2017-12-16–Inexpensive Rearview Camera

The one obvious difference between Magnolia-S and –M was you when we looked behind the sailboat you could see you behind you…not so much. I did some looking and found out I could actually get a camera and monitor a lot cheaper than I expected. The system I put together started with a camera (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EJ09X8G/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


The video signal runs through a cable with a BNC connector so it was important to have a monitor with a BNC input. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KJVERF8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


Additionally I purchased a cable which is a combination video and power cable. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H274A6Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


I also purchased connectors for the power cable but I also will use these on an LED lighting project as well. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VESYK0S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


Last but not least was a mount for the camera so I could attach it to the bimini support. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DGLC2AK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1)  I found as I was writing this item is no longer available from Amazon.


I first identified a circuit breaker to provide 12volt power to the camera and the video monitor. I cut the 120v to 12v power supply off the video monitor power cable and spliced the remaining connector into the 12v line. In addition I used Maxmoral connector to neatly get power the video camera as well. Connecting the video cable to the Camera and monitor I powered the system up for a test run.


I really was surprised how good the picture was. After initial testing the cable was run through a standard Krogen cable run. Up through the column between starboard and center window.


Aft along the port side in the cable run above the curtain


and finally up to the fly bridge.


Once up to the fly bridge that run is till being finalized. I also need to make a starboard interface between the mount and the camera.


So how does it work, really amazing for about $100! Even the the low-light condition the picture is pretty amazing!


If you have questions feel free to reach out and will gladly help if I can!

2017-12-13 What a Month, But Magnolia IS in the “wild”

The Admiral and I always do what we can to be in Vero Beach, FL for the Cruisers Thanksgiving Potluck. It is a great time to catch up with all the cruisers before people head off to the Bahamas or the Florida Keys. Though Magnolia was ready to go, we were chicken to take her rather than a rental car. The mooring field can be crowded and we certainly did not want our first trip out to end with a dented fender….I already did that but I was 16 and….I digress.  In the end we took the rental car and had a great time catching up with many of our friends.


Friday though we were up early and ready to get Magnolia underway headed to an anchorage in Stuart.


We had a wonderful cruise down the St Lucie river to Stuart….when we arrived and set the anchor though…we found the forward bilge full of hydraulic oil. Not good, not the end of the world but not good.


The leak was coming from the the anchor windlass hydraulic plumbing.  The leak was luckily contained in a void behind a bulkhead.  We were actually lucky about the leak location. Hot hydraulic fluid leaking at 1900 PSI is really nothing to take lightly. 


Annette and I pulled out the old stainless plumbing and Industrial Hose & Hydraulics came out and made replacement hoses for us. Again Annette and I installed the replacements. Here I am actually inside the chain locker….it is HUGE! We were soon ready to head out!


Our friends on on Pegasus and Exuberant drove up to the boat yard to help us with out disappointment in our equipment failure…their visit made for a delightful evening.


The “Reverend Of Sole” our friend Ray got a picture of our departure.


This was our view as we got underway. I need to point out that the Admiral docked us in that spot with no bow thruster when we returned to the dock. This was her first ever docking of Magnolia-M


This is the house we rented while work on Magnolia was being completed….just down the creek from the boat yard.


Our friend Jenifer caught a picture of us as we passed coming down the creek.


Obviously the Admiral is happy to have her vessel underway.



It was glorious day to be on the hook in Stuart…


I too am obviously happy to be back on the hook.


We were not done with our work though, there is much work to finish. I installed additional lighting in the saloon


Then there was also the faulty bilge float switch that needed to be replaced.


In addition Annette made a backing for the additional solar panels to be mounted


I installed a rear facing camera so we can who is trying to sneak up on us as we are moving on inland waters.


Life is definitely getting back to normal, Sunday morning screw and bolt sorting…


The new Blossom is ready to ferry us on our daily errands.


..and of course we had to go through our first thunderstorm with wind over 30knots..


The on the other hand, this is our backyard


and this is our home…










We have worked really hard for this opportunity are very excited to share it. If you would like to visit, please let us know and we will see what we can work in the schedule. As far as schedule…we are here in Stuart FL till the new year when we will be heading across Lake Okeechobee to visit the west coast of Florida! Please enjoy the blog and let us know about that visit!

