More Power Captain!

Since we started spending more time at anchor and less time riding the dock we came to realize that our battery bank just wasn't going to cut it.  When we purchased the boat it came with a house bank of two 8D batteries that were seriously cashed.  We chose to replace them with four 6V golf cart batteries with the same capacity.  That was five years ago and they served us well over the years. 

A couple of nights before our anchor out Memorial weekend we lost power on the dock.  Since I don’t sleep much I was awake when it died at 3 am.  I went back to sleep and figured we’d deal with it when we got up.  By 5 I was wide awake and we were completely dead.  Not even two hours on the house bank.  Well crap.
Of course we had been dealing with the generator sage, so this was exactly what we didn't need.  Add another obstacle to getting to anchor out.  Saturday morning, before digging back into the generator, we ran to Sam’s Club.  Now I know every boater has an opinion on the best batteries for a cruising boat.  Some love the gel, others the AGM, don’t forget the Optima’s.  We had built our battery box which is conveniently located 18" under the floor, to fit six Trojan golf cart batteries and lets face it we’re cheap.  Sam’s had an Energizer equivalent to the Trojan T105 for $85 per battery so we purchased enough to fill the box.

Since we were trading in our four old batteries we only had to pay the core charge on two of the six.  Bingo, bango, ouch my back and we were in business.  Our fabulous new battery bank gives us roughly 700 Ah of power.  This should be all of the power that we need once we leave the dock for the big blue.  

Now if we can only fashion a way to charge them when we aren’t on shore power.  Solar panels, a working generator, an alternator for the Yanmar how I can’t wait until you are mine!

Our New “Normal”…Again

Mark & I have been liveaboards before.  We purchased our boat in 2008 and spent 3+ months sailing from North Carolina to Texas.  That was an experience to say the least and a topic for another post.  At that time we needed to get back to land to finish our house and get it on the market.  It only took three months to get back to the boat full time.  While living aboard we had everything that we had owned while in the house, that  wasn't on the boat, in a storage unit. 

Fast forward two years.  Just when it was time to get ready to cruise we received an offer that we couldn't refuse and returned to land for three years.  It was a strange transition, now we had two fully functional homes 1500 miles apart, both needing to be cared for, both full of our stuff.

When we were aboard full time we knew that almost everything had to be thought of in advance.  The dog is going to have to be walked, better get moving early.  I’m going to need to be walked, don’t wait until the last second!  Little things like “I just ran out of underwear” become a big deal; we really should have carted all of our laundry up to the boaters’ facility a couple of days ago.

Google Earth view of our "T -Head".  The yellow line leads
from our boat to the facilities.  The path box shows it's
.15 miles one way to the bathroom and laundry!

On land that’s not the case.  The dog needs to go out, no problem, open the door and call his name.  No need to plan a personal potty break either.  Friends all think that life aboard a boat is such a romantic notion, little do they know that the most basic things that we all take for granted become serious points that need to be planned and perfected.
So here we are again, back on the boat for the past seven months.  This time we've sold or given away the bulk of our land junk.  It has taken a lot more time to get back into the swing of boat life.  There are so many things that I miss from land.  My king size, pillow top mattress is a biggie.  As boat mattresses go our queen bunk isn't bad, but man do I miss being able to spread out and not hear that I’m crowding my hubby.  I also miss night time bathroom trips that don’t involve climbing over your partner.

Not my actual plant but
a good representation of
the final result!
Fresh herbs, on land I had a huge herb garden and tomatoes and peppers and zucchini, well you get the idea.  I attempted a single basil plant here on the boat.  That poor thing really deserved to go home with someone that could keep it alive.
In a couple of weeks we will be house/dog sitting for good friends followed by a 10 day trip to home to Chicago for a family reunion.  We’re looking at a good month off of the boat.  I have to admit I’m a little worried.  I love my little floating home.  I can’t wait until we can finally cut the lines and head out to cruise, but that isn't where we are right now.  We are tied to a dock in a nice enough marina but not living our dream.  The challenges of day to day life on the dock don’t have the rewards that cruising promises.  Am I going to want to come back after a month?  Probably, but the old normal was a lot easier than this new one. 

I’m sure all will be fine and I’ll celebrate a joyous return to this fine yacht.  So in the mean time I will live life the way that I always have.  Taking what today gives me, hoping and planning for tomorrow and enjoying whatever is thrown at me to the best of my ability.

Now I Remember Why We Wanted This Boat!

If you read my previous post you know that we spent the week rebuilding the generator in order to have power for a two night anchor out.  We worked right up until the Saturday of Memorial weekend on that infernal hunk of metal.  After a very frustrating morning it was clear that this was not going to happen and the decision was made to bail out on the Bay Yacht Club cruise with our friends.  It was a huge bummer.
As I headed down the dock headed to the car to run errands I ran into our friends on Sea YawlLater.  Rusty and Linda have docked their boat here for several months, but they are not currently living on the boat and hadn't been down in about 6 weeks.  I spent a few minutes catching up and filling them in on all of the fun we had had all week with the Generator.  They took pity on us and lent us their portable Honda 2000 generator.   Now we could anchor out for the weekend!
After a quick run to the store and to fill the propane tanks we were off….to the fuel dock and pump out.    The weather had been building all day so by 2:00 when we threw off the lines it was blowing about 25 knots.  It was a tough beat into 3 to 5 foot waves the entire way across the bay and up the Port Aransas ship channel.  When we made the turn in Port A to the Lydia Ann channel we were finally able to unfurl the jib and sail for 8 miles of the 28 mile trip.

Everyone Is In Place, Here We Come!
We arrived at the anchorage just as happy hour was getting into full swing.  By 7:30 we were showered, dressed and ready to go.  We had a great time hanging out with friends.  Eight other boats had made the trip, so it was quite the gathering.

Saturday morning was spent exploring Mud Island.  It’s very cool with its little ponds and pink Spoonbills.  Ziggy had a great time running through the water and plopping himself down to cool off. 

On our way back to the boat we made the rounds to say good morning.  We were invited over for lunch and a float.  What a great way to spend a couple of hours.  The water was a bit chilly for some, only 85 degrees, but incredibly relaxing in the new noodle chairs.

For dinner our group gathered on the beach.  A couple of years ago the club built a new picnic table to go with the shelter that 
the Rockport YC had built.  Everyone brought their own meat to grill and a side dish.  One boat brought the grill.  It was a lot of fun and we were joined by former YC members on S/V DosLibras.  It was great to see Tammy and Bruce.  We all set off before the sun set to settle in for the night.

Most boats departed for various points on Monday, but we decided to hang for another day.  We still had fuel for the Honda and were really enjoying being away.  One boat, S/V Kerry Ann, stayed on with us and joined us for lunch.  Unfortunately it was just too rough to get in the water since the wind had yet to lie down.

Tuesday we had a pretty quick downwind run back home.   With a little help from the incoming tide were hitting 10+ knots in the ship channel.  The ride across the bay was a little bumpy and I had to be on my toes with the waves, but we Averaged 8.8 knots.  Mark shot a couple of videos of the fun.  We were back in our slip by 1:00 and despite the less than ideal conditions, can’t wait to do it again!