Tuesday, June 16, 2009

8th Annual Women's Sailing Conference

After much debate, I took the plunge (well, not literally) and signed up for the 8th Annual Women's Sailing Conference in Marblehead. Never having done anything like this before, I was a bit intimidated by doing something so different than what I'm used to.

Justin drove me up on Friday night and we stayed at our very kind friend Nicola's house. Saturday morning, we drove over to Corinthian Yacht Club and stopped to explore a little bit because we were a bit early. Willie loved being a mountain goat on the rocks, as did Justin, apparently.

When I got to the yacht club (wow, what a fancy little place they have!) I wandered around until I came upon a table covered in knots. Bowlines, square knots, fisherman's knots (or maybe fisherwoman's, in this case). I was approached by a woman who I later found out was teaching the knots workshop (which I did not sign up for). We talked for awhile about knots and how cool they are (I am a big dork....I know). Anyway, my tension eased a bit as I realized that if I met no one else that day, I would be pleased to have at least talked to one person.

The breakfast was great, and I wandered around on the front deck watching the huge rolling swells lift under the many boats in the mooring field. It was cold, windy, and those waves were huge!

I'll cut to the chase. I took 3 workshops: man overboard, understanding the wind, and suddenly singlehanded.

I was instantly impressed when we did our man overboard drills on a 36' Robin Hood. I was thinking we'd be practicing on a sunfish. A woman actually jumped into the water, and I helped hoist her back up. This was only at the docks, but it was still a great experience, especially knowing that with the right gear, she was very easy to pull up.

All of the workshops were fantastic and it seemed as though the instructors all spent a lot of time making sure that the beginner and the advanced sailors all took something away from things. I feel that I'm right in the middle so I was very well informed.

I quite hope that their workshops are different enough next year, because I'd love to go again if there are new things to learn.

Afterwards, I made my way back to Nicola's and spent a lovely evening with her and our friend Melissa.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

icebox conversion

When we bought Madrigal, the refridgeration system was something akin to a dorm fridge. The only difference was, it could be AC or DC. Could be. We never set it up to be both though, because we knew that we were going to want something different at some point. The fridge was in the place of an oven, and I was a little bitter that we could keep our foods cold, but not make anything like cobblers, pizza or bread. I later learned how to make all three of them in the pressure cooker. It's great how innovative you become when you no longer have an amenity you took advantage of.

Sometime mid-winter we decided to put the fridge on craigslist, because we wanted a good reason to convert our icebox and we thought there would be no better time than winter to make the first step. In the meantime, we converted our things down to an even smaller dorm fridge...this time, we could only fit a pint sized jug of milk, a couple of cans of soda, a slab of cheese and...well, not much else. We quickly learned how easy it was to be without refridgeration...well, at least I did. I think I had an easier time of it, but it was probably because Justin was doing more of the shopping than I was, and we had to go pick up food every couple of days! We would still buy meat, but we knew we had to make it the day we bought it and eat as fast as we could to finish everything.

Not long after, we realized the small little fridge we were borrowing was really a pain and taking up far too much space for too little advantage...so we made the switch to a non-refridgerated boat. I really did like it a lot, but all the same things applied from when we had the baby fridge. Lots of shopping, lots of eating quickly, and more waste than we were used to...because really, that meat smells WEIRD. The advantage of all of this was that it was mid-winter in New England...and it was a cold winter. We'd make a pot of chili and it would stay good just as long as if we had a fridge because outside our door it was very, very cold. We had a bit of an issue with daytime heat under the shrinkwrap, but it still worked out well and we figured out our natural refridgeration system pretty quickly.

April came and we expected that the summer was starting to come upon us. We now realize that we were wrong as ever...but those few warm days in April had us fooled. Regardless, we had saved the money for the icebox conversion unit and bought the Norcold Icebox Conversion Unit off of Defender. It suggests using it for a 6 cubic foot space, but I think our icebox may be a bit on the large side - maybe even 7 or 8 cubic feet. We decided to give it a chance anyway, because everyone we know that has used them have enjoyed them.

The unit comes with an L shaped plate, and the instructions tell you clearly which ways you can and cannot put it. That left us with very little options, but we came up with a good place to put it that would even leave us with the slight possibility of having a "freezer" (even though this unit does not say that it will keep things frozen).

Once we figured out the positioning of the plate, we had to figure out where the compression unit would go...although I think Justin already knew where this would be. We had to clear out all of the space under the sink to fit it there, but it works just fine and we can still fit a decent amount of things under there without getting too close to the unit.

Justin drilled a hole in the icebox to get the hoses from the conversion unit to the plate, and spray foamed everything under the sink. He ran the wires for AC and DC and both work great. Sadly, I can't be more specific with any of the installation process because I didn't do it, but all in all it seemed to go pretty smoothly and fairly fast.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I've merged our old blog with the new, so now any old posts can be seen here. How fancy.