Tag Archives: Logistics

You May Have Noticed…

The pace of posting has dropped off. We have been consumed by the tasks associated with moving back into a house that has been occupied by others. We are glad we have all those military moves under our belt. We closed on 31 July. Then the human deluge began. Painters. Cleaners. Landscapers. Window people. Pool people. Bug people (very important in FL). Cable people. Security people. Surveyors.  Furniture, rug, and appliance picking and buying, buying, buying. [We sold or donated more than half of our Stuff when we moved aboard.] The internet has reduced the workload by at least half, and we are on our way to having a reserved parking place at the orange and the blue mega hardware stores.  And the house was in no way a “fixer-upper.”


Close to a daily phenomenon.

What’s left of our Stuff won’t be here before 26 Aug, so we are living at a beach motel. Kinda funky, but quiet and comfortable.  Tooooo hot and stormy to enjoy being on the boat. The thunderstorm deluges, heavy and full of electricity, roll through around 1300, 1500 or 1700 depending how strong the sea breezes are on the east and west coasts of Florida and the general atmospheric circulation. Because of this, they can roll through from any direction, and a few have developed directly above us with no warning. Stormeye has been very useful in keeping track of the situation. The temps have been 90+ at the coast and 95+ inland with humidities between 40% and 70%. The 40% afternoons have actually been tolerable and rare as snake feet. Makes our pool look really inviting.

>86°F (30°C) = Trouble

86Heat is a factor in all chemical reactions. Hotter is almost always faster. Drug degradation and alteration is designed to be minimized by keeping the majority of them between 68-77°F (optimal) or 59-86°F (maximal).

As we cope with another southern summer aboard, we have been assessing the best way to keep our medicine chest (boxes and bags actually) cool when the AC is not in use. The good news is we have never encountered temps outside this range in the Bahamas during cruising season. The bad news is we can’t leave the medicines aboard the boat with the AC off during hurricane season travels — air and water temps are near 90°F. Hot car trunks are a non-starter. It gets over 135°F in there. As we were working our way through this, we came upon the article below which is worth reading.

Mistakes in Storage May Alter Medication
Published: August 15, 2011

Spare Me, The Details

We’ve met those who cruise almost without spares (Laissez les bons temps rouler or just lazy?). We know others who cruise with a spare for almost everything (two boats, two boats in one). Spares inventories are most useful when they balance degree of risk with likelihood of need with ability to fund.

Sunk Cost

One thing to remember is a big spares inventory is pretty much a sunk cost. If one decides to sell the boat, selling the spares separately is about the only way to recover a significant portion of their value. Estimates are brand new, low-tech spares (e.g., pumps, valves, hose, etc.) are generally worth only 5-15% of their cost when sold as part of the boat. Higher tech items — 30-50% (e.g., injector pumps, autopilot drives, etc.). However, a large and comprehensive spares inventory could be a deal maker.

So just as with budgeting, we built a table for helping us decide how to allocate risk and cost. We did some binning. We binned on the basis of type of spare and type of sparing. Other cruisers’ bins will be different.

Broad Classes of Spares

There are two broad classes of spares, those which: Continue reading

Adjusting Docklines

Google caught us!

Google caught us!

We had floating docks in Brunswick. Here we don’t. We had eight foot spring tides in Brunswick. Here the tides swing through maybe a foot and a half on a full moon. But in Brunswick we only had three points to moor to and here we have four. There, we could reach each shore cleat in an instant. Here, we must reach for pilings just beyond reach. In Brunswick, we could use our midship boarding gate to come and go. Here, we have to go ashore from the foredeck. In Brunswick, there was always a chance any boat next to us could break loose and be bashing us in seconds. Here there are pilings between all boats.

We got our dock lines from the Chesapeake out of storage and discovered we needed two new spring lines — the slip here is much longer than the one in Deale. We ordered two. The next day, we got a back order notice. An hour later, we got an email announcing a better breed of dock line would be on sale today only. I called and cancelled the back ordered order and this morning ordered the sale items for $50 less.

And now we have to make up a duplicate set of lines from our traveling dock lines to use as doublers in the event of a tropical storm.

And then there is the chafing gear — both for the daily lines and the doublers. [It appears an arborist supply shop is the best source!]

There is nothing about cruising that cannot end up more complicated than first imagined.

