A Fix-it & Relax Day

Choices at Kitty's dock in Cape Coral fFL.

Choices at Kitty’s dock in Cape Coral fFL.

We’re still docked at Kitty’s dock, waiting for our battery to be recharged. We think now that we caused the problem – with our inexperience and lack of understanding. Yesterday Mike Levy helped educate us. When we pick up our recharged battery tomorrow we will operate differently.
Meanwhile on the way here, the rudder gage & auto helm stopped working. Rich checked them today & found a crumbling component with broken wires. It’s not a part we can easily replace (too old) so Rich is attempting to jerry rig fix it.
Between those and other fix-it jobs, Kitty took us for a beautiful drive across Sanibel to Captiva Island for a delicious lunch at The Green Flash. Then at home we luxuriated in a long swim.

Sue & Kitty Nicolai outside the Green Flash Restaurant on Captiva Island.

Sue & Kitty Nicolai outside the Green Flash Restaurant on Captiva Island.

Baby Salts

People experienced in boating are called Old Salts. We’ve been the exact opposite. Knowing we had to move the boat caused sleepless nights. The process of moving it resulted in both of us dripping in sweat and exhausted. Fortunately that is changing and we have progressed from Landlubbers to Baby Salts. We’re beginning to sleep nights and maneuvering the boat is a challenge but not a fear and perspiration inducing event. Progress is good. We’ve climbed the first salt rung and become baby salts.

Rich & Kacy adding hydraulic steering fluid.

Rich & Kacy adding hydraulic steering fluid.

Greta from A1Boat & Dive Service

Greta from A1Boat & Dive Service

But I wish we could solve some equipment issues. Greta & Kacy from A1 Boat & Dive Services (wonderful people) spent hours on our boat today trying to help us. They showed Rich how to fill the hydraulic steering fluid so our steering isn’t making strange noises any more. Most of the time was spent trying to figure out why our inverter isn’t working. He isolated it to a dead inverter battery and thought it might have been defective.  He took it to West Marine to get it tested & replaced but West Marine said it was bought directly and wouldn’t help.

Kacy Kent of A1 Boat & Dive Services

Kacy of  A1 Boat & Dive Services

So, at 2 PM we left Ft Myers in a hurry (the marina needed our dock space) and headed south to Cape Coral with a heavy 8D battery on our stern. We wound through beautiful canals in Cape Coral and docked easily at the newly built dock of Kitty Nicolai. Kitty very graciously drove us to the battery company office back in Ft Myers. There the guy determined the battery wasn’t defective, just drained severely low. He’s recharging it which will take all weekend.

Even with the recharged battery back on the boat next week, we don’t know what caused the battery to not charge. The marine electronics expert from  Marine Electronics Installations, Inc. who designed and installed the new battery charger, inverter, and battery last March can’t fit us into his schedule for 2 weeks and won’t service us any farther away than Ft Myers. How’s that for lousy customer service?

That’s exhausting

RichSqueakEmmyOct2013Getting ready to start the Loop requires a lot of work – at home as well as at the boat. Rich spent the day today power washing the pool area, painting furniture, and trimming trees and bushes, all in preparation for renting our house. It plumb tuckered him (and the 2 cats) out.

Water Woes

Rich crawls into lazarette to dismantle old line. The bent tube lying on the deck is part of the old water line.

Rich crawls into lazarette to dismantle old line. The bent tube lying on the deck is part of the old water line.

Choices came with 2 fresh water tanks for a total advertised volume of 205 gallons. Sounded good. Then we ran out of water. How could we have run out of water so fast?? We thought we probably hadn’t opened a valve somewhere. Rich crawled through the boat and traced all the water lines. What he found surprised us – the stern water tank line was capped off and connected nowhere. How odd. Why would someone disconnect a major water line?

In crawling about, Rich nudged a water line and managed to break a connection. Several trips to TrueValue Hardware ensued with consultation by the boating and plumbing experts, trying to find a way to reconnect the broken segment. It proved to be a difficult task given the materials and distance to be bridged. Finally we discussed it and decided maybe the best plan of attack would be to rip out the old line completely and replumb it with new flexible water line. So, rip out we did. Rich had to become a contortionist to get into small spaces to unscrew the brackets holding the old line.

Rich reaches as far back in the lazarette as he can. To his left is the refrigerator condenser. To the right is the stern water tank.

Rich reaches as far back in the lazarette as he can. To his left is the refrigerator condenser. To the right is the stern water tank.

What we found was that the line had probably leaked long ago and the line was cut and capped to stop the leak. Our decision had been a good one. Rich spent a day crawling in the lazarette and hot engine room and got the new line run and connected into the pressurizing pump. When all was said and done we had water flowing from both tanks. Yipee! 205 usable gallons of water.

Maintenance – Learning About Choices

Maintenance – Learning About Choices

Most boaters talk glibly about changing filters, cleaning out thru-hull strainers, and polishing the fuel. It’s all new to us – new terminology and new functions. Since we bought Choices, we’ve delved into one maintenance item and one system at a time. First we do research using the internet and the user’s manual to help us understand the terminology and the components. Then we try to identify them on our boat and buy the correct parts. Then we dive in – well Rich dives in and I help. Each task takes us days to accomplish. A knowledgeable person could probably complete each task in a few hours. But, along the way we are beginning to know our boat and her systems. It’s a lot of time spent in the engine compartment, crawling around and assuming contortionist positions. But, it’s also an exercise for our aging minds and we’re both enjoying the learning experience.

So far we’ve:
changed filters on the engine and generator
cleaned all thru-hull strainers
cleaned the engine heat exchanger, replaced engine zinc
changed black water view tube
added steering hydraulic fluid to upper helm
changed engine impeller
installed Garmin chartplotter
engine fan belt replaced
marked chain & rode, cleaned chain locker
replaced engine oil cooler & hoses
replaced transmission cooler
replaced 2 transmission cooler hoses
cleaned fuel valves on Yamaha outboard
installed Racor pressure gauge on engine Racor
Cleaned genset heat exchanger, changed antifreeze, changed zinc
fuel polished & tank cleaned
installed arc & new Weaver davits on dinghy
installed new dinghy cover, sprayed with UV protectant
installed Xantrex Inverter 1000
installed Mastervolt Power Charger
installed new (3rd) 8d battery in battery box
installed LED spreader lights
replaced interior light bulbs with LEDs
installed soap pump in galley
replaced gasket on freezer cover
replaced galley faucet
refinished name plates & flag post with Cetol
waxed most of boat gel coat
sanded & varnished upper cap rail
Whew…..boats are a lot of work!

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Changing Her Name

Our trawler was owned by the Swifts and came with the name Swift Kick. It fit them. but not us. We decided while we were boat shopping that “Choices” would be the perfect name for our boat (read About US to find out why).

imageSo, we had to peel the man me off the stern of the boat & replace it with “Choices.”  We also added the name to the bottom of the dinghy. The dingy sits on the back of the boat attached to the swim platform. On our trip home, every bridge tender had to ask for our boat name since they couldn’t see it.

imageRich also took off the side name panels, stripped and revarnished them, and applied the new name.

Now Choices bears her name proudly.