Monday, May 9, 2011

Phase III Living Small

The broken secondary bilge pump switch is on the left and it's new replacement on the right mounted on a piece of Starboard.

This is the secondary emergancy bilge pump, a 4000 GPM pump

This is the completed installation, secure & tested.

The final panel installed just under the companionway stairs.

Our Memorial Day weekend destination. the Lydia Ann Channel Lighthouse.

Well we have certainly entered a third phase in our retirement and living aboard. Nine months after leaving our home in Austin we both have settled into our new living small sailing home. We no longer feel "temporary", we have found our comfort zone. The tank project is 99% complete, just a few remaining details to finish. I recently replaced the secondary (emergency) bilge pump switch to the 4000 gallon per minute pump. I then put in the final piece teak panel that provided access to this area closing in the bilge area for a very long time. I did however rearrange the screws in the panel so it could be removed without having to crawl under the galley sink. There is a lot that goes on in this area and having easier access is comforting.

We definitely have decreased our footprint dramatically. Water for one is used very sparingly. I added a 3m water filter to our water system so we could safely drink the water from our new tanks but it caused our water pressure to drop. After talking to Randy who lives aboard a few slips down I decided I need to move the filter further down the system just past the pressure tank. Hopefully this will restore the water pressure to it's normal rate. This will be tomorrows project. Fuel is another thing both for the boat & cars, of course a sailboat uses very little diesel, at 2000 rpm, and 6 knots of speed we consume about 1 gallon per hour. We still have 2 vehicles and at some point we will sell my little truck and keep the Admirals car somewhere. One of these vehicles stays parked for week or longer at a time so we have dramatically decreased the need for gasoline. Food on a sailboat is another area where there is very little waste. Since refrigeration is much smaller you make the most of meal planning. All the left overs are usually consumed the next meal. Buying clothes is almost completely out of the question since we both have way more than we need and if we want something different to wear we just stop by our storage and trade out clothes there. I think the only thing that either of us has bought is new tennis shoes to replace the worn out ones. Our need for electricity is certainly decreased. Our home in Austin could easily use up $225 worth per month in the summer months. Here where the electricity rates are a bit higher and the heat much more intense, we used no more than $47 in the summer months to AC the boat. We use LPG for cooking & grilling. We have two 5 gallon tanks and have not needed to refill either tank since we moved here. Of course there are no property taxes on a boat, you just have to purchase your bi-annual registration sticker like you have to do for your car on a annual basis.

Routines are established when you live on a boat, even though it is a comparatively small space, it is much easier to lose something on a boat so everything has it's place and I mean everything. The Admiral & I must agree on the exact storage spot for every thing we have on the boat. If a certain item is not place exactly back to it's proper spot it could be deemed lost forever and you just have to buy a new one.

The winds have been blowing here 25-30 with gust in the 40's for the last 12 weeks so getting the boat out for a sail just is not practical. We did finally have a couple of normal days here, winds 15-20 gusting to 25 so on one of those days we sailed over to Shamrock Island and anchored in Shamrock Cove for the day. The island is a Bird Sanctuary and no humans can step onto the sand there but we got the kayak down and kayaked for an hour or so along it's coast and inlets. I did not take a camera as the winds were a bit of a challenge for kayaking & I knew I would need both hands for the paddle. This is the first time the Admiral & I anchored out on Wand'rin star without several other boats along. We will return to this special place for a longer stay but it has to be with North East or East winds to be comfortable in this cove. The prevailing South East or South winds could make it not fun here. We were able to go out on a three hour Bay sail a couple of days later and enjoy 15-20 knot winds with no gust. Even though we have a big heavy boat, the sails are huge so even with winds like this you have to reef the sails a bit. So we used 80% of the main and about 70% of the Genoa.

We will go with the BYC cruise to Lydia Ann Light House the 27th-29th. So we made reservations in the Port Aransas Marina for 2 nights. Some are planning to anchor out in Lydia Ann channel and dingy over to the light house for dinner but one of the BYC members is providing a power boat to ferry those staying in Port A to the Light house for the event. The Major problem with planning on an anchorage this far out is knowing the wind direction and weather forecast is impossible here. Way more often than not the weather is not going to cooperate with a planned date. So if you want to be sure to have the best chance of going you just have to get into a marina. Also there are plans in the works to sail to Fulton for a Jazz Festival there. Here we may accompany the Huddelston's and follow them there to an anchorage that he says is completely protected. The cruising begins!

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