Saturday, November 28, 2009


Along with the winter season shrinkwrapping tasks comes the task of winterizing the engine.

Last year, I didn't bother with it. Our engine is under the port settee (as seen in one of the pics below) and it stays plenty warm there since we have to heat the boat for us and the pets all winter anyhow. Winterizing really just helps things not freeze when you will be away from the boat, but we are never gone for long enough to care. We just leave a small heater on and have a friend watch in case the power goes out.

However, our engine is seawater cooled and winterizing has the added bonus of clearing the corrosive seawater out and replacing it with fairly neutral engine coolant for 4 or 5 months. That little bonus makes winterizing worth it to me, so today I changed the oil (done every spring and fall), flushed the system with coolant, put some sta-bil in the fuel tanks, and put some preservation gunk in the spark plug holes (is there a better name for those? I'm sure there is)

In this picture you can also see the 120 amp alternator we put on this fall. Our old 40 amp motorola was dead and even when it was alive it could barely put any juice into our battery bank, so I replaced it with this monster. Works great, and it's so clean and shiny! Made specifically to fit the Atomic 4 :)

Willie is never quite sure what to think when the cover is off of the engine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nice days in the fall.

So far, this autumn has been a very mild one. It is kind of sad that we can't go out sailing due to shrink wrap being on the boat, but we can still make good use of the weather. I made a temporary rig to hold up a cockpit table that we got for free as scrap from a fellow boater who installed a new one. I'll put the table in the right way in the spring, but for under the shrinkwrap it makes a great place to sit and enjoy some hot coffee. Around 40-50 degrees outside it is 60 something under the wrap. Perfect :) Just like summer....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Constitution Marina Pool Parties

The most frequently asked questions by far from dirt dwellers revolve around one thing - the winter. With the cold and snow fast approaching, I thought I'd take a moment to let people know how the liveaboards at Constitution Marina beat the winter blues.

On any given day in the winter, the marina may look like this:
Or it may look like this:

Boston winters are very random, and you never know what the weather will be like. In any case, this is generally what the liveaboards look like on any given Friday in the winter months:

And really, I'd show more pictures of the pool party itself, but this is as clear as they come:

We can't thank Constitution Marina enough for hosting these parties for us every week. Some are not this one, because they don't always provide the free food and drinks, but the fact that they are willing to heat that pool up to hot tub temperature and the fact that they stay after hours to let us goof off and melt the stress of work and winter away is just one of the many reasons we're able to make it through winter alive.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monahan's Marine

Justin, Willie and I took a trip to Weymouth last night when I got out of work to go check out the new neighborhood. For some reason, it reminds me a lot of some of the towns/areas of Michigan (maybe it's the fact that there's a place called Bucks Bar and in Escanaba there's the Buck Inn)...anyway, we drove around for awhile to see what was nearby to Thayer's Landing.

By far, the most exciting thing is Monahan's Marine, which is 1.2 miles from the marina. I haven't been in it yet, but Justin has gone a couple of times and says it is absolutely amazing. We tried to stop by last night but by the time we decided to go in, it was already closed. This place is huge though and will be a great place to spend way too much time and even more money.

The other thing we saw while driving by was a park, which we later found out to be House Rock Park. Here's an interesting blog post about it. Apparently the rock is the largest glacial erratic boulder in all of New England. We couldn't see it in the dark, but here's a photo I found online.

Otherwise, we just looked around at the restaurants, convenience stores, laundromats, malls, grocery stores, etc. There's a lot of stuff super close by and it is appearing that we're going to have an awesome summer, and all in all, Weymouth sounds much more down to earth than Boston (in my opinion), and I'm really looking forward to that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sea hood

This year, Justin built our shrink wrap frame out of pipe instead of wood, and he built it VERY tall, because he has a lot of plans for the winter!

One of the projects he has been working on for a few weeks now is making a sea hood for the mainc ompanionway hatch. This is for a couple of reasons - one being that no waves, rain or draft can come in through the hatch due to this protection. The other is that he plans on building a hard dodger (a windshield of sorts) so that we are even more protected while sailing, and when it is raining, we'll be able to keep the hatch open and not get rained on in the boat!

This is a picture of the seahood in progress. It's actually further along than this, but this was the picture I had on hand.

Another project we have in mind is to paint the topsides. That's why he wanted such a large frame this winter, so that we can both clamber around on the deck without having to crouch down for hours on end while we paint.

Madrigal keeps getting better!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It is cold, wet and rainy.

Even Willie is grumpy about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living Aboard Magazine (and website)

A lot of people who come to our blog are here because they are interested in living aboard (often in Boston) and are interested in the lifestyle.

A few years ago for Justin's birthday, I bought him a subscription to Living Aboard Magazine. This is a wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in living aboard or already lives aboard and is packed with useful information. I have never been more excited about advertisements in a magazine in my life - they are by far the most relevant ads I've ever come across!

They also have an amazing forum online, which has grown insane amounts since we first joined. This is also packed full of useful information and is set up in a very user friendly manner. The best part about it is that it really feels like a community of people, and we've gotten to meet quite a few people that we've talked to on there. I've never quite gotten that feel with any other forum before.

That being said, if you're interested in living aboard and are interested in talking to others who do it, visit the forums or subscribe to the magazine. You'll learn a ton and get to meet an awesome crowd of people.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Willie

Yesterday (Halloween) was Willie's 2nd birthday (as best as his paperwork documents :) He has become a great sailboat dog, and has proved himself adaptable to all sorts of goofy boating environments that a dog wouldn't normally expect to find himself in. In celebration, here are some pics from throughout the last year.

Happy B-day Pup!