Monthly Archives: October 2015

Finished teak and the Stede Bonnet race

10/31/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We crewed our friend Ben’s boat in the Stede Bonnet race and finished in the middle of the pack. One of the requirements for the race is that everyone has to dress like pirates, so we went into town and shopped for some costume pieces at the local thrift store. $10 later and some accessories from Matt and Shirley, and we were pirates! A great time was had by all!!

Here we are underway during the race:


Shirley and Tricia, pirate wenches:

After the race we went down to the waterfront and went to Provision Company. It was the last day of the season for them and they were giving away food. They also had a good band, so we ate and drank our fill and enjoyed the music.

The next day, we finally finished the teak on the outside of the boat:




It was weeks of work. Kudos to Tricia, who did most of the staining. Also thanks to our friend John for all of his help. Now we can get ready to head south!!

Ass captains abound

10/30/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

The US Open King Mackerel Fishing Tournament started today, and Southport Marina is a prime check-in/check-out location for the fishermen. As a result the marina is packed with boats that are participating. The total lack of respect for others that some of these people display is beyond me. Trashing of bathrooms, hijacking dock carts and not bringing them back, disregard for their wake causing an almost constant roll in the marina, are some primary examples. At 5 AM this morning there were several groups throughout the docks carrying on at an annoying decibel level until dawn, waking everyone else who was trying to sleep. The Ass Captain awards were issued at a feverish pace. The real question that tugs at me is: Why are these boaters different than the general boating population? Generally speaking, there is a mutual respect between members of the boating community. People look out for each other. There is consideration for the impact of your actions on others. Somehow, these folks just didn’t get the message…or is it that they just don’t care. I am really not bitchin’…just trying to understand these socially retarded jack-legs.

Teak work, teak work, teak work…and some other stuff

10/26/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

We are 1 week from departure and have been working hard to get the final work done on the boat. We were taking advantage of a week of wonderful weather conditions and finishing the teak. Once we finished sanding and stripping the wood, we used a two part teak cleaner called Snappy Teak. One part brings up the dirt, and the second part neutralizes the first part while brightening the wood. Here is a sample of sanded and clean, ready for stain.

Here is the first coat going on:

We are doing three coats of Sikkens Cetol Maine – Natural, and two coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine – Gloss. I’ll post some pics of the finished product in a few days. The third coat is almost done of the Natural, but we’ll have to wait through a few days of rain to put the Gloss on.

Kurt and Sharon from Byrd Ketcher rolled into town on Wednesday, and we have been having fun at night reuniting, which means even more partying than we normally do (which I didn’t think was possible). Over the next two rainy days we will go to Wilmington to provision, then get dinghy fuel, then pump out the holding tank, and we should be ready to rock. We also have the Stead Bonnet race this Saturday, so I imagine we will leave Monday. The weather looks like it will be cooperating.

Yesterday, Kurt, Matt and I went oyster hunting. We borrowed our dock neighbors skiff and went down the waterway about an hour, up a river to an oyster bed. We picked enough oysters and clams to fill a cooler and had a great feast last night. Plenty more for today as well.



Also yesterday, our dock neighbors (John and Mary Ann), and our other D dock friends Tony, Priscilla, and their daughter Tommi, went fishing and caught three wahoo and a dolphin fish. Everyone was excited. Tonight we will have oysters and fresh fish!!

Today is overcast and blowing like stink (sailors term for windy as shit). The wind is somewhat welcome as the no-see-ums have been absolutely horrible this last week due to the calm winds and cooler temps.

Stay tuned…as we get moving, I’ll keep the blog updated more frequently.

2 weeks away

10/18/15
Southport, NC
Posted by Bill

It has been about 10 days since our last post. We have been enjoying a period of beautiful weather until today. Today it is going to be a high of only 62 and will get down to 42 tonight…brrrrr. After Monday it is supposed to get back to normal, highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 50s. At least the sun is out and we are not supposed to have rain for another week.

