A complete boat at last!

First of all, I should come clean and say that my ‘last’ weekend in Florida was so enjoyable that I’ve decided to stay another week. As predicted, the lure of the Coliseum proved too great to resist and much drunken debauchery and mayhem ensued, so I feel I owe it to the locals to grace them with my presence on the dancefloor one more time. My new departure date is therefore Monday 25th July, but I’ve been saying ‘next weeek’ for 2 months now so don’t hold your breath…

Moving swiftly on, I’ve managed to get quite a lot done to Odyssey since the test sail, including upgrading the charging system. I realised on Friday that under power the engine isn’t really putting enough amps into the batteries due to an ancient alternator and rather large battery bank. A quick visit to a local electrical specialist soon procured a brand spanking new 110-amp alternator and digital multi-stage charge regulator which slotted neatly into place and work perfectly. I can now rest assured that my batteries will always be in tip-top condition, which I suppose is quite handy when I rely on them at night to ward off errant supertankers with my navigation lights.

However, the really exciting thing and indeed the subject of the title of today’s diary entry is that Odyssey is now complete again. Two months ago the masts were removed to have all the rigging replaced, and this meant dismantling the dining table as it is mounted on the main mast. Ever since then the interior looked as though it was missing something, as the table is a focal point of the living area. Today I finally got round to reinstating it, and it’s transformed the whole inside of the boat. Everything now looks perfect, both on deck and below, and I’ve even washed the upholstery so it’s all nice and clean again. Not that it’ll stay that way for long with my clumsy butter-fingers, I seem to end up with red wine stains all over everything!

Another important point was to work out just how much water I can carry. The official specifications for the Gulfstar 50 seem to vary according to who one asks, and I’ve seen water tankage capacity figures ranging from 100 to 300 US gallons. So, the only way to find out was to measure it. I did this by timing how long it took to fill a 5 gallon bucket with the hose (one minute), then timing how long it took to fill the tanks. The result was very satisfying: the forward tank holds 75 gallons, while the main tank aft takes 200. It took nearly an hour to fill them both! With over a ton of water on board I think I should have more than enough to keep myself fresh and clean, although of course I wouldn’t dream of drinking it so will be taking another 50 or so gallons of beer.

I’ve also been beavering away at my cunning program to keep my website updated while out at sea. It’s all a bit convoluted but my solution is to write a Java program which uses JDBC to connect to the MySQL server running on my Mac, and the Jakarta HttpClient package to connect to my live website. This latter method allows me to execute PHP scripts on the HTTP server to access the remote MySQL database, and my program will work out how to synchonise the two databases.

What this means in practise is that when I run my program it basically shows me a list of differences between my local copy of my website, and the real live version. With a click of the mouse I can then synchronise them with a minimum of data transferred, thereby saving me money on the extortionate satellite phone costs.

All good fun, and it keeps me off the streets during the week which is no bad thing as there are far too many distractions out there for a person with as little self-discipline as me.

Other than that the highlight of my week has been moving back to my luxury penthouse, from which I was so cruelly evicted last week as somebody had booked it ages ago and refused to let me have it. After six days in the second-best apartment in the complex it’s nice to have my unobstructed view of the nudist pool back again!

And on that note I’ll leave you in peace while I get on with more pressing matters. Did someone mention that jacuzzi??!

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