Saturday, November 29, 2014

We are still alive and kicking! Alberg 30 refit coming soon!

We are still here and doing well. Unfortunately we have been very busy, and as a result have not kept up with the blog. There are a few reasons for that; the first being that my computer is limping along after having coffee spilled on it. I have it up and working but it is not very easy to use (requires an auxillary keyboard, an auxillary fan for starters). Another problem is that someone stole my Canon T2i. I admit that I was careless in leaving it on the dock the day I motored Sal around the corner to the next marina to be hauled. When I remembered that I had left it on the dock about 30 minutes later, I went back to look and it was already gone. Some asshole at Bay Point Marina had stolen it off the dock. I put signs up asking for it to be returned and informed the office in case it was turned in...but of course it has not found its way home. After these 2 electronic setbacks I took a break from posting. It has been on my mind but I just never could get myself around to it. I hope to replace the camera soon but for now I'm just using the cell phone for photos. Fortunately, they're pretty hi-tech these days:

This stunning photo was taken with the camera on my phone. It's a beautiful sunset across the Elizabeth River, which is a pretty typical view during my shift on the ferry.

The first mate and I have been busy learning and testing for additional new skills that will hopefully help us earn a small living when we set sail on Salacia. The first mate completed her personal trainer certification, which will complement her yoga teaching, and allow her to coach others toward health and wellness. She enjoys it, and hopes to find a way of sharing the love of physical activity with others. 
And I have finally completed my captain's license. I am now a 100T Master Near Coastal with Sailing Endorsement Inland. This is a big accomplishment for me. I worked for quite a while getting all the paperwork straight, not to mention the years at sea beforehand. I had quite a bit more sea time than what was required for the license. It finally came in last Friday. I hope to continue working the ferry and possibly even assume a shift as a captain soon. In the meantime, I have been working a lot of weekends as a deckhand to put money into the refit fund.

I'm legit!

The unfortunate part of us being so busy is that we have not done very much with Sal in a few months. She is patiently waiting for her refit to begin. I hope it will begin soon. I am working now to procure all the parts to build a 14'x40' shelter over her. Getting her under shelter is priority one! This will allow me to refinish decks, hatches and just about any other work that will require her to stay dry.
 I have been thinking a lot about where to start. I think I am going to tackle the interior, then the deck and finally the hull, in that order. At least that's the plan for now. I am still pondering repowering her, and I have noticed that her rudder needs some basically a complete refit will be in order. This is just fine with us because we have the time and spreading the work out will allow us to fund the project. When she is complete we will have a better-than-new Alberg 30.

Tall Ship Godspeed docked at waterside near mile marker zero on ICW a few weeks ago.

I will be posting more often and I hope to get the electronic situation under control here in the next month (it's yet ONE MORE unexpected expense added to the pile...ugh).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just Checking In

Hello all, I am just checking in., not much to report. The boat has been home for about 6 weeks now. We have begun to unload her. The mast has been removed and placed on sawhorses in the back yard and we have slowly begun to unload her. 
I will be posting pictures soon but we currently experiencing some computer issues due to some spilled coffee. I am currently researching the bow boat shed as a feasible shelter for Sal while she is being refit.

Check back, pics will be coming soon!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Salacia our Alberg 30 is now home

Here she is sitting by the house. What a relief!
Busy day ahead, just a quick update, I will post more later

Sunday, August 3, 2014

She's Out of the Water

The business around here continues. However, I finally found the time to get ole Sal out of the water and onto the trailer. This will be a short post as I have more pictures and a few videos to download and I still have to get her home. 

Boatel forklift lifting mast off, it didn't cost me anything. Big savings!

Here the boat is set on the trailer. At this point she was a bit wobbly up there with no bow support and only 2 hull supports. I had to move her to a place with electricity where I could fabricate and weld rest of the supports

There is the trailer and boat, long project almost finished


Adding bow support before heading home for the day. I was tired

Returned the next day to add the remainder of the hull supports

There she is on a finished trailer, I tried to keep the supports away from hull so I can work on it, Looks pretty good I think.

