Friday, December 31, 2004

Water in the Bilge

My strange luck...I have a much bigger problem with water in the bilge when the boat is on the hard than I do when we are sailing! This is an especially pesky problem up north here because of the water then freezing in the bilge. This itself is a puzzle to me as I do fill the bilge with a gallon or two of anti-freeze. The water that gets in seems to freeze on top of this anti-freeze. As you can see in the photo below there is about 2 inches of very hard ice on top of this anti-freeze that I had to chip out with hammer and screwdriver. What good is antifreeze if it is just going to sit under the water and not freeze itself but allow a hard freeze above it?

At any rate we now believe that water gets in through the stern locker. The only thing big enough to catch the amount if water we find in the bilge is the cockpit which we had not covered. Water that drains aft on the seats should enter the channel around the stern locker and then drain forward to the cockpit floor and down the scuppers. I think the boat is sitting with a lean that is too far aft so that the water actually goes up and over the channel and into the locker itself. From there it can go around the vent hose and find its way into the bilge. So a better tent type cover for the cockpit was in order. We used 1" pvc pipe, duct tape, and blue tarp to put a complete dome over the cockpit. Hopefully, this will keep the water out! We'll go up and check again after the next hard rain.

Connecting the pvc pipe to the hook for the lower lifeline with a long bolt, washer, and nut. Posted by Hello

Here is the better (we hope) cover we assembled out of pvc pipe and standard blue tarp. Hope it helps! Posted by Hello

Here I am chipping about 1-2 inches of ice out of the bilge. The ice is very hard and is on top of the 2 inches or so of antifreeze I put in the bilge. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Update on Planning the BIG Trip

Well, here it is almost Christmas. According to Sue we only have 170 days until we shove off. Many projects are in the works and a few problems have been solved.

INSURANCE - Looks like we've found a solution to the health insurance issue. We've found a company called Lifeboat (no kidding) that caters to cruisers. To get their best deal you have to be out of US waters for 6 months out of the year. We may not get that deal our first year although we will be in Canadian waters for a time as we go through the North Channel. They have a US deal that is a little more but still affordable that will work for our first year. As for insuring the boat itself that is still a question. Progressive Insurance, our current insurer, says they do not insure cruisers but we will talk with an actual person first. Turns out that if you say you are a 'liveaboard' you can't get ANY insurance but if you say you are a cruiser then there are a number of companies. I guess a 'liveaboard' could be someone living on some leaky old barge hanging on an anchor somewhere.

OUR ROUTE - We have decided to take the lake route to the east. We will sail the North Channel of Lake Huron and may take the Trent-Severn Waterway to Lake Ontario. This is our preferred route but as we draw 5.5 feet we are right at the limit of what can be done in this waterway depending on lake levels. If the lakes have another up year as they did last year we may make it. This route takes you from the tip of Georgian Bay all the way to the northern shore of Lake Ontario and thereby skipping Lake Erie entirely. If we can't go this way we will simply head south out of Georgian Bay and go through Detroit, Lake Erie and then through the Welland Canal to Lake Ontario. From there we sail east to Oswego New York, unstep the mast, and get into the Erie Canal. Turn right when you get to the Hudson River and Enee will be pointed south for a long time after that!
Here's a map showing the great lakes...not that far!

BOAT PROJECTS - I am currently building new spreaders as you can see by some of the previous posts. Stay tuned for pics of the final versions. We've bought a new alcohol, 2 burner stove that we like but the gimbling that came with was totally stupid. I am building a new cabinet that will hold this little stove and provide storage underneath. No oven! We need space not an oven. I hope to drop the rudder come spring and work on taking some of the play out of it. This is a work in progress and I have more reading and learning to do. We sent a list of desired items to some of the bigger marine suppliers to see if they would like to bid on the list. No response so far.

So, although it is only 5 degrees today spring is just around the corner and this house has to be sold, boat projects completed AND the students will still want their papers graded at the same time. Whew! Hope I live through all this to enjoy the cruising life I've been working toward!

Comparing the Old and New

From left to right we have an original spreader (this is the outboard end where the upper shroud goes in the groove and on up to the top of the mast), a new one that has been routed along edge, and a finished one with the groove cut in and final sanding done. Posted by Hello

The original spreader is in the middle with the two newly cut blanks on each side. The wood is Sitka Spruce desired for its straight grain and light weight. Posted by Hello

Building New Spreaders

The recent posts around here show some pictures and captions of me building new spreaders for the boat. The originals seem to be structurally sound but were in dire need of refinishing. I hate refinishing wood but do like to build stuff. So, I found out that the desired wood was Sitka Spruce. Neat stuff as it is very straight grain with no knots and yet very light. Exactly what you want up there! The darn things are nearly 4 feet long so I had to build myself a large tapering jig and make many cuts to sneak up on the exact lines I had laid out. All of this method was as directed by the master builder himself...MY DAD! I'm sure he could have done this much better himself but this will have to do.

