A/C makes everyone happier!

Our Reverse-Cycle Air conditioning unit is installed, not leaking, and making a very happy mamas and stooges! (Unfortunately Chuck has not been home much to fully appreciate his hard work). I won’t tell you this was an easy job, and I think we lost about 10 lbs. from sweat; but the bruises, blood, and sweat was well worth it!

         This couldn’t have been completed without the help of fellow sailors so a HUGE thank you to Dan, Capt Dave, Susan, Justin, and Logan! There is also a HUGE thank you to those that Chuck used as a resource before we even started this project. Last but not least, thank you to Chandler, Charlene, and Bosun for offering their guest room to us and the stooges as we completed this project.

Oh, you wanted the details? My bad! Here ya go! This is the layman terms version as Chuck is much more technical in his blogging, but you get me today 🙂 This all started when a fellow sailor was getting rid of his heat pump to upgrade. The unit was literally in the back of his truck to go to the dump, and Chuck said “WAIT! We’ll take it.” This blog shows you the physical act of installing this unit, not the mental energy Chuck spent thinking about this, and planning the install. Without that, we might all be a pile of sweat at this point.

Chuck and Dan first started by getting the below elbow off the thru hull. This provided a thru hull to use, along with space for them to install the sea strainer, and the pump (pictured below).



I was able to join them in time to do some of the plumbing (yeah for being the small person aboard), which entailed running the hose underneath the bed in the aft cabin. The most technical part was the drilling of the holes, however there was one portion that took all three of us, and some creativity with rope to get the hose run through the drilled holes!

We did have to drill another hole in the boat, which we always hate doing. Fortunately this one was much much smaller than the one we had to drill for the exhaust for the heater! However, this put me in the dinghy on the outside of the boat. It was so hot that the second you stepped outside, you started sweating. So by time we drilled the hole, I looked like I had taken a shower. Eww!



I’m not sure how I was stable enough in the dinghy long enough for Chuck to get this picture, but yes that is me outside in the dinghy, looking in the hole we just drilled. Added some caulk and put the thru hull fitting in.

Below is a good picture of the aft cabin/ bed that became our work bench. This is just one of the reasons we stayed at a friend’s house. This way we didn’t have to completely clean up each night to tear the boat up again the next morning. It was so extremely hot those couple of days, and having to squish ourselves into awkward positions that made you sweat more made it that much more tiring. When given the opportunity, we opted for a clean bed, cold shower, and pizza!



I was exhausted!!! I can’t even be mad at Chuck for taking this picture, because who would pass up this opportunity!

Before we even started this project, we had to spend a lot of time figuring out where we would put the unit. The unit ended up in our “chemical locker” which is located directly across from the engine room, and right outside of the aft cabin. This was not only enough space for it, but made a shorter distance for wiring and ducting. However, we did have to make a hole in the closet bulkhead!

WP_20150614_001        WP_20150614_16_17_21_Pro

Our boat neighbor, Justin, came to help Chuck with the wiring. Logan, his son, entertained me while the men worked on that. This is Justin working on the unit. If nothing else, it shows the small space we had to work in. For the wiring, we had to install another 30 amp inlet so we had enough power to run the unit. Not extremely hard, just twisting my body in weird ways to get to where I needed to be in the engine room (I like to pretend I am a part of Cirque du Soleil, haha.). We then had to wire from engine room to the unit.


After the wiring was done, we had to finish the ducting. This runs behind my closet and drawers, which did involve two large holes. We still have to do some insulation around the ducting, but for now we are in business.  Cold air is pumping like a champ out into the aft cabin. We did lose some space for chemicals, and I lost some closet space. Just another chance to reevaluate my wardrobe, and if there is anything to get rid of (there was, shocking :))

Last but not least, here is one of the dogs helping! They are in the passage way to the aft cabin. While we were working, we had the hatch AC unit in the aft cabin hatch so this was as close to the AC  as they could get. (Don’t worry, they tried hard to get back there but unfortunately they take up more space than they realize).


After installation, we needed to check the plumbing and look for leaks. We didn’t find any initially. Chuck then installed the control panel while I was at work. He put this right next to the nav station, and right below our radio. By time I got home from work, this was all complete.

Later on, I did find some water when I woke up the next morning and when I returned to the boat in the afternoon. Fortunately, I was able to repair this while Chuck was away. The drain holes from the drip pan were the culprits. I feel extremely proud of that fact, so I had to brag a bit. It wasn’t rocket science, but hard to find with the small space of the heat pump and where it was located. We are now enjoying cold air, and a cold room for sleep. A fan blows some of that cool air out into the main cabin. With 100 degree day yesterday, unsure of humidity, the boat was 84 degrees for the dogs to be in! In the mornings, I am waking up to somewhere between 68-76 degrees!



