Nigel North
Sat 18 Jan 2014 20:23


Thursday, November 21, 2013 LAKE WORTH HEAVY RAIN

Found the calendar at last! Its only taken 5 weeks to find..
But so what, you might say. Its just a calendar. Well, it records my itinerant life, abbreviated, the weather, the places, all so easy to forget. You don’t really need one if you live in a house. The house is always there. But on a boat..
The calendars of recent years I would place on the scale of importance alongside flying logbooks, and this blog. So to lose one was painful, but now its found.

Yesterday went ashore mid pm to Duffy’s, had TWO meals and spent so long on wifi that it was pitch dark AND pouring with rain when I came out. Duffy’s is an all American ‘Sports Bar’ with wall to wall soundless screens – at least 25 – and a very noisy clientele. Cleverly I’d managed to leave the earpieces behind so when I Skyped the family I had to lean so far forward to hear anything my nose was up against the laptop screen, and even then I missed half. If you’ve ever seen a guy with his face inside a laptop talking to himself then you’d think he’d lost it too.
Rowed back in the dark – a long way - vowing to move the boat nearer, which I did.

Friday, November 22, 2013 Blustery. Mainly cloudy but with some gaps. 070 15-20kt

Remain on board working on the outboard pm. So far I’ve cleaned the fuel tank out which was full of bits, changed the plug, sheared a screw head off the carb top, and today its have a look at the fuel filter. Sheared another bolt (not my fault!) removing the fuel tank to get at it and also the broken puller cord. Drill both out successfully, but not easily, and then the spring that winds the puller cord in breaks loose and I give it up for the day as its getting dark.

Dream: I’ve returned to ‘work’, which seems to be a desk job. I’ve been away a long time and there’s a new girl there who I speak to, who fails to impress me. She doesn’t seem too interested in her work. When I mention this to one of the guys he tells me how she’s being doing something else for about ten years and this is just a fill-in. I go and look at some cabinets and find they are a mess – equipment inside is in bits instead of being ready to go. I decide to make it my project to get it up and running again, but everything has changed since I was last there.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yesterday, Saturday, was a beautiful day, warm again with a forecast in the 80’s and barely a breath of wind. Worked on the outboard am, having drilled out the two sheared screws, reassembled ensuring the fuel filter was in place correctly – last time I’d taken it apart I’d put it in incorrectly. So, hoping this might be the problem although not very hopeful, reassembled..but no, starts for 2 secs then dies again. I am certain its fuel starvation, so now have to buy some tools to get the carb off.

Later rowed in to meet up with Ash, and Matt, both on a professsional course here, and we had a great evening in noisy Duffy’s. Matt was seemingly interested in what I’d done so I did a lot of yapping. The row back was magical, still water, moonlit, the other boats all with their anchor lights on, occasional fish biting or leaping…I was in no hurry to get back onboard.

Today started sunny, but by lunchtime it was blowing half a gale – up to 30 kts at the masthead. Boat blowing around, but not half as bad as a lot of the other boats, particularly the big tubby Canadian motorlaunch, or ‘trawler’ as the Yanks call them, which was swinging through 90 degrees. Took the Wifi aerial down as its not picking up anything useful. Still warm air though.


There are certain things that a ‘Cruiser’ is always on the lookout for when at anchor. A place to leave the dinghy, locked up. Wifi. A decent supermarket and somewhere to leave rubbish.
Here in North Palm Beach there’s an excellent Publix supermarket, various places with wifi - favourites being McDonalds as its cheap and very good value, and Starbucks for coffee, both of which also have handy charging points to plug into - and there’s a tiny little piece of beach next to a bridge with railings to tie the dinghy up to, but rubbish?
For the first week I would guiltily dump a bag of it in the nice trashbin outside the entrance to Publix but it wasn’t good – I was getting looks. No one actually complained, but… You do feel like a social bloodsucker.
My solution to this was the DAWN RAID. Publix opens at 0700 local. Round the back are a couple of nice big green dumpsters. I would get up pre dawn and be rowing for shore with the fold-up bike in front and two big bags of rubbish as the first streaks brightened the east. The beach would be empty for a change, and in minutes I’d be whizzing along with both bags in one hand, down the road, turn off down the service road and bobs your uncle, rubbish where it should be and no one around. I figure it makes no difference to anyone, considering the amount of corporate waste. Then back for porridge!