I will post more pictures and a few video as I get them downloaded. I am off to marina this morning to crane mast up on boat and secure it. If rain holds out for a few days I will be able to get her into my yard.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Too Many Pokers

Over the last couple of months since completing Sal's trailer, I feel as though I have become stretched too thin. I have yet to get our Alberg 30 out of the water. This is starting to concern me. It seems with each passing day I get busier and busier. I have taken on a part time job as a deckhand to add hours to my 100T captain's license. I am constantly volunteering my services to help a few friends repair engines that need rebuilding. Along with a few other obligations and a full time job, I am just busy; too busy. As the old saying goes I have too many pokers in the fire!
As I lay in bed last night I was considering what can I do to regain control and the answer is quite simple. Focus...focus on one thing at a time. 
We will get Salacia out of the water. Once I do I want to make sure that I have a clear plate to ensure that she gets finished in a timely manner. So I just need to to buckle down, clear some of these projects I have already started, and then learn to say no to any new ones for the time being. 

Wheel house of the ferry where I've been deck-handing; hope to be the captain soon : )

Paddle wheel of the ferry. They are relatively small ferries (67 tons,150 passengers) but they will be a good starting ground for working as a paid captain.

I am working this part time job to boost my experience as a captain and log sea hours. First mate and I are working toward becoming cruisers. We are not wealthy by any means, and so we will have to earn money along the way. I am hoping that with this license I will be able to find work in port. First mate has already done her part by becoming a yoga instructor, and is growing her skills by teaching a couple of classes a week. We are hoping that with these two occupations we can earn money during our journeys to distant places.
Stay tuned- Soon enough Old Sal's refit will begin!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bittersweet Deal

Last weekend I went to the marina to start removing the sails and other stuff stored on the boat in preparations for bringing her home. I went into the marina office to let them know I would be leaving this month. We had gone to a month-by-month on slip payments because we knew we would be taking her out and I'd never bothered to read the fine print...apparently there is a clause that says they require 30 days notice. Because of this I had to pay the slip for June as well. So with no argument from me we are going to keep Sal in the water one more month....horrible, I know ; ) 
Other than that not much else to report. Been giving some serious thought to what areas of the boat I want to address during the refit. Seems as though I could make the list go on for days. I am going to start writing  these ideas down and prioritizing which areas are "Needs" and which are "Wants". Stay tuned for more on that! 

This picture was taken three years ago this weekend. We sailed  across the Chesapeake Bay to Kiptopeke State Park and anchored at the concrete ships for the weekend.

Our anchorage spot was quite nice, a bit of a roll at times but otherwise perfect.

We enjoyed three evenings of this view.

Everyone have a safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A day at the park

Often when the wind isn't blowing we look for other adventures locally to enjoy our time together and get some exercise. Last Sunday was one of those days, no wind (...forecasted, anyway...) and a bright sunshiny day. We went on a biking adventure to Back Bay Wildlife Preserve and False Cape State Park. This is a park located at the very southeastern corner of Virginia and is only accessible by bicycle or foot. It's quite a hike to get there. So we loaded up the bikes and headed out for an epic bike adventure, our first one of the year.

We parked at Little Island City Park about 1/2 mile from the Back Bay Wildlife Preserve. I unloaded and strapped the camera on to the rack and we were off on our adventure.

We only made about 100ft from parking lot when we found a launch for kayaks and canoes- here is the First Mate at the launch spot.
 The launch puts into Back Bay, a shallow bay full of wildlife and beautiful scenery. We wanted to check it out, as we had obtained a gently used canoe over the winter and need a good spot to try it out. I always enjoyed canoeing as a youngster and look forward to a future epic canoe adventure from this site. 

As always...someone found the water! She couldn't resist. If there's an ocean she'll jump in, dressed appropriately or not.

