Monthly Archives: September 2018

Where in the world is Pandora and where is she going?

It’s only about six weeks until I am supposed to head south on Pandora, bound for Antigua and I am getting a little bit anxious about next steps.

The good news is that Pandora’s paint job is completed and her graphics applied and they turned out perfectly.   Pandora went in the water first thing on the Tuesday after Labor Day and I arrived in Stratford just in time to see her moved into a slip.  My plan was to motor her back to Deep River to re-unite her with her mast and get going on all the “to-do” items that are on the long list of chores.  She looked wonderful in her new finery.  For those of you who read the prior paragraph VERY carefully, you would have noticed that I used the phrase, “my plan WAS” about next steps.

That’s because as I went through my “pre-flight” check list, I noticed that the bearing on the back of the transmission, the “pillow bearing”, that was to be changed or rebuilt, hadn’t been touched.   That bearing had concerned me a lot on the way home from Antigua last spring and it needed to be addressed while Pandora was on the hard.  However, somehow the engine guys at Brewers who were to do the work somehow “didn’t get the memo”.   A work order had been issued weeks before but somehow that key task was missed.

Now for the bad news…  So, back out of the water she went and back on the train  for me.  I wasn’t happy because by the time I got home I had burned nearly the whole day.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but that little issue meant that I got up at 5:30 and spent the next 9.5 hours messing around on trains and buses but mostly just sitting around “waiting” for trains and buses.  It’s so much fun and Pandora was back on the “hard” all over again.  But wait, there’s more.  I just found out that the work won’t be completed and until next Friday, a nearly three week delay that eats up a huge amount of my prep time for getting ready to head south.

So, here I sit, with so much to still do to get ready to head south and the clock is ticking.   And wouldn’t you know it, the tides will be against me this week, if she’s even ready then,  for bringing her east in Long Island Sound.  Such are the best laid plans.

A few days ago I received an update and was told that they could not find a replacement bearing and that the old one would have to be rebuilt and that some parts were going to be “fabricated” in the machine shop.  I always get anxious when I hear the word “fabricate” in the same phrase as “mechanic”.    Oh great, they get to play with their awesome machines and I get to listen to the time clock tick loudly.

Oh well, that’s why everyone talks about “boat dollars”.  You know, the ones that are 1000/1 compared to regular dollars?

And, speaking of boat dollars, we are thinking about adding a passerelle, actually, I am not sure I can even spell it correctly.  However, it’s a boarding ladder that goes on the stern for use when “Med Mooring” a boat.    Oddly, they don’t even make them in the US for small boats so if we want to get one, it will have to be fabricated in the UK and shipped to us.   I have been in touch with a company there and they assure me that with the proper application of “boat dollars”, that they can get one here in time.    The company makes all sorts of units but we are going to go with one of the aluminum ones, their most “pedestrian” style.  Here’s a link to the page that shows the unit.  It’s not terribly elegant but should make it easier to move on and off the boat when we are Med or stern moored at a marina.  I don’t have a photo of what the unit looks like when it’s deployed but this is a shot of a fancier unit on a much larger boat.  And, on a really, really large boat.  That unit telescopes into the hull from the stern.  We saw this boat, Kismet, a few years ago in Ft Lauderdale.  I  wrote about her and her well heeled owner a while back.   His passerelle is longer than all of Pandora.  So, there’s a lot left to do and not a lot of time to accomplish it.    Actually, and not to put too fine a point on it, I only have a month and that assumes that she is finally launched next Friday.  Not sure I can make it as I was not counting on the unexpected three week delay in getting Pandora back to my local marina.

However, as the title of this post suggests, Pandora’s going somewhere and that somewhere is supposed to be Antigua.   Well, I sure hope so as there is a lot to look forward to when we arrive with a week of festivities planned.   Click here to see what’s planned.   

It’s going to be great assuming that I can get everything done.

I’m stressing…

What’s in a name and all of the little things that I obsess about.