It was almost uncanny. I would meet the Fat Guy nearly everytime I went ashore – either he’d be there hurling empty plastic containers off his rigid dinghy onto the beach, or slowly walking back from the shops with about eight shopping bags hanging off him. He would start talking at about 100 yards to go, and it was always ripping someone or something up. Today it was The President. He got both barrels and it wasn’t nice. Then after five minutes of burying Mr Obama it was Egypts’ turn. I didn’t have to say anything, it came anyway, I would just slide away with a ‘well, gotta go!’ His boat was always half full of small empty plastic containers. Weird.


I have been here weeks, and have little to show for it. The list of things not working refuses to reduce. The main culprits are the outboard motor not running, the radar dead, the Ship’s clock stopped, the hygrometer never moves, Navtex not picking up the weather and the AIS (Automatic Identification System) not picking up any boats.
West Marine sell marine clocks for $300, so bought a kitchen clock of nearly the same size for $20 and miraculously the face and working parts fitted into the old brass body. Now have a Ships Clock again. Really didn’t like not having a working clock – its like the heart of the boat.

Friday, November 29, 2013 LAKE WORTH. Sunny. 20deg.

Yesterday, after days of rain, it was brilliant sunshine on waking but with temperatures around 11deg. It felt a bit like a snowscape…that kind of brilliance. But it clouded over again and the wind picked back up a bit too. Went up the mast and tested the wiring to the radar – seems ok. So looks like the scanner is blown. Next job is to get it checked..I’ll try IMS again. Went back up again to remove the radar scanner, hat fell off into the water, eventually rescued with dinghy moments before it sank – back up the mast then changed my mind as I didn’t want the radar hanging around on deck without a definite plan to send it off. Better left where it is. Have made up netting to lower it in when required.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 Still air, but gusty later NE, cloudy. Low 20’s RainSH.

Reassembled the AIS aerial. Scraped and cleaned the forepeak deck with acetone. But mainly read – The Long Escape by WO1 Jeff Noon – couldn’t put it down.

Yesterday suddenly remembered I’d muted the AIS icons on the chartplotter menu on arrival into Florida! Duh! AIS now working. Went ashore with bike, explored a bit and found 1. A phone shop and bought a US sim card. 2. The Waterway Café – wifi and no hassling from waiters. At the bridge dinghy tie up there was another old chap fiddling with this rigid dinghy who I hailed…he immediately started on about how he was nervous at the prospect of a solo crossing of the Gulf Stream, never done it before. I tried to allay his fears, then watched as he made a complete Horlicks of getting into his dinghy, falling over in it so he’s lying in the bottom stuggling for a good five minutes to get up out of the bilges, then fell back in it again. I couldn’t help. After he’d gone it occurred to me that what I should have said to him was ‘well if you’re worried about doing the crossing, don’t do it’. This would have been far more help to him that what I actually said.

I am feeling that I am wasting my time rather, at the moment, and want to get off somewhere soon. I fancy going on up the ICW to Daytona. I just want to have a go at getting the radar fixed first, if possible, depending on how much it will cost. And it would be nice to have the Navtex working again too so I can get weather info.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Cloudy. Low 20’s Lake Worth.

Ran the engine twice today, to keep the fridge going.

I have a stowaway! Larry the Lizard, under the ‘garage’ a couple of days ago.

Went ashore, dumped gash at Publix then cycled down the A1A south along the east side of Lake Worth, towards West Palm Beach area. Found the John D MacArthur Beach State Park and went in there, for $2. Left the bike well locked up with my monster padlock and walked the cross-lake wooden walkway to the beach. It was SO nice to see the sea again. This is an egg-laying area for turtles in the summer, and protected. Walked back before the mozzies arrived, and cycled back to McDonalds for wifi and a chicken salad (very good, and just $5).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Beaut Sunny start, clouding pm a bit but best day for ages.

