Cabin Painting Almost Finished!

It was a good four productive days on Dagny. I completed about 60% of the cabin painting with Pettit “Easy Cabin Coat,” a mold and mildew Resistant interior paint. A look at the previousely painted bow section seems to show that the paint works. There was no mold at all on the new paint. The only issue I have with it is that it isn’t mechanically strong. Anything rubbing on the surface will peel the paint right off. If I was to do it again I would first apply Pettit Easy-Poxy and then the Easy Cabin Coat.

The Fusion 1000W pure sinewave inverter powered my orbital sander easily and the solar panels kept the battery full. This inverter however is very RF noisy. I can’t use any of my radios at the same time. You get what you pay for. I also can’t use my laptop with it as the mouse cursor goes crazy. I hope it is the RF noise, and not a bad waveform. I will use it for charging only and run the computer on its battery when working.

I understand now the sailor’s fascination with fans! It felt like 120 degrees inside. I wore just my underwear, and it was still way too hot to stay below for any lenght of time, and not because I was half naked! Now I know how dogs locked in cars on hot days feel like.. Doing nothing laying on a bunk was barely tolerable. As soon as I moved I started sweating. I need to investigate those dorado boxed more closely. There was no wind, so I am not sure they would have helped.

One thing I will have to be aware of is my exposure to the sun. That means long sleeves, pants, and something for my neck and face, if just some sunscreen. I burned my knees this week-end just by being on deck for a little while. It doesn’t take long.

My companionway hatch is all warped because of rain and the failing of the fiberglass I glued on with epoxy. I didn’t have my sander then and sanded by hand, obviousely not well enough. I also suspect the fiberglass/epoxy shrunk, and since it was on the outside only, pulled on the planks. I will build a new one out of marine plywood left overs from my Fafnir project. I am even thinking of including a clear bubble to allow a good look around without having to open the hatch.

Another four-day session at the end of this month should be enough to finish the boat. It is never 100% finished of course, and I know of a few to-do list items I will have to complete under way or at anchor somewhere. I just didn’t want to have any big project going on to spoil my adventure. In the mean time I will probably build the companionway hatch and drop it off in a couple weeks. Rain water finding its way down below during every squall can’t be good.

A guy stopped by to offer his diving services to clean my bottom, uh, the boat’s bottom I mean.. One Dollar per foot, that’s $26 for Dagny. I eagerly handed out my money, also left him a new zinc to put on the propeller shaft. “No extra charge,” just my lucky day. I will have him do it one more time before leaving. My three-bladed prop will be enough of a drag, I don’t need the extra barnacles!

Thanks to Melina and Dave again for helping me getting there and back.

I have such good friends here, it will be very hard to leave them all behind.

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L’aventure de Dagny en Français.

Ma première expérience de voile fut une courte sortie sur le voilier du père d’un ami. Le temps a Dunkerque était pluvieux avec un bon vent, digne du Nord de la France. Nous sommes sortis du port sans voiles, au moteur. On se crut dans une machine à laver. Nous sommes rentres après deux heures, froid et mouilles. Je pensais alors ne jamais plus mettre le pied sur un bateau.

Vous me pardonnerez mes erreurs de Français j’espère… L’Anglais est maintenant ma langue principale. Bien que je parle à mes parents toutes les semaines et à quelques amis Français ici à Sarasota, il est très rare que j’écrive en Français. Je pensais n’écrire ce blog qu’en Anglais, mais j’ai un peu de famille en France et quelques amis. Pour n’imprimer que les articles en Français, cliquez sur la catégorie Français dans la colonne de droite. N’hésitez pas à corriger mes erreurs, utilisez le lien Contact. Merci.

Dix ans plus tard j’arrivais en Floride… Ah, quelle différence. Un temps magnifique tous les jours, le paradis. Ce ne fut que huit ans plus tard qu’un ami qui pilotais un P-51 Mustang pendant la guerre m’invita sur son voilier de trente pieds pour une sortie, au cas ou, étant donné son age avancé. Des qu’il a coupé le moteur, alors j’ai compris…

Après beaucoup de recherche je décidais de construire un bateau de trente deux pieds en acier, un Tahitiana. J’ai acheté les plans et me suis inscris à des leçons de soudure. Avant de commencer, recherchant ces modèles sur l’internet, j’ai trouvé éxactement ce que je voulais construire, dans un état douteux, mais le travail ne me fais pas peur. Je l’ai acheté, et commença la restauration. C’est une longue histoire, mais le bateau fut ravagé pas des voleurs qui ont tout pris, même découpé les hublots a la scie électrique. Il ne restais plus rien de valeur à bord. Fin du projet.

