Category Archives: Technical

This is where I could put more technical posts about the boat or it’s systems



Repairs to Toodle-oo! have been continuing – as evidenced by new invoices arriving on a weekly basis!

All the eleIMG_1270ctronics appear to be in place, wired up beautifully. The electrical gear – chargers, inverters, and various controllers are also installed. A new wind generator is in place, along with new fancy control and monitoring system.

The Propeller and propshaft were removed and found to be OK – reinstallation turned out a little tricky – they couldn’t get the coupling to line up right so had to remove it – but in order to remove it meant taking the gearbox off – but to do that they needed to lift the engine off its mountings! Neat thing is, I got to replace the engine mountings as a consequence! All is back together now… Windlass

The windlass took quite a hit and was sent off to Lighthouse to be refurbished – it came back looking virtually new!

The mast has been painted and we took the opportunity to replace the mainsail ‘Strongtrack’ system and the mast boot (which seals the hole between the boat’s deck and the mast itself – hopefully no leaks…). New mast lights are being put on and the whole mast re-wired. Next week the mast will be dressed with its new standing rigging and furlers, ready for re-stepping.

The sails have been repairs – and washed – though we understand that some of the burn marks were not removable.

While this haImpeller piecess all been going on we have serviced all the winches and through hull seacocks, I’ve started fixing up the generator (taking all sorts of old impeller bits out of the heat exchanger!)  and back home we’ve been working on a new inventorying system as well as doing some sewing: New anchor drogue, a massive patch to cover the hull in case we get holed somehow, new lee cloth for the port side and various hold-down straps and jacklines. Laurie has also started to re-varnish the floors…

What next? Launch! Ian Mackechnie at New England Boatworks has been coordinating all this activity and has decided he wants to launch Toodle-oo! in the next couple of weeks! So there’ll be some mad activity for the next few days with bottom paint, polishing, and general finishing of the project to make that happen – followed by further evaluation of systems that can only be done in the water – both electrical and electronics related… Will be nice to have her in and with any luck take advantage of some of the early Spring good weather days to test her out.

We’ve also been working on our future cruising plans – all very exciting and I’ll fill in some detail in the next week or two…


Messed that up!

Our plan was to go through the Cape Cod Canal today in order to go to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Doing so requires planning as the current in the canal runs at about 4 knots – making for a very quick – or a very slow transit. Having checked the chart and currents, I worked it out perfectly that we’d go through at noon – leaving time for various jobs on the boat…

I tweaked the Monitor Windvane (energy free self steering mechanism – called ‘Gale’) trying to get her to steer just a little better by tightening lines and so forth. We tried her out in Buzzards Bay and she did fine when close hauled (into the wind) not so well when running with the wind. More work required.

I attempted to move the blades of the wind generator in hopes of balancing them better and remove a worrying vibration – turns out the cap screws holding the blades on screw into captured locknuts – which become uncaptured when loosened! So there I am sitting up on top of the radar arch, reaching up to the generator and dropping nuts onto the deck below. How the first one didn’t fall off the boat I have no clue! The next challenge became how to handle mutiple nuts and bolts while trying to line up blades! After a struggle, I got it back together – but suspect blades went back in their original positions since the vibration still persists!

The we tried out the dingy outboard and found that a fitting on the (new) gas tank was incompatible – requiring a jaunt into town to find a replacement. What a nice place Marion is! Beautiful manicured gardens and charming little stores – and a good chandler!

With the new fitting attached, the outboard started up easily – facilitating a quick visit over to Hawk anchored just nearby. Evans Starzinger is a double circumnavigator – the last time doing it the hard way in the higher latitudes of the southern oceans… wanted to get his take on how to deply a drogue – very helpful…

Once the dingy was taken care of, we were just a little late leaving – 12:30, so would arrive at the canal about 1:30 for a fast passage.


What a dummy! – I got the whole thing absolutely arse about face and the current was against us. At least it allowed us to mess around with Gale some and we ended up motoring against the current at the entrance to the canal and took a left hand turn into Onset – where we are anchored in a very nice and sheltered harbor – and perfectly positioned for a 7:30 am transit through the canal tomorrow – with a favorable current this time!

