Ketchup Post

Holy Cow, I’ve been ignoring this blog.  Well, its alright since we haven’t done much traveling and no one can access the blog yet anyway.  But in a nutshell, here is what we’ve done since the last post:

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Peter installing new sink

–  installed new galley counter and sink

–  installed several shelves in cabins

–  removed locked-up rudder, sanded bearings and reinstalled rudder a la Peter Verrals

–  designed and begin install of 720W solar system

– designed and begin install of permanent wifi antenna (as you might imagine, all these unfinished projects are partly why there havebeen no posts)

The Malloy family grows larger

The Malloy family grows larger

–  attended my brother’s wedding in NC, where I was pushed out of the raft 🙂 by my brother-in-law Eric in the middle of a class 4 rapid.

–  removed old washer and install new combo washer/dryer

–  replaced most running rigging

–  got totally bummed out by surprise LA county $8000 tax bill for the privilege of parking our boat here for 8 months (see California’s Burning by Dave Alvin)

– designed and begin install of all new electronics

Mark

Electric avenue

–  got new master mattress made and installed

–  two trips to Catalina for a vacation from our permanent vacation

–  designed and had fabricated steel work for rails, bbq, solar, and various other

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The glamorous life

–  replaced sump pumps in both heads (relatively easy but nasty job)

–  had all 4 forward lockers prepped and painted (no more paint chips on everything)

–  caulked the toe rail and rebedded various hatch hinges

Notice the complete absence of kitesurfing sessions.  The kitebeach is 45 minutes away and 1.5 hours return due to rush hour traffic.  Plus its so light here that often I go and get skunked and just drive back anyway.  So kitesurfing looks like it is on the back burner until we get out of here.  Speaking of which, I am getting a little antsy to get moving.  We’ll head down to San Diego in August after Mark and I finish the electronics install.

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Motorcycle’s Back

I flew to Oakland to grab the bike the other day.  I had always wanted to ride down the coast highway (Route 1 or PCH or whatever you want to call it).  I had done this trip north to near the Oregon border, but hadn’t gone farther south than Half Moon Bay or so.  So I decided to make the most of this delivery trip.  Sunshine Travel booked a room for me in San Simeon and after thanking Anne for storing the bike I took off.  It took about 6 hours to get to San Simeon – a lot longer than I expected and I was exhausted.  The next morning I took a quick tour of Hearst Castle and was off again.  I am not quite sure what to make of Hearst Castle.  He built something truly extraordinary and preserved some fantastic European art there.  But at the same time there is something ersatz about his castle since most of it was created in the early 20th century to look 500 years old.  And thinking of him wining and dining pampered Hollywood celebrities there while pissing away the great wealth his father built up in mining and other hard pursuits makes you lose a little respect for the man.  I am sure I am missing something redeeming, but despite the tour speaking of him in only glowing terms, this is the impression I came away with.  Pondering that I jumped on the bike for the remaining 5 hour ride to LA.  The coast here is absolutely gobsmacking spectacular all the way (except when you get close to LA).  Big Sur reminded me very much of Northern California with fog, big redwoods and woods dwellers – those particular kind of people I had thought indigenous only to Mendocino and its environs, many of whom dabble in a certain kind of farming.  This ride was a prelude for the big Arctic to Tierra del Fuego ride that Mal and I are going to do in a few years.  It is certain we are going to do it.  Mal has staked his manhood on it. He could never back out now.  Anyway, it showed that a lot of practice is needed, or at least a much more comfortable seat.  This ride was very tiring since it consisted about 75% of twisty mountain roads.  You’re sometimes cold in the fog, hot in traffic, wrists sore from holding yourself up, torso tired from the constant flapping of whatever you are wearing, ears ringing from the wind roar, knees aching from being bent up for hours on end and worst of all your butt is aching from that hard motorcycle seat.  And to top it all off, just when I could barely stand it anymore, I arrived in LA and smack into, what else, bumper to bumper traffic.  Well, the bike’s now here and for sale and I’ve got some things to think about for the big bike trip.

Daysail

We went for a little daysail up to Santa Monica bay and back.  It was good to get out after all the unexpected hard work being done.  The sail was great and it was gratifying to pass all the mono’s out on the bay, other than a very big Deerfoot.  I think it was because Mr. Kitty was driving.

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Showers? Not so fast…

If its not raining its pouring, and on a boat that means something that shouldn’t be getting wet is.  Finally able to enjoy a hot shower, and we have a pretty spacious one for a boat,

Shower

I noticed a bit of water trickling into the bilge from the shower floorpan.  Upon inspection it turns out some of the caulk is giving way.  Ok, no big deal I think.  But it seems the PO (“previous owner” or putz originale in this case) had seen the issue and used silicone to try to stop up the leaks.  Silicone on a boat is a general no-no.  Once you put it on something it makes that thing so slick that nothing else will stick to it, even more silicone caulk when the leak comes back.  The only way to remove the old silicone is to scrub, scrub, scrub, and scrub it again with nasty chemicals that help lift it up.  Even when you can’t see it, these chemicals pull more of it out of the surface somehow.  So after pulling strings of all the old stuff out and scrubbing like mad, I caulked it up anew with better boat goo and closed it all back up.  Who would have thought it would have been a whole Manhattan Project to get to the point of being able to shower in this boat?

