|26-MAR-03 - Norrøna has a new family! A.J. and Tawnya have realized a long standing dream to sail on the big water and have purchased Norrøna from Peter. We should soon have a link to their new home page for the continuation of the "Narrative". Peter and JOe made the run from the Mountains to the Chesapeake to transfer ownership of the boat and have just returned.|
June 3rd, 1999 (amended) - After along time running for North American Van Lines, Peter has purchased a sailboat (completing a long time dream) and has sold the big Truck.
The living space and accommodations on "Norrøna" are a little more than the truck, and the freedom to roam at will is GREAT!
September 1st, 1999 - Peter is getting closer to going "a-sea". He has gotten a Wind Hunter auto steering device, a new Adler/Barbor 12 vdc refrigerator system, and is finishing up the Spectra fresh water maker. He is also getting W7LUS-5 on the air.
An added benefit of the boat is Peter is getting "back in shape", losing weight and becoming stronger and more limber!
Norrøna is currently moored at Mount Sinai, Long Island, NY. [Pronounced Nore - Rune - ah = we think, the second "o", as you can see, has a slash (fraction bar) through it.]
January 1, 2000 - A new millennium - a new direction. Peter rested in the NC mountains /\^/\ marshaling strength to attack the briny deep after a brief sojourn with the VA to treat a minor nasal problem!
March 22, 2000 - Peter is aboard in the Mount Sinai, New York area. Just about ship shape. Got the new wind generator and 75watt Solar Panel working fine. Doing some odd boat jobs ashore to feed the cruising kitty and is really getting ready to head South.
September 11, 2000 - I spent the summer in the mountains of western NC and north GA. "Norrøna" has been moored near Port Jefferson, NY on the Long Island Sound. I intend to be aboard late this month to get the boat "put back together", such as re-hooking batteries, attaching the control heads to the radios, etc., to begin the sail south to FL and the Caribbean. I am looking for someone to share expenses. They can be non experienced, male or female, young or not to old, female preferred especially if she is rich :-) !!!
January 2, 2001 - Arriving on Long Island I boarded Norrøna September 22nd. I ran into some new friends, Renee, Dan and their 5 and 7 year old boys. From WI they trailed their 23 foot sailboat to the FL Keys for 4 months of extraordinary cruising last year. They loved it so much they bought a 30 footer and had it on the hard in Mt. Sinai where they were checking over their new home from stem to stern. I was waiting to boat buddy with them but 2 weeks had gone by and the weather was beginning to cool. It was a beautiful Saturday morning with predicted highs in the upper 80's for the whole weekend! When I awoke , and within only a few moments, I knew it was time to weigh anchor. Usually I keep things pretty well ship shape most of the time so I was hauling on the 3/8" chain within 20 minutes of deciding to go!
The day was beautiful but not enough wind for the 12 ton boat. So it was motoring for the day until finding a place to anchor by the Throgsneck Bridge before going down the East River and taking on "Hells Gate"! I had been warned that the currents could reach 5 knots, almost as fast as Norrøna could motor. But worse yet that no matter which way the current would be running, if at that speed, utility poles, supposedly, have been known to shoot straight up out of the water! Now that is something to be truly concerned about. Also I was warned about the river being narrow and to watch for large towed barges. So using all possible resources I figured exactly when I should weigh anchor to transverse Hells Gate and take advantage of a fair current the rest of the way through to New York Harbor. I must have done it right because I never saw any poles flying past my mast head and the gps showed speeds over ground after passing Hells Gate at 8 to 9 knots. It was absolutely fantastic passing by all the weekenders watching me float by in this old looking pirate ship (that is what youngsters call her)! Some yelled things at me but were not understood, some gave a thumbs up, a few could be heard asking "where are you headed" and I would respond with "I'm chasing the sun"! But the best was when rounding the last bend of the East River and seeing that huge green lady, the Statue of Liberty, just standing there so tall, so huge, and so proud!
