I wanted to add a few updates about all the work we’ve been doing, or having done, on the boat in these last couple of weeks.

 

First of all, we got our mainsail from Easy Swissa, the sailmaker.  We first had to get a system of tracks installed for hoisting the sail.  We sailed up to Herzliya which is the largest marina in Israel and the location of the sailmaking workshop.  A sailmaker’s shop is called a loft, btw.  We had to go up there because the European WIndsurfing championships are taking place in the Tel Aviv marina.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a windsurfing competition before, but I’ll guess that you haven’t, because who watches windsurfing?  Anyway, because of the competition, the marina management wouldn’t allow any trucks such as might carry sails into the marina.  So, we had to go up to Herzliya – yes, named after that Herzl – for the day.

 

The hoisting mechanism is made by a company called Facnor.  It sounds a lot like you’re saying fuck no when you say it aloud – maybe just in Israel.  The Facnor system uses little sliders (the sliding [duh] parts that attach to the sail every couple feet to guide it up and down the mast) which have little tank-like treads for extra zippiness. Easy’s guys couldn’t get the system installed onto the mast when we went up there.  There was lots of futzng about.  The old sliders go into the mast, attach from the back to the new rails, which hold the new sliders for the length of the mast.  So, we sailed back down, now with our sails piled on the deck, so that they could try another day.

 

To tell he truth, we were rather dubious of Easy’s skills.  The fuck up of day one of the installation didn’t help.  But then he and his guys came through and we had our mainsail and rigging system set up.  So now we are a real, live sailboat.  That’s a real nice feeling.     

 

We also had our anchor chain fixed.  First, there were some rusty links that needed to be cut off by Duba.  Duba is the old operator of the boatyard.  He looks a little like the stone giant in the neverending story, and I feel like we found him in a likewise manner.  He has a shop up outside of the marina that we didn’t even know existed until someone pointed us towards him.  He’s a real cool guy; old enoug to be bald with a big belly but still youthful enough to drive a scooter and wear straw cowboy hats.  

 

How did we take out the chain to cut these first links off?  That’s a very astute question, dear reader.  You are probably remembering the adage that nothing is simple when it comes to boats.  We first thought of moving the boat to the cement pier across th way in order to bring out the anchor chain onto the dock and cut it there.  Then, Duba had a flash of inspiration; why move the boat at all?  We attached a rope to chain, pulled it over to concrete pier across the way.  He cut off links with angle grinder.  (I have got to get me one of those some day)  Then he replaced the super rusty connecting link with a new one.  We couldn’t figure out why all the links in the chain were good after the first few until you came to this one that was just rotted out.  It turns out that this one was the old connector link which wasn’t a suitable metal.

 

Speaking of suitable metal. all marine stainless steel is called nirosta here.  It is, I believe, grade 316 stainless steel.  You need that extra bit of chromium to stave off corrosion, apparently.  It also costs an arm and a leg, which only contributes to the sucking hole in a boater’s pocketbook. Seriously, hose clamps made of nirosta go for $5 or $6 a pop at the local marine store.  For a single hose clamp!

 

Moving on, we had an inverter added, under the nav station chair.  (under which is stored all sorts of goodies, like our first aid kit). Because our installation was done by Mo, who is expensive, but tp-of-the-line, we have the expensive model of inverter which provides true sine wave for DC > AC conversion.  This is the type of inverter the CarTalk guys ask you to write contest submissions on.    We can now charge things like the computer or our phones off of battery power, using an outlet.

 

The we also had a kick-ass new stereo installed by Mo’s partner Shmulich.  It actually plays off any device you can stick into its usb port.  I was totally stoked to be able to plug my music into it on a flashdrive and not have to worry about changing CDs.  Now, the audio is all set up, with the fader to control whether the sound goes to salon vs.  cockpit.  There’s also a switch to shut off audio to aft cabin.  Without this switch you wouldn’t be able to have music in the cockpit (outside) without also blasting it in the aft cabin.  It’s a strange little system, but it actually replaces a pretty messed up system.  And it works.  

 

We bought some electronic charts for the chartplotter.  The chartplotter is an electronic machine that we have that displays radar information, GPS coordinates and shows our posiiton on a map of varying detail.  To add detail in certain areas, one has to buy a chip that plugs into the front of the box.  The chip has the extra “zoom” layers of the map that one needs to get into and out of ports and avoid shipwrecks, reefs and boulders, but not manatees.  These chips were handed to me directly by a messenger on my pier.  We didn’t say a word to each other, but he must have ssen me getting off the boat.  Anyway, now we have electronic charts covering all the way to Western edge of Morocco.  

 

Ordered paper charts.  Hoping they come soon, like before we leave.  British saleswomen were something less than confidence-inspiring.  [update: they then sent me an email saying that all the charts save one (whaaaaa?) were on their way and that the other would arrive after our departure date.  Well, gee, thanks.]  {also, they have the worst e-commerce website evar}

 

EPIRB = Wall DecorationWe also got an EPIRB, an emergency locator beacon, programmed with our specific information.  It’s the last thing you grab on your way out of the sinking boat.  We had questions for the Australian manufacturer because of a lack of our Unique Indentification Number on the unit itself.  But, rest assured, all is well.  We’ve registered it with the (U.S.) Federal Communications Commission, or as it is more commonly referred to at Christian Slater fan club meetings, “The Man”.  So, if we activate it, it will send a distress signal out to the pertinent rescue agency so fast we won’t have time for a game of pinochle in our liferaft.    

 

Speaking of which, and we mustn’t speak to often of such things as liferafts and EPIRBs, (if you’re hip to the lingo, you just say ee-purb, like you were about to say something in Latin, but then thought better of it) we also received our SPOT messenger device today in the FedEx box (amazingly they are the first result if one ogles “spot”).  You should be saying yay! right now becaus this neat little device will broadcast our location when we tell it to and link to Google Maps.  Soon enough, and I’ll let you know as son as I do, you’ll be able to track the progress of the good ship Tocayo down to a few dozen meters on at least a daily basis.  We’ll turn the device on, it shoots the message up into space (using lazers, I think) and, presto, it appears on a webpage that you can access at work or in your home office.

 

That last one is really cool.  If you haven’t grasped the coolness, please look at their website for further details.   

It has taken me some time to write this post.  In the time between when i started and when I’m going to publish it, we’ve done some addition work.  LED lamps were installed all over the interior.  Mo tells us to “Leeve them on!” all the time.  They hardly consume any electricity and they don’t look bad at all.  In fact, the main cabin trio of lights has actually been made palatable by the switchover.  

Yariv came over to try to clean the furl tank.  We discovered that we have more fuel in our tank than we thought.  This is above and beyond the fact that we didn’t/ don’t know how much fuel is in the tank thanks to a broken fuel gauge.  Also, if you’ve never seen a siphon work, you’re in for a treat.

Yariv also took me out to a great hardware store where we bought a bunch of tools so that we can continue to add, remove, screw around with, hack and mangle things on board.

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