Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Impressive map of Sandy, courtesy of Google.  That's one big storm.
Just a quick update to let everyone know we are just fine after Sandy.  We were planning to stay aboard Creeky for the entire storm due to being docked in a nice protected inner slip, but the marina decided to do a mandatory evacuation of all liveaboards on Sunday morning around 11:00am.  Most of us just went to the Marriott next door which was giving a discount special for all us boat refugees.  We got to watch from the comfort of the windows above and the whole marina fared pretty well.  A bit of torn canvas and some chafed rigging, but nothing too dramatic.  Here are a few pictures just for fun.

Looking up at the boathouse from our winter slip.  Nice and eerie looking pre-storm.
We've been booted out.  It was a good call.
Looking down from the hotel windows.  Creeky is the shiny white deck there in the middle.
Ivy loved the opportunity to mingle and make friends with our boat refugee friends.
Mama and Baby exhausted the next morning.
All went well and it basically ended up being a good reason to take a day off at a hotel and enjoy the company of our friends, even if we were all nervously watching out the window and bracing for impact.

Soon we'll start posting some more updates about life on Creeky and all the progress we are making toward a nice comfortable home!  Also, today is Halloween which means it is Willie's 5th birthday!  Happy Birthday Willie.
Happy Halloween everyone:

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Wow, I know it's been a while since we've blogged, but I think you'll all understand why when you see just what we've been up to lately.  Our new home, Creeky, is finally in the water!  No less, we have already moved aboard.  She still has no mast and the engine isn't hooked up, but she's got a toilet, rudimentary electricity, some fun carpet, some cushions and mattresses, and just enough love to make it a wonderful home.  We are VERY happy to be aboard.

Here is a photo of Ivy enjoying some crackers and cartoon in her new home.

Here is how the story goes.  We scheduled to launch September 15th, but just a few days before the launch I discovered some nasty issues with our stuffing box.  It is an odd Scandinavian stuffing box manufactured by West Mekan.  It is a very good system, just not exactly well known here, so it was hard to find info or diagrams of the thing.  This PDF from the West Mekan site was about all I had to go on.  The oil based box was leaking the oil out and down the sterntube.  That obviously means it won't hold water on the outside and thus our launch was delayed.  A few days of digging around and I figured out which seal was installed incorrectly (oops).  After a lot of panic and cursing we were able to reschedule for October 5th (a cheaper day in boating world anyhow, so maybe the delay was a good thing).

Cleared for takeoff
At 10am on the 5th Barden's boat movers showed up with their big trailer and started loading her up.  Man what a site.  That boat has been sitting in that dirty stinky junkyard of a boatyard in Quincy MA for two years now.  I spent almost every single day this summer in that place and most of summer 2011 as well.  One of the yard workers quipped to me that he was sad to see the boat go because he would lose his privacy that was being provided by that big full keel along the fence.  har har.
Loading on the trailer

OVERSIZE LOAD:  yeah, no kidding.

I have to say that most of this boat wouldn't have been possible without the overwhelming support and help from my friend Dave Nelson.  Dave is the guy (along with his other half Christine) who bought the Fitzcarraldo from us a few years ago.  Not only did he loan the Fitz back to us so that we'd have a home until Creeky could launch, but he came down to help with various large projects throughout the summer.  His boat knowledge has been super helpful and we are both entirely grateful for his help.  That said, Dave was on his way down to help oversee and add moral support to the launching ceremonies.  He met us at the yard and he drove chase car while I led the caravan over to Marina Bay in North Quincy where the launch was scheduled for roughly noon.  Along the way, he managed to get a few good shots of the boat going down the road.


Jenny and Ivy were already at Marina Bay awaiting our arrival.  We got lucky with Ivy and she fell asleep in her stroller just as the boat arrived, so Jenny was able to take pictures without too much baby distraction.  A screamy kiddo could have added tenfold to the already high nerve levels.  We were both very thankful for a sleepy Ivy.  Anyhow, words can't describe the nerves, the excitement, the stress, the worry... this boat is all we have.  All the money we've ever been able to save in the world, and it is our home and we were about to chuck the thing into the ocean to hope it floats...... If this process were to fail, we'd probably scrap it or sell it for a minimum and move on with our lives in a different direction.  There is no boatbuilding fund left, we couldn't afford to keep it another season on the hard, this was an all or nothing effort.  So here's how that went:

Passed out just in time for the big event.
In the slings: 15 tons exactly.

Our neighbors who drove Jenny over stayed to watch.

The Marina Bay crew offered to touch up some bottom paint.

Quadruple inspections all around.

It seems like there are some pictures missing here in the middle because the actual launch process is all video.  Our internet has been sketchy so it hasn't uploaded.  I'll place the video here when we get it.

Still in the slings but we are below decks checking every hull penetration.

