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.. ūüėÄ

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.

Cushions, Baby, Fish Sandwich and Storms.

Interior Cushions

A few weeks ago I picked up a set of interior cushions through the Catalina 30 Owners Facebook group.

As they needed to be mailed the seller removed the foam and just sent the outer shells.¬†¬† We had to order new 3″ foam online.¬† This turned out to be a good thing as we were able to source a very firm 16+ year foam for a fraction of the local price from

It came vacuum packed (free shipping) and as soon as we opened it expanded 300%.  Sorry, forgot to photograph this.

I then placed the cushions for the Salon on the foam (inside out to keep from leaving sharpie marks) to plan our cuts.

One full sheet of foam pretty well did all the cushions for the salon.  I imagine it would take  1 sheet to do the vberth and another for the quarter birth.  At $125 a sheet the improvement on 30 year old foam is not to bad.  We will probably redo the vberth next.

We used a Electric kitchen knife with Pam on the blade to do the cuts,  very easy, like butter.

Here they are packed into the back of the Escape along with the new fender boards.




After running by the polling place and casting our votes we drove out to the marina and had dinner at Boondocks.

I really enjoyed their fish Rueben.


After dinner we dropped off the cushions at the Lori Bell and worked on getting her ready for the possibly approaching tropical storm.  The sun had just set.


After sunset from the cockpit.

We took the time in the dark to remove the main sail and stow it below.   I then wrapped the furling jib with the spare halyard to protect it from high winds.   We added some dock lines and also added a proper fender board where the boat touches the dock piling.

It was a late night but a least we are prepared for the coming storm.

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.








Trip to the Beach


Seaside Visiting

We took jaunt over to the coast for Elizabeth’s third swim lesson. ¬†Unfortunately when we arrived we found another child had vomited in the pool causing it to be closed for the lessons. ¬†Off we went to the beach instead.

As we had baby girl already in her swim suit we hopped over to the beach near the boat.  Pretty nice in that there are very few people compared to most other places on a Saturday.

After setting up our chairs we headed straight for the surf.  At first Lizzy was a bit apprehensive but she loosened eventually.    Splashing in the water and walking into about knee height.  This is good as she is getting use to the water.


Beach baby.. Note this is at NSB earlier in the week and not Wilbur…

Following an hour of playing in the water we retired to our chairs and baby girl fell asleep on moms lap.   A really nice day.

By 3pm we had enough sun and retired to the boater lounge at the Marina, ¬†I was able to watch Tora Tora Tora and play with Elizabeth in air conditioned comfort as Lori took her turn in the shower. ¬† ¬†This also was Elizabeth’s first time taking a bath at the marina and everything went smooth.

Once everyone was cleaned up we tried out “Boondocks” ¬†located at the marina. ¬† Outside dining but we were in the shade and had a very nice sea breeze.

We really enjoyed the meal and felt the value was good for the money.  Loved the pitcher of beverage they supplied as we were very thirsty.

Lori Bell

It was low tide as we finished dinner, Lori and baby went to the lounge as I paid a visit to the boat.

Having not moved her since our arrival at our new marina I thought it best to run the Atomic 4.   She cranked up with no problem and I took a few moment to adjust the idle up to 800 rpm as it was down around 500 rpm after I adjusted the linkage to fix the high idle.

I had not realize at first but now understand that there are two adjustment for the idle,  the screw end of the throttle cable and the stop screw on the carb itself.   I had the initially made the throttle cable too short causing a high idle, I then fiddled with the stop screw on the carb to no effect,  this I had set correctly in the garage but I had monkeyed with it since installing the motor on the boat and is what I fixed this weekend.

As the motor was idling I took the time to dig out our dingy anchor. ¬†I tied knots in the rode every foot or so and used it to sound the bottom at our dock. ¬† ¬† Our Garmin showed 3.5 feet under the boat. ¬†Since we draw 5’3″ I thought this troubling.

Dropping the anchor in over the side on the forward Starboard side  in line with the depth sounder I showed 3 feet and on the port side I showed 3.5 feet,  our depth sounder appears to be dead on.    This sounding I took just forward of the vberth bulkhead were I installed the sounder.    I then took a sounding in line with the deepest part of the keel,  it showed 4 feet with the anchor coming up with a soft black muck.    So at low tide our keel is in the muck,  no worries as it appears she is not careening over on the keel.

New boat stuff in the works

Had a good week as far as boat parts go.   We have some bungy line holder that we will be installing to tidy up the cockpit as well as the winch rebuild kit in hand.

