Labor Day Weekend. It’s traditionally a club cruise and this year Rose City went to Beacon Rock. It was going to be hot in Portland (around 100 degrees F) and it was going to be equally hot up the gorge. As a result, fewer boats made the trip up, but we still had an OK turnout for the potluck Sunday night. We started the cruise on Friday after work and made it as far as Schwitter’s Landing on Government Island.
Saturday we motored and sailed the rest of the way to Beacon Rock. We arrived around 3:00.
Everyone scrambled for phones to find out more info. As the afternoon and evening progressed, so did the fire. It just kept getting bigger. Eagle Creek, just down river from Cascade Locks, was burning away. It really took off during the night.
This is what we woke up to on Sunday morning. Do we leave or do we hike the rock? The rock won, mainly because there is now a trail that leads from the marina to Beacon Rock. No more walking along the highway hoping you don’t get hit.
New bridge to the trail.
The new trail. No cars whizzing by.
An interesting downed tree.
The view from Beacon Rock. Other than a couple of large motor boats, the dock is all Rose City boats. Smoke was everywhere, but it you could still see the layers.
Sunday afternoon we took a sail in the dinghy. A nice west wind blew most of the smoke away. This is looking back at Beacon Rock from the Columbia River.
In spite of the smoke, we had a good cruise – time to catch up with folks and get some sailing in. Now it’s back to project mode.
Our heroic efforts paid off. Gypsy did leave the dock. We had the sink installed, the refrigerator turned on and the auto pilot had been tested. We filled the water tanks and it was time to go. Now to load the boat.
Three carloads latter, food, cushions, clothes, guitars and books were loaded.
4:00 pm on Wednesday 7/26, its time to start the engine and cast off. We leave the dock and head out into the Columbia River. The first thing we do is steer the boat in three and a half circles so the auto pilot can calibrate itself. Then it is down river to St. Helens. Our destination for tonight.
The first obstacle in our way is the Vancouver Washington Railroad Bridge. It is just down river from the I-5 bridge and it is too low for us to clear. We need to have them open the bridge.
We now were west of the bridge and there were no more obstacles between us and the Pacific Ocean. So what do we do? The answer is we keep watch. There is a fair amount of freighter and barge traffic on the lower Columbia River and we want to stay clear of them. There are several ways to do this. The channel is the part of the river that big ships use. It is at least 43 feet deep. We can stay out of the channel in shallower water and that will keep us clear of most shipping. We also keep watch, noting when a barge or freighter is approaching. If there is any doubt we can call the ship on the VHF radio and ask where they are going.
We got to St. Helens, Oregon and tied up for the night at the docks on Sand Island. We were the only boat at the dock Wednesday night. Thursday morning we were up early since we had a long day heading down river. We wanted to get to Cathlamet, Washington where Rose City Yacht Club was having a potluck in the evening.
We made it to Cathlamet by early afternoon. We had time for showers and a trip to the grocery store before the potluck. We had a nice turnout of twenty some boats at the potluck. Friday morning we again were up early to catch the tide to Astoria.
We spent Friday and Saturday in Astoria. Saturday was the Astoria Open Studios, so we toured several artist’s studios. Astoria has an active arts scene. We also visited the Maritime Museum and the library. The library gave us a internet pass so we could check on weather and tides.
Sunday we left for Warrenton, since we had not been there before. The marina at Warrenton is set up for small fishing boats. Gypsy was way too long for her slip. They only let us stay for Sunday because the Buoy 10 fishing season was starting Tuesday and they were sold out.
Monday saw us underway again. We had wanted to go to Ilwaco, Washington. After our Warrenton experience we phoned ahead to Ilwaco to reserve a slip for Gypsy. They told us we had gotten the last slip they had. Needless to say, we spent two days in Ilwaco and the place was empty. That is too bad because it is a fun place to visit.
One of the benefits of going cruising is you have a hard time staying connected to the internet. Not knowing everything that is happening is not so bad. We were quite happy to not be following Donny Johnny’s every twitter. We were also not following the weather news too carefully. So Tuesday morning the weather radio keep mentioning smoke. We realized that all the haze we were seeing was smoke from forest fires.
We anchored behind Tongue Point to spend a couple more days at the relatively cool coast. 90 instead of 100 plus degrees. Not much wind but humid.
We pulled into Cathlamet Friday afternoon. As we were docking Gypsy a guy on the dock was asking us if we here for the boat show? Bill just thought he was a smart alec commenting on our paint job. Once Gypsy was tied up we found out that there was a boat show and Gypsy could be in it. It was the Wooden and Classic boat show. We decided it would be fun and we said yes (plus a deal on moorage for the weekend).
