We took our friends Tim & Fiona and their three kids sailing on Nirvana today. We’ve done it many times over the years during their Spring Break holidays.
The kids are now 13 or 14, and 19 years old. It’s amazing to watch them grow up. They all have an intuitive feel for the helm. Monte and I didn’t need to steer much at all. It was a beautiful day for a nice long sail. I’m glad we got to spend it with them.
Monte and I decided to anchor out on a Sunday night instead of a Friday or Saturday, and it was well worth it. We went for a long sail and dropped anchor about 6pm. We had the cove to ourselves. The temps at night dipped below 70 and it was very comfortable below.
I went for an hour-long paddle in Arky south. I found and picked up the usual trash along the receding shoreline of the lake. I also found one treasure – a nice 20 lb vinyl coated mushroom-style anchor with stainless shackle. There was no line, chain, or any kind of rode attached, so I think it was lost simply due to a poorly tied knot. Their loss, my gain. C’mon people, learn how to splice 3-strand line, or at least how to tie a bowline knot!
It has been a long time since I checked on the geocache that I hid in the cove, so I did that as I paddled by. All good.
All in all, a very overdue and enjoyable one boat raft-up.
We enjoyed a long, fun Fourth of July weekend at the lake. We floated, paddled, fished, grilled, sailed, watched a couple movies, played some games, admired fireworks, and caught up with friends. Various sponsors on Lake Travis had fireworks on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. And there were many small, but impressive, volleys all weekend long.
We watched fireworks on Saturday sitting at the end of our dock, on Sunday spitting in our cockpit in the slip, and on Monday we motored out to watch a big show. We enjoyed them all.
Last weekend Monte and I sailed up river about 30 miles from our marina. We left on Saturday morning, minutes after a thunderstorm rolled through. The calm after the storm made for breezes on our nose, so we motor sailed most of the way.
Kurt and Kevin joined us on their boat. We anchored up together in a cove below John and Wendy’s lake house. We fished, paddled, floated, and enjoyed catching up with some friends we haven’t seen in a very long time. The sail back home on Sunday was sporting, to say the least. The winds had clocked around and were 5-10 gusting to 20. Good sailing, but lots of grinding on some legs. I was sound asleep about 15 minutes after we got home that night.
A year ago, it was anyone’s guess how 2021 would roll out after the cluster that was the year 2020. Today I paused to reflect on a few of the memories I captured from the last twelve months.
January – I started to direct my energy towards making things and sewing. I asked Monte to make me a rack for my growing collection of spools of thread. It turned out perfect, as usual, and has been well used by me over the last 12 months.
February – The deep freeze descended upon Texas. We were incredibly lucky to not have lost power during the prolonged freeze. So many people were really hurting during the weeklong outages. I can’t deny that I loved the temporary snowscape around the house. But I was happy to see it go.
March – The power across the state eventually came back on. The weather warmed up. Things started to bloom. The leaves fell and were raked up. I think we set a record for leaf bags set out on the curb. The City of Austin yard waste collection crew even took a picture of our curbside menagerie.
April – Incredibly, a year after this shit-storm started, COVID vaccines were available to the masses, and we got in line. For both of us, the reactions were pretty mild. The worst thing I can report is a temperature of 100 degrees F.
May – I flew to Charleston to help Lori take Trident north to Annapolis. We had some great days and nights on the water, including several legs on the outside. Sadly, my precious little Keeto died while I was away. Nearly 10 years old, it was still too soon. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for my sweet baby bird. And I’m sorry Monte had to go through it alone. It still brings a tear to my eye. He was just the best bird ever.
June – Nirvana received lots of TLC. A prolonged bottom job. New batteries. Scheduled maintenance undertaken by me and Monte. Inverter replacement. Cushion repairs. Some new running rigging. And many hours with friends and family spent on her this year.
July – We had fun family visits this month; the first since the pandemic descended. And, as we do every year, we took a boatload out on Lake Travis to watch the July 4th fireworks.
August – Monte and I continued enjoying Nirvana and the lake throughout the summer. One week, we spent several days sailing 30 miles upstream, anchoring up around mile marker 44. Our goal was to watch the Perseids meteor shower. We did see some meteors. It was just nice to be out and about on the boat so much this summer.
September – We crewed for Kurt & Kevin for the Austin Yacht Club Fall Series Regatta on Camelot. We helped them nab 2nd place for their class in the end. Huzzah!!
October – I flew up to Baltimore to join Lori on Trident for the Annapolis Sailboat Show, my first. This was more of a for-fun trip than a move-the-boat trip, and I really enjoyed the two day trip we took sailing to St. Michaels and back across Chesapeake Bay. After the boat show, we drove back together to Austin, stopping at 4 US National Parks along the way. Amazing!
