Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This is a placeholder for interesting ideas on provisioning - and the care and feeding of sailing crew.


While cruising in remote areas of Baja Mexico - I was able to provision several times while anchored off a few fishing villages.  When I left the U.S., I had stocked-up initially with plenty of canned good - but as time went by - I found it often difficult to find replacements for canned goods that contained a good variety of different meats. After a few months, I deemed it a rare treasure-find if I located a can of spam in an out-of-the-way village :)

Cockpit Cushions

Although you can easily sew a set of cockpit cushions with time and a bit of practices - if you are looking for ready-made cushions, this company might be worth a look:

tip'o the hat to http://www.windtraveler.net

Friday, August 2, 2013

First Year Review - 1963 35 ft Pearson Alberg

Last month was the first year anniversary of owning my 2nd boat - a 1963 35 ft. Pearson Alberg.

After one year living aboard her, here are a few of my thoughts and reflections on the choice of this particular boat.

My current idea of the ideal boat continues to be a Hans Christian 43 - however, my more modest budget warranted tempering my desire with a modicum of reasonableness.

The 35 ft. Pearson Alberg is a good boat - and a reasonable compromise.  A few words that come to mind when I think of my boat: Salty, Seaworthy, Blue-water Capable, Hardy, Robust, Resilient, Strong, Safe,  Workable.

Living aboard again, after a hiatus of almost 5 years without a boat has been an easy readjustment - given that I do not have a need for much space or material things.

For my professional client work, I have leased a small office (two suites, ~650 sq ft for $750/month)  in the marina complex - which allows me to keep all of my books and clothes in a storage area within the office.  When I am in-between client engagements, I plan on putting everything into a storage facility to further reduce my monthly overhead - and to allow me to spend weeks or months cruising along the coast.

During the winter I purchased a small personal space heater at Target (about $9) - and it kept the v-berth toasty warm most nights.

During June, a few nights were quite muggy - and so I purchased a small personal/desktop style oscillating fan at Target (about $16) - which provided welcome air flow to cool down during a few particularly hot and muggy nights

The Good:

  • Comfortable for live-aboard
  • Seaworthy
  • Good value for the price I paid
  • Very pleased with my current marina's facilities and location (paying about $724/month:  For example, last month's marina bill: $449 for 35' slip, $240 live-aboard fees for 2, $24 storage locker, $12.48 electric)
  • Very pleased with the electronics that came with the boat (integrated chart plotter with depth/sonar, radar,and gps)

Needs Work / Needs Fixing:
[I'll get to these over the next few months]
  • The auto-pilot grips the wheel too tight, even when disengaged
  • External brightwork needs to be re-varnished
  • Port navigation light is out [not urgent, since the tri-light at the mast head meets requirement]
  • Sail Repair: Tear at bottom of main sail [from my voyage last year down the coast]
  • Stern coaming has a split in the board at the stern end [likely damaged when I was thrown across the cockpit by the strike to the head by the boom during my voyage last year down the coast]
  • Stop-guards for the port-side of the traveler and port-side jib track line were somehow sheared off during last year's voyage.
  • A better Digital TV antennae would be nice

Things I Would Change:
  • Better (easier) access to where the batteries are kept
  • Some way to put a zinc on the prop shaft (there i no room to do so externally)
  • The boom is carried too low - and can be dangerous in a confused seaway, as it can swing wildly

Future Boat Projects:
  • New running rigging
  • Secure the hard dinghy to the deck (possibly on wooden chocks?)
  • Run a line at the outer edges of the mast-steps (from top-to-bottom) so that the halyards cannot become snared/caught in the mast steps
  • High-Gain WiFi antennea
  • Add Solar Panels
  • Add Wind Generator
  • Add Wind Vane (for backup to Autopilot)
  • Add Water-Maker
  • Replace mixed chain-and-line rode with all chain

New AGM Batteries

My first boat was a a 1971 32 ft. Islander sloop, that I owned from 2002-2007. Soon after I bought her, I replaced the automobile-quality starting batteries with rugged marine-grade AGM 105ah Group (31) batteries.  In my experience, that was a good decision.  I never regretted the extra expense for the AGM batteries, because it gave me peace-of-mind - and eliminated a lot of potential maintenance headaches.

Given my client workload, I haven't had much time to do any sailing in the last year.  So, it was just two weeks ago that I finally decided to get around to replacing the old wet-cell Group 31 batteries that came with my current boat (a 1963 35 ft. Pearson Alberg, that I purchased last year).

Another deciding factor on choosing AGM batteries: Due to the very limited and exceedingly tight and  difficult access to the batteries, it would be exceedingly difficult to maintain wet-cell batteries.

Since I had not kept up with topping the old wet-cells with distilled water - there was also the small matter of  their untimely demise. As in, dead, like a parrot.

So, off to West Marine I went.

Three AGM 105ah Group (31) batteries ending up costing me $779.97 ($259.99 each).

Extracting the three wet-cell batteries turned into an all-afternoon (and painful) endeavor - and it was only after I began trying to wrangle an AGM into the most difficult of spots - that I realized; "damn, the new AGM battery is 3/4 of an inch longer than the old wet-cell".

After 6 hours, and pulling the muscles in my back - I accepted that it wasn't going to happen that day -and decided to give it a rest for a few days or so.

Now, two weeks later, my back has recovered, and I'm ready to try and tackle the job again this weekend.

Necessary tools...

Worst-case scenario, if I cannot find a way to squeeze that one battery into the tight spot [it happens to be wired as the starting battery] - I may have to consider relocating it to somewhere else on the boat and rewiring to a new location.

Oh, and the battery terminals on the AGM batteries are slightly smaller than the previous wet-cells apparently - so there is another issue to be sorted with not being able to tighten the battery terminals completely, for at least one set of battery cables.