Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Workin' with wood

Sanding teak, to be exact about the work. Nasty and hot out, but I have to get this stuff done while the gettin' is good.  Because I won't be doing this in the summer, which occurs in the next few weeks here in Florida.

I. Hate. Teak.

Problem with teak is that it is an oily wood, durable on the water but people expect the teak to be varnished and shiny. Varnish doesn't like to stick on oily wood and the sunshine on our latitudes is brutally full of ultraviolet rays, which destroys boats and varnish as well.

Lots of sandpaper, solvent and blue ribbon beer for the sander.
I started off with 100 grit paper which ate off the remnants of the old finish. Afterwards it was 150 grit and a final sanding with 220 grit. The rail is super smooth. I may do a 320 grit tomorrow morning before I place the first coat of varnish.

Prep work is 90% of the effort and I still have to properly mask off all the areas which will be coated with the two part epoxy finish. I have four hours working time with each batch so I will have to plan properly and efficiently.

This is where I wish I had chirren, especially 15 or 16 year olds. I can picture myself directing their efforts at fixing up the Barco while I relax in the shade with an adult beverage. But I would remunerate them with cash or the use of the Barco on a date. Imagine being 16 or 17 and having the ultimate love machine (Think of the 70's custom vans/Shaggin'Wagons).

Nyaah. Today's kids are into not going out on various conveyances to score with their significant others.

Anyway, back to the job...  I took off the side panels and brought them home for cleaning and polishing. The washing is done and I have to use polishing compound on the gel coat to restore the sort-of-shine we used to know and enjoy.

Why, you ask, is this so important now?

We have been tasked by the Spousal Unit to embark on the Barco this Friday with three passengers for a river scenic trip and she wants the boat looking right. Besides, all this maintenance was required anyway, so why not do it today?

And I like messing about on boats!

See you later, alligator.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In the midst of a great weekend!

Picked up the first Fuller's London Pride keg in a couple years, and we finally have a proper English Bitter in the Veldt Lounge. Let's see how long we keep that kegerator alive!

Saturday night was spent at the yacht club where the Spousal Unit and myself enjoyed an "Evening in France" dinner. I had the Fois Gras, Steak Au Poivre and finished up with the Chocolat Mousse Parfait accompanied by a 2006 Mt Veeder (Almost) Meritage in the company of my favorite Academician/ Author, Pete Wludyka. The club  really did well in providing the victuals to a capacity crowd and I am very happy to have spent the evening with everyone involved.

The warm weather is back and we are walking and basking in the Florida sun. Nothing better than being here in springtime.

See you all soon, and hopefully on the water. Next voyage will be to St Augustine and I am working towards the planning and execution of that journey.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Monday Report

Nothing of note happened this weekend, we had some heavy rains locally, and stayed home for the most part of the two days off. There was a movie marathon on Saturday evening, thanks to Netflix.

Dined at the Club Friday night, met a nice gent from Northern California through a friend of ours from the base. Our new friend owns a recently acquired Hunter 35.5 (Mutual friend felt we should get together concerning this particular boat). We had a nice time over great food and three bottles of wine and we are now tentatively planning to participate in the Memorial Day Weekend Offshore Race to St Augustine, 25 May 2013. The weather on that weekend tends to the fair side and I think the Hunter 35 helmed by the Barco Crew and the owner would be quite formidable in competition with the local sailing club.

History: We have sailed in the Mayport-St Augustine Race 1993, 1994, and 2002. We meant to do the race in 2003 but our boat was being painted and was unable to compete. Afterwards, we moved the Wildebeest III to Fort Lauderdale for the remainder of the time we owned her and never had the opportunity to race her again.

The St Augustine race is an easy six hours or less on the water and you never really leave sight of land which makes this race good for the inexperienced offshore sailor and yet challenging enough for those who regularly sail long distances. Plus the after race party is usually quite legendary in itself...

