Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Holidays 08

It's been a while since we posted. My computer had crashed and I don't like using Jenny's indexing computer for stuff like this blog. Finally, my computer has been fixed and is back in action. Perhaps some pictures and stuff will follow soon.

We had a good holiday, though too much driving. Drove to Upper Michigan from Boston- a total of 45 hours round trip with a dog in a station wagon. Ugh. No more driving for a while. It was fun though and we got to see our families.

More later!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

sewing machine

Thought I'd post a couple of pictures of the new sewing machine, even though it's not yet Christmas, therefore I'm not supposed to look at it (according to my mom!)

Anyway, I'm going to make this post short because I have a lot of things to be doing this morning before work, but I wanted to at least post a couple of pictures.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

sailors, waifs, and strays part two.

You may or may not remember this post in which we all had Thanksgiving in Marblehead at our friend Nicolas house.

Once again, we all convened on Nicola's home for a feast. Sadly, Nicola herself got called away at the last minute and had to fly home to Scotland for a family medical emergency. As is the standard for Nicola, she was so kind that she insisted we all still have dinner at her place, even if she couldn't be there. So Jenny and I and our friend Jim were placed in charge and it was a great time with a great dinner. Things are definitely more organized with Nicola around and we nearly had some cooking disasters, complete with smoke and blood! But it was tasty in the end and all were happy.

There are quite a few pictures from the day, but they are still on Jenny's camera. For now, the only pic I took with my phone was of the placard on the front of Nicola's house. All the old houses in Marblehead are labeled this way and it is fun to see how the town had been built by its inhabitants in centuries past.

Also, of note is that Jenny received an early xmas present today from her parents. (It had to be early because we bought it locally off of craigslist.) Jenny finally got a real sewing machine. And an awesome one at that. It is an older model, but it is an industrial strength machine from a local sewing factory that went out of business. It is a White 782 Zigzag Machine. It is plenty strong enough to do all of our future sunbrella, canvas, and sail needs. Now we just have to learn how to use it and how these nautical things are properly put together. Pictures of the machine are forthcoming. We are darn happy about it though. Jenny has a good bit of sewing skill already, but lacked a machine. We've had so many things which needed to be fixed, trimmed, fabricated, or otherwise sewn on this boat and have had no affordable way to do it except sending them cross country to Jenny's mom and back again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


A previous post, which asked for boat name ideas, generated more response than we've ever gotten for anything on this site. Lots of suggestions, emails, and comments. Thanks!

We might have come up with a name to give our boat in the spring: NOROMBEGA.

So, it may not be the most radio friendly name we can come up with, it is surely simpler than Popol Vuh or Aguirre. At least Norombega can't be mispronounced in too drastic of a way.

Norombega is or was a mythical city somewhere in Northeastern United States. It is believed that it is somewhere in Maine. There are scarce records in early explorer accounts about, of course, a lost city of gold and wealth that was somewhere coastal or just up a river here in New England. That in itself is a cool enough reason for an archaeology student to pick it as a name.

To make it even better though, the entymology of the word is that it was roughly an Algonquin word which meant something like, "calm place in rough waters". Perfect!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So, my (Justin) birthday was at the end of October and I'd been holding on to some birthday money from my parents and was unsure of what to spend it on. I'm too money-cautious for these kinds of decisions!

Well, I decided to go half practical and half less-practical but darn cool and still pretty useful.

The practical half was a sunbeam mattress pad heater. Holy amazing to be so warm and cozy. Dual controls so Jenny and I can set our own halves. It's awesome and highly recommended for any Northern latitude liveaboard.

The more fun half is that we finally got a nice brass Weems and Plath hygrometer, thermometer, barometer as seen here:

I think these things are awesome. They are really old school looking and all the fancy pretty yachts out here have them. We just could never justify purchasing one with all the rest of our boats needs. So, what better to spend birthday money on? I love it. We just need to get the matching clock for it now so they can hang side by side. That'll have to be another present for another holiday.

Speaking of boat needs, our freshwater pump is leaking before the intake, just after the in-line filter. This is sorrowful because we just filled our water tanks and now I have to waste my time by emptying them, taking the lines apart, drying the lines out, re-taping the threads and hose barbs and put it all back together again. Of course it is in a hard to reach place and it is no fun because it doesn't really make any improvement, it just fixes something that should be working fine. Oh well. So it goes. It wouldn't matter so much if it were just leaking into the bilge, but it is running down the board it is mounted on, pooling on our teak woodwork, and coming out of the settee just above the floorboards. Hence it makes a puddle under our dining table that is no fun to have your feet in. This will have to be fixed soon.

