Sewing Projects!! Opening Ports Saga May be At An End!

After many failed prototypes of screens for our irregular bronze ports I finally moved to the dark side… Velcro!! Here is the template to the six small ports. The screen affixes to the inside bronze trim and does not interfere with the seal as the no -see-um screen is very fine.

Fail!! The trim I tried to use to support the screen on this prototype with cutting board plastic. Would not give me a good perfect seal, which you need in no-see-um country.

I tried to wrap canvas around the plastic prototype frame to fill in the gaps I was getting but no joy.











Template making. I mounted the cutting board to our ports, the missing frame originally was mounted using tiny bronze bolts( top, bottom and sides). I used a awl to punch out the bolt holes. I then traced as accurate of an outline as I could. It was pretty nice and would of worked had the plastic been a little stiffer maybe?




I also tried a bootie prototype screen that fits around the outside lip of the bronze port( using flat and round bungee). That’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back :-)


So velcro it is. Template for our four large opening ports

Added basting tape to the soft velcro( loops)

After affixing The Velcro I sewed them to the screens.

Not as ugly as I feared and a nice tight seal, no gaps, no bugs!


I also made screens for our hatches to replace our current screens which drape over the hatch.

Little trick I stumbled into while searching for Velcro at a hardware store, this Velcro is marketed for plant ties. It is much weaker then the industrial stuff I affixed to the cabin top of the boat. I used the weaker Velcro on the part of the screen that we remove. This is less wear and tear on the Velcro that is glued to the ceiling. So far so great!

Here is the weaker Velcro. It is double sided, hook/loop. It is also made to be outdoors so maybe it will last as long as the screen..? Oh, and it was $3.98 for 45 feet so not a bad price.

Made a drop board pouch. It has four pockets inside. *Mom, do you recognize the canvas? :-)


Sheet bags for the jib. They are midship to get some of the clutter out of the cockpit


Snubber storage at the bow. I used scrap webbing, velcro and canvas so it looks a little unpolished :-).


Also spliced another double eye dyneema line to use for mooring line and snubber. It’s a long taper, the taper is 72 x the diameter of the line(1/4″). I then stitched the throat and about 4-5″ down the taper.  I will add 35 feet of stretchy three strand or braid along with a rubber shock absorbing snubber to help compensate for the complete lack of stretch in the dyneema. The dyneema has excellent chafe resistance and is unbelievably strong. Strong line is easy, chafe resistance, well that is worth it’s weight in gold!


Beautiful job? Eh, no. The blue part of this rigging tape was supposed to be peeled off before wrapping the splice. I like to wrap the splice to protect the stitching from UV. I stitched with dyneema braid fishing line.


 Next  projects are on hold until we finish with our latest project..finding a dinghy with outboard that is electric start! We will probable go with a new set up since it is hard to find exactly what we want. Which is, 9-10.5 feet rib hypalon with 8-15 hp electric start.


Rain Dog Gets A Visit From Friends And Foe.


Packed like sardines in our inflatable:-)

Sirena and Josh has come to visit, yay!!

We decided to stay aboard and have a delicious Chef Brian creation.

Brian whipped up a wonderful pasta. Later that night Brian ferried them to their hotel. They were hit by a squall near the inner harbor bridge. All got soaking wet but was safe. I was very impressed with their unlandlubberness. Aye, they have sailor blood for sure .

Brian and Josh have been great friends since High School.

Josh and Sirena live in Brooklyn. Josh a butcher and Sirena works for the Guggenheim.

:-) Sums up Key West.


:-)  (-:


It isn’t Key West without a picture of a rooster.


The Coast Guard does an excellent job here and have a strong presence.

Scup is too adorable. He Is napping.


Scupper does not like it when Brian goes off in the dinghy without him.

Starting to see a theme? Scupper loves to rest his head and nap on my shoulder


I have about a dozen or so pics of spectacular sunsets or sunrises. I’ll only post a couple.

Yes, that is one way to pick up a mooring. The captain jumped overboard, leaving his friend to maneuver the cat.


After several attempts they finally have one line to the mooring and boat. Only problem is the captain is acting as the soft shackle…And  he looses the line. Now it is trailing the boat threatening to foul the props.