The motoring continued through New York Harbor past many anchored ships waiting for Monday to be unloaded. Again this was given to me as a warning to keep a very careful eye out. But with this warm, clear, beautiful day with thorough planning and careful navigation, it was a piece of cake, it was wonderful! All fears of the East River and New York Harbor had vanished.
I think it should be mentioned here that I had a real difficult time breaking that umbilical cord, releasing myself and the boat from the dock, then from a mooring, and finally getting on my way and living my 30 year dream. I had been trying to break the umbilical cord for over a year and would leave and then come back to the marina where I bought Norrøna and would then get on a plane and fly to hang out some where land locked. Probably because I hadn't been on the water for about 10 years and being 10 years older, now 56, I have had many fears. Some thoughts like; will I remember how to navigate, how to read the charts, will I be strong enough physically and have enough stamina, will I remember how to hoist the sails properly in the correct order and be able to decide how much sail I should be using, what about when it gets dark away from land all by myself, etc.! But by the time I got to the ICW all those fears have in fact disappeared. I still don't remember all the things I have forgotten, mainly terminology, but I feel confident enough to really enjoy the cruising life and working "Norrøna" of what is a wonderful and strong ship! I have really grown to trust and love her.
Having reached Sandy Hook, NJ, I anchored behind the break water for the Atlantic Highlands Marina. I was the 1st in the anchorage. As it got dark more and more boats had also anchored, I counted 8. For the next 2 days more boats arrived. The next 3 days were 30 to 35 kt winds out of the north east. Only 1 boat left and he went behind the Coast Guard Station for a calmer anchorage. From Monday through Wednesday it blew from north east to east creating an uncomfortable anchorage at times. Thursday the wind was supposed to back to the north west, it did and we all left at first light! The wind was still 30 to 35 kts and the seas were about 5 to 7 feet under the lee of New Jersey. The ride was great with quartering seas. The winds began to subside after about mid afternoon and completely died a few hours before day light. I was almost abeam to Atlantic City at first light where I doused the working jib, main, and then the mizzen. I never hoisted the stays'l. I motored all the way to Cape May, NJ and spent several days there after the dock master and I got to be friends and he quit charging me for dockage. Then on to an anchorage off the Delaware River and then to the city dock (free) at Chesapeake City on the C & D Canal. While hanging there a few more days I was introduced to a VFW lodge where anyone can be a guest and beer is only 75 cents a glass! It's an easy long walk from the city docks. If you ever get to the area surely check out the C & D Canal Museum.
The entrance to Chesapeake City Harbor can get less than 5 feet at low tide, Norrøna draws 5'2", so I left the dock with the mid tide and a fair current which was at 2 am. After only 1/4 of a mile out of the harbor I saw blinding head lights! I couldn't see anything but 2 bright lights down the canal about a mile. I got on the radio and that is when I learned the term "head lights" from the captain of the tug. He informed me he was about to dock. I waited some 40 minutes before I could continue past him. Then after getting around him about a half hour later my engine died, just when I saw a large ship coming my way from ahead. Panic! About the time I was loosing steerage I tried the engine, it started! But what happened? It never had done that before! About 10 minutes later it died again. I waited a few minutes and it restarted! This time I noticed the water temp gauge was pegged so I ran the engine at a moderate speed hoping it would continue to run at least another hour where I could anchor outside the channel. The thermostat, which was less than a year old, was the problem. Boiled some water, hung the thermostat with a string in the water and it failed the test. Couldn't find a spare so I tore off all the parts of the thermostat and installed only the body which seemed like it ought to at least restrict some water.
I continued on and the wind finally piped up for sailing only about an hour from my next anchorage, just north of Annapolis. Norrøna doesn't do well in light air. Because I am solo, as of yet, I don't care to hoist sails for an hour, especially after a tiring and challenging day that started at 2 am!