I need to shrink wrap, plumb, and finish the darned headliner!

Midterms first though....

Monday, November 10, 2008

home and on the mend

Jenny here!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am now back home after six days in the hospital. I'm so glad to be back home, and am feeling so much better now. Thank you all for your concerns.

It turns out I have viral meningitis which just needed to run its course. I definitely needed the be at the hospital, as I was constantly on an IV drip to keep me hydrated, and they had to make sure it wasn't bacterial meningitis which would have been a whole other story...

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm on the mend and feeling a world better now. I decided to even take a picture since the last one wasn't entirely flattering :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Our friend Mike had moved aboard a 35 foot Oday a year before we moved aboard. When we moved in he was one of the first people we met and we sailed with him that week. It was our first time ever on a sailboat. Since then, Mike met Alyssa and got engaged. He upgraded to a Pearson 424 (pictured below) and a few weeks ago they quit their jobs and went cruising. He states their destination as, "South."

They have began a cruising blog at:


I will add it to our links so it can always be found at the right of our page.


Ups and Downs.

Jenny is still in the hospital. She has some form of Viral Meningitis. She feels better for a couple hours, then feels worse again. There is some good news though, her temperature has been gone since last night. With just the headache and some weakness from not eating being all that is keeping her down, the hospital is debating on letting her go home. Essentially, whenever she feels up to leaving, she can go, with a pocket full of prescriptions. But for now, we know she can't go just yet. Perhaps this evening she will feel strong enough. If not, then tomorrow hopefully.

Thanks for all the concern and emails.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We usually keep the blog restricted to boating matters only but in this case the circumstances are a little outstanding and I just wanted to post a picture.

Jenny is in the hospital and has been for 2 days now. She checked in tothe ER at Mt. Auburn Hospital 14 days ago for very bad flu like symptoms but was sent home with some meds. It seemed to work and she got better for a couple days (one of those days was Halloween when she was dressed as the pirate posted below). Then on this past Sunday night/ Monday morning her head started hurting extremely bad and she became sensitive to light and sound. Seems kinda migraine-ish, except that she had a fever of 102 which isn't normally migraine related. Tuesday morning it got so bad that I took her into Mass General Hospital. Her temp got to 104.5 during the day in the ER. They checked her into a real room and have been pumping various fluids and antibiotics into her. They did a spinal tap which is the only thing that has proved useful so far, as it turned up to show a virus in her spinal fluid. Other than that, she has seen umteen doctors and even some infectious disease specialists. As yet, they can't tell what it is and it won't go away. She is feeling a bit better at least because the headache has resided to a dull throb and her temp is staying down below 100 and sometimes even down to the normal 98.6 range. So she seems to be on the mend, but it is slow and the disease is persistant and confounding. MGH seems to be treating her well though, and we are happy she went there. Hopefully she will be home soon. Willie misses her, and it is tough on a dog being alone all day.

Monday, November 3, 2008


The picture came out kind of fuzzy, but it should get the point across. I built the shrink wrap frame the other day. All built of wood, cost about 30 dollars total. The door is awesome-- it was about to be pitched in the dumpster by somebody and I took it before he could throw it. It is a solid wood door off of a house or apartment. Has 3 glass windows in it. I put a new stainless doorknob on it and built a frame around it out of 2x4's and it is good to go. I'll be happy to have a real door this year. Should be all wrapped up in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, the heater is still happily burning away on its first tank of propane!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I wish I could watch hockey right now, but I can't

The dinghy, Olly (the one on top), has been placed on its winter rack. We'll pry pull it down again to help shrink wrap in a few weeks, but the motor is retired and the dinghy is now generally going to be out of the water. We took a last ride out into the harbor. It was fun, but a wee bit sad :(

In the meantime, Jenny is now a pirate:

Monday, October 27, 2008


We would like to re-name Madrigal at some point. When we got the Fitzcarraldo, there was no doubt that we wanted to name it as such. However, with Madrigal, we are having a bit more trouble deciding what to call her. Here is our list of choices so far:

Ultima Thule (a bizarre medieval term used for many purposes throughout history but always in reference to obscure lost worlds. In our case we would be using the meaning for roughly that of anywhere beyond the known charts or boundaries of the world. Trouble is that it is a bit hard to pronounce, let alone to understand it over a VHF radio)

Aguirre (Another reference to a Klaus Kinski character in another Werner Herzog movie, much like Fitzcarraldo was. Trouble with this one is that Aguirre was an awesome character, but he was a bit insane in kind of a bad way for a boat to be named after. Lots of murder and death on a raft are associated with him. Also not a VHF friendly name)

Goldsworthy (In honor of the excellent artists Andy Goldsworthy, who makes spectacular shapes out of natural materials and then lets his art fall apart as nature reclaims it. Neat concept, neat guy, ok name.)

