Recent Upgrades to Our Boat

We’re mixing it up a little bit this week, and Steve is writing the first draft of the post. And Steve likes to talk about things he’s done on the boat. And Steve likes to talk in third person, too. Okay, enough with the third person. The thing is, when Skye’s friend Jacob came to visit, I was afraid there was going to be an awkward lull since I hadn’t met him before, and then he asked “So what have you done to fix up the boat?” Needless to say, no lull occurred. So stick around to hear about all of our upgrades!

Climbing Up the Mast to Replace the Wind Vane

A quick snap I got of Skye at the top of the mast!

A couple weeks ago, those of you who follow us on Instagram (@mentallysailing) will know that I hoisted Skye up to the top of the mast. The main reason was to fix the jib, which wasn’t furling properly. The secondary reason was to install a replacement wind vane I’ve had since I bought the boat (actually it came with the boat, and who knows how long the previous owner had it). I just hadn’t gotten around to installing yet because I didn’t have someone I was willing to ask to hoist me up. It’s probably the same issue the previous owner had.

I’m going to talk mostly about the safety aspects of hoisting your favorite person up four stories, because that is very important to me. I want y’all to know I’ve rock climbed before, and for a few years I did it quite frequently. It’s not a current hobby, but I have gone a few times in the last five years.

The first thing we did to prepare was actually purchase a climbing harness. And I will tell you now, I would never wear the one we purchased climbing. It’s too heavy, bulky, and comfortable. It’d be pretty rough to climb in, honestly. See, when you’re climbing, you’re doing all the work. When you’re being hoisted up a mast, you do minimal work. We went for safety and comfort. Having the circulation cut to your legs is not comfortable. Hence, the bulk and weight.

There were two available lines to hold Skye up as I cranked her up the mast. The main halyard (which brings the main sail up) and the spare halyard (which doesn’t do much of anything at the moment, since we don’t have a spare sail). With the main halyard, I did a figure eight follow through, standard climbing knot, to tie Skye in at the harness. There was also a small knot at the top, and the shackle (I had to look this up, its the metal thingy at the end of the rope that I used to call “the metal thingy”) was also connected to the line. This is more or less standard climbing, except the additional shackle.

What wasn’t standard climbing was the spare halyard, which I put a figure eight follow-through knot in, then connected to the harness with a climbing carabiner. The cranking system was also not standard. I used the jib sheet winches, which are self tailing. For backup, I engaged the clutches (the one way valve for ropes) for the two halyards, so any upward movement would not be undone by a lax moment. In other words, it wouldn’t let Skye fall.

As Skye went up the mast, she assisted in anyway she could. That usually involved grabbing the two sets of spreaders and pulling herself up, then standing on them as she unhooked the spare halyard, got it back around to above the spreader (aka untangled herself), then hooked back in. Since the main and spare halyards were on opposite sides, this was necessary to maintain the redundancy.

Turns out, the jib furled just fine that day, and I was able to pull it all the way out (no wind) and all the way back in no problem. We used it again two days later to go sailing with friends and had no problem using it. But the wind vane, that thing is niiice. Skye had a little difficulty getting the old one down because it was so corroded. But she persevered, and we have a spiffy new wind vane up there, feeding us amazing information.

Fixing the AC (The Jellyfish Invasion)

We ran the air conditioning one day, because we left Buoy in the boat while we went somewhere cute in Urbanna to eat (Everywhere is cute in Urbanna [I don’t remember where we went to eat]). When we got back, the air conditioner was not blowing cold air! It wasn’t shooting any water out the side either.

Quick note about our AC unit: It has a seacock (real word heh heh), and with the aid of an impeller, water flows through the AC unit where the cold is sucked out of it, and then overboard through a through-hull well above the water line. The order goes seacock -> hose -> filter -> hose -> impeller -> hose -> AC unit -> hose -> through-hull. So when there was no water flowing from the through-hull we knew something wasn’t right.

I thought we had a blockage somewhere in the AC unit, and I was not having a good time. So I took apart every connection to and from the AC unit, and made sure all the hoses were clear. When I found no blockages and still no water was coming out, we took a break and chatted with our neighbors. That was when we learned that jellyfish could get sucked up through the seacock and get caught in the filter! And if you were really unlucky, they would be sucked past the filter and into the AC unit.

The cure was to take out the filter and remove the offending jellyfish. If it wasn’t in there, we’d need to take the hose, and shove water through the through-hull, reverse where it was supposed to go, and clear out the whole system until we saw bubbles coming out from under the boat near the seacock.

Well, let me tell you about air bubbles. The impeller doesn’t like them. Between all our attempts, we had quite a few air bubbles. The symptoms of an air bubble in the AC hose, and a jellyfish in the AC hose, are actually quite similar: no cold air, and no water going overboard.

We found the easiest way to fix the air bubble issue, is actually to squirt water through the through-hull, just like the second attempt to clear out the jellyfish. We still clean out the filter, and fill it with water in hopes we don’t have to bust out the hose, but four out of four AC stoppages we’ve had to bust out the water hose from the dock.

Skye putting the hose in the through-hull to (hopefully) fix the AC.

Finding Our Anchor Locker Leak

We sleep in the V berth. It’s the most comfortable, especially when docked, and at our feet, right at the bow, is the anchor locker.

The anchor locker is the fiberglass thing that the pillows are leaning up against in this picture. It is where our feet are when we sleep.

Somewhere there is a leak. Well, was a leak. First, I thought it was the bow lights (red and green lights at the front of the boat) power cable, so we sealed that up really well. Then, I thought it was a loose bolt and nut, so we got a longer bolt, had room for a washer, and sealed all that up really well.

No, it was the hole for the anchor locker latch. See, we didn’t used to have a leak. Or at least, we didn’t have anything more than a few droplets. Then someone (read Steve) felt the need to clean out all the built up crud from inside the anchor locker latch, and voila we had a very sizeable leak. I cleaned out all the dam material!

I taped everything off, added some plastic for good measure, and we went to Ace. We ended up getting the Flex Seal spray (P.S. Don’t spray anything hydrophobic in the water, it does some weird, not sea friendly-looking stuff) and headed back to the boat to try it out before that night’s storm. Skye checked my tape job, deemed it good to go, and I went about spraying. It didn’t take much (small hole), and soon we’ll be testing the seal. It said 24 hours to dry, 48 to fully cure, so we should be able to test it right before this blog article posts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the write up, Skye is going to add some pictures so it isn’t a wall of text (I hope). She’ll proof it, edit the shitake out of it so it doesn’t sound like the ramblings we both know they are, and then it’ll post for all y’all to hopefully enjoy!


Hey there, it’s Skye! I hope you enjoyed Steve’s write up this week. This past week we had more visitors! My parents came to visit. We ate a feast of crabs from a local place where Steve’s Papa “knows a guy” and they spent time with me while Steve was working. We had dinner with a good friend, added some lights to the cockpit, spent time with family, and got to see a really fun band called Good Shot Judy at the Deltaville Museum! We celebrated Steve becoming an uncle for the first time (congrats again to Zack and Hallie)! We also celebrated Buoy’s “gotcha day” on the 25th!

Urbanna has treated us well, so much so that this week we decided to stay another month! We will head back to Norfolk at the end of August and then it’s off to Arizona (by car not boat, obviously) to visit Steve’s family.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog. See you next week for more adventures!

Skye & Steve

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