About Me

My photo

Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How To Plan a Sailboat Cruise

Congratulations! You've finally got that sailboat of your dreams AND managed to get it squared away enough to sail off over the horizon if only for a weekend.

Now What?

Even if your destination is just across the lake the trip will go better with a detailed plan.  After all you don't want to discover you left the extra gas can in the garage or worse, the life jackets!  After all you seek adventure not a survival story. Right?

A Fine Pine Island Plan does not seek to be an authority of navigational expertise nor is it necessarily the best idea ever conceived by modern man, but it has worked well for the HideAways over the years and that's enough. 

By the way the video assumes you would never embark on the journey without the proper US Coast Guard required safety gear.  But you already have all that stuff. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mermaids, Manatees & Magic - Sailing HideAway

The typical Florida summer day wraps around you like a steaming hot polyester blanket. The slightest effort rewards the brave sailor with sweat soaked clothing and a longing for a northern Minnesota lake on a summer afternoon.

SV HideAway Gulfport FL

Independence Day brings thoughts of colorful things that go boom in the night, barbeques, ice cold beverages, watermelon races and flying a large American flag off HideAways’ back stay while sailing on Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport Fl.

Retiring from a summer sail, HideAway lingers at sea long enough to stow her sails and gear lessening the time spent in the sultry windless marina hauling the boat. Not to over state the conditions, folks in these parts have been known to jump into the water to dry off.

Sometimes it’s Good to Be in the Wrong Place at the Right Time

We weren’t supposed to be there. Neither were they. Not at that time. Not on that day. Not during that month however there we were backing HideAway around the tip of “B” dock for her temporary home last Fourth of July holiday weekend at Boca Ciega Yacht Club.

And there they were tucked under the shade of a dink hanging by davits attached to a large cruising catamaran. At first they looked like large islands of brown algae then one of the islands began to swim towards HideAway’s running outboard. I lurched for the kill switch reaching it in time to see a large Manatee and baby sniffing HideAways rudder.

Manatee & HideAway

Momma appeared to be on the long side of eight foot, her huge tail a yard or so wide slowly moving as she glided under HideAways stern to surface between the boat and the dock in a space that would make a claustrophobic human uncomfortable.

Gliding by HideAways transom with baby close behind, momma loved to rollover on her back and smile a goofy grin only another manatee or a star struck sailor would find attractive.

Manatees are smart and curious creatures adept at giving wide eyed humans hope that if something so big and gentle can live a good life eating only greens without worrying one bit about unemployment rates and oil futures to say nothing of nut case politicians, then maybe there is hope for mankind after all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The HideAways Lose Thier Nuts

One of the joys of trailer sailing in salt water is the post-sail wash down of every conceivable object that may have been exposed to the corrosive water. It can be a real zen moment on Florida's central West coast bathed in the sauna of a summer sun down spraying warm, there is no such thing as cold water from a hose here, all over oneself as well as the intended target.

The capt was engaged in this activity happily getting wet shooting water into the brake drums when he noticed he had lost his nuts. Yes it's true the years of exposure to the elements had completely corroded the nuts off the trailer shackle bolts leaving the suspension held on to the trailer by bolts that had become rusted nails.

Nut less shackle bolts aka rusted nails!

The thought of HideAway skipping down the interstate without wheels too horrible to contemplate, the search began for the easiest solution to the problem. In this era of Internet wonders it is not hard to find solutions to just about any problem. What you see however is not what you get.

Typical videos dealt with trailers that had never been close to salt water raised on a hoist in a mechanics’ shop among a mountain of proper tools for the job. “Well there’s no sense in trying to save those rusted bolts “claimed the mechanic “Let’s just cut them off with this cutting torch” A cutting torch. Yeah I must have one of those somewhere. “Now, some of the bolts you can just zip off with your wrench like this” Ratatat tat. My wrench sounds more like clink, klank, oww! And about that hoist….

The capt. being of the cheap sort had no interest in acquiring specialized tools that would probably gather dust after the project was completed. But cutting off fourteen rusted bolts in a parking lot with no shade during July in Florida was no job for a handheld hacksaw even with a new blade.

A trek to the capt’s favorite Home Depot was in order. This particular depot has something no other can boast – A 30,000 sf West Marine super store just across the parking lot. Between the two you can find most anything.

The cheapest angle grinder was about $30.00. For a single use project not a bad idea. Except it had no adjustments to accommodate the tight quarters of the trailer setting.

Ryobi Saves the Day

The capt chose the Ryobi AG452 4.5” angle grinder  that came with a case and various wheels. This model, while still cumbersome for the project has features like a rotating handle and blade guard that were ideal for the project. Then he grabbed a punch and a good ‘ole wham bang cold chisel along with some cutting disks

The rest of the armament for the project included extension cords, high velocity fan, a totally worthless beach umbrella, two sets of clothes, yes you do sweat that much, heavy gloves, towels, a gallon of Gatorade another gallon of juices and water, all consumed by the way along with two meals, all existing tools, hammers both steel and rubber as well as a plumbing torch, two jacks and jack stands and a step stool.

A second jack was used on to adjust each axle

The procedure was to crawl under bunk sit on the axle, set up the grinder and place towels on exposed body parts then cut the bolt.  The easy part done, the next job is to punch out the bolt.  Most of the bolts required heat, large hammers, a punch and pry bars.

We completed the project in about four hours start to finish largely due to the Ryobi. It took another four hours to extract the capt who was still sitting on an axle and wedged under a trailer bunk.

Fourteen bolts were replaced
Who knew sailing could be so much fun?