June 6, 1995
The Satori Story
This is a story about the trials and tribulations of acquiring a sailing yacht - the core of our retirement dreams. Jane Adams and Sander van Peski have lived in Wonder Lake, IL since 1976 in a large A frame house on approximately an acre of land.
Sander moved from NY to IL in 1976 and was employed by a manufacturers’ representative firm. In the mid 80’s I was able to acquire ownership of the firm. The business traditionally had maintained offices in the Wheeling, IL area. After 15 years of commuting, the travel time had increased to a point where 3 hours per day were being consumed. The decision move the office to our house was a big one but never regretted.
Jane spent most of her professional life as a public school teacher. After 20 years she made the switch from public school to Power Plant Accessories and has been the office manager since 1990.
During a previous chapter of our lives we were very involved with aviation. We were fortunate to own a single engine airplane and traveled quite extensively in it. We covered most of the continental United States and traveled as far as the British Virgin Islands. Perhaps these trips helped give birth to our dream to live aboard and cruise. It definitely helped us to gain confidence in our abilities to navigate and opened our eyes to the wonderfully diverse cultures in the world.
In 1993 we decided to rent a bare boat with some local flying friends and cruise around the British Virgin Islands over a Christmas Holiday. From that time on the idea of living aboard could no longer be put on the back burner. Certain ecisions regarding the type of boat, materials of construction, amenities wanted or needed hac.
Due to the extensive amount of blue water sailing that we are planning in future years we had decided that the boat hull would need to be either steel or aluminum and as a last resort very heavy fiberglass. We were also looking for the type of rigging that would be able to be handled by two people and we settled for a ketch type rig and preferably all roller furled.
The above narrowed the field considerably since steel boats are not the norm in the USA, aluminum boats fall in the same classification and fiber glass is the norm but not neccessarily with very thick hulls.
A steel hulled vessel can be easily repaired in almost any part of the world where a torch or welding rod is available and even in the most backward of coountries this will be the case. Aluminum hulled vessels are not quite as easily repaired as welding requires an inert gas to shield the weld from oxidation during the welding process (similar to the shield that is present on steel welding rods) and essentially serving the same function. The nice thing about aluminum is that if it can not be welded at the facility wher you are, temporary repairs can be accomplished by bolting or screwing a patch to whatver area needs to be repaired pending a final fix at some better equipped location. It may not be pretty, but as long as it works it will suffice.
Fiberglass repairs in some area’s of the globe are simply non existant and from what we have read some owners with damaged hulls have had to airfreight all the materials to their location and affect the repairs themselves.
This is not to say that steel and aluminum do not have their problems also, however from a safety standpoint it appears to be the best choice. Steel rusts and dissimilar metals on steel hulls are a major concern. Aluminum does not rust perse but forms a layer of corrosion that may cause pitting, dissimilar metals are a real concern and galvanic action must be avoided at all costs. Both types of hulls could cause serious shock hazards and require galvanic isolators and possibly some other devices to measure stray currents.
During the Christmas Holidays of 1994 Jane and I decided to fly our Cessna 182 to Florida on a combination business and pleasure trip to attend to some business concerns of ours in Daytona and visit some friends in the St Pierce and Key West area’s.
We decided that this time would also be good to start looking for our dream boat and get a better idea as to what is available and how much it will cost.
I should mention that besides the hull type (material) we had also decided that the boat of our choice should have an inside steering station, preferably a pilot house so that there is a possibility to escape from inclement weather. (This prudent choice turned out to be of real value during our trip across the Gulf of Mexico from St Petersburg to Mobile, AL.)
Of the many boats that we looked at one stood out as a beautiful vessel built in 1980 by La Guen Hemidy in France. After we viewed this vessel we looked at many others of various types, manufacturers and materials including some older steel hulled boats.
We had ruled the Satori out as being too expensive and maybe beyond our means and continued looking with some vigor now also in the Chicago area through some brokers that we had met at a boat show.
Due to all brokers using the BUC system (some type of multiple listing service) quite a few of the same boats came up from a different broker. the local broker did find several boats that could have been of some interest to us, however in seeing pictures and talking to various other people these boats would take extraordinary amounts of time and money to make them what we would consider a first class ocean going yacht.
We kept coming back to the Satori and in late January learned that the asking price had been reduced (somewhat) and in early February I went down to the Ft Lauderdale area again and looked at some more boats and again at the Satori. Both Jane and I thought that we could swing the finances since I had sold the two lots behind the house and was also planning to sell our Cessna 182. I made an offer on the boat and it was accepted by the owner.
The closing was set for mid April and Jane and I now faced the financing that we needed to come up with the remaining funds to pay for the boat.
This turned out to be the most frustrating period during the acquisition and involved many hours of copying finacial records from both of us personally, from Power Plant Accessories, Cascade Helicopters etc etc. I do not recall how many financial people we submitted all this information to but is was a whole bunch. One after the other came back rejected for a multitude of reasons. Here are some to chew on: Declining personal income, declining Corporate income, insufficient collateral, collataral not liquid enough, never had a loan of this size and on and on.
We knew that we we’re going to have trouble but not to the extent that we experienced. Given the situation at hand and our desire to not throw in the towel, we decided that we needed to come up with the largest possible amount of cash ourselves and only ask for a loan of about 25% of the purchase price.
This then involved getting a 2 nd mortgage on the house which involved an appraisal and an extraordinary amount of time due to our local bank not understanding our financial statements and having a continuing barrage of questions. The Wonder Lake State Bank finally did come through and a large portion of the money was now secured.
The money received from the sale of the lots was already in the bank and a good portion of that had been used for the 10% down payment. What remained now was the sale of the airplane and we had some nibbles but now takers. Plenty of tire kickers in other words.
The Cessna was due for it’s annual inspection which was performed in mid March and unfortunately we found two low cylinders on a mid time engine. It turned out that the cam shaft was badly worn which essentially meant that the engine case needed to be split to facilitate the repair. The estimated cost of this was in the $3-4,000 range and I did not have the money to do this as all our money was tied up in the boat purchase. In the meantime there appeared a prospective buyer that showed considerable interest as with the engine problem the asking price of the aircraft now needed to be reduced. We struck a deal and got a small down payment with the reminder supposedly following shortly. We’re now already in early April and the closing date on the boat is looming closer and closer and without having the funds from the airplane sale we can’t get the required money together to tidy it all up. In the meantime we have assumed that we would have the money together and asked another financial institution to loan us the 25%. Another rejection and now a frantic search for someone willing to give us the final 25%. To our pleasant surprise the financial guy that we are talking to indicates that there should not be any problem since we are putting down 75% of the purchase price. this loan was therefore approved in no time. In the meantime the closing got postponed due to the owners wanting to take a short vacation. That was the window that we were looking for as the final funds of the airplane sale had also been delayed. Closing was set for May 3 rd.