2017-11-08 Varnish & “The Reverend of Sole”

“SOLE – Cabin or saloon floor.” One thing I always wanted to do on Magnolia-S was have the cabin sole refinished. It was one of the tasks on the must do list for Magnolia-M . The pilothouse is real Teak and Holly. Many boats have Teak & Holly veneer on plywood so I was completely surprised to find that our sole was solid boards instead. Learning that was all the more reason to restore the best we could. In regards to tools see the single edge scrapers to the left. The Reverend used those and a heat gun to quickly removed the existing varnish.



Ray, also known as the Reverend Of Sole has done A LOT of work on Magnolia. He is leading the way and lets me come and get in the way. I help where and I can and really excel at step-n-fetch.


Using the heat gun and scraper got down to the raw Teak and Holly.


The raw wood was power sanded with increasing finer paper to 220 grit.


The Reverend used the AwlGrip products on the sole.


The first coat application was absorbed like a sponge.


The Reverend used a taped 3 inch chip brush to cut the edges and then a 6 inch foam roller for application.



If the Reverend did not step on the sole he was able to apply 2 coats per workday.


This was application of coat number 4.


In the end we applied 7 coats in the Pilothouse.


The rest of the sole is teak parquet . The Reverend tapes the edge to protect the teak as he is sanding.


The plan was to give the below decks sole a good sanding and not go to the time and expense of fully stripping the sole.


After three coats of varnish and hardware re-installed they look terrific! We will be putting down some rugs and the gloss finish will make the edges really pop!


If all goes to plan we will be moving aboard next week. We are very excited to say the least.

2017-10-29 — Haul, Bottom & Stabilizers –Week #16

All the work done thus far was to get us here, to get hauled and the stabilizers serviced. Magnolia in the straps getting the “big chunks” removed.


Finally blocked and ready for a busy (very) week!


Pablo got right to work getting the bottom prepped for paint.


The biggest unknown of this whole refit was the condition of the stabilizer system. Stabilizers are very common on big cruise ships and mega yachts. . The system responds to movement in the vessel and counteracts any wave induced rolling motion. Generally it makes for a very comfortable ride in most all sea conditions. Magnolia is equipped with an older system built by SeaRocq/Koopnautic, which was purchased by Naiad. Though all the mechanical/hydraulics are supported, if the computer fails (monster pictured below) well thats gonna hurt. Will cross that bridge if we get there!


Mean while, the bottom actually looked pretty decent after sitting around for the last few years.


The corner of the trailing edge on the starboard side had taken a chip at one time or another. That is a VERY minor repair.


Since this system had been “under-maintained” for so long we brought in the Naiad Factory guys to do the work.


The best news we heard was “wow, everything looks really terrific.” This is the hydraulic actuator mounted on the interior hull and rotates the fin as commanded.


The fin/shaft assembly dropped out of the actuator assembly. The shaft looked terrific with no wear marks anywhere.


It may not look it but the Teflon coated sheath was perfect with no wear at all. We decided not to replace and hold the new ones as onboard spares.


Everything went better than we could have imagined, so happy to have that maintenance behind us. On the upside, the maintenance cycle on this system is 3-5 years as opposed to the Naiad every two years!


While we were out of the water we replaced two transducers so we would have a port and starboard depth finder. That will help keep us in the middle of the channel!


While the yard was working on the bottom I took the opportunity to varnish the deck plate that will go into the laundry “room.” Yes, its small but there really is one!





The whole team did a terrific job. Magnolia went from drip to splash in a short 7 days. There was a TON of work accomplished…it was a good week!

2017-10-22 — Nearing Completion–Week #15

Yes Yes I know….no we have not thrown in the towel and walked away..its just that the last 3 weeks have REALLY moved us down the field and closer to getting out of here! First on deck, or more accurately on the FlyBridge is the Bimini cover that Annette made. When the is not up we need to keep it get shredded in a strong wind. The cover came out terrific!


