Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Memorial Day

There were only a few drops of rain last night.  Not enough for Buffy to come inside.

This morning we went and put on another 12" strip of biax cloth. We were going to come back in an hour or so to start on another 12" strip but it rained about 10 minutes after returning to the boat... of course! But we weren't too worried that it would cause any problems.

After checking out the remains of Ace Hardware's tent sale, it looked like it was going to rain some more so we just went back to the mast and put the tarp over it.  Right now, sun is streaming through the ports although the sky still looks like potential rain.  Hope we'll do the carbon tows and the 2nd layer of biaxial cloth tomorrow (Tuesday).

Here's a photo of Woo from the boat s/v Love Inn. Woo and his friend Bob were visiting Jerry at the shop.  He really likes the wind from the fan... his fur was flying all over, wish I took a video.

Hope you are having an excellent holiday weekend.

Sunny Sunday

It was a sunny Sunday and we went to the yard at 1pm and prepared the mast and got the first 12" wide strip of biaxial fiberglass applied.

Hopefully, Monday morning we will turn the mast over and do the in-between strip which is probably 9" wide... Run some carbon tows and then apply a 12" strip of biax.  Then in the afternoon, turn the mast run some carbon tows down that part, and do the other "fill in the gap piece" which will make for two layers of cloth.

Hope the "tube sock" will arrive on Tuesday, but I'd really be surprised if they have even mailed it yet... It should make finishing the mast easier.

That's the plan... we'll see how it goes :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


This morning we awoke to glorious sunshine.

It's a bit steamy outside right down with the wet ground getting heated up.

Last night was quite something though.  We had a squall go through with lots of wind and heavy rain.  That passed and then we had bouts of very heavy rainfall.  We had to pause the DVD a couple of times because we couldn't hear the show due to the noise of the rain.

Willow was very freaked out with the rain.  I wonder if her rain-phobia started with Hurricane Omar? Buffy doesn't mind usually.  She'll even stay outside if it is raining lightly.

I thought Bob was joking in BoatBits today when he said it's been raining for 40 days.  Seemed to me that he was referring to Bill Cosby and his Noah & the Ark routine (I love his album), but it really has been 40-ish days because we started this mast-building gig on April 9th.

So, we'll see how today goes....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Showers... Rain, that is!

Just went outside and took some photos of Christiansted Harbor, St Croix

When will this let up? Can't glass the mast in this weather... So It Goes

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rain Rain GO AWAY!

Guess what... Yes! More RAIN...

The islands are nice and green now.  WAPA on St Thomas has some kind of water generating problem, but I hope they have been able to catch all this rain we've been having.

My friend Kerry, owner-operator of the charter yacht PROMENADE, took a few photos for her blog.

 Wednesday in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas

Thursday in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas

Probably looked pretty much the same today, too :)

Since we are talking about depressing weather, did you see this on Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog ???
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its 2010 Atlantic hurricane season forecast today. NOAA forecasts a very active and possibly hyperactive season. They give an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and just a 5% chance of a below-normal season. NOAA predicts a 70% chance that there will be 14 - 23 named storms, 8 - 14 hurricanes, and 3 - 7 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in the 155% - 270% of normal range. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 18.5 named storms, 11 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 210% of normal. A season with an ACE index over 175% is considered "hyperactive." An average season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.
This is an interesting tidbit from NOAA...

We received an email from a client in Reno Nevada this morning. He said that he awoke this morning to 2 inches of snow and 31 degrees. I'm surprised as it's almost June! His local news media said that this May has been the coldest on record in 125 years...

This afternoon I had a phone call from the Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess. I was complaining about all the rain we've been having in tropical paradise, and he said that they had a glorious and sunny day on the Emerald Isle of Ireland.

So It Goes...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday RAIN and more coming

Lots of rain...

Tuesday - Rain - Did internet work and went shopping

Wednesday - There were a few dimples to top up after filling in the grooves from the other day.  Got about 3/4 done before it started raining.

Today, Thursday... Heavy RAIN this morning.  They have forecasted Flash Flood Warnings through Saturday evening.

