Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Together in Motion

Lately we can tell that Ivy has been feeling downright cooped up. Crap. That's totally my fault. I'm a homebody and if it were up to me, I would only leave the marina a couple of times a month, aside from walking the dog, playing outside, etc.

But Ivy seems to love being social, she loves being in new places, she loves new toys and new things to look at. So, instead of driving her batty for the rest of the winter, I stepped up to the plate and we've started getting out and about.

Once a week, we go to the library. We initially were going to the library on the North End, but the walk isn't entirely pleasant and it's also much further than the library in town. It also seems like they've made a fair bit of changes to the children's room since I was last up there (for a job interview, haha!) and it's rather pleasant now. Hooray! It's been fun for me because I'm re-remembering all of the children's books and authors that I once knew and loved so deeply. It's not like I've forgotten about those books, but some of the details have been lost with time. There's also something so much more magical about a loved book when you can share it with your daughter, even if she is just trying to eat the pages.

Once a week, we go swimming. We were taking Ivy to swimming lessons but those are done now so we're going to the pool here at the marina. She love love loves it and it's so fun to take her in.

Our newest excursion took place this week, when I realized that we still weren't getting her out quite enough. I did a fair bit of scouring before I came up with Together in Motion. TiM is an indoor gymnasium type of place but during certain times they set up blocks and things for kids to play with. The group we took her to was for ages 0-24 months, so it really was perfect for her with being right in the middle. Most of the kids were right around her age, so she fit right in. We were there for just over an hour and man, that kid had a blast. Admission was $6 and it was well worth the cost. We had to drive to get there, so Justin has to come with us (I don't drive) but we both had fun watching her.

And the pictures don't show it, but she was playing with a couple of kids and did great. She was inquisitive but slightly apprehensive with the other kids. I'm glad we're able to get her around others her age and hope that we'll be able to find the time to take her here nearly every week until we move to Weymouth, because I do think that socialization is important, especially since I do stay home with her instead of sending her off to daycare.

We've also been able to keep her busier at the marina. When we take Willie for walks, we're finally able to set her down and she'll walkstumbletrip her way along so that she can throw Willie's toy to him. She lets out a shill scream as she's going for it and another as she tries to whip it. It generally lands about an inch away from her feet, but Willie is generally pretty good with acting excited and he'll pick it up and let her do it again. Good dog, Willie.

Lastly, we decided to clean out the cockpit and let her play out there. Supervised, of course. This new play area has been fantastic for her (and for us) and has really seemed to break up the monotony of staying at home. She has an entirely different set of toys out there, the shrinkwrap keeps the area incredibly warm, and it's almost like she's surrounded by a huge table to set her toys on. She seems to really dig it.

So yes. Ivy may be getting a bit tired of living on a tiny boat in the winter in Boston harbor, but we're doing much better with things now and are enjoying ourselves immensely.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rudder Time!

As you all know, Jenny and I are trying to finish our new boat on a very shoestring budget. As such, I've done nearly all of the work myself or with the help of friends. Generally, my friends bring the talent and knowledge, while I try to learn along the way. Nonetheless, there are only so many hours in a day and since I work full time I simply have to find ways to hang out with the family. The one big project I decided to contract out was the rudder. Below is a picture of the rudder as we found it originally, hanging limply behind Creeky, swinging in the breeze.

The Rudder: Before

You may have noticed there is a giant hole in our rudder. Henry, whom we purchased the boat from, had planned to put a trim tab style self-steering gear on. He cut the hole for the tab, but never got further than that. It's good that he didn't get any further because those systems turned out to be rather sub-par. The downside is that we now have a giant gap to fill

Jenny modeling with the rudder.

Luckily, I have a friend who worked at Inshore Boat Shop in Marion Massachusetts. He still has connections there and he offered to turn the rudder over to the boatyard and have those guys do it as a friend of a friend favor. Of course, this isn't free of charge, but at least it was a discount.

When we got it back from them it looked like this:

All patched up!

They did a fantastic job. After the rudder had lain exposed to the Rhode Island winters for 20 some years there was a lot of work to be done. The guys in the yard grinded away at the already gaping hole and made it bigger. That gave them access to the stainless crossbars. They re-welded the joints to give it renewed strength. Then they took 3/4" marine plywood, bolted numerous layers of it together, and soaked the whole block in epoxy. That created the filler piece to take up the space. Almost an entire sheet of plywood fit into there. They bolted the plywood to the crossbars and then they put a layer of closed cell foam on top of the ply. The foam was then used to sculpt the shape of the rudder.

It is hard to tell from those pictures, but after they got the shape right and glassed the hole shut, they put a couple layers of biaxial glass over the entire rudder for me. That strengthened everything up and made it into one cohesive and solid unit again. I'm very pleased. It was costly, but worth it. As a way to save a little bit of cash, they returned it to me in a rough state of finish, with the fiberglass completely unsanded.

This is only the first coat of the fairing putty. It's still pretty darn rough right here.

I managed to convince Constitution Marina to give me a small corner of their workshop to let me do the finish work. I used Quickfair fairing putty. 3 coats, and many hours of sanding. I also added a couple more layers of fiberglass to the bottom of the rudder--can't have too much strength there. I am thoroughly pleased with the end result. Yesterday I finally got to hang it in place on the boat.

The rudder hanging happily in place.

I'm still sorting out all the parts I need for the stuffing box at the top. I'm lacking a few nuts and bolts for the gudgeon/pintle at the bottom... None of that is a huge deal immediately, just some things that still have to be fixed. Nonetheless, the rudder itself is DONE. that is a huge step in the right direction.

The Rudder

In the meantime, all is well. Sorry about the lack of posts.... babies and boats, boats and babies.