Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Report of repair to Barco

I mentioned the issue of our starboard diesel being inoperative on Sunday, so I called our maintenance man on Monday. Good ol' Nick promised to stop by the boat to see if he could remedy the situation, especially since I need the boat ready to go for Friday.

About 8:30 PM, I get a call in which Nick asks if I have a lot of money, this is gonna be painful...

I replied to the sorta negative, I have a little bit of cash, but need the boat fixed. What's the malfunction?

Nick ignored me and went on about how he checked the batteries, connections and the connections on the ignition switch.

(Good thing I did not jump to conclusions and prematurely removed and replaced ignition!)

Nick switched ignition to "On" where an alarm will normally sound. Then he wiggled every wire connection in the circuit on the way to starting solenoid. It was at the transmission neutral lever that he found the loose connection. Nick reconnected wire and started motor. Job complete!

Now I know what to do next time. I did wiggle the transmission control levers, but did not go look for the wire. The transmissions on modern diesels have a safety disable switch that does not allow the engine to be started in gear. This is to keep from slamming into an obstacle when starting motor. On 200 horse diesels, it can be very bad if boat launches forward or back when operator is unaware.

Back in the old sailing days, there were no safety disabling devices and I started the motor in gear a couple times. But a fifty horse motor does not have the same thrust, so I caught it quickly.

So this will only cost about 20 bucks and a good boat handling drill using single engine operation.

What's on the schedule for the nest trip? Well, there happens to be some Spousal Unit relatives approaching on Friday, a Mom, Sister and two newly adopted youngsters from Siberia. I will have much on the plate in preparation of the homestead and Barco for esteemed visitors. (Lock up sharp objects, secure toys in safe that were manufactured by Smith, Wesson, Mossberg and Ruger.) Then I must design cat escape lockers where all Siamese Cats can ditch wandering Human/Larvae.

This sounds like a time to get back to the dragging saga of the Wildebeest III's journey from Fajardo to the Bahama's. I will get photographs scanned in support of the terrifying tale of seagoing derring-do.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Funny

From "Engrishfunny"

Somewhere in the Middle Kingdom, someone is putting out a fire the hard way.

Travel, we did!

We gathered up the Hyacinth Kitteh and brought her to the Barco for a trip to the Crab Shack.

There was a bit of drama on Sunday, when the starboard diesel would not start. Or even turn over. Complete loss of electrical connection and I still have no idea what is wrong with the system. We ran home on the port engine alone, a first for me. Docking was going to be tough with the boat trying to turn hard right.

What would I do?

Hyacinth want's to know.

The journey started at 1400, Friday. We were underway on a blustery, warm afternoon. Well provisioned, we were stocked with plenty of boating victuals; PBR, box o' wines, champagne and sandwich making materials.

Barco passed by the 58' Hatteras, "Acquisition" and waved at Jill and Scott who were preparing to depart, also. "Acquisition" was soon in a loose trail formation, about a half mile back.

Our destination was to be the infamous "Out Back Crab Shack", home of the four dollar 32 ounce Landshark Draft.

I know, we go there all the time. But the dockage is free and the scenery is priceless.

There was to be a gathering of seven boats, a great dinner for Friday and Saturday evenings, breakfast and fishing and general tom foolery for the rest of the time.

The Star of the boat show would be "Four Ladies", a 1949 Huckins Fairform Flyer owned by a gent named Stewart, and his lovely bride Beebe.

A civilianized torpedo boat. What memories that fine boat must hold.

Stewart and Beebe graciously invited the mob to come aboard and enjoy a drink, or five.

Our host Stewart:


That evening, we gathered for a dock blocking party, there were chairs, foods, drinks and party goers everywhere. Dinner was served on Acquisition and we closed out the beautiful evening observing Orion's Belt and Pleiades traversing the clear sky westward.

Sunday was a wonderful breakfast on the dock, I made a mess of waffles for the morning revelers.

The only bummer was discovering the inoperative starboard diesel. I had a spare ignition switch, but I chose to go on the single screw since the left one was operating fine. It would take me at least an hour and a half to locate the part, strip out the old and even then it may not work.

Rain was approaching, so we bustered home at seven knots. We tied up just before the rain began, and we looked good docking.

Our Cruise buddy, Scott, mentioned that he had no idea we were running single engined until after docking. We looked that good.

We brought Hyacinth back to our home, and she has been in a sour snit since arrival. Hyacinth prefers the boat. She will go home to Grandma's later on today.

Looking forward to more boating, the season is upon us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Photo Shamelessly Stolen from Ace of Spades and Storyballoon.org

It's tough to not be caught up in some of the political turmoil, but some things are just funny. Even though President Carter might have been a little off target on some of his decisions in the seventies, I never doubted that he cared about America.

Not too sure about some of the folks currently collecting Gubmint Pay in the District of Columbia. It would be nice if our Employees would get to work at putting America back to work instead of figuring new ways to bankrupt taxpayers.