Here are some photos I took from the Barco Sin Vela, underway offshore two years ago of the Mayport-St Augustine race which is hosted by the North Florida Cruising Club;

These boats pictured would be the main competition we would face. They are racing there year after year and really know the courses. There is another Hunter 35 in that club which is not pictured, not sure if they were racing in 2011. They are called "Changing Channels". When I last participated in the Mayport-St Augustine Race, (2002) we came in second place to this Changing Channels, and if we could have made it two more miles I think we would have passed them for the win. Today, I would expect that we will be lucky to just place second but there is always a chance we might improve on that last finish, one never knows!

Below is a place listing of the Cruising Class of boats for the 2002 racing season, we came in fifth overall (out of nineteen participants) for the year and our best finish was second at St Augustine. .
Note: 2002 was the last year we raced our Morgan 43.

She Who Will Be Obeyed raced our San Juan 28* in the Women's series back in 2007, 2008.

YACHT NAMESKIPPERYACHT MAKETommy HallSt. AugustineBluewater ChallengeElphickTotalPlace
C SongBill ReedBeneteau61913291
QuicksandDoug RosenSan Juan 30119102322
Changing ChannelsRick ElbrachtHunter 351511010363
WindfreeRay WalsheTayana219510364
Wildebeest IIIDarryl Morgan 431521010375

This means we have been out of competitive sailing (Excepting Fiji racing at the Musket Cove Regatta) for the past three or four years, so it will be interesting to see if we can scoop out a respectable finish with our lack of recent experience.

One of the challenges we face right now is getting our friend's boat ready to compete. "Bubbles" (1990 Hunter 35.5) is currently in a local boatyard receiving repairs and improvements. I need to see if we can schedule a weekend of testing and training for the crew. This could be a good time to dust off the sailing skillz!

Here is an example of a sister 1990 Hunter 35.5 which is for sale in Galveston, TX.

The Barco Crew will be in St Augustine for the race weekend either way. The plan is to bring Barco down on Thursday or Friday and leave her at the docks so that we have a comfortable place to stay. We can catch a ride back up to Jax to actually sail "Bubbles" offshore with the other racers. This all sounds ambitious and all, but darn it, we have to get out and about on the water, right?

Have a nice week!

* Here are a couple views of our "White Lightnin'" on her first outing (A Win!) back in May 2007 in the First Coast Sailing Association's Women's Sailing Series.  SWWBO on the helm:

I love boating photos! They bring back such vivid memories.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I was up at 0345, because the kitties pushed me out of bed as is their routine. Tried to get back to sleep but was only marginally successful and the reveille alarm seemingly went off a few moments later. We dressed and went outside for the morning walk and found rain.

We don't hike in rain, that's for other people to do.

Any way, back inside for the morning routines. While enjoying my first breakfast beer I saw the headlines report that some suspects of the late Boston Atrocity were tracked down and one was unfortunately killed. I always love good news! I hope the fibbies waterboard the snot outta the other perp to find out where the rest of the hive is hiding out because those two maggots were not working alone.

Nice way to begin the weekend, wouldn't you say?

Despite the good feelings for the day, our Florida Weather is not looking too nice for later and for Saturday so I think we will be performing other tasks at home rather than have any fun on the Barco. Tonight we will be at the club for whatever and as a result stay onboard because we can, and maybe catch up with some of our friends.

Some Jerry Jeff to get us up and goin':

Have a great weekend, Buckeroos!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recovering from the weekend

The Barco Crew had a very social weekend with us dining impromptu on Friday evening with this person followed by a home meal on Saturday evening served by this author. I'm not worthy...

Fascinating conversation and lovely food and drink were enjoyed by all and Monday morning finds us needing a couple days off to rejuvenate our tired selves. Tough duty, indeed.

The Yatch (sp. int) Club had live music and a huge crowd for Friday and Saturday in support of a major Tennis function and a sailing regatta. We stayed both nights onboard the Barco because gravity and a packed parking lot required we stay local. It was fun watching other people doing the walk of shame with us when we departed for home in the morning wearing the glad rags of the evening before. Way too much fun! The Club was busy and there was always some friendly faces to greet us no matter what time we would pop by to watch the action.

There will be busy days coming up and someone nearby is getting a cataract removed so I will be the duty driver who will ensure the subject will be present at the appointed hour.

Have a nice week!

Hot Chick Photo

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shall we move to Belize?

Joke question, but really?