The Naval Academy was only 6 miles as the crow fly's. I found a local ham repeater and asked if anyone knew Bob, WB4APR, the author of the original Automatic Positioning Reporting System (APRS) and a professor at the academy. Someone responded and gave me the frequency of the repeater he hangs at. Much to my surprise he answered my call for him. Because I had lost my hard drive in my laptop just before I left Long Island, I was hoping he and I could get together so I could get a copy of his APRS program which I could run on a floppy. We agreed to get together about 9 am the next day when I would motor close to the Academy and he would then let me know via radio where I could dock to meet with him.
The next day of motoring was an easy 15 miles, a little under a mere 3 hours. Back on the radio I contacted Bob while less than a mile from the Academy. His instructions were to tie up to a dock owned by the Academy. Cool! I docked, he came down to "Norrøna" and, in a rush, handed me a floppy with the latest AprsDos and a terminal program. He had to hurry but said that we could spend some time together when he got off work. He thought it would be no problem to remain at the dock, which by the way had signs plastered every 50 feet "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY"! He said to hang out unless someone made me move. About an hour after he left here came the local authorities. They were a bit upset and told me how lucky I was not to have not been blown out of the water. This was a week after the terrorist attack on one of our Navy ships. They cooled down and TOLD me to leave ASAP but could anchor as close as 15 feet off the dock!!! I chose to go around the Academy to the normal yacht anchorage. There I got to watch a Navy football game while anchored.
The next anchorage was the Solomon Islands. Stayed there an additional day. Still no wind! Motored to Reedsville and met Jim and Pat and their husky mix dog, "G B", on their 30 footer, who were also headed south seeking the "SUN". The next morning we both motored together to Deltaville and stayed there overnight before continuing on to Gloucester where they took a dock and I anchored out for a few days while 30 kt plus winds blew from south south east. They borrowed the marina loaner vehicle and we drove to a shopping center where I bought some fresh veggies. A 40 footer anchored near me the next day. I got to know Paul a bit, met his wife, and their 6 kids! Yup, 6 kids, 4 girls, 5, 7, 11, 13, and 2 boys 12 and 16! You ought to see all 8 of them in there inflatable! They seemed to fit very compactly, somewhat comfortably, and appeared safe!
The next stop, at last, was mile marker number "0" of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), Norfolk, VA., where Jim and Pat and I would run together and again anchor with Paul and his 7 crew. Norfolk was the most exciting portion of the trip so far. With all the Navy yards, aircraft carriers, destroyers, and other ships, it was a fantastic experience.
I thought I'd never get out of the Chesapeake Bay and was anxious to do so. I found Portions of the ICW were mostly interesting but somewhat boring. Looking back I realized how easy it was to sail the Chesapeake Bay. The weather was getting cooler, colder, and wetter. The days were becoming very short with the sun getting low even at noon! The days were getting to be misty with drizzle and rain with highs in the lower 50's and upper 40's! We wanted to go the Dismal Swamp route but the water level was reported to be very low and was probably going to be closed very soon. So we took the traditional route which had only 1 lock. After being lowered in the lock my starting battery was dead! I switched over to parallel one of the other banks. It fired right up.
The start battery was only 4 weeks old! The start battery before that died within 12 months. It had been about 3 months that I left her on a mooring and the engine started immediately. The next day it was dead. I thought I had bought the super "Prevailer" battery which should never have acted this way. I specifically asked the Exide battery salesman before completing my order with him if this was the battery built in Germany. Now that I think of it he never said yes but did say that although it won't say "Prevailer" on it that it is in fact a "Prevailer" and they just put their label on it. I bought 4 group 27's and 1 group 24, the latter for the engine only. I have never been happy with the batteries, they never came close to my previous experience with the "Prevailer" nor my expectations. When I got home in November I got on the phone with Exide. I asked if they would honor the warranty if I down graded from the gel cells to flooded cells 6 volt golf cart batteries. They agreed. While talking on the phone with them I learned that there are 2 different gel cell Prevailers. The other is the trade marked "DryFit Prevailer" which carries a 1 year free replacement and a 36 months thereafter prorate. So basically it is what is commonly known as a 48 month warranted battery. The DryFit can be totally discharged and recharged with no damage. They are rated as a deep cycle and starting battery whereas typical gel cells will be damaged if discharged to far and some will be damaged if used as a start battery! The Exide factory told me that the DryFit is very difficult for dealers to stock because they are such a wanted item. However BoatUS carries them in their stores and their catalog and seem to keep a good supply with a very fair retail price. Did you realize that when automotive/marine batteries are born they immediately begin a slow death? When you go to buy a battery you'd like to buy a fresh one, but how do you know how long they have been on the shelf? Look for a code like E01. The E indicates the manufactured date by month, A-M excluding I starting with January. The 01 is the year 2001. Actually you pay for what you get in a battery. How long it'll last before it starts to loose its full capacity, the rate at which it looses its capacity, how many full cycles it can stand, the rate at which it discharges under no load, the rate at which it discharges under different loads, the shock it can physically endure, the batteries rated capacity, etc. are what determine how much you'll have to pay. So much for the battery story!
