Making Merry on a Boat: Advent Calendar


Paper Envelope Advent
Originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita

Even though we may very well be on land for next Christmas this *felt* like our last land-based Christmas and so I think that made us more into the holidays. I'll post a few of the ways we celebrated.

We started with 24 paper envelopes pinned to a ribbon tied to our grab rail over the salon. Each day was numbered from Dec 1 to 24th.

Examples of the fillings:
- LED lights to hang in the salon
- Many, many chocolates
- Instructions to send ourselves an email in the future using
- Trivia Pursuit cards
- A crossword puzzle
- Holiday drinks (Estrellitas, coffee with Baileys)

- Livia

6 months to go

In the spirit of "only 6 months to go" I spent a few hours over the last few days upgrading our website. We have a countdown calendar which is exciting because as I type this it is reading 180 days.

6 months to cutting the docklines - can you believe it? Now *that* is a Christmas present I can enjoy.

Tentative plans include spending the first year cruising all over from the Queen Charlottes to Seattle including the W Coast of Vancouver Island and the parts of the San Juans and Gulf Islands that we haven't already seen, or want to see again.

Then...south. Mexico. At least we think so. We'll be well into "playing things by ear" by then.

The Great Locker Insulation Project


RFOIL insulation project
Originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita

We are insulating all of our lockers with RFOIL (foil-bubble wrap-bubble wrap-foil).

Bleach wash down, followed by methyl hydrate clean up, RFOIL cut in sections and held down with double sided contractor strength carpet tape, insulation tape sealing pieces and sides.

Wish us luck in beating the condensation this winter.

How do you know if you have caught a fish?

While we were off the West Coast of Vancouver Island and I was on watch, I felt like the boat had slowed down a touch. The wind was the same and I spent about 30 minutes trying to tweak the sails to regain the lost quarter or half knot. Carol came up and I complained to him that we had slowed down and he looked backwards at our trailing line and hook and yelled "FISH!"

I feel ready for some kind of zen master sailing award now (snort).

- Livia

Full Enclosure

We recently had a full enclosure added to our existing dodger. I don't have a great picture of the full enclosure but here are the preliminary photos.

Our original dodger:

Dodger removed and bimini bars added to stern rails:

Dodger back on and bimini canvas added:

Dodger, bimini and connector panel - the plastic on the back is the fitting of the full enclosure:

Here is the full enclosure as they were adding the snaps on the deck. The extra sunbrella is still covering the strataglas at this point:

We'll post a finished photo later.

Aft cabin


Scoping out the inverter install
Originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita

This is our spacious aft cabin, recently cleared out and scrubbed to a shine. We have our first two sets of out of town visitors* coming this summer. Yay!

Carol is scoping out the installation of our new inverter...FYI ;)

*OK, my parents have stayed over several times so I guess these are our first fly-in, non-family guests.

Single handing

I single handed from Friday Harbor, WA across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend, WA and then to Edmonds, WA. I left Carol at the customs dock in Friday Harbor after we sailed there the night before and cleared customs and anchored out in the harbor:

Here is the fog bank I hit in the first few hours:

I should have gone back to Friday Harbor and waited it out but I thought I would go "through it". Of course, there is no "through it". There is more fog. So with radar, my fog horn, and Navsim electronic charting software I navigated into MacKay Harbor. Here is the bank of the harbor from where I dropped anchor in fog:

And out of fog:

The fog lifted and I crossed the Strait anticlimactically. No wind and a sunny motor to Port Townsend where I dropped anchor for the second time that day by myself. I spent a nice night there and then motored in no wind to Kingston where I did a touch-and-go pick up of my father at Kingston and he helped me dock in Edmonds, WA.

Overall single handing was pivotal. I feel more in control of the boat and a lot more confident in my own skills. Although the fog was an unnecessary risk not to be repeated, it showed me how much I've learned about radar and navigation generally. I have a sense of where and in what conditions I can anchor by myself and at least "un-dock" the boat by myself which I did several times.

- Livia

We are now SUPREME


Manson Supreme, originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita.

We have a brand spanking new anchor - a 45lb Manson Supreme. We tested it out last weekend at the beautiful Sucia Island Marine Park in eel grass and mud and it set so quickly, so well, it was frightening.

We are looking forward to trying it in other bottoms and in less settled conditions. We oversized the anchor two sizes for peace of mind and safety. A 25lb is sized for 25-35 foot boats and two sizes up is the 45lb for 40-45 foot boats.

New kayak


New kayak
Originally uploaded by ontogeny

We love our inflatable kayak from West Marine so far. We bought the stiffer of the two versions, in a two person and included the backbone. It tracks well for an inflatable. We spent half a day paddling around "together" but with one paddle. Carol took it for a late afternoon paddle the next day.

Sail drive clean up

Our zincs were eaten down to a scary level despite having checked them visually with our underwater camera a month ago. In addition, we hadn't known which type of anti-fouling to put on the aluminum saildrive and maxprop last year and so they had spent a year in the water without and the drive and prop had barnacles on them.

Before work but after high pressure wash and knocking off the barnacles:

We sanded the saildrive to the aluminum and put 5 coats of Primocon on it:

Then we put two coats of Trilux II anti-fouling on the saildrive, replaced the zincs, sanded the max prop and put 3 coats of Petit Barnacle Barrier on the prop.


Much better. We'll see how it lasts over the next year and whether we have barnacles growing at the next haulout.

During the process we found out that neither Primocon nor Trilux are legal in spray cans to sell in Canada. We had a partial can of Primocon which did the job and we had to buy the Trilux in a liquid paint form and ended up with a large enough can that will go bad before we use it all.


We ordered pizza to the boat. I can't believe they deliver to us. First, there was a silly and fun factor to having someone knock on the side of our hull and for us to climb out of the boat to receive our pizzas. Plus, we live a long way out in the marina.

The round trip is more than half a mile. I occasionally bring my bike to the boat so I can ride down the docks and save time especially when I have groceries or books that I can stow in my panniers. (satellite view)

We tipped nicely.

Odyssey PC1800


Mock battery
Originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita

We are considering adding the new Odyssey batteries as we re-do our battery bank. These batteries have the amazing characteristic of accepting the same full charge rate when they are 80% charged as they do when 50% charged.

We created a cardboard mock up of one of the PC1800s which we will be using to see if we can fit 2 in the place that the current batteries are. We will certainly have to destroy the old box and rebuild but if we measured correctly, might be able to fit two of these.



Originally uploaded by S/V Estrellita

When we left our house in Colorado, we kept our 8" deep memory foam mattress (a Tempurapedic knock off) which Carol subsequently cut into the correct sizes for the v-berth. It cuts into our headroom but it is so very fantastically comfortable.

To alleviate condensation issues we recently purchased Hypervent which Livia wrestled into place and cut so that it goes under the v-berth and up the sides. At the same time she re-sealed and varnished all of the wood underneath the v-berth which looked good but had been getting consistently wet and she bleached out the mattress to make sure it didn't get funky.

So far this seems to have improved the condensation but not eliminated it. Really, we need to improve the ventilation.

We've ordered special EC Smith and Sons solar vents which fit our existing Ventilite flush vents on the foredeck and we will be installing those soon. One of the few real downsides of the Pretorien design is that ventilation with the stock vents is not enough.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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