November 28, 2011

We still live. ha ha ha

Its amazing how lack of Internet on the boat could lead to such big breaks in the blog! With two jobs and Sarah and I both taking classes there hasn't been many moments to do anything else. Developments on the boat are minimal. We have been re packing and figuring out where to put stuff. We have been doing some work on the engine and such. Oh, I guess the big thing was that I built a snow cover for the boat! We are completely protected and the snow load just slides right off. This hopefully will allow me to get some deck work done over the winter and replace or re-seat some leaking port lights. We also had a sad occurrence in that one of our cats has flew the coup. He started some really bad habits of peeing on things and spent the night on the back deck. I guess he decided to move on. He was sighted by a few folks up running around the subdivision above the harbor, hopefully he found one to make his own. We miss him greatly!
Tongass, the wild one! No he didn't wear his pack when he left. Lol
 So lately we have had record snow levels for November. Got the cover on just in time.
First snow, as you can see the water in the harbor even froze a little that week. Crazy weather
We have a really good heater on the boat and stay right around 65 depending on where you are in the boat. Its really amazing we have lived on it for 2 months now. Seems like we have always been here, so comfy and cozy. We anxiously await spring to go and play amongst the whales and waves!
This last weekend being a holiday weekend we actually had enough days to get things done and take an afternoon to ourselves. We decided due to short day light and time in our schedule to drive out the road. As the weather proved we should have gone the other way, we drove right into a snow storm! Ha ha ha. Its was fun though to drop the truck in 4 wheel and Cruise along. We did get some sun breaks about Eagle Beach and with the tide really high it made the area look totally new and strange. It all looked like islands due to the snow cover and high tide. Got a couple good shots and thought to post up the pano that I put together.
Such a gorgeous sunset! 
So all in all things are going good, term in school is wrapping up and we should start to have more time in the future. Hope all had a great turkey day and wish all well!!!

September 26, 2011

Boat update 2

Alright, having some formatting issues again so I just moved on. It took a couple of weeks to get the first part done. Next I had to cut the plywood for the bunk. My boss at Perseverance used to build sailboats for a living so he showed me a really cool trick for getting complex curves. It involves a template of scrap wood and a block of hardwood. Attach template material to area you want to cut shape too. Then moving the block of wood along and making little lines on the end away from curve onto the template. Then take the template and attach it to the wood you want to cut, take the same block and line it up with your marks, then mark the wood to be cut on the opposite end of the block. Connect the marks into a line and cut. The more marks the more precise. It worked like a dream!
First piece in and second laying on top of it.
Both pieces in. The bed space is 4' 6" wide and removable by a few screws. The outside area of that are separate pieces of ply that were permanently attached and will hold our storage cabinets for cloths and such. I also attached sacrificial 2x4 blocks to the support beams for more surface area to land the plywood and to screw into. This should eliminate damage to the actual supports. I also boat a new LED light and switch for the storage area, switch seen just under 2x4 on upper right hand side of bulkhead. It lights when the light is on so we won't be accidentally lighting the area.
Next came the nice Oak end cap for the mattress to keep it from sliding off. This was attached to the 2x4 supports. Starting to really look like a bed! So excited!
Sarah spend the whole day and made a canvas cover for the foam we bought and we slid it in. Perfect! This shot show a little better the side boards that will be our storage cabinets for cloths etc. We will also leave about 4" on either side of the mattress just for some more room. On top of this foam will be a thin memory foam pad that came off the bed at home, she is tailoring that today.
Sorry, boat was rocking pretty good. This shot is too show the new lighting on the boat. I took out the old 70's style camper lights and replaced them all with marine grade LED lighting. It really made a huge difference. This cost me about $300 to completely install but so worth it. 3 ft one over the future kitchen table, 18" one over the galley, 1 foot light on bulkhead of v-berth door facing into the room with a switch right there, also 2 small directionally adjustable lights for the front of the v-berth to read by, and an under the shelf adjustable one for the cooking area. I also bought an 18 inch one for the head. It has clips that attach it to the wall and internal batteries that charge and hold for 3 hours. This allows me a light I can pop off the wall and take where its needed. Pretty cool. Sarah also bought us Christmas lights for a mellower lighting that I put up just after this shot.
Took a moment to enjoy the view. Our boat in the foreground and another Rawson right behind us and Mt. McGinnis in the back ground. Great view!
View from my back deck tonight as the sun began to set. Love it!
Well that is it for now, we are in full move and organize mode now and some final touches to the v-berth. Will post as soon as I can. We are so ready to be done with the move and settle in. Snow came down on the mountains to the shoulders last night and want to get on with making the boat ready for winter. Looking forward to enjoying our nice new bunk and warming next to the Dickenson stove.

