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!