We were fortunate that it was low tide and we were able to ride our bikes on the beach along the shore, which extends all the way to the state line into NC.  If we had fatter bike tires we would have been able to explore the beach much further. As is was the tide was on its way in so after an hour or so on the beach we headed back into the park.

Beautiful beaches here, we had it almost completely to ourselves. There were a handful of other walkers and another couple on bikes but that was about it. Because cars are unable to come anywhere close to this beach and sunbathing and swimming aren't allowed, it has remained very pristine.

After returning to the park from the beach we traveled down the gravel trails and finally made it to False Cape State Park. 

After riding for a while we decided to take a break and take some pictures. Here is  the First Mate cheesing for the camera.

Trying upload her pics to success....the place has no cell phone reception. Too bad! It does however, have several marsh pools that are full of wildlife. We saw turtles and snakes swimming, and an egret stalking prey.

Another shot of pristine beaches looking south toward North Carolina, which is only a few miles from this point on the beach.

As you can see from this photo it was a near perfect day for an adventure in the park. It turns out that there was quite a nice breeze blowing off the Atlantic all day. It would have made for a nice sail on Salacia but we had an equally fun time here in the park. 

Looking out over Back Bay

This was one of the nicest days we have spent outside in a long time. After the winter we've endured, it was even more magnificent. The weather was perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed the beach, park and each other's company.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Craiglist find- $50 Bomar Hatch

From reading this blog you may or may not have picked on a few things about us so I will tell you: 1) We like finding deals 2) We like building things on our own. 
These are both done in an effort to save money. If I did not do it this way I would not be able to afford the boat I have. 
As our dream is to one day voyage to distant places, I plan on upgrading our boat to a live-aboard blue-water cruiser. Many of the items sold to make boats blue-water worthy, such as ocean capable hatches and portlights are extremely expensive. Because I want to build a capable cruiser and will not sacrifice safety I look for parts, used and new on Craigslist. Many times there are very good deals to be found. You just have to be patient and know what you are looking for.  
One of the upgrades we wanted for our Sal was more light and ventilation below. She is quite dark and stuffy down below when all closed up. This was something that I have been thinking about and preparing for as we start the upcoming refit. 

Here is a picture of the existing forward hatch. 
It's small and does not let much light in at all. The other thing it does not offer is an escape from the boat should there be an emergency situation, such as galley fire. We need a larger hatch. I had been thinking about making a wooden hatch but scrapped that idea. I was looking at buying a hatch like a Lewmar 60 such as James Baldwin of installed in an Alberg 30 but at near $650 it was just too cost prohibitive for us. So I turned to scouring Craiglist for a suitable unit. 
Here's what I found yesterday:

Bomar 1000 series hatch measuring 18.5" x 18.5". There was no price, the ad said "make offer". I never like to insult anyone and always try to gauge what they have in mind. When I asked what he had in mind...he replied $50....not wanting to show much emotion I looked it over for a minute asked where he had gotten it from, and then said I'd take it.

Poor picture but as you can see from the photo this hatch is in great shape, even the lens! I will buy a new gasket and put levers to open it from outside like the newer Bomar units sold. Even then I believe I will have less than $150 in a hatch that cost $550+ new.

Another item I found on craigslist a while back was this 6" ABI portlight, NEW. These units were $450 when they were available, and they are no longer made. I found this one an hour away for $75 with screen. This will be added to the cockpit bulkhead near the galley to provide ventilation when cooking and another source of light over the galley. A great find!

Here is the video that James Baldwin of posted on YouTube showing the install of a similar hatch on an Alberg 30 like Salacia. He makes it look easy....not sure it will be that easy for me.

