Thursday, January 24, 2013

An Ego Crushed at 30 Feet Up

Eric recently posted about changing our deck light; however, he left out some important details. Details like how he first sent ME up the mast. Details like how I didn't have on a safety harness (the thing that secures you to the mast!) because he had forgotten we owned one (he remembered eventually). Details like how I was hoisted at full-speed despite my objections.

Eric's guinea pig
Details, details.

Of course, since Eric is a gentleman, he also left out the tiny detail about how at 30 feet in the air, I chickened out and demand to be lowered at once (although, in my defense, I was falling out of the chair).

It is OK though. Ultimately, changing the light bulb proved to be more challenging than we had originally anticipated, and since my handyman skills aren't as refined as Eric's, in the end, he was the better candidate for the job.

Now that we have figured out how to change a light bulb (sort of), we are hopeful that our next attempt will be less eventful, and not take over a month to execute.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Unwelcome Repairs, Part II

About a month ago, I wrote about an unwelcome repair--fixing the toilet seal--that, in the end, was fairly easy (and clean).  In that post, I explained that I would soon be writing about a second unwelcome repair that, until now, has gone undisclosed.

What is that second unwelcome repair, you ask?  And why did it take me over a month to write about it?  The answer to both questions is that it took me a month to change a light bulb.

Burnt out deck light

The dead light bulb in question was the flood light mounted over halfway up the main mast, about 30 feet above the deck.

Location of burnt out deck light
So, to change the bulb, I needed to be hoisted up the mast, which consumes more than few minutes that can be squeezed in while the microwave is running, during a commercial break, etc.

Further prolonging the ordeal is that, unlike the toilet repair, almost everything went wrong and I needed to go up the mast not once, but five times to replace a single light bulb.

The process went something like this:

I went halfway up the mast and realized that I was not strapped into the chair correctly.  I came back down the mast and fixed the chair.

Strapped in correctly, I went up the mast with a replacement bulb and two screwdrivers.  I began to remove the old bulb and realized that one of the two screws holding it in place was stuck and that I would need a pliers.  I went down the mast to retrieve a pair of pliers.

I went up the mast with a replacement bulb, two screwdrivers, and a pair of pliers.  I removed the old bulb.  I attached one of the two screws holding the bulb in place.  I dropped the other screw.  I went back down the mast to retrieve the other screw.

I went up the mast with two screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, and several screws (just in case).  I installed the new bulb and went back down the mast.

Final attempt for the night
Night fell.  It was immediately clear that I installed the wrong kind of bulb, which was too faint to illuminate anything.

Not our intended outcome
We had 4 replacement bulbs on the boat, 3 of which are the correct type of bulb and the fourth had been purchased in error.  I, of course, had grabbed the fourth one.

Although the new light was much dimmer than what we expected, we decided to wait a few weeks before heading up the mast again. During this time, the rubber ring holding the light bulb in place decided to fall out.

Broken, again
So, I went up the mast again with a new replacement bulb, a pair of pliers, two screwdrivers, and several screws.  I removed the old bulb, installed the new one, and came back down the mast.

Final voyage

Wrong bulb (left). Right bulb (right)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Captain is 6 Months!

Helina at 6 Months
It is hard to believe that half a year has passed since we welcomed Helina aboard Sea Gem. The past 6 months have gone by quickly. It has been amazing to watch our tiny sailor grown and change right before our eyes. I don't know how she compares to other babies, as I don't know many babies, but as far as humans go, she is the sweetest, happiest, and most joyful person I have ever known!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Four, non-stackable, bulky, plastic, uni-tasking (oh, the horror), sippy cups have made their way aboard Sea Gem. But it isn't what you think. These cups aren't for babies, unskilled in the art of cup-wielding--they're for the 21+ crowd:

Vino-2-Go Wine Sippy Cup
Eric and I sold our glass stemware before moving aboard and since then, we've been using small juice cups for drinking wine and bourbon (independently of each other--that wasn't a recipe for a new beverage).

In general, our juice cups work well as wine glasses, but using them in the cockpit while sailing poses a tiny problem. As you can see, our little juice glasses don't really work in our cockpit's cup holder:

Not a Great Fit
The other day, while searching the Internet for something unrelated to both wine and sippy cups, I found these wine sippy cups. I ordered them immediately (heaven forbid we endure another day without owning cockpit-specific wine glasses):

A Perfect Fit
Green for White, Red for Red
Although I ordered these cups as a novelty, they are actually very nice (as far as plastic cups go) and work well for our purposes. They fit in our cup holder, won't break if they fall, and most importantly, the lid keeps keeps the cup's precious contents from spilling all over the place when the boat heels.