“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


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Bostonian Bucket List

This is one of those posts that I have had in draft for too long.  I started this post months ago when we started noticing that we might be doing certain things for the last time.  This weekend we did one of the things on this list, so I thought I should get the post up.

Stuff to do before we leave Boston:

  1. Duck Boat Tour – Yup, never did this.  Always seemed too touristy.  But something we should do before leaving the area.
  2. Red Sox Day Game & Cigar Bar Trip with Frank
  3. Museum of Fine Arts – My Bride has been asking to go here for years.  Yet we never seem to make it.
  4. Harvard Library – Peruse the stacks and take in the air where some of the greatest minds have sat.  The oldest library in the US and the largest private library in the world.
  5. Head of the Charles Regatta – This might be the hardest one on this list since we missed this years and might be gone before next years.
  6. A drink at my favorite pubs: Black Rose, Top of the Hub, Omni Parker, Green Dragon, Doyles, Union Bar (some of my very favorite places, like the Littlest Pub, have closed)
  7. Harvard vs. Yale Football Game: The Game – One of the oldest sports rivalries in the US at 139 years.  We went to the game this weekend.  It was great (except for the bands, big disappointment there).  College Game Day broadcast was from the Harvard Stadium.  The winner of this game would be the Ivy League Champions.  IMG_2577The game lived up to all the hype.  We were lucky in that almost all of the good action was right in front of us.  Harvard took the lead 31-24 with 55 seconds to go but Yale was marching towards a score when Harvard intercepted the ball to secure the win with 10 seconds left in the game.  It was great.
  8. New England Aquarium – We have gone here many times, two of our friends even got married at the aquarium and we went to a fundraiser where we got our picture taken with the 2004 and 2007 Commissioner’s Trophy.  We definitely need to go here one more time before we sail south.
  9. Boston Public Garden
  10. Bunker Hill Monument


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Strange Electrical Issue – Update

I did a previous post about a strange issue I had on our AC power side.  I got some feedback from my go-to marine electrician, Compass Marine aka Maine Sail, that he suspected the GFCI outlets were bad.  These items should be considered disposable items that should be replaced every few years.  He also gave me some good advice about what manufactures and qualities to look for in a decent GFCI outlet.

After striking out in finding any of the GFCI outlet’s recommended at 3 local electrical supply houses.  I ordered the new GFCI outlets from Amazon. I went with the Hubbell GFTR 15. It’s a commercial grade, tamper resistant, weather resistant, UL 943 Class A GFCI receptacle.

This morning I dove into replacing the outlets and confirming the wiring.

I started with the outlet in the galley.  This one was easily accessible and the wiring was as expected.

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Existing Wiring

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Old Outlet on right (Hubbell Class A UL 943). New Outlet on left (notice the TR and WR)

My wiring hint for any other novices, label each leg in pairs so you don’t confuse them.  I use the Ideal Wire Marking Booklet. I purchased this booklet over 10 years ago for about $25 and have used it for many projects on the boat and in the house before we sold it.  IMG_2484

I like to label my wiring legs with the same number.  So the positive, negative and ground would be labeled the same.  The other end of the leg would get the same labels too. So that means you would need 6 of the same number to label the leg completely with 12-3 marine cable that was run by Catalina.

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For this project I put the labels on the terminal.  Mainly because I am not entirely thrilled with what Catalina used.  I would prefer ring terminals with adhesive heat shrink.  So when I fix the problem I found (see below) I will probably change over to ring terminals.

I completed the change on the first outlet without an issues.

When I took out the second outlet I found an issue.  According to the wiring diagram provided by Catalina, this should have been a single leg outlet with only a feed line connected to the top of the outlet and nothing connected to the bottom, load side.  Well it was connected on both sides.  I tried to look around and figure out exactly how everything was run.  However, all of the wires were bundled in wire loom and I couldn’t follow it easily.  It’s a little cool out and the temp in the cabin had dipped below 55 degrees so I decided to just put the new outlet in and then figure out how the wires were run.

I re-energized the outlets and checked to make sure I wired everything correctly.  I used an outlet tester to make sure I had the polarity and ground connected correctly.

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Two yellow lights and no red mean it done right.

I then went through all the outlets and figured out what order they were wired and what the GFCI’s affected.  Here is a revised wiring diagram based on what I found.  C310 115VAC Wiring Diagram_V2 C310 AC Plan_V2

So all 6 outlets are on a single leg of outlets and the 1st and 3rd outlets in line are GFCI.  This is incorrect wiring and probably responsible for part of the strange issue I was having.  At the very least it’s a redundant GFCI.

My plan is to split the outlets into two legs.  I think I will have outlets #1 and #2 on leg one and outlets #3 – #6 on the other leg.  This would mean running a new 12-3 wire from the electric panel to that outlet.  And then disconnecting the wires that run from outlet #2 to outlet #3.  I am not a big fan of keeping unused wires in place so I will remove the old wires.

