Thursday, August 31, 2017


The Romans were not the first to erect milestones - not by far.  It is a human tendency to mark the passage of time, or distance, or whatever with reminders of how far we have come.

Well, here's one that is relevant to my thousands hundreds many 6 readers who have loyally hung with me all these years...  

That last post about cleaning vinyl windows was the 1000th post on this blog!  (Well maybe.  One of my blogging tools says 1001...but I am pretty sure that if I went back and actually counted, I wouldn't get the same number twice either.)

Who knew, back on January 28, 2009 that this would go on for 8 years?  I certainly didn't.  


Another Window Cleaning Answer

After.. and Before
While at anchor, small things that might otherwise just be irritants grow in importance.  Case in point:  the vinyl windows in our dodger.  Last time we were out I tried upping the ante a little and attacked the stubborn stuff on the inside with Windex because I was coming to the conclusion that what was on there was not a water-soluble deposit.  I think it helped.  A little.
Aside:  So what is this deposit?   I think there are two possibilities.
  • Grease from the galley cooking, conveyed up there by the mushroom vent, and
  • Plasticizer sweating out of the vinyl ("Plasticizer?? What's that?  Remember the old vinyl records? That's what vinyl is like without plasticizer.  Plasticizer is a low volatility oily substance, blended in with the vinyl - are they still using dioctal pthalate?  I don't know.  Low volatility doesn't mean no volatility tho.  If you live in the South, you will find plasticizer baked out of your car's vinyl interior components condensed on the inside of the windshield.)
In either case tho, the substance is apparently  organic-soluble.  So, what the hey, I tried paint thinner.

It worked!  Wonderfully in fact.  Look at the crud on that rag! But the proof is in the seeing...  That first picture shows the left panel cleaned and the right panel still in "as is" condition.  I'm betting that even in the photograph you can see the difference.  In person, it is stunning.

One more substance in the quiver of boat maintenance tools...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


I really love getting under way early in the morning!  This morning it was dead calm, the water like glass.  Just a tiny burst of power got Eolian moving out of the slip, ghosting along at far less than a walking pace.  We were moving so slow in fact, that the rudder didn't bite and start to turn her stern until we were well out in the waterway.  A couple of quick bursts in Fwd and Rev (you single screw boaters know what I mean), got her bow pointed down the waterway, and then out of the marina.  A warm, calm, peaceful sunny morning, latté in hand, we left the marina and headed for the Islands.

The melancholy part is, that despite it being a perfect day to be on the water, warm and sunny, this could be the last trip out to the Islands for us this year.  So, in just the same way that you savor the last glorious days of summer when there is a hint of fall in the air telling you, that like everything else, it has to come to an end, the trip across Rosario Strait to Thatcher Pass was filled with not only the enjoyment of a perfect day on the water, but also with the memories we made this summer:

  • Set a new record boat speed:  8.7 kt under yankee alone, in 35+ kt of wind, on our way to Sucia
  • Speaking of Sucia, we ended up making four visits there this year.  It is a magical place...
  • We discovered that going by north of Guemes Island and on to Sucia, one can mostly ignore the tides...
  • We discovered a wind tunnel between Orcas Island and Clark/Barnes islands...  if there is wind anywhere, it will be here...
  • Truly a mountain of crab!
  • The stack-pack I made for the mizzen is wonderful!
  • New friends on s/v Odyssey and m/v Konocti Bay
  • And many, many nites at anchor, throughout the islands.

So...  here I sit, typing away in the last days of summer and the last days of the sailing season for us.  I am endeavoring to be present in each and every moment so that I will have enough days and nites stored away to get me thru the long, wet, dark winter that is inexorably coming...


Monday, August 7, 2017

Another Use For BAC

As a prelude to varnishing Eolian's caprail, I always remove the teak tread plates that I made so many years ago.  And this time I looked at them, really looked at them, for perhaps the first time in years.  The bacteria, algae, and worse, lichen had made themselves a very good home in and on the teak.

Now normally I would have just gotten out the sandpaper, but then it dawned on me to try benzalconium chloride.  I've extolled the virtues of this stuff before, and continue to be impressed with it.  So I sprayed some on the right hand tread in the picture above and let it dry in the sun for a day.  Then I gave it a very light (emphasize light) sanding with 220 to remove the corpses.  What a difference!  And because the BAC is now soaked into the wood, I expect it to fend off colonization attempts in the future.  This has now become an annual task.

Next:  I'm going to spray our unfinished teak rub rail with BAC.  It is equally groady looking.

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