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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.