Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another trip to Savannah

Whispering Jesse with the Aries wind vane removed
Hello from Savannah. I arrived here Saturday morning on the red-eye from points west. The weather has been mostly cool and windy, which has kept me off the golf courses and focused on boat projects. On Sunday, I was able to get the Aries wind vane removed from Whispering Jesse's stern, as the photo I took yesterday shows. It required turning the boat diagonally in its slip for pier access to the stern and then squeezing down inside the starboard lazarette with a wrench to keep the nuts from spinning while Billy and Garrett from the marina ratcheted off the bolts from the outside. We managed to remove the entire apparatus without dropping it or any tools into the water, which was more difficult than it sounds.

It was critical to remove the wind vane as my first project because Ray, the boat's previous owner, was driving down from Pennsylvania on Monday to pick it up. A gentleman from Atlanta had expressed an interest based on my previous blog post but later changed his mind. I thought I would end up advertising it for sale on Craigslist, but then Ray contacted me out of the blue. He has a new "project" sailboat and wanted wind vane self-steering for it, something he is very familiar with from his twenty years of experience with the Aries on his previous boat, which is now my boat. We reached a favorable deal and he mailed me a check.

It was good to see Ray. We had met only briefly in May 2010, when we took the boat, then named Little Walk, for a sail in Chesapeake Bay, along with Bob the broker and my friend John Kretschmer, who flew up from Fort Lauderdale to help me evaluate the boat for purchase. Ray had given me a thorough tour then and filled my head with too many details about the boat's many systems. Seeing him again after three years of ownership was an opportunity to get answers to my many questions.

Ray was pleased with the refit work. He stopped on the pier to admire his old boat in the last light of day and then breathed in its smell from the foot of the companionway steps. We dropped off his duffel bag and sleeping bag in the aft berth, where he would be spending the night, and took a brief look around the cabin. He lifted the bilge covers and had me flip the bilge pump switch to manual to clear a small accumulation of water, though we were unsure why it had not cleared with the switch set to automatic. I told him the refrigeration was not working well, and he showed me how to tell if the compressor was kicking in. We adjusted the rheostat in the fridge to the mid-point and checked the thermometer I had hanging in there, with the idea of checking it again when we returned from dinner.

The fridge was a few degrees cooler when we returned but still not cold enough to make ice. We turned on the cabin lights and used a flashlight to check the Webasto diesel heating system. Ray had installed it when he was living on the boat through the winter in Boston Harbor many years ago, but Nan's and my future sailing plans are much more tropical, so I told him I would be taking it out and putting in an air conditioner instead. He told me to take care with the removal of the components because they would have good resale value. If any readers are interested, please contact me by email using the address under "View my complete profile", or it may be time to consider Craigslist again.

Earlier on Monday, I met at the boat with Kevin, a project manager from Thunderbolt Marine, to discuss some boat projects that are beyond my abilities. The first was the removal of the Webasto system, but now it's a couple of days later and I already have two of the five heat exchangers removed. I expect to have the other three removed by the end of the day today. But I will still need some professional help getting the main unit out of the starboard lazarette, replumbing the fuel line, and closing off the exhaust through-hull. Kevin and I also discussed the refrigerator and several installations: the Garmin chartplotter and antenna I purchased during my last trip to Savannah; a marine-grade carbon monoxide detector; two or three cigarette-lighter-type electrical adapters; and a macerator pump for overboard pump-out of the head's holding tank. Kevin's specialty is fiberglass and paint, and he had some good ideas as we walked around the boat looking at various dings and scrapes that need touching up, including the four new scars on the stern where the wind vane used to be.

It's time to get back to the boat. More later...

CORRECTION: I discovered this afternoon that the people who installed the new engine took out the heat exchanger that was in the engine room, so there are four now, not five. And I am happy to report that they have all been removed. Ah, storage space!

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