Actually caught some sun am, up on deck.

Had a look at the hygrometer, but just cant see why it doesn’t work. Its just a coil – like a temp guage – but nothing at all happens when put in 100% humidity (kettle). I will look out for a cheapo domestic one and swap the units. Later, on investigation it seems that all domestic hygrometers are coils with one side salt-lined, the cheapest and fairly crude option. Clearly there’s no salt left on mine.

Cleaned out all the ready use food lockers and bins. Some quite mouldy, disappointing as I only painted them out last year. Made preps to go up the mizzen to recover the NAVTEX Antennae, but thought I’d better just check if USA uses Navtex first. Not much point trying to fix it if it wont work here anyway.

Thursday Dec 5 2013 UNWELL.

Up pre dawn after an early night, did some work then felt very weary around 0900 and lay down for a sleep. But as the day wore on it became clear I was not right. Started drinking lots of water.

Despite this, made use of Colin’s tiny little vice he gave me by mounting it, and used this to cut up the old chain on deck. Must take a picture of it and show him! This left about 30 -35metres usable, shorter 8m and 6m bits, and the rest I’ll chuck when I can think of a way. So if I shackle it all together I should have 50m as reserve in case I lose the new tackle – better not! But where to put it? Moving if off the starb’d deck revealed horrid rust stains that I had to virtually remove all the paint to get rid of. So not doing that again. Put the rusty stuff in a bag – weighed a ton just that much, and my back really ached later after lifting it into the cockpit – leaving the ‘good’ stuff lying on the port sidedeck. Well, can’t stay there or it will ruin that deck as well.
Then came up with the idea of using the for’d port locker currently full of paper rolls, plus the water pump and piping. Built a wooden protector around the piping but had to stop in the end as I was tired again. Also, despite my own reasoning, went up the mast and finally took the Navtex antennae down, for good. It doesn’t need to be up there, and it won’t be anymore. At least I can have a look at it and see if its connected right.
Ate a good meal of chicken in sauce and mash, with limpets (Caribbean peas).
However, before this I had to remove half a dozen rotting potatoes which were really stinking, clean the bin out and restow the rest. Yuck! There is a fly that lays its eggs in potatoes, and the maggots turn it to mush…AND IT STINKS. Now keep the pots in a container with netting over the top, which works well.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Having finished the woodwork in the port bin, had a look inside the middle one behind the loo stowage – which is unused – and realised I could have used that, easier in a way as its central for hauling out the chain, but would need a wooden base to keep the chain off the two heavy duty electrical wires running up to the windlass. Do-able though. Still thinking about that..

This week I’ve been trying to get someone to look at the radar to tell me if its blown or not. No one is interested! People take days to get back to me, and I always have to chase. So, I’ve decided to take a risk. Rather than send the radar off I thought I might try a new cable first, just in case its that. If I’m right, it will save hundeds of dollars in postage etc. If its not that, then a new cable might not be a bad thing in the long term anyway as the old one got chafed through and I had to mend it, but they are at least $150. Got a feeling that whatever I do, it wont be right! However, this way is in line with the good old adage – do the cheaper things first! Its probably going to cost a small fortune to fix but I can’t just write the radar off. That would be stupid. You don’t need the radar much, but when you need it, YOU NEED IT. Fog. Heavy rain. AIS failure. Uncertain of position. GPS failure. There’s some good reasons..

Went in to West Marine, ordered the cable. Also bought a new US VHF radio that can pick up the weather broadcasts here, the cheapest they had. Fitting it all evening. Secondary chain locker finished, plus fitted tie-down points for the TinBin and PortaLoo.

Been a LOT warmer this last couple of days – 28 degrees yesterday, which made me feel like I had a temperature, but I hadn’t. Overnight it was still really warm, 25 deg at dawn.

