Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review of Hans Christian 33 vs Hans Christian Pilothouse

My post about the Hans Christian 44 Pilothouse Ketch gets a lot of hits on this blog.

As it stands, it left people with the impression that it was the lost love of my life. In some ways it was. But in more important ways, she looks prettier from afar.

Hans Christian 44 Pilothouse: No one can say she ain't a beauty.
So to set the record straight with a more objective presentation, here is a comparison: Hans Christian Pilothouse vs Hans Christian 33.

For all of its additional length, the HC PHK has a less roomier feel both on deck and down below than the HC33.

On deck, the outside helm station is situated so deep in the cockpit, that when you are standing at the wheel, I cannot see over the pilothouse. I stand at 5’10” (147 cm.)

By standing on a cockpit bench, you can see over, but then you can’t reach the wheel. A larger wheel might solve the problem, but there is no room to mount one because of the cockpit benches.

This would make docking almost impossible without additional eyes forward to inform the helmsman.

The inside helm station is portside and provides limited view of the starboard side for docking.

I have seen couples on larger vessels use radios and hand signals to coordinate docking maneuvers, but for me, one criteria is to be able to single-hand the boat. And I didn’t feel I could comfortably do that with the PHK.

The boat’s pilothouse was nice. Airy and bright, just as we had expected. Besides the helmstation, it contained the u-shaped galley and a dining table with room for four.

But when compared to the HC33, you can’t seat as many for dinner. On the HC33, you can get an additional four people sitting on the settee next to the salon table, for a total of eight people for dinner. Granted, four people will be holding plates in their laps, but that’s the boating life. I suppose, on the PHK, you could sit all the company below in the salon while the cook is up in the pilothouse cooking. But again, the advantage of the HC33 is that you don’t have to make that compromise.

The PHK’s salon down below seemed dark to us, and without a table that can span the distance athwartships between the two settees, we felt the space lacked purpose.

The aft stateroom had standing headroom only in certain areas. And despite the larger footprint of the room, you didn’t have a backrest for the bed. Instead, your head lies in the last of a series of descending ceilings.

The masterberth is a pullman design, which met our all-important criteria. But it, too, felt it more claustrophobic than on the HC33. That’s because on the 33, opposite the materberth, half of the starboard side is taken up by a hanging closet (as is on the PHK) but the other half opens to the nav desk and thus the salon.

The one hands-down advantage of the PKH over the 33 was the workshop. Any man who wouldn’t swoon at a workshop on a boat just shouldn’t be sailing their own boat and have it crewed instead.

Yet, all in all, while the PHK had more rooms, but didn’t seem as roomy. And given that one will spend considerably more in maintenance, marina costs and replacements, it just didn’t seem to offer the commensurate amount of advantages.

Too bad. I really like the pilothouse part of the Hans Christian Pilothouse.

To see more pictures of the PHK, go back to this blog: Infatuation With A Ship.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Caulking a Butterfly Hatch and Other Projects

We pulled into Marti Marina four days ago. We needed a week of marina to tackle some projects.

During rain or a boat washing, water leaks into the cabin through the hatches. In various places around the boat, the teak has developed wide cracks from old age and neglect.

We thought we could get the repairs done in Bodrum while we socialized with our friends there, but there was no availability there.

We picked this marina in part because it got good reviews from Rod Heikell, the authority for sailors in the Aegean. He has published a number of cruising guides for this area. Unfortunately, during this past year, a resort company bought the place and completely changed it. It now features luxury suites overlooking the marina, a fancy restaurant, gorgeous, green-glass and marble outfitted showers, a massage and haman house, and a golf-cart service which will bring you to your boat.

Unfortunately, the marina is in the middle of nowhere. That means no village for us to get provisions or just go for a stroll and see something. In a way, that’s good because it keeps us on task with our projects.

The first thing we had to do was build ourselves some protection from the sun.

This sun protection rig makes Phoenix look more like a bedouin tent than a sailboat.
From the front, it looks even worse.
Then we had to remove the butterfly hatches and start pulling out all the old silicone that some previous owner had used to seal the cracks. I'm no boatwright, but I don't think silicone is the right caulk for this type of job. I used SIS 440 Teakdecking Systems to do the job.

Out with the old.
Resealing the butterfly hatch on a Hans Christian 33: The old silicone is now removed.
Everything is taped in preparation for the caulking job.
The helmsman seat had some pretty ugly gashes from old age. That syringe is the secret to making the job easy. The nib on the caulking tube itself is just too big. It was pretty easy to refill the syringe several times. You can get those syringes at the dreaded West Marine.