As this date neared there was of course a flurry of activities and all kinds of little details that needed to be handled. We had also spoken to a business associate of ours who also owns a boat and who had indicated his willingness to help us getting it to the Great Lakes.
Jane, Sander and our friend Jim Hanert departed at the end of April with a stop in Daytona to check on one of our helicopters that is being leased by a Helicopter training school. The trip was rather uneventfull with the exception of being rear ended in Louisville. (luckily no damage) We arrived in Daytona early in the AM, conducted our business and continued our trip to Ft Lauderdale to arrive there around 2.30 PM.
We had made hotel reservations at the Ft Lauderdale Inn where we had stayed on a previous occasion. We then went to see Pat Livingston at Bollman Yachts and from there to the Satori where we met with the owners to go over various details. The boat was still on the dry as they say and would not be moved into the water until after the closing.
We went back to the hotel were we were summoned to the front desk as they had lost Jane’s credit card slip that they had run off for the hotel room payments. A great big argument ensued and the manager was just adamant that we had the slip that he ran off and lost. He was being a total **** and threatened to throw us out. I opted to pay in cash and he then had the audacity to charge some horrendous key deposit. The whole thing was idiotic and could very well have been the result of my statement earlier in the bar. Jim and Jane were having a beer by the pool when I arrived and the bar in the hotel has a door leading to the pool except it is always locked and I was told that the key was lost on a previous occasion. This means that you need to walk all the way around the hotel to get from the bar to the pool. Not very convenient. Since I knew about this I made some comment when I picked up my beer in the bar to join Jim and Jane at the pool.
The comment was certainly not very flattering for management and this may have been overheard or passed on and precipitated in the altercation and their claim that they had last our credit slip.
The concern that they had was that people came into the bar with wet bathing suits and would sit on the furniture which in our minds is a problem that is easily solved. We also knew that the key was not lost as on the previous occasion the bar maid came out and gave us some snacks to munch on.
We all went to dinner in a little restaurant next door to the hotel and retired to our respective rooms shortly thereafter. Jim’s air conditioning in his room did not work which required him to move to another room and we all slept well as we were exhausted from our 20 hour or so driving ordeal.
The closing was set for 10 AM at the Bollman offices and after breakfast we went there and met up with the various involved parties and we proceeded to sign reams and reams of papers and documents.
Having concluded all this we went to River Bend Marina to check on our new posession and planned to sleep on board that first night.
We also helped the previous owner to transfer all the parts and pieces that he had in storage back to the boat. This was really not our responsibility and it should have been on the boat prior to the closing. Since the items now belonged to us we felt that we better protect our investment and help to get the pieces assembled.
There still remained a punch list pertaining to items that the previous owner was responsible for and for which we had held back 10% of the purchase price. There also remained some work to be done in order to be able to put the boat back in the water and to go on some sea trials.
One of the big issues was the installation of holding tanks and where to put them. We had contacted some people to come and take a look at the situation and in the end we just did not feel comfortable with the way they approached the situation not to mention that their time to perform these tasks did not coincide with the time frame that we had in mind. In the end it was decided to abandon the holding tank problem until we got back to the Great Lakes.
The next day all the sea cocks were reinstalled, the name and hailing port were put back on the boat and in the late afternoon she was put back in the water. We again slept on the boat that night and had some frightening electrical experiences. We had installed a brand new set of house batteries (24 volt 8 of them) and were plugged into 115 Volt shore power utilizing the original boat power cable which was coiled up on a large reel. Jim and I were checking out various systems (don’t remember exactly what) and I was in the engine room and touched the 24 Volt charger while leaning on the fuel tank when I received an electrical shock. Jim was in the pilot house also checking something out and he also received a shock. We then measured the current and found that the boat hull had 115 Volt AC going through it indicating that there was a dead short somewhere. We believe that due to the aluminum boat hull most of the current was discharged and we therefore did not receive a 115 Volt shock. We disconnected shore power and put an emergency call into Ward Electric who had already installed a galvanic isolator and furnished us with a 115 Volt transformer. This episode occurred late Friday night and we had little hope that anyone would come out at that hour.
On Saturday Ward Electric came out and started checking out the probable cause of the shocks and we found a dead short in one of the existing circuits on the boat due to a loose wire touching ground(this may have been caused by Ward Electric when they installed the galvanic isolator) and we also found that the existing shore power cable had the ground connection removed in its entirety in addition to which the coiled wire which is no larger in diameter as a standard extension cord was acting as a transformer and was so hot that it needed to be rolled out on deck and hosed down to prevent it from melting.
We decided that this situation was potentially dangerous and could have been fatal if not addressed and fixed. We contracted with Ward Electric to perform the necessary changes and install the proper shore power cable and wiring to the 24 Volt charger.
In addition to this work we had found that main engine starting circuit is 12 Volt and there is one 12 Volt staring battery (this battery is also brand new) There are two other 12 volt batteries which where not connected to anything and which the previous owner used to run a vacuum cleaner with. For some mysterious reason the boat has a voltage converter from 24 Volt to 12 Volt to run all the electronic equipment. This does not make any sense either as 12 Volt is available. More on this situation later.
The following day (Sunday) was the scheduled day to go sailing and check out various other portions of the boat that could not be checked out unless you’re motoring and or sailing.
To my recollection the previous owners Kees and (we presume) his wife Willie (short for Wilhelmina) arrived mid morning for the sea trials and a sail on the ocean. This would mean motoring through some canals and waiting for various bridges to open to let us through. All the bridges will open on request with the 17 th street bridge opening on the ½ hour and hour without request.
After we secured all loose items below we started the engine and we left the dock and motored into the canal the first bridge was called and opened for us without delay. This was just as well as the engine quit prior to us getting to the bridge and we would have done some serious damage to either the masts or the hull if this had not been the case. Fortunately there was an out going tide and we kind of floated underneath the bridge and anchored in the canal beyond the bridge. As soon as we were at anchor a rather large tour boat appeared from around the bend and fortunately was able to pass us in the canal.
Kees was able to get the engine restarted and we hauled up the anchor and went on our way being rather concerned all the way.
