Watermaker Waiting: Life Aboard

Russ and his slicked back straight with spray cut. wow

Russ and his new slicked back straight haircut. Movie star style!  Great cut but we prefer his natural wave

Warning: this grew quite long as I remembered everything we’ve been working on; but fear not, this isn’t everything!

Looking back to mid 2010 when our summer consisted of intense preparing-for-cruising activities, our time so far with Twin Sisters is similar. One noticeable difference is that rather than waiting until the following summer, we are tackling that watermaker install much sooner thanks to heading to the Bahamas rather than hanging out in the Keys.

We’d hoped to have minimal time between finishing the solar and the arrival of the Spectra watermaker, but as that large box is only now zooming across the country we’ve had oodles of time to tackle a myriad of smaller to-dos. We break up the daily routine with a weekly Enterprise rental car for a day, or use über for a quick outing. über is a godsend for nomads like us and hasn’t failed us yet.

The second solar panel was a breeze compared to the first. But uh oh, the T-top canvas needs to be cut where it attaches to the frame because now we’d added the brackets for the rails upon which the solar panels sit. Oh and what about that abrasion tear in the bimini top and while we’re at it the flybridge helm cover should be reinforced at the grommet where the pole holds it up from underneath.

Minutes after Russ is checking for local canvas places- gee you think they might abound near the Yachting Capital? We spot a van in the parking lot. Showed what we needed, received quote the next day and on Dec 24 our improved canvas got delivered right to the boat. Excellent work at a fair price; pickup and delivery on time. What’s not to love?

Please, take our canvas!

Take our canvas please!


Panels on T-top, canvas back on

Solar Panels on T-top, canvas back on, but this doesn’t show any of the canvas work

Projects involve tools and such; Russ has a crap house full, but less than on Annie or Ms Ortolan due to space limitations. Being able to order what we need is another life-saver as hardly a day goes by when the office doesn’t see one of us stopping in. Oh, and another thing I like about this place; they recycle!! Single stream, two large covered barrels by each pier for glass, plastic, paperboard, etc.

New papertowel holder- heavy twine, 1"pvc tube with end caps

New paper towel holder- heavy twine, 1″pvc tube with end caps

We do the rental car thing from 2pm to 2pm, to balance out driving over two days. Another lifesaver is having Google Maps; I can’t picture trying to locate the place and drive to it with just a street map. The poor navigator (me) would surely end up with bent neck syndrome not to mention despair paralysis at constantly getting lost!

During one outing we observed a blimp, ya no big deal, but then hey it’s the Goodyear blimp, and oh looks like it might be landing. Well gee, as we approached a small airfield, yes it indeed was coming down, very slowly.

Preparing to land- take on fuel?

Preparing to land- perhaps take on fuel?

We were heading to Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines, on Pines Blvd (in case you find yourself nearby) a place we’d stopped at last Feb on our drive from Florida City to meet up with friends for dinner in Ft Lauderdale. Since I have gotten this Donut Diva rep why not continue to seek out the best and work my way through Buzz Feed’s list that my dear sis turned me on to. We recalled Mojo as creative and good, but not fantastic. This visit would take place mid-morning the Monday before Christmas and certainly they’d be well stocked. Oh baby, were they ever. These aren’t simply donuts, they are dazzling creations that you could easily share (but why do that?) and/or gobble for dessert.

Mojo Donuts- Very Berry Cheesecake, Holy Cannoli

Mojo Donuts- Very Berry Cheesecake, Holy Cannoli. Yes, we do deserve a donut!

The Fresh Market stop proved rather dull but we did make our Christmas Eve and Day dinner purchases at the meat counter. The experience just isn’t the same in a store where the usual welcoming flowers and seasonal displays are not out front. We have encountered this in higher crime areas. Not necessarily high crime, but bad enough for the stores to be naked out front. Unfortunately, the crew inside isn’t on par with the nicer stores either.

We interrupt this post so I can assist with a 15 minute project. You didn’t set your timers I hope. Four hours later I am back. The 15 minute deal took a solid hour and that’s not counting waiting for the silicone to dry; then we ate a quick lunch, installed a nifty water tank monitor in our 80 gal aluminum water tank and the display gauge in the bathroom. Our  water tank has no monitor but it does have an access port-hole at the top for a visual check into the darkness. Can you believe that we might want a good tank monitor? 🙂 We chose a US-Made Wema stainless steel fluid sensor with an easy-to-read analog gauge.

PDQ wisely had run wiring for a tank gauge back in 2006, which made the hook-up easy. The water tank is essentially behind the medicine cabinet so placing the display there made sense and the install went smoothly.

