September 1-14, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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September 1 - It has been pretty boring here and other than a few diversions, I've been sewing or preparing for more projects. On Friday night I played for two hours and timed it just right. I played without a break and had a good time. Then on Saturday morning, Deb and I went to the Arts and Crafts Festival here in Grand Rivers. It wasn't that we needed some arts or crafts for the boat, rather, we had volunteered to sell soda's for the Chamber of Commerce. As you can see to the right, we hung out under this tree for the morning before being relieved by the next volunteers with a radio to call for restocking.

The big deal is that I have "finished" the rear enclosure except for a few things to actually finish it. When I built the airplane I found out very quickly that when you think you are almost done, you still have about 15-25% left to go. In this case, I still have a day's worth of sewing to do so I can add trim over each of the zippers. The reason I want to do this is to protect the zippers and the seams from U.V. damage. I only have about $300 in materials and if you include the stainless braces it is probably $400 in this entire enclosure. However, I probably have at least 40 hours in time just fitting, cutting and sewing not counting the planning time. I really don't want to do this project again. It came out nice and will accomplish exactly what we want this winter when we are heading south and I'm outside driving the boat. I know it really works well in the summer! It is our sauna out back. Today I'm cleaning all the vinyl and then taking it down until next weekend when I'll get that trim finished. In the mean time, we are taking off for the mid-week to do some more fun stuff (read that work) on the boat and then coming back on Friday.


 September 5 - Didn't I say we were going to have fun! And fun it was. I really mean that, I actually did have some fun but it was mostly 10-12 hour days of work. They won't let you do your own work where I'm staying so I found a yard where I could do it myself. Why did I want to have all that fun getting dirty and sore muscles? Really it was simple. I have never gotten the life of a bottom job that I thought I should have. On top of that, there are always places that I ask for extra paint to be applied and they still wear off early. And on top of that, I found at least four places that have never been painted since the boat was launched. To even top that, work I had done about 3 years ago had adhesion problems (yes, I can analyze that) and I simply wanted the blame to me on good old me if it didn't work out this time.

So, off we went to have the boat hauled, washed and blocked. Part of the deal was they would hang it in the slings as early on possible on Thursday so I could do a real job in the board trunk and on the complete boards. Which by the way I found out wasn't done properly last time and only half of them were painted. Ok, If you think I'm now ranting too much then you are probably right but the good news is that the blue signal coat they painted on last year worked. So that meant that I still had a full coat of bottom paint but I wanted to actually have the black layers last at least 18 months instead of 12. Now to be honest, I'm not sure that is possible using ablative paint and traveling about 5,000 miles a year. I guess we will find out. By the way, in the picture I'm in a clean shirt but the dirt on the face and hat are real even after a good washing at the hose after everyone left.


 The picture to the left is where I spent about half of the first day cleaning the underneath of the boat and inside of both hulls. I worked my tail off cleaning the scum off so with the coating and lack of UV under there, I'm hoping I won't have to do the deep cleaning for quite a while. Read that at least until the next bottom job. Hopefully it will only be the spray on instant hull cleaner while I'm swimming and it will be clean again.

Do you know what was next? Yes, I had tons of fun sanding both hulls then washed them. Time for bed after a great first day!

I painted the hulls the next day after cleaning them with a cleaner/dewaxer. Following the first coat of paint on the bottom, I put three coats of PolyGlow on the bottom of the boat and inside of each hull go get the shine you see above. It was brown before and now it shines in there. Next, I put on the second coat of paint and called it a day after cleaning up.

Then came Thursday. I've worked with a mechanic before and replaced the boot so this one was not like it was brain surgery. It is really a two person job so I had to hire someone to help me for the two hours it ended up taking. I had the hydraulic piston removed and already had sprayed penetrating oil on the set screws for the pins holding the drive to the mount. We got those out fine but had to use a drift pin and a BIG hammer to get the pins out. While Robert went off to get a circle clip that we bunged up getting it off, I cleaned up the pins and the bearing surfaces, then pre-lubed them all with super-lube. I'm still looking for the small grease gun tubes with synthetic grease in them. Oh well, that's my problem.

I had the boot ready and it was only the wait for the part, Deb brought me lunch and when the circle clip showed up, we put it all back together. It really helped that I had the block ready to support the drive. I had the mechanic, Robert, feel the drive rotation and he also thought is was smooth. I think it feels as good as it did 1,500 hours ago. I guess my synthetic lower unit grease is working just fine. Cross those fingers. Yes, I do need to paint it.....


 We lifted the boat at about one p.m. on Thursday (following the outdrive work) and when we did I found that an area under the aft starboard hull where it had been blocked was cracked. I picked and scrapped and ended up with four areas that were about 3-4 inches in diameter each that didn't adhere properly. It was clear by the discoloration and how easy it picked off that they didn't clean it right before so the Interlux 2000 couldn't bond. I used some underwater filler and filled, sanded and shaped up the areas before putting the first bottom coat on the pad areas. Of course I sanded and cleaned everything before painting. Since they hung it so high, I could let the boards all the way down and have access to the trunks. I had to scrape them, clean as best I could and then put the first coat of paint up there. And here I thought yards did what they said they would do.......

