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.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Titusville - Black Point Drive, Playalinda Beach

It looks ordinary - but the donuts are extraordinary
We did see a few birds
For once we had a day without rain and high winds. It was a Sunday, so naturally, we started out with the best donuts on the ICW at "Donuts 4 U", rated at 4.8 stars out of 5 by customers. It doesn't look like much on the outside and the inside does not improve on expectations - but then you taste the donuts! We enjoy them.

Just a beautiful beach
With the beautiful day, we decided to try Black Point Drive once again but the birds were still not in evidence. I think they all went on strike. Well, how about the beach, we thought, Playalinda to be exact. It's out in the same general direction and the beach goes on forever. The waves were really crashing in from all the recent high winds. What I didn't expect was how close one of the NASA launch pads was to Playalinda. It would make a great watching site if they allowed the drive to remain open during a launch. I think they usually close the drive, though.

A NASA launch pad was really close - the three side towers are to protect the central launch
assembly from lightning strikes
This coming week will be a real workweek in getting the boat ready for our absence over the next two months. When we left the boat in Deltaville, we had a dehumidifier running and set at 65% humidity for then it cut in. With that, we had no mildew. We will try the same thing here in Titusville and hope for the same result.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Titusville - Paintings, Manatees, Wind

An example of single-point perspective
Ann continues to take Great Courses drawing lessons. As I mentioned before, they are free if you belong to a local library. They can be streamed to your TV via an iPhone, iPad, or even a Roku device. Her latest lesson involved the use of single-point perspective which is used on the watercolor above. I like her work in watercolor, very light and airy.

We are the third boat in, protected by two very large power boats, a good spot!
Last night the wind howled and we recorded a gust to 38.4 kts with a steady wind in the low 30s. We were secure as the third boat on "A" dock, as far away from the entrance you can get. Titusville has many good points but it is not well protected from an east wind. The entrance is wide open to the east and boats near the entrance will bounce a bit in winds greater than 15 kts. All the docks are secure enough, no problem there, you just have to be sure you are securely tied up if the wind pipes up.

Hoolie will not let a manatee get up on land!!
Hoolie did some manatee hunting today and found one by the walk. He made sure it stayed in the water! We counted three in all. Later that evening, we had Gordon and Eta over again. They are headed south on Sunday and will spend most of the winter in St Lucie.

The winds are predicted to final subside on Sunday and we'll try again to see if there is any wildlife on Black Point Drive on Merritt Island. Last week we saw nary a bird.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Titusville - Gordon and Eta arrive

A wonderful dinner with friends on a stormy night - what could be better!
The dampener arrived as scheduled before 10:30. It goes between the flywheel and the output shaft and it absorbs the shock of shifting in and out of gear. With a hundred-pound flywheel spinning and a heavy propeller to start up, there's a lot of shock to absorb. After 5000 hours of engine time, the rubber bumpers started to give way. You can't just buy the wear-out parts, you have to buy the complete unit, a $1000 investment, not counting labor. Our mechanic installed it today and reassembled the rest of the parts so now we are operational again and ready for our trip to Key West upon our return in January.

Gordon and Eta followed our tracks and finally arrived at Titusville this afternoon. We were invited over for drinks and dinner tonight and just now got back to Fleetwing at 9:30, rather late for us. The dinner was superb as usual and we all had a great time.

We have a car for the weekend again and will probably drive through Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge again sometime over the next two days. We saw very few birds on our last time through, perhaps more have arrived.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Titusville - Aft oil seal replaced

Our enthusiastic mechanic, the engine is once again apart in pieces in the aft cabin
Today was the day we had the rear oil seal replaced on the Volvo engine. The part only costs $200 but the labor takes 5 hours so the labor costs much more than the part. The mechanic that came over had never done it before but I had the instructions written by the previous mechanic for him to follow complete with photos of the stages of disassembly.

A peaceful evening
Everything was going smoothly until he removed the dampener. It's the connection between the engine and the prop shaft and is meant to absorb shocks as the transmission is engaged. The absorbing components are made of rubber and they wear out. Given the age of the engine, it was time for a replacement so the repair was stopped to the point where the dampener was to be reinstalled. I ordered a new one shipped overnight and it's supposed to arrive Friday morning. If so, he'll complete the installation on Friday afternoon.

It was hot again today but the forecast is for cooler weather over the next week. We still have a lot of stuff to get done before leaving for New York but we have next week for that. It's a busy time.