Sunday night we spent at Walker Island which is near Longview, Washington. Monday we sailed to Martin Slough. Just up river from Kelso we saw the river boat American Pride. They were waiting for their passengers to return form their excursions. Just like riverboats of yore, nosed up to the bank with the gang plank down.
Wednesday we continued our homeward sail. We decided to go down Multnomah Channel.
We tided up at Coon Island. We noticed that there were gates at the top to the ramp to the island. We discovered goats. They were quit tame and friendly.
Thursday we headed back to Portland.
We stopped at home Thursday night and headed back up river Friday to a club cruise at Government Island. We found lots of ripe blackberries and made a cobbler.
So, it’s been about six weeks since we last posted. They have been busy weeks, filled with projects that have many hurry up and wait steps. And then we went sailing, but more about that in a later post.
Cutting out the sink hole using our trusty 1950s saber saw.
The sink got plumbed after only one extra trip to Pacific Rubber for another hose. It’s always good to measure twice and cut once, but you do need to remember which side of the tape you need to cut on. Hey, it was only one inch too short. The faucet was installed and our cold water system was ready to use. With tea kettle assistance we also have hot water. The boat got cleaned up and project supplies went home. Car loads of provisions were loaded and we took off. Coming next: the great 19 day voyage that all of this made possible.
Temperatures this weekend got up to about 100 degrees F. Luckily, cabin fans got installed and we discovered that all that insulation we installed does actually help buffer the heat.
Another project, since it finally stopped raining, was to rebed the forward hatch. The tarp came off, wedges were made out of wood from the cherry tree from our old house, and Nina got to work coaxing it up. We originally bedded the hatch with Sikaflex and for some reason, did not get enough to get a solid seal. Probably trying to be neat. Don’t skimp on hatch caulk!
Once the hatch was loose, it took another hour or so to clean off all the residual caulk on the hatch and the hatch base. We rebedded the hatch with white butyl rubber and screwed it down. Over the next couple of hours and the next evening, we gradually tightened the screws and cleaned up the goosh out. It’s a slower process than working with Sikaflex, but the clean up is much easier. And we think there’s finally enough material in there now that the hatch will no longer leak when it rains or gets wet.
Meanwhile, Bill worked away on the fridge. He tested the fridge to see if it would get cold. He put a piece of left over foam on top and cranked down the temperature. It works! The flange finally had enough two-part white paint on it and was ready to install.
Bill also worked on running yet more wire and water hose. All the water hose is in place and just waiting for the galley countertop and sink to be installed.
Wow, it is June and we are finally posting an update. It has been a busy two months since our last post. Our goal was to take Gypsy out for the Memorial Day weekend cruise and we did. We had a working head, toilet and water, and a working stove. We spent three days aboard and it was great.
We wanted to get the galley counter top in which means getting the refrigerator installed. Last post we had built the flange. We used the flange to make the lid. The lid parts were glued up clamped to the flange with plastic between so they would not stick.
Then we glued the flange to the top of the refrigerator box.
Then we fit the top and flange to the box.
The top of the flange needs to be exactly the same as the underside of the counter top. We also had to figure out how to route the Freon tubes from the evaporator, which is installed in the refrigerator box, back to the compressor.
The tubes need to run through the pantry on the way to the compressor and so we wanted them up as high as possible and in a protective tube so they would not be damaged by the canned goods in the pantry. Carefully angled PVC pipe does the job. It will all get encased in foam when it is installed.
We realized that we would not get this done in time so while we have kept working on the lid and flange, it was not the priority. They got primed last weekend.
We also did more painting. It has to get done and Gypsy looks so much better in white than lime yellow. Nina worked on varnishing and got the galley drawers done.
Looks good! They also were helpful for storage on our cruise.
The head needed to get to a working point. Bill had to finish the ducting on our composting toilet. We had decided to build the ducts in for a more finished look.
Getting the connecting parts built and painted.
Almost done. One of the great points of our AirHead is that there is no plumbing involved so once the duct was in the toilet install took 30 minutes. The ducting works.
We did need water and it was going to be much easier to install and plumb the head sink than the galley. The counter top got covered in WilsonArt laminate, it is a ocher pattern called something like Tigris parchment.
We also made a shelf to fit in the vanity. Note the custom fiddle to protect the heater duct.
Now for cooking. We needed to install the stove and we also had to install the propane system. This was one of these we will figure out the details latter things. Well it was latter and Bill spend too many hours on it, but we now can cook.
