Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

March 30, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Cruise to Glorietta Bay

Last weekend we cruising to Glorietta Bay with our buddy boats s/v Coconutz and s/v Sequoya. We rafted up and had an enjoyable weekend hanging out on the hook.

Sully's enjoying dinghy rides more now. He even reached down to play in the water as we cruised the bay.

Sully’s enjoying dinghy rides more now. He even reached down to play in the water as we cruised the bay.

We went to the beach to play in the sand and watch Jaime surf

We went to the beach to play in the sand and watch Jaime surf

Mike made it safely back aboard s/v Sequoya

Mike made it safely back aboard s/v Sequoya

Mike sail tested his dinghy sail kit and the daggerboard broke and he decided to swim it back instead of get a tow

Mike sail tested his dinghy sail kit and the daggerboard broke and he decided to swim it back instead of get a tow

We made a stop at the ice cream shop

We made a stop at the ice cream shop

A jet ski with jet boots was taking people out from the public launch

A jet ski with jet boots was taking people out from the public launch

Sully enjoyed the slide

Sully enjoyed the slide

Ashore on Saturday we visited the park

Ashore on Saturday we visited the park

Jaime surfing on the beach in Coronado

They played together the whole time

January 11, 2014
by Nate Kraft

Christmas Trip 2013

After we left Jacksonville, FL in a rental car we headed to Natalie’s Grandma and Grandpa Ferring’s in Colombus, GA.

We went to the park

We went to the park

We got to meet Sully's cousin Jacob for the first time

We got to meet Sully’s cousin Jacob for the first time

We also went to Callaway Gardens to see the parade of lights and sit in gigantic chairs

We also went to Callaway Gardens to see the parade of lights and sit in gigantic chairs

Sully Oohed at  the lights as we drove past them in the night

Sully Oohed at the lights as we drove past them in the night

Uncle Todd came by to visit in his Army uniform

Uncle Todd came by to visit in his Army uniform

After a 3 day visit we hit the road towards Natalie’s Mom’s in Tampa, FL.

We stopped at the visitor's center at the Florida state line and Sully enjoyed a cup of Florida orange juice

We stopped at the visitor’s center at the Florida state line and Sully enjoyed a cup of Florida orange juice

Soon the whole family met up at Great Grandma Klement's house and we took a walk through the neighborhood

A few days before Christmas the whole family met up at Great Grandma Klement’s house and we took a walk through the neighborhood

Sully and Grammy Vicky watched some Baby Einstein

Sully and Grammy Vicky watched some Baby Einstein

 

Sully played with his dumptruck

Sully played with his dumptruck

We did some porch sitting and tasty beverage drinking

We did some porch sitting and tasty beverage drinking

Sully got bored waiting for Santa to come and deliver all the presents

Sully got bored waiting for Santa to come and deliver all the presents

Cousin Elena came to visit too

Cousin Elena came to visit too

They played together the whole time

They played together the whole time

And shared snacks

And shared snacks

Sully did lots of lap sitting with family like Uncle Derald

Sully did lots of lap sitting with family like Uncle Derald

More sitting with Great Grammy Eunice

More sitting with Great Grammy Eunice

Sully visited Santa with Elena and Grammy outside Grammy's house

Sully visited Santa with Elena and Grammy outside Grammy’s house

He also got to visit Santa with Natalie

He also got to visit Santa with Natalie

Finally it was Christmas and he could open his presents from under the Christmas tree

Finally it was Christmas and he could open his presents from under the Christmas tree

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

No, seriously, Merry Christmas!

No, seriously, Merry Christmas!

The day after Christmas we packed up Vicky’s car with a big box full of Sully’s new toys, and made our way to the airport for our flight to San Diego. We made it back safely and it felt good to be aboard Astraea again because it’s the place we call home.

January 11, 2014
by Nate

Move to Chula Vista

We’ve finally moved to Chula Vista! We’ve been saying we’re going to move down to Chula Vista Marina since last summer and we’ve done it. Our storage lockers at Pier 32 are cleaned out, the dock box is empty. It’s amazing how much boat project stuff I’ve accumulated here over the past year and a half. Our neighbor Steve helped us run our car down to Chula Vista and shuttle me back to the boat to get underway. He said since we’re keeping our mail at Pier 32 and going to be living at different marinas for our next 10 months we should consider January first the first day we’ve been cruising.