Part of our refit plan included new electronics. I installed an updated chart-plotter, new instruments, wind, radar, AIS Transponder and two depth transducers. One on each side of the keel so we know which way the deep water is. The unfortunate part is the old equipment was physically  larger than the new so I needed to make these large black Lexan plates to mount equipment in.


I was able to verify the AIS was functional by seeing Magnolia on Marine Traffic meaning our transponder was functioning.


Between the King Tides and the fact that Lake Okeechobee is dumping as much water as possible because of the high water. This caused water to completely overtake the docks and flood the parking lot.


Ray was forced to deploy his “No Wake” sign to limit a car wake from being enveloping his shop!


As you see we have finally received out Power Take-Off coupler that connects the engine to the hydraulic pump.


We were so happy to see out mechanic Jon get it installed and the pump functioning again.


As soon as we got the hydraulics functioning Jon got the rest of the engine room closed up. 


Shortly after that the Admiral (Annette) FINALLY got us off the dock! She did let me drive a little…in the straight wide part of the river that is! Thankfully all the systems check out with the exception of a small leak around the exhaust manifold…need a gasket replaced…..argh. It did set us ready for haulout..more on that in a moment.


We also received our Magnolia SWAG, available in the Ships Store on the 4th deck….Smile 


Taking to my domestic side…I did get a faucet installed in the galley!!!


We also replaced the center pilothouse window. The windows in the pilothouse are 3/8 in safety glass. Boat wise that is some heavy stuff!


Our mini sea trial was on Thursday and our friends from Kindred Spirit (Al & Michele) were arriving on Saturday.  We implored the yard to delay the haul till Monday so we could complete the sacred vessel renaming ceremony. We tried to settle the boat the best we could to have guests aboard. Pilothouse Settee


When Al & Michele arrived we actually had a little time to hang out.


We used the same script that we used for the renaming of Magnolia-S. We certainly believe completing the ceremony ensured the protection from Aeolus & Poseidon during our 4 years aboard our sailboat Magnolia. The ceremony starts with requesting the current vessel name be struck from the “records and archives.”


This is traditionally accomplished via an engraved ingot delivered to the sea floor.


In our case a piece of aluminum with the name had to suffice.



“In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea.”


Below is a description of the Black Black Box Theory by John Vigor:

 The Disease Called Cruising
9. Points in the Black Box

ON EVERY boat there’s a little black box. You can’t see it, but it’s there all the same. It’s full of points that help you get out of trouble. At least, it should be full of points.

Every time you do something seamanlike, a point goes into the black box. Every time you whip a rope-end instead of leaving it to flap itself to fluff in the breeze, you earn a point. Every time you study the chart before entering a strange port; every time you climb the mast to check the topmast fittings; every time you remember to use the bilge blower before you start the motor, the points pile up in the black box.

At sea, the system starts to work two ways. Firstly, you can continue to stuff points into the box (it accepts an infinite number) by taking seamanlike actions — say, by reefing the mainsail after you hear a gale warning on the weather forecast, or by putting on your safety harness every time you come on watch. Secondly, you can start to draw on your account.

In all small-boat voyaging there is an element of risk that cannot be eliminated. Indeed, it is the lure of danger (and overcoming it) that attracts many to the sport. Inevitably, therefore, there will be times when the ship and her crew are in danger to some degree, despite all the precautions you might take.

This is when the points start expending themselves. You have no control over when and where they’re spent. Butthey know when they’re needed. When horror is rife, when the mast is crashing down around your ears, those chips come rushing out of the black box to fight on your behalf.

But they have to be available. You must have earned them in the first place.

That’s why some boats and some sailors survive gales and capsizes when others don’t. Some boats will go aground on the only rock for miles around. Others will happily blunder through a maze of reefs.

Some people have a name for it, a four-letter word ending with u-c-k. But on our boat we don’t believe in l-*-*-* and we never pin our hopes on it. We try, instead, to earn points for our black box. We know that if misfortune catches us with an empty box we’re in trouble. Fate allows no overdrafts.

So there’s really no need to wonder why some people and some boats seem to be treated by Fate more kindly than others. It all depends on how much you’ve got in your black box.

