Spring 2022 Update

Further’s current state: on the hard in Annapolis awaiting the return of her mast. Soon…

Well, first off, let me apologize. I thought I had posted to this here blog through the fall of 2021. It wasn’t until I logged in yesterday that I realized I hadn’t written a damned thing since Further’s keel was being worked on in July. I’ve posted photos on a semi-regular basis on Further’s Instagram account so there have been some sort-of updates there. But let’s get caught up fully now, in hopes of this serving as a kick-off to adventures to come…

In that last real update in July, Further was on the hard in Deale, Maryland, about a half-hour’s drive south of Annapolis (and hometown, I learned, of big country-music stars, the Brothers Osborne…who knew?!) having some work done on her keel. In perhaps the first bit of good news in the history of thousands of years of the marine industry, what I had feared was going to be a very expensive project turned out to be, essentially, just some glasswork on the very bottom of the keel. That work got done, Further went back into the water (and the repairs held) and I spent a few more days living aboard in Deale.

Compare this to a couple of posts prior…BIG difference.

Which I actually quite enjoyed. The marina there was excellent and well-kept, and the folks who work there were really nice. It was also a lot cheaper than facilities in Annapolis. But the fact of the matter is: my life is in Naptown. Hockey, the people I know, the things I do — all up here. The extra drive wasn’t that big of a deal but it was enough. So I found a slip on Back Creek and, with the help of a couple of friends, brought Further north in mid-August. We even got to roll out the brand-spankin’ new genoa for part of the trip, which was a nice bonus.

Autumn on Back Creek was peaceful and lovely

I spent the next couple of months living aboard Further in her slip quite a ways up Back Creek — the same creek Further had called home in two other marinas in past years. This particular location, at one of the biggest marinas in Annapolis, was fabulous, with peace and quiet conditions, and calm water even during storms.

And when I started a new, remote job in September, I considered living aboard through the winter. I was choosing between living aboard and renting some office space, or getting an apartment on shore where I could live and work. So when a check-up made it clear Further’s standing rigging (the mast, and the cables and rods that hold it up) needed some attention — probably the first since it left the factory in 1985 — I opted to move ashore and had the boat hauled out in early December.

Isn’t she purty?! The refinished mast, fresh out of the shop

Since then, the riggers have redone the mast so well that it looks like a new spar. New fittings and lights have been installed, some Rube Goldberg set-ups that a previous owner had rigged up have been replaced by appropriate equipment, and the whole arrangement has been refinished so that it is once again protected against the elements — kind-of mandatory for a boat that goes to sea.

At the same time, the current electronics that I’d bought last spring were installed, along with two new lithium-iron batteries. I’m particularly psyched about the batteries as the lithium-iron technology means you get more capacity and faster recharge capability than traditional batteries. Couple the new batteries with the existing solar panel and wind turbine, plus an additional solar panel I picked up a long time ago but never installed, and the system will go a long way toward making Further more independent. We should be able to generate most, if not all, of our electricity (for the electronics, yes, but also for lights, water pumps and other creature comforts, including my laptop and phone for the ability to work remotely) without having to run the engine (and thus refuel more frequently) or plug into shore power.

Umm, yeah. Taking this puppy out was NOT fun…
…and taking this puppy out was even less fun. But it’s done

The solar panels and wind turbine will go on an arch that I purchased during the winter and that will be incorporated into a new bimini (the canvas “roof” over the helm), all of which is ready to go on once the mast is back in place. I also have a new composting toilet I’m going to put in the aft head, replacing the old water toilet and holding tank that was there. I’ve realized that I’m going to have to remodel the head a bit to make space for the bulkier composting toilet, but I’m super excited about the simplicity and independence the new head will provide.

This icicle formed below one of the cockpit scuppers this winter. Pretty cool, huh?

It’s a boat, so of course there’s a never-ending list of to-do items, but those are the big-ticket items. The mast is scheduled to get stepped into place next week (last week of April) and then Further will be ready to go into the water. Before she launches, however, I’m going to have some pros fill in a couple of through-hull holes (for instance, that used to serve the now-removed water toilet) while she’s still on the hard. Then, as soon as I can schedule a launch, Further will be back where she belongs: afloat. Everything else can be done in a slip; in fact, some things will be easier when Further is floating.

