Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

When I was growing up my mom had subscriptions to a few womens magazines. My very favorite article in all of the magazines was a feature in the Ladies Home Journal called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" The article gave the separate perspectives of each member of the couple (whose marriage was in trouble), then the marriage counselor's perspective and, finally, the outcome. Most times the marriage was indeed saved.

I decided to steal the title of that article to write about a communication device we have been using called the Marriage Saver. And, no, our marriage is not in trouble.

When we are anchoring the boat I am at the helm and George is at the bow operating the windlass. We initially tried hand signals so that George could signal to me when to go forward, in reverse, turn toward port or starboard. The hand signals worked pretty well but were a little limited. Also, since the throttle and gear shift are on the floor I have to be sitting to operate them. That means that the top of the dodger obstructs my view of George.

I had heard of these wireless headsets called the Marriage Saver and wanted to give them a try. George was a little skeptical but agreed to try them after a found a slightly used set for half price. He is now a big fan.

We do often hear static if we are both in the cockpit and have them on. Once he goes up to the bow, though, we can hear each other quite well. I like the fact the we can communicate more than we could with hand signals. If, for example, he asks for me to put the boat in reverse, I can ask if that was enough, does he need more, etc. He likes the fact that he now has both hands free. One hand to operate the electic windlass and the other to operate the deck wash to clean the Chesapeake mud off of the chain and anchor as they come up.

Our marriage has definitely been saved.

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Checking the Zincs

One of the many things we have had to learn with Breeze On is to check the underwater metal parts for corrosion, specifically galvanic corrosion. As I have mentioned before, anything that has to do with electronics is Greek to me so I hope that my writing about it will help me to understand it.

Whenever two dissimilar metals are in contact with each other in seawater they become a battery and an electric current can pass between them. So, for example, a bronze propeller on a stainless steel shaft can cause an electric current to form when they are under water. The current is formed by electrons coming off of the metal. If enough electrons come off of the metal it will eventually be destroyed. The process is called galvanic corrosion. To protect these metal parts something called a sacrificial anode is attached to the metal. These are very often made of zinc, which gives off its electrons more readily than bronze or stainless steel. Many boat owners call them "zincs". Don Casey wrote a brief article explaining zincs for BoatU.S.

Stray electrical current which may be present in the water, perhaps from another boat, will hasten the deterioration of the zincs. Once the zincs have lost about 50% of their size they should be replaced. They should be checked at least once a year, but possible more often than that.

Our boat has been in the water just three months but we have been wanting to check our zincs for a few reasons. We heard that another boat owner in our marina said his zincs deteriorated much more quickly there than in other marinas. I heard from another Hanse owner on Women Who Sail that they had to replace their sail drive because the zinc had failed.

Last week we had the marina pull the boat for a short haul to check the zincs and clean the bottom. Much to our relief the zincs looked great and the bottom was pretty clean, too. Phew!

One possible reason our zincs looked good and the other boat in the marina had zincs that were deteriorating is that Breeze On has a galvanic isolator in the electrical system. When a boat is plugged into the shore power at a marina the grounding wire connects all the boats connected to shore power with each other. So, if the boat parked next to us has no zincs, the zincs on Breeze On will do the work of protecting both boats and deteriorate much faster. A galvanic isolator prevents this from happening. So I am guessing that the boat that had quickly deteriorating zincs had no galvanic isolator. In any case, I am grateful that everything looked good with Breeze On.

 

The rounded gray part in front of the propeller protects the propeller. The gray part behind the propeller protects the sail drive.

 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Retirement

My husband and I have been retired for one year. This year has passed more quickly than any other year in my life. It is true, we have done a lot this past year. We downsized, prepared our house to sell, sold our house, found a place to live, sold our boat, bought another boat, moved, helped our daughter move, delivered our boat from New York to Maryland and began cruising on our boat. It is a lot, but I don't believe all of that activity is the only reason this year passed quickly.

When I was working there were days that seemed to pass SO slowly. I enjoyed aspects of my job (the clients and coworkers) but there were other aspects that made the work very stressful and took all of the joy out of work. Now that I am retired my days seem more like my own. I can choose how I spend my time. So how do I spend my time? I sleep in most days to somewhere between 7 and 8 am. I go to the gym and take 5 exercises classes a week when I am in town. I read all of the newspaper most days. I keep caught up on my emails. I follow a very active FaceBook group called Women Who Sail. I follow several sailing blogs. I sew. I meet other women for a Girls' Night Out once a week. I read books. And, of course, I sail. I generally feel much calmer and more content without the stress of my former job. At times when I do feel a little stressed about something I recall how frequently I felt like that when working and how rarely I feel like that now. I believe that because my days are so much more enjoyable the time seems to pass more quickly.

Before we retired my brother-in-law told my husband that we would be busier than we imagined in retirement. We were skeptical about that but we found that it is so true. My life feels just busy enough.

My husband and I spend almost all of our time together now. Fortunately, we have always enjoyed each other's company and we still do. We run most of our errands together so it has become a challenge to surreptitiously buy cards for each other (for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). We agreed we wouldn't buy them anymore. There is more quiet time when we are together, but that is okay.

It is possible that I may eventually miss some of the things I got from working. It hasn't happened, yet, though!