Holding Pattern

Well, not sure what to tell you but I figured it was time to provide an update. Here in the Mid-Atlantic (I’m still in Annapolis) it’s not even 24 hours after the summer solstice and we’re in the midst of a nice, steamy stretch: temps around 90, humidity in the 90 percent range, severe thunderstorms in the forecast for later this afternoon and the season’s THIRD (already!) tropical storm sliding off into the Atlantic a bit south of here…but hey, everything on the climate front is just normal. Riiiiiiiiight…

On the Further front, everything IS just normal—well, normal for the past year and a half. Which is to say: with issues.

A view of the hole on the bottom of the forward end of the keel. Click to see a close-up of the frayed fiberglass (it’s pretty cool lookin’).

Further came out of the water last week in advance of addressing the keel-bolt problem I mentioned a couple of posts back. But there’s a potentially positive development on that front (knock on wood). Here’s the word I received from the company fixing the keel after their initial look:
“There is an encapsulated ballast at the bottom of the keel which has several holes in it. We would grind away roughly 4-6” and allow it to dry out. After that, we would repair and re-glass the bottom of the keel. Next, we would open up the top-aft of the keel and inspect.”
Check out the attached photos of the holes.

And while it’s still going to cost a good chunk of change to fix, it’s not the wrist-slitting amount I feared. Let’s hope.

Scary, right? But on the plus side, they’re NOT saying they need to drop the keel. And to be honest, I’ve known about those holes at the bottom of the keel for some time—every time she was hauled out, water would drip out from the keel for an unusually long time. The marine surveyor when I bought Further should have alerted me to the issue but I don’t know that it would have stopped me from buying the boat. I might have insisted on a reduction in price but…oh, well.

Anyway, yeah, the holes are scary but if they’re the source of the water coming up to the one (of ten) keel bolts, hopefully re-glassing the bottom of the keel will seal things off and we’ll be good to go. Again: knock on wood.

You can see the super-wide-diameter wheel in this old photo. That outer ring has been removed and…
…here’s the new, normal-sized wheel back in its place with its comfy leather cover.

Further is jacked up a couple of feet higher than normal so they can fix the problem, but I’ve still gotten on board in recent days. I re-covered Further’s wheel with leather after I had the several-inch extension that had been welded to the old wheel to  removed. Those of you who’ve been on the boat will notice that you no longer have to perform gymnastics to get around the wheel to take the helm. I also repaired a small-but-important piece that was missing from the windlass, the beefy powered winch on the bow used to raise the anchor. And I pulled out all 200 feet of anchor chain and relabeled it in 10-foot increments. So stuff is getting done.

The windlass before…
…and after, with its new recovery fallsafe pawl. (I know: the what?!)

If the keel can stay on that will mean the mast won’t have to be removed, which would be nice. Yes, I mentioned some things in that earlier post that I need to do that would be facilitated by removing the mast, but in the long run, keeping the keel on and fixing those items with the mast still in place is preferable. We shall see…

So right now I’m in a holding pattern awaiting the completion of the keel work. I spent a month-plus living aboard but between the work and the beginning of the aforementioned Mid-Atlantic summer heat and humidity, a boat at a dock is not a comfortable place to live. So I’ve been back on land for about two weeks now. In fact, I took a quick run up to New England last week, during which I grabbed the small, window air conditioner I had on board when I lived aboard down here during previous summers. So once Further is back in the water and IF I wind up moving back on board, I’ll at least have A/C while I’m at the dock. (In case you’re wondering: When the boat is at anchor it usually lies head-to-wind, so opening hatches gets a nice breeze blowing through the cabin. At the dock, you’re stuck where you are, and a lot of the time the breeze goes sideways across the boat, leaving the cabin stifling.)

I can’t find an affordable place to stay in this area for the week-plus leading up to the Fourth of July so I’ll likely clear out for cheaper (and hopefully cooler) accommodations before returning to hopefully relaunch Further and actually get her out sailing. Friends I visited in Florida back in March sailed through here a couple of weeks ago and are now up on Long Island Sound, making me VERY envious. I hope to be following in their wake by mid-July-ish.