Monthly Archives: March 2009

A whole lot of loose screws…

So here’s the math. 60 planks, 120″ x 93″ = 900+ screws.
Bronze ones. Stainless ones. Straight. Phillips. Stripped. Snapped.
And that’s just the bridge.

Sometimes things look their worst just before they get better. And they will. This is just the start.


A few loose screws, and XM radio alternatives…

Much of yesterday was spent as today will be, removing countless screws from the bridge deck planks. Lots of screws. I’ll do the math,  but I’d say probably 1,000 + screws. Frozen screws. Screws that snap. Stripped screws.  Each and every one has to come out.  And first each must be dug out from beneath a teak bung, some of which have been epoxied in place, or glued with some strange rubbery compound. Others just pop out. You never know what you’l find.  A tedious task to say the least. But that goes with the territory. Much of boat maintenance/restoration is tedious, monotous work.

One thing that made last spring’s work pass more pleasantly was XM Radio. Most times it stayed on X-country, other times Fred or Ethel. Stations all phased out when Sirus and XM merged. Which was the same time I cancelled my contract, vowing I’d only return when the programming I enjoyed did as well. Thousands of other listeners cried foul as well, but judging by the comments on the petitions, (4,450 at last  count) most remained customers, hoping things would improve. From what I’ve heard, it hasn’t.  But I’ve found some alternatives, and they seem to be working.  I still miss Rogue Calls, but at least I’ve found a place to hear most of the music I’d come to expect on X-country. The first, recommended to me by someone named Cody (hmmm?) is Texas Free Radio. Take a listen, there’s good things to be found there. The other is, which also lets me listen to their Americana station, Alternative Country,  or switch over to several of their Alternative Rock stations. They have plenty more beyond that, it’s just a matter of what you like. Optimum has WiFi I can log onto right by the boat, so with my laptop and a set of cheap speakers, so if all works as planned, there’ll be music onboard today. And you can get on Slacker via Crackberry. So for all of you still stuck on XM and unhappy, there are options. It just takes a little creativity and some loose screws.

The bridge deck… It begins.

There are certain things that go hand in hand with owning a 32 year old boat. A certain sense of adventure, I suppose. Optimism is helpful as well. Determination.Perseverance.I’m sure anyone with an old boat has their share of stories, and please, I’d love to hear them. Pictures are an added bonus. If you’ve been there and done that, I and all those lurkers (yes, I know you’re out there!) who visit my niche on the web would appreciate knowing how you took on your specific projects. What obstacles did you encounter, how did you overcome them, what lessons did you learn? In sharing war stories, perhaps in the end we can save the next soul some misery. Which is why I’ve chosen to document the various endeavors we undertake aboard Annabel Lee.

And so another phase of work begins. Yet again our old Sable Wagon (AKA the Mars Rover) is earning its keep, this time bringing home sections of the bridge decking. But why is the decking being removed from the boat,you ask. (For bigger, higher resolution, and therefore scarier pictures, click here.)


First, let’s roll the clock back  to last summer. There’s our bridge. Look closely, see all the missing plugs over screws fastening it down. From what I’d been told, the former owner was very fond of his power sander. Evidence is all over the boat, where teak has been sanded clear down to the fasteners in many places. What had once been 1/2″ thick is now down to 1/4″ or less.


The sad fact is the decks look dismal from above,  and from below… well… here’s a few thousand words in photo form.


Leaks, leaks, and more leaks. Of course, this was aggravated by one or more run-ins of deck bedding versus hydraulic steering fluid.  We’re only too aware that the upper helm had more than once leaked, and in lowest spots of the bridge, (made even lower by years of zealous oversanding) the fluid ate through the bedding, through the bedding around the screws, and eventually, well,  see above and below.


Also, notice what resembles a hole concealed beneath the headliner. That’s just what it is. A nice big hole, where the cables run up to the radar mast. You can see the mast in the photo from last summer. The bedding around that mast had long since failed, and the hole and the leaks it created are one of the reasons we’ll be replacing that mast. We plan to set up a mast with a steadying sail, and the radar will be set on that mast, with all cables route properly as not to lead water into the cabin. But that’s another project.


Some plugs have managed to stay, but some with the aid of a pick they can be persuaded out. The bronze screws beneath, on the other hand…


…are another story. Some come agreeably. Some snap at the head. Some strip out. They’re almost like machine screws, not very long, and blunt-tipped, and they go only so deep into the very very thick fiberglass beneath. But here and there, some have been replaced with much longer stainless wood screws, and these go further, down into the teak coring beneath the glass. There is, in places, some delamination, but far as we can tell it seems very slight. I’m sure given more time it would have progressed.

000deck4And so here’s where we stand. The planks are coming up in reasonable order. The fiberglass subdecking will need to be cleaned, any delamination addressed, all screw holes (hundreds) drilled out and epoxied closed. And then, well, that’s to be determined. PlanA. My hope is we can salvage the original decking, I’ve seen it done, by epoxying it down to sheets of marine plywood, and refastening that to the subdecking. That’s how they do teak decking these days on new builds. No screws. Of course we’ll have to re-plug all the screw-holes in the teak, so in the end it would look identical to the original decking. It depends on how easily I can clean down the old bedding to prep the wood for epoxy.  Plan B. Frank’s looking into salvaged teak, which would be cut to size and epoxied down in the same manor as Plan A. Plan C. New teak. Less labor than A or B, more $$$s. Plan D. Flexi-teak or some simular product, but again, more $$$s.

One final note as we forge ahead. This is just the bridge. Eventually the cockpit, forward and side decks will all require the same attention.