I long for the workshops where we built the Mooses.  Notwithstanding what some local people think (especially Mr. P), we could have completed our mast project within two weeks. Eight to ten hour days in an indoor, lighted, dry workshop that would be large enough to build both halves at the same time.  Easy-Peasy... Pas de problème

Maybe I should put on "Here Comes the Sun" by the George Harrison...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Monday Mast Madness

It's Monday, again... Can you believe that May is almost over??? Next weekend is Memorial Day.

So, today we had hoped to apply the external biaxial cloth  but we basically just did prep work.

Bob cleaned up yesterday's groove filling work with the shurform and then sanded the mast.  It takes time to do a 37-ish foot mast :)

Then we set up the sawhorses to support the mast for the glassing stage of the project. Had to level it, etc, and clean up the surrounding work area so we wouldn't be tripping over scrap wood while working.

Once that was finished, it was really too late in the afternoon to start with the next step. But, while I was out buying a 2-litre bottle of Coke and a Snickers, Bob was drawing out our boom. We be multitasking :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday - Filling the grooves & chickens

Well, Sunday was another productive day!

We filled in the remaining grooves in the mast.  There are a few dimples to deal with, but that stage is now finished... HURRAY!

The water was very calm when we returned to the boat and we had a nice soak after a soggy day of working on the mast... Followed by a Guinness and salty soy nuts!

Monday, if all goes well, we plan to apply the first layer of biaxial fibreglass to the outside of the mast.

There are a lot of chicken stories on various blogs today, such as this one from Crooks and Liars, so here's mine :)

Saw a new hen with 4 tiny chicks running about the work area on Sunday. They are still a bit shy. Can you spot all 4?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday started good...

We were off to a pretty good start on Saturday morning.  We left the boat at 10am.  We only had a tiny bit of rain last night and the plastic tarp was still on the mast.  Great!

While I was cleaning out the plastic pots used for yesterday's epoxy, Bob had a visitor stop by and chat for awhile about this and that.

So, we turned over the mast and wetted out those grooves that didn't get it yesterday, with clear epoxy.

(Kerry, Bob's Promenade shirt just isn't going to survive this project.  This is our last shirt but they served us well!)

Then I started making the epoxy filler goop with my magic powders. I knew that we don't have enough colloidal silica to finish this part of the project (darn!) and will have to buy some more today locally, but I forgot to bring over the 2 bags of wood flour that we have on the boat, so we won't get to work as long as we wanted to before stopping for lunch.

Here's Bob feeling groovy... Getting into the groove?  Sorry, just had to get that in there some how :)

This is my little work area. The table is too low and I have to bend over to add fillers to the pots which is quite a strain after a couple of hours of constant mixing, but as I've said many times, I'm thankful for what we've got.

The other day I bought some Playtex dishwashing gloves (they were difficult to find!). I actually prefer them to the blue disposable gloves that you can see in the photo above.  We have to go over to Ace Hardware (if it's not raining) and see if they have some.

Epoxy tip:
  • When I put the epoxy bottles away for the day, I put an old glove on the each pump with a finger going over the spout. Then, if somehow the pump gets depressed or if there's a change in atmospheric pressure, the leaked resin or hardener will be contained.
Looks like it might not rain!  Maybe we can go to the store and get a bit more work done but I expect we'll get back too late.  So It Goes...

We bought some colloidal silica from the local marine store (which was a dollar cheaper than Ace).  For WEST System, it was over $23 for 5.5 oz. We need it now, so we bought it. Tomorrow we'll make another order to RAKA where colloidal silica is $10.75 for an 8 oz bag.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mast project makes progress

Friday was a very nice day and we took full advantage of it.  We worked from 10am to 5:30pm.  This is hard work, especially since the mast is out in the open with no shade.

Bob planed the mast a bit more and then made wooden handles for sandpaper for a belt sander to manually sand the mast.  I'm impressed as this was coarse paper and really took a lot of effort.  Three or four passes of a 37-ish foot mast is quite a distance!

Most of this was done while I went to feed the cats, check email, and get some take-out lunch for us.

Then, using an air compressor, we blew out the grooves.

