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October 14, 2003

We're continuing to get things done. Neil's rebuilt the cockpit coaming boxes and the teak mount for the cockpit shower box: they look great! Yesterday he got things ready so that we can install the new headliner material in the main cabin. It was quite a search for a reasonable match for the headliner that is still in the rest of the boat; it's a foam-backed marine vinyl. Most places only had the perforated type, with big polka-dot holes in it. No good. Finally found some from a company called Redrum Fabrics. It's been treated against mildew and is meant as marine headliner. It's a very slightly different texture, and, of course, is a brighter white than the old stuff, but hopefully it'll look OK.

I spent the day with the Magnaflux dye kit. I took all the standing rigging outside, cleaned it off, and laid it out on a long roll of builders' rosin paper to keep it off the greasy parking lot. Then I started playing around with the Magnaflux stuff. There was a bit of a learning curve as I tried to figure out how much to spray of each component, how long to let it sit, etc. The first step is to use the "cleaner/remover" to degrease each piece (I finally realized that you really need to disassemble each toggle, turnbuckle, eye terminal, etc. to get good results). When it's dry, spray it lightly with the red penetrating dye. After a while (the instructions said 1-30 minutes; I waited 5 or 10) wipe off the dye with a rag, then very carefully wipe it all off with a clean rag wetted with the cleaner. The object is to not see any more redness. This is impossible on the threads, though, and in the grooves between parts of the Norseman fittings. Finally, you lightly spray the "developer", a powdery white coating, on it. Anyplace the dye penetrant has penetrated, a red line appears. As you watch, if it's a deep fissure, the red line deepens and spreads, leaving no doubt. This was plain to see at the joints on the Norseman terminals, and gave a good indication of what to look for. On bronze pieces, because of the porosity, they developed a very slight overall pink hue: according to the directions and the local rigger nothing to worry about.

I intended to test the rigging wire as well, but testing it was a lost cause. It was impossible to remove all the penetrant from the twists of wire, therefore it all turned red when the developer was applied. But that's okay. We did find that one of the upper shrouds had some un-twist action happening. I'm sure there is some proper riggers' term for this, I don't know it. All along its length, at intervals of 5 feet or so, you could feel that one of the outer wires had slightly bumped out from the rest of the lay. In most places it was barely noticeable, but in one place, if you looked closely, you could actually see into the core. SO, we decided to replace all the main pieces: the forestay had already been replaced along with the new furler recently, but we'll replace the backstay and both uppers. If we can get a good deal on a bulk spool we might do the lowers, too, although they look fine.

As far as the rest of the rigging goes, the only other things that need replacing are two clevis pins that had slight corrosion pitting starting. All of the turnbuckles are sturdy bronze Merrimans, and although it was impossible to test the threads, they otherwise tested perfectly fine. And all of the Norseman eye terminals are fine as well. We also tested all the tangs and spreader mounts that we'd previously removed from the mast: all fine. So, assuming we can open up the Norseman terminals without wrecking them, this turned out to be a fairly inexpensive project. Sure, it would have been great not to have to replace ANY of it (since we didn't budget anything for this!) but it also could have been a LOT worse if we had to replace turnbuckles and terminals. As it is we spent $80 on the Magnaflux kit, probably $250 on the wire we'll need, and maybe fifty or so bucks for Norseman cones, clevis pins and new cotter pins.

October 15, 2003

Oh, wow. We rented our house! We have to move by November first!!!!! This is a pretty exciting step towards the trip. It's not going to be easy now, though. The last ferry boat from Portland out to the island my folks live on (where we'll be staying) is at 5:45 most nights. So Neil won't be coming home much, since there's still so much after-work boat work to do. But the adventure continues!

October 29, 2003

Just a quick note to apologize for the lack of web site updates lately. We have not done any boat work in weeks (which just feels so wrong!) since we've been packing and moving. We're in the final 3 days now, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, finding homes for the houseplants, taking car-loads of boat gear to storage.... very hectic. Hallowe'en is our last day in the house.  Olivia wants to go Trick-or-Treating here in the "old" neighborhood, so we'll get her all costumed up in the empty house, and then take the late ferry out to the island Friday night, with Zora the cat and Caddy the fish in tow. It's very weird to be leaving our home. We have gone through so much here in the last 6 years. We bought an old, dilapidated house and worked really hard to make it into the lovely, comfortable home it is now; we went through my cancer diagnosis and treatment here; Olivia has spent most of her life here. Of course we're excited about the next adventure, but it does feel weird to leave (I think if we were moving right onto the boat it would be easier, rather than this sort of interim homelessness we'll have for 6 months or so). Happily, the renters we found seem just perfect. I'm sure they'll take good care of our house and enjoy living here. I am still nervous that some problem will arise and new tenants will have to be found while we're abroad, but I'm trying not to worry about that now! And it will be fun to be able to spend more time with my parents than we usually get to do. It's so generous of them to offer their home for us to stay in while we work on the boat.

Although our day-to-day life for the foreseeable future is going to be logistically difficult (due to the ferry schedule we won't see Neil much, and he'll have to find couches to sleep on...) it is very exciting to be making such a concrete step towards our departure. I can't wait to get back to work on the boat once the move is over and we've worked out our daily routine in the new living situation. I'm hoping that I will have a lot more time to spend at the boat now, and that I'll be able to finish up the 20 projects that I've had ongoing all summer...

Next: getting back to work....