Still working

by Chuck February 13, 2009

I'm still working on Odyssey. Slowly, but things are happening.

Here's what I've done since my last entry:

  • Finished drying out the cabin.
  • Removed the bulkheads from the back of the cabin so I could get to the winch.
  • Bought new hardware for attaching the winch.
  • Attached the new winch using new stainless hardware and larger fender washers.
  • Removed the teak companionway slides, the cabin-top hatch slides, and the grab rails.
  • Scrubbed all the teak with fresh water, Oxy-Clean, and fresh water again.
  • Sanded the teak smooth.

That's pretty much it. I've got a few pictures that I took when I started, so hopefully I'll be able to show the difference when I'm done. The difference between the teak when I started and when I finished is hard to believe. But boy will it look good when I put it back on.



Hatch: a new plan

by Chuck January 23, 2009

Off and on for the last week I've been working on building a new hatch for Odyssey. The old one is three pieces of yucky wood screwed to two other pieces of yucky wood with dry wall screws. Not the most "yachty" looking hatch I've ever seen.

I have a picture in my head of what I want the new hatch to look like, but I wasn't sure when I started if I could get anywhere near that picture. Now that I've been working on it for a week I'm thinking I'm gonna get pretty darn close.




The new project list

by Chuck November 16, 2008

Sitting in quiet contemplation on the deck of my sailboat, I came up with a list of projects. Some old, some new, but all things that would improve our days on Odyssey.

Here are the things that I'm realistically going to get done this winter:

  • Clean the cockpit.
  • Clean the cabin.
  • Swab the decks.
  • Clean the green scum off the mast and mast fittings.
  • Put the new winch in.
  • Clean, sand and oil the hatch slides.
  • Clean, sand and oil the door slides.
  • Clean, sand and oil the cabin-top grab rails
  • Fill the holes on the sides of the cockpit where fittings have been removed.
  • Build a new door for the companionway.

Here are the things that I'd like to do, but really, what're the chances that I'll actually get them done?

  • Get a new main sheet.
  • Replace the other lines on the boom (outhaul, downhaul).
  • Get the line I need for a jib downhaul.
  • Replace the old, ugly cleats with new, shiny stainless steel cleats.
  • Replace the lifelines.
  • Put on a real stern ladder.
  • Sew new cushions for the cabin.
  • Put in an electrical system that actually works.

I'm sure that there's more. There always is.



Clearing the decks

by Chuck November 15, 2008

Time to get started on this project. The new back door of the barn is down, the new lights in the barn are on, and the football game is on the radio (the Seahawks are getting beat by Arizona). It's time to get to work.

The first thing I want to do is get the mast off the deck so that I can raise the poptop and generally work on deck without worrying about slipping on the stays. So out come the cotter pins holding the stays and Dana and I lift the mast off the boat and slide it under the boat onto the trailer for storage. It's a bit of a bother slipping it in and getting it to lay so that the spreaders aren't tripping hazards, but under the boat is the only place I can keep the mast inside the barn where it won't be even more in the way.

Once the mast was off the boat I dug out the poptop supports and raised the roof on the boat. It's pretty gunky under the edges, but with the top up I have almost standing head room. The only place I bump my head is on the support loops -- that means I'm bound to give myself a good crack at least once during this project.

That's all I got done today, I spent a good long time just looking around deciding on what I want to get done. But I'll leave that list to another post.



Once more into the barn

by Chuck November 14, 2008

We finished putting the new roll-up barn door on the back end of the barn, so I am finally free to move Odyssey to the barn and go to work on her. It only took a few minutes work to hook her up to the truck and back her down into the barn.

So now she's nestled down under cover this winter, tucked into the barn in the only position that works: We can get into the tool stall and the storage stall by slipping past the bow, and the rabbit's stall is accessible past the stern.

The best part is that we can slip the tractor our the back of the barn if we need to, which means I'll be able to store Odyssey in the barn all winter and get some real work done on her.

Unfortunately, it's late on a busy day and I'm not up for much more than moving her over here. But tomorrow is free...



Winch removal

by Chuck October 14, 2008

Today I took my tools to the boat and tore into the old winch in a difficult yet ultimately successful effort to remove it.

I removed the fuse and switch block from the aft bulkhead so I could remove the bulkhead. Once the bulkhead was down I had a clear view of the winch and the two honking big bolts that hold it in place.

I'd purchased a large screwdriver a couple of weeks ago just for this purpose. Between the screwdriver and a socket wrench with a wobbly I backed the nuts off the bolts, the factory bolts were aircraft nuts so they gripped tightly the entire way.

After the winch was free I needed to get the cable off the drum, and that meant finding a way to turn the drum. And since the drum freezing up and not turning was why I was in here removing the winch in the first place I needed to put a little thought into the process.

Eventually I took the whole face of the winch apart and took the gears out of the winch. When the last one came free the drum started moving and I was able to remove the cable with only a small fight from the nut and bolt holding the cable to the drum.

Next up, putting the new winch back into the boat.

For your viewing pleasure here's the old winch and the new winch side-by-side:

Odyssey's old and new winch.



We're back

by Chuck July 12, 2008

So I was right when I wrote in my last entry "I think that's it for the year."

Building the house, moving, and the fair took a lot of time, and Odyssey didn't make it into the water last year at all. That's the bad side, the good side is that's why I have a trailerable sailboat, a whole year of sitting around didn't cost me a dime in slip fees.

This summer I not only cleaned Odyssey up but I took her out for a day on the water. Unfortunately not a sail, but a day on the water.

