Archive | November, 2007


…on the night before the big day. Yes, I’ll be learning to pilot this thing, as in DOCKING it, tomorrow morning. Have a captain coming aboard with the sole purpose of turning me into a really truly captain of my own ship. Or at least to help me stop hyperventilating when I think of docking her on my own.

So it will be a day of spring lines, walking her sideways, currents, tides, and winds…all of the good stuff. I have a decent handle on most of her systems, navigation, etc. Primarily I need practice, practice, practice, with an emphasis on close quarter handling & docking.

Wish me luck! I know, go SLOWLY ~ 66 tons is a lot of mass…

Irony of Ironies

I can’t sleep. It’s too hot on the boat!!! So now I’m prowling about at 3:45 am, turning down thermostats and even opening my porthole. Mind you, that’s not a complaint ~ I’ll get it straightened out alright.

Meanwhile, I should be able to get back to sleep shortly. I picked up Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle recently (technically known as Journal Of Researches Into The Natural History And Geology Of The Countries Visited During The Voyage Of HMS Beagle Round The World, Under The Command Of Captain Fitz Roy, RN), as KJ’s original name was Beagle and she was built to replicate Darwin’s travels through the Galapagos Islands. I figure this is one which definitely belongs in the ship’s library. As you might imagine from Mr. Darwin’s original title, it’s a bit on the dry side, although I’m still enjoying it so far.

I’ll be asleep again soon. And oh-so-grateful for the warmth on this ship when I wake up in the morning.

Updates On Random Loose Ends

The Flame Sensor consists of a sealed module with a photodiode aimed at the flame, a red LED indicator light and 3 wires, white (+), black (-), and green (signal) connected to the main board. Under normal operating conditions whenever the burner ignition begins, the red LED will flash once indicating the white and black wires are connected and the module is receiving power and working properly. Once the burner is ignited, the LED will begin to flicker like the flame. If for any reason the flame is extinguished, the flickering will stop and the board will shut down the heater. If the green (signal) wire is disconnected, the board will shut down. If all the wires are properly connected with module flashing and the board still shuts down, diagnostic code 7 Flame Out, the board may be defective.

And when the d*** thing doesn’t work and you get a new one, voila! You have heat! I admit to feeling mostly cautious optimism, as we’ve been down this path before and I’ve gone to bed giddy, yet awakened cold. But we’re at 8+ hours of smooth, uninterrupted running now. So I am hopeful. Again. That maybe, just maybe, we have it licked this time.

So I’m warm AND my icicle lights are all around the boat. I know, it’s a blurry picture, but it’s still raining and somehow setting up the tripod for a night shot just doesn’t sound like much fun to me. It’s pretty cool to see her as I come home across the trestle at night ~ she looks really tall with that white string across the top cable (yes, my feet were somewhere just above the radar dome on the ladder that was leaned against the mast; no, of course that’s not a good idea).

And the avulsion on my toe is finally healing. Ewwww. It was quite a chunk of flesh I nearly lost. No wonder it hurt so much…

LED Lights for the Holidays

Yes, I know it’s blurry. No, I’m not going to stand about in the wind and the rain attempting to get a better shot. Suffice it to say that after several hours of perching precariously on ladders at various positions on the boat and using many of those high-line rescue techniques adapted especially for hanging lights (thank you, JM!), plus one really long and heavy pike pole (if anything nearly sent me into the river, it was that effing thing), my boat is a sight to behold. I couldn’t get a good shot tonight of the white lights that go up the stays of the masts, but it was a bit of an engineering feat to get them there. They’re all LED lights, so they add next-to-nothing to amperage draw (since I only have 20 amp service here, this is a critical plot point).

And of course we were having a windstorm today. Which is the only acceptable time to put up lights, as far as I’m concerned. A) It makes it all the more exciting B) You can be quite certain that you’ve secured the lights adequately if they don’t blow down in the next squall crossing the river. Ha! Zip-ties, my dear reader, it’s all about the zip-ties.

I’m never taking the lights down across the top. That’s all there is to it.

And then there’s Floyd, dear Floyd. I’ve only known him a matter of weeks, but he is the most wonderful old shipwright, full of knowledge and deep, pure wisdom earned from years around the water. Today’s gem was him pointing out how good it is that the winds are blowing us against the docks rather than pulling us away and straining our docklines. That’s the spirit! We’re two Pollyannas in a Pod.

On the heating front, we have a part ordered. I’m quite excited about the potential of having things working again, although I’m getting quite used to running my little borrowed propane heater. I go through about 4.2 gallons a week and have so far been able to convince big strong men to haul the 10 gallon tank to the local co-op for the refills.

Jeff and I were able to run the diesel heater in the bypass mode for 5 minutes the other day (that mode switches off some of the safety features, but lets you know that the bones of the system are functioning). Current theory is that the flame sensor module is inoperative (the light which should go on to tell us it’s working doesn’t go on at all). This would make sense, as the system shuts down without a thumbs-up from that piece. Or something like that. Meanwhile, the stacks are in good shape, all of the insulation is back on them, and we’ll see what the next week brings!