Kenutu stretched her sails a bit this past weekend with a big adventure to Two Harbors on Catalina Island. Mack and Scott sailed right into a westerly wind under the power of Perky and I hopped a ferry to meet them over there after getting off work. I got in at about 9:30 and the two row-row-rowed the dinghy over to the dinghy dock to get me.
A hard sailing dinghy came with Kenutu when we bought her. An inflatable one also came with her but the motor was busted. Besides, we are sailors, right, and we should have a sailing dinghy. At least that's what thought.
Mack rigged the sailing outfit a while back and zipped down the marina channel directly downwind. Then we climbed onto a dock finger, loaded the dingy onto a cart, dropped her back in by the rocks and as out of the wind as possible, and used the keel to row her home. This past weekend we figured we'd rely on her oars more than her sails, but once again, we only managed to look ridiculous.
The dinghy has beautiful wood oars, but if there is anyone in the boat with you, you just hit their knees or your own knees the whole time. You can't get the right glide in and out of the water for some reason.
After Mack and Scott got me from the docks, I held up a flashlight while Mack rowed backwards into the night, which was dark and full of swells. I managed to soak my feet and my ass on the way back, so once we got to Kenutu, I hopped off and changed into warm, dry clothes. The boys tied her up and I set to making dinner. In my fully equipped galley.
As I was prepping an onion, I heard Scott mumble something from the cockpit. To which Mack replied, "Are you serious?" Apparently the dinghy didn't want to be with us so she cut her line and floated off into the moonlight. Mack radioed Harbor Patrol and asked them to keep an eye out and we figured we'd be calling for shore service the rest of the weekend. About an hour later, our runaway dinghy was delivered back to us, apparently just a couple waves away from a full escape into the ocean.
That was bumbling number one.
After dinner, all the ferry riding and whipping around had me feeling a little queasy so I decided to sit in the cockpit in my sleeping bag and look at the stars while I got some fresh air. Mack came out and I had to shield my eyes while looking at him because of some giant light just over the hill wrapping the harbor. I actually thought to myself, "How annoying." It was gas station bright, and I felt for sure it was some wedding party or something, even though the terrain was totally not conducive to having a wedding up there. Not to mention there was no power up there.
Oh, wait, that is THE MOON. A giant, bright, big full moon popped up over the hill and lit up the whole harbor. Clearly, we are not outside enough. Bumble on, idiots.
The next day I decided to brave the cold water and give the bottom of the boat an inspection and rubdown. What makes me so qualified to do this? I bought a snorkeling set and have a wetsuit thanks to my friend Malissa.
The water was fuh-reezing but I ended up getting pretty used to it once I was able to catch my breath. I took a sponge and washed away the little bit of growth that had started taking root on our fresh paint job. I only inhaled about 2 cups of salt water so I'd call that a success.
Mack also asked me to check on the prop while I was down there. I could barely sink in the wetsuit, but I managed to get down there and see we had a bush for a propeller. I don't think propellers are supposed to be bushes.
To free the prop, Mack made me a chisel with a wrist strap connected to floating key chains, tossed me some gloves, and sent me down to garden. I held onto the zinc to keep me underwater, and after a few dives, the prop was clear. I didn't have anything left in me to scrape the little critters that were actually growing on the propeller, but there's always next time. Hopefully when the water is a few degrees warmer.
Aside from boat maintenance and dinghy reconnaissance, we also had eating to do. We had pancakes with maple syrup and fruit and salad and nuts and grilled salmon and brussel sprouts and veggie burgers and tuna fish and egg salad and guacamole and beer and bloody marys and screwdrivers and everything was delicious. The eating may be my favorite part of boating. It's either the eating or the doing nothing.
The doing nothing is pretty fantastic. Scott grabbed a puzzle from the bathroom on shore on Saturday morning and it became the highlight of our to do list. I haven't done a puzzle in probably a decade. The last one I remember doing was over Christmas one year when my dad put one out on the coffee table and we each worked on it a little bit every day until it was done. I'm pretty sure the fact that we don't do puzzles is what is wrong with our civilization today.