Through my online lollygagging I have located a new Garhauer Traveler, Boom Vang , engine hatch board and a set on Newly redone interior cushions for the boat.  We are really looking forward to the hatch and cushions as this will take some of the salvage boat feel out of the salon, the Garhauer traveler and Vang will be great,  they were on the list but behind an Epirb and Tiller pilot.  I will just have to wait until later for those.

Beaches, leaks and stuff

No sailing this week although we did stop by the boat on a visit to the beach.


On visiting we found she has been leaking a bit of water from the overhead.  Having rebed the windows and hatches we now have a theory.   As she had sat for years not sailing the bedding around the cheek blocks, winches, clutches and other fittings had degraded but kept tight due to the fact there was no stress applied.     Now that she has sailed quite a number of hours in different wind conditions the bedding on said fittings has come loose under working loads and is allowing water entry.

We will have to start to rebed our deck fitting one at a time.  Eventually we will get her tight, so we hope.

Cockpit and Winches

On our last voyage we discovered the house top winch no longer functions.


Cabin top winch and halyard and sheet rope clutch. Blue line is the main sheet, white the halyard.

I have a tube of superlube and purchased a rebuild kit from Lewmar,  I am almost looking forward to working on it and putting it in good order.

I also purchased a few hangers for the lines left loose about the cockpit.

Ronstan Utility Line Hanger Р2-Pack  

I hope these work out.

Exploring Ponce

Saturday we took Elizabeth to her second swim lesson in Daytona.  It is more of a water familiarization course for her since she is so young.  We try to play with her and get her to not be afraid of being in the water.  The goal is for her to be able to float on her back by the fourth lesson.  I do not know if this is possible but that is the goal.   One thing I have found is she can be pretty amazingly at times so we may get there.
Near the end of her swimming lesson yesterday Lizzy was walking in chest deep water between Lori and myself and starting to blow bubbles.  We plan to arrive early next week as to get more time in the water.
After swim lessons we drove down the beach on RT1 looking for a place to eat lunch.  Ending up at Inlet Harbor restaurant.    Pretty nice with a view and dockage for your boat,  it appeared the docks were full but since we were in the car all was good.  Very good fish tacos.


After a late lunch we stopped by the marina to pay for the slip and had a good talk with the dock master.     There was a nice SE wind blowing and I opened up the Bell to let her air out a bit.   Even during the heat of the day it was very pleasant in the slip, unlike Titusville in that it most of the time there was a baking feel.

Lori and I grabbed some hats and sunglasses off the boat and loading Lizzy in the stroller walked over to the beach.

Wilbur-By-The-Sea is pretty nice as there are no hotels and few condo’s. ¬†Mostly homes with limited on street parking so the result is an empty beach. ¬† ¬†We camped in our chairs for about 2 hours, with Lizzy taking a nap wrapped in a blanket on Lori’s lap. ¬† What a sweet little girl.


A little girl takes a Boat trip.


Last Friday was a big day for Elizabeth.   She woke up just in time for mommy to feed her breakfast and get her dressed in a pretty outfit.  She liked the outfit because it was nice and thin and light.

After breakfast mom put the little girl in the car and took her for a long ride to the beach with her some of her friends.   She got to play and watch the waves roll in and had mom smear stinky sun screen on her.   She enjoyed the beach.

Following her big day at the beach mommy and Elizabeth went home, just in time to meet daddy getting off of work.   Mom, Dad and Elizabeth had dinner before Elizabeth got a bath to get all that sunscreen off.  She was happy not to be sticky anymore.

Little Lizzy watched as mom and dad started to pack bags and  some coolers.  She played with her puppies as they toted all the stuff out into the car.   Then Dad got in the Yellow car with the puppies and Lizzy went with mom in the silver one.  Everyone started driving.   The little girl fell asleep.


Next thing she remembered she was waking up by mommy and daddy talking .  Mom took the puppies out of the car and started to walk them and dad went up the dock to unlock the boat.  It was really dark out (1am).  Mom, dad, Lizzy and puppies all went  down into the boats cabin and fell asleep for the night.

Saturday morning Elizabeth woke up and saw daddy making a big cup of coffee.  After breakfast dad did some crazy stuff to the motor and Lizzy learned how the sliding cabinet in the Galley worked, mom kept her from all the neat stuff tho.  Pepper shakers are just like rattles.

Then there was a noise and the boat motor started. They started to drive away from the dock.  It was very interesting and she passed bridges she had never seen before.


Elizabeth first draw bridge.

