Project Time

Our travels will be limited to short runs between marinas in Southern Florida for the next couple of months. Weather in the Bahamas is the same as it is in Florida and can be cold (OK this is relative, I’m talking 60s but still not exactly beach weather). Deanna and I were married on Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay and have traveled back to the Abacos many times. We have learned how chilly it can be. So, the best time for the Bahamas is February through May. We will join the hordes heading that way then.

In the meantime, after the first thousand miles, Tivoli is in need of some attention. I spend half a day washing the salt, bugs, bird poop, etc. off the boat. It could use another couple scrubs to get it really clean. It also needs a buff and wax and the teak trim is in need of a new varnish job. We have had a small oil leak in our NAIAD stabilizers since day one that I need to fix. And, a few gel coat repairs. Much of this couldn’t be done at Aqua Yacht Harbor but here in Florida there shouldn’t be a problem finding excellent craftsmen to do these jobs well. In fact, our first visitors since arriving in Stuart came by today and provided a list of service providers that can help with our projects. Bernie and June Francis drove up from North Palm Beach and we spent a wonderful afternoon; what a pleasant surprise! Bernie is the USCG captain we engaged to help us move Tivoli down to Florida after our purchase in 2011 and it was Bernie and June that brought her across the Gulf and up the Tenn-Tom to AYH. I always learn something from Bernie…he has enormous experience with a broad range of Nordhavns and other boats, is a teaching captain, and is not only an expert but is a pleasure to work with. So, we trust his judgement and experience and will take his advice when it comes to these things. Input from Bob Taylor has also been invaluable. Bob and Melanie, on N57 Istaboa, have been long-time friends and have been enormously helpful with every aspect of this new life; introducing us to technology, vendors, places to stay, etc. Bob was particularly kind in following our Gulf crossing by communicating every few hours by texting our satellite phone….very comforting.

I spend time on the electronics. We had an autopilot communications issue and, fortunately, reseating the connectors on the back of the AP70 unit appears to have fixed the problem. Missing data error messages can almost always be attributed to a bad connection somewhere. I also fixed an issue with the 3 electronic heading sensors on board (RC42 flux gate compass, GS25 GPS with heading sensor, and Maretron SSC200 heading sensor). They would prompt an error message on the autopilot indicating they did not agree within the 10 degree limit I had set. Adjusting each one to match the boats compass should resolve the problem. Though these issues might seem formidable problems to have underway while offshore, in each case Tivoli was never at any risk. Redundancy is your friend. We have multiple sources of data for all key parameters; heading, location, depth, weather, communications, etc. In the event one source takes the day off, a second and sometimes third is available. This has already proven invaluable in our short journey. We use Insight and C-Map charts on our multifunction displays, Garmin’s Bluechart on an iPad, and Maxsea’s TimeZero on a laptop. When features on one chart don’t seem quite right we can quickly compare to an alternative.

Speaking of charts; charts can’t be trusted. Bold statement but true. They are only a representation of reality and may not be accurate. We were crossing the Okeechobee and I was using a C-Map chart on my Simrad displays. The navigation markers weren’t correct on the chart. Green was to our starboard and red to port; yet the C-Map chart indicated the opposite. I then discover that zoom level affected the display and found a point where I could zoom out one level and see the correct representation, zoom in one level and watch the buoys swap colors, the reds turn green, the greens turn red !! The shapes remained correct but the colors swapped!! Fortunately, my other chart sources didn’t exhibit that feature and we motored on in confidence. I have since contacted the vendor with details and hope they will address the issue; so far they haven’t even acknowledged my email.

We came to Stuart to have our davit replaced. The new one is sitting on the yard at River Forest Yacht Center and installation was to have started on Dec. 8th; didn’t happen. Now it’s scheduled for the 15th; we’ll see. Can’t wait to get this done; the new Steelhead ES1000 is a lovely piece of gear and will be much safer to use than the current davit.

When the davit project is complete we will move to a marina, rather than a boat yard, and spend a few weeks completing the remaining work, exploring the area, and waiting for the best time to head to the islands.

Though a week or more has passed we’ve enjoyed Stuart, visiting friends, meeting new Nordhavn owners, eating at various restaurants, and mostly enjoying the 70+ degree sunny days….it’s lovely.

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