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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Anchor System On The Way!

Our 10 kilogram Bruce anchor hanging off the bowsprit of The Key of Sea gave us plenty of reason during last boating season, to suspect it was too little anchor for our boat. Several times, we found ourselves drifting off of our anchorage even though we had carefully gone through each step necessary to secure us to the bottom. After setting the anchor we also set the GPS proximity alarm to warn us should the anchor slip. In every case we had to reset the anchor more than once. Fortunately, we never had to depend on it during an overnight stay or stormy weather.

We were confident in our anchoring ability. So why the problem?
I bought a book on anchors and anchoring and read it front to back. I began to suspect we needed much more anchor than we are currently carrying. Fast forward to a visit to Pacific Marine, a used boating supply store here in town. I had a long conversation with one of the staff regarding my options. In the end they recom-mended that I have at least as much chain as the length of the boat. In our case probably 35-40 feet would be a good length just to be sure. We will also replace the well-frayed anchor line and upgrade to a slightly larger diameter rope. We will continue to use a 3 strand nylon line for its strength and elasticity and that will give us an overall scope of about 300 feet.

As to the anchor. Well, it turns out we have been using about half the anchor we should have. We will keep the current 10 kg Bruce as a back up and go to a 15 kg model for our permanent anchor. We'll need to mark the scope every so many feet in order to keep track of what has gone overboard when we are setting the anchor.

So, we have a job ahead of us and I am looking forward to it. Thought I'd get to it during the upcoming Spring break in another week. I have an eye on a used 15 kg Bruce down at Pacific Marine that looks to be in good shape. I may go down and buy it next week. I think some sort of rubberized mat placed in the bottom of the anchor locker on deck might help curb future scratching and denting of the fiberglass locker.

Another addition to this year's cruising will probably have to be a new small hp outboard motor for the dinghy we bought last season. Still looking for a deal on that. My old motor which I spent a lot of time last winter fixing up just hasn't paid off the way I had hoped. It is just to old, unreliable, difficult to steer and start. It works and it could continue to serve us, but a new motor would be much lighter and easier to get running. Well see. We can always use the oars that came with the dinghy! We'd get some exercise that way as well. ha!

With the new paint job and zincs in place since last Fall, our mechanic, Travis, is all set to do the annual physical in two weeks--new oil, filters, etc., we are about set for the 2011 boating season. And we are planning a lot more boating this summer. Oh, and one more update. When Travis visits to do the annual check up, he has also promised to move the port side engine sea strainer further aft. It currently sits just far enough forward to make it just inaccessible for me. As it needs to be looked at before and after every trip, it is quite bothersome to have to ask someone to squeeze into that space just to check that one concern. Now I'll be able to get to both of them easily.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Minute Saint Patrick's Day Dinner

I'm on my way home when it occurs to me that we hadn't discussed anything for dinner tonight--St. Paddy's Day! Why not surprise my wife and bring home the fixings for a dinner to celebrate the holiday? A quick up and down the aisles and I had the ingredients.

1 pound of good quality sliced corned beef for sandwiches (found in your deli)

1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges
6 small red potatoes, cut into 2 inch chunks
3 slices of bacon
salt and pepper

Fill a pot with water up to the bottom of a steamer and turn on high. When water is boiling place cabbage wedges into the bottom of the steamer. Sprinkle with salt. In another pot place potato chunks and boil until cooked. Slice the bacon thinly and sprinkle onto a baking sheet. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven until browned and crisp. When the bacon is done, set aside saving drippings.

When the cabbage wedges are nearly cooked through, place the slices of corned beef over the top of the cabbage and allow the contents to steam until the cabbage is done.

Drain the potatoes, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Plate up the cabbage wedges, top with butter, salt and pepper. Arrange boiled potatoes on plate. Salt, pepper and butter to taste. Add a portion of corned beef. Sprinkle bacon over the cabbage and potatoes. Serve immediately.

All that activity took me almost exactly 30 minutes. Whew! Oh, and what did I do with the bacon grease? Well, I decided to do nothing, but you could pour it over the cabbage and potatoes. You could also roast the cabbage wedges in the drippings instead of steaming them. It is a yummy alternative but one that would, of course, add lots of extra calories and fat to the meal. It would also add to the preparation time.

I found the use of good quality pre-cooked corned beef not only saved a lot of time but it was also far less salty than the boiled corned beef briskets I usually purchase and boil for an hour or more. Plus I only bought enough for what I needed instead of a 3-4 pound brisket that is way more beef than I need.