One of the many things on our “to do” list was to replace the lifeline covers we put on to protect our sunshades from rubbing against the wire lifelines. We had to do something immediately when we had the sunshades made several years ago and they were rubbing against the lifelines. The quickest, cheapest solution was to use swimming noodles. Not pretty, but they worked.
After having G G Sails and Canvas in Stuart make us a new dodger last summer, we went back to them with this small project. We gave them the measurements and they sewed navy sunbrella covers which wrap around the foam and connect with velcro. Mark found much smaller pieces of foam to use. He first covered the lifeline with strips of 1/2 inch PVC pipe. Then he put the new foam over them. Finally, he wrapped the foam with the sunbrella strips. They are no longer an eyesore and will protect our sunshades. We could have purchased pre-made lifeline foam covers but they were very expensive and wouldn’t have matched this well. I guess the only downside is that we should have a sewing machine on the boat. I could very easily have made these sunbrella covers.
The Lagoon 420’s came equipped with halogen overhead lights in the cabin and cockpit……lots of them. Last year we began switching them over to brighter, energy efficient LED lights. We finished the replacements this month. There were 12 alone in the salon/galley, and a total of 40 to replace. While considering what to put in the cockpit sitting area, where Mark recently built a large drop-leaf table, we wanted something that would provide plenty of light for card games, Mexican Train, reading, relaxing, and of course eating. There are only two lights on the hard bimini ceiling which is 9.7 feet above the cockpit floor. Even putting the brightest LED’s there wouldn’t give us the amount of light we wanted, so Mark built a hanging lamp fixture. We brought home a number of possible “shades” and ended up using a rattan basket. Inside it, Mark mounted an LED dome light with 36 warm white LEDs. We also experimented with various colors and sizes of chains and decided to use a white one. Then we had to decide how high above the table it should hang, which we determined by sitting at the table and raising the fixture until it was above our heads. After all those decisions were made, Mark ran the wires and made the adjustments.
Now we have plenty of light shining on the table and our choice of blue or white LED’s high on the bimini ceiling. (Red is the preferred color for nighttime sailing because it doesn’t ruin your night vision, but we don’t like the look of red lights in the sitting area and don’t use those lights while sailing in the dark anyway.) We also have several lighting combination choices. We can have the two bimini lights on by themselves in either the blue or white color. Or, we can just have the hanging light turned on. If we want a lot of light we can use the overhead and hanging lights, all combinations made with switches.
Only one problem remains. A hanging lamp on a boat obviously swings whenever the boat rocks. We have a way of tying off the hanging lamp in heavy weather or when sailing, but probably will get used to the swaying while anchored or moored in relatively calm water. Visitors on the boat might get hypnotized if they stare at it for too long, however, because it does tend to swing back and forth and back and forth.
I spent the last three weeks in Maryland and California and flew back to Florida four days ago assuming we would be able to leave for the Bahamas in a day or two. I had done all of my preparations before I left to be with Peter for his surgery and recovery. Mark worked hard while I was gone and finished almost all of his projects. However, two major problems are now holding up our departure. First, on the way to the airport on January 15, we were rear-ended in rush hour traffic on I95, one exit before the West Palm Beach Airport. It took several weeks to get the car owner’s insurance company to start the repairs on our car. We should get it back early this week. Second, we are waiting for repairs to be made to our radar and anemometer, both of which were damaged when the mast was taken down. We have been waiting since the mast was put back on in November to get the repairs done, and now we are getting angry. Hopefully we’ll get these parts repaired in a few days and be on our way by the end of the week.
The time I got to spend with my son Peter was wonderful. The surgery successfully removed a tumor at the bottom of his spine and then we flew to California for two weeks. Peter was my tour guide every day as we visited beach towns, tourist destinations like Hearst Castle and Sequoia National Park, a Monarch Butterfly Park, wine tastings, Farmers’ Markets, and many walks on the dunes and various beaches. Rather than put entries about the visit on this blog, I posted pictures on my Facebook page, the link for which is on the top right hand side of this website and also here. Flying into West Palm Beach last week, I caught this view outside the window as I was watching the sunrise above the clouds. It reminded me that in a short time we would be passing large container ships like this on the ocean as we cross from Miami to Bimini.
Today, Mark dived under the boat to clean the props. The St. Lucie River is so filthy from runoff in Lake Okeechobee that he couldn’t see more than five or six inches in front of him. He’ll finish cleaning the bottom when we get into cleaner water. Mark uses a Brownie’s Yacht Diver Electric System to allow him to breathe air while cleaning the boat bottom or for any other reason we might need to dive under the boat.
One of our recent unplanned purchases (there have been many) was a new XM Radio for the boat. We have always had an XM radio with a small speaker unit on the boat but it stopped working this fall so we bought a new one. We have speakers in the salon and outside in the cockpit, but had never tried to connect the XM radio to it. We did that today and now can use the indoor and/or outdoor speakers in the cockpit to play XM stations. Right now we are listening to a pleasant “spa” station which shouldn’t annoy our dock neighbors.
I was afraid that Sailor might not remember me when I got back. At first he seemed confused but happily took the new toy I brought him. Hopefully we will get to leave Sunset Bay Marina this week to begin our next cruise to the Bahamas and Sailor can become a real boat dog.
One of the many projects Mark completed this season in Stuart was to install a solar panel that will heat our water. Friends Matt and Karen on Where 2, another Lagoon 420, gave us this idea. They told us they always have hot water during the daylight hours from their solar panel. With our new 6th battery, our five solar panels on the bimini, and our new wind generator, we hope to be creating enough power to meet our needs. This additional solar panel will enable us to have hot water on demand without turning on the generator, which is the only other way we have to heat it. We had brackets and a shelf made to hold the solar panel above the dinghy and Mark installed it. In the past we have resorted to sun showers (a bag of water heated by the sun with a tube running through an open hatch into the master shower) or we turned on the generator to heat the water. This solar panel should pay for itself with all the fuel we will save by not running the generator.
After many weeks of working on a new drop leaf table for the cockpit, Mark finished it. He still wants to sand it down and put another coat of epoxy on it. There are four coats on it already, but the last coat was too thick so he has to fix it. Unfortunately it has been drizzling and rainy for days, so he can’t do it yet. Previously we had a low “cocktail” table in the cockpit which could be switched with the large dining table in the salon. We rarely did this, so missed lots of opportunities to eat meals outside. The wood matches what we already have on the other dining table. When the leaves are up, it is actually a little larger than the one in the salon because it is a rectangle and the other one has rounded corners. Many of the Lagoon 420’s we’ve been on have either made, or had made, a large dining table for the cockpit, which is where we got the idea. We actually get many of our ideas from other owners and make it a point to visit any 420’s we see. Making it a drop leaf gives us plenty of leg room when not using the full table and also makes it easy to get in and out. It also makes it easier for Sailor to jump up on the seats, although he doesn’t know that yet. Can’t wait to play Mexican Train on this one.