Cutting the second taper using my newly crafted tapering jig. Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Rebedding the mast plate on Enee Marie Posted by Hello


We officially put Enee away for the winter today. The yard has taken the mast off and she sure looks funny without her stick! This gave me a chance to rebed the mast plate. We get water in there during a hard rain. I took the plate off and cleaned up all the old goo and put in new goo...buytl tape, my favorite stuff. We'll see if this helps.

We also did our routine winterizing jobs: pump antifreeze through the engine, into holding tank and into fresh water tank. I leave the batteries on board. If they have a good charge they should be alright. Worked last winter. I may go up and throw another charge into them mid winter just to make sure. We threw a tarp over the main saloon area and over the companionway. This worked last year as well. Its much easier with no mast, boom nor main sheet to get in the way!

We ran into our friends Brian and Deborah (Northern Crown) and Chuck and Mary Beth (new cat 30!) Fun to see summer friends!

222 days to go before we head south...but who's counting?

Scott at the helm sailing Enee back to Winthrop Harbor Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

back on the hard!

Enee Marie is back in her cradle at Skipper Bud's in Winthrop Harbor. We had a great sail up there a couple of week ago. Saturday was wild with west gales and then sunday it settled down. We headed out Sunday with Ken T. and Admiral Nelson aboard as has become a tradition. We sailed on a beam/close reach nearly all the way there making 5-6 knots most of the way. Wind finally pooped out around Waukegan so the last couple of hours was mostly engine. Found a slip in the dark by skipper bud's and got the sails and dodger off so she's ready to have her mast un-stepped.

Always sad to be out of the water but this is an exciting off season as the final projects must be completed before we head south. We got the new dodger built by Sterling in Chicago and we love it. The sail to Skipper Bud was the first time we got to sail with it. It is higher than the old one so Sue can see under it while Scott now has a view of the bar while standing. Oh well, Sue is a better driver than I am anyway.

While she is on the hard, besides normal winterizing I need to build some cabinetry. We are going to build shelves in the hanging locker as we don't expect to have any haning clothes. Also, under the new stove I need to build a cabinet for pots and pans and so forth. The old water tank needs to get ripped out creating more storage. Finally (but probably not) I'm going to drop the rudder and try to take much of the vertical and rotational play out of it. This will be a largish job. I'll try to update with pics as the jobs continue.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Where's the mark? Where? I don't see it! Where is it?  Posted by Hello

Scott does it all! Trims the chute, holds out the boom, and swears at Sue! Posted by Hello


We've been living in a bit of a time out lately. We were looking into buying a Pearson 365 that recently came on the market. Our offer was rejected so now we're back to going all out to re-fit Enee for the trip to the Keys. We need more water tankage and a new dodger plus a list of little things that should be taken care of before we leave in 296 days!

Last Sunday Scott, Sue and Larry D. sailed Dave's boat, Blitz, in the MORF race. Dave couldn't be there and he didn't want to get a penalty. Boy, having us sail the boat might be a small step above a penalty! First of all a line from one of the upper batten pockets tangled around the back stay preventing us from going off the wind or even lowering the sail! Luckily after much swearing and whipping the sail back and forth the line severed and we were ready to go. Maybe. Next, in an effort to correct the instruments we turned the power off and on again forgetting that the radio would automatically cycly back to channel 16 rather than 69 where the start info would be broadcast. We had to infer the start by noticing all the sterns on the other side of the line! We made up ground well on the first windward leg, though, and were actually the second boat around the mark. As a final insult and after much preparation we bravely hoisted the chute around the first mark except there was no chute connected to the halyard. Scott cleverly kept hauling anyway until the halyard was well above the spreaders. We did this downhill run on just main and genny. On the next downhill run we put the jib halyard on the chute and hoisted it just fine but the damage had been done. The fleet was gone!

See above for 'action shots' of Larry D. and Scott.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The strange week continues...

On Wednesday last week we once again ventured out onto the big lake to have dinner and watch fireworks. We backed out of our slip as usual and got into the fairway. When Scott put the engine in forward...nothing happened! The engine was NOT connected to the propeller any longer. Scott hollered to Jeff D. and his buddy who were on the dock to come help as he then jumped to the bow to drop the anchor. Luckily the wind was light but Enee Marie was still sliding north faster than we would have liked. After NOT being able to tow the boat with my dingy which Jeff had brought out (THAT'S nice to know!) we coasted into a empty slip and effected repairs.

