Northbound Again – Almost
March 20, 2008
Winter is finally over. Spring is definitely on the way – after all, this is the first day of Spring! It wasn’t much of a struggle to get through the winter, as the sun comes out after a storm, in the bay area. We hopped around the bay enjoying the different marinas over the winter. Of course part of the time was spent in a boat yard. We were sitting on the hard when the 5.6 earthquake rattled though the bay. We had no ill affects, except for our great concern for D/V at the time.
During the time back from Mexico we have been busy getting the boat caught up on all its systems. Captain spent most of June and July, in Southern California, doing serious preventative maintenance on the engines. It sure paid off, and it got done just in time. Our fuel usage has decreased by about a half a gallon per engine, per hour. That pays off big, when you consider the price of fuel these days. When the weather finally broke in early fall and gave us some good voyaging conditions, we hopped our way up to the bay area, arriving just as the West Coast voyaging closed down, as the winter weather pattern set in. We continued on with our list of “to do’s”. There are really too many to relate, as some were small – though important.
A couple of our projects were pretty consuming. We replaced our electric cooktop with a GE Profile Propane Cooktop. Most of the work was done while we were in the boat yard, and then finished up after Thanksgiving and we were launched back into the water. The project required the boat be plumbed for propane with a proper marine installation. We installed the propane tanks topside, running the hose through the lockers and bulkheads, bringing it down a bulkhead shared with the galley and pilot house, finally arriving in the galley stove area. As you all should know, this takes exceedingly less time to relate than to do the actual work!! But it has been well worth the hard work done by the Captain. We are really enjoying the new cooktop. No more counting the 12 amps it used on the A/C side of our power when tied to the dock, and no more running the generator to cook at anchor. It sure can warm up a space in nothing flat. And, it cooks like a dream – which is really main point!
The anchor windless was rebuilt this winter, too. It was totally dismantled, cleaned, and all the seals and “O” rings were replaced. The gearbox was resealed with Loctite 515. (Serious stuff!)
In order to test the rebuild, we took a weekend cruise in San Francisco Bay. Our first stop was Angel Island. It was great to have all our outlets on the inverter finally. When we did a major electrical upgrade in 2005 a portion of the outlets had been inadvertently left off the inverter system. Those were added in October. It was nice to have the added lights and outlets when necessary. This was our first time using the new stovetop away from the dock. It really wasn’t a sea trial, but it was very nice to fire up the stove top, with no generator necessary. We discovered it has an undocumented feature, as it will take a little chill right out of the air, leaving things a bit warmer. Nice! One chilly morning I just put a pan of eggs to boil. Perfect!
By the way, I learned an interesting lesson on boiling eggs from the late James Barber. (Ok, no funny remarks about my being able to boil water. ;->) Put the eggs in cold water, (just enough to cover the eggs) and bring the eggs to boil. Immediately after the eggs come to a boil put a lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on for about 15 to 20 minutes. The eggs should be perfectly soft-boiled at 4 1/2 minutes if you are combining the chore with breakfast. Once the time is up, take them out of the water, let them cool, and refrigerate. The really neat thing about this method is that you should not have the “gray-green halo” around the egg yolk, with this method. You use a lot less energy, and reduce the steam that builds up, too. I have boiled eggs in this manner for a couple years now, and I can say that it works!
After one day at Angel Island, the conditions worsened significantly. We did not feel safe putting the well being of our boat in the hands of the mooring system, nor subjecting the mooring system to our boat weight. Also, this was a perfect time to go test the anchor! So, off we went, leaving two to three foot white-capped waves and 18 mph winds behind.
Pulling into Clipper Cove was like pulling into another climate. Clipper Cove is very protected as it sits between Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands, and was totally flat and calm. We worried that the cove would be full, as it was a great weekend, but we ended up being the only weekend boat there. It was a perfect day.
Its hard to believe that the conditions were so dramatically different, but it is all about wind and protection. One of our favorite songs is a Jimmy Buffet song called “One Particular Harbor”, where he mentions a harbor “sheltered from the wind”…which happens to be our favorite particular harbor, where ever we may be.
We really enjoyed our time at Clipper Cove. For a weekend, and perfect conditions, it was quiet and serene – with the exception of the road noise. The anchorage lies below the San Francisco/Bay Bridge. I don’t think there is a time of no traffic on the bridge. You get used to the sounds as just a dull background sound, and the very serene views are worth the traffic. There is one interesting view of the freeway, though. I call it the “Bridge to Where?”.
Sadly, it apears that all construction has stopped on the new bridge due to enormous budget overages that span years. I don’t know the future for this bridge, but California budget constraints has brought construction to a halt. Construction to this point has already exceeded the orginal budget several times over. What a shame.
The shakedown cruise was a great success, both in enjoying being away from the dock, and for testing the upgraded equipment. Regrettably, it was time to head back to the dock, to start the next and last big project of the winter.
Standby, as there is more to come.