"Scotty, I need more power!"

Outfitting Progress (October 1999)
It took some doing, but we finally started making some progress on outfitting our boat.

Monday, September 27, 1999: Theresa and I got back from Italy today. We were both dead tired, and I was sick as a dog. We started playing back the messages on our recorder, and encountered one from my cousin Ernest:

"Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know that both of your boats are OK. Jabin's moved your big boat to their other facility, and I went over and took all of the canvas off. Floyd had winds here of 60+ knots. I put the canvas back on yesterday, and checked the bilge for water, but everything's OK. The J/24 is fine too."

Theresa and I had heard about Hurricane Floyd while we were in Italy, but the story there was that the storm had smacked North Carolina, then turned northeast and headed out to sea. Accordingly, we figured the worst our boat might have seen was heavy rain -- certainly not 60-knot winds! I called Ernest back and thanked him profusely.

Friday, October 1, 1999: Theresa and I met with Andy Fegley today, and we officially hired him to do the electrical work. He agreed to start as soon as I could have the batteries delivered, which we figured would be the week of October 25. I'm so glad to finally be making progress on this!

Tuesday, October 5, 1999: I finally placed my battery order today! DC Battery is shipping me 4 Rolls 8D's ("Big Reds") to use as a house bank, plus 2 Lifeline 31's to use as a starting bank. This is probably serious overkill on both counts, but, hey -- if I'm going to spend time and money overhauling the electrical system, I may as well do it right!

Thursday, October 7, 1999: I got my bill today from Jabin's for annual boatel storage of my J/24: $1700. Guess it's time to get serious about selling it. I sent an email to my cousin Ernest, asking him if he was really interested in buying the J, and urging him to close the deal soon if he is. He emailed me back to say that he's not sure right now, and that he'll understand if I need to go ahead and list it publicly. Hmmm -- sounds like a "definite maybe" to me... I hate to see such a fast boat leave the family!

Friday, October 22, 1999: Theresa and I finally undertook our training cruise with Fiona from J-World. We had a good two-day outing, except for a minor -- but incredibly bizarre -- injury that I sustained Thursday night. I was cleaning the spaghetti pot, and one of the noodles that was baked onto the bottom of the pan ran up under my fingernail to the very root. It hurt like Hell, and I couldn't get it out with tweezers because the end of the noodle would disintegrate whenever I put any pressure on it. Theresa's carefully-prepared medical kit was useless, and I had to leave the noodle in for several days and let it dissolve. I wish now that I had pictures, because it was just so insanely bizarre (and painful).

We learned a lot on the trip though -- lots of practice docking the boat with just two people, anchoring, man-overboard drills under sail in 20-25 knots of wind, coastal navigation, etc. We even sailed by a submarine that was anchored in the middle of the Bay, and I got a really cool photo.

We were cold and exhausted by Friday afternoon, and over the weekend we made an important decision: We're not leaving until the spring. It's already getting really cold, the earliest we can leave is just after Thanksgiving, and I have my doubts as to whether we, the boat, and the house will be ready by then.

Tuesday, October 26, 1999: Andy Fegley (Yacht Electronic Systems) started work on the batteries and electrical system this morning. The batteries were scheduled to be delivered at 11:00am, but I couldn't be in Annapolis, so I asked Andy to sign for them. This turned into quite a fiasco, evidently. As it turns out, DC Battery shipped the 6 batteries via a trucking company, and they showed up in Annapolis on an 18-wheeler. The driver tried to get to Jabin's to make the delivery, but the roads in that area of Annapolis are very narrow, with cars parked on either side. The driver got stuck, and called Andy. Andy was obliged to go get the batteries from the truck, after which the driver called for a police escort to help him back his truck out! All's well that ends well, though, and the batteries are now safely stored in Andy's shop, where he's testing and conditioning them.

Monday, November 1, 1999: Andy finished the electrical work today, and he sounds quite happy with it! We're meeting with him on Friday to go over everything.

Friday, November 5, 1999: We met with Andy today to review his work on the electrical system. Everything looks GREAT! We have 4 new Rolls "Big Reds" for use as a house bank, plus 2 Lifeline 31's for use as a starting bank. We also have a new Heart inverter/charger, a new Link 2000 amp-hour meter, a new high-output alternator, and a "smart" regulator. Andy even cleaned up the old "junk" wiring behind the electrical panel. It's so wonderful to finally have a dependable electrical system! I'm very happy with all of Andy's work, and would gladly recommend him in the future. (If he had a website, I'd link to it!)

On a more domestic front, Theresa contracted with Bay Canvas in Deltaville, VA to have new comfortors and sheets made for the bunks. These all arrived this week, and we took them to the boat today. They look great, but we had the worst time figuring out which sheets go with which bunks! They're all odd shapes, and white with no markings on them. Mental note: When having sheets made in the future, have the seamstress label them.

Sunday, November 7, 1999: Dad came up to visit, and Theresa and I took him out to the boat. With the electrical system fixed, we had hoped to go sailing, but the weather was rotten, so we just tinkered. I finally repaired the shower hose that I destroyed back in August, and my dad and Theresa tried to figure out why the refrigerator wouldn't drain. It took us forever to discover that the refrigerator drain is connected to the bilge pump via a Y-valve! In retrospect, though, this makes sense: the bottom of the refrigerator is below the waterline, so it had to have some sort of pump to get the water out.

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