Party Time

Our Party Invitation posted on the gates to C and E docks

Our Party Invitation posted on the gates to C and E docks

Last evening was my only remaining evening until cast off day, 17 days from now. So, what did we do? We hosted a Bon Voyage Party aboard Beatitude. Friends and neighbors from C and E docks joined us as we celebrated our soon-to-begin cruising life. Counting Baileys, the dog, there were twenty souls on board enjoying the ambience of a Florida summer sunset. Party music, consisting of Kenny Chesney and friends, played through the speakers located in the salon, cockpit, and front deck. There was plenty of pizza, snacks, and beverages for all. Our “Bon Voyage” cake concluded the festivities.

Our Celebratory Cake

Our Celebratory Cake

We're Ready to Party!

We’re Ready to Party!

Part of the gang gathered in the cockpit.

Part of the gang gathered in the cockpit.

Monica, Becca, Cindy, and Karen beautifying the front deck

Monica, Becca, Cindy, and Karen beautifying the front deck

Karen and Jay enjoying the view from the bow

Karen and Jay enjoying the view from the bow

Michael, Barry, and Bob

Michael, Barry, and Bob

We really love the space that comes with living on a catamaran. There was ample room for everyone as we spread out over the boat from bow to stern. We really should have hosted more gatherings during our time at Regatta Pointe. Nonetheless, last evening’s get-together was wonderful. We have met some really nice people, who like us, live aboard a boat. We all have different life stories, but we are all brought together by the singular passion of living on the water. I’m certain we will see some of these friends in our future travels.

Margaret, Michael, and Baileys (our cute canine attendant)

Margaret, Michael, and Baileys (our cute canine attendant)

Eating cake, while facing the sunset

Eating cake, while facing the sunset

Relaxing with guests from the Port Bow

Relaxing with guests from the Port Bow

Jim, Brian, and Jay after dark

Jim, Brian, and Jay after dark

Cindy, Catherine, and Casy in our Salon

Cindy, Catherine, and Casy in our Salon

The last of the revelers, Catherine, Becca, Monica, Cindy, and Margaret

The last of the revelers, Catherine, Becca, Monica, Cindy, and Margaret

Earlier in the day, before our party, Cindy and I spent a while sorting through some of our belongings, separating out those things which we will keep on board and those things which we will transport to Ohio. We made several trips to our car to load up those items which will not be making our journey with us. The car is now all packed and ready to go. After my shift on Saturday, we’ll make our way north on a road trip to northeast Ohio where we’ll drop off our belongings and visit with family.

Our Honda Fit, packed with goods to transport to Ohio

Our Honda Fit, packed with goods to transport to Ohio

Our guest berth, newly attired with bedding courtesy of Cindy's sister, Christy

Our guest berth, newly attired with bedding courtesy of Cindy’s sister, Christy

Trial Run

Our new beach umbrella.  We visited Siesta Key for perhaps the last time on Sunday after church.

Our new beach umbrella. We visited Siesta Key for perhaps the last time on Sunday after church.

Today was my last free day to take Beatitude out before we leave Regatta Pointe, the marina which has been our home base for the past two years. And, by the way, let me say how fortunate we have been to have spent that time here. The staff and fellow boaters at Regatta Pointe have all been wonderful. With the time rapidly approaching for our departure for things beyond, we wanted to take Beatitude out for one last trip to insure that things are in working order. Around 10:10 this morning, we pulled out of the dock and worked our way around to the fuel dock to fill up with diesel. Five-hundred and thirty dollars later, both tanks were full, and we were leaving the fuel dock, making our way to Egmont Key. (That’s only our third fill-up in the last two years of living aboard Beatitude.)

We've fueled up and ready to leave the marina.

We’ve fueled up and ready to leave the marina.

Regatta Pointe Fuel Dock and Ship Store.

Regatta Pointe Fuel Dock and Ship Store.

Sharon and John, two of many friends we've made at Regatta Pointe over the past two years, waving goodbye from the ship store/fuel dock as we head out to Egmont Key.

Sharon and John, two of many friends we’ve made at Regatta Pointe over the past two years, waving goodbye from the ship store/fuel dock as we head out to Egmont Key.

We anchored in about 13 feet of water for a couple of hours. The windlass worked well in both lowering and lifting our anchor. We then fired up the water maker and, for the first time ever aboard Beatitude, made water. This is one of those things that amazes me. We have a desalinating plant on board, making fresh water from salt water! We made 20 gallons over a couple of hours and shut it off, content that all was well. By replacing the membrane, we solved our problem.

It's magic!  Fresh, potable water from sea water!

It’s magic! Fresh, potable water from sea water!

Most importantly, our starboard engine worked perfectly. Kevin was unable to find a replacement part for the diesel uptake tube in the tank, so he manufactured one using copper tubing. That solved our engine problems. We were sucking in air through the crack in the tube, essentially causing the starboard engine to run out of fuel. No more.

Having fun on the water.

Having fun on the water.

The light wind allowed us to put up our sails and make sure all was working well. We unfurled the genoa and inspected it. We experienced no problems with our genoa and roller furling. We then lubricated the slides on the mainsail and raised it. I went through the process of putting the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reefs in the mainsail with Cindy, and we marked the lines with each reef to give us a better idea of when we are approaching the proper point on the reefing line. We then lowered the main, weighed anchor, and motored back to the marina.

Furling the last bit of our genoa.

Furling the last bit of our genoa.

Cindy took control of the helm station for all the sail maneuvers.

Cindy took control of the helm station for all the sail maneuvers.