After several anchorage's we docked at Belhaven, NC. I had discovered a leaking exhaust system, this the second time she has had an exhaust problem. I need to redesign the installation with a bit of steel flex hose. I decided to haul "Norrøna" out and head for a nice warm house in the mountains of south western NC to stay with my very close friend, JOe Loewy and his rather large family! JOe spells his first name with a capital J, a capital O and a Lo ewy! JOe and I plan to come back to do some work on her just after the new year, then maybe again the last of February and finally I'll move back aboard in March or April when it feels mostly like spring!
May 2, 2001 - Am back on board in Belhaven, NC at mile marker 136 on the Intra Coastal Waterway where I left Norrøna near the end of November when I developed exhaust problems. The weather had gotten so cold and miserable I just got worn out and exhausted (no pun intended) and was craving for a warm abode! I decided to have her hauled so I wouldn't worry that her dock lines were being properly looked after. I spend the winter in the mountains of NC exactly due east 458 miles in Franklin with my very close friends the Loewy's.
It's great to be back on board especially with the wonderful weather we are now having. I had hoped to find some boat work here and there while staying north for the hurricane season that starts in May and is basically over by mid Oct. although officially it is over at the end of November! Why go south into the hot heat?
At the River Forest Manor, Marina, and shipyard I offered my services as an experienced contract marine electrician. I was offered some projects, one that was a truck that developed many electrical problems from the last hurricane , "Floyd", that hit hard here a few years ago. I was also offered a dock master position part time....excellent! The pay isn't great (although the tips are!) but is it as much as the other dock masters get and I get free dockage plus Miss Alice, the manor's cook for the past 30 years, will fix me a plate of her famous food, it's really as good as mom's! If you ever get near here you must stop in for the smorgasbord! Try her wonderful fried chicken, even the white meat is moist, and her oyster fritters!
I bought 4 new golf cart batteries this winter and just relocated and installed them. I am very pleased at the accessibility and they are better distributed weight wise. I now have 450 amp hours which translates into about 150 ah of real usable power. I have calculated I need about a max of 100 ah per day if I am using the reefer. It uses about half.
The relocation of the valves, filters and pump of the water maker is also done. There are 3 more major projects, 2 of which I just discovered. I found on the hull below the waterline some delaminating of a plastic filler over the cement. It has nothing to do with the integrity of the hull. It merely is a filler to make the hull lines fair. The area is about 2 feet square and the thickest is about 3/4". The filler is a 2 part epoxy with fiberglass hairs in it. The Dyna Hair arrived today. I am completely redesigning the exhaust system to today's typical equipment which in fact is much simpler and more efficient minimizing engine room heat. And last before launching a new cutlass bearing, which I just discovered, for the prop shaft...that will probably be the most inexpensive repair! You know one of the old saying about what a boat is? "A boat is a hole in the water of which one pours money into!" Uh oh! Since I wrote this last, about the cutlass bearing, I have also discovered that the shaft should really be replaced, electrolysis damage (today is May 14th). The marina owner, Axon, has offered a trade of a good used one that broke on his tow boat right at the coupling leaving more than I need. The trade is in return for repairing the truck, which at this writing, has been solved and repaired! Good trade for both of us. It'll cost about $20 to have the shaft cut, the prop and coupling sized to fit, and a new key way cut.