Saturday, December 7, 2013 Low 20s, cloudy, sunny periods. Heavy rain PM

Feeling better.
Carried on fitting the new US VHF. Stowed the now spare 45m of chain in the new locker. Then had enough of being on board – the work never seems to end – and went ashore, bought a switchable splitter for the two radios to share the mast top antenna, plugs and some cable in West Marine, and chatted to the amicable Buzz – who made a B-line for me! He had always been very friendly, and an old git like me. Told me he’d even looked up TOLLER PORCORUM on google (the fun I have telling Yanks about Toller) Then to McD’s for a chicken salad and wifi. Pouring with rain now, a long long shower.

Sunday, December 8, 2013 Sunny start, then rain showers, brightened.

After the mid day rain, set off on the bike without the computer for once, for more exploration of Singer Island. Walked a mile along the beach southwards towards the Lake Worth Inlet, passing a charming young lady topless in G string. Had to turn my pacemaker down a couple of clicks. Found the Two Drunken Goats beach bar/restaurant and had a wine then was asked to move by two burly blokes so they could have their photo taken under the Goats sign. Saw defo the largest motorcycle I’ve ever seen – a real beaut monster, fat tyres, miles long and making the most delightful racket too. Very American! Then cycled up to the bridge overlooking Peanut Island and took some pics. Cycled back along the well paved cycletrack for a substantial bean and rice meal as I was hungry. Not great but heh.

I have been wondering what the future holds? But, don’t we all..

New radio is in. Looks good! No work today.. Now waiting to hear when I’ll get the new radar cable delivered at West Marine, hopefully this week.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Beaut Day, sunny nil wind, mid 20s

Up at 0600 – an hour and a half before dawn – as crashed early last night after day sailing out to sea and back.

Yesterday: The point of it was to a: empty the portaloo. b: dump the old rusty chain and clock housing and c: prove I could still do it. All successful. I enjoyed it, mostly, except that I was feeling seasick for most of it after spending too long trying to flush through the ships heads which is wired off iaw US Customs requirements. However, it was brilliant to be at sea again and to feel old PW pulling at the leash. I timed it perfectly too, dropping anchor as the sun set. A lovely day.. But, on the way back I noticed that there were no AIS targets showing – after I’d got it all working again too! Uh? It never ends.

Back to today; up early, cooked breakfast of eggs, fried potatoes, and mushrooms, then set off for West Marine to pick up the new cable for the radar. $143. Not too bad, I was expecting $200 but still a lot of money. But I set off with a sense of foreboding, knowing nothing would go right, a real negative on. In West Marine – where I am well known and now a Gold Member – I had the bloke dig out an AIS transceiver and had a good look. I reckon it would work ok on here, and using NMEA 2000 too which would be good as I could leave the original in place as a separate system and have redundancy. I promised myself I would cough up the dough to fit a transceiver ever since Krisha, Rebecca and I were nearly run down in the middle of the night by a race of 60 footers after leaving Antigua. I think AJ was on one of them!
Back on board I fitted the new cable, knowing it wouldn’t work, and it didn’t. But at least the plotter recognises there IS a radar connected now, even if it doesn’t recognise which one or do anything with it. But on the way back the outboard started behaving very strangely – violent jerks through the transmission every few seconds. Sigh. It occurred to me that I’ve been here in Lake Worth 3 weeks now, trying to fix things, starting with AIS, RADAR, OUTBOARD and NAVTEX. Well, as of today, they still all need fixing! But, I do have weather VHF now, fitted and working.

But fixed the AIS once again – the little spring in the fuse holder had fallen out! Sigh of relief. But I think I will still get the transceiver – a good safety feature. Rang the Lowrance Helpline (radar) and was told that I would receive an email of fixes, but it never arrived. Bet he got my email address wrong. The Navtex I’ve tested as best I can by cutting out the switch, and much of the wiring but still nothing, so I think it’s the antenna duff, which is a powered one. Have tried to get one here, but West Marine guys had never heard of it, even though the US Coastguard defo broadcast from Miami on it.

