Monday, September 26, 2011

Working on two boats

This is the begining of my cheap solution to hatch dogs for Tridarka.

Pivoting blocks hold down the hatches and seal the dual seal gaskets.  A simple yet if I dare say elegant solution.
Karen working on the blankets for the Veebirth on Belle.  They are completely form fitting and really cool...warm.
Now for the bad news.  The motor mount alteration did not work as planned.  I had to do some serious hacking to get the correct angle for the motor. The only way this monster of a motor will allow the cockpit hatch to raise is if the motor is loosened enough to naturally lean back.  I had some nice pictures of the modified mount.  It only looked good but was so far wrong that serious cutting and chopping were required to  even get the motor in the well.  Now it is very functional but not good enough for a picture.  When I get back--probrably next year, I will smooth it out and make it presentable. 
The last of the big bucks is now spent.  I bought a new flare kit, two fire extinquishers and a couple of battery hold downs.  Of course the fancy new Lifeline batteries were and extra 3/4 inch taller so they wouldn't work. Oh well, another $30 bucks bites the dust.  All told it was $200.  I still have to buy a starting battery but that should be about $60-70 at Walmart.  That's it for this weekend.  I'm working all week so will be back at it again next weekend. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waiting to retire and an update on preparing for the trip

I promise not to drone on about this too much.  According to my Anroid app. it's 1 year, 5 months and 5 days until I retire (if all goes OK).  The upcoming trip is planned to give me a taste of the free life.  I will have about 30 days to imagine that work is a distant memory.

Meanwhile we are practicing the sort of frugality that we imagine will be required for financial success during retirement.  Karen has taken over the food purchasing, shopping at all sorts of discount places such as The Dollar Store and Aldi.  It's amazing how much one can save if the mind is made up and the whimsical purchase urges are suppressed.  I'm taking some comfort in how well this has gone so far.  Indeed, Karen is nothing short of amazing in her ability to bring home supplies for less.
The reason I am commenting on living expenses during retirement is that I think the idea of practicing retirement strategies while still enjoying the safety net of gainful employment can make for a much smoother transition to the retirement lifestyle.  We plan to have it mastered by the above date.

As for trip preparation: things are going along pretty well. After hoisting the motor and placing it in the motor well it was obvious that I still have a clearance problem with the cockpit hatch.  I have already raised the mount by 1/2 inch and added 1/2 inch to the rear of the mount. Easy solution: just shim the motor mount back another one-half inch and the door will clear.  As soon as that is done--sometime next week, I will install the new Lifeline 105 amp hour batteries and try out the fit of the Honda 1000 watt generator,   In this cockpit well goes the 2.5 hp Nissan short shaft for the dingy, the Honda generator and 2 gas cans.  Hope it all fits!

I'll be ready to post the complete food supply list in about another week.  So far I have about 45 Hormel completes packed away in one locker.  They are easy fast food for the times I can't take time to cook.  I just peel them back and eat them cold. Even cold they are quite tasty.
Just over thirty days until I leave.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hatch work on Tridarka

 What a beautiful day to work in the boatyard.  After a brisk climb up Stone Mountain, I set about to finish the hatches for Tridarka. So far I am happy with the results.  Soon I will update with my simple solution for securing them to the cockpit well.  You won't believe how simple it can be. Steve and I racked our brains.  Every solution seemed more difficult and expensive.  As is often the case, letting the mind rest helped.  I'll have it finished soon.  Stand by for this.

A Sunday climb up Stone Mountain

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Do You Pack for a Month's Voyage?

I am approaching the time when I need to get serious about packing.  Right now we are cleaning and preparing the boat for packing.  Karen just finished a set of custom sheets that fit the vee berth perfectly.  The blanket material is coming soon to make custom blankets.  I still have to buy replacement fire extinguishers and a flair signalling pack to replace the expired ones.  Then there is the not so small task of hoisting the 110 lb outboard up about 6 feet and into the motor well.  I'm holding off on that to run it in the tank a few more times so it will be ready to run when I try to start it the first time.  My solution for the hoist is to take my extension ladder and use a come-along to pull it up from the top rung.  With a piece of plywood for sliding protection...well I'll let you know how that one goes.
I bought about 40 Hormel select dinners as a ready to eat meal source when I don't have time to cook.  I will publish the entire packing list when it is complete.  It's still a month and one-half.  Luckily I was able to get a week off about two weeks before so I can have Belle completely packed well before D-day.  More on the logistics as it transpires.

