Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pet Net

Java, our Black-Lab/Beagle loves boats and the water nearly as much as she loves people and other dogs. One of our preparations for our July sailing cruise to Beaver Island is to make sure that Java is safe and secure. We recently got her a second and lighter vest (MTI Underdog), which attaches on her back rather than her belly. Unlike her Outward Hound vest, the Underdog has two floatations pieces--one under her neck to keep her head up and another, larger piece, for her body. The pieces are attached to each other with an adjustable strap and each piece has a contracting colored handle for her masters to pick her up during transport to tender, pier, and dinghy. The two handles took some getting used to because I was used to having just one, which left a free hand for my use while boarding. I learned that I could put both handles in one hand, the smaller neck handle through a finger and the body handle through three fingers. 

Even with the security of a life vest for Java, we worry about her slipping off the deck so we've gotten pet netting, but have not installed it yet. Boat US has a nice article about installing netting by making a third lifeline. http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/lifeline-netting.asp

Monday, May 27, 2013

Devils Lake

A high school classmate took this beautiful photo of Devils Lake from the bluff near a trail. The photographer, Morgan McArthur, wanted to get the rising red moon on this spring evening. Although I learned to run an outboard motor on this lake, motors have not been allowed for years--strictly sail and paddle.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Getting A Head (Electric Conversion)

Jabsco Electric Head Conversion
Jabsco Electric Head Conversion in Place
Beth longed for an electric head ever since seeing Jone's (not his real name) head. So, I ordered an electric conversation from Jabsco and presented it to her all wrapped up as a present. She was overjoyed. But now Speakeasy is in the water and the conversion had to be installed. How would that go? 

Substituting the manual plunger with an electric macerating pump is very simple, but wiring the head conversation takes thought and time. I tested the device by wiring it directly to the battery, which is just a meter forward of the head. Once I verified that the stool was flushing properly, I wired the conversion to the "Macerator" breaker switch on the electric panel. Because of the distance, I used #10 wire and pulled it through flexible conduit beneath the bilge boards from starboard to port and up to the electric panel. Because I'm a novice at pulling wire, this took about 3 hours, much longer than a professional would need.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Strida Folding Bike

Mark on Strida
Strida parked in the little closet.

Boys of all ages turn their heads when I ride passed on my Strida.com folding bike. Strida makes several models based on the award-winning design from the UK. It has a belt drive, which is clean and quiet and folds and unfolds in a couple seconds--much faster than most folding bikes. I ride the bike to Monroe Harbor and take the tender to Speakeasy. The bike is light and rolls on its wheels when it is folded, which makes it very easy to move around the dock, tender, and boat. It also rests on it's luggage rack and wheels when folded so that it doesn't fall over locking it.