Sully and I are cruisers now!

Sully and I are cruisers now! Here we are heading down Sweetwater Channel towards the Bay

Natalie and Sully are happy to be on the way

Natalie and Sully are happy to be on the way

We had a great stay at Pier 32. We met lots of awesome people, had lots of fun with our neighbors and hope to make more friends as we continue cruising.

December 16, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Space A Flight

We took two military Space Available (Space A) flights to the east coast to visit family for the holidays. We found the flight information posted 72 hours before time on the Facebook pages for the North Island and Naval Station Norfolk air terminals. It’s a great way for military personnel, active and retired, to travel when there are empty seats on military flights. We didn’t plan on Space A as our primary means of transportation but as a way to save money. We bought tickets on Southwest for a week after my leave started to give us a good chance to get on a free flight because of their cancelation policy. You can cancel your ticket with Southwest and keep the credit for a year, so we’ll use Southwest later for a return flight from somewhere.

It was a cool experience flying this way. We piled our bags onto a cart and walked down the flight line to the plane.

It was a cool experience flying this way. We piled our bags onto a cart and walked down the flight line to the plane.

Our flights were on U. S. NAVY C-40's. The first was  all personnel from San Diego to NAS Oceana. The second flight was half cargo and half personnel from Norfolk Naval Station to Jacksonville NAS.

Our flights were on U. S. NAVY C-40′s. The first was all personnel from San Diego to NAS Oceana. The second flight was half cargo and half personnel from Norfolk Naval Station to Jacksonville NAS.

Our first stop was at Tim and Martha's house in Norfolk. We haven't visited them there since we lived in their furnished attic in 2006 when I was in school at Dam Neck. Tim took Sully on a trip up the stairs on their lift.

Our first stop was at Tim and Martha’s house in Norfolk. We haven’t visited them there since we lived in their furnished attic in 2006 when I was in school at Dam Neck. Tim took Sully on a trip up the stairs on their lift.

 

Sully got to ride the lift by himself too.

Sully got to ride the lift by himself too.

 

Flying Space A can be exhausting. We spent a few hours waiting to find out if we got a seat on the plane and had to make lots of higher stress last minute accommodations for transportation and lodging. It also messed out Sully's normal sleep schedule.

Flying Space A can be exhausting. We spent a few hours waiting to find out if we got a seat on the plane and had to make lots of higher stress last minute accommodations for transportation and lodging. It also messed out Sully’s normal sleep schedule, but he’s back to normal after two days.

We hopped our second flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville late at night and arrived after midnight and got a late checkout from the hotel. I was out getting a rental car while Natalie and Sully got the luggage out of our room.

We hopped our second flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville late at night and arrived after midnight and got a late checkout from the hotel. I was out getting a rental car while Natalie and Sully got the luggage out of our room.

We went to visit my buddy Josh's boat. His beard is epic and Sully is very jealous of it's glory.

We went to visit my buddy Josh’s boat. His beard is epic and Sully is very jealous of it’s glory.

 

Josh and his girlfriend Shea are prepping their boat to cruise the Caribbean again.

Josh and his girlfriend Shea are prepping their boat to cruise the Caribbean again. We stopped by for a visit before heading to Georgia to see Natalie’s Grandparents on our way to Florida for Christmas.

It took a lot of planning and preparation, but we found some things out. It ended up being cheaper to rent a car one way from Jacksonville to Tampa than taking the train for both of us. It was also cheaper to rent a car by the day for the first few days and then return that car and rent again for the trip to Tampa instead of renting the car one way for 5 days.

All in all, Space A is a good way to travel if you have a loose travel plans and you’re willing to make lots of last minute arrangements.

November 27, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Astraea Sails Again!

At the helm and sailing close hauled

At the helm and sailing close hauled

Sailing with JAYGAR

Sailing with JAYGAR

Sunday Natalie and I took Astraea out for a shakedown sail around the south bay. We anchored outside Sweetwater Channel and rafted up with our neighbor boat, JAYGAR. The winds were light, but with Natalie at the helm, Sully sleeping below and me trimming the sails we made a max speed of 6.5 knots over ground. It was great to be underway again.