Looks like Salacia will be in the water for 1 more month. The trailer is nearly complete, just wiring left. It will probably take me one afternoon to finish it. With my vigorous work schedule this past few weeks I have not been able to get the mast removed from boat. Oh well, we'll go sailing for a few more weeks....horrible alternative!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alberg 30 trailer nearing completion, Alberg 30 Salacia first sail of 2014

In the last post we were in the middle of a great weekend. Saturday night we went to an amazing concert, Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band. It was a spectacular display of pure musicianship, the band had so many talented musicians. They rocked for 3 hours straight! The following day we went sailing. 80 degrees, sunny and a good breeze out of the south made for a great first sail of 2014. We tacked back and forth just outside the inlet for 3 hours, it was much fun and more importantly...very relaxing.

First Mate enjoying the sail. 
We took it easy and just flew the large genoa. It was enough to push Sal along at 3-4 knots all afternoon. I am hoping to make 1 or 2 more sails before taking her out of the water. I'd like to sail out to the Chesapeake Light, about 12 miles offshore. We'll see if time should, aren't we the ones setting the schedule? In the meantime I am working on a video of our sail. I am practicing with some video editing software so it is taking me a while.

Progress on the trailer continues slowly but surely. All that is left is the wiring. 
A shot from the back just before installing the rear lights. 
I will be adding 4 additional supports to hold Sal in place, but this will be done at the boat yard with Sal still in the slings resting lightly on the trailer.

All the front clearance lights and DOT reflective tape installed. Really breaks up that black paint nicely.

Another side shot showing the tongue of the trailer all painted and ready to go.

This trailer is long, nearly 30 ft long. First Mate's classy 'Stang at the end there : )

Here is the wiring...yeah... it's a mess. I am  just beginning to tackle it. In the picture you can see I installed the new brake controller (top left); this unit will apply the brakes should the trailer break away from the tow vehicle. It is a safety requirement, and so there it is. 

Another shot of wiring spaghetti that I will have to sort out over the next few days. Once the wiring is completed the trailer will be ready.

All in all we are progressing along nicely and working to get Sal home so we can start her refit. I am beginning to give thought to all the areas and items that need to be addressed. It's nice to be able to turn my attention to something else. Stay tuned: there will be a boat on the trailer soon!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beautiful weekend-In progress

The last few days the weather here has been great, nearly perfect! I finished all of the welding on the trailer and finally applied some paint to most of it. I was only able to paint the front half but its getting there. This Alberg 30 trailer will soon have an Alberg 30 sailboat on it.
Here is what our Alberg 30 trailer project looks like this am, starting to come together

We went to an absolutely great Bruce Springsteen concert last night, one of the best performances I've ever seen. The E Street band was amazing. They played for 3 hrs straight. It was well worth the money. Today WE ARE GOING SAILING!!!! It is going to be close to 80 degrees and there will be a nice southerly breeze. Check back for pictures and a sailing report

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alberg 30 Trailer Coming Along- Almost Finished Construction

The weather here in Virginia has finally broken. We are now seeing the type of weather one would expect to see for spring, now that the temperature is up and it is not raining. I have been able to get quite a bit done on the trailer. 

Finally got some new tires for trailer. One more thing I can scratch off the to-do list. These 8x14.5 tires are not easy to find - I had to travel a few towns over. I repainted the rims and they look pretty good mounted to the reconditioned hubs. She's starting to look like something!

Back on the street! Yard is still quite wet...definitely too wet to lay on so I moved the operation to the street.

She's a long one. This Alberg 30 trailer is just a tad too long for my driveway.

All welding equipment ready to go. This day I completed a lot of the finish welding. Most of the added beam and keel supports were just tacked using the small MIG welder. I arc welded all the main supports and trailer tongue.

I also added some nice D rings. I have added 4 so far. I will add two more once I have the boat on the trailer. This way I can place them exactly where they will be needed. These small details take time, but in the end it will make for a very nice trailer.

I should be able to make more progress over the next few days. The weather is supposed to hold out through the weekend. If it does, I might have the trailer nearly finished. 

