze to the engine.

  • The boat was built with a "sea chest" water intake. All raw water comes in through a single Vetus strainer to a box with a clear plexiglass lid. The boat's raw-water plumbing comes off this box. One seacock shutoff. Easy inspection.

  • Someone—either Whitby Boatworks or the Previous Owner (pbuh)—plumbed a line into the box with a valve and a cap into which "the pink stuff" can be poured. From the purpose-built bucket. Neat and simple.

  • We actually understood all of this and could talk through the procedure quickly and clearly. We didn't need to refer to our notes from 2009 when we last did this. No head-scratching and "I don't remember doing that" moments.

  • CA closed the sea cock. It's awkward and requires a fair amount of physical strength. Closing seacocks if a hose fails is a safety critical thing. But she'll tell you that it's just yoga. She found a position where she can apply her strength in the correct direction to get the handle to move without using a pipe wrench as a poor woman's breaker bar.

  • I still don't think I used the cold-weather start correctly. IIRC, the button should click in, and stay in. In spite of that, Mr. Lehman started and ran flawlessly (again). After rebuilding the fuel system (Fuel System FAQ) we're happy when Mr. Lehman's happy. And Mr. Lehman just loves clean fuel. (Air, lube oil and unrestricted raw water help.)

  • We pumped antifreeze through the heads into the holding tank.

For places that can get really cold, boaters suggest pumping the bilge dry and draining the water tanks. Our water tanks are unlikely to freeze solid. Next weekend, we may open all the spigots and let the water run out of the accumulator tank and hot water heater.

We should consider running some antifreeze through the A/C system.

Here's a big Winterizing Checklist. These are oriented toward (a) hard freeze and (b) close the boat for several months. Since we visit Red Ranger almost every weekend—even in the dead of winter—this big checklist seems like overkill. I feel sympathy for folks where it gets so cold they have to pull their batteries to prevent them from freezing.

Other Grinds

Sail maintenance is another chore we've go to tackle. The staysail needs some serious work. The jib needs some TLC. We may be spending some quality time with the folks at Ullman Sails Virginia.