Mais le virus était toujours là. Vingt et un ans aux États Unis, c’est très long. Le pays n’est plus ce qu’il était. Il est temps maintenant pour moi de partir et découvrir de nouveaux horizons. L’an dernier j’ai trouvé un Morris Frances 26 à un prix raisonnable. Il est presque finis. J’ai repeint le pont, ajouté des panneaux solaires et réparé quelques problèmes. Il me reste un peu de peinture a l’intérieur et quelques détails. Je pense prendre la mer en septembre.

Le plus proche, ce sont les Bahamas à quarante nautiques de la côte Est. Une traversée d’une journée en somme. Le problème c’est le Gulf Stream, un courant qui viens du sud et peut causer une grosse mer avec un vent du Nord. C’est le triangle des Bermudes après tout. Si j’arrive aux Bahamas sans couler ou disparaître dans un brouillard mystérieux, je pense y rester deux mois, pour me faire la main. Ensuite, nous verrons… Le but serait de traverser le canal de Panama vers le Pacifique. Entre deux, qui sais… Après, aucune idée… J’irais le plus loin possible, que celà dure trois semaines ou trois ans, il y a beaucoup de choses a voir dans le monde.

Anticipez des articles en Français donc, bien que la plupart seront en Anglais, mais vous aurez les photos et vidéos. Je vais aussi installer un module de traduction qui devrais vous permettre de les lire.

A bientôt donc, si j’arrive a partir, ce qui n’est pas certain, mais j’éssaye…

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Naming Dagny.

A boat needs a proper name and I couldn’t think of a better one than “Dagny.” It remained to be painted on the hull, which my friend Christine graciously offered to do.

It was also the first time I put the Achilles dinghy in the water. After the painting we rowed it to the restaurant across the water and made it with only minutes to spare before the kitchen closed. It rows easily and is the perfect size for a couple people, maybe three in a pinch.

I also installed the pure-sinewave thousand-Watt inverter which allows me to run tools and anything else using 110V AC. Painting on the inside of the cabin was again made difficult by the heat, 90F+ feeling like 105 because of the humididy.

Dagny is coming along slowly but surely. I expect another four days of work before I can set off maybe in a couple months. There are still a few safety items I need to buy before leaving, not to mention the need of a “cruising kitty.”

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Inching Forward.

Hello, I got a few deliveries this week! At last some progress, inching forward I am.

The 35lbs Mantus anchor arrived this afternoon! Nice piece of gear. Assembly was easy, a bit messy with the big wallop of grease provided. If you get one, make sure you have 3/4″ wrenches..

Also delivered was the Fusion 1000W pure sinewave inverter. That is a big device, twice as large as I pictured it. I thought about getting a 600W or so inverter but my drill is 960W and I want to be able to iron clothes once in a while. Pure sinewave is necessary for electronics, otherwise you can damage power supplies, then you lose more money than you think you saved by buying a cheap unit. The Fusion was only about $160. I hope it will fare well in the salty environment. Maybe I should buy a backup unit.

I also received two small fire extinguishers. I’ll install one in the bow and the second one in the stern. You never know which one you’ll be able to grab… Since my stove will be between the two, it is a wise precaution.

I am waiting for an inReach SE satellite communicator. That is a great safety device and my friends as well as you will be able to follow me on my trip. I’ll have texting capabilities but few people will get that number.

The last big item I need is the sea anchor, another $400, ouch.

Then a few must-haves:

  1. Harness and tether.
  2. Flares.
  3. Charts.
  4. 20m antenna, tuner.

Most of the other stuff I already have..

I should make my way to Dagny in about ten days and stay four or five days, enough time to do most of the remaining work. It will probably take one more trip before I move everything abord. I missed my weather window with the hurricane season starting now, but whether I am in Florida or the Bahamas doesn’t make much difference in that regard.

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Survival Suit.

I was hesitant at first to mention my project to my friends, thinking of the old adage: “If you fail remove all evidence that you tried…” Too late for that! Sometimes good things do happen when people know what you are attempting to do. My friend Ed, coffee shop buddy emeritus and Knowledgeable in all things maritime gave me a survival suit tonight! He used to be in the merchant marine and still has contacts… Since until I can afford a bona-fide liferaft my dinghy will have to do, an exposure suit would be extremely useful to abandon ship. Let’s hope it never gets to that…

Survival Suit

Exposure Suit

Things are slowing down a bit here, and it is very frustrating not to be able to go work on the boat. I still need to finish the inside cabin painting, a small area of the deck and cockpit, and a number of small repairs before even thinking of leaving. I hope to make another trip at the end of the month. Stay tuned for updates!

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