We continued to motor on and were a bit early for the 17 th street bridge and found that this was the week end for the air and water show in Ft Lauderdale. There were more boats of all shapes and sizes waiting at both sides of the bridge then we see cars in the worst traffic jams on the expressways. We did manage to get under the bridge without any problems after it opened, however I certainly considered it a harrowing experience. We hauled the dinghy up on deck and set the main sail and motored out the rest of channel which was like a inland see with 3-4’ waves due to all the boat traffic. Once out into the Atlantic we unfurled the Genoa and Mizzen and sailed down the coast. We also killed the engine and attempted a restart, again without success. We eventually got it restarted again and left it running in idle for the remainder of the day. We sailed until about 2 pm and started to return as we wanted to avoid the hundreds and hundreds of boats that would be returning from the air and water show. The return was uneventful and we again docked at the Marina.
Kees tried to find the problem with the engine and was unsuccessful at this time although we were pretty sure that it was in the controls in the aft cockpit since the start and stop did not work there.
The next week was consumed in waiting for Ward Electric to complete their work and I had occasional visits from Kees at which time I asked him various questions about various things as they pertained to the boat. Some of those were never quite satisfactorily answered and maybe avoidance is the better term.
Time just flew by and Jane and Jim had already returned to Chicago due to Jim having a (his) retirement party on May 13 th and a wedding the following week. I finally managed to find another captain to help bring the boat around.Luc Fontaine arrived on May 19 th and the plan was to have Kees join us for a final sail the next day and we would then drop off Kees at Bollman Yachts pier and be on our way.
Kees and Wilie arrived the next morning and Luc and I had basically readied the boat so that we could depart. I was in charge of the engine, steering and the radio as Kees could not understand some of the bridge tenders. Well we’re off the dock and in the middle of the marina and I loose all control on the engine, i.e. forward or reverse does not work. We’re kind of drifting aimlessly and could do little about it. On the previous occasion when the engine quit we had noticed that both Kees and Willie immediately went into a sheer panic mode, screaming and hollering and running around, but not addressing the problem. Same situation here with Willie jumping in the dinghy (in an attempt to tow us) and not being able to start the engine. Engine would not start because it was not down all the way.
Willie jumps back on board and Kees gets the engine going and we get a line to him and he attempts to push this 20 Ton vessel around.
By some stroke of dumb luck and with the help of many expletives we did manage to get back to the dock, tied up and shut the engine off.
Since the controls in the aft cockpit are only accesable through the aft stateroom I needed to remove a cabinet on the port side.
It is absolutely sweltering hot and must be 110 Deg aft and I need to get these horrible little French screws out of the cabinet. After I get this accomplished I am so drenched that a trail of sweat follows me all the way to the deck.
Luc quickly determined that a cotter pin had disappeared from the linkage connection and we all heaved a sigh of relief as this would be an easy fix.
Kees immediately surfaced with a piece of stainless steel wire to insert so that we could again be on our way. I informed him that this would be excellent when you’re out at sea, but that since we were in a marina we can get a real cotter pin and this is what we did. Personally I suspect that this was fixed by Kees on a prior occasion with a piece of wire and it simply fell out or broke.
Having done this we were off and left Willie on shore as she needed to do something else. We again motored out and essentially followed the same route as on the previous sea trial except this time the engine did not quit. We sailed a couple of hours after which we motored in and I put the bow onto the dock at Bollman Yachts so Kees could jump off. Luc and I turned the boat around and we motored out and waved at the former owner who watched us with some nostalgia as we disappeared out of sight.
Once out of the channel we set all the sails and set our course for Key West about 10-12 miles off shore. We had a nice breeze of our starboard side and essentially sailed a beam reach all the way to Key West.We used the auto pilot all night and took turns sleeping and standing watch. The weather the following days was absolutely perfect and we indicated about 8-8.5 knots. We went by Marathon and discussed passing through the Keys there to make the route a bit shorter. After due consideration we decided that the prudent choice would be to go around the Keys as for one we did not exactly know our mast hight and if we would be able to get under the bridge and for two would have to go about 15 or so miles North in order to enter the channel leading to the Gulf.
We rounded the Keys very late in the afternoon and the winds were no longer in our favor and we lowered all the sails and motored through the night and all the next day in waves right on our bow and increasing in size.
We calculated that we would never reach St Petersburgh at the rate that we were going and we did not want to try and run the channel at night. Our closest landfall would be Venice and there happened to be a Marina and restaurant at that location. We arrived late in the afternoon but had enough daylight to run the very narrow channel which had an outgoing tide and we docked around 7 PM. took showers made phone calls and stretched our legs. Had a nice dinner at the restaurant and went to sleep. Jane faxed the ship’s paperwork to the Marina and after getting fuel the next morning we motored into the Intercoastal waterway to take that to St Petersburg. The Gulf was just too rough to motor up the coast. We managed to navigate the Intercoastal Water way and timed the bridges in such a manner that we had few delays. We got into the Marina in Palmetto in mid afternoon and got Luc a ride to that airport so that he could catch a flight home.
I called Aunt Jean and Uncle Joe and they came over and had a drink with me and we made arrangements to meet the following day so that I could use their car and do some provisioning. This worked out great and Uncle Joe picked me up the next day early and I did the shopping and then had lunch with them. (Lunch at their house is exactly at 12 noon) If you arrive later you missed it. We had a good visit and they took me back to the boat and I took the handheld radio and went into town in an attempt to get it fixed. No such luck and this would have to wait until I arrived home. Kees had claimed that it worked and insinuated that Jim Hanert and I damaged the battery when charging same. Icom later told us that the Memory something or other was kaput.
While we’re on the subject of Kees I should also relate the story about the refrigeration systems. Part of the exception that Jane and I had taken were that the freezer and refrigerator should be in working order. According to Kees they were, although he had relayed to me that at some time or other he had swapped the control unit from the refrigerator to the freezer and claimed that both worked.
Pat Livingston and Kees thought that the units were just low on Freon and they attempted to put some Freon in the systems a quest which was certainly successful. The freezer did work and kept things reasonably cold with the refrigirator continually cycling on and off. As far as I was concerned it did not work and I made arrangements to have a refrigerator fixer guy fix it. He showed up and attacked the problem, pulling a vacuum for several hours and drying the system out and refilling with Freon. Same result and we now pretty well determined that the control unit was bad. Once this was replaced everything worked quite well and we were now faced with a $600.00 bill for parts and labor which we felt was not to our account.
Kees kept insisting that it worked and that it was not on the list of exceptions. We dug up the list and low and behold it was on there.
We had somewhat of an argument over this whole issue and it was finally settled that Kees would pay for the parts and 50% of the labor with Jane and I picking up the other 50% of the labor. Really not quite fair and above board but the only way to settle the issue.
We also knew that there were at least 30-40 of those plastic containers that you freeze in your freezer and then put in your cooler to keep that cool for a while. Although Jane and I have no proof, we believe that Kees simply swapped the control units so that the freezer would work and then froze those little plastic things and stuffed them in the refrigerator to keep that cool for a while.
