Cooking Up A Storm!

Well, I will be. Because I have retired the Plastimo Atlantic Oven and in its place is a brand new, stainless steel, super shiny Neptune 4500.

Made in England, it is from Bolton by Leisure Products, who made the Atlantic many years ago.

Swapping was quite straightforward, as the widths are the same, 470mm at the gimbals. The Atlantic is pretty grotty – it was rusty in 2013, and is now set to be recycled.

Charting Frank’s course from Camariñas to St Croix

I have started to work on the video of Frank’s crossing from Camariñas to Corpus Christi. There are three legs to this part of the 4-leg trip, after crossing Biscay in November 2014: Camariñas – Porto Santo (Feb 4 – Feb 12 2015); Porto Santo – St Croix, USVI Feb 12 – March 8 2015); St Croix – Port Aransas, Texas (Dec 24 – Jan 16 2016).

I used an Inreach Satellite Tracker/Messager (since bought by Garmin), and this has a complete record of my route and sms/email messages. I cannot speak highly enough of this little marvel.

So here are the routes and some messages and notes that I made, between Northern Spain and St Croix. I will add more detail in subsequent postings as I work on the video, and then I will work on the final leg through the Caribbean, into the Gulf of Mexico and to Port Aransas, Texas.

Exit Camariñas Feb 4 2015
Porto Santo to N Madeira
Camariñas – St Croix Feb 4-March 8, 2015
Porto Santo to St Croix Feb 4 – March 8, 2015
The Home Run to St Croix, March 4-8 2015

1800 Miles from Tortola

I have several hours of video from my solo Atlantic crossing, and have been too busy to create a video of this 2nd leg of my sail from Gosport to Corpus Christi, Texas.

Four years and three months ago I was heading to Tortola, BVI. I came across a short video clip, and turned it into this short message relating the solo sailor to starting up a business: there are many talented sailors, but only a few are “the willing”. Likewise in business.

It is not really a “Frank-Just Frank” video, but without Frank I would not have been there. BTW, I never did get to Tortola, heading instead to St Croix, where I immigrated to the USA and parked Frank for a few months at St Croix Marine

 

Aircon Water-Cooling Pump System

After a bit of tooing and froing with Groco over hose fittings and positioning of the strainer (it can be above the waterline, if the raw water inlet cock is fitted with a shut-off valve), I started on the water supply system for the to-be-bought (either this one or this one) aircon system.

I managed to buy some 1″ (hose is always inside dia, whereas fittings are outrside dia) water hose from West Marine in Corpus Christi and worked out that I could fit the pump and strainer under the sink, both below the waterline.

I was planning to fit the pump vertically, but decided that it could go horizontally. I also toyed with putting the pump in the old fridge compartment, but that would mean drilling bigger holes to route the water inlet hose, which is around 1.5″ o.d. The water hose to the a.c unit is 5/8″ , so around 1″ o.d. – a lot smaller and easier to route.

I need to build a cabinet that will fit into the hold where the fridge used to be. This cabinet will shield the a.c. from the engine bay and from any bilge fumes, so that I don’t end up recycling bad air. The unit will sit in the cabinet, which is to the left of the cooker (the pump is to the right, hence my concerns about routing the water hose). Waste seawater and condensate will be pumped to the transom and overboard.

The pump installation is not quite finished yet, and I may move the strainer to the left and down a tad. But we have progress!

Pics below:

New Forehatch

Last year I tried to repair the forehatch, getting a new Lexan (Perspex) clear panel made. It was less leaky but still not good enough. So I bought a new Bainbridge Storm 60 hatch with a flat base (easier to fit..) , and have been struggling to fit it these last few weeks.

The Bainbridge hatch is very flat. The hatch entrance is curved, the back more so than the front.

And the Bainbridge hatch base is surprisingly bendable! The hatch base screwed down and conformed to the curves nicely, whereas the lid did not. Ho hum. So I took it off, straightened it and built up the sides with teak shims and epoxy filler.

The hatchway. The back, by the babystay, has more curve than the front.

Grotty old hatch. Made in England – you don’t see that any more.

Bendy new Bainbridge hatch.

Fitted hatch.

From the inside.

I have some tidying up to do, and then we shall see if it leaks!

Hurricane Harvey

Harvey landed as a Category 4 Hurricane on Saturday night, August 25th, with Rockport and Fulton, two towns a few miles north of Corpus Christi playing host.


Last weekend I had sailed Frank from North Shore Boatworks, Ingleside, across the bay to Corpus Christi marina. I think that was a good move, Ingleside being closer to the initial impact area.

Corpus Marina is relatively well sheltered, and Frank’s berth is modern, with floating concrete pontoons. I heard this morning from Sylvia, who lives in Corpus, that she checked on her boat, which is fine, and that Frank is also fine. So that has saved me a lot of worry.