Dave and I, still inspecting, but it all looks good.  Gave Jenny the thumbs up right about here.

After a short tow tow, our first arrival at a dock!

Me, trying not to look like I am about to puke from nervousness.

Creeky against the grey foggy Boston sky.


Still snoozin.

Time for the Ceremony, SeaGlass riesling, perfect.  

We each had a glass and poured one over the side for Creeky.  


Wakey wakey, look at your new home!

Ivy immediately takes the helm, but little does she know it isn't hooked up.

There is more to the story as there were minor issues and some nervous moments, but all is well.  She seems to float pretty darn straight, though a bit high in the bow.  I still have no ground tackle aboard, which is 400+ pounds all told.  The ground tackle combined with the rig, which is forward of center, should just about even things out.  I'll likely have to raise the waterline a couple inches next time she's out of the water, but that's no big deal.  At least it's straight and I think that's pretty good considering the lack of drawings or designs I had to go on.  She keeps the water out, and she keeps us dry and warm.  That's what counts.

In the meantime, we towed Creeky over to our trusty old Constitution Marina where we will again be spending the winter, and perhaps even next summer.  This gives us some time to breathe and some time to relax.  We can install the engine and step the rig on our own time.  From here on out, things look good.

And as i type this, Ivy is comfy in Creeky, watching Charlotte's Web.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Real Boat.

This is the most significant single thing to happen to Creeky yet:

She has a real hull number.  She has an appropriate title reflecting her new status as an official "boat".  And perhaps most importantly, she has insurance.  All the appropriate paperwork is now in order to move forward with launching her.

She has 6 cleats.  She has 2 out of 3 bilge pumps fully installed - the 3rd one should go in this coming Sunday.  She has only one battery, but its enough to start with.  The thru-hulls are all installed.  The propshaft and shaft seal are in. The forward head system is nearly complete.  These are the essentials.

We're really doing it.  We are currently going through the motions of figuring out where, when and how to launch her and get her towed into her winter slip.  It may be a while yet, due to marinas being full and/or expensive, but at worst we'll have to wait until early October and take her straight to Constitution Marina.  The extra time will just be helpful in getting more systems and amenities installed to make life a little easier.

In the meantime, Jenny and Ivy have been able to come help a couple times.  That's having a great effect on the boat and Creeky's beginning to look a little more like a home:

We'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, fingers crossed that she floats straight and true!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Creekmore Progress Photos

Justin has been renovating the 46' Creekmore for over two years so that we can someday (soon) live aboard the boat. In the process, we've taken 500+ photos of the projects, and I've finally had some time to organize them and tell the story in a bit more detail. The boat has come a long way since we first acquired her, and we have a lot of work left to do, so this collection of photos will continue to grow as we fix up the boat. Anyway...check out the photos if you have a spare moment or two.
Here it is!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bottom Paint

Just a quick update to post a quick picture of the Creekmore's visible progress. Justin finished capping off the lead and has been hard at work with through-hulls, bottom paint, grey-water boxes, and various other projects. Soon we'll be contacting a surveyor to see if we can get this hunk of fiberglass to officially become a boat. Crazy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Whirlwind Summer

This summer has been whizzing by.  The sheer multitude and scope of the projects that Creeky requires is mind-boggling to us.  We are really feeling the crunch now.  The plan is to have the boat ready for a basic survey by early August, which means my target date for basic waterproof completion is August 1st.  Man that date is rapidly approaching....

The first major victory to report is that we now have just over 9000 pounds of ballast in the keel!   It is composed entirely of lead blocks held together with a mixture of polyester resin and shot.  I installed every brick myself over a period of about two weeks.  I had a forklift bring pallets to the deck level where I could reach over the side of the cockpit, grab them, and lug them down inside the boat.  I'd set them on the floor, about 1000 pounds at a time.  I had about 10 five gallon buckets mostly full of lead shot, shavings from the chainsaw, old bullets, and odd shaped pieces from jackhammering old keels.  I'd select the most appropriately sized and shaped block to fill a space, then another, then another creating a jigsaw puzzle of tightly packed blocks.  Then, I'd shake lead shot and shavings into all the crevices and voids.  Next I'd mix pint after pint after quart after quart of polyester resin and pour it all into the seams, binding all the lead together to create one big solid void-free keel.  Whew, simple process....

Blocks chainsawed from old keels are being raised to the cockpit.
The keel of an old Pearson Ariel cut into slabs looked deliciously like giant lead tuna steaks.

3700 pounds installed.  This is the forward most compartment nearly full.


The lead was an excruciating project, but I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Now I just hope she floats nice and even!  I still have some finish work to do (as should be obvious by the still exposed lead in the photo above).  I just received a 6th and final 5 gallon barrel of resin which I will be mixing a thick muddy mixture of thickener and lead shavings to create a nice smooth cap to the ballast.  After the cap I'll fiberglass the whole mess down  with a huge amount of fiberglass and tab it all down in extraordinarily heavy fashion.