The cap rail needed caulking in almost all of its joints.
Voila: New caulking on the butterfly hatch seams.
Voila: A caprail which won't leak water into the hull.
While I worked on the wood, Jennifer tackeled the fiberglass. We had a number of patched holes in our fiberglass from previous attachment hardware. The holes had been patched but left dark dots all along the transom and on the cabin house where the old dodger was attached.

Retouching the gelcoat: You can see Jennifer's color palete on the right. She spent a lot of time mixing the colors to get it just right.
She has also been at her sewing machine again, making more stuff for Phoenix. She has tidied up some wiring, and yesterday she put down the first layer of varnish on the hatches and Phoenix's eyebrow. 

I had photos posted of her sewing project, but she said she wanted to post herself. I've given her a two-day ultimatum to post herself or ... else.

All the while, we have been hounded by wasps. They buzz around us all day. They seem to be searching for a new home. They fly into the cabin and then, after a brief reconnaisance, fly out again. They are not interested in food or sweets. We have to have our screens in during the day from about 1000 to 1700. Then they disappear. In the morning, I'll find one or two lying dead on deck, having given it their all for the hive.

The wasps of Datca peninsula.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Takes A Whole Village To Launch A Boat

This tribute is long overdue but seems somehow appropriate to be posting it today on the anniversary of the fire of Dolphins.

From her ashes rose Phoenix. Here are the people who molded those ashes into our beautiful ship, allowing us to continue our Grand Voyage.

First and foremost, we thank Jennifer’s brother Jeff, known to us as The Abbot.
The Abbot, who hates to be photographed, but eventually consented to this shot.
The Abbot spent months with us in Baltimore, sweltering in the heat while we tore Phoenix apart and put her back together again.

He drilled, cut, filed, screwed, twiddled, fit, sanded, varnished, clamped, bolted, and wiped his brow. Then he hoisted, heaved, hauled, up and down the ladder while on the hard, on and off the boat while laying at dock, and wiped his brow. Then he thought, tinkered, fiddled and made things fit, work, slide, and latch. Then he wiped his brow.

All lubricated by his acerbic comments which, if taken literally would make him the world’s greatest misanthrope, but if understood with several grains of salt, make him the funniest commentator on the mercenary yet futile condition of humankind.

Working from afar, via email and sometimes telephone, was once again, my Fallible Guru, Gordon. The Fallible Guru knows more about boats than anyone I have ever met. In fact, he knows more about anything that can be built or modified with tools than anyone I have ever met. It was from working with him for five years on Dolphins that I gained the skills I needed for prepping Phoenix.

The Fallible Guru and me.
Doc doesn’t have a nickname (yet) but maybe that’s because he already has one. Upon introducing himself, he swallowed his real name, and then said clearly, “Call me Doc.”

Doc and his ever-pleasant wife Anita. Original owners of Sweet Pea, they have been cruising on her (off and on) for 20 years. 
Doc is a doc of botany, but he also is plugged into a keen understanding of electricity. He spent hours helping me untangle and then redraw my wiring proposals for the bilge pump, and the all-important isolating-transformer which we needed to adapt our US-designed boat for the European electrical system.

One of the many electrical diagrams Doc made for me using his signature method of combining photos  superimposed with colored lines and text.

The Coleman family provided humanitarian support in what first appeared to us a bleak city. They found us via our blog and, being fellow Hans Christian owners, welcomed us to Baltimore and its (and their) charm. Jason and Holly, and their two children, Ella and Otto invited us to dinner a few times. Jason was instrumental in helping me make Phoenix’s antenna post.

Jason generously bought and wasted specialty blades in this tricky operation of cutting stainless steel tubing. Don't do this at home. Do it the right way: Buy a pipe cutter. Or bring it to your closest bimini maker to make the cuts. 
During the four months we spent in Baltimore, we rented an apartment from Dean. He turned out to be such a bonvivant. He invited us to several dinners at Bertha's Mussels. He organized a soiree at which we and another sailing couple presented our stories. He guided us to the hospital when Jennifer cut her fingers. He bought us tickets to the annual Baltimore home tours. And when we needed to return to Baltimore for a week of overtime, he provided us with a free place to stay. In the height of gentlemanly manner, he refused to let us pay for the dinner to which we invited him as a thank you for all his help and delightful company.

