Warm Weather – Blanca, 14Apr2014

FINALLY!!  After an awful winter of rain, snow and cold, we finally got a decent weekend in the 70s.  Time to go boating!  Isabel rode on the bow as we took Ballena Blanca for her first little trip into the Potomac.  We cruised down to the U-1105 marker buoy (that Capt. Dave ‘n’ crew deployed on Saturday) and back, making around 7 knots against the wind, and 8 or so on the way back with a following sea.  Blanca handled nicely, with her engines rolling smoothly along at 1,700 rpms.

I spent the day before putting ID numbers and tax stickers on the bow and on the dinghy, so we’re all legal-like.  I also pumped probably 5 gallons of water out of the fuel tanks– I’m sure there’s a rainwater leak somewhere, maybe in the inspection hatches under the cabin sole.  I had opened them to clean the fuel tanks and closed them up again with new gaskets, but I think the new gaskets were thicker than the old ones preventing the bolts from tightening cleanly.  I’ll have to open them and reseal them again when I get to working on the new cabin sole.  In the mean-time, the fuel-polisher pump makes it fairly straightforward to pump liquid out of the fuel tanks until clean diesel is all you see.

I also put the new dinghy in the water with my new 6′ oars (thank you, Gander Mountain– $25 a piece, with free shipping!) and put together the trolling motor donated by Capt. Dave.  The electric motor isn’t much faster than rowing, but easier on the forearms. I’m looking into a good solution for davits on Blanca’s stern to make it easier to stow the dinghy.  We plan to paint this dark-blue tub a light green eventually.  That way Ballena Blanca’s tender can be called Sardina Verde.  Green Sardine!

Next up: finish the navigation lights and work on the bridge deck to solve more rainwater leaks.  Enjoy the summer!



Reedville – Blanca, 05Feb2014

Last Saturday we took a trip to Reedville, Virginia, to visit the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum there.

It’s not open this time of year, but I’d answered a Craig’s List ad about a dinghy for sale, and went there to meet the gentleman in charge of the museum’s boat donation program.  The museum accepts donated boats and restores them.  If they’re not really appropriate for a museum exhibit, they sell them with the proceeds going to help fund the museum.

He showed me the dinghy they had for sale.  A 7′ 11″ Dyer Dhow, reportedly built in 1975.  The result was so nice, “the guy who restored it wanted to buy it back from the museum.”  I can’t help but agree– he did a beautful job.

Philip Rhodes collaborated with Bill Dyer to design a series of dinghies for Dyer Boats, starting in the 1930s.  The original Dyer Dhow was designed for the Navy during World War II as a lifeboat; it was 9′ long and could hold 9 men.  Later, they developed this model, the “Midget”, a very popular dinghy to use as a yacht tender– exactly what I need.  The deal was done.

The bottom and sides of this boat are painted a dark blue.  I like the color, but it might end up hot on summer days, if she’s upside-down on the foredeck of Blanca.  So I might re-paint her something lighter.  Maybe a pale green– then Ballena Blance (“White Whale”) can have a dinghy named Sardina Verde (“Green Sardine”).

We spent another half hour walking around the museum property, looking at the outdoor exhibits before heading home.  They have a nice Chesapeake Skipjack on their dock, the Claude W. Somers.  The place is kind of like a miniature Mystic Seaport.  We certainly will come back when the museum is open– possibly by water!