Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No, not yet

A river of moisture flows into the
PNW from the tropics
Tho it is not of hurricane Sandy proportions, we here in Seattle have been experiencing a virtual deluge for the past two days.  In just a few days, we have made up for all the missing moisture that our record dry summer and fall shorted us. 

As a test of the sealing of Eolian's mast at the partners, it is excellent.  Sadly, it shows that tho I have significantly decreased the incoming water, I have not found all the problems yet.

So now I have to wait for the rains to stop (again) before I can explore more alternatives.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Bounty is gone

Sunday nite, the tall ship Bounty sank in hurricane-whipped seas about 90 miles off Cape Hatteras.  Fourteen of the sixteen people aboard have been rescued.  Apparently 13 of the crew had made it to life rafts when the remaining 3 were washed off the deck.  One of those three made it to a life raft.  Reportedly all of the crew had donned survival suits with strobes, so there is still hope for the missing two crew members.  The search continues, but in the very difficult conditions created by hurricane Sandy.

Our prayers go out to the crew of Bounty and their families - especially to the families of the two missing crew.  But a nagging question remains...  with today's weather predictions and weather information, why did the Captain of the Bounty put her off of the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" in a hurricane?

Bounty appeared in several motion pictures, including the original "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Heat pump installation: final step

No job is done until the documentation is done, right? The final step in the project, long overdue: a proper label on the power panel for the heat pump...

It doesn't quite match the style of the Marinetics labels, but Marinetics didn't have one with the right legend, and in any case I think they may now be out of business.  It is a whole lot more professional-looking than the Dymo label I had temporarily applied.

By the way, did you know that you can buy Blue Sea labels individually?  For $1?  And that you can even get custom labels made?  Check it out here.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Low & slow

Smoking meat is all about 'low & slow' - cooking at a low temperature for a long time.   You can kind of think of it as roasting meat at 225° - 275° in a smoky atmosphere.   It's not a process that is for the impatient.  And also like sailing, the journey to smoky goodness is a part of the enjoyment.  (There - I worked in a sailing reference, making this a legitimate post for this blog.)

3 chickens on their way to a smoky Nirvana

For my birthday, I received a smoker.  No, let me rephrase that. For my birthday, I received permission to buy a smoker.  I chose the one above: an offset type.  This means that the firebox is in a separate chamber from the cooking meat, rather than being directly below the meat.  I like the design because of the separation of function, and because of the large cooking surface - 36" x 18".  However the large size means more external surface to keep hot, so this smoker burns more charcoal than the more compact smokers, tho I'm not sure that would be true on a per-pound-of-meat basis if I always ran it with a full load.

And here is the result of the effort depicted above:  6 chicken halves, deliriously, deliciously smoky.  Done properly, the taste is smoky, not acrid.  And the flavor goes the whole depth of the meat; it's not just on the surface.  Have you ever been in the South and stopped at a roadside BBQ joint?  Yeah, that good.

They were smoked with alder wood - alder grows like a weed around here, and if you have any, you know that eventually the stems get big enough to just fall over.  So we have lots to use for smoking.

ISBN: 978-0-7624-3609-5

Even tho this post is tagged with 'recipe', I'm not going to post a recipe here.  Instead, I am going to exhort you to get a copy of what I now am calling the 'Smoker's Bible'.  Truly everything you will need to know is in there.  I started from scratch and followed the directions in the book (the chicken was Lesson 2) and the results have been unbelievably good.  Really.

With the book, you can too.

So get smokin'!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Barking up the right tree?

Over the years that I have chased deck leaks, I have learned one thing: before I tackle a major rebedding project, I try to find out if I am barking up the right tree. That means that I should find a way to make an easy, tho likely temporary, seal in the suspected area before tackling a full-on rebedding.

That diagnostic temporary seal has taken many forms over the years, tho most frequently it has been blue tape.  In approaching the possibility that my mast leak is actually between the deck ring and the deck, I had another option.  Earlier attempts at sealing the top of the boot required me to peel off the 1" wide "self-bonding" silicone tape (in quotes because it really didn't do it all that well).

