Monday, December 31, 2012


It's New Years Eve hard to believe how fast this year has gone by.  I did not put as many miles (a little over two hundred) under the keel of BIANKA  this year compared to years past but, I did have a wonderful year of cruising. Though work and some unexpected maintenance issues did get in the way. I also bought 200 feet of long overdue replacement anchor chain. I also installed AIS on board  which I will write about in the new year. I also installed  a new battery instrumentation panel  at the helm. Which made monitoring the battery current and voltages much easier. All in all it was still another great year as I look back on it.

January found me in the Leeward Islands starting off in St. Thomas, St. Johns  and then sailing over to the Spanish Virgin Island of Culebra for a nice little warm water  break from the winter.

This was also the month that the Bianka Log Blog reached over one hundred thousand page views. So it was time to celebrate too.

In February I found one of the batteries in the 48 volt propulsion string was no longer taking a charge.

I spent the next several months investigating the issue and finally figured that a parasitic load from one of the battery meters was the cause of the problem. With careful charging and test the battery is once again up to snuff and worked fine all season. I was glad I did not have to purchase a new battery.

March found me in Ocean City Maryland. After seeing a nice little warm weather window my gal and I drove from DC to a beachfront hotel with an 11th floor balcony view of the Atlantic Ocean for a few days.

 We had the beach to ourselves and were able to dine without making reservations. The smell of the sea also gets one thinking about getting the boat back in the water.

April 12th was the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It bought back memories of when I was living on board BIANKA at pier 59 in New York. That was the pier  that the rescue ship Carpathia bought the lifeboats from the ill fated Titanic and was only a few piers north of the peir where the Titanic was supposed to dock.

May found me and my gal in the Bahamas. The Exumas specifically via stopovers in Nassau.  A new area for me and one of some great memories and interesting sights.

I also worked on my first major repair of the electric propulsion system in five years by replacing the shaft coupling. Replacing the original steel one with stainless steel.

June was all about getting BIANKA ready for the season and launching. The battery issue had been solved the mast lights checked. The prop cleaned and polished and finally BIANKA was splashed.

In July work reared it's ugly head  eating up two weeks and my gal's beach vacation ate up another week. But, BIANKA was in the water with 200 feet of new anchor chain ready to go when time permitted. Also I worked on some finishing touches on the solar bimini.

August was another two weeks of work followed by another week on the beach. But, I was finally able to get back on board just in time to see another full moon a real treat.

September is usually the end of summer for many but, I view it as a new beginning. Some become melancholy with the end of the Labor Day weekend while I look at it as the time of less crowded anchorages  So I was looking forward to making my annual cruise to New York.

September 11th was also the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Since BIANKA and I were docked in New York then and actually felt the impact of the planes and witnessed the collapse of the buildings I felt somewhat of an obligation to try and be back in the harbor on the anniversary. But, it was not to be,  A broken pull cord and some frozen screws on the Honda 2000 generator soon put an end to those plans. Still I got to see another full moon on board so it was not all bad.

October had some of the highs and lows of the season. I saw a nice weather window and finally took BIANKA on the cruise to New York. I did something different regarding my electric propulsion system on this cruise. Which was to electro sail using about 10 amps to effectively negate the prop drag and actually propels the boat along a two knots when there is no wind. This technique worked really well and since EP is so quiet it does introduce the noise fatigue running and vibration that running a diesel would introduce.

After a night anchored by Ellis Island  it was a nice sail up the Hudson River:

where BIANKA and I anchored for a few days off of Hook Mountain enjoying the fall colors.

Two days after returning back to BIANKA's mooring Hurricane Sandy hit the area:

The storm surge lifted BIANKA and her mooring and dragged them across the channel. I found her over a thousand feet away across the harbor. Still floating and relatively undamaged. I was very lucky.  Since BIANKA had power available from her solar panels and wind generator I decided I would move back on her until power was restored back on the mainland. Which is where I spend most of the my time anyway during the season.  I had all the comforts of home even more so as I had power available.

The beginning of November still had the area recovering from super storm Sandy. Gas shortages had boat owners coming down to the docks draining there boat's fuel tanks so they could keep their home generators running. I recovered the Honda outboard that went to the bottom of the harbor when the dingy flipped during the storm. It will be a winter project to try and get it running again. There were a lot of  lessons learned from Sandy by me and many others too.

December was another month of a few weeks work that came my way. Just in time to pay some of the boatyard bills. Also it was time for holidays and looking back and also planning for the new year. I'm also way behind in some posts here on the Bianka Log Blog. So I will use the winter to catch up and publish about some of the projects I've been working on. Days are already starting to get longer and soon it will be time to starting thinking  the new year and season.

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