Some blue water along with warm breezes would sure be nice. We have the good weather here in North Florida today and I have the islands and faraway places firmly in mind.

Jerry Jeff Walker has been in heavy rotation on my square music thingy (much to the chagrin of the Spousal Unit) but that's because I have always returned to the country/rock/reggae for the way that particular brand of music brings back memories of pretty places with nicer people. Especially those particular harbors I visited with She Who Will Be Obeyed.

Belize gets a regular dose of hurricane coverage, though. Darn it. I dislike bad weather of any kind and I guess places like Belize will only be visited with short vacations. Only the rich and homeless get to migrate like birds to warm weather.

Free beer, tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I am returning for the abuse, not the enlightenment.

I was searching for a Jack Nicholson scene on you-toob and came upon this little gem;

Fortunately, most dining establishments are a bit more flexible in helping the crazy requirements of today's fickle eater. A chicken salad sandwich does sound kind of nice, doesn't it?

The routine is approaching normal, I have been rearranging the garage to make room for the commuter car that will be moving in. It's a diesel sedan that enables the Barco crew to ride in comfort with the many guests we seem have acquired lately. Two seat vehicles are a bit selfish, I know. How was I to see that we actually have friends and family visitors? The current Truckster will reside in the garage next to new car and the result of this transaction is reducing the crazy mileage we have been piling on to the older car. Hint; Almost 28K miles in 2.5 years. This style of daily driving is not sustainable with a car that requires such expensive and regular maintenance and the VW diesel is probably bullet proof and as maintenance free as a cheap bicycle. I do exaggerate about Das Auto.

Photos of last week's trip were on my mind. yesterday and I cruised the inter-webz looking for a map of Beveridge Reef and came upon this: Callisto. I was there and did not get to see those photographs, whoo! Go ahead, click on them pictures to enlarge. Anyway, I was onboard the sailboat anchored in the last photo and remember seeing Callisto's crew up the mast. Fun times. We visited Callisto regularly over the next month of that trip. Very nice  folks.

Haben Sie einen schönen Tag!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Returning to a more normal life

A very good time was had with the Barco Crew, motoring to Hontoon Island State Park and return. We began the trip on Saturday afternoon by motoring to Six Mile Creek. Dinner was at the Crabshack where the Barco Crew destroyed TWO platters of Low Country Boil seafood and at least six pitchers of Stella. The pitchers of beer were $7.50 each(!) so it was with heavy hearts that we attempted to drink All. The. Beer.

Dinner tab was picked up by the Yooper (Thanks!!!) and we retired back to the boat for night caps and sleep.

0400 we were up and had the motors running for a 0410 departure in the bright moonlight. The journey to Hontoon Island took about eleven hours and we planned on arriving towards the end of the day. There was plenty of wildlife to be seen, mainly alligators sunning on shoreside logs.

Some photos:

Please click picture to enlarge!

On Lake George we saw a Sentinel near the Bombing Range...

We will dedicate this great photo to our friends who are "On Watch". Lake George Bombing Range targets are in the background.

The normal way to visit the park is by boat.

Buzzard awaits breakfast time.

Skunked on the fishing, we still had fun.

Bruce watches the marina for us.

Barco Crew assembled on deck.

Heading Northwards...

Site of the infamous Beer Run
The Running Portion of the Beer Run.

Judging Pelicans do not notice or judge the Barco.

Smoke Break on Little Lake George

The camping chair adds a little comfort on the Fo'c'sle.

St Johns River near Astor.

Happy Crew

Buzzard's Island. We anchored for the night in the Cove.

Buzzard's Cove. We stayed here in November of '94, great memories.

Morning at the Cove.


Two catfish were caught using night crawlers. Both were released unharmed.

Maximum Fun.

Yooper is enthralled by deep conversation.

Snappy the snapping turtle helms the Barco.

Snappy tries to observe Throttles and Chart Plotter. Poor turtle...
It was a beautiful visit to the island, our weather was typical Florida Spring with eighty degree sunshine and no rain. We stayed onboard five days instead of the six planned due to other family commitments so we regretfully headed home.

I can't wait to take Barco out again and again for some more Florida boating.

Delta Charlie, Out.