Lori Bell is still afloat. As are plans and dreams.

Irma has long since gone.    The Bell came thru with not even a scratch so I call that another win.


Marina Notes

During the hurricane someone broke into the ships store and stole some merchandise and the boaters lounge and stole some beer.    Just goes to show that people stink.

In unrelated news I have not heard from our diver since Irma,  strange he has been cleaning our boats since we had the Knot A Clew.   Looks like this week I will be looking into a new diver.

I plan on moving the boat to a non tidal restricted marina this year.  I want to start day sailing again and since we are now paying $9 a foot the $30 for the ability to use it on a whim seems worth it.     Now that we have 3 dogs overnights are pretty much out of the question for some time in the future so restricted sailing times is no longer really an option.





Irma Prep


Stripped down and ready as can be.

I spent Friday afternoon prepping the Lori Bell for the latest storm.

  • Cleaned out the bilge, ensuring the auto pump was working well.
  • Checked the batteries are fully charged
  • Stored the solar panel below.
  • Stored the tiller cover below.
  • Removed the grill.
  • Removed the Bimini and frame.
  • Installed longer 8′ fender boards
  • Installed double dock lines.

With the help of the marina staff we placed our spare fortress anchor in the mangroves to port of the boat and set up a bridle on the road to keep the boat from pounding into the dock during and winds from the west.  You can see the anchor line in the above photo.

It looks like we will miss the bad bits of the storm but at this point only time will tell.  Here is to hoping..





Negligence in Updating

Ok, so I need to update the blog.

We actually have been out to the boat a few times since the last posting here.  I reinstalled the Starboard aft cleat with G10 backer and now it is probably the strongest part of the boat.

Also managed to pull the head off the motor.




Headless A4

There is still a blockage,  I will need to reinstall the head and pull the side plate from the motor.  My thought input fitting is somehow fouled or hose is blocked.  It is all very strange as the passages in the block are some of the largest in the motor.

Aunt Catfish

Ever once in a long while you find a dining experience that makes you very happy.   Maybe it was because we had been cooking on the boat for a day or so and were hungry but this place is great.   It always has a long wait but you can call ahead.  Now we have a place to eat near the boat with an outstanding Sunday brunch.


We have been spending a lot of our time at the boat actually on the beach,  2 blocks away, quiet and so nice.


Air Conditioning and Shore Power

Working to set up the portable unit that came with the boat.   I drug out our shore power cord and attempted to hook onto shore power since 2015 and for the first time in our current marina.    Turns out our finger has only one 30amp plug and one 50amp.  The 30amp is hooked to the neighbors boat so I needed to order a 50amp adapter to hook up.    It will be good to have AC inside the boat to cool things off and work on the motor.

Battery Concerns

Last visit out our batteries were floating at 12.2volt.  This is low as they usually sit at 12.6 or and I suspect we are finally loosing our batteries to age.  As these are the ones that came with the boat and were old when we got it I am not to concerned.  Batteries only last 5 years so Walmart or Batteries Plus replacements may be just around the corner.

Future Plans

Once I get the AC running the engine is first order, followed by the bow roller and anchor setup.    Once the ground tackle is sorted we plan on going sailing.

Down the list is

  • new lifelines (rope)
  • fix stanchion on port side
  • fix broken weld on bow pulpit
  • possible manual anchor windlass
  • go up the mast and replace the blown off VHF whip.
  • manual foot pump in head to wash hands
  • new fabric bimini top




Last weekend, cooling it..

WP_20170325_17_49_24_ProLast weekend out at the boat started like many now do.  We drove out to the park and played with Elizabeth and the pups for a few hours.

We spent the night aboard and awoke to a light breakfast and a beautiful morning.


Fixing leaks

The first task for the day was fixing a leak that have always been there but on the back burner and one of the cleats that is loose and suffered a bit of hurricane damage.

First was to replace some bolts on the loose base the stern rail.  Involved the joy of climbing down into the sail locker with an angle grinder to cut off the bolt.


A tight fit getting in but surprisingly roomy once below.

I did not really consider the heat grinding two stainless bolts off would generate. I did have safety glasses and a cotton shirt but bits of metal went flying everyplace.


Here be bolts.

On piece  of metal bounced off the bulkhead onto my arm, burning through my shirt and leaving a blister.  Fun.


My old Bellsouth work shirt, crispy.

Once done I was able to move the stern rail out of the way and check things out.



You can not tell in the above photo but there were actually two extra holes in the deck under the base, with no bolts, that allowed excess water ingress.

I also removed the port aft cleat and made up a backing plate of G10 as it has become loose over time.