I spent lunch sanding and varnishing that teak on the Barco Sin Vela. We will be ready for a Friday deployment up river to the Crab Shack. Just three more coats on the trim should do it and then I can focus on railings. Who knows, if we shut down all the insurance companies I will have all the time in the world to make the boat look nice. Maybe no money for my home or cars, but plenty of free time as we all enjoy the commonality of poverty, just like the old days.

Whatever. We will enjoy today as well as we should. If all of us voter type folks get together and actually use the ballot box in November, we might get some of the Congress critters to look for new opportunities, elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ray Stevens does it again!

Indeed. Throw the Senate and House out. That includes Republicans who couldn't do the job while in Majority. Term limits should never been disallowed, it seems the politicians get posted in D.C. and become parasitic worms who cannot leave the host.

Of course, Congress knows what's good for us, right?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Interesting weekend

Saturday had all the signals indicating a great weekend. Clear sky warm temps and we were going to the Barco for some varnishing of the teak.

I despise varnishing teak. It's a waste of time and I can never seem to get it looking as good as when someone else does the work. Inevitably, there are gouges and the wood looks like it was used as a cutting board instead of fine pieces of art.

The less, never. I sanded and smoothed and got one coat of varnish on, it was too late for another. Sunday should be nice so I will put on two coats which would mean that next weekend I will finish up with another two coats. Maybe start on the rails.

We packed a cooler and left the camera and made the walk to the river where the old boats were coming in. There was a 1938 Chris Craft, a couple of Gar-Wood's and a Huckins', or two. Since I only had my phone camera, I made do and got a few shots.

I really like the Huckins' "Fairform Flyers", and wish we could afford one... I don't think they ever made an ugly one. Frank Huckins was a memorable member of our Yacht Club way before my time, but his Yacht Manufacturing business is still making them the old fashioned way, one boat at a time. They were involved in the PT boat business in a limited way during WWII.

Here is a satellite view of their Ortega River Facility;

View Larger Map

Sunday was going to be nice, I could bring the camera ad get some proper shots after a coat of varnish, right?

So I missed out on getting the Huckin's photo's and some others. Cygnus was on another dock and I just couldn't seem to make the hundred yard walk.

We walked out to the outside docks and ran into some club friends and wound up being trapped into enjoying the afternoon with drinks.

I hate when that happens.

Afterwards, we piled into the clubhouse and enjoyed a dinner for fifteen. I got the opportunity to make a new acquaintance with a gent who had recently retired as a NASCAR Official. So I got to hear all the stories from a thirty year career of trying to catch cheaters.

Sunday was rainy, so all we could do is gather our gear and go home. Mom came by for a wonderful dish of lasagna that the Spousal Unit put together. Very interesting version of that cheesy treat, she placed layers of fresh spinach in with the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. No wonder I am expanding like an inflated liferaft!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sorry about changing to a different mode, today

I was reading the Babalu blog, a fine freedom loving blog who I will quote fully in the following, because I can and Must;


And you know what? You are an accomplice to the above. Yeah, that’s right. I said you are complicit in the violations of human rights and the torture of human beings.

Because you are.

You may not be swinging the club yourself and the epithets may not be coming from your mouth, but you are definitely a party to it. You are allowing it to happen. Turning a blind eye. Ignoring it. You are the three “no evil monkeys” all wrapped up into one.

And you shouldn’t just be ashamed, you should be disgusted. Nauseated. Unable to sleep.

What does it feel like to torture another human being? What does it feel like to stand idly by while a man’s dignity and humanity are ripped away from him, piece by piece, blow by blow?

Right now you’re thinking to yourself that I am ridiculous. Convincing yourself that I am being extreme. Exaggerating. “This guy is nuts,” your saying to yourself. “It’s ludicrous to suggest that I - I! - am somehow responsible for this inhumanity.”

But just let me ask you one thing while you’re busy convincing yourself you aren’t part of the problem:

Yeah. I thought so. Not a damned thing.

Of course, right about now you’re trying to assuage your conscience because you have so many other things to worry about in your own backyard and really, this is something happening in a whole other country and besides, what do you have that you could possibly use to help?

Let me put it to you this way: If you do nothing, if you stand idly by and allow the blatant abrogation of the human rights of your fellow human beings and the abject subjugation of their dignity, what the hell makes you think you deserve your own? Can you honestly say that you deserve that which you allow be denied to others?

You have the one thing – THE ONE THING – those men and women need. The one thing they have given their lives for.

You have FREEDOM.


Cuba's political prisoners need your SOLIDARITY NOW.


Do something today to help Cuba's political prisoners. Post the image above on your blog or webpages. Link to this post and others listed below. Tweet it. Facebook it. Do whatever you can to help.

This post will be continuously updated today with more links to information on the human rights violations in Cuba.

Pajamas Media: Cuba's Unknown Dissidents

Uncommon Sense

The Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White)

The Black Season

Alcove One

Penultimos Dias

Desde La Habana

This post will remain at the top all day. For newer posts and more coverage of the Black Spring Crackdown, please scroll down.

