Sunday, November 17, 2019

Titusville - Last day and end of blog until January 6

I go by this place every time I go for donuts, I've got to try it out sometime!;
Price seems reasonable
The time as come to head north. It's our annual northward migration for the holidays. We do enjoy being with family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. We'll see a little snow, just enough to remind us of why we like to head south for the winter although we're seeing a little of winter down here in Titusville! It's only in the 50s and that's cold for this time of the year.

The Heron has taken to fishing at night!
We don't pick up the car until Monday morning and then it's a race to get it loaded, the boat locked up, and then heading north on I95. We are headed for Deltaville, Virginia, but we won't get there until Tuesday afternoon. We left our car there in October so we will turn in the rental and take our own car back to New York - and the cold weather (the real cold weather, not just the 50s).

Poor Fleetwing, all alone for the next month or so
We will return to Titusville in January with Rowan in tow for the trip down to Key West. It will be the first trip for Rowan with just us. Ann will do most of the homeschooling but I'll probably be called upon for the math. Hopefully, there will be a rocket launch, Rowan is a great fan of space and i hope there will be a launch for him to see.

So until January, it's bye for now. I hope you've enjoyed the blog so far. I will pick it up again in January and you can follow us to Key West. Part of Rowan's duties on the boat will be to write his own intro to the blog every night so you can see his take on boat living.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Titusville - It's cold here...

A Great Blue Heron, sitting on a pole, enduring the cold, not happy
Well, it's cold compared to what we're used to, not compared to up north. After all, it's 54 right now! We're used to temperatures in the 70s, not this. Our blood has thinned out and to make matters worse, we're headed north on Monday! Sunday will be our last day on Fleetwing so we will secure her for the duration of our absence. We had good luck in Deltaville with leaving a dehumidifier running set at 65% humidity so we will do the same thing in Titusville. In Deltaville, the dehumidifier prevented any formation of mildew and hopefully, we will have the same result in Titusville.

He look even less happy here
The wildlife around here did not look happy with the sudden drop in temperatures. Our local blue heron was all hunched up to conserve body heat. On Fleetwing, we just run the electric heaters to keep the cabin nice and toasty.

We will empty the freezer and turn it off. We learned our lesson on that several years ago when we left the freezer running and then suffered a power outage. Everything in the freezer spoiled and oh that stink, wow. It took months and many washings to get rid of the odor. Never again.

We have a two day drip ahead of us to Deltaville and then it's a one day hop to home - to the frozen north for the holidays.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Titusville - the marina next door

Jeff Belford of Boaters Edge will make sure you get satisfaction
Westland Marina and Boatyard is next door to the Titusville Marina. They are also the home of Boater's Edge which provides service on marine engines. Most recently, I had them replace my aft oil seal on my Volvo diesel along with the dampener. Since they are right next door, the mechanic just walked over to my slip, very convenient. They are very reasonable and will guarantee customer satisfaction. They have serviced my diesel three times over the past two years and I've been very happy with their service.

In case you need a haulout, Westland has one!
The boatyard here has a travel lift which comes in handy if you need your boat hauled. I used it once when I needed the prop looked at for damage. It turned out it was fine but it was nice to know it was okay. The travel lift was big enough that I didn't have to remove any canvass on my 42 ft Beneteau sailboat.

Westland has a nice boaters' lounge too
We are just counting the days until we go north for the holidays. It's nice and warm down here with temperatures in the 70's during the day with not much wind, although that may change over the weekend. We have a few odds and ends to do on Saturday but on Sunday, it's a major packing day. I'll pick up the rental Monday morning. We'll load it up and move out as soon as possible, up to cold weather!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Titusville - High winds coming

Looks nice and secure, snuggled against the docks
As much as I like Titusville Marina, it does have an Achilles Heel - it's open to an east wind. There's a good amount of fetch from across the Indian River and the waves will roll right into the marina when the wind is right. Some docks are better than others such as "A" dock, followed by "B" dock with 'C" dock being the worst. "D" dock is a little better. The docks are fixed, which is fine since there is no tide here but you do have to be careful in setting your fenders. If at all possible, you would like a dock with the finger on the east side of your boat so an east will push you away from the dock. However, those docks are usually the first ones to go.

