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.