It is a good time to thank all you out there: Our friends and family who have given us your unqualified support in continuing this voyage. When we have doubted, you have reaffirmed our dreams. When we questioned our financial sanity, you have urged us to give ourselves permission to pursue this adventure.

And last, but not least, we are thankful to Dolphins. She was such a fine ship. She provided years of pleasure and she delivered us valiantly across the Atlantic. She burned and sank and the dolphins of her namesake kept some of her ashes and splashed them across Phoenix's bow upon arrival in Turkey.

Le Grand Voyage continues.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The Datca market is created by tenting several blocks of village streets.

Jennifer’s salad days are market days.

Datca (pronounced: Datcha) has a great market. We went the day before to do a little “recky” or reconnaissance. On the day before, it’s common for a few families to set up tables or have their goods presented in bins and baskets on blankets or rugs.

The market area, surprisingly, is not the villages open plaza by the waterfront, but a street behind the government building. During the recky, it was just a street. When we arrived the next day, a stretch of several blocks had been transformed into an oriental bazaar. A patchwork of tarpaulins were strung from the buildings and propped up by tree branches.

The wind was yanking this tent all around, making the pole in the middle wobble. It's a wonder the tents don't collapse, but they got it figured out.
Table upon table presented more or less the same mounds of colorful fruits, vegetables, olives, nuts, and spices. Side streets featured cheeses, clothes and olive oil.

Buying "white" at the Datca market. 
Going to market with Jennifer is fun because she takes such delight in this cornucopia.

“This is just amazing,” she keeps repeating.

My role is walk behind her with the backpack at the ready to grab the goods from the vendors.

Jennifer’s strategy of provisioning at market is guided less by the type of produce offered and more by color.

One of dozens of similar stands at the Datca market. How do people decide from whom to buy?
She suddenly spins and bolts toward one table exlaiming, “Ooh, look, he’s got YELLOW peppers!”

Sometimes, it by smell.

Buying some red.
“I just had to get a couple of these tiny melons because they smell so good.”

She admits there is a certain emotional element to the process as well.

“It’s just like Rachel says, ‘I buy the vegetables I feel bad for.’”

Deep purple playing at the Datca market.
With her bag in one hand and holding up the zucchini in the other, she looks a little like the Statue of Vegetable Liberty. I can almost hear her adding, “Give me your wretched ...”

Sympathy for the vendor can also play a significant role.

“Shall we buy some cucumbers from him? Look at his face!”

Her own question was answered already with the cucumbers she was holding.

“These are the most motely-looking cucumbers ever, but he’s just got the sweetest face.”

The man with the sweet face sits left. And notice the bucket of soda bottles on the plastic crate: Those are filled with local olive oil. Sometimes you see local milk offered in soda bottles. 
The backpack I schlepped already was cutting pretty heavily into my shoulders. By now I was carrying additional plastic bags.

“Greens, we need some greens,” the provisioner by palette proclaimed.

Does this qualify as buying both orange and green simultaneously? We thought these were limes, but one on displayed show it to be an orange on the inside. Limages, perhaps?
A few stands later she admitted that she might be going over the top.

“I’m acting like I’m crazed,” she said, “but ...” and she trailed off.

“But,” I was going to add that it was the last market we would see for a while since our next marina was not near any village.

Instead, she completed the sentence with, “but it’s part of my charm, right?”

She is shameless in her addiction.

This became a bit of a shoulder-rubbing grab for the best pink and white beans.
"I love tusseling it out with the locals." She said it in regards to haggling over prices, but it applied here too.
On the walk back to the harbor, guilt set in.

“Did I overdo it?” she asked.

I was silent and smiling.

“Oh my god, I went absolutely fucking bonkers!”

Later, at the boat, I sat in my corner of the settee browsing my usual websites, while she unpacked and stowed.

“Oh my god! More peppers!”

Onions, two varieties of egg plant, lemons, zucchini, red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes, eggs, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.
And a while later:

“The fridge is full and I’m still unpacking!”

Lettuce, carrots, olives, parsely, dill, cheeses, leeks, and more than I can remember now.
Pears, nectarines, plums, apples, those oh-so-good-smelling melons, and those funny "limages."
But guilt eventually gave way to gratitude.

“I’m so excited. I can make a million things. I can grill, I can sauté. I can make leek tarts. Or I can make zucchini and peppers layered with cheese and onions; like a vegetarian musaka.”

And even later:

"You know, it's all about the rainbow. You have to eat all the colors."