Driving down the ditch

I’ve been struggling for some time with how to tell this story. You see, back in November I hitched a ride with a long time friend to help him take his boat south. This was his first “Snow Bird” trip. Full of excitement and a sense of adventure ready to take the Intercoastal and the Dismal Swamp after reading the travel guides telling of interesting people and places.

So on November 12th we left Annapolis for Norfolk and south. We were two couples that had sailed together many times before. We all liked each other and knew what to expect. The captain and I had spent many many hours racing my boat and worked well together.

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Replacing our Refrigerator

When you buy a 20 year boat you know you will eventually replace everything. So the time has come to replace our refrigeration system. After searching the Internet, talking to other sailors and visiting the boat shows I decided on Isotherm’s unit. This system has an intelligent controller that reduces power when the ships voltage is low. I don’t really know if that’s important, but it sounds good. It seems to work on the theory that sooner or later you will charge the batteries and when the voltage rises the refrigeration system will kick into high gear. There is also a manual setting that turned out to be really handy.

Replacing a refrigeration system isn’t very hard. Ours came in three parts, the compressor unit, the holding plate and a control unit. You simply tear out the old unit and bolt in the new one. The connections between the compressor and holding plate keep the refrigeration fluid from leaking when you screw them together. You don’t need any special tools and you don’t have to mess with charging the system.

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Americas Cup 33

Larry Ellison wins the America’s Cup!

In an unusual 3 race “deed of gift” challenge BMW Oracle Racing representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club has won the America’s Cup 2 races to none. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day present for the United States. Despite Alinghi leading part of the first leg it was never close. The BMW Oracle giant winged machine proved to be faster. Much faster!

So the trophy was presented to Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing. After the presentation each campaign had a press conference, first Alinghi then BMW Oracle. The press asked stupid questions like, “Larry, when did you know you had won the America’s Cup?” The answer …, “When we crossed the finish line”. … daaaa! Anyone who has ever raced knows that anything can happen. When you are ahead you are afraid to breath, afraid to make a mistake, afraid something will break. Why do they send reporters that know nothing about the sport?

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That sinking feeling

Imagine! It’s late, you’re just getting ready for bed when the phone rings. You neighbor says, “your boat is sinking!” You better do something. But what? When you get to the dock you find your boat is full of water, but it’s tied to the dock and sitting on the bottom, it’s not going anywhere. It’s a real fine mess, but not in any danger. So you call around to borrow a pump when a friend recommends you try Boat US. Good idea, you have a contract with them. They come out, pump out the boat close a few sea cocks and hand you a bill … for $6000.

You see, your contract is only for towing … period. Only towing! Nothing else! Just towing! Anything else they do comes under the general heading of SALVAGE and the operator is free to make any deal they can. In fact anyone that might help can place a lien on your boat for an astronomical amount of money. Then you have to defend yourself. That’s the law!

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