I am hoping it’s the shear pin slipping on the outboard – fixable I hope, if I could just get the old bent one out. Will try again tomorrow. If not, then it must be the gearbox. Why ME!

I was wondering about Sirius Weather Radio – the plotter has it in its menu for some reason. I know nothing about it, but did see an antennae for it in West Marine for about $80.

Tonight I am not so gloomy as this morning, when I was really gloomy. I am running out of funds, and am getting weary of everything needing fixing all the time!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Well, it couldn’t be much worse than Thursday the 12th. Outboard’s transmission is knackered – probably the drive sprocket lost some teeth – and then that big fat ****** in West Marine stuck his bloated bloodshot face in mine and told me in no uncertain terms than no, West Marine were NOT going to take my radar in to send off, as I didn’t buy it from them.

After that bit of good news, cycled over the PARKER BRIDGE to The Waterway Café for an American Lemonade and some wifi, and had some good news from home. So after that, didn’t feel so bad, the important things are ok. Didn’t actually feel very welcome in that café though.. I guess they don’t want scruffy cruisers coming in with their computers…
Back to cold chicken and mash. Lovely!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Up at dawn – late for me, lately. Wind has veered SE to SSE as forecast on my new weather VHF channel, and still quite blustery. Perky the dinghy was bashing around nicely trying to get me into the water as I pumped up the floor, but failed. Set off without the outboard, which is in bits – needs a new drive gear and dog tooth thing. In future I will have to stop engaging gear at high revs, or better, start in gear! For some reason, didn’t bring the bike which was daft as it’s a fair walk to McDonalds where I’m writing this. McD has become my favorite place, except that the wifi is very temperamental. Or just mental. Its just come on line now, after about 20 minutes, despite saying its connected.
Bought an AIS transceiver in West Marine, despite misgivings about money. Memories of nearly being rammed encouraged me. So, more work. Quite how much I was soon to find out. The cable that Bloated John had rung to say he had in stock – an ethernet cable for the Radar – proved to be the wrong one. In a last desperate attempt to save money I’m changing the last of two cables used by the radar, just in case its that. I think there’s a 5% chance..

Sunday December 15 2013

Smashing visit from Ash, my one time student at Wallop. We had lunch, then showed her Pinball and she was off again, after completing her simulator conversion on type down at West Palm Beach.

Monday 16 December 2013

Today I was supposed to take the radar into High Seas Technology – and I was happy to do this too – but instead went into West Marine again to sort out an Ethernet cable to replace the wrong one from John, and to get an adaptor for the NMEA 2000 cable to give two female connections, for the new AIS. By now I was getting rather weary of all the to-ing and fro-ing to West Marine, and the net money drain. Was I doing the right thing? Self doubt was drowning me. Just the one ethernet cable was $50, and it would probably prove completely unnecessary. But I always knew that whatever I did, it wouldn’t be right; if I replace the cables it would be the radar itself that’s broke, if I send the radar away it would be the cables duff. I had thought that replacing the cables would be the cheapest option, but that’s cost about $200! So I am beginning to despair. Money is getting quite low now..
I overtook the big gobby bloke with the hard dinghy full of plastic bottles on the bridge going back, then a foreign sounding guy – French Canadian? – was just coming in in his dinghy and held off for me whilst I quickly launched. I was about 100yds out and rowing when a shout from the foreign guy attracted my attention. ‘Is this your BIKE?!!’ he bellowed.
Groan.. I was NOT having a good day.

Clearly, I was not myself. I was tired, weary of blood letting, cables and fixing boats, feeling trapped and unhappy. Yes, the weather here is great mostly, but I had only had one day of sailing, one day to remember all this hassle for. Climbing on board, I gave myself an hour off, reading, dozing, uncoiling. Then the rest of the evening after dinner – tuna and toms – thinking about ‘things’. By bedtime I had decided not to put another antenna up but to get a splitter and a little aerial for the FM radio, and not to use the NMEA 2000 cable either but wire into the NMEA 0183 set up for the other AIS. With luck I could get some money back from West Marine for the cable and antenna I had rashly ordered. What I had not realised when I started this business of an active AIS was that the antenna had to be 11’ off the deck minimum, which means in effect on top of the mast. That is no easy job at sea, and would need at least 20m of cable – more money – and I could do without it. And all for an AIS. This was getting out of hand.