November – We enjoyed more time out and about this fall. Monte took me curling for my birthday. We both had loads of fun. And I think we’ll do it again!
December – Wow, the year flew by. Again. We took another boatload out for the Christmas boat parade. Unfortunately, COVID fears are starting to seep back into our lives. But I really hope that by this time next year there are many more fun outings and visits under my belt. I just can’t take another lockdown.
Time flies. We are immensely blessed. It’s easy to complain about the events swirling around us, but I’m focused on celebrating the small day-to-day good times that we spend together and with friends and family.
I wish you all an amazing, healthy, and happy 2022.
After being out of the water for seven weeks for its bottom job, Nirvana’s packing gland had dried out a bit, and it was dripping too much. The packing gland keeps the propeller shaft cool while it is turning. So dripping too much is better than dripping too little. But, dripping too much means that we are constantly sinking a little bit, so we didn’t want to let it go too long. 🙂 We have hired out the engine maintenance on the boat in the past, but decided to do this ourselves. Finding the right tool for the job is important. These wrenches from CatalinaDirect fit the nuts exactly, are narrow enough to turn the lock nut without turning the gland nut, and have stubby handles for the cramped space in the bilge by the propeller shaft. Perfect! We tested the temperature on the shaft after motoring for a while with an infrared thermometer. Looks like a good fix.
We were on a roll, and kept going and checked the impeller on the sea water pump, which pumps water to cool the diesel engine. We’d let it go too long and one of the blades had broken off. Now to find it…
Debris in the cooling system is not good, it blocks the hoses to, and the tubes inside the heat-exchanger, which can lead to overheating. Plan A: use a shop vac to try to suck the broken vane out of the hose between the water pump and the heat-exchanger. Plan B: open the inlet side of the heat-exchanger, which requires removing the alternator. Thankfully, Plan A worked. The entire blade was retrieved. After a new impeller, o-ring, and lubricant, it was all set to go.
We fired up the engine and left the dock for a 30 minute test run to make sure things looked good. And they did.
Then we decided to sail upriver 30 miles to anchor overnight and watch for some Perseid meteors a little farther away from the city lights. We saw a dozen or so.
We had a great sail up and back on Tuesday and Wednesday. And, wow, is Nirvana in top shape with her new bottom job. We hit 7.7 knots more than once.
Last week was busy. We rescued Nirvana from the boatyard, brought her home, and I spent the next few days schlepping 100 lb batteries up and down the ramp, and Monte made sure they worked. The old ones lasted 5-6 years. The new ones will hopefully perform similarly.
We got everything installed in time to race the beer-can regatta on her with Kurt and Kevin and she flew with her new bottom. We think she’s at least a knot faster.
Then over the weekend we anchored in the cove for a sunset grilled dinner. Nice. Very nice. We had our annual first jump in the lake, finally, a week or so past the usual Memorial Day dip. It was fantastic.
Patience, and a really big tractor. That’s what it took to finally re-launch our boat today, after 7 weeks on the hard for new barrier coat, new bottom paint, new cutlass bearing, new zincs, and a hull wax and polish.
Our batteries were dead after 7 weeks without charge, but we knew they were in need of replacement anyway. Starter battery and one of two house batteries are goners. A jump at the dock got the engine started. We are back in our slip now. Monte has the charger on the boat working on the one remaining battery to keep it charged, which is fortunate, because the packing gland is leaking pretty vigorously right now, as it had dried out. So we really need the bilge pump to be working off the one battery. We’ll give it a few days and hopefully the packing will swell back up after being in the water. We will replace all three batteries, too. So, we have some work left to do to get her ready for summer, but it’s very nice to have her back. As Keeto would say, “She’s so preeetty.”
I realized that I haven’t posted in a while, which just isn’t like me. But I’ve been pretty occupied of late. I’ll see if I can remedy that going forward. Today we visited our lovely boat, who has been pulled from the water and is in the queue for a well-deserved bottom job. She’s out of her element, but doesn’t she look good in all that lovely Captain Navy Sunbrella?! I cannot wait for the work to be completed.
This is such a wonderful sailboat to sail and spend time on. We’ve had her for nine years and enjoyed her immensely. I look forward to the summer of 2021!
After four months of work, Julie and Ryan’s sailboat is ready to be enjoyed. This week we sailed alongside them, and then rafted up together. It was their first time taking Arya out in high winds (gusting 25 to 30 knots!) and they did great.
It was also their first raft-up, and they christened their new grill. A good time on the water. Can’t wait for Spring!