So as a whole everything looks real good. I will be looking forward to do some part time sailing between part time money earning projects thus summer. Then hopefully I will have built up a cruising kitty to enjoy the tropics this winter. Keep an eye on me via the APRS "find Peter" link near the bottom of this page. And send me some emails, especially when I get out of the USA waters.
July 26, 2001 - Sorry it has taken me so long to update this page but I have been very busy and having a wonderful time in Belhaven.
Finally, Norrøna is back in the water! Before moving around to the marina it was decided to leave her in the water at the shipyard incase she needed to be hauled. There was quite a bit of work done below the water line and it best to wait a few days to see how she'll do. Something of interest was the difference in weight after being out of the water since November. Wooden boat absorb a lot of water, fiberglass some, and steel probably none. I was expecting over a ton difference, but the difference wasn't measurable on the TraveLift scale. Perhaps it was 200-300 pounds. Probably because of the resin and plastic bearer is why the cement didn't absorb much water, unless it is still in it! I doubt that though.
Everything appears to be just fine, the only leaking is the prop shafts packing box and it is supposed to drip at a rate of about one drop every five seconds. It was dripping about every 3 seconds, no big deal, besides I need to run the boat under power to seat the packing on the new shaft. After doing that, by moving to the marina, it is now dripping about 2 to 3 drops per second. It has been a week and I still haven't gotten around to adjusting it. The exhaust system is a huge improvement, besides being a lot quieter the engine room is much cooler and the best part is there is no leaking diesel smoke and steam from the old broken system! There had been a light mist of smoke in the cabin since Sandy Hook, NJ. To this day I haven't gotten all the black diesel soot out of the boat, which is a bit oily.
The water maker works great and now easily accessible after the relocation of many of its components. I flushed out the potable antifreeze and used a cleaning and storage agent. Water makers must be used regularly because of biological growth from the salt water. If you turn the unit off without flushing it must be run again in about 3 days if in the heat of the tropics. A fresh water flush will last for about 1 week. Any longer than that and the chemicals for storage must be used which is known as "pickling"! My water tank is 42 gallons, that'll last about 10-14 days depending on if I shower everyday or not. It's nice to get that sticky salt water and salt air off before climbing into my bunk. I have a salt water pump in the galley sink for washing dishes but I usually use the fresh water for washing as well as rinsing because of having to use the water maker frequently. The water maker makes 8 gallons per hour at about 8 ampere hours of DCV and the water is 99.4 percent pure. I usually measure about 170 ppm of salt, under 500 ppm is acceptable. Many years ago, when I was much younger, I would have caught the rain water of the often tropical daily showers. Today we wonder how safe rain water even way far into the tropics. In most of the Bahamian Islands they also catch water and if you need to top off your tanks you'll pay as much as 60 cents per gallon, last that I checked! As long as I have fuel for the engine to charge the batteries, or enough sun for the two 75 watt solar panels, or enough wind to turn the 12 AH wind generator, or fast enough under sail to turn the 12 AH water generator, I know there is always enough salt water to make plenty of fresh water! Well I shouldn't really go so far as to say "enough salt water", if the salt water isn't very clear then I will compact the 20 and 5 micron filter prematurely. With cold clear water, 40-55F, to about 3 feet I have gotten 4 months out of the filters. Most of the tropics have clear water to 30-60 feet and more and less salinity then colder water.
After the relocation and rewiring of the new batteries the alternator and smart regulator worked still worked right. I thought for sure that I had wired something wrong! Right after the launching I started the engine and charged the new batteries to a full charge. The 115vac 10 amp charger won't give a full charge because of my dc usage with lights and fans. Next I programmed the regulator for the "equalization" or "conditioning" mode. This dissolves any sulfation that has built up on the plates and greatly enhances the overall life of any flooded cell battery. Those boaters I have talked with golf cart 1 year warranty batteries have gotten over 5 years of service by using this charge mode and not letting them get below 50 percent charge.
