Workbench overhaul

The Liveaboard Transition

April 2015, I bought my first boat. A 1975 Catalina 27. More or less derelict, but I got her for a song. I figured I could buy this old girl with some bonus money from my employer and “get my feet wet” as a boat owner.   I’ve sailed quite a bit on Puget Sound, but never owned a boat before… I was sailing club boats back then.

I and my ex girlfriend worked on the boat, cleaned her up and sailed a bit.  Her first experiences on the boat weren’t positive.  Clean up issues, and then a sailing trip that was frightening for her (she’d never been out in much of a blow) and she sort of distanced herself from the boat.

On the other hand, I was eating it up, more and more time spent on the boat, sleeping over.  We lived together in Ashburn, about 1:45 drive from the boat.  We just drifted apart, and in the late fall of 2015, I decided to move out, break up, and live aboard.

A Catalina 27.

In the winter.

I’m 6’2″.

A Catalina 27 isn’t.

But I wanted to see if the lifestyle was for me.

Oh my god.  I just ate it up. Everything was small, close and simple.  It’s almost a monastic lifestyle. Even in the dead of winter, snow and ice, it was like an attack of sweet butter creams.  I’d have been content on her indefinitely, except for one thing.

My daughter.  She lives with me in the summer.

A 15 year old girl is not going to fit on a 27′ Catalina with her 53 year old father.  She would need her own cabin.  The search for a new boat began.

My budget was insanely tight.  I didn’t have much in the way of resources, but I had a steady income and could make steady payments.  That limited my search to an older vessel.  I had a good friend who helped me with the financing.  I knew I wanted a center cockpit, because I knew the master’s stateroom and V-berth would be suitable for me and my daughter.  After exploring a number of boats, I came across this old Morgan 41′.  Her name was Jawz.  Not a good sign.  Then I checked her out, and had her surveyed.  Worse and worse.  She’d been allowed to freeze.  Her plumbing was badly damaged.  Her wiring looked like a tribe of monkeys went after her with balls of yarn…

We took her out for sea-trial.  She was unsailable, her main misrigged, and her genoa missing sheets.  Motored back in.

Something told me to give her one last look, so I said a little prayer to the universe, “If I’m supposed to save this boat, give me a sign.”

When I went back to her, she had 8″ of seawater on her cabin sole.

“This is not the answer I was looking for.”  I almost shut the hatch and walked away… But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t leave her there flooding.   So I found the leak (stuck seacock and damaged A/C water line), ran off to West Marine for fix-it-tape, secured the line, and manually shorted her bilge pump to battery to get her to pump dry.

It was just the weirdest damn thing.

She wasn’t proving to me that I should take her.

She demanded that I prove to her that I was the master to save her.

And I was.

April 2016, She was mine.

 

 

Workbench overhaul

Baking adventures in salt life

Again with the thinking small – baking adventures in salt life. I’m an adapter, more than I ever realised.

You’ve got two burners, and this little oven in a boat galley built for one.  Safer that way, the whole idea of being slammed around the galley does not sound appealing.  At. All.  Think of that Easy Bake oven you had as a kid.  Those small round cake pans.  They’re perfect for galley baking.  Ok, so those may be a bit too small.  You go into Wally World and the only place you can locate 4in round cake pans is in the fancy baking aisle, and they’re $6 bucks a pop.  Yeah, it’s going to be worth it.

I have found cookie sheets that are the perfect size for our oven. Score! Wally World has these cookie sheets for, like, 87cents. Perfect!  Then I used those to size cupcake/muffin pans. I think the one thing I struggle with is making sure the temperature is correct. I’ve got a propane oven at the house; however, this little thing is even more particular about fluctuating temps.

An oven thermometer is essential, no matter what oven you have.  Even more so on a boat. Keeping the temps around the recommended degrees for break-n-bake cookies seems to do just fine. I had one batch of cookies appear to scorch on the bottoms – the temperature got too high. They weren’t all that bad, especially since the cookies in the middle of the cookie sheet turned out perfect. The corn muffins turned out perfect! Today I will be baking cupcakes for the first time in this easy bake oven.  I’m looking forward to some tasty desserts to follow dinner.  Will I be able to fit the two muffin pans side by side? We shall see!