Leif (Our boat is an Ericson yacht. It would just be amusing to have a Leif Ericson as our home. Trouble is that he was kind of a lame viking. He was a christian convert and spread joy and happiness. That's not very viking....)

Popol Vuh (The ancient Mayan religious text which was supposed to provide access to strange other worlds. Not VHF friendly at all and a little odd at best. Also, an excellent krautrock band which we have music from in our player there at the right.)

Echoes (Amazing Pink Floyd song, also listed at right. Kind of a popular bit though and might not be obscure enough for my weird tastes. I like it though.)

We like things a bit obscure and ethereal or spacey or bizarre or whatever you want to call it. We don't like the bad pun boat names that are found all too often. We're picky.

Cast a vote or make a suggestion. We could use some new ideas.

Also, here is a neat picture I took last night of Jenny by the fire. I made a new plexiglas companionway board so that we can still have natural light inside in the winter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

At the Heart of Winter

Winter is here. We moved into our new slip this week. The dockmaster and assistant, Sebastian and Howie, came by the other day with the marina tender and hauled Willie and I into our new slip on A dock.

It is an awesome slip. We are right at the bottom of the gangway. A bit high traffic, but once the shrink wrap is on it won't matter. The advantage is for walking the dog. We can have him up to the grassy area in under 30 seconds. Love it. Plus it gets good sunlight-- not too many building shadows. That is crucial for winter.

Now for the good part of this post. I uploaded all the pics of the heater install.

This is an old picture of our main cabin looking forward. You can see the little cubby at the bottom right of the picture. Even when the cabin was finished and new there was never anything to cover this hole. It is just a storage cubby and a place to put your feet if you try to lay on the starboard settee. It is just too short of a space to use as a real berth, and it was kind of ugly as a cubby.

So, I took some liberties with it in order to install our Dickinson Propane heater. Here I have removed the trim and am getting ready to box it in.

This is the first piece of teak that had to be cut, and the most vital one. It is half inch thick and more than sufficient to hold the weight of the heater. You can see here how it expands the cubby by adding in the triangular area. Yay for more storage!

I posted this pic before, but this time it is a bit more in context. You can see how I finished out the triangle cubby. (I don't really like the word "cubby" so I don't know why I keep using it!) Anyhow, the lid lifts off and now there is a giant cavern behind there, inclusive of the old storage cube. :) The cushions are cut down to size, and we have to send the covers out to Jenny's mom who will sew them to fit the new cushion sizes. She's great like that.

Then there was a portion of the project which has no pictures. They wouldn't be fun anyway. I had to run propane hose under all the settees and cabinets and through the bilge and out back to the stern where the propane tanks will one day be mounted. For now they are just sitting on the helmsan's seat.

And now, for this weekend's headache project. Installing the thru-deck fitting for the flue. To be sure we are free of leaks and to avoid rot I bored out all the screw holes to an over-large size and filled them with epoxy. This way the screws are now screwed right into epoxy and even if the screw holes leak the water won't get to anything damage-able. It was during this process that we discovered we have foam core decks-- always thought they were balsa wood core. That's nice, I like the foam idea better. Warmer and less prone to rot.

Here is the flue installed from below:

Here is the entire flue pipe. It had to curve forward and towards the center in order to avoid the indoor handrail, the outdoor handrail, and the opening port all at once.

And here is where it comes out above deck. It is a double walled flue. It pulls air in the lower mushroom and exhausts out the upper mushroom. That is also what makes the propane system self contained. It pulls air and exhausts through the same double walled flue pipe.

One last thing before, we see the finished product. There seem to be a lot of safety police among our friends and family, so I wanted to show just how far the cushion really is from the heater. The instruction manual requires 2 inches, and we are 4 inches out, plus it is at the bottom where it never gets too terribly hot. :)

Tada! Victory and fire!

