I think I've previously written about the work that I needed or really wanted to get done before making the trip. A few things were known and there were many more that were discovered once I returned to the boat. In hindsight, it is probably a good thing that there were so many items that resulted in delays to the trip, otherwise my crew and I may well be stuck in the Bahamas right now or figuring out how to make a direct sail back to the U.S. If you are curious what is going on in the Bahamas right now with regard to boaters, you can click HERE to see the current (as of 4/15/20) situation.
Work on the boat does continue, albeit at a slower pace. Part of that is due to the fact that it appears I will have a fair amount of time before this pandemic subsides so I'm not in a particular hurry now. Another reason is that getting supplies has been complicated by the COVID19 pandemic response and other issues. There is also the conflict between the need of help for some tasks and physical distancing requirements/recommendations.
The first delayed project has been the rigging. Getting the rigging at a price that wouldn't scuttle the trip before it started was one of the first delays. Now that I have the rigging, social distancing and travel restrictions prevent any further progress on that task for the time being.
|The rigging finally arrived. 180 lbs or so.|
|Dinghy original condition.|
|Dinghy after first base coats of restoration paint applied.|
The partial cockpit dodger/enclosure was a project that I had planned to do before getting to the boat. A trip my wife and I made from Virginia to Southport in early January, just after completing the hardtop build, emphasized the need for protecting the helm from the weather. The front dodger was created a little while back and is up and functional. After completing that part, I found I had enough material to do complete panels for the sides, so I altered the design and created those side panels. Unfortunately, I was lacking a couple of zippers to complete the build and those arrived only a couple days ago. So, that project is almost complete, again just waiting on the weather so I can do a final fit and determine the exact position for attaching the zippers and a couple additional snaps.
|Test fitting enclosure panels.|
My boat was a former charter boat and was equipped with several 115 volt AC plugs, but only one 12 volt DC plug. Since the native boat power system is 12 volt DC, it is rather inefficient to convert power from the 12 volt battery bank to 115 volt AC using the inverter and then back to DC voltage to power things like phone, radio, and flashlight chargers. I have now installed two new 12 volt DC sockets to provide a more efficient means of utilizing the house battery power. With the earlier addition of solar, the boat is now more self sufficient than ever before.
|New 12 volt socket with USB charger in it.|
Social distancing and my lack of desire to go to stores any more than absolutely necessary has also given me a chance to use supplies and practice techniques that come in handy when living in a remote anchorage or on passage. Learning better techniques to store various fresh vegetables and what can be easily frozen to extend shelf life is a continuing process. I'm also getting better at controlling the boat oven for baking more delicate items like breads. I've even tried Nido powdered milk that came recommended at The Boat Galley and have to admit it is almost as good as fresh and certainly suitable for baking and as a coffee creamer.
Speaking of not wanting to go out shopping, since I have a sewing machine handy, I offered to sew masks for the local hospital if they were in need. Thus far, they have not indicated a need, but I am on their list of people to contact if the need arises. I did create a couple masks for myself for if/when I need to go to the grocery store. One of the other boaters here at the marina has a daughter that has an immune disorder, so I also made a couple masks for them. It was an interesting exercise to try and figure out materials I had on hand that would make a reasonable mask. What I found was that non-woven fabrics were generally considered better than woven fabrics for trapping smaller particles. What I ended up using for my own design (again, with what I already had on board...which was very limited) was the non-woven material used in some types of reusable shopping bags for the outer layer and a cotton bed sheet for the inner liner. Since I have a spool of stainless steel safety wire, I used pieces of it to create the bendable nose bridge. Although I can make no guarantees about the effectiveness of the masks, I'm reasonably confident they are far better than nothing.
So, in these strange times, I continue to keep myself busy.