With everything removed I then filled all the holes with Marine Epoxy and since we had to wait for it to set up (six hours) will have to finish this project on the next visit.


We also took the opportunity to fill a large number of small holes that had been drilled in the companionway hatch over the years..

Engine Woes!

As I had finished working in the cockpit and needed to work on the motor below we suited up Lizzy in her vest and let her roam about topside.


“This is cool dad”


She was loving it.



And we were visited by pelicans.



Soooo cute.

As the ladies enjoyed the open air I pulled replaced the cooling pump on the heat exchanger and discovered that the water jacket on out rebuild A4 has basically collapsed.    I will have to remove the head and clean everything out to get her running again.  Financially, not a big deal, time wise, costly.

I discuss it in the following thread with some experts on the matter.

Moyer Marine Thread about our bad cooling.


This weekend is the Lipton Cup Regatta sponsored by the New Smyrna Yacht Club.

We are not members but it looks fun.

Lipton Cup Regatta

Our goal for next year would be to enter the regatta and sail the route.  Finishing.

This will require a some trips out to train on the course,  but it would be a good annual activity to do as a family.



Parks, pup, toddlers and a Tillerpilot

Saturday  found us traveling to the Ponce Inlet park enjoying a nice afternoon.  On the way Elizabeth dozed off in her car seat so we pulled into a beach access point that gave us a good view.   As we watched a wedding party was rapping up a photo shoot and leaving.

Lizzy started to come to so we proceeded on to the park and as we were enjoying the amusements we saw the same wedding party park near our car and walked past us on their way to a local restaurant.  We told them congratulations and they said it was a double wedding, mother and daughter were both brides.   Sorry no photos.

After the park we checked in at Boondocks, Saturday night so we waited the required hour in the lounge watching reruns on tv as the dogs stayed on the boat.

Sunday  morning I had jiffy pop for breakfast because, well just because we could.  No worries we augmented Elizabeths diet with proper food.

Tiller Pilot

I really need to replace the cooling pump and change the oil on the motor but instead opted to wire up the tiller pilot.   Sure this makes no sense but for the fact I really wanted to install the pilot.

So down into the port side sail locker I went, first removing the old tiller pilots power plug and installing a the new.

I ran the wire and as I did took the opportunity to dress up the wire runs in the locker as well as rebed the loose stern pulpit base.  It turned out I could only remove one of  three bolt on the pulpit base due to corrosion.  After much sparing of penetrating lube I was still unable to remove the bolts.  We will have to bring the grinder on the next visit and cut the bolts off.

As I worked Lizzy was enjoying climbing up the companionway and checking on my progress.

Lori did get Elizabeth in her vest and she sat in the cockpit watching me work.  This included picking up random tools that I would silently pray she would not decide to pitch over the side.

As it is the only thing that fell off the boat this weekend was Abby the dog, she swam to shore and then promptly enjoyed a cold bath on the dock giving be Lori.

Back to the subject of the tiller pilot, sort of,  as I pulled the wire into the Navigation station I had to take apart drawer and access hatches we seldom access.   Under the quarter berth is the fresh water filter that had a hose part from the fitting.  I took the hose and trimmed it back a bit and on examination of the found it had literally rotted in half, causing the hose to come loose.  I replaced it and we now have pressurized water again. Win, we can wash our hands in the head.

So I wired the pilot up and it works,  now we have to do a sea trial and get it linked into the chart plotter.

Also this weekend I replaced the compass cover and installed some line holders in the cockpit.


Line holder and compass cover. The good thing is the shock cord on the line holder is replaceable.

We actually got a lot of things sorted this weekend and had a good time.

Hopefully I will get around to fixing the motor and sorting out the anchor next trip out.

New Year and a Old Boat.

Happy New Year!

We spent our holiday weekend on the coast.

Arriving late Friday night we got up early on New Years Eve and decided to take a little trip.


Checking out the neighborhood after our first overnight at the marina.

We had planned to stay the weekend at Marine Land, taking the Bell up it ICW but discovered the A4 was not cooling properly.   We opted to drive north in the car instead

First thing we did when we arrived in St Augustine is locate a good childrens park for Elizabeth.


7 foot ladder, no problem for Lizzy, scared the crap out of mom and dad.


7 foot slide, No problem.


Daddy for scale.


We love playgrounds but miss our puppies that can not go in.

After the playground the sun was going down so we headed over to down town St Augustine to see the lights.

We found a good parking place and walked around the old town.   Eating at the Florida Cracker we enjoyed the mad crowds.

We had called to get a slip in the Municipal Marina but it has been booked full for this weekend for a few months now.