So many of our projects have been structural and fairly boring to look at.  Cutting up lead keels with a chainsaw is exciting and all, but there really isn't much to see.  Glassing in the sterntube was just downright boring.  I'm so tired of projects that don't have any immediate gratification haha, so I've been overjoyed to work on a few of the more visible projects. 

Stern Cleat, and a roughed in hatch.
We might have went a little overboard on the cleats we bought.  They are big bollard style behemoths, but I really like cleats in general and I think they can really add to the look of a boat.  We also got a great deal on them from Peter at Monahan's in Weymouth.  Consequently we have these awesome salty looking things.  I love it, and its great to see shiny things being put on the boat finally.
There used to be a giant hole in the afterdeck which was planned to be some sort of hatch that never saw the light of day.  It's been covered with plastic and duct tape for two years now.  I've gotta get in that aftercompartment in order to install the cleats, cockpit drains, and some of the overboard hoses.  I didn't want to have to re-tape the hole every time, so I found an old fiberglass hatch in the junkyard.  I managed to get the yard owner to sell it to me for $25 only because I bought it along with a couple thousand pounds of lead keels haha. 
Afterhatch being glassed in-- and one of the cleats off in the corner

On another fun note, I was finally able to start applying barrier coat to the bottom!  Currently we have 4 coats applied.  The more the merrier as far as barrier coat goes, so I plan on doing two more tomorrow morning for a total of six before we apply ablative.

First two coats of barrier coat applied.
 In the meantime, we took a little trip home to Michigan.  Jenny and Ivy went for 3 weeks.  They spent two weeks with Jenny's family then flew to my parents where I surprised them all by driving out from Boston to visit for the last 5 days.  haha it was a great time and I'm so happy I found the chance to head for home, otherwise we may not have gotten the chance for a visit this year.

Ivy's Great Grandpa bought her a ride on pirate ship.
Here she is practicing her pirate snarl!
It was crazy being separated from Ivy and Jenny for two weeks.  The amount of work I got done was phenomenal, but so was the amount of growing and changing that Ivy did.  She started making two word sentences, pointing at people when their names are said, her balance improved leaps and bounds.  Its really crazy watching a kid grow.

...and for anyone wondering, YES, I took every precaution I feasibly could in regards to playing with lead.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keel Breaker

Lead chopping with a 3.5 hp Poulan
A chainsaw really does work great for cutting up old keels.  Plus the lead "sawdust" generated from the process will make a great thickener to create a heavy epoxy slurry to help hold the big pieces in place.  The forecast for this weekend is looking better and better, which means we might make some big progress on Creeky.  Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, since we are stuck on this big ol' powerboat and can't afford to run it around the harbor we've been taking the time to go do some little things ashore that we've been missing.  We took Ivy to a farm stand that has a little petting zoo yesterday:  She got to pet a goat, and she was thrilled.  This morning, when we read her little book about goats she kept petting the goat pictures.  Cute kid.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simultaneous Projects

So, the lead in the keel isn't the only thing to be done.  We have all our thru-hulls to be added as well.  This is a project I'm very proud of, due to the innovation of the "seachest".  A proper seachest is a giant hole in a boat (usually a working vessel) which leads to a big cabinet full of seawater.  That big cabinet then has all the thru-hulls leading off of it.  I'm doing a variation on that idea.

This is a picture of 3 of the 4 thru-hull backing plates that will exist in Creeky (below the waterline).  These three are in the aft cabin, under the bunk, in their own compartment.  They are made entirely of fiberglass, no wood to rot.  This compartment (our "seachest")will be entirely watertight and sealed.  If any one of these three thru-hulls ever lets go, the compartment will fill with water and that will be the end of the story... thats it... no drama, no leaking boat, no sinking boat.  Pictured are: 1" intake for heads and sinks, 1" outlet for grey water, 1" intake for engine raw water coolant.  That's it.  The forward head will also have a 1" outlet for blackwater.  Those will be our 4 thru-hulls, and no more.  I love this setup.  So little to worry about.  If we are taking on water, it has to be one of these two simple places.

Today, I cut a new access panel in the forward berth cabin sole.  This gives access to add the singular forward head overboard outlet, as shown in the picture.  I didn't get a picture yet of the glasswork I did, but I think it looks fine and should suffice as a good solid backing block for the marelon seacock (no bonding required!) .  I'm happy with this setup.  This compartment will also give access to a depth sounder, someday.....

In general, the these projects are coinciding well.  On short days I do little bits of thru-hull stuff and     whatever else needs to be done.  On long days I do lead ballast type stuff.  I'm pretty sure we'll be in the water before this winter.  Time will tell, but so far so good.  I am confident.