While in reverse the propeller and shaft had driven themselves out of the collar that holds them to the transmission. There are only two set screws that connect the shaft to the rest of the boat. A little scary to think about actually. Anyway, from now on we only go forward. Scott may have to hang a couple of old tires off of the bow when we want to stop.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A Seamless Sail?

So, we left Burnham as planned at around 7:00 pm on Sunday to attempt an overnight sail to Milwaukee. We headed out at around 65 degrees which was more north than we expected. The seas were also more than we expected and although we have been in much worse we started to wonder if either of us could sleep the way the boat was hobby horsing and pounding into the occasional four footer. We sailed out about 8 miles and tacked. Now our course was around 330 to 340 degrees! Great! This would take us past B'hai easily. But...still the pounding and being saftey conscious we really began to wonder what trouble a really sleepy crew might get into. Steering was non trivial as we were close hauled and had to be very busy on the helm to maintain our course.

After about 45 minutes on this tack and the city still pretty near we decide to go back to Burnham. We got back in with no problem around 11:45. So, our experiment with an all night sail will have to wait.

On  Monday morning we headed out again with a new plan. We'd only go to Waukegan and creep north from there. Winds were about the same and we raised the main and then began to unfurl the genny. About half way out it stuck. I looked up and realized that the leach seam had ripped out and the leach line was wrapped around the sail and the forestay many times. ARGGGGGGH! We managed to roll it back up and, of course, headed back in. We took the sail down and inspected it.  It really was pretty ripped up along the seam. Luckily we took it the same day to Sterling Sails and he did the repair in 1.5 hours.

While we were waiting for Sterling we stopped by Crowley's to look at that Pearson 365 Ketch. Sue had never seen it. So we gave it a look for fun. It is way over priced but this boat is a pretty neat cruising boat. We found out, though, that there is another one just on the market that is more reasonably priced and in better shape. So our 1 week cruise has turned into investigating the possibilities of buying this boat!

So if the sail hadn't ripped...and so it goes.  The only happy crewman was Gracie the Cat!
Looks like Scott will be racing on Sunday afterall.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

This summer's little trip

This coming Sunday we plan to take 1 week cruise on Lake Michigan just to keep our cruising skills honed. We are going to leave Sunday night and sail through the night to get to Milwaukee the next day. We want the experience of doing a night sail with just the two of us. There will certainly be times in the future where we want to make a longer passage of say over 100 miles and will need to sleep and take turns handling the boat alone.

From Milwaukee we are goint to hop north to Port Washington and then turn back south and try to hit Racine and Waukegan on the way home. These are ports that we like but have not visited in a couple of seasons. We'll also try to find places to update the blog and post some pictures along the way. This too is good practice for the BIG trip to come. So visit this blog and see how we are doing!

Scott learns to race

On Sunday, Scott got to crew with Dave and Larry aboard Blitz for a MORF race...whatever that is. What fun! We had great plans for each of the various maneouver we were about to perform and yet when it came time to do it there was just a bunch of hollering and swearing! I looked up one time as we were rounding a mark and we could have easily stepped from the bow of our boat onto the stern of the boat in front. Larry at the helm seemed to think this was normal! We did ok though. Found out a couple of days later that after applying the handicaps we were second by 5 seconds! ARGGGGGGG.

I probably quadrupled my knowledge about sail trim in this one race and am looking forward to doing it again later today with Dave and Jeff this time. Hope the weather holds.

To Hammond and back

Saturday, Scott and Sue and their friend Kay realized a long standing plan. They finally sailed to Hammond to go out to eat at Phil Schmidts. The wind was out of the north and blowing about 20 kts! Not too bad going down as we rode easily on the 4 foot waves that were following us. In Hammond we met up with Gary and Sam who drove around. Scott and Gary each made a withdrawl at the casino thank you very much! Dinner was free!

We were undecided as to whether or not to beat back into those waves to get back to Chicago. When we returned to the boat though, we were greeted by the stereo blasting on the power boat next to us. They were apparently providing the music for the dock party 3 boats down! Our decision was made! I said I'd rather sink than spend the night next to those idiots. We motor-sailed due north pounding right into the waves that had only slightly decreased since our south-bound trip. When we got north of the Hyde Park shoals we could finally turn to the north west and get some wind in our sails and get an angle to the waves. Trip down took about 2.25 hours and the return trip tool 3.75 hours! Nearly twice as long.

We got back just before midnight. I knew it had been a rough trip when I opended a beer from my frig and it exploded!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Kaptain 'K'

We were lucky to meet our new friends, Bill and Linda who just bought Kaptain 'K'. Kaptain 'K' is the boat just off our stern in Burnham. Bill and Linda were excited about the boat but needed some instruction in sailing and other boat stuff. So, after a couple of sails near Burnham, Bill, Scott and Sue headed across the lake to New Buffalo on Sunday. Bill and Lind are keeping the boat there. It was a great sail! We sailed close hauled almost all the way across. We needed a little engine boost around noon and again to cover the last 3-4 miles when the wind pooped out. Kaptain K is a great boat and sails easily. Bill and Linda should have several years of fun on this boat.