After 1/2 hour I’m and begging Brian to go help them, he was below napping. I’m worried 1) the crew will run over captain because he is very heavy on the throttle 2) captain gets chewed up in the prop 3) captain tires and drowns. The wind was around 10 knots and the cat has a lot of wind age so it was very difficult to keep the boat steady to attach mooring line. One of the many times I was frustrated that I could not start the outboard myself due to my damaged tendons. If we had an electric start I would of ran out there before it got so serious, these moorings are hard to pick up due to NO pennants.


Captain back aboard( Brian said he looked beat) and boat secured to mooring. Hero Brian strikes again!!

And this is the thanks we get for saving their bacon, blocking my sunrise..harrumph!

The front(aforementioned foe) that we have been anticipating arrived. We are in Garrison Bight which offers no protection from the north. We discussed moving but the storm was down graded a couple day before so decided to stick it out here. We were not concerned about the moorings, they are well taken care of and we were just visited by the inspection divers a few days ago. Apparently they check these moorings every 6 months.



Here it comes. We saw 38+knots.


Pretty rock-n-roll night. I slept well :-) Brian checked on things regularly until about 3 am whereby I took over checking on things. I made a bean bag nest in the cockpit just before dawn. As it got brighter I could see the damage done by the storm( that was still blowing).


Hard to see but at the stern of the catamaran you can see a 35+ foot sailboat on shore. I believe this is the vessel the coast Guard tagged in the night so CG and folks with AIS and radar can watch it’s progress when she broke loose yesterday. Another cool thing about AIS, we knew where this adrift boat was heading, knew that it did not pose a danger to us.

A dinghy tied to the day marker.


The owner of day marker dinghy wakes up to find he is stranded aboard. He calls his friend who picks him up to fetch his wayward dinghy. I quests they couldn’t get it started so they are towing it back to the boat.

Another boat ashore. A little 22 footer that was moored near us( down wind). We did not have anyone moored in front of us to worry over, just miles of fetch, uh er,yay?


Thankfully, one of the cruising boats used their big dinghy to get her off the shore and back on mooring. She does not seem to be taking on any water so all is well.

Long long fetch.


The bow of the boat go up and down, up and down, up and down, the bow of the boat go up and down, in garrison bight.


Good news out of all this, the derelict bird poop boat next to us got a good rain bath :-) This is POST bath!


Here are some odd and end pics from the last couple weeks.


Play land..?


Awe, Brian happy :-)

We always think we will make it back to the boat before sundown…

Scupper says he could get used to this :-)


This boat appeared to be made of paper mâché, naturally she was low in the water.


The Cassiopea jellyfish, a true jellyfish in the same family as soft coral and sea anemone. It is known for swimming upside down and will bury their bell in the sand showing only their medusa. The dinghy dock has a big bloom of them and looks like a crop of soft coral.


Lousy pic, but you can see all the medusas poking up from the seabed. Their sting is not too bad but in a bloom like this it can get thick with their mucus like toxin and cause some serious itching and pain.


Key West

We left for Key West from Fort Myers on Wednesday the 18th at around 10 am. We arrived at Key West moorings at 2pm on the 19th(Thursday). I didn’t do well on the trip. Even though it was a short one with great weather, my brain could not handle the constant movement, the constant stimulus. So I was pretty miserable. Brian was in his glory sailing the hell outta Rain Dog :-). I could hear him laughing and yelling out speeds like “6 knots!”( which made my heart smile!!).

When we made landfall at Key West, my head actually became worse and I even contemplated going to the ER due to some neurological symptoms that were cropping up, this was not an ordinary motion sickness. But ERs, from past experience, do nothing for my kind of situation. Fluctuating cranial pressure is a bit out of their league and I’m afraid they’d break me trying to help. So I hung in there and after a couple days my symptoms calmed down. It felt very much like I kicked the hornets nest with my brain when I gave it so much stimulus. Sigh. Anyways, I’m bummed that I’m not healed enough to enjoy the good days in the Gulf of Mexico, they are so few and far between:-). But I am so happy Brian got to have some offshore nighttime sailing( his favorite). The gulf really couldn’t of been more perfect.