We have been taking advantage of the nice weather and have our teak stripped, sanded, and ready to clean and stain. There is a lot of teak on this boat and it has been a big project. We are 2 weeks away from our intended departure date, and we have also been getting the boat ready for passage. Tricia has been spending time cleaning out lockers and storage spaces, and re-inventorying all of the stuff we have stored. We ordered and received all of the spare boat parts we needed to get, and we have also received cloths and misc. items that we wanted to get before we leave. There are only a couple more small boat projects and we are ready to go!

Another thing we did was get all of our fishing gear so we could catch some more flounder. We have been borrowing gear from our friends, but finally got it all for ourselves, and my buddy Matt taught me how to throw a cast net. He also taught us how to make a Carolina rig…which is used to fish for flounder. We will become fishermen if it kills us!! Problem has been that since the major rain event, all of the fish have flown the coop. The rain changed the water salinity, chasing away all of the fish, including bait fish. They are finally starting to appear again, so I’ll try to catch some bait and some shrimp.

I have also spent a few days helping Matt with their house. If you don’t remember or don’t know, our good friends Matt and Shirley from Sofia Jeanne have been building a house all summer. They have been doing most of the work themselves, but sometimes Matt needs a hand with unloading wood, working on walls and ceilings with long boards (all of the walls, floors and ceilings are wood – no dry wall), or like yesterday…getting landscaping plants. I have learned quite a bit in the process and I really enjoy working with them. It seems like we always have fun with them no matter what we do, and yesterday was no different. We took three trucks to the nicest nursery I have ever been to. It was huge, and the plants were top quality plants. We got to buzz around in golf carts and pick out what they wanted:





We loaded up the plants:


After dropping them off at the house, they planted and we headed back for more teak work.

Last weekend we also had a mega party on D dock. It was supposed to be a progressive appetizer and drink party, where people migrated from boat to boat to experience what the boat owners concocted, but it poured rain. We executed plan B and moved the party to a couple of picnic tables on the covered porch of the marina office. Everyone enjoyed the food, drink and company, and also got pretty lit up! It was a good enough party to get complaints from other people in the marina!

We decided to stay here until after Halloween. There is an event that weekend called the Stead-Bonnet race. It is a sailing regatta (race) and everyone dresses up like pirates. We were here in Southport eight years ago and stumbled upon it, and it was great fun to watch. This year our friend Ben asked us to crew his boat for the race. It is the same boat we won 2nd place in for the Lone Palm Regatta in the spring. Looking forward to it. Also looking forward to seeing our friends Kurt and Sharon on Byrd Ketcher. They are arriving this Wednesday to prepare their boat to head south. Hopefully we will get to travel together again. This recent blast of cold air has me wanting to get going south again. Bad thing is…we have made many good friends here that we are really going to miss, especially Matt, Shirley and Grady.

Another typical boat project

10/7/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

After spending most of 3 days inside the boat waiting out the record rains it was nice to get out in the sunshine! Fortunately for us we did not have any issues related to the floods, wind and rain, other than a few nights of poor sleep. The temps and humidity have been fantastic as well and we have had the air conditioning off and hatches open.

So now that the hatches are open and the weather is nice, I decided to tackle a long running boat project… fix the broken hatch hinges. The hinges that hold the hatches open are attached to the hatch frame in the deck by pop rivets. After 20 years, the original rivets started breaking, rendering the hinge useless. In the last 8 months we had 3 hatches fall victim, and we have been propping them up with wood sticks or using a bungee chord to hold them open from above. It hasn’t been a huge deal since we have them closed with the A/C running since May, so it hasn’t been a top priority. We weren’t able to find out what size rivets we needed from any of our internet resources, including Island Packet forums, so I took the pieces of a broken one and determined the size based on that. I must first confess that I don’t know too much about rivets except the general physics of how they work, and I have only used a rivet gun a couple of times. This is the perfect setting for a typical boat project.