However, watch out for waves coming through the harbor entrance with an east wind
We are secure here on "A" dock and the slip tucked up on the end behind two huge powerboats. They shield us from the worst of the winds and waves and by being on "A" dock, we are at a good angle to the opening to the harbor, an east wind is away from us, not into us. It is still a very good idea to have one of these inflatable fenders. They are worth their weight in gold when the wind pipes up and you find yourself too close to a dock you cannot leave. I carry one on board for high wind days or when I leave Fleetwing for an extended period of time, you can never be too safe. Uninflated, it tucks away nicely in a cockpit locker.

Why the concern about high winds? Well, there's a front due here on Saturday and Sunday with winds predicted in the 30 kt range with higher gusts, oh well, more wind...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Titusville - preparing for our absence

Note the aft, port lines
All was calm last night until around 10:00 when all of a sudden, a 30 kts wind came out of nowhere. It was part of a cold front from the north that finally reached Florida last night. We seemed to have had a lot of wind this fall, more so than I remember in the past.

This guy will be doing all the heavy lifting while we're up north
In leaving your boat to the elements, you want to be sure it will be safe while you're away. That's easy to say but harder to ensure. The first step is to have your boat tied off so it doesn't touch anything. The best safety margin is space between you and anything hard that boat might rub up against. Your friend in these situations are rubber snubbers.  They absorb the shock of a boat surging against wind without a lot of line played out. It's just right for Fleetwing in a narrow slip. You don't get a jerk as the line comes up taut since it has rubber to ease the strain.

All this is good in theory but we're hoping for the best. You never know what Mother Nature is planning for entertainment for your boat while you're away. Hopefully, she will play nice.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Titusville - Engine day

An Osprey surveying his domain - sailboat spreaders make such good perches!
First, it was the Mercury outboard. I needed to drain the carburetor of the last bit of gasoline. I didn't do that in Deltaville and found that the outboard would not start, it was clogged with old fuel that had evaporated, leaving deposits that would not clean up without disassembly of the fuel line. Having learned my lesson (I think) I ran the outboard dry of fuel while idling on the dinghy and then unscrewed the carburetor bowl screw to completely dry out the motor. Hopefully, that will work. I will know in January.

Next on the list of tasks was changing the oil on the main diesel, the Volvo D2-55. I've done that many times so it's now routine but still time consuming. The manual says to change the oil every 300 hours but I prefer to do that every 100 to 150 hours instead, just to be on the safe side. When we return to Fleetwing in January, we'll have Rowan in tow so I wanted all boat chores done now.

I never tire of sunset photos - especially off the aft of Fleetwing while sipping wine
The weather is predicted to turn cooler on Wednesday with a high of not even 70. That sounds like a good teak day, a chore for tomorrow. Work is never done on a boat!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Titusville - Space X Launch!

A Space X launch of 60 internet satellite was today's event. It was a morning launch at 10:00 am and so I walked to the 65 ft high bridge over the ICW for a good view. It turned out that everyone else had the same idea but there was still plenty of room. The rocket lifted on time and it was a great show. When all the satellites are in orbit, internet coverage will be worldwide. Hopefully, that will offer some competition to the local ISPs!

Up, up and away!
The rest of the day was not nearly as exciting, just the usual boat stuff of laundry and paying the bill for boat repairs. The dampener itself was $1000, such is boating, not cheap. It's just a heavy hunk of metal with some rubber on the edges to absorb starting and stopping the prop. With that repair along with the aft oil seal, we are good to go for Key West in January.

A back of the boat sunset
Next on the to-do list is getting the outboard ready for a two-month idle period, an oil change on the main engine, and a few other odds and ends. Next Monday is our leaving day.