This is one of those post with a ton of pictures. I took some offshore, Brian took some offshore while I was down, and I’ve been playing with the underwater camera :-).

The parade of boats. Leaving Fort Myers.

Ah, shaking the tentacles of land off and heading offshore.

We, or rather Brian, sailed most of the way to Key West. He did start the motor about 20 miles from Landfall due to diminishing winds.

Sunset at sea

Sunrise at sea

I was able to relieve Brian for a couple hours around dawn. Was very surprised to see so much traffic. Lots of fishing and big power boats

Quite a few crab pots

This crab pot float was mostly underwater.

Smooth seas


Key West


On the approach we heard two different “pan pan pans”. One for a vessel adrift with no one aboard, another for a jet ski found adrift :-(

Mayhem is the only way to describe the waters of Key West


Approach to our harbor

Lotta boats

Many not floating.

Brian looked at me and said “this is where boats come to die.”



Brian secures us to the mooring ball at Garrisons Bight.

Nice to be back with our friends aboard Second Chances, Katie and Bill.

Sunrise at Key West

I’m feeling human enough to come out on deck. Scupper is not subtle on his demand for a belly rub


A jaunt to Rat Cay to walk Scupper


Rats Cay. Looks like folks camp out here. Some abandoned boats here and there ( a theme in southern Florida)


Scupper had a full bladder!

My first underwater picture. Not pretty. I’m not swimming, I just stuck the camera in the water and started shooting.


Mangrove roots.


The water was very murky today.



I love this little guy peeking up at me. He was about a 1/2 long, I’m using my micro lens.


On the way back from the dog walk. What’s with the pool noodles on the mooring lines?

We’ve noticed Rain Dogs mooring line is wrapped around the mooring. I bet the pool noodles were installed on that cat to prevent this.

The line you see coming down from the surface is our line. This is not suppose to look like this.


Brian had to work pretty hard to get it all sorted. This tangled mess happens when we swing on the mooring due to currents along with fluky winds. We will check it every morning for wraps.


Scupper at the bow lending support




Key West has changed! Tonight we had dinner with Bill and Katie from Second Chances. First time I really got off the boat since Fort Myers. We went to DJ Seafood and it was fantastic. Brian had the clams, I have a Lobster roll, yum!


Bill and Katie


Back on the boat. No wait. Now we are taking scupper for another walk after coming back from dinner.




Tippy toes


While Brian walked scupper I just sat in the dinghy and stuck the camera in the 6 inches of water I was floating on. I’m using my micro lens, this is a blade of sea grass.



Don’t strain yourself looking for something. I love the colors and textures around the tube worm. I think it is more interesting, the tiny creatures, the little worlds that can be so easily looked over.


When I was a kid I would dive the reefs in the Bahamas. My favorite thing to do was to study a small 1 foot section of the reef. The longer I sat and looked the more I saw. It is amazing how much life is in one small square foot of a reef. This is a 2″ x 2″ section 


A small sea anemone. He is about 3 1/2 inches big.




Couple blades of sea grass with some cool algae/ seaweed


This is about 1″. Amazing how much diversity there is. At first glance the cove looked rather plain. It reminded me of big bend national park. Big bend is a lush desert. When you first arrive it seems quite barren when in fact it is teeming with life.


One more of the sea anemone. So cool. I love my camera! (Olympus Stylus)

 We will try to move over to Marathon later this week. Then we will take a rest for a while see if we can get my brain back on an even keel. We don’t think we will make for the Bahamas this season due to my health, just stay close to the states, play around the keys for a while then head up the east coast. We will play it by ear.

Fort Myers

My nephew Warren is visiting from Texas.

Scupper cannot believe a real live Pacheco is aboard Rain Dog


Scupper getting the talk about being good while warren is visiting. No barking, No licking of faces, and No making a bed out of Warren’s suitcase full of clothes. Scupper looked on with an innocent “Who me?” look.


My handsome husband


 Aliens! Blending quite well among the local indigenous population :-) 


Some friends from Texas, currently living in Clearwater, on their way through the Okeechobee. It was sooo great to see them. Blue Wing is a Sister-ship to Rain Dog. So we were getting all sorts of great ideas off Blue Wing, and they us.