In she goes

In she goes


Easy read gauge with medicine cabinet removed to access behind

Easy read gauge with medicine cabinet removed to gain access behind the wall

That’s a good example of how most of our days play out.

Many projects makes us messy

Many projects makes us messy

So, where’s the fun and games you wonder? Soon… she states optimistically. Work hard, then we play hard in the islands mon. If we have a long wait to cross once we are ready, it’s gonna be brutal. I define long wait as more than a couple of days but chances are it will be longer.
I like being at the bulkhead end; we see a few people that way and get to chat with our dock neighbors. The marina overall is quiet and while people have dogs, the only ones who bark incessantly are ones in a condo next to the marina. Laundry is reasonably priced at $1.75 to wash and $1.50 to dry. The machines are large and the dry time is one hour so you get your money’s worth.

Almost forgot- the dreaded oil changing! Both engines and the genset. Our first time on Twins; preparations made, tools, new oil and filters assembled. Her prior owner had a nifty gadget that pumps out the oil and holds it in a bucket until you pour it back into the empty Rotella-T jugs. The marina took the old oil off our hands for free (we think).

12volt pump did a great job

12volt pump did a great job. The messy part is removing the old filter… reach waaay back in there

Christmas Day we lowered the dinghy (I think she needs a name- I don’t care for the word “dinghy”). Carefully now as razor-sharp mussels cover the concrete dock pilings and we had to bring her around between the stern and a piling. We got to check out everyone’s back yard and confirm that yes indeed we had plenty of wind protection at our slip.

Christmas Day dinghy tour about

Christmas Day dinghy tour about- lots of lounging green iguanas

One other biggie that Russ felt we needed, especially in situations involving rocks or coral, was more anchor chain… because we sure need more weight aboard! The boat still had the original setup: 25ft of 5/16” G4 chain plus 150ft of 3-strand 9/16” nylon, marked at various intervals and in very good condition. No surprise; power boats live at docks a lot.
Once again being near every conceivable boat equipment supplier times 10 worked very well. Our last chain purchase was US-made ACCO from Defender and we considered that again, but Russ is a determined researcher and found that Italian-made Maggi chain might be better all around: higher quality wire stock, better weld process and longer-lasting galvanization. All this for $3/ft including bringing Russ to the warehouse, selecting the correct chain and returning all to the boat. Sweet. The owner of Chains and Anchors, Inc not only is the sole importer/distributor of Maggi chain but he’s located in Dania, right next to Hollywood. We want Twin Sisters to be as cosmopolitan as possible you know.

90 ft of Maggi chain- delivered

Our bucket list: 90 ft of Maggi chain- delivered. Add line after the chain and we’d be better than new.

Alright, now we have new chain, what do we do with it? First, detach old chain from anchor, making sure your anchor is secure so it doesn’t take a dive. Then you would cut the old line off the old chain and splice that line to the new chain. In our case, we had nearly 200 ft of 9/16” 3-strand line in near-perfect condition used once to batten down for Irene in 2011. We’d use the old chain and line with our backup Fortress anchor and splice the hurricane line to the Maggi chain. Thankfully Russ has more skill and patience than I, but I guess it’s me who is thankful. 🙂

Ok, lets get started

Ok, let’s get started

Splicing line to anchor chain

Splicing the line to anchor chain

Line marked with tape and chain in bucket, old chain and line in background

Line marked with tape, Maggi chain marked with small cable ties in bucket, old chain and line in background

We ran wiring for the watermaker and that was easy peasy. Think I will spare you those details when we get there.

Then there’s  what Russ thought was rotted wood under the hot water heater, but turns out it’s fiber-glassed foam board and oh I see those glazed eyes- it’s too much. But suffice to say all the hunching over in the small engine compartment messed up the Captain’s back for a few days.

plastic boards that Russ cut at Home Depot under the hot water htr

Plastic boards that Russ cut at Home Depot placed under the hot water heater to raise it up so water from our still slightly leaky rudder post could flow underneath

But other than that, no injuries, illnesses or conditions requiring medical assistance- not in a long time.

One thing for sure is we know Twins very well inside and out; especially the insides of the inside! We’ve got one more Enterprise rental booked for Mon/Tues-cost is around $35, the watermaker is due in Monday afternoon and that will consume days and days. All the remaining stuff we’ve ordered should arrive by Jan 8, including new foam for our stern and flybridge seat bottoms- we need another mini-project like we need a hole in the boat, but the old stuff is crumbling all over the place- yuck.

I’ve been polishing the million miles of stainless around the boat’s exterior- you don’t realize how much until you start to polish it.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2016 that doesn’t fly by as quickly as 2015 and is filled with Peace, Love and Joy.

See you in the Bahamas!

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