Boat Update

Alright, so been super busy with working the two jobs, school and the boat. Haven't had much time to post but I thought I would just stick up some pics of the progress with quick explanations and leave it at that. So without further adieu...
After sanding and cleaning I fiber glassed in the new bulkhead board for the bed support. We also glued in Reflectix insulation (1/4 inch thick) to the walls and epoxied in blocks to the hull for the attachment strips. This took a couple of days to finish. All wood is either oak (blocks) or 3/4 inch CDX plywood. 
another shot to show the initial insulation and block method.
Next we connected the blocks with 1/2 inch thick strips of luan, which is a hard wood material that comes in 1/4 inch thickness, cut strips from a 4x8 sheet. Its very flexible and allowed for the curvature. Next we cut and inserted 1" thick polystyrene that also has a reflective side into the "boxes" the strips had created and stuffed extra Reflectix under the strips in the hollow spaces. Not shown in this shot it we then used ducting tape to seal it all together and eliminate drafts. This will help to keep the interior and the hull isolated from each other and has basically eliminated sweating in the v-berth. Worked better than I hoped. Should also keep us pretty warm this winter!
another close-up of the wall look. Still feels like living in a jiffy pop! lol
So after the insulation we stapled in this plastic sheeting that is very flexible and almost indestructible to the strips and covers the insulation. This gives a water barrier on the inside for sweating and is also easy to clean until I get the wood panelling up and protects the insulation from our cats and incidental damage. I also cut a large door that pulls out into the bulkhead for access to the storage space under the bunk. Then the 2x4 bed supports were attached and support (cat blockers) blocks installed on the bulkhead top. We don't want the cats being able to get below.
This is the floor of the v-berth storage with an 8x8 inch access door for cleaning out the front of the keel. This area used to collect a lot of water, but since sealing the windows and the bowsprit along with the lack of sweating it has been bone dry for 3 weeks. None the less thought it was good to be able to check it quickly and easily in the future. As you can see I used hurricane straps to connect the 2x4 supports to the bulkhead. I am not sure how they will hold up, but once the rest was done they were redundant so I will watch and see.   

Skagway Train Trip

So Lance and Mary came to visit us here in good old Juneau, and as per classic Juneau, it rained most of the time. LOL. We did get some decent weather but for the most part it is now fall up here, the rains have returned and the trees are beginning to loose their leaves. While they were here we did some pretty classic tourist things, ie lots of fish and chips. Halibut is so good when its deep fried! Also while they were here we went on a trip to Skagway. This is just north about 150 miles in the back of a glacial cut fjord. As a child we went there a few times, rode the train and even hiked the Chilkoot trail with my scout troop. This trip was to do some window shopping and for a train ride. Woohoo, Choo Choo!!! I love trains! Sarah and her folks had never been to Skagway so it was exciting for them to see a different area. I am continuously amazed how much the land changes in such a short distance. The types of trees, ground cover (or lack there of) and the general geology is so vastly different from our soggy moss covered forests of huge evergreen trees. The weather in general was decent, high overcast, but no rain, so that was good. Temps averaged around 55 and got chillier in the passes. I have a  friend of mine who said the very next week those same passes got dusted with their first snow of the year, here it comes! So anyways, going to post up some pics of the train ride and such and will explain along the way. All aboard that are going aboard!
Mountain view from the ferry of Eagle (left) and Herbert (right) glaciers on the north end of Juneau
Lance and I hanging outside, enjoying a nice break in the weather and the views
I love the mist moving through the peaks, seriously rugged country up there
One of hundreds of waterfalls along the way, this one is really large though, some drops of 100ft. or more
It really amazes me this place we live, like a national park everywhere I look
Eldrid Rock Lighthouse, quite the establishment in the middle of nowhere
Sarah in front of the largest snow blower ever! It is now decommissioned, but it used to right the tracks and clear the snow, drifts of 20 ft or more!
The snow blower in its entirety
The family in front of a classic icon of Skagway. Pretty sure my folks have pics of me and my sister in the same place. lol
Looking down through the trestle as we pass over it. Exciting
 One of my favorite shots, shows the steep elevation of the area and some awesome geology.
 This is shot from a moving platform at full telephoto, so not so clear, but not too bad
 An old trestle no longer used, sure glad its in really bad shape
The trail of  '98, look carefully and you can see the gold seekers foot trail in the ravine.
 The border. We were not allowed to leave the train and this is where the engine was disconnected and put on the other end of the train and down we went.
 View down into the ravine under the old not used trestle!
 This is the replacement trestle and a nice view point to catch the train and the mountains in the background
As always I was intrigued by the local geology and found these rocks of particular interest. It looks natural to a point but some later views showed that possibly they dug into this for mines, also not a bad place to set up camp!
Sorry for duplicate