Previous posts show some pics from the training runs and the crossing of the lake.

Max at the helm. Posted by Hello

Captain Bill scans the horizon in search of the Great White. Posted by Hello

The happy new owners of the sailing vessel Kaptain 'K' Posted by Hello

Linda enjoys sailing already! Posted by Hello

Friday, July 09, 2004

Teaching Sailing

Interesting twist for Scott this summer. I've been teaching high school Physics for 20 some years but this summer I've had a chance to teach sailing. What fun! I've been teaching 12 year olds sailing at the Des Plaines Park District in sunfishes. This has made ME think more about sailing itself and what might be some better ways for people to learn the basics. I also have the opportunity to teach a new owner of a 30 foot Beneteau how to sail. This is even more fun because there is so much more to teach a new owner and VERY novice sailor about boat systems, docking, triming sails, hove-to and so forth. I'm hoping that these experiences will follow me and serve me well as we sail south next year to the islands.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Work Continues...

We are busy upgrading Enee Marie (the boat) expecting her to make the trip next year south to the Keys. Yesterday we removed, scraped and repainted the alcohol tank. Re-installed it up on some blocks of wood so that the legs don't rust so bad in the future. We also removed a locker lid and scraped and repainted that. When the paint dries I'll install new hinges and new foam tape to make a better seal with the edge of the locker. No pictures as Scott left the camera at the Des Plaines sailing center where it will hopefully be found!

Another recent innovation is that we now support our little cockpit table using a chain led up to the boom. Scott put a pad eye on the boom and a cup hook under the edge of the table for this purpose. Now there is no leg to trip over as we had it before. Of course there will be no using the table while under sail either but we rarely did anyway.

As usual, Gracie was no help!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Our new friend...hopefully the food only goes IN while she visits! Posted by Hello

Gracie is exhausted from a long day of sleeping! Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Life on-at our boat

People ask, "But what do you do on your boat when you're not sailing? Why don't you have a TV?"
Well, we read, watch the weather, tease Gracie the cat, and befriend a lonely female duck. Then we come to the Planetarium to continue to watch the weather and post on the Blog. Now that's living.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Pictures from 2004

The previous posts are some random pictures from the 2004 sailing season. Looks like each one comes up as a separate post via 'Hello' software. Can't do much with arranging them or embedding them within text like you could with your own website (at least I haven't discovered that yet). But, FREE is good! This blog looks like it will serve our purposes as we travel about. People can see recent photos and find out where we are and where we are going to be. As we discover good places to stay off the beaten track will post them.

Weather coming in over Chicago. That's the tip of the John Hancock Building. Better head to port and we did! Posted by Hello

Taken on the morning of the summer solstice over Lake Michigan Posted by Hello

Sailing with Mary Beth, Chuck, Scott, Barry, and Sherry Posted by Hello

Gracie the cat checks the dock lines. Atta way Gracie! Posted by Hello

Writing the captains log aboard Enee Marie Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Three Sailors Posted by Hello

Back in Burnham

Yes, Scott and Sue and Gracie the cat are back in their slip in Burnham Harbor, Chicago...for the last time. This summer we are NOT taking any extended cruises as we did last summer and instead we are enjoying the harbor and living downtown Chicago in the Museum Campus.

We've had several fine day sails already including a 'breakfast sail' where we anchor by Oak Street and make a big breakfast while watching the rest of the world go to work. Nice.

The Cubs have dominated much of our worry time of course. We enjoy listening to Ron Santo and Pat Hughes on the radio. We've added a 'WIN' flag to our inventory to hoist up the flag halyard when the Cubs win which has been often lately!

We are also accelerating our work in getting Enee ready for the big trip to the east coast. Water is the biggest problem right now. Our tank is only 10 gallons! I might be able to double that but that's probably about it. This is NOT enough for ultimate cruising but will just have to get us down the east coast.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Yes, we're sailing away. This Blog will document our year of getting ready as well as any posts we can update as we travel along.

On June 10 2005 Scott and Sue (and Gracie the cat) will sail their 30' Catalina out of Chicago heading for the Florida Keys and beyond. The boat has had several upgrades already including refrigeration, roller furling, more batteries and a bigger alternator to name a few. Still to do is to perhaps intall a y-valve for the head and perhaps upgrade the stove to propane. Many other smaller projects along the way that we will document.

Stop in often and stay in touch!