But now I am wondering if this is necessary.  All the outlets are fed by the single 30 amp breaker.  If I split the legs, both legs would still be fed by the 30 amp breaker.  So is there any benefit from separating the legs?

If not, I could just remove the second GFCI outlet and replace it with a standard outlet.  I could then save the GFCI outlet for next time I need to replace GFCI outlet #1.

After replacing the outlets I ran heaters, electric tea kettle, microwave, iron and dehumidifier at various times and levels and didn’t have any of the issues I was having before replacing the outlets.  I did pop the outlet breaker at the panel once when I ran the heater on high with the microwave by mistake.

At this point I am guess that I have at least one more update before I put this project to bed.


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Moved To Our Winter Home

This last week we moved to our winter marina.  Our marina for the last 9 years has been the Hingham Shipyard Marina.  It’s a great location and our dock, formally Land Fall Marina, has decent rates for the area.  I won’t go into some of the problems with this marina but I will give it a huge plus for location and amenities.  We can walk to 6 restaurants, 3 grocery stores, 2 marine supply shops and a big box home store.  The biggest plus for us is that there are 2 off-leash dog parks that we can walk or dinghy to for Summer.

Last April when we began full-time liveaboards, the yard manager and dock manager said they would be open to us being winter liveaboards.  But after asking them about what their plan would be for water and waste, they basically didn’t have one and we would be left lugging jugs of water and our only option for waste would be to illegally discharge.  We didn’t like those options.  Plus, just like during the summer season, we would be the only liveaboards in the whole marina.

We know that Captain’s Cove has winter liveaboards since our friends on Sunshine stayed there a couple of years ago.  From their experience we know that the water and waste options would be similar to Hingham Shipyard Marina.  They even shut down and winterize their shore facilities so we would have to go to a local gym or the YMCA to shower.  But atleast we would be around some other liveaboards.

We did a little research and came up with three option.  The most appealing was Constitution Marina in Charlestown, the Boston neighborhood that was the setting of Boston native Ben Affleck’s flick The Town.  This marina has a plan:

  • Sink water lines about 6 feet below the water so it doesn’t freeze.  Just pull up a line, fill your tank and sink the main line again;
  • They sell adapters for your deck pump out to bring it outside of the shrink wrap so your boat can be pumped out easily.   They come around once a week and pump you out;
  • They offer both white and clear shrink wrap.  The clear shrink wrap acts like a greenhouse during the day and helps reduce the heating costs and the feeling of claustrophobia.  Our regular marina doesn’t even know about the clear option, and;
  • They have a small pool that they enclose in a tent and heat to a little over 100 degrees so they can have Friday night pool parties all winter long.

In August we cruised over for a test stay to see if we would like it.  The facilities were great.  One of the owners is among the 100 full-time liveaboards.  We met some of the people that live here and they seemed like great people.  They even have a Yahoo group for the liveaboards to communicate and share info on heaters, shrink wrap, parties, etc.

The downsides are limited parking, a longer commute for me and more expensive grocery stores.  But you do get one parking space as a winter liveaboard and we only have one car.  Also, I can work remotely and reduce the number of days I have to commute the further distance.

We pulled the trigger and submitted our dock license and deposit to stay there for the winter.

Our original plan was to make the move on Saturday, November 1st.  But as we watched the weather, it didn’t look favorable for the move.  The forecast was for 40 degrees, possible high winds and some snow.  However, Wednesday, October 29th looked great with temps in the 70s.  So we took some time off of work and made the move on Wednesday.

The weather was good but the wind was light, around 6-8 knots.  We were able to sail for a little bit but mostly motor sailed until we turned into Boston Harbor when the wind was dead on our nose.  It was still a nice fall trip with some good foliage.

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Passing Peddocks Island

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Boston dead ahead!

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Castle Island in South Boston

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Approaching Constitution Marina

We were welcomed into the marina by some friends we have made online but have never met in person.  They are also liveaboards.  Including Andrew, a guy who has lived on his Catalina 310 for 13 years.  I can’t wait to pick his brain about how he sets his boat up for the winter and any upgrades he has made.  It’s really nice to be among other liveaboards.  We have found it very easy to quickly bond with people who share this life.

Living in Boston for our last year in the winter will be really nice.  We have never lived in the City  before.  We can walk to the North End in about 15-20 minutes which will make it difficult to resist but we need to focus on building the kitty.  The condos close to here are some of the most expensive in the City.  It’s really tough to beat this view….

IMG_2468That’s Boston Garden and the Lenny Zakim Bridge in the background.  You can see Smitty’s bow in the middle of the photo.  And yes, that is snow.  Lovely Sunday morning storm we are having.