Incidentally, you can never tell exactly how much credit you’ve earned, so you can never relax completely. If you examine your conscience you will have a fair idea of how full your black box is, but to be sure of having enough points you must keep learning the ways of the sea, and the way of a ship in the sea. And you must keep putting your knowledge to practice.

In other words: Look after your ship, and she’ll look after you.

Our friends Kurt & Debbie sent us some some small tokens to carry aboard Magnolia-s and “seed” our box aboard. In addition our friend Al & Michele made us a small black box along which also contained valuables to carry to sea with us. Between these two presents we committed to taking care of Magnolia and she we.


Conclusion of the ceremony.



A wonderful time had by all. In addition Mike Camacho who served and commissioned Ticonderoga with was able to attend the after party.


Though the galley was not ready for full service, we did manage to rummage up some snacks!!!


There was of course after snack ice cream!


Magnolia was hauled Monday morning at 7:30 am ready to spend some time on the hard.


A good bottom clean and some hull wax went a long way toward brightening her up!



The Naiad Team came up from Fort Lauderdale and quickly disassembled the stabilizers.


This one job was the most stressful thing we have had done on Magnolia since we have been here. The stabilizer system was the ships system we knew and understood the least. It is also one of the most expensive so we were truly ecstatic to find system internals to be in such good shape. A major major bullet was dodged.



It was definitely a sun came out kinda day!


I have also been helping the landlord from our rental house with some chores. In the second bedroom which quite small she wanted the back of the headboard face with knotty pine to blend in with the existing walls.


It took a little bit to figure it out but the completed project which contains 6, yes 6 wired brads came out quite nice.


Back aboard, Ray started stripping the pilothouse sole. The pilothouse is the only place where there is Teak and Holly. The varnish had broken down in several places so a complete strip down. The rest of the cabin sole is parquet and will receive light sanding and varnish. This will be a barefoot boat inside!


One of the depth transducer mounts cleaned up and ready.


I caught Ray on a rainy day dressed to the nines….how does he keep the ladies at bay! Seriously he has worked very hard, taught us a lot and helped make our vision a reality.


Meanwhile back at the rental house I have varnish on the laundry room deck plate.


Our girl fully dressed and ready to splash…hopefully Monday morning (tomorrow).



2017-10-01—Gaining Steam–Week 12

We had a very good week aboard Magnolia. We are starting to get some real momentum behind our efforts.


Early in the week the interior cushions came back from upholstery. The three of us, remember our designer (arbiter) Robbin selected a creame Ultra leather for the Saloon..yes its really called the Saloon.


We used a small pattern Sunbrella material on the Pilothouse Settee. We used the same material on the Sewing Room Settee.


Staying with fabrics look what the Admiral made! It our big fish shower curtain!


Back to the technical, got our new run cables labeled and catalogued. Hopefully sooner than later the cable run access places will go back on and either us or some future owner will now where and how things are wired.


In addition our radar arrived. We selected the Raymarine Quantum Chirp. Cannot believe how much things change. All you really need is to add power! It is connected to the network via WIFI. Now being old school I ordered the optional data cable. We will experiment with the WIFI capability.


I also got the the television antenna modified  and dry fit. On the Morgan have the antenna below the top of the mast caused for some blind reception spots. I am hopeful that getting it above mast top will eliminate that problem. In addition you can see we have the new VHF & AIS antennas but waiting on new mounts as well as LED masthead light.


It seems old electronics are larger in physical size so as we are updating those need to hide and over over some holes. Since completely refinishing the helm was outa scope a simple solution of Plexiglas over lays should get us by. A little harsh but will have to work.


Just one more time I am grateful to my Jack Tennar multi-tool. You will have to wait till next week for installation.


While the Admiral was turning out labels she made new ones to replace the hand written white tapes.


Friday ended with getting the radar mounted on the mast….


which made it time for a perfect happy hour on board with our 34 degree ice cold beer!


But since we don’t weekends off, I started looking into the last mile wiring for the electronics…well as you can see I got some work to do in the name of cleanup….