They certainly enjoyed the cold drinks from the refrigerator during the sea trials!
I spent the most part of a week in St Petersburg primarily in search of a captain for the leg to Mobile, Alabama. I had accumulated a whole list of people all of whom had various excuses or reasons that they could not make the trip. I finally found a guy by the name of Mike Michaels who said that he would go with me.
Mike Michaels as it turns out used to be a contract diver for the US Coast Guard and was involved in an expose regarding them dumping lead acid batteries at all the buoys that they replace batteries on.
The Coast Guard denied this for some time but eventually admitted that this may have happened on some occasions and I believe that they are still cleaning up the mess.
In any event we motored out of st Petersburg, Regatta Point Marina on May 18 having arrived on May 16 th. We left at about 2 PM and arrived at the last channel buoy at about 15.30 where we set sails and our course across the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile.
The seas were about 2-3’ with a 10 knot wind..During the first 24 hours we covered about ½ the distance to Mobile and I hoped to reach there in two days. That turned out to be wishfull thinking as an unreported low came across the Gulf with heavy seas and strong winds and we ended up motoring at 2-3 knots for the next 24 hours and covered barely 50 nautical miles. The winds were right on our bow and sailing was out of the question.
We continued to motor to the Mobile ship channel entrance and arrived there around midnight after running through an absolute maze of drilling platforms, fishing boats and work boats.
We decided to start traveling up the ship channel as we had about 60 miles to go and at 8 knots we would arrive at Dog River Marina early in the morning. After covering about 20 miles we decided that we just could not go on any longer and that we had to get some sleep. At about this moment a very large freighter gave us 5 whistles (indicating danger) and we got out of his way. He came by us at full speed even though channel speed is limited to 5 knots.
We found ourselves an anchorage outside the channel and dropped the anchor and went to sleep wakening at first light as usual and wondering if we would still be in the same spot. I do not think that either one of us would have awakened if the anchor had dragged.
We started back up at about 8 AM and smelled some smoke around 10 AM. I went to the engine room and it turned out that one of the bilge blowers had shorted out and had a mess of molton wires wrapped around it. Rather than fooling with it we (I) decided to leave things alone especially in view of the fact that the engine was still running in spite of the engine alarms going off. Mike suggested that we shut down the engine and I responded to not even think about until we’re tied up in the marina. We covered the alarm horn with duct tape in order not to go deaf and it helped somewhat.
After arriving at Dog river Marina and tying up at the fuel dock I asked Mike to shut off engine and see if he could get it started again. No such luck and another problem to resolve.
Jane had Fed X’d airline tickets to the Marina to get Mike back to St Pete and the Marina gave him a ride to the airport.
We had made arrangements with Dog River Marina to unstep our masts and build cradles to lay them on deck for our trip up the inland water ways.
It is absolutely sweltering hot in Mobile and everyone moves at a snails pace. the following day several people arrive to ascertain the cradle situation so that they can order lumber etc etc. I made arrangements to have one of their electricians come by and wire tag all the wires that are going to be disconnected and also talk to them about my engine problem and to see if we can get that sorted out at the same time.
I think that it took two days to make the cradles and I can’t quite understand why but they did arrive and now it was time for the crane to lift the masts. I had already removed all the sails and had loosened up all the rigging, which took well over a day.
I also disconnected all the wires or so I thought. The crane was to arrive at around 11 am to lift the masts out. The marina wanted me to move the boat to their haul out area and I asked them how they wanted me to do that without the engine running. They told me that they would sent over one of their mechanics to get the engine running and this indeed occurred. It was jump started and I explained to Sonny (the yard owner) that all that was good and well but that I had to travel down this very narrow channel in a boat that is very difficult to maneuver and is not extremely responsive. I essentially asked him who would cover any damage in the event that the engine would quit and we would run into one of his docks or other boats for that matter. After this dialogue they decided that it would be prudent to bring the crane to the boat rather than the boat to the crane. The crane was already in the Marina but they were having delays on the job that they were doing which in turn delayed my job.
They finally got to the fuel dock and we essentially had all hands in the yard show up with everyone giving commands. The forward mast was removed without and problems and layed down on the cradles. The aft mast was lifted and we noted that a whole big bundle of cables that had not been visible needed to be disconnected. We again had the electrical guy wire tag all the wires. He mentioned that many wires were tagged and they indeed were, all with paper masking tape that was ready to disintegrate and with markings in either French or Dutch.Just not something that I wanted to try and sort out in IL.
I asked him to just wire tag the mess and he did and they lifted the mast and also layed it down on the cradle.
I spent the next day tying things up and making some semblance of order out of the rigging and also tying it to the masts so as to get most of it off the deck.
During all this time I have also been looking for a captain to help me for the last leg of the trip to IL. There was one that lived on a boat in the yard who came over and introduced himself and also advised that he could not make the trip with me due to a prior commitment. He knew another guy also by the name of John (nicknamed sandbar) who was interested and was going to stop by the boat. He never showed and the 1 st John called him again for me and sandbar had some lame excuse as to why he could not go.
In the meantime I still have to get the engine problem fixed, the bilge blower replaced and I also came to the realization that I no longer had an antennae for the VHF radio which we would need to communicate on the rivers.
In talking to some other people we came up with an other captain by the name or Rick Penry who met the requirements, in addition to which he spoke “Alabama”.
About a day before our scheduled departure I called his boss to confirm that he would be there bright and early on Saturday and was told that he had some other things to do and would be there later like mid morning. I was now getting a bit weary of all the broken promises and asked what mid morning meant 10 AM, 12 AM etc?
To my surprise I was awakend the next morning by someone knocking on the hull at 5 AM and it was Rick Penry who introduced himself, looked over the vessel and we readied her for an immediate departure.
The previous day I had purchased and installed a new bilge blower and also a rail mount antennae, which I specifically told them was for a 1” rail and arrived with bolts too short to span the rail and I taped it instead to the large radar cable that was hanging out of the bottom of the mast. It seemed to work even though range was somewhat limited.
We motored out of Dog River early in the morning and out the channel that would put us back into the Mobile ship channel after which we turned north into the Alabama River and towards the Tom Bigbee Waterway. The Marina people refer to this as “the ditch”.
The departure was rather uneventfull but the entry into the channel was quite eventfull as a large tanker had just departed southbound setting up a 2’ wave which caught us somewhat unawares and almost caused the masts to make some very violent movements causing concern about them rolling off the cradles. We did tighten the mast down quite a bit more and did not experience a similar problem until we motored through lake Michigan.