I stuck around for the three hours I was supposed to before coating everything another time. Then at about seven thirty p.m. Deb took be back to the hotel. On Friday at 7 am, we were waiting as they opened the yard. I was able to add more outdrive oil, make sure the filler would come out for the speed sensor, put a 7th coat of paint on the leading edges. (I forgot that part, I have at least 6 coats of paint on the leading edge of the hulls and the rudders.)

They splashed us in the water and I went back to our dock at about five knots so I wouldn't wash any of the new paint off too quickly. I guess now it is only time to see if the effort was all worth it. Bottom jobs should be simple but there are so many other things that you have to pay attention to while the boat is out of the water. Next time, I think I will take four days and have even more fun!

 We arrived back to our dock and the turtles were active. My friend Brice dropped by and after awhile, we went and fed the turtles.

 I know it is hard but do you see those dark dots in the picture to the right? They are all turtle heads and at one point I counted over 50 of them. I had stopped to smell the roses this afternoon and they smelled like..... turtles!

This evening we grilled and just kicked back planning the work day tomorrow. The list is getting smaller but we are still feeling some pressure. We got our two pieces of upholstery back and they looked great except there were some gaps on top that we didn't like. The problem was the older foam in the cushions had shrunk some and when they pulled the material tight it created some gaps on top between the wood and upholstery. Not to fear, we live happy and look for solutions rather than complain and look for blame. So, the lady who is working with us on the project agreed the gaps weren't right and had come up with a reasonable solution. We added some ideas and in the end have a "designer" finish cording that will be added to the top of each cushion to both fill the small gaps and give it that "designer" look. Sometimes you can make lemonade from lemons!

More on that when it is truly finished. Perhaps Tuesday before we are off on our next adventure to deliver the car back to Omaha via Puxico and St. Louis. Sandy, we are looking forward to Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday evening!


 Sept 7 - Yesterday was a semi-off day. I didn't realize how tired I was. So, we spent the day sorting out more paperwork and making sure we have touched everything on our boat to decide if we want to keep it verses store it or give/throw it away. We are up to 232 pounds off of the boat at this point and I was hoping for even more. At the same time, we haven't gotten to the 25 feet of 3/8ths chain, 32 pound claw that we don't want or the 22 pound danforth that we will swap out for a 22 pound Fortress. I figure we have another 65 or so pounds that we will take off as soon as we can sell those items in Marathon. It looks like we will be at a about 300 pounds off of the boat and we have taken on 58 pounds of stainless and sewing projects. Well, the net of 240 pounds won't be too bad to take off. More importantly, the increased space is "priceless" or should I say "spaceless."

Today, I got back to work. We had screens on the windows at the back of the boat that one of the previous owners, Kathy, made and although they were functional now, they really needed to be upgraded. So, that is exactly what I did today. I made them out of no-see-um screening and some left over material from my other projects. I also added some more snaps so the bugs can't get in. Deb is happy with the way the look so that means I'm happy.

 I was very busy getting ready for the bottom work and I really didn't want to stay on the boat while we were on the hard. So, I left it up to Deb to find a place that fit our budget - I wouldn't say we are cheap but I would definitely say we are frugal. We want money to have fun with verses spending on things we can do ourselves or just spend so we can't have the home we would like when we are done cruising. Enough money according to Jim, how about a word from Deb.

A note from Deb….. while we had our boat hauled, I was in charge .of finding a place for us to stay. I called several places that seemed to charge a great deal of money for this part of the country, and I finally made a call to Poplar Creek Lodge. The owner, Katie Warner was extremely nice, had great prices, was pet friendly, and welcomed Jimmy Buffet. When we arrived, my apprehension set it because it looked a bit like the “Bates” Hotel. However, after speaking to Katie, she bought the hotel and renovated the facility. There are nine theme rooms that are well appointed, immaculate, and fun! She has a golf room, a fishing room, an equestrian room, and of course, the honeymoon suite. What struck me the most was her wonderful customer service attitude and a feeling that we were staying at her home. I would highly recommend a stay at this lodge. It is in Kuttawa, Kentucky and her number is 270-388-9467. Thanks Katie for a wonderful stay at your place.

 September 13 - We took off for our "vacation" to impose on some more friends and family for the next week and a half. First stop was Pat and Paul's house where the first thing to do was to check on his progress on the Redwing 23 he is building. I'm really happy that I was able to stop by at this point because I could see the boat just before it is really finished. I expect that by the time I return in two weeks to teach Paul to use my sewing machine and help him sew some bug screens for all of the openings, the boat will have considerably more finish work completed.

To the right is a picture of Paul working on a piece for the small burner/heater that was the project of the day to be installed. Lower left you can see the top cutout for the burner and to the lower right is the burner that is upside down getting ready to be fitted. This unit is run off of mineral spirits and runs on high for about a cup an hour of fuel. On top of cooking, the unit can also be used as a heater during the cold portions of the fall and spring. Overall a very nice system and it has a power vent to the outside for waste gases.