Another cruiser stopped by to swap cruising guides.

One, rock my world idea from Blue Wing was to remove the companionway ladder and add one step to the engine room access hatch. It definitely opens up the space.

Wally made his own screens for the very hard to fit Pacific Seacraft bronze ports. After looking at how he made them, how much work went into them, I decided to go the simple route with our screens. They won’t look as good or be as durable as Blue Wings but we are out of time, it’s warm and the bugs are starting to come out at night.

Our screens are no-see-um proof, velcro’d to the inside port trim. The port seals water tight with screens in place. So we will leave them on all the time.

The patterns. I used new jar of good Contact cement to adhere the Hook Velcro to the inside trim of our ports and I sewed the loop velcro to the screen. Hopefully it will hold up.


Finished large port screen


Marina store had this along the back wall, it works.

Another big party Friday night downtown. Lots of street artists and some sort of dance competition.



Budding Artist…I believe this is the fire eaters son.


She was actually very intimidating, standing in front of her trying to get a good picture, I was very nervous.


This artist was cool, we put some cash in his tip jar and he played a Stevie Ray Vaughan solo…


LOVE street art.








Uber (taxi) ride to the Airport. We will miss youR handsome face Warren!!!



 We are now gearing up to head for Key West, then onto the Bahamas. Brian needs to fix the outboard( carb issue maybe), I’m sewing my brains out. We are taking advantage of the fresh water hose at our dock as we will not see that for a while. So I will flush the anchor locker and bilges of salt deposits and scrub the water tanks( we got another bad batch of water in port st Joe). We need to provision and I still need to see a doc about my arms. Found a good walk-in clinic nearby that we will hit tomorrow morning. 

My head has been acting up but I think it is my temperature regulator that was tinkered with during the surgery and postoperative complications. My body is retaining the heat from the environment, I’m sweating, but not enough. This increases ICP, which causes head issues. We believe this will get better when we are in a place I can swim to cool down. I shower on the boat to cool down, but I think an immersion for a few minutes is what it takes to reset my regulator. This is all an experiment. If I cannot handle this, then we will head north to cooler temps.

We hope to Leave this Tuesday or Wednesday and will stay over at Garrisons Bight moorings while waiting for a good weather window to jump out over to Bimini.



Friday Night Art and Flower Show

Today was shopping, cleaning, and sewing projects. Tonight  Brian took me to town :-), the community in front of the municipal Marina had an Art show with street artists and flower show at the Art center. 

Love this tree.


This reminded me of a dinosaur:-)


Downtown Historic District of Fort Myers

Free trolley to grocery and hardware stores :-)


Love street art. This was done with a sharpe


Artist putting out his paintings


Flower show at the Art Center. My handsome husband.






Brian loved these leaves.










Not sure who the names are, but cool way to pay tribute


Street musician


Huge bike rally(?), Brian’s friend was riding in it, I tried to get a shot but they were on the next street over. We thought they would pass in front of the Marina.


Brian’s friend from High school, Anthony. We put his bike aboard and the boys went out to hit the town ;-).



I’ve got the sewing machine out and have made a bow bag for the snubbers. Now working on the port screens. Using thin cutting board material to make frames to sandwich screen material between and sew to secure. Will post separate full project when done.


Sarasota, Tom Adams Anchorage, and Fort Myers



Another post of a thousand pictures :-). It takes more time combing through all the pictures I take every day then to post em! 

We left Sarasota Tuesday morning and headed south for Fort Myers. We spent one night at anchor before reaching Fort Myers. 

Fort Meyers will be our major provisioning and projects stop before Bahamas. We will stop in the keys, but just for a weather window to hop across to Bimini. 

Pelican Mooring Field :-)

Yard Gnome?


Cool bridge.



Opens on demand.


Open, says me!


Very cool


His all clear horn is a little toot!!

Osprey nest


Another bridge

The waterway was very crowded today. Boats, birds, bridges, oh my!





The best picture I can get. It is an alligator. He is under the pier. You might have to take my word for it.