Now let me tell you about some of the fun things that have occurred here in Belhaven, NC (wherever that is!). A week before the 4th of July absolutely every house and city street were dressed with flags and banners. I have never seen such enthusiasm! On July 3rd a fisherman, Lloyd, came to the marina dock with an 80-100 pound case of 2 hour old crabs and a large keg of cold beer. He steamed the crabs, with beer added, right off the tailgate of his pickup truck. It was free and all you cared to eat. On July 4th there was a long parade that started from just the other side of downtown and circled back a block from the marina...probably about a total of 1 and 1/2 miles. There were at least 3 solid blocks, on both sides of the street, of vendors. People from all over came and those that I talked with say that have come year after year. The population of Belhaven must have tripled that day! Right at 9pm the fireworks began. There were 3 boats in the harbor for about an hour shooting off an impressive display. The Friday after boats of all sizes and shapes started piling onto the docks, in the anchorage, and on trailers for the Saturday regatta and after race party. The race began about 11am and ended about 4pm. The day was perfect with a cold front that gave 15 knots of wind, dry air, and temps in the high 70's with clear skies! In the race was a family with an 10 year old boy and a 12 year old girl that entered their cruising boat. They were from New Zealand and had just happened to stop here on there way north from there now 5 years of cruising. They expect to be back in New Zealand within a few more years that will complete their circumnavigation of the world. They plan to head to Annapolis where they will meet a friend and then drive south in an automobile for Disney World. The kids are extremely excited for that, of course! Oh by the way, they won the race for their class boat. On the lawn of River Forest Manor and Marina there were 3 tents erected. All the beer you could drink began about 3 pm, at 6pm a large plate of eastern NC BBQ with hush puppies, peel your own large steamed shrimp, a wonderful broccoli salad, and dessert were served. After everyone went through the line you could help yourself to seconds. That is when I got my pound of shrimp! At 8pm a band played until about 11pm. I can tell you this, Belhaven knows how to celebrate!
August 18, 2001 - Some sad information was received yesterday. I had found the email address of Jim, Pat, and GB, on the "Genesha" and sent them an email a few days ago. If you look up the page to January 2, 2001 you'll find in that long paragraph that they were who I "boat buddied" with from Reedsville, VA to Belhaven. I had my exhaust problems and they needed to keep going to get south out of the winter weather that was coming on rapidly so we parted on November 18th. They arrived in Charleston in early December. While at anchor, Jim developed chest pains, the paramedics were summoned but couldn't find their boat in time and he died in the arms of Pat of a heart attack! He was such an up person. If I recall correctly they both had just retired from teaching, bought the boat and were intending extended cruising. Jim was really into the cruising scene. Pat, on the other hand, I think, was there because of her love for him but she too was enjoying the new life and may have been into it as much as him or perhaps even more, I am just not sure but I did observe that they both were having a good time! However I did not realize that Jim was under a lot of stress, as Pat wrote. He must have hid it well! In her very prompt return of my email she stated that she is still living on "Genesha", a Down East 32, and learning to sail her apparently single handed. She says "I've taken the boat to Hilton Head and back testing my abilities and resolve. Learned how to kedge off, unfoul the prop and a million other things". I remember when we were cruising together that every time we docked for fuel or whatever she complimented me on my abilities. I think, or at least hope, that perhaps I had an influence that somehow encouraged her to continue on doing what Jim would have liked to do and perhaps would like her to do, keep cruising! She also said in her email that she wasn't so sure if she would continue south or not but would do so in December if she decided to do so.
I intend to leave Belhaven sometime in October and I now will try to catch up with Pat and GB (her dog) on Genesha to buddy up and head south to paradise! I'll keep you informed.