Where I Am--Using HF APRS for position updates

I thought the hams among us might find my entree into HF (High Frequency) APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) of interest.  At home I run a APRS I-GATE station so I am pretty familiar with the use of APRS in a fixed station.  I have also run APRS via my Kenwood D700 (which I sold, sadly). Also I often run APRS on my Thunderbolt HTC via the APRS-IS servers online.
HF APRS is a quite different operation. While out of range of 2 meter APRS receivers I hope to update my position regularly to the worldwide APRS-IS servers.  Therefore I will be operating 300 baud 30 meter APRS.  I recently purchased a Tiny Trac 4 from Byon at Byonics and have successfully updated my home position on 30 meters HF so I know it works.  The trick is to get the right set of tones at the right frequencies so that the I-gate station decode them and relay the information.   Convention has it that the TNC audio tones are injected upper sideband (USB) so they are added to the frequency dialed up on the display.  Here are the outgoing frequencies required: 10.149.200 MHz and 10.149.400 MHz.  Since the TT4 uses 1600/1800 Hz tone shift, the correct dial frequency on USB would be 10.147.600.  When the two tones 1600/1800 Hz is added to this frequency the required sum frequencies are correct. I discovered that since the FT 100D only injects tones when in the "digital mode"  the way to get USB is to use the 300 baud packet U for USB and it works like a charm.  On my FT-857 the mode to chose is digital with "user USB"   I purchased a hockey puck GPS that plugs into the TT4 and is powered by it.vThere you have it. With some careful attention to some programing details done via windows terminal I set up the little thing to beacon every 30 minutes.  When I am out there traveling you can find me on by inserting WB4FGF-6.  I will also be beaconing with my SPOT device and will have figured out how to embed the map for the SPOT on this blog.  For a very thorough explanation of HF APRS and the setup frequencies for various modems and general theory click here
Next I want to try PSK63 with my sound card adapter. My USB sound card will connect to my Rigblaster sound card adapter.  The same station that picked up my APRS signal in Michigan also has a PSK63 APRS I-GATE . The same tune principles of tuning apply here.  If you are proficient with PSK you should do fine with this type of APRS.  The caveat is that the correct frequency is much more critical.  It is amazing to look at the waterfall and see all those signals being sorted out by the software and interpreted.
Thanks for the indulgence of those who do not care about this kind of stuff. I just wanted to share:)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Steve and Ginny are gone

I just took Steve and Ginny to the airport.  They're off to Miami and then to Panama. We had a wonderful two weeks together.  Steve and Ginny did a lot to help me with Tridarka's lee board.  We'll miss them terribly!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

About Tridarka

Rather than refer the reader to my website, I thought I would take a moment to explain Tridarka and also to outline the nature of this blog.  This blog is about the wanderings and life of the three of us: Karen, Pussifer our cat and me--Larry.  The work we do in the boatyard is every bit as important as the exploration that we pursue once our boats are ready for action.  I think that many readers will not only enjoy watching  us struggle for solutions, but also find inspiration from our problems solved and perhaps even learn a trick or two.

The boatyard is a big part of our lives.  We have three full size boats including a Boston Whaler for exploring creeks.  We also have (and I cringe in shame) three dingys and two kayaks one of which is the very seaworthy Innova Sunny inflatable which we use aboard Belle.  The other kayak is a Old Town Angler edition hard shell.  The dingys are as follows: a twelve foot Porta Bote which we towed behind Belle on our Saint Johns trip.  It has a reinforced transom with anti cavitation trim tabs and a 6 hp Nissan motor with a 6 gallon trip tank.  As a river boat, it is extraordinarily well suited for exploration of small creeks moving along at around 10 knots with 2 people aboard.  We also have an 8 foot Porta Bote which we use as a folding dingy.  Finally for offshore work we have a 6 foot Mercury inflatable.  For the two latter boats we use an extremely small and light 2.5 hp Nissan 2 stroke short shaft which fits in the locker on Belle.  The inflatable rolls up very small and fits just behind the main mast.  Well there you have it.  Our fleet; protagonists, if you will in our efforts to get out and see the work.