The next morning we rowed to shore, bypassing the dinghy dock and instead shooting right up on the sand. A little hike through "town" and we ran into THREE puppies and another beautiful harbor flanked by green hills. Then we admired our girl from afar for a few minutes. Not a bad way to start the day.
After a little resistance from the waves, we got the dinghy back to the boat, packed up, locked down, and headed for home. We had winds over the beam but only managed 3 knots on wind alone. We cranked up Perky and hit about 6 knots. Just as we were getting to the marina entrance, we had spouts right at our back and managed to spot what I think was a grey whale given how smooth his back was. Not too bad of a welcome home from Kenutu's first overnighter. I guess the seas like having her out there, even if it means us bumbling fools come with her.
The first day we met Kenutu, we looked down at her gauges and felt sad. They were worn, uncertain, and made her look weak. Mack found some gauges on Amazon for $150 and splurged. Then they sat in a box. For like 2 months.
Why didn't we do the gauges? Because we knew it was going to be a lot more involved than it seemed. Everything is a bit more than it seems. Not that it's particularly hard, but it all takes time. You think, oh, that'll take a couple of hours. Multiply that times six. That is how long it will take. If it gets done sooner, mojito the rest of the time.
Mack did the dirty work and I did the sit there, be supportive, and make labels work. Captain and First Mate. That is the difference.
Mack did something with this tool to tell what wires went where and did what and how much voltage they had. I nodded in agreement with whatever he said and sometimes read the numbers on the meter. I had a lot of responsibility.
Look at all that hard work. After we got the wires labeled and the old gauges taken out, we decided we needed to varnish the face plate. Mack had some spray varnish and one coat of that made it fresh and new. Behold, a brand new gauge panel. With lights. Because Mack is awesome.
The sewing machine is no longer living on the kitchen table. Alas, the dinette is complete!
I decided to tackle the back top pieces first, mainly because they seemed easiest. They were stapled on, which meant all I had to do was sew the shape, pull it taut, and staple it on. Easy, right? WRONG. Before I could put the new pieces on, I had to take the old pieces off. We basically went blind pulling out rusty staples with needle nose pliers.
Then it was to the floor I went. I seam ripped the pieces apart and managed to get two patterned out without any confusion. On the third, I got all confused about what went where and how and why was that part curvy and this part isn't? Needless to say, that corner on the left side where the cushions meet is a little more taut than the rest. When you come on board, do not notice that. Here's a mojito instead.
Part of the delay came from running out of fabric after the back pieces were sewn. I originally thought I'd need 6 yards of fabric, but WRONG. The back cushions had some parts that require the fabric to be cut horizontally and others needed the cut to be vertically. I was glad I chose a randomish pattern that would be forgiving, but accommodating the "read" meant that it ate up the fabric in an unexpected way. Despite my pretty amazing abstraction and use of space, I ended up with only like 1 yard of fabric left for two giant butt cushions. And somewhere along the line I developed a wrist issue and could not use a staple gun to save my life. Call in Capt. Muscles.
While I waited for the fabric to arrive, I had to rethink the bottom cushions. I wasn't sure if I should keep them in sections like the originals or ditch the sections and make it all one piece. The original also had vinyl on the bottom cushion. After seam ripping the bottom cushions to pattern them out, the decision to make it all one cushion made itself. The sections had created a 4" ravine full of coins, crumbs, hair, and general eww.
Deciding to go with a single cushion and no vinyl meant that I could flip them if they got dirty. But it also meant that I had to find new foam in a single piece. I didn't want to spend a million dollars and foam can get pricy. Luckily, East LA has a magical shop called All Size Foam and Fabric that I found through Yelp. So I took the old cushions and took a little road trip.
The place was a giant warehouse of all things upholstery. I got a ticket from the window, picked the quality of foam I wanted, and $85 later, I was loading up my car with new, custom cut cushions. I also got to enjoy the chuckle that came from this Trump piñata that's getting the whippings he deserves.
I may end up going back for cushions for the settee someday. Especially now that the dinette is so shapely, the settee looks even more squishy that it did before.