When people ask what our boat’s name is and I reply Pandora, my answer is often followed by another question.   “Do you own Pandora Jewelry?”  Another question is often “Do you work for Pandora Radio”, the Internet radio service.  Nope and nope.

However, more often than not, it’s a simple “why did you name your boat Pandora?”  So, since you asked…

Some ten years ago Brenda and I were on a summer vacation in Maine,  anchored in Gilkey Harbor, Penobscot Bay.  We met an older couple on a boat, another larger Tartan, who told us of their long summers aboard their boat each year.  After hearing their story, I said to Brenda “When I grow up, I want to be like them.”

At the time we owned Elektra, a Tartan 37, a great boat but one that did not have quite the “creature comforts” that Pandora affords and that I knew Brenda would require if I had any hope of her spending months at a time aboard.

So, Brenda and I agreed that our next boat would be one that was capable of long distance cruising and that we’d be able to do so in relative comfort.   Thank you Brenda.   When we finally acquired a boat that fit our bill for long distance cruising and it came time to consider various names, Brenda quipped…
“Wow, I am really opening Pandora’s Box by letting Bob get a bigger boat.”

So, Pandora became Pandora.

And, here we are so many years later with thousands of sea miles and countless nights aboard and I am still not sure if I should thank her or beg for forgiveness.  Actually, it’s probably both.

Thanks Brenda and I am really, really sorry about all this.  Well, not all that sorry, actually…

So, back to the newly painted Pandora all ready to hit the water in a few days.

As with most important decisions, and plenty of minor ones, such as what sort of tile to use in a bath remodel, or what color to paint Pandora, I tend to obsess over such things.  However, in my defense, after all the “what about this or that option?”, I generally feel like the outcome is worth the effort and Pandora’s new color was a decision that was worth obsessing over.

Recall all the time that I spent choosing a color for Pandora?   All those blog posts and Facebook posts about what color too choose?  Well, I think it was worth it as her new light grey suits her perfectly.

Folks had plenty to say about color choices ranging from “paint her the color of bird poop” to “exactly why are you asking total strangers what color to paint your boat?”  However, the final outcome was definitely better for all the input so thanks for the help.

In addition to the choice of color, which looks marvelous, I really wanted to get the logo perfect, both in design and in size.  And, thanks to the work by Mike from Stamford Signs in CT, it really looks terrific.  Mike was very patient and even offered to reprint the logo and make it bigger when we put the first printout on the hull a few days ago.   We both agreed that it wasn’t quite big enough.  Well, perhaps he was just humoring me but I appreciated his willingness to print out one that was about 1/3 larger, a whopping 7′ or perhaps longer.

I think it looks just awesome. On the starboard side he switched the stars to the other end of the logo so that they would trail aft in both cases.   My artist friend Chris had that idea and I think it was quite inspired. The process of actually applying the “sticker” was simpler than I would have expected.   Mike sprayed a solution of water, alcohol and a bit of soap to the surface so that he could lift the vinyl if he got a wrinkle.  No problem though, it went on perfectly, the first time. Nice work Mike.

All done and now it’s time to put Pandora back in the water and bring her back to Deep River where her rig will be reinstalled, new rod rigging and all.  There’s still plenty to do before I head south to Antigua at the end of October.

And, speaking of graphics, I am now obsessing over what sort of decoration to put on my little truck.   Of course, “TT (tender too) Pandora” is a great option.  Or, perhaps “Pandora’s Box Truck”.  Too obvious?  Yeah, probably.

For now, it gives me something else to obsess about.  That’s good.  I think it’s a cute truck.  Brenda says it’s just stupid.    Don’t you just love the new “big” tires and wheels?Anyway, all this writing isn’t getting my other projects done and the plumber comes Tuesday to do the final hookups on the “new” bathroom that I have nearly finished.

Best of all, we are heading to MD in a few days to see our three grandchildren and their parents too, of course.   Our oldest Tori is getting older by the day.   I just love this “sassy” picture of her.   Yes, having grandchildren is wonderful and it’s the one little thing that I don’t obsess over.   I’ll leave that to their parents.