Harvey blew up from a little storm into a Cat 4 in less than 60 hours. I was driving to Austin from Atlanta when I received a text message from Steve Appleton, owner of Altair, next to Frank, warning me of the storm. The Marina also has a great warning system, with texts and calls.

I managed to divert to Corpus, double up the lines and remove the sails. And my new Bainbridge forehatch arrived, so hopefully I will have a boat to fit it to, once the storm has moved on. 

Steve sent me a text saying that Frank’s lines look good and she is not low in the water.

Annual haul-out, scrub & anti-foul, July 2017.

I was worried that the anodes were dissolved and the hull covered in barnacles, but today (July 15th, 2017) I took a trip to North Shore Boat Works, at Ingleside, TX., to have a look at Frank.

She was hauled out on the 6th of July, but I did not see her hauled.

North Shore is a small but busy yard, just across Corpus bay from the marina at Corpus Christi. They mainly look after power boats, but have a great local reputation. When I turned up in Frank, they were very busy but Billy Fuller, the boss, gave me his time and attention so that I could explain what I needed.

I then asked him the best way to get back to Corpus marina, where my car was, and he offered to take me there! He was on the phone a lot – very busy – but during the drive I learned that his parents bought the yard in 1968, and he and his now sister run it. It has been his life, man and boy. 

Whilst there last week I also met with Matt and his wife from Coastal Bend Yacht Services, and arranged for Gatewood Service & Repairs to service the engine.

One of the tasks that I asked Billy to take care of was replacing the galley sink drain cock with the new Isotherm heat-exchanger-cum-cock. Also to replace the redundant sea-water inlet cock, for pumping sea water into the galley sink, with a new cock that can be used to pump in water for a water-cooled a/c unit.

Frank has already been cleaned and the two cocks fitted.

Here are a couple of pics:

Isotherm heat exchanger. This doubles as the galley sink outlet. Note the coil inside the cock.


New cock, replacing the old sea water inlet for the galley sink.This will be used for pumping in sea water to cool an a/c system.


Some other pics of Frank. The seal between hull and keel looks good, and I am amazed that the anodes look in good condition after over 12 months under water. The small anode on the rope cutter is in perfect condition, probably because it was painted over when Hooking Bull anti-fouled the prop!

Rear of keel port side, with rust at the seam.

Rear of keel, stbd side, large rust spot. The slight gap at the tip of the keel between hull and keel is normal on all 34s

MaxProp and rope cutter. Anodes in good condition. I use 2 on the shaft.

Engine raw sea water inlet for cooling the engine.

MaxProp, shaft, anodes. Painted-over anode on rope cutter.

Rudder from Stbd side

Hull anode in good condition.

Keel from stbd side. Rust top rear. It is cast iron.


Isotherm water-cooled refrigerator upgrade to coolbox 

A rather inelegant title for a cool technology addition to Frank.

Isotherm have a range of freezer/fridge solutions that can turn a coolbox into a freezer or fridge. The SP (Self Pumping) range appeals to me because there is no need for a pump, thus reducing power consumption at sea.
The system works by replacing the existing, through-hull sink drain cock with a larger (2.5″) unit inside which is embedded a coolant coil. The under-water exterior surface of this unit uses sea water to cool the refrigerant via the coil, which is wrapped around the drain out-pipe. 

This picture is worth a thousand words:


The unit I will install is the SP 2051 with an “o”-shaped cooling panel:


The drainpipe cock is attached to the assembly.

The under-water face of the self pumping cock. An anode fits to the face.


The sacrificial anode was not in the box – I shall get one, make sure I have all the components and then have the assembly fitted when Frank is hauled for her annual scrub and antifoul at Ingleside.

I can install the compressor later, or maybe have the yard do it.

Forehatch new window fitted

I was umming and ahh-ing about whether to repair or replace the forehatch, and getting advice from the invaluable Sadler & Starlight Owner Forum this weekend. On Saturday, around 16:00, I started searching the internet for companies to make me a new window insert to replace the leaky one.

I called Bluff Plastics not expecting to get a response, and spoke to the owner, Charlie (“the old man” as he later termed himself). Yes, he was open, and yes, he did that sort of thing. I drove over with the old one.

He did not have any half inch in tinted, but he had clear. He quoted $85.60 or similar, and said it would probably be done “tomorrow” – Sunday. I was gobsmacked. He promised a call by 14:00.

Actually, he called at 11:00, and I went around to collect it. On the way back I stopped at a West Marine (newly opened, by the look of it) that I saw on the way to his place, bought some sealant, and then stopped at an AutoZone to buy window tint film.

Now to see if it leaks…



If it leaks, I will buy a new hatch.

And I have found someone to do the polycarbonate (aka Perspex or Lexan) for my planned replacement for the Chicken Coop!