The plan was to try and cover about 100 miles per day which would not be an easy accomplishment as we also had to navigate through locks with their inevitable delays, but also had to contend with other river traffic which could cause delays.
From everyone we talked to we heard all types of horror stories and we prepared ourselves for the worst. Surprisingly things went fairly smoothly and we had minimal delays although we had to motor sometimes until quite late to reach our planned destination.
There are simply not many places that one can tie up or anchor and as a result there is little choice but to keep going until you get where you can safely tie up. The first night we tied up at an old defunct cement plant which had steel posts about 4’ in diameter and over 60’ apart between them. We had one hell of a time to get lines around these large posts and getting the boat tied up. In the end we succeeded and we raised one of the storm lanterns as an anchor light on one of the spreaders that was sticking into the air.
We asked one of the passing tug boats if our anchor light was clearly visible to them and they responded that we and they had no problem.
The next day it was up early again and essentially the same except that we needed to go through several locks. The fender boards that we had were an absolute life safer and helped us tremendously in sliding up the lock walls. Without those we would have certainly ripped some of the fenders to shreds. We were amazed to see that some of the boats had very little protection to keep themselves off the lock walls which were very very rough concrete. The second night we stayed in a little marina which was owned and operated by a family who had originally lived and worked in Antioch, IL.
We were able to get diesel fuel there and some ice. Not much else other than a hot shower.
Third day more of the same with more locks and a fuel stop at Fred’s fish camp trying to dock on a 20’ long barge on which the fuel pump was located. We simply could not get any closer than 3-4 feet from the dock and we finally figured out that we were aground in the mud. We did get fuel and extricated ourselves out of the mud and went on our way.
By this time we had also learned that the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers were all closed due to the high water and no traffic including barges could navigate them until the water subsided. Jane was in daily touch with the Coast Guard in Cairo and Paducah and there was little hope that we could make it all the way up and find some place to anchor or tie up. From what we heard from people coming downstream all the marina’s around Kentucky Lake and further North were pretty well getting filled up and finding a spot for a 56’ long boat would be a real challenge.
The fourth day we hoped to get all the way to the Bay Springs Lock, which is the last one before the Tennessee River. We indeed managed to do this and arrived there very late at night going through the lock in the dark and navigating into the Bay Springs Marina with the search light in order to find the buoys for the marked channel.
We probably arrived there at about 10 O’clock in the evening and had pretty well decided that this would be an excellent place to leave the boat while the river waters receded. I called Jane and told her of my decision as some calls to other marina’s further North essentially indicated that they would have no room by the time we arrived there. We slept like logs that night and I made arrangements to get Rick to Tupelo on a flight back home. This was done in the streaming rain and I returned to the boat to discover a very strong diesel fuel smell. Further investigation showed that one of the fuel valves going from the fuel tank to the main engine had sprung a leak. (1 pint every half hour) When we were in Ft Lauderdale I had noted as did Jim Hanert that there were some rags in the bilge soaked with diesel fuel and we pointed this out to Kees as it appeared that one of the valves was leaking then. Kees wiggled the valve a couple of times and the leak seemed to stop. I think that the continuous running of the engine and with the related vibration the valve went on the blink. Shutting it off just made it worse. I went to the Marina to find out if they had a pump and some empty barrels as I needed to remove close to 100 gallons of diesel fuel. They did have barrels (One of which they cleaned) and I pumped all the fuel from the boat to the barrels on the dock.
After the tanks were emptied I removed the valves and the metric! nipples that they were screwed to. The nearest town to the marina is Booneville and the chances that you would find metric pipe nipples there did not sound very promising or likely. I decided that the only way around that problem would be to braze them shut and reinstall them in the holes. We did this and hoped that it would work.
By this time Jane and Tracy had shown up to take me home and I explained to Jane that we had a bit of a problem and proceeded to explain the situation. We now needed to fabricate suction lines that came out of the top of the tank and went internally to the lowest portion (slightly above) of the tank.
After the fact we were really fortunate that this happened where it did as the results of what I will describe could have caused serious engine problems further down (up) the river. It goes without saying that if this had not been discovered and I had left the boat all the fuel would have leaked into the bilge and pumped over the side. The bilge pump does not know what it is pumping, all it responds to is the switch indicating that it needs to run. The whole marina would have been contaminated with diesel fuel. That would have been one big mess and probably resulted in a fine from some environmental department.
The suction line installation needed to be done through one of the existing man holes on the top of the tank as I did not have the tools to put them any other place nor did I want to drill and tap into the tank with the possibility to get metal chips in the tank etc. Upon removal of two of the manhole covers I found that Kees (who had the tanks open to clean them) had used silicone to seal the manhole covers and the type of silicone used was not compatible with diesel fuel and it had formed a rather gooye mess inside the tank where it would certainly have fallen off and be sucked up by the engine fuel pump which would have plugged and if not we would have had it in the injectors which would have been disastrous. The problem now was that some ¾” aluminum nipples needed to be found and welded into one of the manhole covers which would then have suction tubes extending further into the tank. This meant a trip to Tupelo and finding a place that the marina said could do the work. They advised us upon arrival that they would have to get the nipples etc etc and that they could not possible get this done before the week end (it was Thursday). I told them that we would get the nipples to expedite things if they could tell us where to find them. The place happened to be across the street and Jane and I went there to get two aluminum nipples,1” was the only available size.
We bought them and took them back to the shop in the hope that they could do he work and they indicated to come back around 1 o’clock.
Jane and I went out to breakfast and returned at about 11 and the work was done. We paid our $20,98 and went back to the marina. Now we needed to find all the fittings, valves and fuel hoses to finalize the project. I had also removed all the old copper fuel piping and some old lines that had been left in the boat after an oil fired water heater was removed, eons ago.
The son of the marina owner took me to another local town where we picked up all the parts and took those back to the marina where we started to assemble the mess. The hardware store had only one ¾” ball valve and since we needed two the 2 nd one was 1”. It turned out that that one would not fit so Jane and I made nother 25 mile trip to another hardware store where we purchased the only ¾” valve that they had.
On Friday it was all completed and time to fill the tanks from the barrels and check for leaks prior to closing everything up. The first 55 gallons went in and no leaks were evident and the second barrel was being pumped in when I noticed all this funny pink stuff floating around on top of the fuel. I questioned what had been in the barrel that they had “cleaned” and they advised pink anti freeze.
They said that if I had Racor filters (which we do) there would be no problem as they would readily filter it out. I decided that it would be prudent to donate the two barrels of contaminated fuel to the marina and fill up with fresh diesel fuel. here was way too much at stake to take a chance on $150,00 worth of diesel fuel.