Happy Hour

truckIt all started with a Vero Beach Marina Happy Hour. That led to dinner. That lead to a diner asking someone to drive his car back to the Chesapeake. That led to us volunteering. That led to us deciding it would be a great opportunity to bring our stored stuff from Maryland and Georgia to Florida. And then it fell through. But our flywheel was spinning now.

So we rented a one-way car (Ka-ching, this car cost more than renting a one-way and driving all the way to Maryland last June) and drove to Georgia and retrieved our car from storage. Then we drove to Virginia. We planned to pick up the rental truck in Annapolis the following day — we went to Texas instead.

snowThen we drove back to Maryland to pick up the rental truck and got stalled by eight inches of snow the day we had rescheduled the pick up. The following cold day, we loaded the truck and got out of the DC area well before rush hour, whew! The truck went squirrely in every gust and with each passing truck and bus. What was interesting was the number of otherwise aerodynamic looking cars that bumped me around as much as the trucks. Nothing matched the Vanhool buses though. Would have been nice if the radio and driver’s side door lock worked. Still it did the job at  $1/mile (a 20% discount), not counting gasoline at 11 mpg.

We got to Vero Beach late in the afternoon yesterday. We still had to unload the truck. We had to buy a dolly because the mini warehouse doesn’t have carts. We have a dolly stored with our household goods.

Only had one glass of wine at that Happy Hour. Glad it wasn’t more.

OB wan no go be

A rare sight these days.

A rare sight these days.

Over time we have had a variety of outboard motors, starting in ’74 with a British Seagull on our trimaran. It had a tank of puny proportions and the engine had to be allowed to cool completely before the tank could be refilled. But it wasn’t finicky about fuel oil mixtures. Too much oil? Just bluer smoke.

Then came an Evinrude for the 23 footer. Its tank was the standard six gallon metal job with a painful handle, inaccurate gauge, and a rust ring on the deck. It was finnicky! We ended up using labware to measure the oil. We parted company in ’77.

It wasn’t until we downsized to the Cape Dory that we were back to pull starting a Johnson. Same tank issues. But it wasn’t finicky, or we had learned what we were doing, I don’t know which.

We decided small outboard fuel tanks were dangerous and messy enough, when we bought the Sea Pearl, we used an electric trolling motor. But with the Freedom we had a RIB…well for a bit we did. The tubes started peeling away from the hull. I think I was the first person to ever get the RIB up to planing speed which was why this failure hadn’t happened much sooner. We gave it to the Sea Scouts as a project. Same pull start — mixing oil issues, but at least it had a plastic tank. No more rust rings or rubber mats.

We bought a new RIB and four stroke outboard and tank about the time two stroke engines started to be hard to get. No more oil mixing, but it was not delivering the torque the two strokes produced. We sold the Freedom before we got frustrated enough to buy another outboard.

And then, we bought Brilliant Star, and we decided it was time for a new outboard for the new RIB. Unfortunately, ethanol was now being added to fuel, and the outboard succumbed to bad policy. We bought another of the same brand which had been redesigned to accommodate politics, and it ran fine, until the fuel separated into gas, water, and ethanol. It liked the gas, the other stuff not a bit.

Equipment damage aside, one needs to burn ethanol degraded gasoline pretty much the day it comes off the tanker truck. Each day is a clock tick toward problems with starting, running…

We bought a three gallon tank to force us to turn over the fuel faster. Twice we had to recycle rotten gas. Policy saved 0.6 gallon of gas by forcing 10% ethanol on us, and we had to recycle 4 gallons to be able to run the engine reliably. But now with a tank of clean, dry Bahamian gas, woohoo, we actually found out the outboard had as many horsepower as advertised. And then we needed a new fuel hose and tank since neither we had gotten with the OB had been designed for ethanol.

We decided we could go back to a six gallon tank since it was getting easier to find unadulterated gasoline in the US (easier, not easy). Ah, but the EPA had upped the ante. Now we had to buy a non-vented gas can with a fancy-dancy fuel hose with a special pressure regulator and more expensive hose and bulb to work with the tank.

Wrong! Yesterday we launched the dinghy to do our pre-checks for the Bahamas, and the engine started fine — but it would only run until it had sucked a vacuum in the fuel hose between the regulator and the engine. About 45 seconds. It ran just like an engine disconnected from fuel with the high speed run-up and backfire a the end.

And of course the mega supplier of the fancy-dancy hose said…wait for it…

“Its the engine.”

And when the tank heats up in the Florida sun it looks like a rectangular red manatee. How can anyone think a non-vented gasoline tank is a good idea?