Afterwards, we filled in at least 1/3 of the grooves with a thickened epoxy mixture. My camera was wanting new batteries, so no pictures.  I'll take a couple of pictures of the same thing today though... lots of opportnities to do so, except to find the time.  I can't quite keep up with making the filling compound to Bob's application of it... So It Goes...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

We have made some progress on the mast project... HURRAY!

Monday was a non-work day. It had rained heavily Sunday night and was still raining Monday morning. We took advantage of the bad mast-building weather and took the bus (well, it was an hour late so we took a $2.50 bus-taxi) up to Sunny Isle to buy some cat food and kitty litter, plus some stuff for us. On the way to the dinghy we picked up our mail (epoxy & glass tape) and stayed on the boat as we didn't get back until after 3pm.

Tuesday afternoon (rain delay again) we fitted the two mast sections and Bob did some planing.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Bob did a bit more planing and then it was time to put them together!

Planed some

Ran Kevlar strands down the interior, then wetted out with epoxy

Applied glue and clamped with "Spanish windlasses"

Glueing up a 35-ish foot mast in the sun without any epoxy going off was quite an accomplishment and I'm going to award us a Gold Star.

Well done!

I almost kept up with making the epoxy glue mixture to Bob's application of the goop. I try to use new pots and mixing sticks for each batch to help keep us cleaner, plus there won't be any old mixture accelerating the working time of the new stuff.  When you are in a rush it is easy to not stir the mixture long enough,  but fortunately there was a clock on the wall with a very slowly moving second hand which helped tremendously.

It is taking us longer than our estimated two weeks' building time.  This is because we did not factor in the limitations of building it outside in a parking lot.  We are thankful for this workspace, but if we had a "proper" space we could have built both halves at once, be able to work whatever the weather, had proper storage space for everything associated with the project, everything would be stored indoors and out of the wet, etc. Plus, we could work on building a dinghy while waiting for epoxy to kick on the mast....  But, you take what you can get :)

Epoxy tip:  When starting for the day, pump the resin into another resin bottle so the pump is properly primed.  Same thing for the hardener.  If you don't do this, the first pump may spit as "contents may settle" due to change in atmospheric pressure or gravity or elves or something...

Another epoxy tip:  After pressing the pumps down (especially for the hardener) keep a bit of pressure on the pump as you let it back up.  If it comes up too fast, there's the possibility that it won't fill properly and your next batch will not contain the proper resin-to-hardener ratio.  I hope I explained that OK :)

Time to get going!

Monday, May 17, 2010

We Love The US Postal System

Thursday afternoon we ordered a 3-gallon kit of epoxy from RAKA INC in Florida. We really like this company and buy all of our epoxy and associated paraphernalia from RAKA. They understand about shipping to the Virgin Islands via USPS Priority Mail and are willing to do so!

I called them this morning (Monday) to see if they had mailed our order yet as I wanted to add something. They said they sent it out on Friday.

We just stopped by SURF THE NET (near the Boardwalk in Christiansted and very handy for cruisers) where we get mail and we were surprised that we had a large box waiting for us.  It was our RAKA order... sent Friday and received Monday via Priority Mail.


Thank you, Mr. Zip :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday BOAT Cat Blogging

Just had to post this photo... It is Friday after all and we haven't had a Friday Cat Blog in a bit...

Willow says HI !!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday is OK so far

Last night we had a couple of heavy downpours.  This morning has been OK but now it is overcast and gray.

We dinghied over to Gallows Bay to pick up a few things for the mast project at Ace Hardware and St Croix Marine.  We also picked up a couple of post-mast project items for this evening... a 6-pack of Dos Equis and a nice hunk of pork loin.  And, for instant gratification, we each had an ice cream sandwich... heavenly!

It's difficult enough to be building a mast in a parking lot without the added troubles that the weather causes.  But, one must work with what one has available and be thankful...

Here's Bob yesterday glassing in some extra reinforcing biax cloth to the interior of mast half #2. We're going to have to order another 3 gallons of epoxy from Raka soon.

So It is Going...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

If you need a quick gift, how about an Amazon Gift Certificate?  They can be emailed direct to the recipient, or printed out and put in a card.

