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Showing posts from 2014

The Greatest Shit Show on Earth - or - The Adventures of Poo

We got a problem.  This blog has mentioned the toilet issues in the past but for a refresher here is a summary of the problems we've had this summer.  When we first got Cygnet we knew there was an issue with the forward toilet, it didn't flush.  The motor ran, but that was it.  Cygnet has two Raritan brand macerating toilets that essentially act as poo blenders and force the waste through hoses to individual holding tanks.  Pleasant.  We got the front toilet fixed, it just needed a new part and it was doing its job just fine.  The rear worked fine until one day we had some friends over and it decided to not.  We thought there was something clogging the line and investigated.  Kevin took the toilet apart, a job that was as gross as it sounds and found that nothing was inside the toilet that should defeat it's capability.  The blame shifted to the line from the toilet to the tank, we figured it must be clogged with a product that was not intended to be there.

A couple months…

The Heat is On

It's getting to that time of year when the leaves are changing and the nights in Chicago are becoming longer than the days.  That brings with the inevitable coolness of the season.  Now people are starting to get interested in how we're doing with the weather.  It hasn't been cold yet, in fact we haven't seen the mercury dip below the magic 32 mark yet, but we've been close.

Cygnet isn't insulated.  There is plenty of fiberglass, but it is all hard, not the fluffy kind in the walls of your home that keep you cozy on a December evening.  This kind actually transfers the temperature well, and can mean a night without a heater on can leave us cold.  We've been experimenting with different systems and so far have found a pretty good way to keep things comfy in the fall.

Hot and Silent

The space heater.  We have a big radiator style space heater that sits near the middle of the boat that keeps it pretty comfy when the temperature outside is above 55.  If it's…

Farewell Two Wrights

As you may know, our first boat "Two Wrights" hasn't been doing too well.  She was in need of some parts that are not too easy to find given that she was built in 1971.  As much as we loved Two Wrights and wanted her to live on, we decided it was best to let her go.  We initially posted a for sale add on Craigslist, hoping someone looking for a classic boat project would sweep her up.  After a few months and no bites we looked into donating her.  We spoke to a few different companies and settled on Kars 4 Kids.  (You may be familiar with their commercial jingle.)  They came and picked her and her trailer up and now they'll get her ready to be auctioned off.  By donating we get a $500 tax write off.  They then sell her at an auction. If the sale price is greater than $500 we can write off the final sale amount.  The money earned then goes to the charity.  This is the standard operation of all these donation companies.

Sail Away
We are sad, but it was time to let her go…

Power Hungry and All Wet.

A few weeks ago we were sitting on the aft deck on a Friday night, enjoying a lovely evening, and suddenly the power went out.  We looked around and saw that it was just our boat.  Kevin did some investigation and found the cord that brings power to the boat, called "shore power" was not right.  It had melted the plug on to the socket attached to the boat.  It was a bitch getting it off, but once it came, Kevin found it to be messy.  One of the metal contacts on the socket was loose, and the plug was quite knackered.  Is it our boat that has a problem, the cord, or maybe the pedestal on the dock where we plug in?  We didn't know and there we were without power.  Well, that's not quite true, see we have a fancy Kohler generator, we just fired that thing up and all was well.  The generator runs the systems of the boat when you aren't plugged in, the refrigerator, water heater (which can also run off engine heat when underway), stove, microwave, ice-maker, etc.   Of…

It's Only Money

Bring
Out
Another
Thousand

boat: [boht] noun/ 1. a vessel of any size used to for navigation on water.  2. a hole in the water you throw money into.

The two best days in a boat owner's life: The day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.

These are the types of things that everyone likes to remind us of.  There is always something to do, and it usually involves money.  Lots of money.  