We had a long and difficult journey ahead of us and as it was we were dealing with an engine that I had no history on (other than hours) but that could be disastrous if it quit on us on the Mississippi. They towed us to the fuel dock which we almost pulled off the moorings when they secured a line as they had gotten us going way too fast even though they had been forewarned.
From the fuel dock back to the berth at the end of the pier (the only place we would fit) and secured the boat for the next few weeks.
We paid the marina for a months dockage with electric being extra and I wrote a heck for $200,00 to cover the $176.00 cost.
Jane, Tracy and I went home and I slept in a bed that did not move for the first in a long time. It was now time to wait out old man river and hope that the waters would recede soon so that we could get the boat here at home and hopefully have a bit of summer left to do some boating.
While at Bay Springs Marina I had also noticed that the raw water pump was starting to leak, not excessively yet but certainly to a point where the sea cock had to be shut at night unless you wanted to listen to the bilge pump all the time. I had noticed a leak before, although minor, and I believe that the grid sand and mud in the waterways contributed to the demise of the seals which further on uring the trip leaked worse and worse. I purchased a complete rebuild kit which would be on board (and was) for the remainder of the journey.
We checked almost daily with the Coast Guard to keep us posted on the situation and with the hope that the waters would recede enough to allow us to complete the trip. We had now also learned that the Illinois River would be shut down to all traffic from July 11 to September 11 for lock repairs. This was not very good news as we knew that we needed 14 days to complete the trip and this excluded any delays for repairs if any were needed.
In mid June the commercial traffic resumed on the affected rivers, however thousands of barges where backed up and needed to be move and only one tow per hour was released. Most tows have 15 barges and you can imagine how many days are consumed moving all these tows in addition to which a 3 barge wide by 5 barge long tow does no always fit in a lock and they have to be disassembled before the lock and reassembled after the lock, causing massive delays. Word had it that pleasure craft would be allowed to start their trip on June 23 rd and this indeed turned out to be the case.
The problem we saw was that there were in excess of 350 pleasure craft moored just short of the Mississippi river and traffic would be an absolute zoo. We figured that being in Bay Springs marina and with the speed we traveled most of this traffic would be well ahead of us by the time we got to the Mississippi. The other roblem was that the Cape Girardeau area had been flooded out and there would not be any diesel fuel availabe after Cairo, Il which is where one enters old man river.
I think that Jane an I left on the 17 th to arrive at Bay Springs Marina on the 18 th. We had made arrangements with Rick Penry to join us again and continue the final leg of the trip to Chicago. Jane picked him up at Tupelo airport after he dropped off his rental car and they went shopping for needed supplies.
Rick and I shoved off early on the 19 th and entered the Tenessee river after about 4-5 hours.
Today is Aug 7 th and we have a little intermission from the story. This week end we went out for our first sail. On Saturday we went out and took “Woody” with us who is a local at the marina and also owns a sailboat that is moored there. Winds were calm and at times almost non existant and we managed to make about 4 knots.
On Sunday we had Tracy and Cody visiting and we had to wait for the fog to lift which was so thick at times that you could not see the other side of the harbor. We sailed south to Ft Sheridan and back and I think that both Tracy and Cody enjoyed the short trip. .Both Jane and I went home and were absolutely exhausted and we are feeling real tired today.
Back to the trip up the big rivers.
Today is August 28, 1995 and Jane and I sailed the Satori by ourselves for the first time this weekend. It is quite a Chinese fire drill and we still have not quite been able to figure out where all the lines should go or need to go. This coming week end is family day and I believe that this means that Robin, Tracy and their husbands are all going to join us for a couple of hours.
I am sure that we did a few things the following month, but I can’t remember what all we did. We certainly sailed with various friends just about every week end and had a good time. The season was rapidly coming to an end and we needed to be hauled out for the winter.
We had already determined that Great Lakes Marina could not haul us and that we needed to go someplace else. This place turned out to be at Gatti Marina in South port (Kenosha) WI. This seemed to be the closest, most reasonably priced and they would also allow us to bring in outside contractors to perform work on the boat and not have the billing routed through the Marina offices, thereby avoiding a 20% or maybe higher mark up.
We left Great Lakes on or about Oct 15 th and motored up to Kenosha. The weather had already turned somewhat colder and the wind was howling out of the North. We learned upon arrival that we caused a bit of a surprise with uestions like “Are we hauling you out?” etc etc. A real confidence builder. Next we learned that we would need to back into the haul out dock and this was absolutely impossible with the winds that prevailed on that day. Problem with our large boat is that you need to have a bit of speed to be maneuverable and to have the boat listen to the rudder. Without any speed the wind simply pushes the boat in whatever direction it can and typically not in the direction where you would like to go.
We finally managed to get ourselves to their fuel dock where we tied up and stayed over night. (several nights as it turned out) I told the yard crew that I would be there early as there typically is little or no wind and they could haul us irst thing in the am. I was there and they were hauling other boats and were busy. By the time they were ready for me the wind had picked up and it would again be impossible to get into the haul out area. We did this for three days and I believe that on the third day we were finally hauled and set up on 8 jack stands in the South Eastern corner of their yard.
Both Jane and myself new that there would be a fair amount of work that would need to be done over the 1995/1996 winter months, although at the time we did not realize how time consuming some of this work would be and least of all what our financial exposure was going to be.
We had determined that the electrical system(s) needed work and basically a total overhaul to be safe and reliable. It was certainly evident that over the years changes had been made, equipment had been removed, different equipment had been installed and the wiring was not exactly up to current day standards.
WE talked to several people about what we wanted to do and the job on the surface seemed rather simple but in the end turned out to be a small nightmare. WE went in the water on May 15 th and it is now June 7 th and there are still things to be done. We contacted a guy by the name of John Barry of Barry Electronics, who came on board and surveyed the situation and we decided that he would do the work with Sander providing a lot of work to keep them going and essentially have them wire everything with me installing everything. To a large extent that approach worked except that our winter was so cold that working on the boat become virtually impossible as you could not get let alone stay warm.
I shoud describe the original system a bit so that it is more understandable as to what was done.
Originally and this boat being European built the electrical system was 220 volt 50 cycle for shore power. Shore power was plugged in in the pilot house (open the window and run the cable through) and this would then go to a 200 Volt to 24 volt charger to charge the 24 volt house bank. There also was a small 220 volt to 12 volt charger to charge the 12 volt starting battery (one only)
Under motor power there is an engine mounted 12 volt alternator and a 24 volt lternator to charge batteries. There was also a single cylinder Onan generator which could charge the 24 volt bank when the main engine was not running. (no provision to charge 12 volt batteries with the Onan.)
