Last Sunday (Feb 24, 2019) We set out from Windmill Marina for some extended sea trails of the auto pilot/navigation system. Down thru the Alligator Creek i was the pilot. I made the course, set the direction and held on to the wheel the whole way. Once we hit Charlotte Harbor I engaged the auto pilot. The first way point was 1.5 miles. I set the autopilot in track and it took the boat directly to the way point, It then alerted me to the fact and asked if I wanted to go to way point #2. I said yes and the AP turned to the new course. This continued for the next three hours. BTW, I pulled up the sails at the first WP and we sailed for the next 3 hours. Beautiful sail.
We were then about an 90 minutes away from Boca Grande harbor and knew that if we continued We would not be back before dark. Not wanting that we turned towards Burnt Store Marina. We pulled in there about 1:30 for lunch. Came out of there about 3PM and headed home. Again the AP worked great and we made it back well before dark.
Our next trip will be our first over-night to Pelican Bay, off Cayo Costa Island. I’ll let y’all know how it comes out.
Finished installation of the auto-pilot. Just need a little troubleshooting to get everything aligned and running perfect. Plan on a shake down cruise next week. Till then it’s dinners and doctors that will keep me busy. Then I need to clean the boat, inside and out. All the cushions have been cleaned and put back aboard so it’s just a pressure wash outside and garbage pick-up and tool collection inside.
UPDATE, 1-17-19: Just finished tweeking the Autopilot and everything is working as per the literature, next step is sea trials, tomorrow. This is the sea trials plan:
Next on the list is a chiller box to keep our food fresh.
BTW, I am doing this rather slow, taking my time, doing it right. Besides, I have all the time I want to play with this boat.
The Hunter 260 I just brought down from St. Petersburg was just what I wanted, a stock boat with no improvements. This means a power system that is only a 12 VDC system, run by one battery and it powers the lights and starts the engine. Since I tied up in Windmill harbor is have been working to make this boat into my yacht. First I installed a 30 amp A/C plug, and circuit breaker panel, wired with 10agw wire. This is to eventually power my 6000 btu HVAC system. I also installed a second battery for the house. With that I installed a second DC Breaker panel, this will be for the autopilot/navigation system I am installing. It will also power a 12DC chiller box to replace the ice chest presently installed. I also plan on a new toilet with a holding tank to replace the “Porta-Potty” presently on board.
Two weeks ago I purchased a 2001 Hunter 260. A 26′ sloop that fits all the criteria mentioned in the last post for acceptance in the Windmill Village Marina. I sold the Nomad II to purchase this, The Black Pearl (To be renamed NOMAD III) just to have a boat the right size for the marina. Last Wednesday I sailed her down from Gulf Port, FL (south side of the St. Petersburg peninsula.) For a first time out she handled pretty good, few complaints, and none that can’t be fixed. The rudder needs to have a way to lock it in the down position. There is a pin there that I assume is for that but the hole in the rudder either doesn’t exist or I can not get the rudder down far enough to insert the pin. Just need to work on that, either make a new hole or wait until I pull her out to re-adjust everything. There is no electronics yet, but I have it all at home ready to be installed. The linkage on the motor needs to be inspected. In reverse it goes from Idle to full with no in-between. The clutch linkage gave me some fits by jumping free of the bracket, but I figured out how to reassemble it and used a wire tie to hold the clamp shut in the future. Here are some picture of the trip down.
And of course a picture of the new boat.
I have moved on to the next phase of my life. Ro and I decided to purchase a home in Windmill Village near Punta Gorda Florida, and we closed April 21st. Very nice place and Ro is doing all she can to make it ours. New floors, new counter tops, new shed, with man cave for me. I’ll have pictures soon.
One of the best things that came with the house is a FREE marina, free but with strings. The biggest string is that the boat can not be more than 26 feet. Well, that kills the Nomad. So I was able to sell it within a month of closing on the house. Actually I had the offer on the day we closed. I will admit to taking a beating on the price, but with the cost of keeping the Nomad afloat, and the marina fees, I figure I saved at least the amount I gave away ( I didn’t need a broker so I saved there also.)
My next trick is to purchase a boat to keep in the marina here.
The parameters are:
- 26′ long
- Must be able to live aboard for extended periods.
- Trailerable (need to evacuate for hurricanes.)