We anchored at the Tom Adams Bridge anchorage. Getting in was a bit hair raising, very shallow and charts cryptic. I was about to reverse out of the approach as our depth sounder was flashing 6, when a big trawler 30 yards off our starboard zoomed by into the anchorage. I yelled to Brian that I was going to try his route due to his speed, he was very confident. Sure enough, I found the channel( little as it was) over near the trawlers track.


Charts warned not to go past the manatee sign. Problem was there were several manatee signs!

Finally got settled in, tucked among the crab traps and mangroves.


Brian rowed scupper ashore for a quick jaunt.


Tom Adams Bridge. Next morning we headed out early to make for Fort Myers


Low Tide. Lots more land showing this morning.


Second Chances is still with us. We have a lot of fun together.


This little guy was in disguise.


I was such a bonehead. Called this tow boat because I saw that it was slowing and possibly beaching.

Cannot raise them on 16, and now there is two tows. I finally gave an “all concern traffic” call out that I was going to pass to their stern as they were now both beached, one the north bank and one on the south bank. I rechecked active captain to see what they say……


DUH! They are Ferries!! No wonder they didn’t answer, they monitor another channel. They were not beaching, they were picking up cars to ferry across. So many bridges everywhere I didn’t have ferry on my radar. Boy did I feel silly!! When in doubt, check your chart!


I have never seen so many power boats in all my days. They were everywhere, zooming around.

Boats, boats, boats. This is a weekday! 


Hmmm…..How fast can manatees swim?


Floating restaurant


Finally arrived at Fort Myers at 5pm.


We were pretty beat and decided to get some pizza.

Classic gawdy tourist eatery. But it was really tasty. Apparently that is Al Capone’s hide out.

Coal Fire Pizzas.


Bill and Katie from Second Chances with Brian and I.

 We will stay in Fort Myers to provision for Bahamas. I need to hit a clinic to have a doc take a look at my arm to see why it is not healing up. I pulled the muscles our first month out (December) and have not been able to heal. Brian has quite a few boat projects to get done, and I have sewing projects and some splices to do. Anyway, I like this town so far, everything is walking distance.** My nephew is coming for a visit next week so lots of fun to be had aboard Rain Dog :-).

Emerson Point to Sarasota



Emerson Point. Great anchorage, good holding.


Manatee river. No manatee sightings, we were told they head up the river for the winter months.


Bridges galore. Most open at the top of the hour and at the thirty minute mark. I counted 9 bridges to mile marker 45 ( Englewood). So we decided to go from mm 95 ( Emerson point) to around mm 70 (Sarasota)to ensure we would reach our anchorages before dark. This made a one day trip to Fort Meyers (MM5) into three. This could be handled differently and quicker, but we are in no hurry :-)


Our buddy boat still has our 6 o’clock:-). We have very similar cruising ideas and temperaments.


So many boats! 

Made it to the mooring field in Sarasota by 3pm.



First time to pick up a mooring ball aboard Rain Dog. No drama thank goodness. I’m still manning the helm for all docking, anchoring, and moorings. This ensures that Brian is doing all the heavy lifting :-).


Sarasota is very busy and…vogue, rich, notmystyle exactly.


It was strange to be around so much business and stuff. We have been roaming the lesser known and sparsely populated places since December.


Scupper thought Sarasota was a wondrous land filled with many many dogs. All of which he wanted to fight. I think we cramp Sarasota sophisticated style more than it cramps ours :-) We were the hillbillies with the punk kid(scupper).


I stand corrected. Nothing like a big barge with palm trees and massive plastic mermaids to make us feel better about ourselves :-).


And of course, materialism and that pungent pompous miasma in the air can be forgiven for a little scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream :-)


Rain Dog with her anchor light on.


Ok, no more making fun of Sarasota. It is a nice place and we received great service from the marine businesses.

If he had them, Scupper would of given two opposable thumbs up for Marina Jacks. They had a nice dinghy dock and lots of places to do his bid-ness. Moorings were very nice and in great shape. $15 night includes showers, laundry, trash( including recycling), dinghy dock, and pump out if you need it.

 Tuesday we head for mm 45 ish which has a nice little anchorage.