We already had installed a transformer in Florida to use 115 volt shore power and convert that to 220 volt in order to use the 24 volt charger. This worked for our trip up river but was really a stop gap measure to get around a problem.
Since the most common type of power in the USA is 115 volt, we needed to get things set up for that situation.
With John Barry and his helper Andy and myself we attempted and traced a good number of wires from the old control panels and tagged all the wires prior to utting them off and removing the panel in the pilot house and in the main saloon. In the meantime we’re also gutting the interior of the boat and removing anything that is loose and can be worked on at home, tables bench cushions, floor boards, lamps etc etc.
We then removed the old charger a large portion of old French wiring (all of which was non tinned). John also told me that there would no problem in putting a 115 Volt back end on the Onan generator. It later turned out that he was dead wrong and that for one the generator is no longer in production, parts are difficult to find and a back end for 115 Volt would be as expansive as a complete new gen set. The goal was to have a more conventional system (which we achieved) but also have some flexibility for redundancy in the event that something goes wrong. I think that we have achieved that goal and we are in actuality very close to completion once some snags have been worked out (next Friday the 14 th according to Barry Electronics)
The way we set things up is that we can take 115 Volt shore power, 220 volt shore power (mainly for possible European cruising) use our diesel generator or our main engine to charge all the batteries. We also have 115 volt capability in the boat by virtue of having an inverter to take 24 volt and providing 115 volt.
The original set up also had a 24 volt to 12 volt converter which ran several of the navigation instruments and the stereo system in addition to which the VHF radio had its own 24 volt to 12 volt converter.
Our greatest large expenditure in this whole revamp involved the purchase of a new 5KW 115 volt Westerbeke 3 cylinder diesel generator which replaces the old Onan and actually gives us more room in the engineroom since it is mounted length wise rather than atwhard (sp?) ship. This gives us more room on all sides for maintenance as well as providing better access to the main engine.
The system set up is such that you can select gen set, 115 volt, 220 volt or off in the pilot house. If 220 volt shore power is available and is selected the power will go to a 220 volt to 115 volt transformer powering a 12 volt charger, 24 volt charger and inverter.
If 115 volt is selected the transformer is by passed and power will go to 12 volt & 24 volt chargers and to the inverter.
If the generator is selected power will also go to the 12 volt charger, 24 volt charger and inverter.
If the main engine is run power goes to the batteries direct. The inverter can still be used to provide 115 volt is needed.
The boat has also been rewired to provide 115 volt or 24 volt in all the staterooms, heads and galley. Those Navigation instruments that can utilize 24 volt rather than 12 volt have been rewired to take 24 volts instead. The 24 to 12 volt converter is installed in the engine room and now has a bypass switch and is normally not used. 12 volt power is directly taken off the 12 volt batteries and if the converter needs to be used it can take 24 volt and convert to 12 volt. Our future stereo system, VCR and TV will all use 115 volt rather than 12 volt which is fairly common on boats for those systems.
A lot of this equipment is new and needed to be mounted as well and also isolated from any hull surfaces so that electrolytic action can be avoided. Not surprisingly there were grounds installed by previous owners that now have been removed and there should not be any electrical current being able to pass to the hull (once I isolate the water heater and the hydraulic pump.
Lets see what else was done to make things a bit more challenging.
The single 12 volt battery was removed and the two 12 volt batteries that the previous owner used for his vacuum cleaner were moved to the port side (to be more accessable) and also to make room for the water heater. Yes we will have hot water for sinks & showers what a luxury that will be. We also installed a large holding tank under the aft state room berth. Jane spent countless hours stripping the leather settees which are now light gray rather than rectal brown and we spent countless ours and thousands of staples to put it all back together in addition to which we had to redo about 900 upholstery buttons and tie them off to a point where we had no flesh left on our fingers. We reinforced all the sole floor boards, repaired them sanded them and varnished them. We varnished the complete inside of the boat. We replaced all the glass in the pilot house and are now replacing all the glass in the hatches. What a difference that is going to make. Lots of light and brightness. We had to remove the chart table in the pilot house to get the starboard windows out and found that they had run the radar cable through the chart table. That made the table difficult to remove. We cut the cable and later soldered a new connector on and found that it had not been properly grounded with the shield to the chassis. Boy does that now work well.
Our good friend Russ Schert made us some nice cock pit gratings to replace a couple of pieces of shitty gray plywood in the aft cockpit. It looks sharp. He also made us some replacement doors for the main saloon where the previous owner had cut a large hole in two of the doors to mount speakers. The speakers were so large that the cabinet space behind it became useless. All I now have to do is make new shelves for those cabinets.
We also installed a propane sniffing system which is really the only 12 volt system that we have and it allows you to turn on a solenoid valve at the propane tank remotely. It will also sniff propane leaks and shut off the valve automatically.
The old propane system had hoses from the tank to copper tubing and from copper tubing to the stove using hose clamps. I am surprised that the system never leaked. It now has all screwed connections and is much safer than it has ever been.
There is more! We recovered some panels behind the saloon settees with new material and had the existing pictures reframed. What a nice accent that is now.
It seems that I must have forgotten a lot of things that were done over the winter and we are still not quite finished. We also installed a hot water system & heater. We now have hot water in forward head and as soon as I find the leak in the aft area we will also have hot water in the galley and in the aft head. This means we can take hot showers. Another luxury that we do not want to do without. Besides all the old Lexan windows in the pilot house that we replaced over the winter we are now also replacing Lexan in the remaining hatches as well. The four large ones and two small ones are done in the saloon. The large one in the aft stateroom is also done. We have enough Lexan to do the one on top of the pilot house and two more small ones aft. There will then be six large ones left to be done.
Jane varnished the forward and aft heads over this past week end. What a difference that makes and how nice it will look when the cabinet doors are all back on and the gratings are back in. I reinstalled some of the woodwork this week end, pulled the antenna cable for the weather fax and drilled out and tapped some srews to remount some stuff. Cold and rainy and foggy this week end and kind of bouncy at our mooring. We really got good and wet going back in the dinghy as the inner harbor real choppy. We also met up with our friend John Sabo and his ketch “Entity” He also worked on his boat this winter and we saw each other from time to time as he was also at Gatti Marine. He did a fair amount of work as well but has been at it for some years and therefore does no have to catch up to a lot of things like we have to. In talking to John he mentioned that he may also sail up to the Channel Islands at approximately the same time that we are next month. We’re certainly looking forward to that trip. We do not know at the moment where we will meet up with Micky as it depends a bit on what the situation with her Dad will be. We’ll have to see how Wendell’s health improves over the next couple of weeks.
