Sunday, May 28, 2006

Well, we've discovered the true meaning of "cold as a barn"...when the temperature dropped outside it did the same in the barn, and it was intolerable to work with heavy coats and gloves, so nothing of note was accomplished from late November od '05 until late April.
We did take a week's vacation in April to check out the East coast for retirement, starting on Chesapeake Bay (too shallow and too remote, at least where we could afford), moving down to Norfolk/Virginia Beach where we were stationed when I was on the USS Harry E. Yarnell (CG17) - now razor blades - but the traffic and development was beyond our expectations (looked at a "tidewater" lot of 1/4 acre near Suffolk for $800K and couldn't stop laughing), and then down into North Carolina. Edenton was charming, but too small and remote; New Bern was to our liking but had no beaches for grandchildren; but the Wilmington area was just about right. We'll be looking for a place later this year. After all, the property values aren't going anywhere except up.
Since the weather has warmed up I put tarps over the work areas in the loft to keep the bird crap and bat droppings off the areas that I habitate. I also have pretty well inventoried all the equipment and wood that we took out of the boat. While in Norfolk, Barb and I hooked up with Jim McLean, a Navy petty officer who lives on his Westsail 32 "Victoria" when he's not deployed on USS Normandy. Jim gave us a detailed tour of his love and it afforded us an opportunity to look at some construction details and upgrades that aren't obvious from the Westsail construction manual. We also had a long lunch with Fred and Kitty Phillips, former owners of the Westsail 32 "Mariah". The Phillips had just returned to the States after selling "Mariah" in Brindisi, Italy, after living aboard and cruising for ten years. "Mariah" was very well-equipped and we learned a lot from our discussions, and hopefully Barb gained some confidence from Kitty's sea stories.
With nearly the full month of May already gone, I've stripped down the old Volvo Penta diesel (it's nearly a block of rust) and prepared it to be pulled out. The trick will be the overhead beam we need to rig up in the barn so that we can suspend the chain hoist over the engine room hatch. It should take two moves: one straight up over the deck, where we'll block it into place temporarily while we reposition the hoist over the port side, then a second lift over the side and lowering down to the floor of the barn. Stay tuned for highlights and photos in the next few weeks!