Fabulous 4th of July weekend

8 07 2013

This past weekend we vowed to spend some time having fun.  We got to Blackbeard’s just in time for the 4th of July hot dog feast. Lots of good friends and good company. Later in the evening we sailed out to the Neuse River with the Prince Family to see the fireworks. We sailed until it was almost dark and then threw out the anchor for the show. Besides the big New Bern fireworks display we counted five other spots that were shooting them off as well.  It was a beautiful night with wonderful friends. IMG_0510












I was so very grateful that John installed our new AC unit in the companionway. The boat was cool when we went to bed and we slept like babies.

Friday was a work day. It was time to attach the sail track on the new toerail.

Here are the steps we went through for this one thing:

1. Straighten out the stainless steel track.

2. Buy 50 4″ stainless steel bolts, nuts and washers from Bolt Depot.

3. Cut PVC strips to fit between the track and the toerail.

4. Set the PVC strip and the track on top of the toerail (two person job) and drill the first two holes.

5. I held the track while John went down into the cabin and stood on his head to put the washers and nuts on the first two bolts.

6. John drilled more holes in the toerail while I held it and pulled it in around the curve of the boat. (There are 25 holes to drill)

7. Back down into the cabin to put more nuts on bolts.

8. Finish drilling all holes, take off nuts, and take the track out again.

9. Go back and camfer all of the holes.

10. Add butyl tape around the top of all the bolts and under the PVC strip.

11. Put the entire thing back on the toe rail.

12. I held the bolts in place with a screwdriver and a wrench while John makes like a pretzel to put all 25 washers and nuts on tightly.

13. Drank a cold beer, took showers and headed home.

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On Saturday we rode our bikes back to New Bern and dropped off our clean bedding and clothes.  We picked up our buddy Tom Wynn and rode to Beaufort for a super delicious soft shell crab sandwich at a restaurant on the waterfront. The weather and the view was perfect and the company was wonderful too.  We rode three minutes down the road to Morehead to visit with the kids and the grandkids.  Then it was back to Blackbeard’s for some more time on the back deck drinking cold beers and spending time with friends.

Sunday morning we followed all the above steps and got the sail track attached on the port side.  It took half the time as the first one because we had figured out which tools were needed and what the process was.

Here she is as of yesterday. We are one step closer to getting the sails back on her. I can’t wait!










We had a nice ride back to John’s house and then another cold beer to end the weekend.  So good on a hot summer day:)

Chance Encounters

31 03 2013

Being a sailor has opened up many interesting chance encounters over the years.

John loves to tell the story of walking the docks in Washington,NC one day and meeting a very friendly father and son on their sailboat.  They invited him aboard for a beer and it wasn’t until he had been sitting there for a while that he realized that he was having a conversation with James Taylor.


A couple of months ago I was putting a coat of cetol on our new toerail and a very nice man and his sweet young daughter stopped to talk with me.  I told him the story of Dances and then he told me about his labor of love project; restoring a 1969 Taipan 28. He also told me that he was looking for a marina. In the time we talked I sensed that he and his family would fit right in at BSC. I sent him down the dock to talk with John.

A short time later he drove his family to see BSC.

This weekend they launched their beautiful girl and she is now a part of the Blackbeard fleet.


Dances makes her Debut

21 03 2013

The compliments were music to our ears.  On March 9th we were at the Blackbeard Sailing Club Spring workday.  John spent his time sanding picnic tables while I flitted around looking for something worthwhile to do. All day people sought us out to tell us how good Dances looks. It was so nice to finally have our friends understand how hard we have worked to get her back. 18 months is a long time to be away.  Our friend Tom is the only one who knows everything we have done and what it took out of us (mostly John). His love, support, patience and expertise have been invaluable.

The next day John was anxious to mount some hardware back on the cabin top. He also re-mounted our two big winches that he had re-chromed. (That was what he gave me for Christmas).  She looks so good with her new jewelry! While we were working Saki and Gracie relaxed.

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IMG_0283 saki

Snug in her berth again.

21 03 2013

The first week in March John finally got Dances back into her slip.  What we imagined for 18 months finally happened. I would like to say that we sailed into the harbor in a blaze of glory.  Instead it was more like a comedy of errors. Thanks to her cranky old Atomic 4, Dances had to be towed back to the Marina. We really don’t care how she got there, just that she did. The engine will be repaired and other projects will get finished. In the mean time, we will be able to enjoy the marina and our friends while we do the rest.



Mast is ready to go and another coat of finish on the coaming

12 02 2013

In the past 3 weeks John painted the mast, rewired the mast, and replaced all of the mast lights.  We are ready to step the mast back on the boat. We just have to line up the ducks to get it done.








We had a decent day on Sunday so I put another coat of finish on the coaming and the new wood around the companion way. She also got repainted dorade boxes and new vents installed this week.  Sooo Pretty.


More Toerail Work and Evaluating on the Mast

21 01 2013

John and I spent Saturday and Sunday doing finish work on the new toerail.  He finished all the heavy sanding on Saturday and I spent all day Sunday sanding,prepping and staining the new toerail.  We have several more coats to do.

On Saturday I cleaned the mast so we could see what needed to be done to it before we put it back on the boat.  Note to everybody:  Don’t leave things taped with Duct tape and masking tape for over a year. It was a bitch to get that stuff off the mast.

John spent all afternoon figuring out what needed to be done with the wiring inside the mast.  The short answer is that it all needs to be replaced. The long answer is that is easier said than done.  I have full confidence that John will figure it out and it will be done right when he does.  As always, it will take more time and money than we thought.  Big surprise:)



13 01 2013

We were fortunate to have a warm spell this week so John took advantage of it and got the toerail ready to install.  Other than the fiberglass repair, this has been the biggest project to date.  We had to decide what kind of toerail (metal, teak, or other). We researched different alternatives for months, comparing costs, pros and cons, aesthetics, etc. We finally decided to use Cumaru, a teak-like wood they use for outdoor decks. It has similar properties to teak but is much less expensive.  We found a lumberyard near Charlotte and John went to see what the wood looked like and speak to the salesperson about whether it would work for our project. Once he was convinced that it would do, then we had to figure out how much wood to buy and in what sizes.

A serendipitous conversation with the local mayor really helped us out. The mayor has a wood shop with all of the tools John needed to get all of the wood pieces shaped and sized for the project.  This was a Godsend.  It would have been a much more difficult job without these tools.

We still have some finish work to do but here are some before and after pics.  dancespaint








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