City of lights. Pretty nice.

Elizabeth wanted to do the driving but we thought better of it.

After eating and walking around we returned to the boat at 10:30pm,  just in time to avoid the drunks out for new years and enjoy the sound of the breakers on the beach.  We never realized they could be heard from the boat.


Lori Bell at night.



In the morning after breakfast we reinstalled all the electronics I had pulled off the boat due to Matthew.   This also included permanently mounting the Epirb..



After spending the morning working on odds and ends on the boat we took Elizabeth to the local park.  It turned out she was exhausted from the day before and fell asleep before we got there,  we let her sleep and took the time to explore the area and check into alternative marina locations.   Lizzy slept for two hours and in that time we determined that our current marina best fits our needs,  others were too far inland, too run down or both.

Following good dinner at Boondocks we left the dogs on the boat and took Lizzy for a walk on the beach.  Wow,  so nice and very dark without that much of a moon.   Such a nice night.


Monday morning we troubleshot the cooling issues,  I think figured out the issue.    I believe the movement had bounced the electric coolant pump loose and it caused it to form a kink in the coolant line on the feed side of the pump.    This resulted in the pump ceasing to work and no antifreeze to flow thru the motor.

I ordered a new pump, hope that fixes the situation.

We also started the installation of the chart plotter, this involved drilling two holes in the boat.


Tiller pin


Another hole in the seat of the cockpit.


I then went to work cleaning sawdust off the starboard side of the boat.  This was caused by her rubbing up on the side of the piles during the storm.   I decided to measure some of the damage and get a feel to the extent of the storm surge from Matthew.


Sawdust from The piles, ground off by the rubber and stainless rail on the boat.

The rub rails on our boat are 36″ above the waterline.


You can see the discolored area on the left of this pile.


5′ 6″ above normal high water is what I measured at the top of the pile rub.

The measurement of 5’6″ above high means the the water was 2 feet over the top of the deck of the pier and only 2 feet from making our boat go over the top of the piling with the rub rail.  I would expect the boat would have been holed if this had happened.

Lessons learned is my fender boards were much too short.   Next time I will buy longer boards,  our 4 foot boards are fine for normal weather but can not cope with the range of motion involved with this type of storm.

We got lucky.



Just chilling in my fresh diaper.

The Ultra Firm 3″ foam we put into the new to us cushions is great to sleep on.   No more camping mattress and odd lumpy cushions.   I think we will be adding the same to the V-berth soon.

Checking up on the Bell

No pictures today.

Goo in the bilge
We got hit by hurricane Mathew, no damage but the inside was a mess. Working for a utility I was busy the month after and besides a stop by to check on things have not been to the marina until today as I am now on Vacation.. 😀

Today I spent 2 hours picking up the cabin, it appeared the boat had been lifted and shaken around like am xmas gift in the possession of a 2 year old. Books, stoves, anything not nailed down was strewn about.

Checked the oil (going to change it pretty soon) and it looked good, at the full mark, checked the coolant in the exchange and it was at a the correct level.

Decided to check the auto bilge pump before firing up the motor. It worked but there appears to be a thick black goo on the top of the bilge water (the boat makes fresh water when it rains).

I am worried it is oil but am not sure, it could be sludge growth in the fresh water.  I may just have to get the shop vac and skim the top off to avoid making a mess in the marina.

New Cushions

Pulled off the excess old cushions today and put in the new ones.  Wow, what an improvement.  They work perfectly.  Boat looks a lot less cluttered.

Galley Clean out.

Before Elizabeth joined us we spent a lot of weekends working on the boat.  Now we hardly get out to it.  I hope this trend reverses but it may not for a few year.   As it is we had a lot of food stuffs in the galley that had spoiled.    I cleaned everything out today,  you can actually access the useless Icebox (pretty nice) and there is a semblance of order.

Next up

  • Oil Change
  • cooling anode change
  • clean head- check for function
  • reinstall electronics
  • install tiller pilot
  • install sails
  • Take trip to St Augustine after xmas.


Survival, luck and prep pay off.

Last week we had Matthew blow up the coast of Florida.   It seemed to bounce off the Cape  a little and loose some speed due to eye wall replacement just as it hit Ponce inlet.  We were lucky.    By Friday afternoon we here in central Florida were clear of the storm.

I work for a utility so have been working since  2pm Friday as long as we have daylight.  Towing a generator out to a site in Daytona beach Sunday I was able to take 10 minutes and stop by the boat.


Worlds most famous beach. No power.

The Marina office took a bit of damage.


If you look you can see the roof and soffit were ripped open like a can. Our mast is the one to the right.