Look; I'm not too politically active because there are smarter and more articulate people carrying the torch for every political cause out there. I happen to want what's right for Cuba because my home will be better with a freedom loving island 90 miles South of us.

Each of us can do a little bit towards removing the Thugocracy ruling Cuba with an iron fist. That little bit can be just increasing awareness that there are prisoners of conscience being held on the flimsiest of charges. Librarians are imprisoned for making banned books available. Bloggers are jailed for telling the truth about harsh day to day conditions endured by people like you and me.

As a Free American Boater, I can travel to Cuba and stay at the Marina Hemingway, which is owned and operated by the Cuban Government. I can wander through the local community looking in wonderment how all the "little people" are so happy in their Communist Paradise. And in doing so I would be giving hard currency the Government needs to continue oppressing those very people.

It's no wonder that private boat ownership is illegal in Cuba. Anyone who cared about their family would use that boat to carry their children to the North where there is freedom.

The United States Embargo does not withhold food and medicine from the people of Cuba; The Embargo does not allow the free credit for these foods and medicines.

This from Wiki;

At present, the embargo, which limits American businesses from conducting business with Cuban interests, is still in effect and is the most enduring trade embargo in modern history. Despite the existence of the embargo, the United States is the fifth largest exporter to Cuba (6.6% of Cuba's imports are from the US).[4] However, Cuba must pay cash for all imports, as credit is not allowed.[5]

The Castro Regime should be held accountable for the fifty years of terror and tyranny.

Cuba Libre!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It has been delayed, but here are the Race Pictures

I was out for a couple days, had some other things going on, to include a big dental visit. Ouch!

Someone came out to the race in a TR6. Great looking car.

We met the owner at the after race kegger. She and the Spousal Unit have agreed to come out and show off their vintage sports cars at a "Cougar Cruise" sometime in the near future. The lady with the Triumph seems to think she can beat the Spousal Unit's 5.6 Liter 560SL in a drag race.

All this posturing at a Sailboat Race. Harrumph!

Back to the action;

We were able to get one race going on Saturday afternoon. The winds were a steady 20 knots gusting to 30. Very sporty and most of the boats suffered a capsize or two. There were a couple broken masts and about fifteen people in the 57°F water, all without wetsuits. The Race Committee called the day after the first race and we watched all the boats limp back in.

We had three ladies on board as spectators, the Left hand one was from Birmingham, Alabama. The center and right were from Birmingham, UK.

Maybe I'm taking an Artistic License on the UK thing. They really are from England, I just never asked where. Very pleasant guests.

Broken Masts and High Spirited sailing!:

After the Saturday race, I took a couple hour nap until dinner time. Had a nice meal and some wine and we were back aboard Barco by 2100.

I had no idea that all the racers were camping in the parking lot out back. The rubble and wreckage of a legendary party was evident by the full trash cans and other post party detritus in the back lot. They were up and at'em by 0800 and off to the races.

The winds picked up to 20 plus knots in short order and we saw good, hard racing, but this time with less capsizes.

Finally, the second and third races were over and the Racers called for a postponement of the final race due to winds. There was a mad dash to the club where all the boats were hauled out and put on the trailers and all participants went to the club for the post race ceremonies and kegger.

We had racers from as far away as California, and the overall winner was from Massachusetts and get this; It was a female crew that kicked all the competitors to the curb!

It was a fine weekend and we are finally heading away from winter.

Tomorrow; The Wayback Machine will bring us back to Puerto Rico and we will sail the Wildebeest home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Since we are heading into Spring...

My thoughts return to The Keys and boating.

I was going through the camera and found this gem from the mens room of a great bar in Key West. The wall is fading but the words are still readable.

The first time I saw this bit of graffiti was in April of 1990, we had a two helo det to Key West and I naturally made my way to Duval Street every evening for refreshment.

Extra Credit for the reader who knows the name of the Bar and the song it inspired.

Lots of photos from the weekend sailing. I will collate them and post later.


Here is the answer. A great song from 1985

Friday, March 12, 2010

End of week funny

I shamelessly stole both pictures from the I can haz Cheezburger site.

As all of us surf through out the depressing seascape of the internet, it's nice to be able to go to a non-political funny place as the Fail Blogs. Always a laugh riot and rarely a disappointment. The "Engrish" area is of particular interest.

Those kittens sure look real familiar; sort of looks like our bedroom in the afternoon. We have three Siamese cats, but they seem to multiply on the run. Mebbe I miscounted. At night they increase in tonnage and mass, so what should be twelve paws becomes 36 razor sharp heavy points... That purr and fight. But they love us, so what can we do but enjoy their antics as they break speed records traversing the Barco home.

You can see that Siamese Cats are always onboard our boats. Whether in the UK or in Key Biscayne.
On the Thames, Jellicle Cat and her bestest human;

Mao supervises the fueling of Barco Sin Vela in Key Biscayne;

As I advertised earlier, we shall be out on the water doing the Spectator Boat thing in support of the Thistle Sailboat Races.

Any chance to enjoy sailing and some frosty ones is a day well spent, say I.