Radio Silence is Over!

We may have been quiet for a month or so, but we have been out living the life. That is the point of this whole journey, right? What have we been up to… let me tell you! We have been sailing more, meeting new friends at the marina, my birthday (more details later), went on a land lubber vacation, and last but definitely not least we spent our first night anchored out! See, living the life! Now of course we have boat projects going on while we are doing all of the above, but as we continue to acclimate to boat life, not every project seems post worthy!

More sailing…and learning to anchor!

Since the days have gotten longer, we have had the opportunity to do some evening sails. We have also been practicing anchoring. Not quite as easy as I expected, even with the windlass. Getting that anchor up can sometimes take all the energy out of me. Not only is it heavy (45 lbs. not including the chain) with gravity working against me, but you are having to balance and brace yourself at the bow, sometimes up and down and up and down! So it can get a bit tricky, but we are learning. As other sailing couples have told us, there is a HUGE learning curve to communicating to each other on the boat while under sail. In our first instances of anchoring, Chuck was at the helm and I was doing the manual work (which I happen to prefer). There were some frustrations there are we figured out this communication, and I learned how to let the boat to more of the work for me. But just last week, I got to be at the helm. After Chuck successfully pulled in and stored the anchor, he comes back with the “man that was hard work” look on his face. And I didn’t even say I told ya so!

My birthday…

came and went like it does every year. But this year I was surprised with a Tower 14ft. Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard! Kuddos to Chuck for arranging this behind my back as I had NO IDEA that he was even up to something. And let me tell you, I LOVE IT! So far we have just been paddling the inlet, but bigger adventures are coming. Right now, I am still learning to just be fearless on her and to handle some waves. Nothing too crazy for this lady yet!

Chuck fell in! Whoops!
Puppy love on my birthday morning!

Land Lubber Vacation (much needed)

We had the opportunity to return to our favorite vacation spot, Moab, UT. We stay at Basecamp Adventure Lodge! If you are looking for a unique experience, this is the place for you. What I truly love about this place is that you can start your day by sleeping in and reading a book on deck (with absolutely breath taking scenery around you), and by the end of the day you have gone kayaking, ATVing, hiking or more. You can make the vacation into whatever you want it to be, and there is one amazing thing missing. Cell service! There is limited WiFi, but who needs it? The pictures never do it justice, but I continue taking them in the hopes that one day it will!

This is called Jacob’s ladder, and we actually climbed this!

Living “on the hook”!

The best news to report is there was really no news! Of course we had some lessons to learn, but nothing that couldn’t be easily fixed or avoided for next time. We decide to anchor out at Mill Creek so we could see the fireworks for the Black Beard Pirate Festival in Hampton, VA. I think fireworks are already amazing, but they are that much better on a boat!!! And of course the pups added to the experience by making sure to bark the whole time to chase the fireworks away. Silly pups! We had some delicious rum, a friend brought dinner over, and it was gorgeous out! Even did some star gazing. We each woke up a couple times (Chuck to check the anchor, and me to just be aware of where we were), but overall slept great! Waking up was so peaceful.

The dogs still have work to do about learning to go on their spot, but if they have to go bad enough they eventually will. When we woke, we realized that the fridge had drained all of our power. Lesson learned! We had to get a jump from Boat US, which took a maximum of 5 minutes, and we were good to go! Beyond that, the main lesson we learned was to pack more food. And food to make a meal out of, not just the random things we end up with.

As far as boat projects go, the main thing we are focused on right now is our AC unit. We have a small hatch unit which works for sleeping, but with Chuck and the dogs there all day, they will need something more for the real heat of the summer. Chuck scored an old heat pump from another sailor who was headed to the junk yard, so he is currently getting parts to start assembling this. We also managed to get the dogs in the dinghy with Chuck successfully. We both just grabbed a handle on their life vests (safety dogs!), it was high tide and we went to a lower finger dock. In they went, happy or not. Enzo actually went in first, which is not like him. He just hunched down as far as he could. He did try to stand up while pressing against Chuck and Chuck almost went in the water. teeheehee. As they slowly motored away, all you could see was his big ol’ head. Kinda funny! Zia Marie was up next, and seemed to want to stand and let her ears blow in the wind. We will get pictures next time, as we just wanted a successful adventure (mostly so I didn’t freak out)!

Our first little mate on board! Welcome Carter man!
Because…my babies!