Every blog needs a food picture and this is actually how we ended out week, Sunday Dinner via the Admiral…nice work


Looking forward to the progress this week….stay tuned

2017-09-24—Off and Running–Week 11

Before we get to work, the view from the office really is not so bad. Every morning I try and take a moment to enjoy the surroundings. I have been a little disappointed that have not seen the alligator again.


As I started the week with installing the antenna for the Single Sideband antenna I discovered a couple mounting holes needing to be filled. A little Marine Tex to fill followed by a little sanding. While I was sanding I decided no time like the present to knock another thing off the list and that was getting ready to paint over the green with blue…thats another day though.


The antenna went in fine and the radio is working perfectly! In other news…I walked past the sewing room the other day. The canvas guys had taken Annette’s stool out with the rest of the cushions for re-covering. This is what I found in the sewing room. A true Seamless Sailor does not let a lack of stool slow her down!


The big goal for the week was get the cabinetry work done around the refrigerator and have that installed. The surround and the door panels were cut from a single piece of veneer.


Our carpenter Ray did a terrific job. He executed out vision perfectly!!!


We are really happy with the outcome. It definitely brightened the galley!


It really cooled right down too! Now for the geeks among us…The fridge we selected was the Nova Kool RFU9000. It runs on 120VAC or 12VDC drawing just 5.2 amps. We have both modes wired and will use DC when we are on the hook and way from the dock.


In addition Magnolia received her first thorough bath this weekend.  We have not made time to giver her a good scrubbing so it was about time. She is going to need at least two more before she up to snuff!


We also removed the old name and are working on the lettering for the new name. We are looking to use similar lettering as was on sailing Magnolia. 


Giving her one last rinse before calling it a day


Up this week is getting a real start on the electronics installation.

2017-09-17 – Footing Regained — Week #10

Its hard to believe it was only a week ago that Irma was in town visiting us…actually we left town and she followed us up the western side of the state. Even with the Irma on the other side of the state our friend Ray at the yard sent me this as the water started to come up…as you can see water is just over the docks at this point and went up another couple of feet after.


We can not express enough the appreciation to our friends Ty & Suzanne for taking us in on short notice. Their kind hospitality sure did a lot to relieve some of the anxiety of where to go and what to do! Besides, the view looking out at the Oaks and Spanish Moss over my morning coffee was not too tough to take!


By midweek the though it was time to get on back to Stuart and thankfully the power was restored at the same time. This is the view of Magnolia upon our arrival. We went right to work moving the extra boxes back to the rental house and getting Magnolia resettled.


The house we are renting is a cute little place about 500 yards down the creek from the boatyard. Its right on the water. It really is a lovely location.


View from the porch towards creek


Looking up the creek to the boatyard Magnolia is moored right behind the boat photo bombing the picture!


My grill area needs a little post Irma clean up but it will do nicely


A Capitol Grill Steak knife can only mean one thing for dinner!!! We gong to be easy to be here so if you have a day or two, think about trip down. We already have our first guests coming next month and very excited!!!


Even with a short week a few things got done. The Refrigerator below was dry fit with the new cabinet. I also got the galley exhaust fan installed along with some only hardware removed from the top side decks and the holes filled. Have some big goals for the coming week! Oh, yes, we did get some bad news in the Main Engine PTO Coupler we were having made was delayed and now the delivery date for that is delayed 30 days. That hurts but there is mush to get done!


Have a great week! Be Safe! PS Thank you again Ty & Suzanne

2017-09-10–Ok, things have come off the tracks—“Thanks Irma” — Week #9

We are now appreciating our previous visits to Maine during hurricane season. We knew we might be facing this eventuality being in Florida during August and September…more on that in a minute. Annette and I had been staying in this little AirBnB for the first two months. We both needed an upgrade so we rented a house near the boatyard. To celebrate our pending location we declared date night for a terrific evening out!


We spent the Sunday moving into our new place, more on that….Monday though got right work installing a power connections for the Single Side Band Radio (left fuses) and also the Outback Solar Charge Controller (right side black box)


Then there was Tuesday and Irma starting making threats to the east coast of Florida. As a precaution the boatyard workers started to make some preparations.