Back to Tridarka.  I bought Tridarka the 21 foot trimaran which Chief (Steve Isaac) and Matt Layden designed for the 300 mile Everglades Challenge at Cedar Key last year.  Apparently after two trips in the challenge, the second netting 3rd place over-all, the two previous owners had serially decided that this project was not for them.  Both Chief and Hal Link had poured tons of cash into the project making me the lucky recipient of a very good deal and a fine "bomb-proof" sailer.  It is a one to one sailer, meaning one knot of speed for one knot of wind up to about 17 knots.  The sliding akas and stainless rigging along with the carbon fiber spars are way overbuilt yet the boat is quite light, making it a great beach cruiser.
Some of my writings will definitely include work on, and stories about Tridarka

What is "See You There"

Just thought I should clarify.  SYT is a group of us who go to Cedar Key every year from Atlanta.  We are all members of the West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron which is admirably run by Ron Hoddinott. Since we saw each other once a year only, we thought it would be nice to get together around Atlanta.  Well, now you know.
Regarding last night's festivities:  Steve Ladd of "Three Years on a Twelve Foot Boat" fame was the star of the party when he sat down at the Casio keyboard and regaled us with a wide variety tunes. Jeff played along on the base.  We we're more than impressed the Jeff's recording studio which he set up in an upstairs room in his house.

Steve and Ginny Ladd were the guest of honor last night.  They are back from Panama to regroup and restock for the rest of their great circle Caribbean trip.  Having skirted the north coast of Cuba and sailed across the straits of Yucatan they have just finished a one-and -one half year sail down the coast of Central America via the great reefs of Belize, the Bay Islands of Honduras, the Rio Dulce and the Mosquito Coast. Their boat is currently in Panama.

Steve has finally succumbed to the need for a motor and has a nice little Honda 2 hp longshaft waiting for him. This represents a paradigm shift for Steve as he has resolutely stuck with his no motor policy throughout both this trip and the "three year voyage" of some 12,000 miles.

We're enjoying the company of the Ladds for one more day as they are flying out Wednesday. Steve has done his trade mark beautiful  glass work on my new mahogany leeboard for my trimaran, Tridarka. For this we are most greatful!
Wish them the best!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The guys jamming at Jeff and Diana's

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See to there gatherings at Paizanos

Gary,Diana, Jeff, Steve, Ginny Genise Bernard, Karen

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Belle is a floating ham shack and high speed communications center.

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Here's the pictures


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Getting ready for sailing the west coast of Florida

This blog will be the daily journal for my travels aboard Belle, my 28 foot SeaPearl trailerable sailboat. The personnel referred to in this blog are as follows: Larry Whited age 61, that's me, Karen also known as Karen Prescott--well we're not here to tell on her age, my life partner and willing helper, and Pussifer, our adventurous and overly spoiled cat.

Right now, we are preparing for my month-long voyage along the west coast of Florida. I most likely will start my trip at Suwanee, on the Suwanee river.  The first night will be spent aboard at our favorite Florida stomping ground, Cedar Key.  From there I will be traveling (alone-sadly) south just off-shore and ducking into my favorite gunkholes to spend the night. I hope that I will make it as far as Key West, and then over to the Tortugas.  In all likelihood my return from the Tortugas will be off-shore, strait to Fort Meyers.  I plan to spend as much time as possible around Charlotte Harbor and Cayo Costa specifically.
As I continue preparations, I will blog whenever something in the preparation merits comment.  I hope to hear from as many as possible commenting on my activities. My trip will also be documented at my website: and on Facebook.