Very handy :)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Wonderful Weather Wednesday

We had wonderful weather on Wednesday and most of Thursday. It was dry through late yesterday evening... Then it rained off and on all night and really heavy once.  This morning it has continued to rain off and on. It was very gray when I was making coffee.  The sun did peek out and now it is humid.

Even if it doesn't rain anymore today, it will still be a few hours before we can do anything so perhaps we should take advantage of the crappy weather and do some needed food shopping.

Wednesday we arranged all the strips in the mast mold into good positions (no two scarf joins side by side, for instance) and we let it sit and relax into its new orientation (some of these thin strips like to take on various artistic curves). We also had visitors drop by and chat (which was nice) so we didn't do as much as we had hoped.

Thursday was another fine day. At noontime we tacked the mast together with 5 strips of cloth. We returned later in the afternoon to apply the layer of glass to the interior of the mast half #2.  Didn't finish until it got dark, but it was good.  Lots of lizards came out to feed on the mosquitos that were feeding on us :)

We will zip over there soonish and see what's up and then continue up to the mall.

A dinghy zipped by the boat a few minutes ago and Buffy chased it down the side deck.  Our little watchcat!  Willow wants to play with her string :)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Torrential Tuesday

I'm very disappointed with the way this morning has started.  Last night we had bouts of heavy rain and some strong winds that I hoped would dry the clothes I washed yesterday and hung on the lifelines. This morning the cycle has continued. Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

Just started raining again.  Darn! Stop it!

Yesterday I did two loads of laundry at the Prince Street Laudromat. This is the laundromat over by the Seaplane.  It is very easy to get to and I have never seen it crowded. I probably could have put all my clothes in the large triple-load machine for $5 rather than use the two double-load machines for $3.50, but I didn't realize this until it was too late... next time :)

Prince Street Laundromat - Christiansted, St Croix USVI

You can read directions of how to get there in a previous posting... CLICK HERE for STX info.

When I was walking back to the worksite with the laundry (about two blocks), I ran into Bob who was coming to help carry the wet clothes back.  Wasn't that wonderful?  So nice...

I was surprised to see that he had popped the mast out of the mold.  Oooh, how cool!

The extra glass we had applied on Sunday was just fine as it didn't rain until two hours after we had left for the day.

Today will be another one of those "play it by ear" type of days... So It Goes...

Monday, May 03, 2010

More May Mast Madness

Well, yesterday was a pretty nice day in St Croix, USVI. We made a bit more progress with the mast building.

We put some carbon fiber glass tape in a couple of places...

and then we applied another layer of biaxial fiberglass to the top and bottom of the mast.

Fun stuff!

Two hours after returning back to the boat we had a heavy, 3-minute downpour to be followed throughout the afternoon with short, light rain showers. We had a nice breeze which would dry out the rain overnight, but then it rained again, of course, this morning.

Please, give us a break!  We want to get out of here ASAP, go to St Martin to take care of a few things, and get out of this area.  Reading's Outlook for the 2010 Hurricane Season is a great incentive (besides wanting to be a sailboat again!). The post starts with this paragraph:
I decided to write up an update to the seasonal forecast I wrote back in early March.  I am very concerned that we’re in for a very, very busy hurricane season. 
Shucky darn... So It Goes...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Happy May!

Time is flying by...

This week we received 5 sheets of plywood. Not the quality that we are used to, but you take what you can get :)

We made a dinghy kit... unfortunately, elves are not included...

We'd like to thank the nice folks over at Island Flight Adventure for allowing us to use one of their trailers as a table.  It is a BIG help and we really appreciate it. As a cruiser, we normally don't care for jet skis, but this outfit is different. They do not buzz about the boats at anchor.  How cool is that! You can rent a jet ski and go out with one of their guides on a fantastic tour, or perhaps you'd rather go out on their boat and do some fishing, take a harbor tour, or maybe waterski or tubing.  They are conveniently located on the Christiansted Boardwalk near Styxx. If you don't see them, just ask! Island Flight Adventure's phone number is 340-778-7541 or CLICK for their website.

Seems like it will be a nice day.  We could hear the announcer from the Ironman Triathalon so they must have been doing the swimming portion.

Looking forward to going over and start work on the mast.

Have a great day!