The Lori Bell came out unharmed.   We lost one fender to the storm and had some sawdust on deck from the boat rubbing on the dock piles but otherwise she was fine.

Our northern neighbor lost his mast.


No mast and some floating debris.


If you you can see some mast damage on other boats.

I went below to check things out.   Our batteries were sitting at 12.18v which is roughly 60% discharged according to table.  However the volt meter is at the switch and not on the individual cells so this may be less than accurate.   I suspect due to the differing age of all the cells in the bank on is failing and dragging the rest down.  I do intend to replace all 3 cells when it does go so their ages match.

The cabin was a mess.    It appeared as if someone had taking the boat  and shook it like a tambourine.   Gear was scattered  all about the cabin.   I took the time to clear the base of the companionway ladder and put the solar panel back out on deck.  The batteries bounced up to 12.8 volts immediately so I know the panel still works.

Whats Next

We really need to spend some time cleaning up the boat and doing some maintenance.  She needs an oil change and I need to install the tiller pilot and new traveling and vang.

Maybe we can get her ship shape and take a trip to St Augustine and Jax before years end.

Well, my break is over.  Time to get back to work.

Another storm, does not look like a miss.

Instead of spending the weekend prepping to take a vacation trip on the boat it looks like I will be hauling generators for the phone company.

Went out to the boat yesterday and got every loose item stowed.


I just crammed the jib in the V

I have a feeling the boat is in a bad way.


Here is my before picture.



Last look at Lori Bell.

This could hurt.

Time and Tide wait for No Man

Going Outside

Last Saturday night we went to the boat late.  In part hoping it would be cooler and also to allow us to leave in the morning with the tide.

When we booked our slip at this marina they made it clear that the channel was shallow.  With a 3 foot tidal swing we would have to enter and exit our slip at the top half of the tide.   This last weekend we discovered it to be the top quarter or just the top of the tide actually.

On rising early Sunday we had a light breakfast and cast off.  It was about 8:20am as we motored out of the marina. We noted a low of 5.1 feet on the sounder on our way out.

We proceeded south on the Halifax river with the outgoing tide,  with the engine just above idle we were making a good 4 to 5 knots thanks to the current.

Going out the inlet from the north was a bit unremarkable except at one point we saw only 7 feet under the keel near the before entering the main channel.  This I noted because on returning if the tide was lower we would have to exit south and enter the ICW south of the cut, adding a mile or two to the trip.

What to do with a sick dog.

This is the point at which my plan for a nice trip started to go not so nice.   As we exited the inlet the seas got confused.   Pretty standard as the outgoing tide and river meat the onshore swell.   Think washing machine chop and a bit of swell tossed in for kicks.

Lori did not enjoy the motion but baby Elizabeth seemed ok.

Poor Lucky dog started to get sick all over the cabin.   Fellow just could not handle the motion.   Lori had to keep Elizabeth out of it and clean up the mess as the boat bobbed and rolled out past the jetty.    Once past the sea bouy thing smoothed to a gentle swell.   We sailed around a bit and took some photos.

Unlucky for us the poor dog continued to get sick,  we decided to head in.


I had initially planned to stay outside for a few hours, but with the illness and basic unpleasant feeling below we arrived at the marina in at low tide. 12:30 or so.  As we had to wait to enter we motored around a bit and then tossed out the anchor.   At about 3 pm we tried to get in, being the tide was incoming and mid way.  No go, we ran aground on a bar and after attempting to plow thru the mud got hung up.   Lucky for us a fellow boater helped pull us off.    We then proceeded to motor south against the tide, waiting until 6 pm to get into the marina.   Not optimal.    Looking at it in hindsight we should have dropped  down river and ate at one of the local restaurants to wait out the tide.  As it was it turned out to be a very long and hot day.

We need to think on this Marina thing in the long term, it is ok for the next year or two but in the future, not so sure.

Future Plans

I have been tossing about the idea of getting my Six Pack Nearshore license with a Sail Endorsement.

This would allow me to hire myself and the boat out for Sailing charters.  Not as lucrative as fishing charters but it may allow me to make some cash after retirement.   Of course I would need to get 320 more days sailing in with 90 of them being Nearshore  (outside the 2 mile mark) in the 3 years before applying for the license.     The doing the math that is 2 trips on the boat a month for the next six years.  Note the timer on the sidebar.  At that point we plan to take a year or two and sail off to parts north and south.  This should allow me to get my numbers, I can then take the classes required and be good to go.

This of course is only one of our plans,  another may be for Lori to get a DODs teaching job overseas and us doing that, maybe she could get Cuba and I can bring the boat.