This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Renaming is Complete!

Today the new life of a grand lady began when she was officially renamed The Key of Sea! As I have previously reported, the old name has finally been removed. Unremoved since we purchased it in August of 2009, by the time we were ready to remove the name, the weather had turned too cold for either removal or applying the new name.
In November I contacted local sign company Special T Signs here in Bellingham and asked them to design, create and install the vinyl lettering that would be applied to our boat. Working with one of their designers, we batted around font ideas and color schemes until we found what we liked. The lettering at the top of this entry is design we decided on. We like its style, the classy and classic look and the way the gold edging makes the dark blue pop. The capital letters are 12 inches tall and the entire display 52 inches long which works much better in relation to the scale of the bridge face when compared to the old lettering. So here it is, the before and after. Drum roll please. . .

Before, Nameless

After, The Key of Sea

Dinghy Outboard Motor Project Completed

I am finally getting to some of the photos of our dinghy outboard motor during the refurbishment project recently undertaken. The project as you may recall, began when I got my friend and fishin' buddy to take a look at the old 4 hp Mariner outboard that came with our yacht. At first glance it looked pretty hopeless. The housing was pretty corroded, dinged up and just generally beat up and mistreated. Add to that the fact that I had attempted to start it only once and, though it did start, after very nearly wearing myself out trying, it ran only a brief few seconds and then died. Nothing I could do after that would get it to restart.

Enter Rick, the master outboard mechanic! He emptied the old fuel out, poured in fresh, took out the spark plug, cleaned it and reinstalled it. After some brief confusion over which way the controls should be pointed before starting, he pulled the lawn mower-like crank handle a
couple of times and the engine sprang to life. Yes!

So now we knew it wasn't a lost cause and was worth
investing a bit of time and energy into. I ordered a couple of new spark plugs, installing one and putting the other aside in my spare parts kit aboard The Key of Sea. I learned early on ordering or buying two of everything, was, like in Noah's time, a good idea. Especially when dealing with older equipment. You never know when it may be impossible or at least very difficult to get a new part. And out at sea miles from the nearest parts store is not the time to find out you need a new cotter pin for your prop!

So I went on a mission to find the loc
al rep for Mariner engines finally discovering that Clearwater Marine way out behind Chambers Chevrolet off I-5, is a Mercury dealer (the makers of the Mariner motors) and therefore the place to order parts for my motor. Order is the word of the day here since this motor was made back in 1988 and therefore parts off the shelf are pretty much not going to happen. I special ordered new zincs which I still wound up having to machine a bit so the flat-headed bolt would seat properly onto the base of the lower unit. I spent a lot of time cleaning off old grease and oil, lightly sanding and double 0ught steel wooling the exposed painted areas of the motor. I spray painted a good bright green Chromium primer paint onto all areas showing corrosion and or rust. Then I sprayed any public areas with Mariner gray paint including masking anything so that there was as little overspray as possible and the job would look as professional as my talents, experience and know how allowed.

I must say I am pretty impressed with the way it looks.
Scattered throughout this blog are some photos of the project. Baring any unforseen issues, we should look pretty good out there this summer tootling around in our new dighy and like-new outboard.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Dinner

Most years we aren't even in the same town for Valentine's Day. Leslie is usually at the Washington Music Educator's Association (WMEA) state convention. I am usually just around the house (or the boat). This year was no different. So we, as usual, celebrated our V-day on the 16th. As I am home AND at least to my way of thinking, this holiday is really about and guy pampering his significant other, I had the time to organize a nice dinner.

So here is the menu for our Valentine's Day dinner.

Salad Course--

Seared Scallops on a bed of micro-greens and served with hand-made croutons and dressed with a balsamic reduction and parmesano reggiano.

Main Course--

Garlic Fettucini tossed with jumbo shrimp, julienned asparagus, capers and tomatoes.


Chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce


It is all about using fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch. Taking the time to do it that way shows that you care and cooking it with love always makes the food taste better than anything you'll get in a restaurant. And whether or not you can cook as well as the chef at your favorite bistro, I guarantee your efforts will be appreciated.

Renaming of our Yacht

Everyone knows that renaming your boat will bring nothing but bad luck and make your boating experience something that you will want to forget. But what do you do when you find the boat of your dreams and its name, written across the stern or some other very public location, is just not going to work for you. My example, is the name, well, as you will read, I can't actually mention the name. Now I am absolutely sure that the previous owner had a wonderful reason for giving her that name. In fact he did explain that it combined names of family members. Clever!

Our Bayliner 3218 Motor Yacht getting a bath and showing the face of the bridge with the old name on it.

But there was just no way the name was going to work as the name of our boat. It didn't take long for us to come up with a re-name for our boat--The Key of Sea. Since last August when we finally took ownership of our boat, we have been waiting to make that change. But what with all the other more critical needs aboard we just didn't get around to removing the old name and having the new one put on. Then the winter weather came along and it just wasn't the right time.

That all changed this weekend. And today, the last of the name removal took place. I removed the old vinyl lettering on Saturday. Today, I went back to get the residual adhesive taken off. I took along rubbing alcohol and paint thinner which I had heard would remove the adhesive. Turns out the rubbing alcohol wouldn't touch this particular adhesive. But the paint thinner loosened it up no problem. A razor blade helped scrape the stuff right up into little globs that wiped right up. So at this moment our boat sits nameless in the harbor waiting for the new name to be put on later in the week.

As to renaming a boat, it is, according to tradition, not something to be done lightly. At least not if age-old superstitions are to be believed. Since the beginning of time, sailors have sworn that there are unlucky ships and that the unluckiest ships of all are those who have defied the gods and changed their names. So, is there a way to change a name and not incur the wrath of the gods of the sea?

Apparently there is and it is quite an undertaking. It requires getting rid of all reference to the old name from any documents, records, anywhere it might be possibly be found. Then there are the incantations which must be recited in the correct order and in the correct compass direction. Finally, a bottle of reasonably good champagne must be poured into the sea in each compass direction in a prescribed way, leaving only a glass for the captain and first mate. A separate bottle of the bubbly is required if serving any guests.

The ceremony is quite complex and must be followed exactly or it is all for not. Or, you could ignore the entire thing and just get on with things. Personally I'd rather pour the champagne, toast my friends and cast off all lines!

Stay tuned and a post with a photo of the new name will get added to this entry when it gets applied.