December 14 – 31, 2021
When we tied the boat in Jacksonville, after a really fast ride offshore from Charleston, we needed to celebrate a bit, so we chose a really good Thai restaurant downtown. It was not only good, it was beautifully decorated! Check the entrance!!!
Downtown Jax is really pretty with all the lights on the bridges, but it’s a very quiet downtown (apparently only when there’s no game!). We walked around the city and enjoyed our 3 days of free docking! It’s pretty amazing that the city offers 3 days of free docking on really nice concrete floating docks with electricity. Other places would charge well over 100$/night for such nice docks. The other amazing thing is that we were almost the only one there! We only met one other sailboat. We had the place to ourselves!
While in Jax, we started making plans for a haul out (I’ll let Remy explain below). We made a few calls, and Holland Marine said : “Sure, we have a spot for you, but our hauling out schedule is getting pretty full before the holidays, can you be here tomorrow?” YES SIR!!!! We looked at the tide table and left the dock that night, so we could get under the main street bridge outside of rush hours, and get an early start the next morning with the incoming tide. We had a smooth motoring ride to Green Cove Springs, and were welcomed by the Holland Marine crew, as well as the neighbors parrots. One of them wished us a Merry Christmas a little early (apparently that’s what this one repeats all year long…)
Sage was hauled the next day, bottom was washed (stuff grows fast in warm waters!!!), and she quickly stood on her new legs. We had to release the backstay for the travelift to grab her properly… Remy didn’t enjoy that part, but all went well. The yard people did a very professional job in my perspective. Ok enough of my point of view, Remy wants to explain our motivation for the haul out.
We have sailed almost 3000 miles since we put the boat in the water and left Quebec city early this summer. The engine ran almost 300 hours, without a glitch.
That, I know, is a lot of motoring… but apparently, it is to be expected when going south on the east coast in November.
The only issue we had with the engine is an annoying vibration; nothing alarming… but annoying nonetheless. The engine setup on sage is pretty straightforward: Perkins 4.108 -> Hurth transmission -> solid flange coupling -> 30mm shaft running through a PSS shaft seal -> MaxProp feathering propeller.
At low RPM, everyone was happy… but when increasing throttle above 2000 RPM, things started to get noisy, and the engine was shaking on its mounts. It was not that bad; since we can easily make a good 5.5 knots at that RPM, but running the engine at low speed all the time can cause some issues on the long run. Also, the vibration could damage to the prop strut that we just repaired. Moreover, it became obvious that the PSS seal was having a hard time keeping up with the oscillating shaft, and there was an occasional mist of sea water spraying into the bilge. Something had to be done… at some point.
That vibration was either caused by the engine not being aligned properly, or by a bent shaft. Since it’s Magalie who aligned the engine before we put the boat in the water – I knew this was unlikely the cause, and because we had some time to spend in Florida, and since there is many resources available in the area – machine shops, boatyards, etc. – we thought it would be a good time to pull the shaft, measure it, and figure things out.
It turns out – the shaft was bent… quite a bit.
So we are getting a new shaft machined, the coupling faced and we’ll re-align the engine; hopefully the vibrations will be gone.
But… since we are at it (tant qu’à y être), there are a lot of other small jobs that we could tackle while on the hard. Let’s seize the moment to do it!
Amazingly, the anti-fouling paint is still OK! Except for a small spot on the daggerboard, even after 4 years, it is still looking good. Thanks cold water!
You probably all know by now that our dodger had a hard time with the freezing-thawing cycles last winter… well, it is getting worse; we fixed the parts that cracked open with some epoxy, but now that the interior is wet, we have mushrooms popping out from underneath, ants building nests in it, and so on. As much as we liked that dodger, it is damaged to the point where repairing it is no longer possible. We keep brainstorming about what will be the dodger 2.0… but we can’t make up our minds yet. It’s such a world of compromise…
Since we’re in Green Cove, we had the chance to visit with old sailor friends from Jacksonville, see St-Augustine, the beach, get infested with ants, fix a few things on the boat, try to get rid of the ants, receive Remy’s brother Marc-André in our non-floating-home, visit my family in Mc Alpin, visit Hector in Gainesville, harvest some grapefruits, and many more fun things to come (as we are still waiting on the new shaft, well, it’s the holidays for machine shop people too I guess).
And then, we went back to McAlpin to spend Christmas with my family in the woods…
So you may be wondering, how the hell do we get around to do all those things? Well…. TADA!!!!!!
We borrowed a minivan!
There’s a lot to say on the subject of life’s generosity with us these days… Rosanne, one of my sailing friends from Jax, offered us this minivan while we are here! Simply put, she said ‘we have more cars than drivers, so you can enjoy this one as long as you are here!’ Isn’t it generously generous? It makes a huge difference for us. We can go from being ‘mad sailors hitching to get back on the water’ to being ‘happy tourists enjoying Florida’ or feeling like ‘real snowbirds’! Whichever one, it’s sooooo convenient to have the van, and we are most thankful for it! Gracias Rosanne!!!!
Slime my dinghy!
Another successful project we did during the holiday was to fix the dinghy. So to make a long story short, the dinghy (the tiny boat we use to go to shore when we’re at anchor) is an inflatable one, but it’s been leaking air forever, and we’ve tried to glue the leaks a million times without success. One day, back in Baddeck, NS, Daniel (from S/V la Familiale) told us that his friend George (from S/V Minaha) had the same problem and he fixed it with some kind of silicone glue that he spread on from the inside of his zodiak. Later speaking with George, he tried to remember the name of that magical product, but he couldn’t think of it. So Remy researched it for hours and hours, but the closest thing he got across was ‘slime tire sealant’. You know that lime green slimy stuff they sell in auto part stores?
Well… Hell! Let’s give this a try! (But honestly, we were not sure at all if this was a good idea or not…)
So here we are, scratching our heads, wondering how we’re going to do this. First little problem, there’s water in the tube. Yeah duh! If air can come out, water can certainly come in too! For this, we used the vacuum pump to suck all water out, and it went surprisingly well!
Second, we let the dinghy sit in the sun for 1-2 hours, in the hopes to dry it as much as possible, by deflating and re-inflating it a few times.
Third, we deflated the front tube completely, hung the dinghy nose down, and injected the full gallon of slime into the valve, carefully making sure the slime was not touching the valve. Then we squished the nose on itself with our hands and feet in order to spread the slime on all surfaces of the front (where we knew the many leakssss were). Then we inflated it again, full pressure, and the boys flipped the boat in all directions, in the hopes to spread the leftover slime evenly without clogging the valve. And then… we prayed to the dinghy god to be kind with us and grant us a miracle.
So far, the dinghy has not deflated a single bit! We must be living a good life (or as my mom says : on est nés sous une bonne étoile!)
On new years’ eve, it was the last day of free recharges for Marc-Andre’s Tesla, so we drove (and I got to drive the powerful machine for a part of the way! Woohoo!!!) to the beach in Crystal River, and spent the evening in Gainesville! I love that town, it changed A LOT in the last 10 years, it feels bigger, but it’s still an awesome little place.
On this, we want to wish y’all – friends, family, sailors and land lovers – a happy, healthy, funny and salty 2022. We wish you the freedom and courage to live the life your heart longs for.