All in, the reupholstery job cost about $500 in fabric, $85 for cushions, $12 for piping cord (I used clothesline instead of fabric store cord because it's way cheaper), and $225 for the new heavy duty Swinger sewing machine I bought in order to preserve my sanity. My other machine was bought 15 years ago for the same price, so I figured it had done its job and done it well enough for me to justify an upgrade. Plus, I imagine most of the sewing in my future is going to involve heavy fabrics. The $822 investment made a major difference in bringing Kenutu back to beauty.
We have a stove! And an oven! Mack found a place in Long Beach that refills compressed natural gas tanks, and now, we can cook! Cookies if we want to!
For our first meal, we went glamorous and did veggie burgers and sweet potato fries. We got to test out the stove top and the oven and both work better than I thought they would. I guess fire is fire, so it's fire temperature, and fire temperature is pretty much always the same, but I just figured it would be less efficient on a boat appliance. Once again, Kenutu is a happy surprise.
The girl is cold. Ice cold. So much ice cold that she can keep ice cream frozen and beers frosty.
Fixing her refrigerator has changed sailing for us forever.
The Adler-Barbour refrigerator compressor wasn't working when we bought Kenutu. We got some freon charging stuff from the auto parts store and were all set to DIY it when this happened.
The charger stuff we bought for like $80 at the autoparts store was for R-134A, but because Kenutu is an old lady, she uses an outdated R-12 freon type situation. I'm pretty sure freon is almost illegal. Stumped, we started looking through the marina guide we'd picked up from the marina office, and low and behold, there's a guy in there who does fridge work. We called him up, learned it was $175 for him to come do the work, and decided to trust the professionals. It seemed like it'd be cheaper, faster, and easier just to hire someone else to do it, and at the very least, we'd see how to do it when it needs done again in the future (it's got a little leak).
A few hours after Thor (yes, his real name) worked his magic, we got this.
With a working fridge, we went to the grocery store to provision. In addition to rum, limes, mint, and ice, we did buy soy milk, eggs, bread, and cheese. We are responsible.
Nothing like a hard day's work fixing the boats refrigerator!
I can't tell if Mack likes the boat more or the engine more. He's always under the floorboards fiddling with what he's nicknamed Perky. Just when I thought there was nothing left to do down there, he said, "It's time to change the oil."
He ordered a $18 pump off Amazon to help get the old oil out. We didn't know what to expect with this pump or how much oil would come out, so we lined the shop vac cylinder with a garbage bag and hoped for the best. We also moved all the settee cushions to the berth for safety. Luckily, the pump did the trick and soon enough Perky was being drained of all that black tainted blood.
The hardest part of pumping the oil out was sitting there holding the pump and tubes for like 15 minutes and not getting oil everywhere. I did a little garbage bag pump painting while I waited. Mack just looked adoringly at Perky.
Once we were pretty sure we'd pumped as much as we could out of the engine, it was time to take the oil filter off. Again, we had no idea how much oil would spill out of that so one of us held a garbage bag under it while the other unscrewed it. The hardest part of that was also not getting oil everywhere.
With the old oil out, we drained the tubes from the pump and capped them with some rubber gloves using a nursing technique I learned called "cover the chest tube so goo doesn't come out on you when you move them to the morgue." Then we headed to the oil waste receptacle up at the clubhouse.
Mack did the dirty work at the receptacle, and I stayed clean because my job was to fetch paper towels from the bathroom. I also had the job of looking at these beautiful flowers and sending my Aunt Tina a picture of them to brighten her day. I'M BUSY.
Refilling the oil was pretty uneventful. We just used a funnel and poured some in. Then we checked the dipstick. Sometimes it looked like we had overfilled it, sometimes it was just right, and sometimes it didn't even register on the dipstick. Eventually we ran the engine for a while to toss the new oil around a bit and then took a reading. The dipstick looked spot on, but I have a feeling Mack will be pulling up the floor boards just to check every time we go on Kenutu.
Two people dumb enough to think anything is possible and smart enough to bumble their way into discoveries.