 The picture to the left is the cockpit area with their two seats installed and the helm station. You can see out the front windows and see part of the side window that slides. Those are some of the windows we will be making screens for.

Lower left is a picture of the V berth which is awaiting the foam padding, lights and fan. He built a cute little dresser in the corner too.

Lower right is a picture of the fuel tank in the engine compartment. There are just so many details to take care of when you build anything and a boat is no different.

 This is the view of the cockpit area and engine compartment from inside. I didn't have the engine top on when we took the picture which really gives it a finished look. Next time.

On Wednesday evening, we went up to Marty and Nicole's house. Nicole is Pat and Paul's daughter. Marty and Nicole got the really bright idea they should create a vineyard, grow their own grapes, create wine, bottle it and of course why not create all of this at their farm where they can have wine tasting's on the weekends. Sounds like a great project when you both have full time jobs, doesn't it?

Guess what? They did it!!!!!!!

Yes, the vineyard below is beautiful and it was fun walking them and getting the idea of what it will be like next spring when they have their opening.

 To the left is a picture of the tasting (and I always thought the most important part was the purchasing) room.

Below are a couple of pictures of the grapes in the vineyard.

This is a process that I thought I was going to miss. When we dropped by over a month ago, Marty thought they would already have picked the grapes. However, based on the cooler weather we had and probably the rain, the harvest was delayed. But you ask, how do you know when to pick grapes? That is a very good question!

To the right you can see Marty picking out a very good sample grape to see if they are ready. Once he has it picked, he then puts some of the juice on the refractometer to measure the sugar content of the grapes. They are looking for an average over the vineyard of about 21 or 22 when measured.

Below you can see him spreading on the juice and then looking through the refractometer to see what the level happens to be.

 In the picture to the left you can read the refractometer at 21.2 and lower left at 20.8 and to the lower right at 24. We had taken about 10 other measurements in the walk through the vineyard so the conclusion was the average will come out at about 22. They don't want it to be above 24 because that would create too much alcohol in the wine.

It was determined that Saturday would be picking day and unfortunately, we will be up in Omaha so I wouldn't get to participate in my first grape harvest. Perhaps another year!

 We were reaching the end of the vineyard and I was enjoying the evening looking back over the vines and at the pond creating a wonderful venue for the new business.  

 We heading back and Marty gave me a tour of the processing facilities. To the left you can see the large containers where everyone harvesting grapes places their buckets of grapes. When all these containers are full, then you run them through the device next to Marty's left side which is designed to crush and destem them.

The grapes have seeds, and they taste wonderful by the way, so they also have to be filtered before heading for the vats where the process of changing grape juice into wine will occur.

Finally, they will place the finished product into their bottles and you will be able to purchase your own bottle of Indian Hills Wine.


 We ended the evening with a glass of wine on the deck area looking over the vineyard and ultimately moved inside when the bugs came out.

We had a great time and actually got a great education too.



 On Thursday, we left Puxico and were off to St. Louis. I had an appointment with my Doctor that afternoon to see if I would live for another year and more importantly, we had reservations for Thanksgiving Dinner with Aunt Sandy that evening. After seeing my Doctor and getting probed in many places I also saw dracula and they sucked my blood. Then I was off to my Aunt Sandy's to meet up with Deb and Julie and our wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner.

We were able to visit for a couple of hours before Sandy turned over the electric knife and I got to carve the turkey. We had a wonderful dinner followed by some more pictures and fun too.

Thanks for the great dinner and more importantly, great visit.

 Right now we are in Omaha after driving all day yesterday. I did get a call from the nurse at the doctors office and the word is I will live another year. So, there isn't anything in our way to be off again for another years worth of cruising adventures.  

 Sept 18 - No pictures. We have been having a good time in Omaha with our friends Steve and Linda. So far we've pickled the engine on my old airplane which was a very sad day. Steve wants to fly but his legs aren't letting him at this time. Hopefully, they will in the next year but the good part is the plane will be ready with an fresh annual inspection and a well preserved engine. By the way, it ran GREAT before we pickled it.

The rest of the week, I've been doing projects around the house while he works. I won't list them all but I will say that Linda told me that it is a good thing we are leaving because she is going broke with all the parts and things she is buying that I'm either fixing or installing. We've been busy.

We are looking forward to heading back because that will mean we will finish the boat. We will be leaving in only three weeks and are almost complete with the refit. Now we will have to start watching the weather again for late storms forming in the tropics.

Sept 19 - And after an 800 point turnaround on the market in the last day and a half with an unprecedented change in the market, we were off to the airport to fly back to St. Louis. I could tell you a story about being called by friends about an electrical emergency and the possibility of Linda renting out her own handyguy but I may leave that to Deb. It was goodbye to Steve, Linda and the Beetle for another year. We always have a good time and get to catch up even more. Thanks for the hospitality and great friendship.

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