Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Busy month, busy year--no time to do justice to it right now, but I did want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our friends and family around the world!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Racing on Fast Lane

One of the best things about being back in the Melbourne area is the chance to go sailboat racing with my old racing friends. This time, everything came together so I got a chance to race with on my old boat, with (partially) my old crew, and against some of the skippers I used to race against.

Fast Lane and Crew Waiting for the Start

Cheryl, Lilly, Marlene, Amy, Winnie, Nancy, and Me

We only had one crew member aboard who is currently regularly racing (Cheryl, on Foredeck), and we had 2 aboard who had never been racing before (Lilly and Nancy). The rest of us were really rusty. So, no, we didn't win. But we got the spinnaker up and down, gybe it a few times, didn't embarrass ourselves, and had a GREAT time.

Spinnaker Up!

The fleet has changed a lot since I last raced... when I left, there were 3-4 Lindenberg 28's racing, so it was almost "match racing". Since then, those skippers have swapped out their L28's for much simpler (fewer crew required) J/24's. There is now a fairly large J/24 fleet in Melbourne.

We're In the Lead, But Not Winning

The neophyte "I can beat them with one hand tied behind my back" skippers have all 'grown up', and they beat me today handily. Glad to see the Women's Racing in the Melbourne area still going strong.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Checking Out Carisma

Our friend Jim Yates has been 'Getting Ready to Go Cruising' for a couple of years now, but he's gotten pretty serious in the last few months.

Dave and I and a couple of friends went to visit s/v Carisma in the yard.

Checking Out the New Davits

Talking about Rigging

Jim has made a lot of progress in the last year, but is still 'almost ready'.

Good luck, Jim, keep working at it. Remember, you never really FINISH the list! At some point, you just throw the rest of the stuff aboard and leave. Can't wait to share an anchorage with you and Nancy!!

Jim's Website:

Racing on Oriyo

Our friends Winnie and Ralph invited us to race with them on their boat Oriyo in the Indian River Yacht Club 'Race of Champions'. We had fun!

Dave Enjoying the Race

Dave and Ralph Checking Rig Tension in the Middle of the Race

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bottling my Mr. Beer

Well I'm halfway through the beer brewing process on my first batch of Mr. Beer.

I bought the Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System on a whim, from, when I was ordering some other stuff. I started my first batch about 2 weeks ago.

After brewing for 2 weeks, it smelled like it is supposed to smell like--flat beer.

To bottle it, I used recycled Gatoraid Bottles instead of buying the plastic beer-looking bottles from Mr. Beer. They recommend using plastic for your first few brewing attempts--improperly brewed beer can explode.

So now I have to wait at least a week to try my first bottle. I have my bottles in the closet in a cooler--both to help keep the beer at the recommended temperature, and to enclose the mess if they explode on me. Once a day I put a bottle of frozen water in the cooler to try to keep them near the recommended temp of 70 degrees.

I've started a new batch with a different flavor. This one is the Vienna Lager from the Mr. Beer 3-Beer Mix Variety Pack.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

St. Pete Boat Show

We drove over yesterday to the St. Pete Boat Show. We had no pressing needs but went to look around, and also keep in touch with some of our friends who were showing there.

By the time we drove 3 hours over and 3 hours back, we only had 3 hours there. But since we were NOT in the market for a boat, or any major systems, that was plenty of time to go through the 2 tents and see what we wanted to see.

Dave enjoyed talking with Travis at Mack Sails, and a couple of the watermaker vendors. We are still trying to find the right hose to replace the leaky high pressure hose that goes between the pump and the membranes. Our current hose, only 4 years old, sprung a pinhole leak and sprayed salt water all over the engine (oh NO!!). Dave was NOT amused.

So he doesn't want to replace that hose with hose from the same source. But of course that's OEM-branded (Village Marine) stuff and hard to find out specs and part numbers. There is a LOT of inexpensive hose made for the pressure-washer (car wash) industry, but it's not 'FDA approved'. We don't want to save $20 and poison ourselves (or gum up our membranes) with inappropriate stuff. Our search is complicated by the fact that Dave wants to be able to re-use the expensive 'reusable' fittings he bought with the first hose, so we need hose of the same diameter and thickness.

The guys at Cruise RO Water have been the most helpful. Their pitch is that all their stuff for their watermaker kits are 'off the shelf' and they don't try to hide who the manufacturer is, so you HAVE to buy the replacement from them. These are good guys who understand the problems we have out cruising in remote areas. If we can't soon find the right hose that meets our needs, we'll buy replacement hose with additional fittings from them.

We also had fun talking with the young man from Lithium Ion Batteries. He's selling 12v RV and Marine batteries that look like they have a LOT of advantages of the traditional Lead Acid batteries. They are pricey, though. But if we were planning on renewing our batteries, we'd have to take a hard look at it. Our Rolls Batteries are doing fine after 5 years of heavy usage, so we're not shopping yet.