After our Memorial Day sail Annette and I agreed we would do two weekends of boat work and sail on the third. We had no way of knowing that third weekend would be the best conditions we could possibly hope for! Long live the Lucky Duck! The day of departure the winds were North, North-East turning east. As the chart below shows, longer we could keep those North winds the more sailing we would do that day. As luck would have it the weather man was wrong and we were able to sail door-to-door as indicated by the track with showing our “tacks” on the way out. The return track is nice and smooth indicating we either had the wind behind the beam or we had no wind and had to motor. Sadly the second was true for the trip home!
Annette and I arrived Wye River mid day after a spectacular morning 23 mile sail. We had lovely afternoon swimming and simply relaxing in the warm but not hot sunshine. Believe it or not, there is not a whole lot of relaxing done on Magnolia. Our girl needs a lot of love and we have a lot to learn so we are normally pretty busy. That day though was for us!
Before returning to Galesville we dropped the Blossom (or dinghy) in the water and explored further up river. We have a 9ft RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) with a 15 horse outboard. If provides us the ability to sneak up into some really small creeks which are often really really cool!
Note our anchorage in the lower left corner.
After returning from a wonderful Memorial Day sail with our friends Brian & Patricia it was time for Annette and I to get to work on our girl. The first order of business was to get after the the Navigation Station, or has we call it, the Nav-Station. The Nav-Station is exactly what its names implies and is located right at the base ladder to the cockpit. From this location you can easily communicate with the helmsmen, manage the charts and stay connected with the boats surroundings. In Magnolia’s particular case, Admiral Annette does 90% of the driving, at dock and underway. I handle most of the navigation duties and along with the handling the lines. This system works best for us.
After removing the out of date LORAN units the station really needed a full rebuild and update. The face-plate had holes from old equipment and just needed a complete redesign.
The updated design needed to have wind; direction and speed water; temperature, depth along with Magnolia’s speed through the water. In addition there is an updated VHF Radio along with and updated stereo, have to have music right? In addition we needed to reserve space for a future Single Side Band (SSB) radio which is a type of HAM radio used to receive long range voice communication along with weather and email data. We also included a 12volt outlet for charging computers and phones. There was a lot time in the mockup to make sure the current and future planned equipment would fit.
Back on Magnolia the picture might show me (dorky electrical guy) attaching the last of the wires but the Admiral was in there stripping wire and crimping on connectors.
In the in end the behind the scenes wiring came out neat and well organized which is exactly what we wanted.
The final product came out better than we could have hoped though the picture really does not show it. I forgot we included the plaque celebrating Magnolia’s 1991 Biloxi, MS Challenge victory. Yup our girl is fast as well as being a comfortable cruiser.
While we redoing the nav-station we enclosed the cabinet just the right for additional storage. When we are living onboard for months at a time storage space is going to be king!
Now its time to go sailing!
It has been a long busy winter and spring aboard Magnolia. We had the mast pulled and re-built essentially from the metal up. We made a number of modifications to enhance our ability to manage the rig. It is essential that Annette and I can safely and easily manage the sails and running rigging. The safety aspect is self evident but the more subtle reason is the more we will use them! It is all to easy to reach down and turn the ignition switch to start the diesel!
In addition to the rigging we installed cabling and antennas for VHF, Television, Cellular and Single Side Band (SSB -”HAM Radio”). The cost of installation while the mast is already out of the boat is insignificant compared to trying to do anyone of them while the mast is installed. The VHF (Very High Frequency) radio is constantly in use as it is our primary means to communicate with boats around us and to receive weather reports. Its range is limited to 10-15 miles. Its importance is of such significance that we have a second, completely separate installation below at the Nav Station with the antenna mounted on the aft davits. In addition we carry a hand-held aboard Blossom our dingy. You never know when the Admiral Annette wants to add an item to the grocery list! The Television antenna is self explanatory though not sure how much we will use that. The cellular antenna will vastly extend cellular coverage particularly outside of urban areas. We also have the ability to obtain internet access through this means. We have a portable WIFI antenna as our primary access which has given is ranges of over 2 miles on WIFI! Longer range communications will be done through SSB. As with VHF we can talk to other boats but at much greater ranges, hundreds of miles and in some cases thousands of miles. This radio also allows us to send text only emails and receive weather maps to the computer.
It seems with any contractor there are delays. Our rigger got behind a few weeks but the quality of his work is impeccable. Late one Saturday afternoon our rigger was making winch mount for the reefing winch. It was a couple pieces of shaped aluminum held together with clamps etc. The next morning on our return there was this beautifully crafted mount. The craftsmanship was unbelievable and it would look right at home installed in one our missiles, well minus the winch of course!
Annette and I had made a commitment to meet the Pentagon Sailing Club in LaTrappe Creek, MD about 45 miles away over the Memorial Day weekend. Annette and I took re-delivery of Magnolia about Friday noon spent the afternoon and evening getting settled in. The next morning our friends and crew Patricia & Brian Peters came aboard and we were off! Straight from the shipyard to sea! As Captain Ron said, “if its gonna happen, its gonna happen out there!” Thankfully the weatherman’s forecast of no wind was wrong and we had a wonderful 44 mile sail. We shut down the engine and raised the sails at the end of the dock and we were off! It was a great weekend away.
(Patricia Peters at the helm as Annette enjoys the sail!)
This and next weekend are heavily laden with chores! This weekend was getting the Nav Station all wired up with VHF, Sailing instruments and the required stereo. We used a sacrificial piece of plywood to test fit everything. This week will transfer all those cut outs in the wood to our final piece, a very nicely finished piece of teak. After that we move straight into installation of the auto-pilot! As you can see, it never ends!