After the initial trip to Lowes to procure the rivets, I took apart the first hinge. Step two is to clean out the holes where the rivets go, as I had temporarily plugged them with silicon so we didn’t have water leaking in every time it rained, and there are remnants of the broken rivets that can be in the way. On this hatch, that material gets trapped by a metal bracket that appears to be screwed to the deck frame. No problem right…just remove the screws and pull the bracket off…clean up the fragments. NOT! The bracket is welded to the frame. Ok…rebed the deck screws so they don’t leak, then try to use probes to fish out the stuff you need to remove through a tiny slot and the rivet holes. Thanks to Tricia’s help we cleared most of it out in 30-40 minutes. I basically had to rivet this plastic piece to the frame:

Then re-assemble the hinge and attach it back to the hatch lid. You will see that the holes in the plastic piece are rough around the edges. The next challenge we hit was that the rivet gun was not deep enough to reach the rivet collar through the recess. My first approach was to go back to Lowes and buy some washers that would fit over the rivet mandrel and in essence, extend the rivet collar to the gun:

In the second attempt, the washers shortened the rivet mandrel to the point that it was too short for the gun to work. Taking some measurements, I needed 12mm to reach the rivet in the recess of the plastic piece, and the die in the gun was only 6mm. I tried to knarl out the recess holes (hence the rough edges in the picture) to gain more depth with the gun, but to no avail. Plan B…tap out the holes in the hatch frame and fasten with machine screws. I have a tap and die set, but I have never used it and I was concerned about learning on the hatch frames due to the high cost and labor required to replace them if I screwed up. After a couple of hours of research I decided to call a place that sells the hinge repair kits, and I found someone who told me the trick to using a rivet gun to do the job…grind the end of the gun to make it fit the recess. That ain’t happening on this boat. After another hour of research and thinking, I figured that maybe I could pull the rivet mandrel half way through the motion of the gun, open the gun to re-position it against the washers again, and repeat until the mandrel was long enough to be gripped by the gun to complete the process. Not working as the rivet is not gripping the back side of the frame. After a couple of more attempts, research and thinking, it looked like the rivet may not be long enough. Learning more about rivets, it seems that you need about a quarter of an inch longer than the real length needed to sufficiently mushroom the end of the rivet. We were just a little shy of that. Back to Lowes to get longer rivets. Using the same process as before and the longer rivets…Viola!! Success!! The biggest hatch had two hinges and the next bigger on had one. After completing those, and feeling pretty good, I get to the last one that needed repaired…a small hatch. No access behind the holes to get the previous rivet remains out and they are blocking the holes. I figure I can drill them out. It takes 10 minutes to dig the drill and bits out of storage only to find out that the drill and bit combined are too long to fit in the hatch opening, thus keeping me from the task at hand. I dig out my other drill…no luck. What I need is a right angled drill. So I take two out of three as success for the day and call it quits until I find a right angled to borrow, and as usual, it takes almost a full day to fix two hatches! Typical boat project.


Crazy weather days

10/4/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

First, thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Bahamas who were impacted by hurricane Joaquin, and also to the people impacted by the devastating flooding in South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina. What a mess!

Today, the stream of heavy rain that caused the flooding south and west of us has started to move north. On top of that, the winds picked up significantly. We have had steady moderate rain all day, with periods of violent downpours. I can’t imagine what it was like to have that kind of rain for as long as the people had south and west of us. For us, the system will move through in the course of a day…or so they say, and the intense rain won’t be as long in duration as it was for them. We have had winds mostly in the mid to high teens (knots) and some periods of sustained winds in the low to mid 30s (knots), with gusts to almost 40 knots. Needless to say, we have been confined to the boat, mostly reading and relaxing.

Our friends Matt and Shirley on Sofia Jeanne were out in their car and snapped these photos of the Yacht Basin along the waterfront in Southport. They are of the same places that I posted yesterday and were taken an hour after high tide, and the water is higher than high tide yesterday. It is now 3 hours after high tide and the water in the marina has not subsided any noticeable amount since, so I’ll bet it is still a mess down there.



These kind of days are not fun on a 42 foot boat all cooped up, but at least we are tied to a dock and have cable TV!