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Now, hopefully, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Hot Showers, Yay!

This is a fairly technical post, so if you only want to read about lifestyle stuff, skip on ahead.  This boat came to us wired for European electricity.  That means 220V, but more problematic, 50hz systems.  The boat works by having a bank of huge batteries that most stuff runs off of.  The batteries are charged by (i) plugging into shore power (big electric outlets at a dock), (ii) running the engines or generator or (iii) solar.  A 220V cannot plug into US (or Mexican) shore power.  So while the boat was in Mexico, we relied on the solar panels to keep the batteries topped up.  It worked because we weren’t there and there was almost nothing using power.  Once we got it back to the US, we would have to do something about it.  That’s where mad electrical scientist Mark Yerex comes in.

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Neko’s patron saint

 

Mark flew down to SF from Seattle and over the course of a weekend, he and I wired the boat to handle 120V power of the type found in the US and many other places.  This involved a new shore power inlet.  IMG_5808

120V wiring up to a new charger/inverter (this is a device that charges batteries and converts DC battery power to AC power to run appliances) and wiring out to new 120V AC outlets (just like in your house) throughout the boat to go with the European outlets already there (the ones with two round prongs).

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Sounds a lot simpler than it was, but now we could plug into a dock like a normal American boat and keep the batteries charged up and run the various appliances on the boat (lights, refrigerators, stereo, outlets for computers, etc.).  Things were getting closer to normal.  However, two issues remained:  1) the laundry could only run on the old 220V system.  That is not a big deal so we left it as is. We’ll just run the generator whenever we want to do laundry.   2) We couldn’t make hot water with our newly introduced shore power.  (I am finally getting around to what this post was supposed to be about).  This was a problem since showering involved walking up the dock to the communal showers – not to mention not having hot water to wash dishes, etc.

Our water heaters (we have one in each hull) made hot water when the engines (we have one of those in each hull too) were running or when 220V electricity was available (from a European dock or the generator).  They were not wired to accept 120V electricity even after the aforementioned total rewire.  Don’t ask why, its just the way it was.  Sooooo, re-enter Master Yerex advising by telephone.  With his tutelage, I created a new switch box with two 3-way rotary switches.  I led a new 120V wire from the inverted to a breaker and then to this new box and installed the box in spare space in a cabinet.  The rotary switches have positions for 120V, 220V and off.  There is one for each water heater.  Then with a few tweaks to the water heaters and double checking and testing all the wiring, we were ready to go.   Fire it up and give it several hours for the tanks to heat up, and voila!

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Trust me, it is HOT!

 

 

Day 1

Holy cow, what a couple of weeks!  Right on schedule, the Economous

Park City ski gang

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and the Prince clan along with old standby Chad Markle showed up in Park City for our annual ski weekend.  Even though snow was scarce in Park City, we had a fabulous time.  The kids are such good skiers and boarders now that the old folks are relegated to just trying to keep up.  The very same day everyone left, Mary and I packed up the house and animals and embarked on the 2-day trip back to SF.  We had sold our house while in Park City, so we had one week to get back to SF, get rid of a lot of stuff and pack the rest for storage or transport to the boat.  Once we got back home a frenzy of giving stuff away, selling a few things and packing the rest began.  We filled a 24 foot truck with stuff and jammed it into a small storage unit in Sacramento, where it will live for the foreseeable future.

Edward and Anne graciously agreed to store my motorcycle until I could pick it up.  Mary and I packed the car and truck to the gills with stuff we would have to find a way to store on the boat.  (LA is so car-centric that even a boat slip comes with two parking spots).  She drove the car and took Mr. Kitty and I drove the truck and took Lucy.  After a grueling drive, we unpacked into the night.  Our remaining earthly belongings were scattered about outside on the deck of our boat.  We couldn’t go any farther and crashed for the night.  Lots left to do, but we had made the transition.  Let the new life begin!

Guests

We’ve been here what seems a pretty long time now.  I don’t think we are tired of it yet, though, and I have been doing a lot of skiing even if there has not been a ton of snow.  However, its always nice to have guests.  This past weekend Mal arrived with his 4-year old daughter, Alexa, to teach her to ski.

Mal and Alexa ready to go skiing.

Mal and Alexa ready to go skiing.

We had a few great days of skiing.  Alexa was very interested in the kids’ terrain park and special runs through the trees.  Her instructor said she was a great skier who only had to work on her parallel turns.

On the Town Lift

On the Town Lift

Next weekend we get the Economous, Scholz, the Princes and Chad back together again.  Its a reprisal of our yearly Snowbird weekend, except this year we are doing it at Park City.  Lets hope its as fun as it always is.  Here’s a little video Mary cut of the 2012 trip: