Monday, July 16, 2012

Rowing in the rain

It's flooding down in Texas. I think the telephone lines are still working, though.

The daily monsoons have been hitting for the past week and a half, and we've still got 30% chance of rain every day this week. If it was just rain it wouldn't be so bad, but I was pretty sure I was going to be struck by lightning trying to get from the bathhouse to the boat in the marina this weekend. We all joked about it over beers later once things cleared off, but two guy were actually killed by lightning at a soccer game downtown this weekend. Scary stuff when you think about sitting out on the water with a giant pole sticking up in the air.

Since the rain has kept me indoors I've been working off projects. I was digging through the boat stairs last weekend looking for extra dock lines when I came across a boom vang. I was certain I'd seen a vang somewhere in my piles of boat junk, I just didn't know it was a vang at the time. Then when I realized what it was, I couldn't find it again. Well, it is now found, and I spent about an hour scrubbing rust off of the blocks and freeing up the sheaves.

Boom vang

I was going to hook it up this weekend, but while the fitting on the mast is there, I can't find the fitting for the boom. It had a metal plate with three screws on each side, but West Marine only had the U-shaped single bolt boom bails. I'm going to keep digging through boxes and see if the old boom attachment and swage ball will present itself before I resort to drilling a new hole and just sticking a boom bail on there.

My cockpit table project is also slowly progressing. I finished cutting and drilling the binnacle mounting brackets, did much more sanding, and I started staining. I used the Mahogany stain that I had leftover from the inside of the boat. What I did not realize is that the very blonde poplar would turn extremely dark. The Red Oak is now the lighter colored wood while the poplar strips are dark. This is the opposite of what I had envisioned, and while it doesn't look bad, it definitely doesn't look like teak and holly. I'm trying to decide if I'm ok with it or if I want to sand it off and start over. Being inherently lazy, I'm probably ok with it, but if I decide to do my cabin sole I'm definitely not using the dark stain.

Butcher block cockpit table with stain

Meanwhile I'm anxiously waiting the arrival of a Simrad WP42 wheelpilot and a pair of very old but very good shape Lewmar 30 self tailing winches. I get the feeling there may be quite a bit of single-handing in my future, so I might as well make the sailing as easy as possible.

I've decided the Aries Wind Vane is just too much for my little boat, so it's headed to eBay this week.

In other marina news, my friend Ray bought his first dinghy, and he went all out with a brand new one from West Marine. You know you're excited when you don't mind standing there in a downpour, assembling and pumping up your new dinghy, then paddling it across the marina in the rain.

Rowing in the rain

I was very happy to assist by supervising from underneath my umbrella.

Once it stopped raining we carted the outboard down to his boat and mounted it. It was my first time to use a modern 4-cycle outboard. I'm used to very old, very loud 2-cycle motors. This new Mercury 20 hp was so beautifully quiet! I was amazed. And let me tell you, we could only run it at 1/4 throttle because of the break-in process, but even at 1/4 throttle it was still planing the dinghy with four of us joyriding. I was very impressed. I think I may even have dinghy envy.

Brand new dinghy

As the inflatable raft that came with my boat pretty much sank back on July 4th, a dinghy is on my wishlist, but I'm going to have to go with something much smaller and lighter -- and definitely cheaper.

Hopefully I'll be on the water this weekend.

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