Boat Maintenance Living Aboard a Boat

Sum It Up Sunday: 4 . . . I mean 11 Days and Counting!

Sunday, April 27, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Another two weeks have come and gone . . . along with our departure date. 

We had some beautiful weather for a while there and David made real progress on the jobs we planned to attack after we left Kingston.  But it is spring and the good weather was soon replaced with a series of lows, troughs, fronts and whatever else tickled Mother Nature’s fancy, so we decided to extend our stay here one more week to take advantage of a lovely high pressure system that should greet us by Tuesday and finish up the jobs he started.  

Bad weather can lead to boredom, but we squeezed in a moment or two of excitement and managed to avoid a potential disaster last weekend.  Our neighbour, Jerry, just happened to be coming back from the laundry room at the right time – as smoke was coming from our shore power box.  Somehow our connection was loosened allowing for a higher resistance and creating heat which melted the power prong into the socket . . . all while still supplying power to the boat so we weren’t aware of the problem.  In the end, Jerry alerted us and we avoided setting the marina on fire, starting with the shore power box.  Phew!  We almost blew our chances of being invited back next winter. 

Inspecting the damage. 

So I guess it’s a good job that we, along with our neighbours, had arranged a spaghetti feed for the staff at the day before as a way of saying thank you for all they’ve done for us this winter.  Everyone here has been great and made the seven months we’ve been here fly by.  Our only regret – we didn’t find Kingston earlier!  It truly is the second best marina we’ve stayed in during our 13 years on the water.  When you consider the best is a four-star resort where we had access to all the amenities (not to mention the Pacific Ocean), second place is a real complement!  

Saying thanks and good-bye to a great marina staff!

When we weren’t starting fires* or attempting to schmooze the staff, David was busy working on the boat.  The cabin top’s been cleaned and polished, and he managed to erase every last speck of green from the teak decks (which look smashing!) and will seal them later this week.  It’s been pretty squally over the last few days; so he’s been passing time by pulling apart the boat, going through his things, and deciding what comes with us and what goes into storage (my dream come true!) to make room for this week’s biggest news . . . a new portable freezer! 

It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while and with Sally’s inability to digest dog food, we need to carry more fresh provisions with us and our little 12x10x5 inch freezer box (0.35 cubic feet) isn’t going to cut it.  Of course it can’t be simple.  Cambria lacks good storage (though that’s not entirely fair – I mean, really, without the 3 guitars, the amp, the Jam Vox, the kayaks, the air chair and the tons of tools we need, there’d be plenty of space).  So, finding a place to install it was our first obstacle.  We decided on the area we call the “shed”.  On paper it’s a pilot berth but in reality, it’s a catchall for our junk.  But it’s a secure location and has easy access to a 12-volt power supply, so it’s a logical spot.

 But now we have to get it in. 

We narrowed our purchase down to two freezers – the Dometic CF50 and CF80.  The smaller unit would fit perfectly through the doorway to the shed and the larger one is a half inch too large . . . but 1.5 times bigger.  In the end, we decided to go big or go home, but now David has a difficult job to deal with (another reason we decided to stay an extra week).  But for now, the freezer is sitting in the back seat of our truck waiting to be unpacked.

The Dometic CF 80 portable freezer.

As for me, I have to be honest and say that I didn’t accomplish a whole heck of a lot over the last two weeks but that’s because the remaining jobs on my to-do list are last minute ones, so I’ve been enjoying a bit of free time and catching up on some knitting.  I suppose one could argue that I could help David with his list, but one would be wrong.  When it comes to the crappy boat jobs, it’s pretty much every man (or woman) for themselves around here! 

Sally continues to do well on her Canna-Pet but had her first bad day last week.  It was emotionally difficult for us but, after all was said and done and I could gain a little perspective on the situation, one day out of 20 is really good.  And besides, it was my fault.  Just a few paragraphs ago I wrote that Sally can’t digest dog food anymore, so what did I give her for dinner Wednesday night?  A can of dog food.  It’s a long story that doesn’t bear getting into, so I’ll just say a can here and there to see her through the days I’m too busy to cook for her (yes, my wonderfully neurotic dog likes her food to be prepared fresh daily) hasn’t hurt in the past.  But apparently, that was the past.  Anyway.  She’s fine now and back to being a right pain in the ass, which is exactly how I like it. 

The next ten days or so will be busy as we make our final preparations to leave:  The headliner’s still a work in progress, but that can probably wait.  We’ve got to install the freezer and then I have to fill it (ice cream!).  David has to finish the decks.  There’s brightwork to be done.  And the hull’s screaming for a polish and wax.  It doesn’t look like much on “paper” but, like fine wine, these things take time!

* Even though I’ve chosen to write about this in a light-hearted way, I want to make it clear that we took (and take) the situation very seriously.  David’s previous profession was in fire and life safety systems and we’re diligent about checking our power connection regularly.  

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  1. One commonly forgotten item when plugging in is strain relief for both ends of the shore power cord. I use a Velcro strap to secure each end of the cord so that the plug is not taking any strain from the boat moving.

    1. Good point, Andy! We have the Velcro straps as well but don't use them. The new cover/plug we purchased to replace the burnt out one has the black connection ring on it, so that will help. But the more we look at how we're set up, the less convinced we are that it was the ferry roll -- there's plenty of slack in the cable. It's possible that it was loosened by local kids who have been known to untie dock lines and unplug power cables once or twice in the past 6 months (but they disconnected them fully). Unfortunately, we're in guest moorage which is open to the public so there's not much we can do about it if that's the case except keep our eyes open -- it's a real concern though.