This is the flame on "low" setting:

And here it is at night on high, all cozy and snuggly looking:

Hooray for nice clean warm and simple heat. I'm happy it is done, but wow, that was a lot of work and a lot of money by the time all the little extras were purchased. Should be well worth it though.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarcasm and Poseidon

It looks like the high temp here today was 46 degrees. So what better to do? We went sailing!

Our friend Wayne, who lives aboard a really sweet German 1950's steel hull sailboat, decided to come along with, so we dropped Willie off with some neighbors and shoved off for a couple hours. It was blowing about 20 kts and gusting up at 30 or so. FUN. Cold yes, but fun.

The best part was that while we were heeled with the rails just about in the water Wayne went forward to mess with the reefing lines. He was standing on the toe rail and messing about with the winches which were then above his head. He looks down at his feet, looks back at me behind the helm and jokingly yells, "Don't get my feet wet!" It was almost instantaneous that as he looked back toward the winches a huge wave crashed over the bow and completely drenched him from head to toe. Haha, it was great. Sarcasm and Poseidon do not get along.

On a less fun note, Wayne also managed to drop a winch handle into the water. Haha, he really is a good sailor-- not meaning to bash him, but it was a funny excursion.

Bottom line is: we got one more sail in. That will almost certainly be the last of the year.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

as if...

As if you all needed more pictures of Willie.

We went out sailing this past Sunday. It was a beautiful day with a light breeze and it was very relaxing just to go out and about he harbor and come back in. We only took this one pic or I'd put something more exciting up. Anyhow, they are beginning to move boats into the inner docks for the winter and it will be shrink wrap season soon so that might have been our last sail of the year :(

Perhaps we'll get one more chance this weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well, it's that time again. Time for heat. Many of you will remember our posts about heat last fall. Unfortunately, the downside of having a shiny new sailboat is that we are once again on a boat that has no heat. So, we've had to purchase a new system. This time, we've opted for dickinson's propane system. It is a bulk mounted system with a double walled self venting flexible flue. It has a nice little window so that we have a cozy flame and it has a built in fan to push the heat around. Nice.

The trouble is that we have no good bulkhead to mount it on. Our solution was to shorten the starboard couch/berth. It was really too short to sleep on anyway and even Jenny had trouble trying to do so. So, we cut the cushions down to size and then I built a teak storage area on a 45 degree angle. The heater can mount on that and it will be nice and low for optimum heat. There is a good spot above it for the chimney to run through. Now we are just waiting for the actual heater to arrive. The propane tanks will be mounted safely and out of the way on the stern rail.

The cushions are going to be cut a bit shorter still. We are just waiting for the heater to show up so we can be sure of just how far away we feel comfortable with cutting them.

Also, there is a new member in the family. Our friends Mike and Alyssa are sailing south toward the bahamas or anywhere else they feel like going. Mike had a motorcycle and needed to get rid of it. I've always wanted one, so Jenny and he worked out a deal and she bought it for me for my birthday. yay!

Rat Bike Extraordinaire!

I'm thinking of naming the bike Ludwig. After Ludwig von Mises.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


So, I've had a fair number of pictures sitting around on my phone. Often times, I just end up deleting them. This time, I figured I'd send them along and post them here for you all to see. Some are more worthwhile than others, but all are at least moderately fun.

This is Jenny at the helm on our trip back from Salem. It was blowing about 20kts with gusts to 30 or so. That is about the biggest wind we've been in so it was a little creepy for us, but all was fine and we had a really good time actually. Sadly, her eyes seem to be closed but we couldn't tell that til the picture was uploaded.

Jenny's parents were here for a bit and her dad decided to row her mom out into the harbor via the dinghy. While leaving on my way to work I spotted them under this bridge and snapped a quick pic. Can't see much but a white spot, but I like the picture anyhow.

Before the parade of lights started we discovered that Peter (the guy who's boat we were on) had a sombrero sitting around. Jenny modeled it for a photo.

This was just the other morning. I was walking Willie up on shore and it jumped out at me just how noticeable our bright yellow boat is. Can you find it?

On that same morning the fog laying across the city was just super thick so I snapped a picture of that. It always looks cool that way. I love fog.