Spring was very late in the Puget Sound region this year, it stayed wet and raining into late June. I managed to get out on a couple of the nice days to wash Odyssey down and drain the water from the bilges, but that was all for the early part of the year. Getting the green off was a big win, but this year I was determined to sail, so we started looking for a day.

Late in June (the weekend of the 21st) it looked like we'd have a chance, so I sent Dana out to get the license for the boat and trailer renewed. But because it was still the 2007 sticker year, if she bought the $25.00 license sticker it would only have been good until the 30th, and then I would need a 2008 sticker. We decided to put off the first sail into July.

The first weekend in July we were on vacation (Hawaii!), so that meant sailing was off until the second weekend. And gosh darn it I was going to go out.

Saturday I did chores around the house so that I would have Sunday to sail. Then Sunday early I started loading up the boat with all required gear: anchor, sails, lines, cushions, towels, it just goes on and on. However, the motor started, I found new flares at the local hardware store, the brake lights worked after a little fiddling, and the trailer tires weren't too flat. We were off.

The drive to the launch ramp in Everett was a bit scary, the boat and trailer seemed to be a bit squirly. Turned out I'd forgotten to strap the back of the boat down, so Odyssey was bouncing on the trailer a bit. But we got safely to the launch ramp and putting the mast up went smoothly, even though I'd also forgotten my new mast-raising stick. Faster than we thought possible we were in the water and motoring away from the dock into a fairly fresh, and welcome, sailing breeze.

It was a fairly standard run down to the mouth of the Snohomish -- lots of boats, dodging the Jetty Island ferry, etc. Joey was at the helm with Dana giving him lessons in steering. Katie and I did the foredeck work getting the genoa ready to go. So far, so good.

And then, we hit the first of our two major snags of the day.

I'd forgotten to lower the swing keel. Usually I do that first thing coming out of the launch but I'd been distracted by avoiding a wind surfer and the ferry. I remembered, though, just before we hit the washing machine at the mouth of the river, so I went below to lower the keel.

It wouldn't go down.

So I hit it with a winch handle to knock the rust loose.

The whole winch gave a good impression of disintegrating. But the keel stayed up. Which is a good thing at this point.

Sailing was out of the question, so we decided to run up the river for a while and back. We had a lovely motor (except for a couple of idjits on PWCs that were kicking up wakes in a no-wake zone) up the river to the I-5 bridge.

That's when we hit the second snag of the day.

Katie asked "Why do those PWCs have those jets of water shooting up into the air?"

"To show that cooling water is getting to the motor," I replied. "Ours has one too, it just points down. See?"

Only I didn't see. No cooling water jet. No cooling water in the motor. Trouble.

We turned and headed for home, and with the exception of one other power boat cutting our bow and tossing us around with his wake, we made it back to the dock with no problems. I spent the entire time thinking "if the motor fails here, I'll be able to get to there." I didn't need any of those plans, but I was ready. Later when I told Dana she said she was wondering what I'd do if there was a problem with the motor.

It seemed like bringing the boat out was a lot quicker than usual too. Maybe that's just 'cause it's been so long.

Anyway, now it's off to the forums to find a vendor for a keel winch for Odyssey. This may be our only trip this year. But at least we made it out onto the water once.



Planned changes for Pocket Freemind

by Chuck June 9, 2008

Here are the things I'm thinking about tackling next:

  • Adding an editing form for custom attributes. I have this done in my local copy of the application, I'm just waiting for Peter to release the 0.3 version of the app before I check it in.
  • Adding a context menu to the tree view so that it's easier to add, move and edit nodes.
  • Updating the editing form so that it follows the UI guidelines.
  • Adding pages that enable color changes to item backgrounds and text.

That will keep me busy for a while, I think.



First changes

by Chuck March 10, 2008

The first set of changes that I submitted to the Pocket Freemind source were some clean up work and adding an editing form for notes and HTML content for the node.

I re-factored the source code for the base class (MindMapItemBase) and moved some redundant code from the other node types into the base class. Now nodes that only have attributes, like >link< and >attribute< don't have to have any changes made to the ToXml and FromXml methods, the base class versions do all the work.

My other big change was to add an editing form so that you can edit >richcontent< nodes. These nodes contain free-from text or HTML that makes up the nodes content. I've got some ideas in my head about how to create Web pages from the contents of a mind map's content nodes, and I want to be able to edit the mind maps on my PDA while I'm riding back and forth to work.



Pocket Freemind

by Chuck March 10, 2008

One of the things that I do often as a writer is brainstorm a set of content, whether it's a documentation set at work or a set of pages that I'd like to upload to this Web site. One of the tools that I use when I'm brainstorming is a program called FreeMind, an open source mind mapping tool that you can find on SourceForge.

One of the things that I'm trying to do with FreeMind is use the XML that I create on the mind map to drive other projects. For example, at work I use a FreeMind mind map to structure the table of contents of my documentation set. I have a XSL transform that I run against the mind map XML to create a sign-off worksheet for each release of the docs. I want to try to use the mind map to actually construct the TOC and run a tool against the XML to create a set of DocBook files that 'XInclude' the appropriate documentation files.

Anyway, I use FreeMind on my desktop PCs, but I wanted a tool that I could use on my Pocket PC as well. There are a couple of tools out there that people have created, but the one that uses the .NET Framework is called "Pocket FreeMind." It's a project started by Peter Carroll, with some help from a few other developers.

And now I'm one too.

Peter accepted some patches that I created to edit notes on the mind map nodes and added them to the project, and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the development team.



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