Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lets all do the Organization Shuffle ...

Even after paring down a lot of our belongings that we had in our apartment and separating into "things to take to the boat" and the "get rid of" piles, we still had a LOT of things we were thinking we would be taking to the boat.  We started to get nervous, but each load we took to the boat found a home and we were starting to feel pretty good about the amount of storage the boat really has.  We still have behind the settee's we can fill up, but I still have a slight leak where the Chain Plate comes trough the deck.  It is never a lot of water and if I put a wash cloth there, it tends to dry before the next bit comes on board, but if we were taking green water over the deck for days at a time, it would e an issue.  So…  I need to mix up some epoxy with a bit of filler and will fillet it along that seam.  The moral of that story is that I think we still have another bunch of storage area that we will be able to use there as well when I fix that leak.

We certainly want to be comfortable where we sleep and installed a memory foam mattress (12" thick) in the owners stateroom.  It is almost too thick.  I have raised up and bumped my head before on the ceiling under the aft deck :)

Given this is an older boat (1978), it was before all the manufacturers started looking at putting center line queen berths in the boat.  So this one is the traditional U shape, wider forward than aft with a removable section to convert it all to bed.  We decided to set this up so it will be our permanent bunk and wanted it comfortable.  The problem was that the bunk fore to aft is about 4" inches shorter than a king sized bed.  At the aft end of the bed, it is about 8" narrower than a king sized bed, and at the forward section, where our feet would go, it is actually about 9" wider than a king sized mattress.  Knowing that we could sleep comfortably with something narrower than the king, we cut our memory foam mattress (all 4 layers of it) to fit tightly in the aft end of the bed (where our heads go) and then we sleep at an angle with our feet toward the Starboard forward part of the bunk.
This opened up 26 inches of available space on the port forward side of the bunk which in the long run we will likely build storage and drawers for a nice permanent solution for storing clothes, etc.  Before building it, we bought some cheap plastic drawers and a frame to sit in that spot so we can see how well it works for keeping things there.  The 24" of height of the drawers makes it perfect to keep the satellite/cable receiver on and just below where the TV is mounted in the rear stateroom.

You can see from the pictures a bit of the open and available space on one side of the bunk.  Right now, it just drops down off the side of the mattress, but we will get creative on what we build here.   Whatever it is we will have to make sure it still allows access to all of the openings below to access the steering quadrant, steering cable and pulleys and air conditioning duct work.

We also started to bring the clothes we will need on a regular basis.  We gave SO much away, I am still shocked how much we still have.   Really, I gave over 20 shirts, 12 pants, 9 pair of shoes, boots, etc.  It is crazy how much stuff we acquire through our lifetime.  I had 2 pair of cowboy boots that I just don't see being worn and used on the boat…Gone.

We converted the hanging locker in the rear stateroom to a series of shelves to store folded clothes on.  We will still have the hanging locker in the walkthrough and across from the forward head.  I suspect that we will be replacing the rear air conditioner unit that was mounted right in the middle of a hanging locker rendering it completely useless for any storage, so I am fairly certain we will install that somewhere else and will get that locker back as well.

My biggest clothing challenge that I still haven't come up with a great solution for yet, is my suitcase.  I travel for work a lot, and normally at home, I would pack my suitcase the day before a business trip and off I would go.  Even a small carry-on roller bag is pretty big to have on board, so right now I am keeping it in my car and taking my clothes to it in a bag that I then transfer in the car as I leave for my trip.  There may be a better way, but so far, I haven't figured it out .

Lastly, we decided to move the fan in the rear stateroom to a location that may get a bit more circulation.  I tapped into the 12volt power at my light fixture and mounted the fan right near the ceiling aiming at the bed.   One of these days I will write a blog on how you can take a fixture you like from the hardware store designed for 110v household wiring, add a switch and convert it to a DC fixture to run on the boats 12v system.  I have also converted some of these fixtures to LED lights as well to reduce the amperage they use.  The one in the picture below is not LED but is 12v DC.  Being Texans we really like the single star on these lights.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Moved aboard !!!

It has certainly been a long time coming.  We had bought the boat just over 2 years ago.  We originally planned to take a year or so to refit it and move aboard.   We found out the true meaning of "Boat=Bring out another thousand" as we found more and more things that made sense to repair or replace while we had things torn up.  The 1 year plan turned into 2, but with our lease up at the end of July where we live, we confirmed with our landlord that we would not be renewing and that put the deadline firmly in place.

That lease is up at the end of July.  We intended to be on the boat by the end of June in the event we needed that bit of a time cushion.  We made it... for the most part.   I keep hearing how cruisers have to adapt to changing plans and not tie themselves to deadlines so I am ok with "for the most part".

To add a little more detail, we have been sleeping on the boat since the 30th of June with the exception of July 3rd when I had a problem with power and there was no 110v and no air conditioning.  Since we still had the apartment, we decided to sleep there that night and I would look at the problem the next day.

Bottom line is we are still working on finding homes for all of our stuff on the boat.  We have, for the most part, setup the major electronics for comfort and pleasure while living aboard (internet, TVs, wifi, and laptops and of course have all of the marine electronics as well)

So here I sit at the Nav station writing my first blog as a live aboard.  I am reflecting back to 2 years ago.  Deb and I had bought the boat, and with a few of our experienced sailing friends not being able to make the trip from Florida to Texas with us, we decided to give it a shot on our own.  So 2 years ago today (on July 5th) we had pulled out of Houma, LA on the Inter-coastal waterway, heading west through what can only be described as something you would see on that show "Swamp People"   It was beautiful and gave us a taste of what it would be like one day living and traveling on the boat.

Salon - Port Side forward (DURING) I can't find a true before
So far so good, This is the first day, that Deb and I have been down on the boat and just relaxing or chilling out in almost 2 years.  We heard some loud booms outside and realized that there was a big ole firework display over the water in Kemah.  We walked to the end of our dock where there were another 6 or 7 live-aboards sitting on dock boxes and enjoying the show.  It was a good time and relaxing :)

 We thought we would show a picture of what it looked like the first day we actually moved aboard.  We knew that as soon as the last coat of varnish was dry, we would be ready to move on.  Each coat we added, we kept hoping "Maybe this will be the last coat"   But... Deb and I like to have a really thick rich coat of varnish so the wood looks like it is almost encased in glass.

Salon - Port Side forward (AFTER)
So, this time it took about 7 coats to get to that point.   You can see the difference with the before and after shot of the same area.   We still have to add the door catches to the teak salon cabinets, but we sure like the way they came out.  They are all solid teak frames for the cabinet and doors.  The door inserts are 1/4" teak plywood that has been sanded, sealed and varnished.

At some point in the next year or so (low on the priority list right now) we will end up recovering all of the cushions in a nice plush white leather like material that is soft but can be cleaned and withstand the environment.

All in all it has been a crazy, busy, educational, fun and frustrating time to get to this point.  I wouldn't trade it for the world because I am excited about what the future holds for us.

Below is a 360 degree view of the salon from the bottom of the companion way stairs.  If you drag the picture right and left you can do a full circular view as if you were standing in that spot.