The boat is laid up in the “well” at Elite Marine at Salt Creek. SSMR (http://ssmriggers.com) is doing a complete rigging remove and replace job for use. These folks really seem to know what their doing, so we’re leaving the hardware choices up to them and their experience. There were a few issues with the bad design of the stays that took more time than first thought. Also we learned that our roller fuller genoa was installed improperly over a turnbuckle. We have also commissioned a pair of custom half inch stainless plates to fabricated by the Embree Marine Welding shop for the genoa roller furler to replace the turnbuckle setup
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this beast since I’ve owned it. We bought it at the Tackle Shack in St. Pete in 2008-ish for an obscene amount of money. Why? Well, I wanted a kayak. And this was after the never-ending “dinghy-gate”- the search for the perfect dinghy for Wu-Wei. (Some will remember we’ve owned a fleet of dinks at one point. Most were disasters. And while Serenity came with a legit one, it required inflating, and this beast was already in my garage.) Cons: It is heavy, and approximately13′ long. Pros: It is a tandem kayak, built-in drink holders, drag being a sailboat is minimal and has the sweet pedal drives. When you have T-Rex arms like I do, you do not want to be wasting your time paddling with your arms. It got a lot of bit beat-up while in long-term storage when we were in Japan (we did not realize it until we went to finally use it. This required some G-Flex repairs.) Anyhoo, the beast is long, and Brian’s truck bed is not- he bought a kayak holder thingie that hooks up to the truck hitch. Sweet! It worked great! We lugged it out to the boat, and discovered the Sail Drive pedal thingie straps were dry-rotted- DAFUQ? Okay, we will take her for a T-Rex-hating oar trip. Yeah, cool, but no- my gun show was like, “No bueno. Get the stupid parts tomorrow. We are not fans of having to use us.” The replacement straps are $12 a pop at Tackle Shack- which is not bad. I also got a spare set, and a few odds and ends. Unfortunately, where the sail goes into the kayak had also cracked, and this proved to be a PITA when we had a good sail going on it. (Seriously, how many kayaks have an optional sail kit?) No matter- I can eventually fix this- ditched the sail on the boat, and went out. We peddled out and everywhere people stopped to wave from their boats. Apparently, there are not many of us who pay for this option of T-Rex arms-free awesomeness. We passed other kayakers, who seemed quite jealous at our foot propulsion. “Suckers! You with real arms! Have fun using them!” Seriously, this thing is fast, and easy to maneuver. After arriving back at dock at sunset, and rinsing out the sail drives with fresh water, I remarked, “Damn, this thing IS a beast. An expensive beast. But I love it!”
Stardate: 30 Apr 15. It seemed like a fine day to head to the infamous Pine Key (aka. Beer Can Island) for our first night of anchoring out on the Serenity. Initially, the weather forecasters predicted a day of no wind, but the wind, indeed, did pick up, so we decided to hoist the main. 3/4 of the way up the mast, the sail was no longer going up- it fought us. There was much cursing, as this is the point that always becomes a PITA- it this because the mast is raked? I hang on the main, trying to bring it down- there is only so much 135 pounds can do in this situation. Brian finally assists and it is down. Thinking it was one of the cars sticking, he lubes them with white lithium and here is try #2. And… stuck. Again, at the same point. By now the wind is really picking up, and guess what? We can’t get it down, and have no idea what to even do. We tried everything- to include hooking reef points to the boom vang. We are so screwed. Three sail slugs are now broken. There is a lot of profane language. Finally, we are able to somewhat secure the main to the mast (the battens posed a total b**** in this process) and called SSMR. “Um hello, what time do you close?” “All of our people have departed for the day…” WTF?!? It was 3PM on a Monday! I want this work schedule! Since anchoring out in our current state would be a bad choice (due to the battens, we still had a slight mainsail shape), so figured our best bet was to limp back to dock and lick our wounds. As we arrived back, the winds had calmed and backing in to the slip was eerily easy. Of course, it was a matter of 5 minutes before our boat neighbors came by to stare and ask questions. “Do you have in-mast furling?” I finally just smiled and replied to each “looky-loo”- “We are designing a new sail shape called, ‘My sail won’t go up or down.'” “Well, I ain’t never for the life of me seen anything like this!” one neighbor remarked. Of course, everyone wanted to offer their own advice, and seemed horrified we’d pay someone to fix it. Sometimes, it is better to just trust the professionals…. And those are not the marina neighbors.
31 Apr 2015: We awoke early and headed to SSMR. I called them to let them know we’d be arriving when they opened. “We will be on the dock awaiting your arrival.” Indeed they were- they waved us in, and I sarcastically asked, “How did you know it was us? Hahaha…” (It was pretty obvious with our sail whipped to the mast….) They said this sort of thing happens quite more often than naught. Anyhoo, as we suspected, it was the sheave on top of the mast, which had split and locked the line in. These guys were total pros, spent a good hour beating it out- and gave us way more insight into the Hunters than we even knew- “Oh, BTW- your mast rake is perfect, and here is why…” They took Brian next door to get our sail fixed while we waited- the sail fix? $10. We also had the install the new windex and Raymarine wireless anemometer after they replaced the block. Total bill: $152. We thought we’d pay far more. While the rigging (which we suspect is original) does not need to be replaced, but was recommended, could last us another year, we got a quote ($2300), which is actually reasonable, includes a roller furling upgrade and will be doing this this coming Wednesday. These guys have been in the business for a pretty long time, and really know/love sailboats (the guys who work there ARE sailors.) What really sold me on them, though, is their dog. This puppy was a total sweetheart who really hates powerboats (no, really- all you have to say is “powerboat” and he will go crazy trying to find it and bark at it. Such a good puppy!) At the end of the day, I believe everything happens for a reason, and indeed, we were lucky. Had this happened on a windy day or if we were on a long passage, we would have been screwed. I feel this way, too, about having the halyards replaced- we were here for a reason, and I’d rather pay a few boat bucks now in prevention versus a demasting later on from a cracked shackle.
A weekend adveture aboard our sailing and kayaking in and around St. Pete and Tampa bay.
A freshened up Yanmar 2GM20F with new 55 amp alternator, raw water pump, freshwater pump, new belts, oil filter, and an oil change.