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July 22-23: Flea Markets & Anchor System Mockup

It was hot this weekend! It got over 100F both days, even on the water!

Saturday started early with a trip to a swap meet in Napa. To get good deals you really need to be there an hour before it officially opens, which meant we were up and driving at 6AM. Urgh.

It paid off though, we bought a super heavy-duty manual anchor windlass: the famed Simpson-Lawrence "SeaTiger" SL-555. Everyone at our marina is jealous! The thing is a monster, perfect for our over-the-top anchor system.

When we arrived at Loch Lomond we finished off the propane system installation. The stove works perfectly. Sweet!

The pressure gauge reads 160psi when the tank is open, and it slowly drops to 150psi over a few hours. The system keeps the pressure up for a day or so, but it eventually bleeds out. From what I've read this is okay and expected, but that bothers me a bit. Propane is heavier than air and can kill ya nicely, so we gotta get a detector now.

We'll see, maybe I need to pull apart the fittings and use more loctite or something. Not looking forward to that, I used a lot the first time. We'll probably just leave it and end up killing ourselves with propane. We also decided not to run a valve from the tank to the BBQ, we're just going to use the smaller portable tanks for the BBQ. Seems easier.

Sam joined us and we spent most of the day mocking up different anchors on the stainless steel channel our friend Mark gave us. We're not the sharpest knives in the drawer: we lugged around the 50lb anchors from 11AM to 3PM, the hottest part of the day. I think it got up to 115F (43C). We were drenched in sweat.

We borrowed five or six anchors from our friends at the marina; most of them didn't fit on the bowsprit, or whacked the roller furling drum when being raised or lowered. The 45# CQR, my anchor of choice, has a really long shank that just doesn't fit nicely.

We finally figured that a 45# Bruce will fit perfectly. The Bruce was the first anchor we considered too. It has a reputation for ALWAYS setting, whereas the CQR sets about 70% of the time. The CQR has more holding power, but the 45# Bruce is 3 sizes bigger than what's recommended for our boat! I think we'll be okay.

There's still a lot more work to do on the anchor system. Chain, rode, splices, etc. Mike has volunteered to integrate the roller and stainless steel channel into the bowsprit, which is a lot of our minds. We love you Mike!

Just installing the SL555 manual windlass we bought will be a bitch: the deck is cored with plywood, so you have to drill a 7/8" hole in the deck, cut back the plywood core another quarter inch, fill with hole with epoxy/hardener/filler, let it cure, and then drill a smaller 5/8" hole in the epoxy. Urgh.

On Sunday I finished a lot more of the instrument wiring in the engine room locker. Sara helped and we got the depth and speed sensor wires up the SS tubing to the wheel, and also the power and network wires down. I've got more engine-room wiring to do, but we're getting much closer to having instruments! It was really hot, and I must have lost a few pounds from sweating. It was like I had my own private sauna!

It was worth it though: this means we're one weekend away from turning everything on, which will rule. I'm also planning my epic up-the-mast trip to finish the wiring, soldering, riveting, and other install efforts for the LED lights. I've climbed to/from the spreaders almost eight times now, so I'm going to get someone to hoist me when I go all the way up. It's exhausting.

The rigger is going to be working on the lifelines, after we install the new SS tubing this week. Once that's done we can work on installing the solar panel mounts and getting the panel wired up. We still need a second big panel, we're going to have to find one before we go!

After that we've got to find, buy, and install holders for the dinghy, lots of engine maintenance, a million smaller jobs, and we should be ready. Maybe. We'll see.

Random 'best-of' trip reports:

Our first dolphin experience


Picturesque anchorage at Isla Isabela


Will and brothers do some beach yoga