I have this thing where I want to do a good job of what needs doing, not bodge it. This is strong in me, part of the trial I have given myself, to see whether I can do a good job of things. So I tend to go for the best options, which are invariably the most expensive. But managing the money is also part of the job, and here I have been failing I think. My emergency fund is nearly gone now, eaten away bit by bit with big bills. Mainly this year. Another engine and gearbox for the van, fines, new anchor chain, satphone fix, 5 new batteries, $200 just to pump up the fridge coolant, new VHF, the AIS, ongoing radar problems, its been relentless. And that’s just this year, and all for one daysail so far! It has quite got me down, and I still have the radar costs as yet unknown but bound to be horrific. What should I do? Give up on the radar? Yes I can live without it….until that day when it fogs out, or rains so hard you cant see. Am I being a complete wimp here, wanting everything perfect?

I think maybe I am. What’s the point of having the boat perfect, it I don’t have any money left to go anywhere?

Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 RADAR FIXED! Sunny

Yes, almost unbelievably, when I unenthusiastically plugged the very expensive ($50) Ethernet cable in the miracle happened. RADAR! I think its true to say that I had no hope whatsoever of it being the ethernet cable at fault, but thought I’d better try it. Thanks goodness I did. Just for once I’ve got something right and spent the minimum amount fixing it. Luck..

So yes I was singing again that day.

Wednesday 18 Dec 2013 NEW AIS FITTED……AND FAILS.

A beautiful, perfect weather day, sunny all day, good voltages. Not that I saw much of it as I was wiring in the new AIS and splitter. I was very careful to check everything. Plugged it into the computer, configured it ok, then at some stage it stopped working. No lights nothing. Computer not recognising it either – ‘Error encountered in trying to open the serial port. It is probably being used by another application (unknown error)’
This has knocked the wind out of my sails. Went to bed early in despair..

Thursday, December 19, 2013 Another beaut day..

I seem to have an upset stomach for some reason – last nights meal was all fresh. Odd..
No joy with the AIS. I’ll have to take it back. F**K. All that damn work putting it in. Defo no singing now.

Rowed ashore pm to take the AIS back, and no problems, old Joe did it for me. I like him. But he was really suffering with a badly swollen ankle. I told him to go see a doc pronto as it looked infected. Then off to McD’s, for a coffee and VERY sweet cookie or two.

Back on board, I didn’t touch the AIS. Do it in daylight, with a brain.

Friday, December 20, 2013 LAKE WORTH….still.

Less than a week to Xmas, and I’m still ere.

The anchorage is really full of boats now, amazing. All down for Xmas I guess, and a lot of Canadians dodging the winter. Not met up with any yet though, apart from Mark (I think) who stopped by. Comes from UK, SW, Exeter I think. Does up boats, bit cagey about exactly what he does, says he’s a boat-builder. Not too sure about him.. Might be alright though. ‘..we’re not allowed to work here, as we all know’ he kept saying, clearly inferring he does just that.
Bit nervous of putting the new new AIS in – what if it fails again and its my fault somehow? So I’ve been trying to make some sense of NMEA 0183 on the internet, but its not easy! But can’t really see what I could have done to make it fail like that, unless something is incompatible. By having a break switch through OFF for the two AIS’s they cannot interfere with eachother, so that just leaves the autopilot feed for heading. But it worked ok on the AIS200 Pro, but I noticed its not working now.
Put in a new negative busbar, as the old one is getting too crowded.
Fixed the fridge – which suddenly stopped working after going in fits and starts for a few days. Took out the new thermostat, cursing it, but it was fine. The problem was low voltage at the compressor – fiddled with the contacts on the busbar neg and it came back. The guy who said the most important tool on a boat was a multimeter was dead right. Also fitted an allen key in the thermostat so that I can adjust it in situ, and turned it the other way up too to facilitate use of the control knob, but not had a result yet. It would be good if I could get the thermostat to do something useful! Permanently on it is.
I HAVE JUST FITTED THE SECOND BRAND NEW AIS, AND IT WORKS. Well, all except the heading info which goes on and off. Had my heart in my mouth at switch on time.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fiddled all day pretty much, trying different connections to get the heading onto the radar page, eventually settled for best I could get – working when the old AIS is on, not when the new is on. But apart from that, it all seems to work. Then went ashore late, around 5pm, big fat bloke with the plastic was just leaving and started transmitting straight away of course, slating the world. Went to West Marine, gave them the FM aerial back as its not needed, and picked up the spare parts for the Suzuki outboard. Unfortunately they’re the wrong ones, or at least the drive gear is. I should have rung them first to confirm part numbers. Then made the mistake of going into Starbucks – pokey, expensive, and blinking wifi won’t work. Wont come here again. I could have had a full meal at McD’s for what I paid for a coffee full of froth and a piece of cake. Noisy too.