When we talk to people about our adventure they love to hear all the juicy details and much of that includes costs.  When you buy a house people don't immediately ask you how much you paid, it's impolite (that's what Zillow is for). They don't ask you what your electric bill is, or what setting you keep your heat/AC at.  When you own a boat, especially one you live on, it's different. People somehow think there is a familiarity that goes with boats and that includes what it costs.  We don't really mind, it isn't like we are super rich or super poor and are ashamed of what our i…

The Great Chicago Flood

Last night was stormy. Colette heard a little rain as she got up to turn the A/C off, but Kevin slept through it. It was early this morning that Kevin got up to use the bathroom and noticed something wasn't on the level.  Cygnet was listing to starboard.  The phone rang and our friend J.R. was on the line letting us know that Cygnet wasn't looking good.  Over the night, where parts of Chicago got almost FIVE inches of rain, the river rose significantly.  We were about four feet higher than normal, see the before and after below. Actually this normal photo is even a bit high but you get the idea.

Normal, notice the dock behind Cygnet
Cygnet's getting high
We've been instructed by our marina management company to tie to the white posts at our dock, not the cleats that boats normally tie to. We've been disobedient (so has almost every other boat in the marina) and have been ignoring that and tieing to the few cleats that are available. We still had one rope on a white p…

Whatever floats your boat

When Cygnet first became ours we knew that the interior needed some updates. We also knew there are some things outside that need work, see our last post about the swim platform. We are working on making Cygnet feel like ours, and match our style. We get closer every day. Take a look at some of the pictures of the new salon and you get an idea of what we like. We love warm woods, leather and great textures and patterns. This is how we always pictured Cygnet and we're very happy to have the salon almost complete. All we need now is a painting that's in storage at Kevin's Mom's and a couch height replacement for the teak table.

Looking good!





















This weekend we were happy to play host to our dear old friend Alan and his wonderful girlfriend Felicia. They are on an adventure even greater than us and we were thrilled to have them stay aboard Cygnet. We worry about the guest accommodations since the forward berth (bed) is a bit narrow, but Alan assured me they both slept like ba…

Annnndddd........We're back.

Thirty-nine days after dropping Cygnet at Chicago Yacht Yard we are back in the water.  Is everything fixed?  Nope, but it's getting there.  We have parts on order for the forward head (toilet) and it turns out the transmission isn't an issue but the oil pan on the starboard side needs a new gasket.  The washing machine is in limbo still but all these things will be repaired by the yacht yard while the boat is in our slip for the same cost as if it were at their shop, no slip call fee.

For now the forward head will have to suffice.  It's not ideal but living with two working toilets is better than one and the forward head being for guests is most important.  Maybe if Kevin lost a little weight the bowl size wouldn't be an issue.

Hey Bro, eat a salad once in a while.



For loyal readers you might remember that the slip was incomplete when we first got to River City.  Well, now it's done.  They added these large and somewhat unsightly white posts with what we will call…

Water Withdrawl

It's been over a month since we've been on the boat.  If you read our last post about our trip to Europe you know we were gone for a couple weeks.  This seemed like the perfect time to make some updates and repairs on our home.  We knew when we bought Cygnet that she wasn't perfect.  Sure she had been well maintained and loved by her previous family, but she was born in 1988 and needs some updating and repairs to be back to her full glory.


We decided to take her to Chicago Yacht Yard a few days before we left for our trip hoping things would go smoothly and we'd get her back on our return.   We had high hopes and a fair amount of work to do and knew things might not go as planned.  We prepared for it and had a backup plan in case we needed to crash somewhere.  We are fortunate to have great friends who also live in the same neighborhood so the few days before we left we stayed with Rich, Liz, Deuce Deuce, and two dogs and three cats (Kevin is allergic) in their great …

Oh so European!

First of all we are sorry for slacking off and not posting in a couple weeks but we have a really good excuse.  We spent 13 days in Northern Europe on a vacation/ fact finding mission!  It was tough work being in Europe in the summertime, but somebody has to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

We've mentioned before that it's common in other cities for people to live aboard some sort of vessel, and Amsterdam might just be the capital of these live aboard cities.  We flew to Amsterdam and instead of spending a couple days in a silly hotel, we opted to spend our time on the water.  In Amsterdam you can choose from a wide variety of places to stay, from fancy hotels to an Airbnb apartment.  The place we chose was called Volle Maan, or Full Moon in English.

Volle Maan

It's run by a lovely couple about the same age as us who have a super cute little girl who is friendly and loves to explore.  They live in the forward part of the boat and rent out the aft "apartment&…