Jenny got a hat to keep the sun off of her punkin little head while sailing. I got some sun glasses to keep the glare out of my eyes while sailing. We soon determined that Jenny should not wear both at the same time, and this picture is testament to that decision. :D

For those readers who aren't sailors, there is a way to sail called "wing and wing". This is when you are running directly with a light wind. This is exactly what we were doing on our way up to Salem a few weeks ago and it was the first time we had ever successfully done this maneuver. It is not the most efficient way to sail because the fact that you are moving with the wind takes away from the apparent wind, but it was exactly the direction we needed to go and it is darn fun to do. The picture shows the basic idea: foresail out to port and mainsail out to starboard (or vice verse) with the wind filling both.

that's all!


Friday, September 26, 2008


Willie outgrew his old lifevest and he also chewed one of the buckles off. It was his loss because now he has to wear this. It isn't exactly a completely heterosexual fashion, but it was on sale as an end of season deal, so he's stuck with it. And lets face it. He's adorable.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parade of Lights

A couple of our friends, Jeff and Kristi from aboard "as you wish" put on the first annual Boston Parade of lights a couple weeks ago. We went out in our friend Peter's Carver 36 "new beginning".

Here is a collection of pictures that somebody put together.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hanna? Was that you?

Hanna was a flop. Our neighbor clocked the highest winds at 27mph. Don't believe the weather channel. They are just shilling for ratings. It was a little windy, a little rainy and everyone here was way way over-prepared. Better that than the opposite.

In the meantime, we've had 3 straight weeks of family visitors. We went to the islands a couple times and took a trip to Salem. It was our first trip beyond the islands in Madrigal and it went splendidly. We'll have some pics and whatnot of the last 3 weeks soon.

Cheers to everyone and good luck with Ike. I have a feeling you all may not get as lucky as we did with Hanna.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

peddocks cure

Peddocks island has been pretty instrumental in our life aboard. It is a really nifty island with a really nifty cove and generally when we go out to moor or anchor for a night we do so there. Jenny uploaded a couple quick videos of some stuff there. No editing or anything so they are just some quick jerky videos with poor sound, but they are still kinda fun.

This first one is a video of us walking down what was apparently the old "main drag" so to speak of the turn of the century town which was once located on the island. After all the houses were built the government stepped in and claimed the island as a state park and all the houses became abandoned (thanks uncle sam). Anyhow, it makes for a really cool ghost town. There is also an abandoned WWII prison camp there. We took some vid of the prison, but it isn't uploaded yet. We'll get to that eventually.

This second video is just of me putting Willie in the water for the first time ever (aside from falling in at the marina). He looks pretty funny swimming.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Old & New

I had intended on posting old vs. new pictures quite some time ago, but just never got around to it.

Now that the headliner is up and we feel as if we're on a new boat, I've taken the time to get some pictures together to show you what we're talking about.

Without further ado, here are the pictures. They seem to speak for themselves.

I had intended to post more pictures, but once again our internet isn't working correctly, so I'm going to play it safe and quit here. I think you get a fairly good idea of the improvements we've been making!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

progress report (remember those from school? yuck)

Things have been going quite well with fixing up our Madrigal. Jenny has taken quite a few pictures and videos, but the internet has been pretty sketchy lately, so we'll get those up but not just yet.

The headliner is finally in the main cabin! That is by far the most exciting thing. For those who remember the pictures of Madrigal from when we purchased her, we've been living under bare fiberglass decks for a while now. But we are all finished out in the main salon and it's a wonderful thing. It finally feels like we are living in a real boat and not inside of a project boat.

We have working Navigation lights! Now we don't have to rush home with motors blazing to try to beat sunset.

Our real battery charger has been installed and wired properly. No more crappy loud home depot battery charger with alligator clamps!

Our friend Arvind helped re-rig our foresail and it works much better.

blah blah, etc etc. Bottom line is that we've been busy and maddy is looking nicer by the day and become more comfortable to live in.

Pictures soon!


Friday, July 11, 2008

a view from afar

Now here is a fun post. When my Father and Grandfather were here a few weeks back we were out sailing in the harbor when our friends Jeff and Kristi spotted us on their way out of the harbor. They live on a big ol Irwin and were motoring out to the outer harbor so they could sail free of the islands and harbor traffic, but they had so much fun they spent two days out there before coming back home haha. In the meantime they snapped some photos as they were passing us.

Thanks Jeff and Kristi! Also, their liveaboard blog can be found at the right side of the page titled "As You Wish" (their boat's name).