Still to do:
Rerun the wiring for the radar.
Fix the outboard – now going to be ages.
Fit the quarterberth fan.
Oil change the Yanmar diesel.

New AIS transceiver fitted – switchable with old receiver.
Fixed old one! (switched off on the chartplotter menu)
Fitted new anchor chain
Replaced both cables to the Radar – now fixed.
Fitted new US VHF with Weather #s

Now feel, at last, I’m getting somewhere.

Sunday, December 22, 2013 LAKE WORTH….sigh…Warm, sunny and windy..

Nice sunny day but windy all night and morning, strong enough to run the fridge overnight. Put it off for a while, then got the bits for the Suzuki out to prove they were the wrong ones, and they weren’t! WoW! It just goes to show how memory plays tricks. My memory of what the drive gear looked like was something twice the size it actually was. So spent the rest of the day reassembling the battered looking outboard as carefully as I could, plus did an oil change on it as well. And it worked. But will it keep going? The worrying bit is why the transmission was full of water and no oil! Presumably this will happen again. I guess water is getting in past the clutch engagement rod somehow. Maybe a seal has gone.

Then a test run before the much promised to myself bacon sarnie.

Monday, December 23, 2013 Still windy so good fridge weather. SE.

Outboard fixed; remains to be seen how long it lasts.. Will the oil drain out again? I will have to do regular checks on the levels, somehow. But to refill the gearbox I need something to inject oil, and there’s no hardware shop around here.

Today is RADAR CABLE REROUTE DAY. Then, old Pinball will be ready for anything! This is quite involved, as the cable runs down through the mast into the engine compartment, out the side into the lockers beneath the port quarter berth, then up to the Interface Unit on the bulkhead.

But, didn’t do the cable for some reason. Had a day off instead.

Xmas Eve 2013 Cooler; Overcast, gusty north winds – ‘a norther coming through’.

Off to get some food in for the Xmas break. Publix is closed tomorrow. Bought the chicken, cherry pie, cream, veg and ‘Castaway’ with Tom Hanks. Already bought ‘The Fugitive’ Harrison Ford which I’m saving for Xmas Day. Couldn’t find anything decorative for the boat that wasn’t yucky though.

Nice meal of sausages and baby spuds.

Carried on reading about the Great War and how it started – just unbelievable stuff. Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 by Max Hasting, on Kindle. This is the first time I’ve read anything about this war, and its fascinating not least for the mindlessness of it all, the pomp, the ‘duty’ bit, the ‘honour of the Regiment’ and spectacular losses thanks to the stunning ineptitude of most of the senior officers. It started with ‘Cavalry charges’ in full decorative uniform – against machine guns. Beggars belief. Hasting has done a huge amount of research on it, lots of quotes etc, but its quite hard following it with just my atlas as many of the places aren’t on it.

