Friday, August 30, 2019

Porta-Bote Project

Our Porta-Bote dinghy came with foam for flotation. We were grateful to have it that time our dinghy became stuck under a dock. It kept the dinghy from sinking all the way to the bottom. 

Porta-Bote when new two years ago

I vaguely remember reading that the foam should be covered to avoid UV degradation. After two winters in the Bahamas the foam has started to degrade. The last time we used the dinghy we noticed powdery black stuff in the bottom of the dinghy. We didn’t find a lot online about how to best cover it. One post on the Porta-Bote users group recommended gluing fabric onto the foam. I have a good vinyl glue (HH-66) that would work for the Stamoid vinyl fabric but I wasn’t sure it was compatible with the foam. I didn’t want to put glue on the foam and have it disintegrate even more. Our best guess is that the foam is made of polyvinyl ethylene and the HH-66 can said it is not to be used on polyvinyl ethylene. 
We decided to try to use the 3m Dual Lock (which I call super-duper Velcro) and Velcro the fabric onto the hull of the dinghy. The cutouts for the seats made it a very challenging project but we managed to get it on. Whether it will stay on is another question altogether. I have declared it a 50-50 project. It looks good from 50 feet away or going by at 50 miles per hour. 

Finished project

The supplies we used. 

A few weeks ago we walked down to the Cambridge Yacht Club to watch the log canoe races. It was a hot and humid day with very light winds but we had an outstanding view of the start of the race from the yacht club dock. 

Log canoe race

Notice the people out on the hiking boards on the boat on the right. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019


One of the best things about spending the night on the boat at anchor is feeling connected to nature. We see eagles flying and hear their unique, high-pitched call. We see juvenile ospreys practicing how to fly. We see and hear the fish jumping. Butterflies and dragonflies join us for a ride on the boat. We see gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. Yesterday morning George was up early to check on the nearby thunderstorms. He took several photos of a beautiful sunrise. This is one of the best. 

This butterfly stayed with us for at least a 1/2 hour as we moved anchorages. 

YouTube to the Rescue

It seems as if there is always something that needs to be repaired. Very often it is something that we have never encountered. We have learned to go online and look for instructions. Yesterday’s problem was a frayed outboard motor starter cord. 
We had a week with no commitments so we decided to head out for a few days at anchor. Our original goal was the Sassafras River but we decided to not go quite that far since there was no wind in the forecast and we would have to motor all the way there and back. We chose instead to go back to the Corsica River. We spent our first night at Dun Cove, near the mouth of the Choptank. The next morning we took the shortcut through the Knapp’s Narrows drawbridge. It was our second time through there and this time we were able to avoid going aground (like we did last year) as we entered the Chesapeake. The channel markers switch sides-green on the right instead of red-and they don’t correspond to the chart so I still found it confusing. Nevertheless, we made it. 
We motored under the Bay Bridge, into the Chester River and anchored in Reed’s Creek; a lovely, peaceful and large anchorage. The next day we motored into the Corsica River and dropped the anchor. We had planned to dinghy to Centreville at the end of the river and eat out at Doc’s, a short walk from the wharf. After putting the outboard on the dinghy George pulled the outboard starter cord to make sure it would run. The motor started but the cord didn’t retract. Uh oh. We weren’t ready to leave for Centreville and didn’t want to leave the motor running for two hours. Even if we did leave it running and could get to Centreville, how would we start the motor to get back?  It was way too far to row the dinghy back to Breeze On. We looked online and found YouTube instructions on how to replace the frayed starter cord (which looks rather complicated) or use the emergency starter cord as a temporary fix. We don’t have any replacement cord on board so George used the emergency starter cord. It requires some disassembly of the motor but George figured out a way to partially reassemble the motor after attaching the cord, but before starting the engine, so he didn’t risk losing any fingers when putting to motor back together. We made it to Centreville, and back. Replacing the starter cord and buying a spare are now on the to do list. 

Outboard motor cord. The frayed cord eventually broke off.