Wednesday then we make a quick trip down to Palm Beach to a friends condominiums to pull the hurricane curtains.  Keeping in mind this is our first hurricane experience.


A real rookie mistake was made….if we were more experienced we would have known to pull the table and planters inside..completely amateur.


So after moving all our stuff from the AirBnB and from our storage unit into the new house we had a wonderful two days there. Then Irma got serious and since the new house is on the water. My dear angel wife, known as the Admiral re-packed everything back together so we could stow it on the Magnolia-M. See the house is right on the canal shore and with talk of a 7 foot storm we thought best to have everything on the boat. Hence this is how the sewing room now looks!


The master suite…


The Galley….


All the while Annette was packing the house, I was getting educated on the industrial level storm shutters at the boat yard.


The question is always if you leave a hurricane threatened area you might head towards a more hurricane threatened area!! As the decision had been made to head north-west the phone rings and my friend Ty says come on up to the Villages! It was a was the perfect call at the perfect moment..so we were off! On the way we passed Mount Dora, one of the highest points in FL….its like 150ft!!


The drive should have taken us 3 hours but with most of South Florida heading towards North Florida so the trip took closer to 7 hours. Along the way we had plenty of entertainment!


Hurricane preparations continued in The Villages with a work party to get the outdoor furniture in.


Now, going back to that part about going into the storm rather than away…well we managed to pull that one off as well. In our efforts to avoid the storm we have in fact lured Irma well away from Magnolia-M as the storm track has shifted well west. It was funny to me that these guys had no furniture to move, no preparations to make except for another round of golf…kinda surreal….


Meanwhile back at Stuart Yacht Magnolia-M is starboard tied with and spider webbed to the other side of the fairway waiting for Irma to pass on by.


If all goes well we will be back aboard by mid week.


Weeks like these with the challenges, physically and mentally make us second guess our choice of this lifestyle. At least I do. Annette is such a trooper you would not believe. She puts her shoulder into it and gets it done. When I am at my worst she is at her best. Feeling lucky..be safe and will write when we are back aboard. We have gotta get this girl Magnolia done…too many adventures await!

9/11/17 – We obviously came through the storm fine. Now we are just waiting for power restoration so we can get back aboard and get to work.

2017-08-27–Much Yet To Learn — Week #7

So for the last 6 weeks working in the engine room the floor boards have made we crazy with these big freaking holes in them. I went to our carpenter showed him and explained I wanted to make some caps to cover the holes. He immediately went over and dropped an empty Rotella Oil Pail….oops….yes the holes are there to hold and secure pails of oil. An oil change for the Main and Generator takes 9 GALLONS so storage is going to be a issue or at least a question. Thank you Ray for not laughing at me!!!


One of the small projects was replacing the fuel tank sight gauges. A couple of .98 cent yard sticks from Home Depot added a better assessment to amount aboard. Each tank hold over 300 gallons!

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Mid week I made a quick trip to Annapolis for Magnolia-S survey. It was an in and out trip but on the way home to Florida. I suggest the lack of smile is simply the hour, 0630 on the plane after a 0330 alarm back on Magnolia. The survey went well so we will hopefully get this deal closed.


In the old days whenever I got an upgrade on the way home I ordered a Baily’s and Coffee for breakfast to celebrate. It seemed to be a tradition worth continuing!


As soon as Annette picked me up at the airport though we were back to it This week is all about getting all the old dead wire out of the boat. There was dead wire in the pilot house, there was dead wire in the engine room……

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Pulling wire is like making sausage, neither process you really want to witness. After going at it with a pair of dikes in hand, the right things seem to still be working.  Next will start on pulling the new wire for the electronics we will be installing.


In my absence, the Admiral continued her sewing and finishing up the duvet for the bed.


One side is dark blue, with a shell pattern


The other side is a coral pattern


These pictures did not come out well, but will give you an idea…..


To finish the week up I got the head finished with the shower apparatus and the shower curtain rod installed. Obviously cleaning the port-light lens has not yet been accomplished!


Hope you all have a good week! Be Safe!