And that brings us up-to-date. I suspect you’re wondering what I have planned for the upcoming summer and beyond — the aforementioned “adventures to come” — but I’ll limit this post to the things of a physical nature related to Further. I’ll get into what I’m thinking in the next post. I hope you’ll tune in.

I Love Computers…Not

I pout whenever I see Further without her mast, but that will be coming to an end very soon…

Hi, Folks. Long time, no see.

I spent some time today aboard Further and came here to get this silly blog up-and-running again after a winter of sailing inactivity. I resurrected my personal, navel-gazing site yesterday after a similarly inactive personal stretch and thought it was time to do the same here.

But I also had thought that over the winter the photographs I’d been posting to Further‘s Instagram account were displaying on the photos page here, but when I logged in a few minutes ago I found that wasn’t the case (I blame that schmuck Zuckerberg, just cuz I can…).  And that’s a shame because the dozen or shots I posted told the story of what was going on with Further over the past six or seven months. The boat’s had an eventful (if immobile) period, actually, unlike yours truly.

After some fun ‘n’ games with the various apps involved (grrr…), I’ve rectified the Instagram SNAFU and the photos page is working once again (knock on wood). So I’ll do a recap post later tonight or, more likely, tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a shot of Further on the hard in Annapolis looking a little forlorn without her mast. But soon…

Keel Work Begins

As detailed in my last post, the keel on Further is in need of a bit of work. In April, the boat went into the water for the first time in almost eighteen months and within an hour or so there was a small trickle of water getting inside the boat via one of the ten keel bolts. Keel-bolt issues are not to be trifled with (do a Google search about the Cheeki Rafiki to see why) so even though the trickle slowed significantly over the subsequent weeks, I still chose to get the issue addressed once and for all.

The thing is: I’ve known since I bought the boat that at some point the keel was going to have to be looked at. Any time Further was hauled out water would drip from the bottom of the keel for a much longer time than expected. And there was clearly a hole in the fiberglass at the forward end of the bottom of the keel (see the image at the top of this page or go to previous post for a close-up photo of the hole). But it was never really a problem. The keel bolts are all in excellent condition and there was never a significant flow of water into the bilge. I realize now, though, that there was always at least a little skiff of water in the bilge and I’m thinking now it was coming in via the keel bolt.

I think now that what happened is that being out of the water for a year and a half allowed the keel to dry out completely, so that when Further splashed in April the water flowed in via that known hole to the bolt and into the bilge. After a while, as the keel became saturated, that flow slowed to where it had been in the past.

Of course, that may all be a massive rationalization but we’ll see in the near future.

Anyway, the company doing the work had said they’d start the week of June 21. I checked Further on Friday the 25th and, as is par for the course for the marine industry in the Annapolis area, they hadn’t done a damned thing. I sent an email that day that played innocent and asked only if there was anything to report, and that while I knew there can always be surprises once projects like this get started what they thought the ETA might be. A reply came quickly saying they were going to get started next week (June 28th) and that the job should take two to three weeks.

You can clearly see saw marks and other signs of excavation around what had been a hole in the forward end of Further’s keel.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, June 30, I again visited Further and still nothing had been done. Needless to say, I was starting to get a little perturbed. Shortly after I’d left the boatyard, however, I got a phone call. The owner of the company was on the other end of the line saying that they’d begun work and that they didn’t think it was going to take as long as originally predicted. Breakthrough!

So yesterday I visited Further again and took the attached photos. In them you can see clear signs where a saw and other power tools have excavated two holes in the keel, both the one at the forward end and another near the aft end. And you can see where they’ve filled gaps in the lead keel and in some of the fiberglass around it.

And you can see where they’ve filled in some gaps in the glass and around the lead keel.

This work will sit for some time and then the keel will again be fully glassed over. And then, theoretically, Further’s keel will be good to go. The company asked if I wanted them to do some other hull work we’d discussed (removing some defunct through-hulls and filling in the holes) since they now figure they’ll have more time than they originally planned for. I’ll decide on that in the next day or so but I might instead opt to use that money for some other projects (i.e.: an arch to mount solar panels and other stuff above the stern). Or, heaven forbid, to save it for future use. I know, right?! How mature of me!

In any case, that’s the current status report on Further’s keel. Keep your fingers crossed but maybe, just maybe, we’ll be back on the water sooner rather than later. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be back in salt water in the next few weeks.