We had the counter top plywood ready so it was slid into place for the weekend.
Nina also has been busy making the new cushions, Needless to say we have been busy evenings which helps to explain the lag in blogging.
The good part of using Gypsy is it really helps us to see how systems are working. It also gave Bill several new projects as we discovered some engine problems. Last weekend Gypsy had the engine aligned and the valves adjusted. Water and fuel leaks also have been dealt with. Fingers crossed and we are more ready for our next outing.
Yes, we did that and it has been a couple of weeks and I am still grumpy about losing an hour of sleep. I mean who would volunteer for jet lag and not get a vacation out of it? Despite my sleep deprivation things are moving again on Gypsy. The big news is it has finally warmed up a bit. We can use epoxy again. All the waiting projects are possible again. Of course before you can do you must plan and this is one way I do that.
The cutouts represent equipment that needs to get mounted on the port side bulkhead between the cockpit locker and the galley. The shapes represent the auto pilot computer, the refrigeration compressor and the drinking water filter. They not only need space, they also have to be accessible and serviceable and not interfere with other equipment.
Talking about interference, we had to relocate the circuit breaker that the alternator power feeds through. When we were fitting the galley sink we realized that the sink drain hose would not clear the circuit breaker and they would rub on each other. So we moved the circuit breaker up a bit.
The big project is the refrigerator box. We are building a refrigerator from scratch to fit the space we have and to be energy efficient. This needs to be done before the galley counter top can get installed.
You have seen earlier pictures of the foam getting installed. This is the Formica covered plywood panels being test fit. That is how big our fridge will be – about 3 cubic feet.
The panels are glued in with 3M 5200. It is adhesive caulk, once it sets it will never come apart. After putting the beads down we used a notched trowel to get a uniform coating.
The panels are all in. The foam is acting as clamps, cut a bit oversized and forced into place it will hold the panels tight until the 5200 cures. The blue tape is to help to contain the extra caulk. Nina got the job of trying to smooth the caulk beads along the edges. She was mostly successful, but in hind sight, it would have been easier without all the foam chocks in place.
All of the above happened while it was still cold out. Once it warmed up we coated a sheet of 6mm plywood with fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Once it set Bill, sanded it and cut out the parts to make the lid flange and lid.
Here I am fitting the parts to make the flange that the lid will set into. The plans are from a twenty year old book. New books don’t have this information. They just figure you will buy a boat with a refrigerator already in place.
Here is the flange glued together. The flying buttresses keep the sides lined up at the right angle. They also support the top and bottom parts that will be added. Once this cures it will become the mold for the lid. This is actually looking like it will work.
This is the shelf that will hold the refrigeration compressor. It was represented by one of the manila folder cutouts in the first photo. (it is also upside down, oops)
Our galley sink is over the engine so we sprayed it with undercoating to try to help stop engine noise from passing through it. This was another project that has finally gotten out of limbo. One can down. We still need another.
The other big news is Bill passed his HAM license test. He now has a General license. So we just need to get a SSB radio and Bill, at least, is all set for communications while cruising.
This was very much a Bill projects week. Nina spent her time and energy moving a small shed sized pile of mulch into the yard. Not the boat.
The weather in Portland has been cold, wet and impossible to glue, epoxy or paint anything until this past weekend. Sunday was finally lovely, but we had other plans for the afternoon, so not much boat work was done. We did get to enjoy music that Shakespeare may have heard.
So, what can be done when the weather does not cooperate? Someone was asking us how we keep track of the planning process. Bill uses yellow pads.
One of the drawbacks of having the sink over the engine is that there is not very much room at all for plumbing once all the engine gear is in place. We need to fit drains and water hoses and make sure that everything stays clear of the alternator and that all was going to be a challenge. It was such a tight fit under the sink that Bill decided to move the spacer block we had installed for the circuit breaker to the alternator so we’d have room to actually run hoses without rubbing on wiring or the alternator itself. Another consequence of the lack of space below is that we will probably not add a salt water spigot for the sink. We will be adding a watermaker at some point, so we should have plenty of water and won’t need the salt water rinse faucet. We don’t plan on having pressurized water in the galley (we used to, but it was only cold). Water will be filtered, but it will still be a cold water system. Bill has run the hoses from the water tanks and we are waiting to install the foot pump for the sink.
The engine cover had one drawback – in order to check the oil, the entire panel needed to be unscrewed. We found out that Beckson makes an 8″ plate and it’s big enough to get a hand and a dip stick out. On the left, the hole, on the right, the plate installed. The back of the screw off lid is now backed with lead foam so it should help cut down on engine noise.