November 2, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Simple Boat Projects

The decks are almost wrapped up, but that’s not the project I’m talking about today. Today I’m talking about a small boat project that makes life easier aboard and took just a few minutes to complete. Heck, the hardest part was getting my tools out!

We’ve been using suction cup toothbrush holders for a while. Occasionally they’d fall off the bulkhead in the head and fall in to the sink in port and I think they’ll fall off in any kind of heavy seas. I removed the suction cup that was holding them to the wall and screwed the toothbrush holders on to the cabinet next to the sink where there were two preexisting holes. Sully’s little toothbrush is above the faucets so we can still use them easily. An easy project that made life aboard better!

3 toothbrush holders attached to the cabinet in the head.

3 toothbrush holders attached to the cabinet in the head.

The toothbrush holders came from Wal-Mart and were held in by a suction cup. I removed the suction cup and replaced it with a screw for permanent installation.

The toothbrush holders came from Wal-Mart and were held in by a suction cup. I removed the suction cup and replaced it with a screw for permanent installation.

New Nonskid!

October 21, 2013
by Nate Kraft

New Nonskid!

New Nonskid!

New Nonskid!

Astraea finally has a new look. After two coats of Interlux Prekote primer and two coats of Interlux Brightside paint. We did one coat each day. The primer covered the entire deck and the paint went down just around the deck edges. In between coats we sanded with 220 grit and cleaned up with Interlux 333 brushing liquid.

We rolled most of the area and only brushed in the areas behind hardware and corners. We didnt roll and tip because the results from just rolling were really good, there were very few bubbles. While working on the deck preparation and painting we wore clean socks to keep dirt off the decks.

The day after our last coat of paint we taped the area around the deck edges and hardware we didn’t want nonskid to go. It took us about 8 man hours to tape the entire deck. We made all the edges the same width of a roll of blue 3M painters tape. The straight edges were easy to tape, just put the tape against the edge and roll the tape. Natalie used a compass to draw some easy curves, but it didn’t work for everything. She got creative and used kitchen tongs holding a pencil for curves around the deck house and hatches where a compass didn’t work. We over taped and traced the width of a roll of tape then cut away the excess using an exacto knife and peeled up the tape.

Natalie taped and drew the curved lines around hardware

Natalie taped and drew the curved lines around hardware

Using a compass to draw a curve on the tape

Using a compass to draw a curve on the tape

Natalie using the tongs to hold a pencil and draw a curve

Natalie using the tongs to hold a pencil and draw a curve

Cutting excess tape from the deck

Cutting excess tape from the deck

All the tape is down and we're ready to roll nonskid

All the tape is down and we’re ready to roll nonskid

Nice transom view

Nice transom view the morning after we rolled the nonskid

Side decks with the tape removed

Side decks with the tape removed

We sanded the deck with 100 grit sandpaper and cleaned up the deck twice with rags wetted with Industrial Maintenance Coating Thinner. The directions for the Durabak nonskid calls for Xylene, but Xylene isn’t available in California. Industrial Maintenance Coating Thinner is OK to use in place of Xylene.

Finally we were ready roll the nonskid! I opened the first can and mixed it up with our electric drill and a paint mixer and poured it in to a paint pan. I did some test rolling on cardboard to get used to rolling the textured material before rolling on the boat. It took about an hour and a half to cover the decks. I took a break and then rolled the second coat.

That night after the Durabak dried for four hours we could walk on the nonskid and peel up the tape from the edges before it fully cured. The tape came up easily if the Durabak wasn’t too thick. We cleaned up areas where the tape tore with an exact knife. We had some issues with the tape pulling up the white paint underneath where it hadn’t dried completely because we applied the paint too thick. We will touch up those areas later when we finish priming and painting the cockpit locker covers.

