Sunday, April 28, 2013

Alcyone -- Hull number one

Alcyone under sail. (From the Columbia Yachts Owner's web site.)
I needed a break from not working on my boat yesterday so I ambled to the little marina store for a Pepsi. I did a double take when I looked at G Dock and saw another Columbia. No, not just a Columbia, a Columbia 43 (building excitement)! No, not just any Columbia 43... Alcyone -- the first Columbia 43! And it's in a permanent slip too, not a transient one.
Alycone in her new berth in Newport, Oregon. 

Check out that deck house! The hull-to-deck joint is different as is the toe rail and other features of the boat. 

Alcyone is distinctive because she was built with a cut down Columbia 50 deck on her. She really looks different, in a custom, cool way. It looks like she has a few inches less freeboard as well. Putting a Columbia 50 deck on the Columbia 43 isn't as weird as it sounds. Both boats have the same maximum beam (12 feet 3 inches) and the 50's waterline is only a foot more than the 43. Of course both boats were designed by Bill Tripp. I wonder how he felt about hull number one?

In Greek myth, Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. A very cool name for a sailboat.
The cockpit is different from other Columbia 43s with all-wood combings and a separate well for the helmsman.

I can hardly wait to talk to Dave and Betsy, the owners. I'm hoping for a tour down below and some good stories. I've never seen another Columbia 43 and I didn't see mine before she was modified so extensively. It's interesting that there are two Columbia 43s in the same marina and both are unusual.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LEDs for Earth Day

An original dome light and an old German-made reading lamp are updated withe new LED lights.
Earth Day found my son-in-law and I rewiring old brass lighting fixtures and replacing the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. The original dome lights were little more than lumps of corrosion in one of the many boxes of gear that came with Oceanus. My wife and I spent several evenings polishing them down to the shine. We tried every commercially available potion to little effect. As a last resort we used a dollop of distilled vinegar on a fist-full of salt and were finally able - with a lot of elbow grease - to cut through the verdigris.

The beautiful diamond-patterned glass lenses came sparkling clean in the dishwasher. We were able to save most of the sockets, but all the switches were toast. By the time we replaced switches and added LED lights we were at or above the price of new dome lights. These, however, were part of the original boat and we felt it was important to save them. Besides, they are good-looking and classics.

In addition to the five original dome lights, we added two German-made reading lamps from about the same era we found at a yacht equipment resale store. They received LEDs as well. New strip LEDs will go under the cabinets in the galley and in the head. We will more than double the light sources in Oceanus from her original five dome lights. And the LEDs promise to be brighter too.

The LEDs are expensive to purchase, but with their long life-span (about 20,000 hours) they should eventually pay for themselves. Their real benefit on a sailboat, however, is how energy-efficient they are. They draw less than 5 percent of the energy of the incandescent bulbs they replace and do it without adding heat, which should be a boon in the tropics.

One of the attractions for me of cruising in a sailboat is being somewhat energy independent. Living off the grid and lowering my carbon footprint is a goal I've had for some time. I hope the LEDs will help me get there. Happy Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An accent chair for the library

The slip cover was a perfect fit on the first try.
Virginia spotted this chair even before we signed the papers on Oceanus. "It would be perfect for sitting and knitting," she said. It was half off the day we spotted it, so, uncharacteristically, we made an impulse buy.

The original cover zips off and on.
Even though it is made to be hauled around -- in the cockpit, on deck, on the dock -- we figure the perfect place for the chair is next to the hanging locker across from our bunk. I installed a bookshelf there and we've taken to calling it the "library." Every proper yacht should have a library with a comfy reading (excuse me) knitting chair. Right?

The dark blue cover was fairly good looking, but it didn't match the family of fabrics we will use on the boat. Virginia solved this by using the old cover as a pattern and sewing a new, fitted slip
The library chair in it's rightful place.