Our mainsail fully raised.

Our mainsail fully raised.

Marking the reefing lines with blue tape.

Marking the reefing lines with blue tape.

A brief swim to retrieve our blue tape which fell overboard.  In retrospect, I was glad that it did as the swim was refreshing.

A brief swim to retrieve our blue tape which fell overboard. In retrospect, I was glad that it did as the swim was refreshing.

The third reef is in.

The third reef is in.

Everything went swimmingly on our trial run. We are officially ready to throw off our lines. Once home, I prepared some grilled salmon and grilled green beans while Cindy made a salad and some jasmine rice. We had this wonderful French white wine with dinner and a flavorful port wine for dessert.

Ready for dinner.  Thanks to Cindy's twin sister, Christy, for our new pillows adorning our salon.

Ready for dinner. Thanks to Cindy’s twin sister, Christy, for our new pillows adorning our salon.

Our dinner was accompanied with this wonderful white wine from Chinon, in the Loire Valley of France.  Cindy and I stayed in this lovely town five years ago.  There we visited the Chateau de Chinon, where Joan of Arc met  with the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France in 1429.

Our dinner was accompanied with this wonderful white wine from Chinon, in the Loire Valley of France. Cindy and I stayed in this lovely town five years ago. There we visited the Chateau de Chinon, where Joan of Arc met with the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France in 1429.

Tomorrow, we’ve got some cleaning and packing to do, and then we are throwing a Bon Voyage Party tomorrow evening to celebrate our impending departure. I work Friday and Saturday, and then we are immediately driving to Ohio to take the remainder of our belongings which we’ll no longer need on the boat. I’ll fly back the following Saturday and then do my first stretch of 10 shifts in 9 days. Following the 10th shift, we’ll begin the long-awaited cruising stage of our time aboard Beatitude.

Our Bon Voyage party in our next post.

Air Leaks and Beach Walks

Yesterday morning, Kevin, a well respected marine diesel mechanic in our area, visited Beatitude to assess and repair our starboard engine. We really must have that engine working well before we leave the area in three and a half weeks.

As you may remember, this engine has been acting up our last few times out. It will start okay, but starts to struggle and eventually dies after we’ve been out for a little less than an hour. Then, it won’t start unless I fire up the engine with increased throttle. It is important for this engine to be operable because our windlass will not operate unless the starboard engine is running. It is also very difficult to maneuver a catamaran in tight quarters with only one engine. Beatitude does not like to turn to port with only the port engine running.

I (correctly assumed) this was a fuel problem. I initially thought I needed to replace the fuel filter. For reasons unclear to me, each engine had a different type of fuel filter. So, I thought this was a good time to replace the entire starboard filter with a Racor fuel filter/water separator to match the port engine. This went off fairly well (except for some aggravation finding the right fittings). However, after replacing the filter, the problem with the engine remained.

A small crab lounging upside down on our port trampoline

A small crab lounging upside down on our port trampoline

I noticed that the filter seemed to be sucking air on the fuel uptake side. This I (incorrectly) assumed to be due to faulty installation on my part. Subsequently, I removed and reinstalled that filter three times, but each time it still had an air leak. Finally, I called Kevin. After a few minutes, he had (we are pretty certain) found the problem.

Kevin, down in the starboard engine compartment, assessing the situation.

Kevin, down in the starboard engine compartment, assessing the situation.

My installation of the filter was fine. The air leak was coming from a crack in the plastic fuel uptake tube which sits in the starboard fuel tank. It is now obvious that the initial problem was that the old filter was also sucking in air from the tank (this was not clear at the time because, unlike the Racor, with the Yanmar filter you couldn’t see through the old housing). My replacing the filter, while something that I wanted to do anyway, didn’t address the reason the engine was failing to begin with.

Now, all we need to do is find a replacement part. This is not so easy since the boat was made in France, and the parts are often difficult to come by. If not, Kevin will hopefully be able to fabricate a solution. We hope to have this completed by next Wednesday, when we plan to take Beatitude out for the very last time before we leave the area for good. That will be the occasion for a final test drive to make sure all essential systems are workable.

The fuel uptake cylinder from the starboard fuel tank.

The fuel uptake cylinder from the starboard fuel tank.

The culprit!

The culprit!

The 75-gallon starboard fuel tank beneath one of our guest beds.  The cracked fuel uptake tube inserts into the hole in the lower righthand corner which is now stuffed with a rag.

The 75-gallon starboard fuel tank beneath one of our guest beds. The cracked fuel uptake tube inserts into the hole in the lower righthand corner which is now stuffed with a rag.

Last evening we met our friends, Jay and Karen, at The Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island to discuss our future cruising plans. The food and company was wonderful. It looks as if we may be able to spend some time together out on the hook during our first few months away. They will have some cruising time that coincides with our cruising schedule. I certainly hope that works out.

Cindy and I left a little early for our dinner engagement and enjoyed a walk along the beautiful beach at Bean Point, the northernmost tip of Anna Maria.

Beach Access to Bean Point

Beach Access to Bean Point

Barefoot on the Beach

Barefoot on the Beach

A sailboat exiting the Passage Key Inlet off Anna Maria Island

A sailboat exiting the Passage Key Inlet off Anna Maria Island

Sailing off into the Sunset

Sailing off into the Sunset

Blue and White

Blue and White

Karen and Jay, soon-to-be cruisers who live aboard the motor vessel, Largo.

Karen and Jay, soon-to-be cruisers who live aboard the motor vessel, Largo.