Checking out high water in Southport

10/3/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

After two days of almost solid rain we had a break today. Widely scattered showers today and we actually got some sun. There have been flood warnings out that expire on Monday, so we decided to walk into town to check out the water levels at high tide. It seemed like the water was a little higher than a super moon high tide, but nothing catastrophic.

ICW at the marina. Usually high tide is below the sign and the grassy part to the right is a land mass:

The rack storage loading area, almost breached. The water is never this high:

Along the city docks…never this high normally:


The yacht basin waterfront. All of the restaurants were closed:






Looking back at American Fish Company (Ivans in the movie Safe Haven). The water was up to the deck…never seen it this high:

Lord and Bay street:

This is likely to get worse as the next 2 days are going to be pretty much solid rain. Wind is starting to pick up but we are not expecting more than 40 knots. Looking forward to Tuesday!

Catching up

10/2/15
Southport NC
Posted by Bill

With the threat of a hurricane upon us, we have had many calls, emails and text messages asking if we are ok. We really appreciate the concerns and everyone checking in. Along with those, there were several questions about the lack of blog entries in the last couple weeks, which may have prompted the communications. So here is a catch up blog!

The last 10 days have been pretty much uneventful other than the weather and Tricia catching a flounder. We usually have happy hour at the end of D dock next to our friends Matt and Shirley. We watch the dolphins and pelicans feed, the bait fish run through the marina, and boats going up and down the ICW. Sometimes we fish while we sit and drink. A couple of Sundays ago, Tricia throws a line in the water and hauls in a 17.5 inch flounder:


Our friend Greg, a master fisherman, showed us how to filet it, and Tricia cooked it on our grill. Man, was it good!!

A couple of days later we had a visit from our good friend Greg, from Columbus. He and his girlfriend were here vacationing on Oak Island. They came over for cocktails on the boat and then we walked to the waterfront for dinner. Great to see them!!

This last weekend we went to breakfast in Wilmington with some new friends, Jimmy and Beverly. They just bought an Island Packet 38, similar to ours, which is docked in the marina just up the waterway. They are getting ready to cruise south and Tricia connected with Beverly through the “Women Who Sail” group on Facebook. We compared notes and offered to help them get more familiar with Island Packets nuances, as well as cruising in general, if they needed it. Great meeting them. They were nice people.

That is when the weather started to get crappy. Besides being hot as hell, the weather has been phenomenal here since we arrived…very little rain and lots of sun. The last week or so has changed, bringing rain, especially the last couple of days. We watch the weather in the tropics every day while we are in the summer months, and we started to watch several times a day with the formation of Joaquin. I use a whole bunch of weather sources, most from the internet, but my two favorite ones for tropical weather are www.spaghettimodels.com and www.tropicaltidbits.com. You can view the European models in tropicaltidbits.com, which are usually the most accurate. This turned out to be true once again with Joaquin. We didn’t get too excited as we saw things develop, but would have sprung into action if it was looking like big trouble within a three day period. We are in a hurricane rated marina. As of this post, it looks like we are going to get an ass-load of rain until Monday or Tuesday, but only winds gusting to 30 knots. We have dealt with that wind level many times and are ready to go (fully prepped including a case of vodka…lol). This is a shot of some of the rain today from our boat:

This is the ICW in front of our marina today at 20 minutes after high tide:

The water is never this high unless there is a full moon and extreme tide, and it is going to get worse. We took this shot of the Southport pier two hours after high tide and it looks like a normal high tide…going to be interesting as there is a flood warning until Monday:

I can’t believe it is October already. You can tell by the number of transient boats moving through the marina and the size of them. Southbound activity has picked up, and we are seeing boats like this one coming through almost every day:

We are also seeing some of our cruising friends moving south from further up north as we follow their blogs and Facebook posts. The weather has been particular menacing for those in the Chesapeake Bay, and not getting much better any time soon. We wish them all safe passage and hope to meet up again this cruising season. We are almost ready to go. Anticipating a departure in the third week of October.