We’re so excited that this project is almost finished! It’s been a long six months…now on to re-mounting all the hardware.

wpid-IMG_650510345460.jpeg

September 29, 2013
by Nate Kraft

First Coat of Primer

image

The first coat of Interlux Prekote is down

Today we cleaned the deck gwice with acetone and once with Inerlux 333 Brushing Liquid. The deck was nice and clean and ready to prime. We put Sully down for a nap and Natalie brushed around the edges and raised parts and I rolled the rest of the deck. I thinned the primer about 5% for the rolls but my measuring must not have been very precise, or my mixing wasn’t perfect because the first half of the primer on the starboard side of the boat is a thinner coatn than on the port side. Tomorrow we’ll sand and prime the decks again.

While we’re painting the boat we’re staying down the dock on our neighbor and good friend Bill’s boat. It’s awesome to stay in a marina with a lot of great neighbors.

A well varnished toerail that glistens is a thing of beauty

September 26, 2013
by Nate Kraft

September 26 Deck Work Update

Sorry for the long blog hiatus. A lot has happened off the boat since the last update. I was selected for Chief Petty Officer at work and went through 6 long weeks of training. I wasn’t able to make any progress on the boat during that time so I had some help from a coworker taping over the holes I drilled to mount deck hardware. I have a new perspective for work and it feels good to get away from leaving for work at 0400 and being back home by 2100 exhausted. It’s awesome to be back to work on the boat and return to my normal life.

Natalie and Sully helped pin on my new rank on September 13

Natalie and Sully helped pin on my new rank on September 13

All the decks have been faired and sanded. The toe rail has 8 coats of varnish and now we’re doing the finishing touches and are getting ready to roll primer and paint!

A well varnished toerail that glistens is a thing of beauty

A well varnished toerail that glistens is a thing of beauty. Once the project is done everything on deck will be cleaned up and ship shape!

Then we’ll tape around the deck hardware and roll nonskid. I’m not sure if we’ll mount the deck hardware or just rough fit and tape. It will probably be easier to roll the nonskid with a rough fit and then remove the hardware than to roll around it.

I made a quick walkaround video of what the boat looks like now. We’re so close to being done and I can’t wait to get there!

One bad thing is the shore powered compressor for our fridge and freezer is on the fritz. I’ll try and work on it this weekend if we’re not rolling primer, paint or nonskid. Our priority is the paint so the fridge will just have to wait until later.

July 31, 2013
by Nate Kraft

Nearing the End!

There’s been a lot of boat work going on Astraea’s decks and not a lot of blogging. Here’s the latest scoop:

All the wood is off and the decks have been faired smooth!

The cockpit has all the coaming cut away flush

The cockpit has all the coaming cut away flush

The coaming is a lip that used to go around the edge of the cockpit seating area to hold the teak in place

The coaming is a lip that used to go around the edge of the cockpit seating area to hold the teak in place

Since  the teak is gone, so is the coaming. I don't want our legs to fall asleep while cruising!

Since the teak is gone, so is the coaming. I don’t want our legs to fall asleep while cruising!

Cockpit view of Astraea mid deck work

Cockpit view of Astraea mid deck work

I filled the holes in the coaming and all the screw head holes with West System Epoxy and 407 fairing filler

I filled the holes in the coaming and all the screw head holes with West System Epoxy and 407 fairing filler

The starboard side of the cockpit filled and faired

The starboard side of the cockpit filled and faired

Close up of the fairing. The tools used were tongue depressors for smoothing and plastic syringes for injecting

Close up of the fairing. The tools used were tongue depressors for smoothing and plastic syringes for injecting

At the end of the project I’ll tell more about the whole process, but removing your own decks is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

Drilling holes in the sail track prior to priming and painting to ensure they go back in the same place they came out. I filled the holes with epoxy to prevent any leaks from damaging the plywood core of the deck.

Drilling holes in the sail track prior to priming and painting to ensure they go back in the same place they came out. I filled the holes with epoxy to prevent any leaks from damaging the plywood core of the deck.

Natalie held a box under the deck to catch any dust that came down

Natalie held a box under the deck to catch any dust that came down

Some holes were covered by fairing epoxy so I had to test fit the track to make sure everything lined up

Some holes were covered by fairing epoxy so I had to test fit the track to make sure everything lined up

Still no headliner, but things are looking up since we're getting ready to put hardware back on the boat after four months!

Still no headliner, but things are looking up since we’re getting ready to put hardware back on the boat after four months!