Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas (and other things!)

Merry Christmas everyone!

It is 1:30 in the morning and xmas eve is just getting under way. I (Justin) got home from work a little bit ago. Jenny flew to Michigan a few days ago. I will fly out the day after Christmas to meet up with her. I had to stick around this week to work... gotta pay for that baby and boat somehow! I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and give a quick update of boatwork.

We procured our first piece of lead. It is a keel from a scrap boat and weighs in somewhere near 1000 pounds. I spent a week or so making various attempts to cut it into smaller pieces. That mostly failed due to the thickness of the lead; however, I discovered that a shrinkwrap torch works pretty darn well in melting the edge of the keel into breadpans to make brick/loafs. So I made about a dozen loafs and that got the remaining keel chunk small enough to be craned in through a hatch. Nice. Now I just gotta do that 8-10 more times and then bind it all together and glass it (VERY VERY SECURELY) into the bottom of the keel. I have been researching methods of this like crazy. One of the biggest helps has been Ben over at Blue Schooner Publishing, who built his own boat and has been sailing it around for something near to two decades now. Thanks Ben.

In the meantime, we have cleaned and scrubbed and polished the interior up pretty well. It helps to have a clean place to work in and a clean place to spend time in when we are both there and just taking a break or eating lunch or whatever... sometimes even just relaxing and enjoying our new boat. Jenny has done a lot of the cleaning as we are trying our hardest to keep her away from all of the lead that I am working with outside. (Yes, I am wearing a tyvek suit and a respirator and all that jazz) By the way, the baby is doing great. Jenny hits 27 weeks today, on xmas eve. That means that even if the baby came as a preemie tomorrow it would have a 90% chance at surviving! We are really having a baby... neato! oh yeah, back to boats.... more on baby later.

The engine (a Westerbeke W80 which is essentially brand new-- yet 30 years old-- from the previous owner, Henry) has been craned into position. The rudder has been pulled off, and is about to be given to a friend who works in a boat shop. The rudder has a large section missing where Henry had intended to attach some sort of self steering apparatus. Instead my friend is going to glass it all back in and smooth it out again. Also, with the rudder off I can begin the search for a prop shaft and get that installed hopefully sooner than later.

Mostly, work has been preparatory... it feels kind of defeating spending hours and hours shrinkwrapping and building staircases and building work sheds, and hauling tools down there, all the while just wanting to start working on the actual boat. I know it will all pay off in the long run, it just takes time. Perhaps even years, but we are excited for it no matter how long it takes.

Right now, we are just waiting on money and the holidays to sort themselves out. Our trusty Volvo broke down one too many times and we traded it in on a lease for a brand new Kia Soul. It is cheap (for a new car), safe (surprisingly), reliable, and just big enough to haul boat/kid stuff around. But the car issues and the holiday travel expenses have nixed our boat funds for december and likely january. In the meantime we can work with what we have, which is not a whole lot, but should be enough to keep us busy. Hopefully January will land another good deal on a lead keel and I can keep up that battle. The keel is really the biggest issue. If we can get the keel done, the through hulls punched, the whole thing painted with the hatches in, we can move on. It is a tall order, but not extraordinary. Patience... not one of my strong points, but I am sure working on it.

again, Merry Christmas.



  1. Congrats on hitting the 27 week mark. Your baby is going to love that boat!

  2. Happy New Year! I enjoy reading about your progress and the baby's progress. We lived aboard with kids in the past and are moving aboard our new (to us) boat tomorrow!

  3. Good for you with all the safety gear! Tig is Hazmat trained if you need any help. Happy New Year and wishing you a healthy pregnancy all the way to term! ~Serena