Then, late, I decide to do some planning and get the Coastal maps out, looking at Miami – which looks an interesting place to park for a bit – and also briefly at usable inlets north of here up around Daytona. This all finds me wide awake still and ongoing at 0330! I cannot figure out why I’m so awake, unless it was the green tea I had. I thought green tea didn’t have any caffeine? Maybe it does then..

Xmas Day 2013 Strong Easterly, a bit brighter today.

Up very late – 1030 – unsurprisingly. Looking forward to Abes coming Friday 27th.
Dinghied in for some wifi, with just Starbucks open and busy, and after the usual ‘thinking about it’ period I finally got connected and talked to family. Then set off on a bike ride west down PGA Blvd which was not that interesting really but a nice ride. By the time I was back onboard I was ravenous, and the cold chicken and mash with lots of veg was wonderful! Afterwards it was movie time; The Fugitive, Harrison Ford. Seen it before but still good.

Boxing Day 2013 LAKE WORTH Post cold front E.

Radar Cable day! (again)

It took me all day, 4 times up and down the mast and had to redrill all except the last hole to get the cable through. Hard work! Whilst I was at it greased the steering chain and some of the cable, discovering a broken strand in the process, which is worrying. Loss of steering is serious. So I’m having a think about that. Meal was saus and bacon and mash, and the film was CAST AWAY with Tom HANKS. Some good scenes, especially the start with the aircraft crash but knowing its all computer generated spoils it a bit, but then I was thinking, ‘if I was directing this, how would I end it?’ Difficult! And I was right, the ending was crap – Hanks standing in the middle of crossroads wondering which way to go, just after the most gorgeous bird has stopped to direct him, and he makes no attempt to... Duh!
I was well knackered.

High Spot: up the mast and saw two dolphins – big males I reckon – slowly saunter past. Unfortunately spotted by 3 jetskis who had to chase them didn’t they, but slowly.

Friday, December 27, 2013 ABES VISITS

Partly cloudy, E light. A bit brighter start..

Engine running to get the fridge going – its got the chicken in it!
Still have the AIS GPS cable to fit, and a tidy up.
Ahh…Squirrel just flew over!

Ran the blinking AIS GPS cable through so I can put the port quarter berth back together ready for Abes – in case he would like to sleep there. Even if he doesn’t, I want it looking smart

Abes arrives at Publix, have a coffee and a cake in Starbucks, wifi a bit, back to PW for a late Xmas meal – cold chicken, mash, veg. Whiskey and orange and wine with the meal. Good fun, chatting. Great to have good company on board.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dream: I come across a little girl lying almost covered in rubbish, crying her eyes out, sobbing with unhappiness and fright. ‘Why do I have to (something, now forgotten)?’ she wails, heart rendingly. She is only 3 or 4 years old. I reach down and pull her gently out of all the rubbish she is in, and lift her up. This was a very powerful dream and very close to being a nightmare, which I related to Abes at the time, still not forgotten several days later.

Up at dawn, cup of green tea, 8 oclock liberty boat ashore to tend Abes regularity! Back for a cooked breakfast, off in his super whizz mini cooper, kayak shop, then fish and chips in Two Drunk Goats, walk the beach to Lake Worth Inlet and back, back to Starbucks for coffee and off he goes. Good fun.

Back to the boat for me, always feels a bit empty after visitors… keep busy. Finish running the AIS GPS cable through, test it all good.

Sunday, December 29, 2013 LAKE WORTH Strong southerly. Cold front approaching.

Things still to do: See Customs, renegotiate PW’s stay here.
Port quarterberth fan installation.
Service the Yanmar
Check the rattling on Wendy

Otherwise, all working ok at the mo

Monday, December 30, 2013

But today was supposed to be CUSTOMS DAY. Searched high and low for my Cruising Permit – an hour wasted – only to find it was right there in the folder anyway. Set off well late for the 4 mile cycle – I guess about 5pm – and of course they shut at 4 pm don’t they. Never mind, a nice ride except I went flying avoiding a big patch of deep sand on a dug up pavement when the front wheel caught a rut, and sprained my wrist.
Now in Starbucks again, but being eaten alive outside as its dusk.