I had saved that tape, intending to reapply it later.  But it was a perfect medium for creating a diagnostic seal at the base of the mast boot.  I removed the base hose clamp, and formed the tape so that it went up over the boot and ring, and then splayed out on the deck, creating a skirt around the deck ring.  (It's kind of hard to see in the picture above, but the two ends of the tape are directly beneath the hose clamp screw.)  Re-attaching the hose clamp completed the diagnostic seal.  Total time invested: 5 minutes.

This is not a permanent seal.  Nor is it really waterproof - water can likely sneak under the skirt.  But the skirt should serve to divert 90+% of the water coming down the outside of the mast away from the area between the deck ring and the deck.  If the water flow down the mast inside shows a significant decrease at the next rainstorm, I've nailed the location, and I need to get out the polysulphide.  If not, well then it is time for re-thinking.  And the blue tape.

Such is life aboard.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The saga continues

Any boat has deck leaks.

Every boat has deck leaks.

Any boat that doesn't currently have deck leaks, is just between leaks.

For the past several years, Eolian has been leak free.  But not now.  All my efforts to date to seal the deck penetration where the mast goes thru have been to no avail.  And now that it gets dark so early, it is not possible for me to carefully examine things when I get home from work.  The examination needs to be careful and detailed.  Because an amazing amount of water can come in thru the tiniest of holes.

To date, I have been focusing on the joint between the mast boot and the mast.  At the next opportunity (Friday morning, if it isn't raining) I will redirect my efforts to the deck ring where the bottom of the boot attaches.  I will pull up the bottom of the mast boot and check to see if the deck ring itself is serving as the entry point.

That's the plan.

If it doesn't rain.

Life on a boat is like this.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh no!

Just when I was feeling all smug and superior, here comes a drop of water down the mast.

Now I will have to wait until the rain stops to investigate why the seal isn't working.  And who knows when that will happen...

Friday, October 12, 2012

So far, so good

This morning, summer is officially over in Seattle.  It's raining here, really raining, for the first time since... I don't know when.  And the forecast shows rain for the foreseeable future.  And now is the season when all of us living on boats get to find out whether we have successfully dealt with our deck leaks.

While knocking on a piece of nearby teak, I can say that the changes I made to our mast boot have worked.  The mast is dry inside the cabin.

So far.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Limbo, again

Once again I am a citizen of Limboland, that nation of people on the far side of the terrahertz scanners, but this time Jane is with me.

We will spend this afternoon re-tracing the path that the settlers traveled: the Oregon Trail. For us, it will be an afternoon. For the settlers it was a season-long trip, much of it taken on foot. It was dangerous; those were brave people.

Thinking about this while I look down on the endless miles they trudged keeps me from whining about the seat spacing.


Thursday, October 4, 2012


I apologize for the inconvenience it causes everybody (including me), but I have had to turn on comment moderation. We can all thank one anti-social individual for this - one who seems to be fixated on using one, just one, of my posts as THE vehicle for advertising his products. I'd name him and his products, but I don't want to give him any additional attention.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Denver thoughts

On my way to Indianapolis, I am laid over here in Denver.

For me, airports are, well I guess the word is "interesting".

First, at an airport you are kind of in a state of limbo. So, I am in the Denver airport, but I am clearly not in Denver.  I am in "Denver", but not in Denver. I am nowhere.

Second, you share this suspended status with lots of other folks - the shared experience takes down some of the normally present barriers. So you might, for example, find yourself in a conversation with someone you don't know at all - a complete stranger.

Next, I find myself scanning faces - you never know who you might see... Someone you know who lives in Denver, or someone who is, like you, in suspension on the way to somewhere else.

Finally, when traveling alone (as I am today), I slip into a different kind of awareness. I move slightly outside myself. I know people who spend a lot of time in this state, and farther into it. Perhaps for them, it is so commonplace as to unremarkable. But for me it is enjoyably novel

Now please excuse me while I go back to scanning faces.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Family hiatus

To me, with our continuing great weather, winter seems a long way off still (or maybe that's just wishful thinking).  Nevertheless, because I will be away from the dock for a while, I have prepped Eolian for the next season.  I have our winter fenders installed (+3 fenders), and all of our docklines are doubled up (+4 lines).  Maybe being ready will hold off the first winter storm...

For the next week I will be travelling all over the midwest visiting family.  So life aboard Eolian will be taking a backseat for a while, tho life certainly will not!

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