- must fit in our carport if needs be. (<13′ high on the trailer)
I am thinking along the lines of a “Nimble Nomad” (25′ 4″) or a MacGregor 26 (2000 or newer). Pictures of both to come.
We had an uneventful trip up the Chesapeake to Hays, Va. The weather turned bad and that was as far as we got. We returned to Myrtle Beach for the rest of the summer.
On Oct. 1st we started south with the plan to get to Vero Beach before the end of Oct and head for the west coast before December 1st.
After an uneventful trip we landed for a week in St. Mary’s, Ga. We went to visit Ro’s friend from school, Gerry. Anchored in North River because of Hurricane Irma (Long since gone, but she left 32 boats and a marina sunk in the St. Mary’s harbor.) The north river is home to a commercial boat repair facility and because of that the water is filthy, and that came up on the boat.
We left there and are now at anchor (on a mooring ball) in Vero Beach. I learned how to grab a ball in St. Augustine in high wins and strong current. When we got to the nice still waters of the Vero Beach mooring field it was a snap. We will be here for a month and I will use that time to find out all I can about the Okeechobee crossing. It’s a long way from the Stewart anchorage to the Ft. Myers side. I need to spend at least one night in the crossing.
Since I started north on June 11th a few things have happened.
On the second day out, near Hampsted,NC I finally gave in to all the pressure and had the boat pulled out to see what was causing a 3-5 degree list. We couldn’t find ay water, leak or component busted free to cause such a list. Having had the boat pulled at a special rate that included a one month storage charge, We went home to wait it out.
Couldn’t do it, on the 26th we had the boat returned to the briny and took off, still listing. Spent the first night in Mile Hammock, still a beautiful spot. Next two nights in Oriental, had a problem with my Raymarine C120 MFD. Seacoast Marine sorted it out and the price was more than fair. He’s the only shop around that still does repairs in house.
Then it was on past Belhaven into the Alligator River with a 3 ft following sea and 25knt winds from the south, pure terror. The tender at the Alligator River Swing Bridge refused to answer my call, but opened the bridge. I had to call the Coast Guard to find out if the bridge was even open.
Spent the night at anchor tucked in nice and tight in East Lake at the north end of the Alligator River. Next day was beautiful and the wind was down for our crossing of the Albamarle Sound to Coinjock.
Now we are in Salt Ponds Marina, Hampton VA. Our first long stop on the trip. Here to visit my sister, Angela. A one week stay in a fairly good marina. No restaurant, no bar, but it has a pool.
Yesterday I finally found out what was causing the list, and fixed it. There was an aux fresh water tank installed for when the previous owner went to the Bahamas. 200 gal of water is about 1400 lbs. Drained the tank and the boat was list free.
On Monday we start up the Chesapeake to Annapolis and my other sister, Tina.
Sunday (June 11,2017) Ro and I are moving aboard Nomad for our trip north! This has been a long time coming and it couldn’t happen fast enough. I like Myrtle Beach, but I need to get on the water.
This week I called out a mechanic to do a complete mechanical check up on Nomad. He changed the oil in all three motors, all the filters, checked the raw water screens and fixed a couple of other things. I now am solid with the fact that the boat is in very good shape. I couldn’t do this stuff because of my “new” knee. Climbing over the engines and kneeling on the diamond plate floor would not only be painful, but I could damage my knee.
We are spending the time today and tomorrow stocking up on provisions, clothes, and other junk you need to live aboard for the next 6 months.
I will try to keep this up to date. Oh, yes, be sure to check out Ro’s blog (Click here), she has her own views on this trip.
In case you’re wondering why I haven’t moved the boat in such a long time, it’s because of medical reasons. First, Ro had a hip replaced in the beginning of March. Then I had a knee replaced on April 18th. Not to worry, I am healing very well, I am getting around without a care or walker and the pain is low. You can’t tell Ro was operated on at all (except for the scar.)
I was on the boat for the first time since I went in the hospital yesterday. I went to put the repaired tender cover on-board. I can’t install it on the boat till my leg heals a bit more since I have to crawl to get up on the roof.
Everything does look good for a mid-June departure for Cape Cod.
Can you identify the port shown in the chart I have as a backdrop? I will just say it’s on the East Coast. (I will post the answer in 2017)