I’ll bet you opened that one right up, huh? Screw work, Have Wind Will Travel’s talking dirty to me! Okay, it wasn’t just a line – it really was Valentine’s Day and there really was some chocolate involved, but we’ll get there. First things first. A few boat chores, then some pours.
Rather than exchanging some flowers and cards on that fated fake commercial holiday-day, we each got each other some fun gifts for the boat. Phillip got a new flexible funnel for filling the engine coolant bin. Totally respectable gift. And I got a new main sail! Not near as cool as the funnel but I didn’t make Phillip feel bad about it. In all seriousness, our old main sail was in decent condition, but it did have a few tears, the stitching was starting to rub and breakdown in some areas and, sadly, she was discolored from age and wear, so we had decided a while back to get a new one before our trip to the Keys. We decided to shop local and went with Schurr Sails in Pensacola. She was installed the second week in February, and we couldn’t wait to hoist her up. Literally, we didn’t even take her to do it, just raised it right there in the marina so we could have a look at her.
Ain’t she a beaut?
We were definitely pleased. And, we love to see the bold, blue Niagara (checkerboard) logo at the top, which, on the old main, had just about worn off. She sure is stiff, though, which makes for a nice flake but a tough fit in the old sail cover. After some debate, we decided to get the stack pack, too, and it was scheduled for installation the following week.
With the new main sail installed and still a few sunny hours to work with, we decided to knock out one more pre-Key chore on the boat – the wind anemometer – the instrument that tells us wind speed and direction. Much like a receiver, the anemometer is an instrument that spins manually at the top of the mast to retrieve wind data, and then sends it down to the display panel in the cockpit. Ours had stopped working months ago. We were sure it was the doing of a big, staunchy hawk (lovingly referred to around our marina as the ‘Terd Bird’) who likes to plop his big, honking carcass on the tops of everyone’s masts, usually breaking wind vanes and other instruments in the process (not to mention the lovely parting gifts he leaves on the deck). I hate that guy. We were sure he had sat on our wind anemometer and wrecked it, so we lined up a guy down in Punta Gorda that we were going to send it to take it apart and fix it. But, we had to get it down first. Our broker-turned-boatbuddy Kevin was nice enough to let us borrow his one-man mast-climber for the job. I drew the short straw, and the boys strapped me in.
Houston, we are ready for takeoff. Up I went:
That thing was pretty awesome. There are two self-tightening rope cinches, one used to hoist the bosun’s chair, and one used to hoist your foot straps. So, you plant your feet in the straps, stand up, release the top cinch to move the bosun’s chair up, then sit in the chair and release the bottom cinch to pull your foot straps up, then lather, rinse, repeat all the way up the mast. It’s a bit of a workout but much less work on your main halyard, and a one-man operation. Pretty nifty. There are a couple of tricks you need to know about tying the bowline knots at the top to be sure you have enough height to stand in the foot straps and access the top of the mast, but Kevin steered us right, and I was able to get up there and get the anemometer off.
When I brought it down, the boys did what any boy would do and started to take it apart and tinker with it.
And, the best part was, we discovered it was an easy fix. Kevin always says – the solution is usually easy – finding it usually the hard part. Well, we’d already done the hard part of getting that thing down the mast, and turns out the problem was just some fishing line. Still bent on blaming the Terd, we decided he must have brought a little strung-up fishy feast to the top of our mast to devour it and got some line caught around our anemometer in the process. More line was pulled in as the instrument continued to spin, ultimately jamming it up entirely. But, the boys were able to ‘fish’ it all out (man, I’m on fire today!),
we saved the costly fee of sending the instrument off for repairs, and I was sent back up the mast to put the anemometer back on.
This time with a handful of zipties to stick up there to make sure the Terd Bird never returns. Our mast top now looks like a spiky Midievel fortress – not anywhere a curmudgeony old bird would want to rest his tired bones. Or so we hope. I haven’t seen any droppings since, so I think we’ve sufficiently deterred him. After a little creative wiring, we were also able to get the display panel in the cockpit up and running.
Wind speed and direction. Suh-weet! And, just in time, too, as we were planning to take the boat out for the weekend on Valentine’s Day to anchor out at Little Sabine. A friend of ours was having her 50th birthday party there at the Hampton Inn on the beach on February 15th, so we wanted to be the ‘cool kids’ that came to the party by boat. I picked up a little something Phillip had been eyeing the last time we made our way to the free Friday wine tasting at Seville for the Valentine’s trip. I give you:
*NEW* SEXUAL CHOCOLATE
Bursting with intense red fruit on the nose. Massive entry with blackberry, black cherry, dark chocolate and spice with a delicate, smooth finish. Concentrated and complex with flavors that will continued to be teased out . Displays the high quality of the vintage.
- Varietal: 50% Syrah, 40% Zinfandel, 8% Petit Sirah, 2% Petit Verdot
- Alcohol: 13.9%
- AVA: California (Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara County)
- Released: December 16, 2013
- Winemakers: Bo & Brandon
- Enjoy Responsibly, just not conservatively…
That is some damn fine juice, let me tell you. Get your own bottle at SloDown Wines. You’ll definitely get a kick out of the label:
What? Not the kind of “sexual chocolate” you were hoping for? Sorry – it’s a public blog. I can get a little dirty for you, though You’ll be happy to know we were able to make the requisite jaunt out into the Gulf that weekend to test out the new Y valve and the macerator, which spouted out a perfectly lovely brown cloud.
I guess you can say it’s kind of chocolate-colored too. Bonus for you. In any event, all systems are a go!