Monday, July 13, 2015

Anchor Chain, Then The Delta

It's been a busy few days with Intermezzo.

On Friday, Renee and I upgraded the main anchor chain. We swapped out 165 feet of 5/16" BBB chain for 300 feet of 3/8" G40 high test chain. The new chain is arguably too strong and too heavy, but it's what's supposed to be mated with our big Rocna 33 anchor. If nothing else it will help me worry less when we leave the boat anchored somewhere unmanned.

The chain swapping operation involved moving almost 800 pounds of chain around (we had to buy a 400 foot drum of new chain to get the best price and bring the old chain home). Thanks to Bob Hennessy at KKMI for letting us use the crane to get the drum on the dock.  We're trying out brightly colored zip ties to mark lengths of chain so we know how much we are letting out when anchoring.

Sunday was a great sail from Richmond to Potato Slough in the San Joaquin River Delta. We flew our Code 0 sail early in the day in lighter winds. We've struggled with this sail in the past. The original top swivel made it almost impossible to furl. We replaced it with a beefier one and that seems to have done the trick; worked flawlessly. The wind strengthened all day until in the late afternoon it was blowing a steady 20-plus knots with gusts nearly 30. We ended up sailing with just a double reefed main to keep the boat under control in narrow river channels. It worked great. We even sailed upwind with decent VMG under this minimal sail configuration.

It's Monday night now. Renee stayed on the boat until this afternoon and then I gave her a high speed water taxi ride in the dinghy to a nearby marina where she grabbed the car we left there and headed back to work. She'll be back on Thursday. Until then, I'm hanging out, working on the boat in "paradise". Spent today wrestling with a malfunctioning marine toilet.  Yuck.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

First Blog Post

Well, this is the first post on our Sailing Intermezzo blog which will attempt to chronicle our "sailing sabbatical".

On Monday I officially transitioned from full time to part time, "as-needed" employment so that I can focus on getting the boat ready. This is a big change in lifestyle and I'm feeling a bit unsettled, but I'm sure it will feel more comfortable with time. Keeping busy with boat projects helps.  Renee is still working full time but also diligently working on projects to get the house ready for the tenants/caretakers who will occupy it while we're away.

Among the dozens and dozens of items on the "To Do" list, the critical boat projects to get completed over the next two months are:

  • Get our anchors and ground tackle sorted out so we can sleep at night and leave the boat "on the hook" with confidence.
  • Install our storm drogue system to weather if we are ever caught out in the worst "oh shit" conditions.
  • Set up our satellite communications system to receive weather updates, stay in touch and let people know where we are and for emergency communications.
  • Install an inverter so that we have AC power on board for computers, tools, etc. (and to make espresso and blended drinks).
  • Install a watermaker to convert saltwater to fresh for drinking and showers.
  • Install a solar array to power the inverter and watermaker.

I'm working on first two items over the next few weeks.

I'm also selling a lot of used boat gear and other stuff we don't need to lighten up, declutter, purge and offset the costs of new stuff we do need.

Next week we're taking a short cruise to the Delta to enjoy anchoring out and swimming in warm, fresh water. I'm determined to make progress on the "To Do" list while there.