Monday, December 3, 2012

Last Two Weeks in Tampa Bay

Time for Mast Mainenence, Stripped off the old mast boot, cleaned all the surfaces and ready to apply the new Mast Boot Tape.

Sealed around the Spartite Mast Coller with sealant

We replaced the old woodenn Chocks with Spartite since the chocks frequently would not hold and wiggle out.

Rubberweld Mast Boot Tape, you stretch this stuff to about halve it's width and wrap the from the bottom up starting at the Mast collar.

The completed project after sealing the tape with elastomeric paint

This is Johny's Charter Cat, he gently tapped a bridge on the way to Tampa from Port A. He lost the instruments at the top so we were attempting to revive his Raytheon wind anemometer

I hauled Johny up twice to connect a spare windvane Bill Wilson gave me but we could not get it to go.

We took the spare vane apart and fixed a broken wire that we might have caused ourselves and connected it to the
Display at the helm with a brand new wire Johny had, still no go.

It was my turn, Johny and the Admiral hoisted me up so we could inspect the standing rigging.

While I was up I replaced the rigging tape on the spreader boots that Debbie and Sandy blew off.

I wished I had this Green Herons ability

A return trip to Weeden Park and we finally found the observation tower.

Just one of the views from the tower.

The fiddler crabs were interested in the raccoon poop, no wonder they make such good fish bait!

This guy did not sign up for the blog but we took his pic anyway.

This little cotton tail just hooped right out of the bush onto the trail right in front of us.

They were putting the final touches on Haitus with Black Accents...Go Razorbacks!

This little squirrel was pilfering left over spider webbing left over from Halloween at Westshore.

A final sunset at Westshore

Last Two Weeks in Tampa Bay

When you have stayed relatively fixed for 7 months it takes a lot to build up the Cruising Mode Inertia. Of course boat maintenance is ongoing but leaving a dock for extended periods means you better have all your T’s crossed. The mast and all it’s components had not had a close look in a while so it was time to get that done for sure. First thing I noticed was the mast boot was looking worn. I had used a Mast Boot Tape a couple of years age and they are supposed to last several years if done right. I guess it was not done exactly right so better to re-try. I hate leaks and the mast is one of those areas that is always prone if not maintained. This little project is less than a two hour job and most of that is just cleaning all the old off and prepping the area for the new boot tape. It takes three to four hands to put the tape on since you have to stretch it out to halve of it’s width and wrap it around starting at the mast collar with considerable pressure. The Admiral held the starting end while I stretched and carefully wrapped. The tape welds into itself creating a fine seal. All you have to do is seal the mast track and all is good. I follow up by painting the whole thing in a rubber paint, elastomeric,  to add durability and complete the weather proof seal.

Johny, my Buddy at the end of the dock on his 36’ Charter Cat needed help going up his mast to problem solve his non-working wind instrument. Bill Wilson had given me a back up wind vane since it matched my system. We used it to plug into Johny’s system to see if we could get his working again. I hoisted him up the mast using a 18 volt Milwaukee drill and a Winch bit, worked Great, but the instrument did not. Johny had a brand new wire for the system so we figured the problem could be in the mast wiring. We tested the wind vane again by attaching it directly to the new wiring and the new wire to the instrument. This time we could do this in the comfort of his salon. Still did not work. I’m thinking now it is probably a fault in the instrument display at the helm and he will have to take it off and send it in to Ray Marine to have it checked out. So we pause on that project to take his Milwaukee drill to my mast and run me up to the top so I could look over the standing rigging, mast top instruments, and to replace the rigging tape on the spreader boots that Debbie and Sandy blew off. Everything looked a-OK and the new tape was installed.

After reviewing the list I figured we were ready to go just had to find a weather window and get some crew for the offshore leg to Marathon. We still had a few days in Tampa Bay so we decided to spend some more time in Weeden Park especially since the weather was so nice. We did not find many birds, just the regulars like the Palm Warbler, Black Vultures, Osprey and the various Herons. What was fun to see though was a raccoon feeding at the top of some trees and a little cottontail rabbit that just hopped out onto the path in front of us.
The Big red boat is actually starting to look better as they have added some black accent strips and other small detail painting to help tie all that new paint together, Go Arkansas Razorbacks!

With the cold fronts beginning to merge into Central Florida we were paying close attention to a possible weather window at the end of November. Some weather forecasters think there could be one more storm as late as December but they say if so it will stay off the coast of Florida. As I try to firm up a crew for the offshore passage from Fort Myers to Marathon I am learned that the person/s that might be able to make the trip do not even return my calls or emails. Time to develop Plan B. John F. who owns a 44’CSY at Westshore has volunteered to go with me straight from Tampa to Marathon. This simplifies things a lot. Mainly with short weather windows now being imposed by the fronts a 40+ hour trip avoids being held up somewhere between here and Ft. Myers on the ICW waiting for the next window to appear. After a few alterations in plans things start to come together very neatly to make one long offshore trip. The plan is to leave Monday the 26th and arrive in Marathon on the 28th.

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