Check back to see if this endeavour has been a success – or an adventure in galley mishaps.

Update 15:03 

cupcakesWe definitely need larger mixing bowls. I wasn’t sure if the bowl would overflow with chocolately cake batter goodness or not.

Cake mix, check!

Eggs, check!

Vegetable oil, check!

Bill picked up a manual hand mixer for me at Target the other week.  Living on a boat, one must always keep in mind the amount of appliances they have which require a wall plug.  I’ve never seen an electric hand mixer that was 12v friendly. Besides, I love manual hand mixers. They’re fun!

I was starting to think this may get out of  hand, so I slowly started mixing in the water. Then I grew a bit more concerned as I continued to mix up this gooey, chocolately awesomeness. The mixture was swiftly approaching the lip of the bowl.  This is when one is grateful to have a manual hand mixer.  I am fairly certain that a hand mixer would have made quite an effective mess.

No spillage.  AWESOME!

In 15 minutes or so, we’ll see the first batch of cupcakes baked up in Shindyah’s oven 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Workbench overhaul

Boat for sale – and it’s YOUR vessel, two owners ago

Boat curiosity leads one to strange waters, especially when wanting to make modifications.

We plan to update Shindyah’s cove stripe to burgundy.  Along with adding a linen coloured Bimini and canoe for the sail.  I very much want to upgrade her wheel to a wooden one with knee knockers.  Bill and I are also looking to add a teak sole to the cockpit.  We feel that the linen Sunbrella colour would compliment the classic feel we are after.

I’ve been quite curious about what our boat, Shindyah, looked like straight from Catalina in 1991.  We know that our current table is not from the manufacturer.  How did the salon look then, compared to now; what has changed besides the beautiful inlay Compass Rose table we have now?

To Google!

Bill and I looked at pictures of various Morgan Classic and Out Island models.  Then, we came across an image that was strangely familiar.

1991 Morgan Classic 41' boat - salon

Then we realised.  It’s our boat!

Sailboat for sale

Hakuna Matata - 1991 Morgan Classic 41' boat

Meet Shindyah, two owners ago – as Hakuna Matata.  The bell was above the ship clock, rather than above the light right above the port settee.  Even the television was the same.  We’ve recently updated the TV of course, to a newer HDLCD version and the older, and ditched the Black & Decker coffee pot for a Keurig.  The appliance stopped working properly a couple of months ago. Coffee is a must!

 

Workbench overhaul

The charms of salt life and living aboard a sailboat

Salt life = thinking small.

One must always keep this in mind when living aboard a boat.  You only have so much space.  One learns how to become more organized.  Being great at Tetris is a huge help.  Especially when your ice box isn’t the same size as the one you’d have in a house.  You learn what is essential versus what is trivial, like all those chachkies littering the mantle in a house.  One of the hardest things for my honey to give up has been his books.  Yay for the iPad and Kindle app!  Still, being able to thumb through a book, the feel of the pages, and the scent of old paper can’t be duplicated with a device.

Salt life = serenity.

On those fantastically excellent days, you can pull up your lines and head out for the day.  No need to drive to the marina, you’re already on the boat.  The peacefulness of a marina in the off-season is beautiful.   The sound of the water slapping against the hull can be a sweet lullaby, and floating wind chime farm can be as well – as long as it isn’t YOUR halyard slapping against the mast.  Having the opportunity to look up, whilst laying in bed, looking at the stars through the cabin hatch is amazing.  Even more so, when doing this, you catch sight of a shooting star.  Needless to say, I don’t want to live on land for an extended period again.

Salt life = adventure.

Living aboard a sailing vessel isn’t always glamourous.  Think about it.  If you’ve ever traveled in a motorhome, it can be quite similar.  Banging doors, rattling dishes, and of course the inevitable slamming of tool boxes when an overly excited wake of a Rodney comes up suddenly.  Not to mention the whole ‘what is that funky smell emanating from the head?!’.