Monday, December 17, 2012

The 2012 Fall Season Has Begun!

We've been trying to get a post up for a while but have run into problems with our substandard internet connection.  We have access but it always crashes when we try to upload pictures so...I'm behind.

Carter asked his friend Jimmy who lives near by if we could get on his high speed connection so I could try and get caught up.

We hit the ground running upon our return to the ship in November.  First, something we both have been waiting for...installing the actuators!  To test the system Carter installed the sample actuator he bought on the center post and gave it a test.  It worked great! 

Here is a shot of the main array, "close hauled on port track".  With the ability to track the sun now, we are able to collect more than enough power to run everything on the boat and went completely off grid the day before Thanksgiving!  The batteries are still a weak link in the system but we have plans to upgrade them in January, just before we head out.

We've left the masts and pully system in place for safety reasons while we test the actuators and tracking system but as soon as we get all the actuators installed and all the bracing and supports in place, Carter plans to cut the masts off at the array level. Right now we are losing some power from the partial shading they cause during part of the day but that will go away soon.

Panel Array going up....

Panel Array going down...


We got a little sidetracked with family, holidays,and an almost terminal case of the flu. But we got back on track this week and just finished installing the next killoWatt that has been sitting on the deck for the past several months. We now have a total of 4 killowatt and with the tracking mechanism, if the sun is shining we should be able to get 60-80 amps at 48V almost all day. Carter thinks this will be enough to travel up 30 miles a day, (with a good tail wind, lol), but we have plans for another kiloWatt over the sundeck anyway.

When you're dealing with a 30+ year old boat, it seems there's always something to fix. We have an ongoing list but some things are higher priority than others and when the head develops a problem,  it's time to drop everything for "Adventures in Marine Sanitation".  So when the floor seal started leaking, it was time to pull the toilet and install a new seal. Are we having fun yet?

In peparation for our upcoming cruise, we needed to get our dingy situation squared away. The Whaler is an awsome dink but it's simply too big to drag around Florida and we needed something smaller for cruising with so Carter pulled out an old inflatable he had and found a little kicker for it on Craigslist. 

   Then we constructed some davits  to raise it out of the water and we're set.

The marina we are at happens to be a favorite spot for manatees because of a fresh water spring in the basin.  There are always a few hanging around but today we counted 12 with 4 mother/calf pairs.  They say when the weather gets colder that so many show up it looks like you could walk across the basin on them but so far, this was the most we've seen at any one time.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

RADAR - New Addition to the Arc

We are pleased to announce a new additon to our family! 


Radar is a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier that we found at the Brevard County Animal Rescue.
He's a natural boat dog and seems to love cruising out on the Banana River.
He's a great dog!  We love him already.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Into The Atlantic Ocean

In conjunction with the salon project, Carter wanted to clean up the wiring on solar panels.  We also made a new friend, Chuck, who just happens to be an electrician who very generously volunteered to pitch in and help.  and then we all went for a cruise.

Nice neat work.
One of the many causeways.

As long as we were passing by Port Canaveral, Carter decided to go out into the Atlantic.  Here we waited for the lock to open.  It was a nice calm day so ... ok.

Here we are out in the Atlantic Ocean with the pelicans and seagulls.
Some of the sites at Canaveral on the way to the Atlantic Ocean.


Everyone always asks "have you been to Fishlips?" 
Well, no, but we cruised by it! 

Cruising down the barge canal.
We anchored out at Cocoa Village that evening and then it was time to go back to the marina. 
Fun time is over and back to Tennessee we go to finish the summer season of work. 
We plan to be back in October.

The Salon!!!!!

We are back in Merritt Island for the final boat check before the winter season and as always, we have a long "to do" list to accomplish.  Our project for this trip will be the improvement of the salon. We intend to rip out the existing bunk beds to convert the space into a proper salon area.  The demolition began immediately upon our arrival.

Let the demolition begin!

Here are the two queen size bunks taking up precious space in the main salon.

Tools for this job....crow bar, wonder bar, a 3# sledge hammer and the saws-all.

1/2 of the top bunk removed.  As with everything else on this boat...these were not meant to be removed.  They were built in to stay.  Needless to say it took some persuasion to get them out.

There was storage under the bottom bunk for canned food.  We found these left by the previous owner.  Tomato and mushroom soup.


Peaches and baked beans.

Demo complete and ready to clean the floor.

Beginning to shape the support for the seats.
Custom fitting the front support to the curve of the boat.
The end product for this work session.  Carter used the existing nailers for both of the seats and it is obvious that he will have to bring the seat on the far wall down to the same height as the other.  We'll work on that next trip down.  For now....this is a GREAT start to the project and we are pleased with the result.

Soon after the completion of the salon, we plan to remove the seat at the extreme bow of the salon and build in another hanging locker. 
We will build in an end table that will go all the way to the middle of the floor and attach to the support pole.  Also, we will add a coffee table.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Week of July 4th, Banana River, Florida

The Captain is aboard the Arc'himedes!
We love our time on the boat.

We arrived at the marina on Monday, July 2nd with the intent to work on the boat for the week as well as enjoy the fourth of July on the Arc.

Carter purchased another Kilowatt of panels from Kemery Solar in Strawberry Plains, Knoxville, Tennessee along with power electronics (inverter and charge controller) that we had hoped to install during this week but unfortunately, this project will have to wait until next time.  We had a long list of 'must do's' to accomplish on this trip.

Fortunately it fit perfectly on the self!

One of the first items on the 'to do' list was to replace the Force 10 BBQ that was destroyed on the last passage.  We both feel badly about this loss as it was a great BBQ.

We were expecting growth on the bottom of the whaler but this exceeded our expectations!  We found a nice sandy beach nearby to scrape the bottom of the whaler.

Next, Carter custom fit the current window shaker into the forward hatch so we have minimal loss of cooling during the sizzling hot summer of central Florida.

Meanwhile, I continued my sewing projects by beginning work on a cover for the control panel and a cover for the generator.  (The generator is needed for power tools.)

I didn't get the control panel project complete so it came back to Tennessee with me to finish by the next trip down.

This cover turned out nice.