Monday, May 4, 2015

Just Another Crazy Week

If there is one term to describe how it has felt since I got back to the boat with my wife and the dogs...the word has been crazy.  The sailing vessel Rover is again under a bit of a time crunch. We have to get moving north before our floating chariot turns back into a pumpkin (O.K....until our insurance is happy with our location for the upcoming "H" season).  The past couple weeks we have been trying to move my wife and the last of our worldly possessions onto the boat, do some of the more important repairs and upgrades that required two hands, and get everything organized and ready to make Rover actually rove again.

Thanks to some recent rebedding work, we have reclaimed the two large storage areas in the peaks of the hulls from the leaks that have prevented storage there until now.  Of course, figuring out how to store items and what to store where has been a challenge.  Numerous trips to stores to find storage boxes to keep holds organized has eaten up a lot of time.  So has keeping a log of what we are putting where so we can find it again when needed.

We have also been trying a few new things to see how we like them on the boat.  We got a couple of relatively inexpensive folding bikes.  In order to try slowing down the effects of the corrosive sailing environment, we treated the bikes (as best we could) both internally and externally using car wax and/or linseed oil.  We also tried a clothes washing machine, but after it didn't meet our expectations, we returned it.  Meanwhile, we bought a bucket and plunger so we can do some laundry as needed without having to lug everything to a laundromat.

A true cruisers clothes washer...under $5

Since we didn't get around to mat-training our dogs (or tray-training or whatever you would call getting them to "potty" on a carpeted tray) before we got to the boat, we decided we had better get started on that as well.  You can actually buy pre-made potty mats, but they seem a bit pricey for a tray and a replacable grass pad.  I know others recommend getting a tray from a dog crate and a remnant of fake turf carpet, but I wasn't sure how long one of those would last. We ended up buying a plastic tray normally placed under a water heater and putting some fake grass in it that we found as a remnant at the local big box home improvement store and made one for under $20. The tray even comes with a pre-made hole in the side for tying the "dunking" line on. So far Madison has been unimpressed, but after trying a couple of tricks to see if we can make some progress, Tucker "watered" it this morning (good boy!).

One other thing we recently purchased for the dogs were new harnesses.  Basic collars are OK for suburban living I guess, but I wanted something a little better for them when they don't have their life jackets on. Tucker has always been able to slip out of a collar when he really wanted to, and I was thinking that something I could grab easily by hand or with a boat hook if necessary would be a good idea. We have safety harnesses so I figured the dogs should too. We found a Kong Comfort Harness that has a handle loop at the top of the harness, and it seemed like a perfect solution.

Madison showing off her new safety harness

Little did I know that two days later we'd be putting the harness to the test.  This morning as we were getting ready to make another run to yet another store, our older dog decided to try visiting another dog that was on the dock below.  Unfortunately Madison wasn't on the dock at the time, she was on the sea wall.  And when she leaned a little too far over the edge of the wall, she slipped and fell into the water in between the wall and the dock.  I'm glad to say that the handle performed as it should, and I was able to quickly pluck her out of the water by hand.  Other than wet, Madison was fine.  I'll definitely recommend buying a harness like this for anyone who plans to take a dog near the water...especially a naturally curious and fearless dog.  Thanks for adding just a little more crazy to the day, Madison.

Now that the stanchions are fixed, I think we'll be installing the safety netting on the lifelines keep Madison (and Tucker) on board.