With a lack of boats surrounding us, the SSB radio is being tested out here and I’m delighted to report that reception is good and we’ve been able to hear Herb Hilgenberg and Southbound II reasonably clearly, giving weather information to yachts transiting the Atlantic. He will be a major source of information for us as we cross next week.

Here’s a great photo from our departure dinner at Mike and Jane’s – what a splendid evening! (If you click on the photo it enlarges. In my right hand you’ll see the little Spot device that updates our location in the blog…)


toodleoo sendoff dinner 2


Still Here…

We are a couple of days late. The weather has not been kind – with erratic winds and cold temperatures, so we wimped out and continued to ready ourselves. Tomorrow’s forecast is much more benign with temperatures reaching the 70’s perhaps and winds starting at 5 – 10, building to 10 – 20.

ready to go

First destination is Marion – meeting up with someone else that’s headed to the Azores this summer, but leaving a couple of weeks after us.

I’ve had butterflies in my stomach the last couple of days – don’t think it was alcohol related! – and so it’s probably a good thing we have the delay – feeling now like it’s time to get out of Dodge. Laurie has also been tense – and saying goodbye is not her strongest suit. But goodbyes are said, we’re ready to go.

New batteries were installed – with great thanks to Brian Gardener for heaving the 175lb monsters out and replacing them with 4 new monsters. The voltage readings are now much more stable and it feels like we have solved that problem…

We now have a spot tracker. It allows me to send a position update regularly via satellite and a link is posted under the menu heading ‘1st: Where are we’   I was hoping to be able to accomplish the same feat through the SSB radio, but have not had a chance to get the thing working right – or at least tested (hopefully it’s working fine). Over the course of our sail up to Boston we’ll attempt to get the SSB going properly – but even so, it’s nice to have the Spot as a backup.

Food and clothing are all aboard – everything is aboard and packed away. You’d never know that we have all our belongings in the boat – it still looks nice and neat – at least on the surface!

The monitor windvane is back aboard with new control lines – and we hope to use it most of the way and avoid use of the autopilot which is a bit of an energy hog.

We will be using a weather router – Commander’s Weather – who we are to contact on May 30th to see if a June 2nd departure makes sense. They will provide us with their advice on which direction to head and where to avoid. In addition we hope to pull on the resources of Herb Hilgenberg for daily log-in and updates to the weather forecast – and his advice on which way to turn.

So, early morning start tomorrow – will check in when we get to our first port of call!


Last Minute Tasks Take Over

We’ve been feverishly working on getting the boat ready for the off on Saturday, but things are conspiring against us and now Mother Nature has played her hand and dealt us a really crappy weekend of weather. Who wants to set off on a world journey in crappy weather?

So we’ll take advantage and get some of those last minute things taken care of in a more orderly fashion and leave in a day or two when the weather has moderated.

Last night Jim Thompson came aboard to look at our electrical system and cleared up a few questions I had – not the least of which was confirming that our battery bank is as dead as a door nail. New batteries are available at a local chandler – all I have to do now is remove the four 175lb batteries and drop in the new ones… easy peezy!

Jim also helped me to understand my overall charging system better – something you’d have thunk I’d have full control of by now – and then he told me that the whole navigation system needed major calibration – so I’ve got some work to do there too! Thanks Jim!

We’ve been unable to sell our cars – so will be parking them at friends houses. I guess that means we’ll have them available when we get back – but we’d much rather have gotten rid of the bloody things! Anyone want a pristine Toyota Matrix? Careful lady driver and dealer maintained…

In spite of the delay, life feels good – we’re going to be more organized by the time we leave and perhaps just a little better prepared…

More later…

So, how goes it?

Preparations have been hectic – hence the lack of information recently… Sorry…

Planned departure is on Saturday, destination Cuttyhunk for the weekend – but the weather looks lousy – wet and windy. (You’d have thought we want wind – but honestly, it’d be really nice to have just a little wind to see us off, not a bloody gale!)

With only a couple of days left, we’re down to last minute stuff – like do we need new batteries (and will the electrical expert actually arrive here)? Will the new cockpit enclosure get here before we leave? Where does the tandem fit? Do we have enough food? Money? etc. Oh yes – shall we put the Monitor wind-vane self steering gear back on?

Sorry, but I have to cut this short – the list isn’t getting shorter as I type… (!)