Still to do:
  • Wiring
  • Sand trailer
  • Paint....
  • Go get Salacia!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giving in...just a little

I have come to rationalization that getting Salacia out of the water is just not going to happen by the end of March. The weather has yet again taken a turn for the worst, and I have my real job requiring me to put in some overtime. I began to get very stressed out about getting the trailer completed by the end of this month. Our sailing adventures (even the building of a trailer for our Alberg 30) are not supposed to be stressful. Due to the combination of stress, weather and time (not to mention the fact that the trailer still needs some work) I have decided to keep Sal in the water through April.
On a good note, we did have a few temperate days this week and I took advantage. I installed the new fenders I purchased last week and I began drilling the holes for all the lights. 
Adding fenders to the trailer. 

I painted the fenders black when I was done with them. 
I did not want the bare metal to get rusty so after all the fabrication work I did a little painting. Prior to paint application, the First Mate helped sand the fenders to give the paint something to stick to. We'll also paint the entire trailer to match before it's finished.

Still needing to be completed on the trailer:
  • Final welding of all main structural support
  • Wiring
  • Tires
  • More Painting

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Gives.....

 I am writing this post from a nice warm house while enjoying a hot cup of coffee, thankful for the home and family I am surrounded by...... BUUUUUUT........Of course, it's raining out and will be for the next 3 days. I realize that it's still winter but enough already. The forecast for the next 3 days is cold, windy and rain. I know many others would agree when I say ENOUGH ALREADY! One bright note about this weather is that it's not snow. It sure does not seem like spring is a week away...I don't believe it!
Ok, enough complaining. I did have one good day of weather and that was yesterday. I took full advantage of the day and continued work on the trailer. It is coming along.

New drum and brake assembly.

It was decided a few weeks ago that I was going to make the trailer 100% legal and add brakes. Original plan was to forgo the brakes because I was only transporting the boat 15 miles. This weighed heavy in the back of my mind. I just worried about the worst case scenario, and finally decided the money and time spent installing the brakes outweighed taking the chance. 

Here was the old drum. It was too far gone to use with the new brakes so I purchased new ones. I did get both new brake assemblies welded and adjusted yesterday. All that is needed to complete the brakes now is wiring. All in all not too bad a job. 

Work in progress. 

I now have all the axles done except for one wheel hub. I simply ran out of daylight. One more hour and the axles and suspension will be finished. About 6-8 more hours of work and I will be able to set Sal's 9000lbs on the trailer. That day will probably be the day I get my first gray hair.

Here is the axle assembly ground down awaiting the welding of the backing plate/brake assembly. I am sorry I don't have any pictures of the finished assembly welded on. Was trying to beat darkness and poor weather. I did not make it. One hub left to grease the bearings and install.

Welding new backing plate on axle. Job was really not bad at all.

I wanted to add a note about the axles that are being used. Yes, they are mobile home axles, they are rated for 6000lb each of limited usage. These are not meant for long distance hauling. I am aware of this. One of the reasons is the parts used. While they are heavy duty enough to carry the rated weight, things like no bushings in the springs or suspension parts causes excessive wear rather quickly. The axle bearing seals are merely dust covers. This means they will wear faster. Once the axles have the proper tires they are 100% legal to use. Many people complain that the parts for these axles are hard to find. I did not find that to be the case at all. While not readily available at local parts stores, I found most parts at a local trailer specialty store. I also sourced a few of the replacement parts like the new drums and brake assemblies over the internet. I feel confident that with all the parts being inspected, serviced, greased and replaced as needed these axles will do the job of getting Sal back and forth the 15 miles to the water.  Should I later decide to take our Alberg over the road, I will upgrade the axles as whole units.

Here is a before and after photo of the same hub and axle assembly. I am happy I decided to check the bearings. It created more work and meant a bit more money spent, but the finished product is peace of mind. A few hours of work, some paint, a few parts and some grease, and this axle is ready to carry Sal.

Stay tuned, this really is a blog about becoming liveaboards and cruisers.... I promise you'll see a sailboat again on the blog soon.