So there has been some issues with this post, things double, don't show up and delete one and everything is gone, so this is the best I could get it, couldn't remove the double sheep shot, it is supposed to be a different one, also formatting is totally out of my control, so anyhoo here it is. Figured enough trying to fix it, just post it.
The trip was awesome, love the area and the train ride. Really glad we got to experience it and was great to travel with Lance and Mary. We at our fill of Fish and Chips while they were here and Lance and I had  venison burgers  made from the dear I helped haul out last fall with a friend of mine in Sitka. Tasty!!

So anyways, there ya go, good trip for all and a safe return.

August 21, 2011


Holy smokes! Sarah and I have taken the first step in following a dream we have had since we first met. Fifteen years later and we are now the proud owners of a 1967 30' Rawson sailboat. We are nervous, excited and just a weeee bit stressed out. Ha ha ha. We plan to live on it and cut down some of our overhead, allowing us to pursue other dreams that will require more capital than we are able to pull together while renting a large house and all its utilities.
The hull is fiberglass, hand build as part of a short series, but still basically a production boat. The designer is Gardner and he and Rawson designed and built several different boats, from sailboats to gillnetters. The Rawson name is recognized as a good builder and the reviews online are very favorable so we feel we made a good choice.

The boat is however older than I am, so like me it is a bit rough around the edges and needs some TLC. The hull as far as we can tell seems to be in great shape, will need to be hauled next summer and some bottom paint etc done, but all in all good condition. The motor is an inboard Westerbeke 4 cylinder. Due to no hours used gauge or log book we have no idea how many hours the motor has on it, but it start and runs smooth. That will be a project for next year or so, in the mean time I will be focusing on the interior and details. It has a head, galley, v-berth and a salon area. The salon, or kitchen table, has been removed to create another double bunk so that will have to be rebuilt, but first comes the v-berth so that we have somewhere to sleep. Most of the wood used in the boat interior has only been painted, not sealed for the most part, so first step was removal of the old. I completely gutted the berth and prepared the interior of the hull for insulation. I am following the advice of another blog,  the Frugal Mariner link, as far as the insulation and wall reconstruction. Due to my living in isolated Alaska I will have some differences as far as materials. I am using the Reflectix material as a base and looking at polystyrene sheets for my second layer. I am unable to locate a source for bulk camping pad material such as he used. Also this is a bit thicker and so will only due one layer of each, also it is considerably cheaper! I also will be doing my final wall installs slightly different in an attempt to save some money and time, also to not give up too much space as our boat is smaller than his and I am hoping to retain as much cubic feet of living as possible. In place of the single bunk I will be putting a customized double bunk with individual storage and hanging for cloths on either side. As I progress along I will post pictures and show the developments. Should be a fun ride! So on to the pics and more explanations......

