Jan 28 - The backstay is repaired, and other projects

Joe Schmick, a local rigger, took the backstay down and it took Matt and I about an hour and a half to measure, cut the new 1 x 19 wire piece, take off and clean the Hayn Hi-Mod terminal fittings, and reattach everything ready for hoisting. We found two broken wires in the outside strands; very interesting in that the terminal attached only 38 inches from the upper backstay toggle. Everything went smoothly and the windlass worked fine to hoist Joe back up the mast. It turned out that the steel roll pin which attaches the windlass motor to the gearbox had partially sheared, and that finally explained why we didn't have a reliable windlass! It would work under load, then slip, then work a bit again...Thanks to Richard of sv Before for all his help in diagnosing and helping me fix the big Maxwell. We've used the main halyard thru a turning block to the windlass to hoist me to the masthead for years, so it was good to have it back in form. Yes, I bought a few roll pins for spares! We also put on the jib (North Sails put a new Sunbrella protective cover on it), and attached our new jib sheets and furling line. We're starting to look pretty spiffy! Onward to our list of other projects before haul out next week....
(The picture is of sunrise from our cockpit)

Jan 26 - The Good and the Bad News - What else is new?

The Good: I hooked up the two new solar panels (in series, 24V, thru their own
circuit breaker) into the Outback FlexMax 60 Regulator, and we're drawing amps like
crazy! This Honolulu sun is a force to be reckoned with! When the bimini arch
extension is completed, two more SolarWorld 175W solar panels mounted on top
of the 1/2" expanded PVC cover will be installed, thus giving Infini 700W of solar
power. Nice.
The Bad: I was up the mast the other day dressing it out; spreader tip protectors,
radar reflector, cotter pin check, etc...and found a broken wire in the backstay! It was in the short piece of wire from the upper backstay toggle to the entry of the Hayn Hi-Mod terminal which fits into the upper insulator. Wow - talk about a rude surprise! If I hadn't found that broken wire, eventually the mast would, most likely, have come tumbling down. All the other terminal attachments are intact, and we've taken apart a bunch of them since installing the new turnbuckles and cutting new wire lengths, so I'm not sure what happened. The backstay is, like the headstay and inner forestay, toggled top and bottom, but somewhere in this last season's 8000 nm of cruising a strand of the 1 x 19 wire broke. Of course, it was in a tough place to see, so those regular inspection intervals up the mast are mandatory.

Jan. 18 - Solar Panel Installation

We've been busy installing our first two solar panels onto the arch. The old 75W
panels have been removed, and the footprint of the new SolarWorld 175W panels is
quite a bit larger. They attach by three custom built clamps which allow rotation on a delrin bearing, which in turn rotate on a PVC sleeve that goes around the 2"
aluminum pipe. Lining up the panels and drilling the clamp holes was a typical boat
exercise, but the end results had the two panels on either side of the backstay within a 1/16" tolerance of being parallel to each other, so we done good! The other two panels should be a lot easier to install and will mount on expanded PVC sheeting
which will form our new permanent bimini on top of an aluminum arch extension
going from the present forward arch leg to the boom gallows. Got it? We had the
welder out to the boat the other day taking measurements along with me, so
hopefully it won't take too long to fabricate the extension. The trickiest part will be clamping it to the present arch; the forward part just thru bolts to the boom gallows via a small welded plate. Another work in progress! Meanwhile, our 300 pounds of "stuff" that was shipped from Florida to Hawaii arrived yesterday afternoon, and there's even less (if you can imagine) room to move down below than before....We finished off the afternoon by seeing our friends John and Melinda who are from Port Townsend, Wa, and the proud owners of the classic 73' wooden schooner "Mycia." They brought their friend Jane, from Oahu, with them, and we enjoyed a wonderful Monday night BBQ here at the HYC along with Dave & Sherry (Soggy Paws), Lee & Richard (Before), and Rick & Liisa (Pueo). Another really fun get together!

Jan. 6, 2011

After a long uneventful flight we're back at the HYC. We were welcomed with a foul odor aboard---we finally got the elusive rat that came aboard...at Hilo? The decon (poison) was brought out when the traps, sticky pads and everything else failed to get him. We had been feeling so lucky never having to deal with critters, having heard stories of other boaters dilemmas. The cleanup and odor neutralizing remedies have kept us busy.
It's great to be back with old and new friends. We've seen Lee and Richard of sv Before, Mike & Veronica of sv Apple, Ray & Kai of sv Zion, Dave & Sherry of sv Soggy Paws, as well as the great group of folks here at the HYC. Also of note is that we've met Rick and Liisa aboard their Westsail 43 Pueo here at the HYC. It's amazing - there were 65 Westsail 43's made. We have no idea how many are out cruising, but to have two 43's about 100 yards away from each other is an awesome coincidence! HAPPY 2011 EVERYONE!

Goodbye Florida

We'll miss family and friends....we had a wonderful visit while here! We were so busy, and of course experienced the good (plenty of that, with family and friends here for Christmas and New Year's - the house stayed crowded!) with the bad (not too much of that - we didn't let the fact of our car's transmission giving out on the toll road to pick up the grandkids in Orlando stop our upbeat mood! We had freezing cold followed by wonderful weather....and it was great to have all the kids home at one time. The boys continued their tradition of a New Year's Polar Plunge. Last year they were all in the Netherlands...this year they jumped in our Gulf of Mexico canal's 50 degree water; lots of pictures duly documented their exploits. We departed without the opportunity to see some of our friends we didn't have the time to hook up with - next time!