Saturday night, round 3…

As promised, here’s some photos from Saturday’s Salute to Texas Independence Day show at Terminal 5 in NYC. Our spot at the edge of the balcony gave me a great view. My shots earlier in the show came mostly blurry, but by time Cross Canadian Ragweed came on, I’d figured out what settings I needed. For bigger, higher res shots, click here.

Saturday night, round 2…

As in February 28, 2009, at Terminal 5, NYC.  Yesterday was too busy and I was too tired to give a proper run-down, but seeing that people are already hitting my blog searching the various musicians that performed I figured I should give a follow-up.

Doors opened at 6, and we were among the first in. As always, I’m amused how they all but strip-search Frank while smiling and waving me through. Oh, the irony. And based upon the price of drinks within and my jaded tastes for higher qualities of rum than that paint-stripper most clubs serve, (Bacardi? Captain Morgan? Blech! Try Gosling’s Black Seal, or better yet, Old Rum!) I vowed I’m aquiring myself a small flask for future events.  Food? In the corner of the third floor they had these ‘pizza-pocket’ type things, edible but overpriced. To be expected, I suppose. We’d planned to meet friends and grab dinner before the show, but traffic on the Jersey side cancelled that.

The thing I liked about Terminal 5  is the layout. The club is your standard black on black pit of darkness, but there’s three floors. The ground is open to the stage, and by 8 it was pretty much packed up. Those of you who know me know my aversion to crowds, which can only be overridden by equal amounts of loud music, quality alcohol, and my own personal 280 lb. bouncer/bodyguard. But Terminal 5 had another option. Two floors of balconies, surrounding the stage to three sides. We staked out a spot right at the edge of the second-floor, with an excellent, unobstructed view of the stage, the mass of humanity on the main floor, and even a small counter on which to rest our plastic cups.

Now on to the ‘Salute To Texas Independence Day’ Concert.

Ray Wylie Hubbard came on around 7. This is my first time seeing him live, and he put on a good show. I would have hoped for more audience participation during ‘Snake Farm’, even if you’ve never heard that one, he made the sing-along fairly straight-forward and fun. But the shocker for me was the lanky kid to his side, introduced as his son, who played one amazingly wicked guitar. Watch this kid, he’s going somewhere! His Texas blues solo was beyond words.

Charlie Robison followed around 8. I’m least familiar with his music, and much of what he performed is off an upcoming album, but it all sounded good.

Around 9, Cross Canadian Ragweed came on. This would be my third time seeing them live, and hands-down the best performance I’ve seen to date. I would have been there for them alone, everyone else was just a happy bonus. They kicked off, appropriately enough, with New York City Girl, and it only got better. And while they were short their own drummer and had to borrow Robert Earl Keen’s, everyone was in superb form. Guys, if you’re reading this, well done. Keep coming back to NY, we’ll be there every time.

And finally, Robert Earl Keen came on, also in excellent form. His live performances are legendary, and while this was my first time seeing one, he did not disappoint. I was particularly pleased with ‘Feelin’ Good Again’; it truly suited my mood for the night. He left the stage, all went dark, the crowd chanted, and he came back on with Cross Canadian. They did the most epic jam of  ‘The Road Goes On Forever’, with amazing guitar solos. All in all, a perfect end to a great show.

And now, a rant. There was one negative to this night, and while those with me said I let it get to me too much, I feel I need to discuss the issue of ‘Concert Etiquette’.  We’re not talking classical music here, where coughs must be choked back and crinkly wrappers kept in check. So my guidelines of courtesy are much simpler. Scream, shout, dance, show your appreciation for the band and the performance they’re putting on.  That’s what we’re here for, at least that’s what I’M here for. Those tickets cost me a chunk of change. So did they parking and the round-trip ferry tickets, not to mention the over-priced drinks and (?) food. Bottom line, I’m here for the music, and that’s why I was in the door early to stake my spot where I can see, and that’s why I didn’t move from that spot for five hours. If you wanted a good spot, you should have shown up earlier. So when my husband steps away between bands, that’s not your invitation to shove your way into his place, pushing my arm off his space at the balcony edge, then laugh and ignore me when I warn you he’s coming back.  He did, and gee whiz, a bit to big to push around. Big enough to shove you back where you belong.

But that wasn’t as bad as the group that took the spot to my other side, when the couple who’d shown up early left around 10. The space was open, so fine. I even squeezed back to give you a better view. But you were just there for your dates, not the concert. Or you would have actually faced the stage, not had your back to it the whole time while you shouted to one another about who said what, who was wearing what and ‘Ohmygoddidyouseeherhair?’ The entire time Robert Earl Keen played, you leaned to each other, right against my shoulder, and shouted into each other’s (and by proximity my) ear about every inane thing that could have been discussed elsewhere, so close your voices competed with the music onstage, while those pointy cornered little stylish purses you wore tucked under your armpits jabbed me in the ribs. And ladies, when you’re that stinking drunk (and you were) breath mints, please. I asked them to keep it down or move it elsewhere. I don’t think that was unreasonable. I was ignored. Finally I leaned over and yelled “Please, a little louder. I can still hear the band over you.” And yes, those were my Doc Martens deliberately stepping on your feet, when you refused to get a clue. Next time, I don’t won’t be so polite.

In the end, the show was great, despite the inconsideration of some individuals. I have some fantastic photos I’ll be loading a bit later.

Last night…

At Terminal 5, New York City.

pitures-02-11-09-283 Robert Earl Keen, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Charlie Robison & Ray Wylie Hubbard Sold Out!

The show started at seven, and closed after an awesome REK/CCR jam around midnight. More pictures and details to follow. Right now after another busy day I’m still catching up on sleep. Forecasts report one major snowstorm headed this way, it’s probably already snowing, so I should hope to be happily snowed in, rested, and online.