This is a pic of the outside after finishing our first day of cleaning on the boat, beautiful night for waterfront property. Ha ha ha
Sorry a bit blurry, but she does so much love her boat!
So one of my first issues is fixing the broken window above the controls, it is really smashed and leaks some when it rains heavy. The doors are original and in satisfactory condition, I will be working on them next summer to make a better seal and  such. They used to be Dutch doors and I have thought to re-create that in the replacements.
V-berth looking forward to anchor locker space. This is how we found it just after the prior owner moved off. The anchor locker space we are planning to use as a kitty cubby, we don't want to introduce the anchor line and all its moisture etc into our living quarters, so it will be stored on deck in a plastic tub. This will give the cats a place to hangout and call their own, maybe underfoot just a little less. lol
Looking to the port side of the v-berth. As you will notice the entire thing is sealed in a single layer of Reflectix and as I work on it there will be replacement, and increased usage. This will get covered with poly sheets and then a plastic sheeting used in commercial kitchens (virtually indestructible) and ultimately trimmed with wood for a nice warm glow and feeling.
Looking towards starboard v-berth. As you will notice they have used standard household carpet to line this wall, this is the first thing I tore out. Also as stated earlier, wood they used for shelves etc is mostly untreated and I gutted that also, you will notice the rotted black wood in this stack. Once all that was removed the boat took on a whole new feeling, cleaner!
This is the galley, the stove/oven is a Dickenson and seems in good shape. The top is old and bit rusted so if anyone has tips on doing a good strip down cleaning and re-sealing would be great. I figure its cast iron so do it like a pan, although pretty hard to temper it in the oven as I would a pan. Suggestions appreciated. Also notice the box of Potato Buds, a gift found down behind the oven. Yuck!
This is the head, looking over toilet at the cupboard build into the ceiling (on boats the wall are ceilings)

Mirror, counter and sink of the head
Cupboards open, as you can see lots of storage here too. 
This is what is left of half of the salon area. The bench is still there, back rest is gone and cushions are gone, so a bit of work will be going on here. The refer is under the bench and is fairly new and in great shape.
Looking aft at the salon area and berth/storage under the cockpit. This too had some original carpet on the walls and I have removed it in prep of future work. As you can see the headliner is in pretty good shape and just need to reattach in some areas where the screws stripped out. 
Starboard just aft of the galley, two person couch (that is the flat panel heater that came with the boat) behind that another large storage area. The electrical was all replaced and run through a few years ago and conveniently placed in this panel.
Well, this isn't pretty, but it had to be done. After first day of tear out this blue bulkhead and the old wood panelling on the wall came out, the fiberglass was scraped, and cleaned and prepared for new insulation.
So now that the area is stripped and ready I will come in and do the insulation. More pics to come and hope everyone enjoys seeing the beginning and end of our boat project, at least enough to be able to move in a little over a month from now. Till then......

August 15, 2011

Summer goes by so fast

So the summer has been moving along really quick now that I am up and active. Spent most of my time working on the set for Perseverance Theater summer STAR show. The plays were Beauty and the Beast (jr.) and James and the Giant Peach. The cast are kids involved with the summer acting camp and their shows alternate nightly and share the same stage. That was a challenge for the technical director and his assistant, yours truly. We built a two story pentagon shaped gazebo that represented the east tower in Beauty and also the peach. This was accomplished by different backdrops being hung inside, around or behind as needed. We also put in a trap door to the second floor and removable ladder for James, and two hidden ladders on the back for the cast to ascend the structure. The uprights were constructed of 13 foot 2x6 ripped at 36 degrees on one side so that when glued and nailed together they created the main support. Under the second floor were 5 foot versions of the same design attached to the inside of the 13 footers and gave us a place to rest the joist system on. Then all joists were bolted and hung by joist brackets as any deck would be, but with the twist that no two sides are parallel to each other. In the center we mounted a 4x4 for structural support. The whole thing was amazingly stable and we joked about selling it to someone for their garden. Unfortunately to remove it means to destroy it. So no sale.
The gazebo
Although difficult to see, we put a fake roof on it and mimicked the pentagon shape in the center
 The other side of the stage was a progression of platforms elevating to a height of 4 feet. We mounted step for each level. Rather simple in design but yet challenging to keep it safe and sturdy.
So Sunday was strike day and I snapped these shots just before demolition began, now after another day of clean-up and trimming at the shop the entire set is nothing more than lumber waiting for the next show. Ah, the life of theater!