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Friday, May 28, 2010

5/28/2010 - Odds & Ends

Let's see, what's been going on?

Had to do some research into my battery charging system before I wire up the solar panels. I have a fancy-pants Xantrex charger as well as a Blue Seas ACR (automatic charging relay) and I think they may have been working at cross purposes because my starting batteries, although they appear to be charged, cannot actually crank the engine over more than once or twice. I disconnected the ACR to see if that will fix it but so far, no joy. Next step is to use the Xantrex charger to "equalize" my starting batteries. Equalizing, as I understand it, is forcing a high (about 16 VDC) charge through the battery causing the sulfate that's been building up during charging to slough off, restoring the batteries. Once I've done that and read some more stuff, I think I'll know enough to add the solar panels into the mix.

Changed out the shorter secondary anchor rode for the longer one as mentioned a few days ago. Also strung them both out so I could measure them and know once and for all how much rode I have and what the marks that a previous owner had made on the rode meant. Turns out the marks are spaced about 20' apart.

Lulu is working on making Sunbrella covers for the milk crates we use for various on-deck purposes. This will protect the contents from the sun (not a big worry so far but certainly one we anticipate having) as well as keep the contents in the crate when things get bumpy. Here she is wielding her hot knife:

She also made canvas covers for our spare diesel jerry jugs so they don't deteriorate in the sun. Now she's cutting holes in the covers so it's easier to grasp the jug handles.

We decided last night to quit going to our Spanish class. The class is pretty good but some of our classmates waste so much time arguing about fine points of grammar that have little to do with understanding what's being said as well as showing how smart they are by jumping ahead and disrupting the flow of the lesson instead of just doing as the instructor asks. They also have this overwhelming drive to try to translate everything word-for-word which just doesn't work. We feel that the class itself has become something of a waste of our time. We do enjoy the lessons that are e-mailed out every week and anticipate continuing to get them for awhile yet.

Tonight we're going to the members-only sneak preview of the new Swamplands exhibit at the Aquarium. It's going to be crowded but c'est a vie. We'll go back in a week or two, during mid-week when it's not as crowded. This is going to be an interesting weekend at the Aquarium. It's Memorial Day weekend and Swamplands is debuting. Should be quite a zoo, so to speak.

Got a new (to me anyway) Garmin g2 map chip for our chartplotter. Plugged this teeny little piece of plastic into the GPS and voila, I suddenly have detailed charts of California and the west coast of Mexico including both coasts of Baja. This stuff is amazing. And seductive. I can see how people can be cajoled into giving up paper charts altogether. But I guess I'm still enough of a Luddite to carry the constant worry that anything electrical can and/or will fail sooner or later. Maybe it's my Amish ancestry.

Just came back from the local metal fabricator (Halco Welding) where I bought a nice big piece of aluminum plate to use as a backing plate to the cleats I'm going to install on the foredeck for tying off the anchor(s) when they're deployed. The backing plate is like a huge washer. In order for the cleats to get ripped out of the deck, a very big chunk of deck would have to go too. Not very likely.

Speaking of anchors, I tried hanging our new Rocna on the bowsprit. On the first try I didn't much like the fit. It rubbed on the furling gear and just looked awkward. I had about resigned myself to having to haul it up on deck. But when I went forward to take some pictures for the blog, I brought it up to the bow sprit again and found, with a little finesse, it can be made to hang satisfactorily.

Now, when we head out to sea I may still bring it on deck. But for cruising around from anchorage to anchorage I think the fit on the sprit will be OK. I do have to tack a piece of metal to the bowsprit to protect the wood from the anchor.

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