The vacation date of July 3 rd finally arrived. We went to the Marina and brought the boat to the wall to load up all the supplies. Stayed on the wall and left the 4 th fairly early in the morning. We motored out of the harbor and put up the sails. Towards sunset we had barely made it to Milwaukee and since the wind had totally disappeared we started the engine and motored all night and most of the next day. The lake was absolutely flat with not a ripple to be seen anywhere. Visibility that night was virtually unlimited and we could see many of the cities along the lakefront in IL and WI setting off their fireworks. Jane and I did 3 hours on and 3 hours off watches. The autopilot did most of the steering. Our course took us somewhat North East and in the morning we could see the Michigan shore and the dunes which run all along the Lake Michigan shore line of Michigan. Very pretty. It was chilly and during the night we certainly needed foul weather gear and gloves to keep the chill off. We did put the sails up on several occasions but generally id not have enough wind or had it out of the wrong quarter to really do any extensive sailing and motored most of the day to reach Portage Lake, MI where we anchored overnight. Nice area and we had plenty of sight seers to come and look at the Satori.
Folowing day we departed around 8 am and motored out of the lake and back into Lake Michigan and attempted to sail to Charlevoix where we intended to be next and where they have a travel lift that could haul us out so that we could check ourcenterboard which had a cable that was stuck and prevented us from lowering or raising it. It turned out to be stuck in the up position. One of the zinks on the center board was just about to fall off and was remounted properly at this time.
Our friend Chuck and Joan Werth also have some friends there who they werre visiting over this week end and they had told us that they may be able to find us a place to tie up. WE got there approximately at 6.30 PM and motored into the channel and under the bridge which leads into Round Lake where all transient boats typically anchor. It is a very pretty area and there are some marvelous houses around the Lake. It was evident to us that we rally could not anchor in that are as with the multitude of boats we would have precious little swinging oom. We opted to continue on into Lake Charlevoix and find an anchorage there. We called the Coast Guard to see if they had any recommended area’s or any restricted area’s. They first advised that we should anchor in Round Lake and we responded that there was insufficient room there.
We then proceeded further through the channel and found an anchorage off the beach which we fould not suitable. We then anchored in frton of Irish boat works for the night. Slept rather listlessly as anchorage a bit rough due to strong North winds.
Next morning took the dinghy in to make arrangements for the haul out. they said they would have no problem hauling us out. We told them that we would have a problem getting into the haul out dock. they said they would send the work boat out to help us. Well, we made it in to the 2 nd turn when the work boat personnel thought we had it under control and they attempted to go away at which time we told them that we were out of control as we had no speed and no steering as a result. They came back and assisted us. We were turned around manually in front of the haul out dock and only had inches to spare.
The haul out and work took up most of the day and since there were some big stroms brewing we decided to stay in the haul out dock overnight. That worked out well and ther was no extra charge for that.
Next day we departed and got stuck in Lake Charlevoix until the bridegetender had to let the ferry boat through and we went through right behind them. The bridgetender does not have a radio nor does he answer to telephone. The bridge is supposedly opening on predetermined times and he can’t even get those right.
Now it is April 14 th 1997 and there is a big gap between the last sentence and the start of this one and a whole bunch of stuff has happened since then. Last october or November we tried to get the house ready to put it on the market and we did I bleive in early December. WE did not have much hope as ther are literally hudreds of houses for sale in this area, presumably due to the lake renewal efforts that seem to be on everyone’s mind and that will add a couple of bucks to the already steep real estated taxes. We had a couple of lokers but no offers also because we priced the house actually higher than the appraised value. In March of 1997 we got an offer and even though contingent on the other people selling their condo, it seemed that there could be some light at the end of the tunnel and a house sale appeared to be possible. Well, it happened and the people owning the condo sold it and we have a closing on 3705 Greeenwood on May 15, 1997. We have been cleaning years of accumulated stuff for some time an we are now making quite a bit of progress and seem to be getting down to the last stuff. Jane sorted through thousands of old records and files and reduced Power Plant Accesssories to a total of 15 boxes of records. We have also been selling off furniture, giving some to the kids and some to friends and I have been trying to get rid of accumulate garage junk as well.
Over the week end we looked at a temporary place for the office and found a bit of a dive on Dorr Road that we will be renting for 6 months to start on May 1, 1997. We’ll be putting a bed and some furniture in there as well as the office and telephones etc etc.
We also hope to have the boat in the water which will essentially become our primary residence. We really feel very fortunate to sell the house which we thought would take a whole lot longer than this.
What a pleasant surprise.
Boat is scheduled to go in the water on the 20 th and I am not even close to being ready. Still working on reaming out the sterntube for the new cutlass bearing and then we try and fit the flexible connection, trust bearing etc and see if all that fits up. still have to finish polishing the hull, do bottom paint, epoxy the water tanks and do a variety of other little things that all seem to take inordinate amounts of time. Jane has been busting her chops for the past month in memorizinf the remainder of the ham test BS and will take final written stuff tonight. I hope and pray that she passes as she will be very discourage if she does not and will probably never go back to it again since a lot of it is just unadulterated BS that is totally meaningless for the operation of a ham radio. We are under the impression that with this skill we could meet some interesting people at some future date and we are looking forward to that eventuality.
Jane also completed a marvelous sewing project and we now have aft cockpit cushions that will certainly keep my ass from getting sore.
I am planning to change the sunshade that we have over the aft cock pit so that in real windy situations or rainy situation we can be a bit more comfortable back there and still be outside.
The Monitor self steering vane came in and has been mounted on the stern. A few other things as a result need to be revised but that project is close as well. Our good friend Carter Steward helped with that and it took us a day to do it in cold weather but it certainly will be a great help when we are in open waters and hopefully on the Lakes as well this summer. There are so many other little things that we are doing and they are too much to describe. some of them are actually just maintenance and some of them are actually potential problems that I am finding in performing some maintenance of things that Kees perpetrated on us and possibly without him knowing as I don’t think that he really had a good feel or knowledge about how certain things should be done. I really think that if he saw this vessel now he would really be surprised.
April 15, 1997
Jane passed her advanced and extra radio exam last night. That’s quite an accomplishment and I am not sure I could remember and retain all the **** that she remembered.
November 10, 1997
I simply can’t believe that I have written nothing since April as so many things have transpired since then . The Satori is now in Virginia on the dry with the masts unstepped and Jane and I are back in IL working on Power Plant Accessories, Inc. Quite a few things have been written down in our ships log and hopefully we can remember this summer. Would you believe that we left Great Lakes Marina on June 21 st to travel out of the Great Lakes to take the Satori to Maine and further South in anticipation of going way South . (for retirement)