As they sailed along Lizzy and the puppies enjoyed watching things go by.


Abby likes the bridge

After an hour or so they came to a second bridge but it was not up and the boat could not get thru,  dad called them on the microphone, Elizabeth realized there were a lot of buttons on it. Then a whistle blew and the bridge opened.


Lizzy’s first active¬†drawbridge.

Not long after the drawbridge the boat turned to the left or port as daddy says and the engine turned off.  Elizabeth was sailing .


Elizabeth sailing

While they were all sailing Lizzy saw Dolphins, Manatees and a lot of fisherman on the water.

They sailed for quite a long time and mom took the little girl down below for a nap and lunch.   The puppies went in and out and got used to the boat.  They explored up front and everywhere.


Lucky checking things out.


Hey, its getting dark and we still are sailing.

As it was getting dark mom and Elizabeth were in the cockpit with dad,¬† dad had just started the motor as mom steered the boat.¬† Dad went forward to take down the mainsail¬†¬†and¬†Lizzy’s big rattle (about 10″ tall) some how fell over the side of the boat.

Elizabeth cried as mom put her below and mom drove the boat in real slow circles as dad tried to get the rattle using a bucket.   After 10 minutes a nice fisherman came over and scooped it up with his net.  Dad said he needs a fishing net.

After getting her rattle back mom and dad parked the boat.  They said it was too late in the  day to get thru the next bridge.

Everyone went up the dock to have dinner.   Lizzy got some mashed potatoes and vegetables and her favorite cheerios as mom and dad had sirloin.  Following dinner it was to bed for the night.


When she woke up in the morning the little girl had breakfast with mom as dad drank some more coffee.   Rain was coming from the look of the clouds.  The boat motor started back up and they were off again.

This day there were a lot of clouds and Elizabeth started to walk around the cockpit.  She then notice her life jacket was clipped to a rope and that was clipped to a ring. Wait, had she been tied in this entire time?   It was fun because now she could stand up and look forward and see were they were going.  All the neat things going by.

They went under another bridge after dad called it on the radio.  And then Elizabeth was able to see a light house.


Ponce Inlet Light

Lizzy even figured out how to push buttons on the chart plotter and make it move around.  It was neat but not touch screen like mom and dads phones so not as fun.

It started to rain really hard so mom and the little girl went below with the puppies  and dad put on a nifty yellow jacket.   Before long they were at their new dock.


Lori Bells new home.

It is a nice place in the mangroves, so should be pretty safe from Hurricanes.

Mom and dad told the Lizzy  it was close to the beach.


Mom went and took a shower and Elizabeth got to help dad fill out the log books.


Loving it.


Really dad, you had these same books in the Navy? Your joking?

After dad took a shower everyone got into the Mustang and the entire family went home.  It was a fun weekend.


A Quick Fathers Day Visit


Always jump in¬†feet first…

Fathers Day has come and gone and we made a visit to the Lori Bell after a late lunch  at Cracker Barrel.

Things are changing around the marina, we discovered we now have a locking gate on our dock. I guess it is a sign of the times as we have been here years without, one good thing is it will keep the pups from running off even if they jump ship.


Security, pretty sturdy.


Our new main sheet and sail cover.


The only work besides dropping off ¬†the new alternator for the Abomb ¬†was to install a new main sheet. ¬†This was the last bit of running rigging left from when we purchased the boat and it was frayed and pretty much junk. ¬† I did go down to a 3/8″ from 7/16″ line as the old one was just too bulky. ¬†At 72’long it took of a lot of space, just a cumbersome hassle and the size of it made it roll thru the blocks poorly. ¬†Also a bonus is I found a 71′ line on clearance at that war the proper color and size.

Visible in the photo is our new sail cover.  I like how it has the boat name embroidered.


Moon rise over the marina.

As we had arrived late we stayed below enjoying a stiff breeze thru the cabin and let Elizabeth commit mayhem.  At one point she had retrieve a fry pan from the galley and was standing in it as to cook her feet.  Of course before the camera could be brought to bear she had moved on the better things.


Happy to be a Dad, thanks mom for taking our picture.


A very Good post.

A blog follower recently asked us to give some updated thoughts on our boat and outfitting choices. We have also been asked similar things by friends on Facebook and others who are thinking about sailing on a smaller than average boat. In ten months of full time cruising we have put over 3,000 nautical miles […]

via Boat Thoughts 10 Months Into¬†Cruising ‚ÄĒ

I wanted to share this as it is very informative and also so I can find it for future reference.