The 2016 Southwest International Boat Show

2016_BoatShow_01

The boat show is always one of our favorite things to do in Kemah.  We make sure to go at least one day, but it does run Thursday-Sunday.  We went with our friends Tina and Ray who are power boaters, and so naturally they wanted to head down the power boat row first.

2016_BoatShow_02

This Cruisers Yacht 45 was the first one we were drawn into.

2016_BoatShow_04

We were mesmerized by all its buttons. The shade outside retracts, the cushions on the back go flat and then recline anyway you’d like, and it has an inside sunroof.

2016_BoatShow_05

2016_BoatShow_06

The next boat we wondered into was the 50 ft 2015 Maritimo M50 offered by Galati Yacht Sales.

2016_BoatShow_07

It seems like the fully enclosed fly bridges are the new standard. 2016_BoatShow_10

The downstairs had a somewhat small master, but a really cozy cubby of a VIP room that I sort of fell in love with.  Maybe because of my small size, I have always been drawn to small spaces.

The men seemed to be very impressed with the engine room, although I don’t see why.

The winds were really blowing us around on the dock, and climbing on and off boats was getting a bit exhausting, but we pressed on to the end of the power boat dock, and it’s a good thing we did or we never would have seen this pontoon with a water slide.

2016_BoatShow_14

After that we headed over to the sailboat dock. A lot of the boats we have already seen at past boat shows broker open houses in our marina. We just yawned as we walked by the 40+ft catamarans.

I did take a second to step onto the 52 Beneteau Sense though, as it was probably the biggest sailboat there.

Boat Show fever hit me hard looking at a little Island Packet 35 named Missy. No pictures of her as we were too busy calculating what we’d have to sell to buy her.

They had a few more toys and plenty of vendors to talk to. What surprised us most this year is how many people we knew. We couldn’t go anywhere without running into a friend. That was my favorite part.

2016_BoatShow_18

For us the surprises didn’t end at the festival, the real boat show started when we got back to the marina. Because of the high winds there was a boat stranded outside the channel and slowly dragging its way into the breakwater. I called the harbormaster and the coast guard, but they both just said to keep an eye on it and let them know if there is imminent danger.

2016_BoatShow_19

We didn’t get to stay to watch the rescue or demise of the vessel, but we heard from a friend that she eventually got unstuck and is safely back in her slip.

 

Repairing a cabin dome light with LEDs

I think we can all agree that the easiest way to convert your boat lights to LED is to just stick one of these adapter bulbs in the socket.

DSC07592

However, not long after a recent “conversion” one of my dome lights quit again. I pulled out the multi-meter to see if I was getting power to the socket, and I found this.

LightRepair01

One of the contacts was missing. After 33 years the spring-loaded plastic bottom of the socket had become too brittle and finally snapped. While my dome lights aren’t particularly pretty, they at least all match. I was faced with either repairing this one or replacing it with a new style light that wouldn’t look like the others and would require me to drill new mounting holes.

Instead of replacing the socket I decided to just wire an array of LEDs to the switch. Since I wanted it done that afternoon, my only option was West Marine.

LightRepair02

The Dr. LED dome light conversion kit came with two sets of pigtails, one with bare wires on the ends and the other with a double bayonet connector. That seemed a bit unnecessary because anyone attempting this who didn’t need the bayonet could have just clipped it off and used the wires, but I guess they have to justify charging $30 for LEDs somehow.

LightRepair03

I turned off the 12-volt power, removed the light fixture from the ceiling, clipped the old wires, and removed the broken socket.

LightRepair04

Yep, it’s still broken.

I then connected the positive leads to the switch and the negative lead to ground. Then I plugged the pigtail into the LED array.

LightRepair06

Time to turn the 12 volt breaker back on and test the setup.

LightRepair05

The LED Conversion kit comes with two pieces of double-sided foam tape to stick the array into the dome. I only used one. I guess the other one is there in case you mess up.

LightRepair07

Then I just had to re-attach the lens and screw the fixture back into the cabin top.

LightRepair08

Theoretically I should never have to mess with this light again. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Running from the storm aboard a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 41 DS

Last weekend it was supposed to be another scorcher and Mary was suffering from a fever and sore throat. We were planning to skip the marina altogether and spend Saturday on the couch watching Netflix — but then the phone rang.

Texas Coast Yachts was having a demo event and wanted to know if we’d like to go sailing on a brand new Jeanneau 41. Suddenly Mary perked up, downed some ibuprofen, and we were headed for Kemah.

Texas Coast Yachts is the Jeanneau, NEEL Trimarans, and most importantly to Mary, the Fountaine Pajot Catamaran dealership in our area.

Jenneau41DS_01

While they didn’t have any new FPs to demo, Captain Michael Clark was kind enough to invite us to try out this gorgeous 2015 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey DS 41.

Jenneau41DS_02

The DS stands for Deck Salon, and the big difference between the DS models and the regular Jeanneau Sun Odysseys is this fantastic aft cabin.

Jenneau41DS_07

In the 41 you have a nice big bed that you can get in and out of without climbing over your spouse, as well as a sitting area and plenty of storage. There’s a pass-through on each side of the companionway with a master bathroom to port.

Jenneau41DS_03

Thanks to the big windows the boat is very bright inside. It’s very nicely laid out.

Jenneau41DS_06

All those windows might keep the air-conditioner running full-time in the Houston summer, but if you can afford a brand new Jeanneau, you probably don’t fuss over the electric bill.

Jenneau41DS_05

The V-berth has a nice bed and head as well, so the layout is great for two couples — or maybe just one couple that can’t stand being around each other.

Jenneau41DS_04

The breakers are located in a panel above the nav station. There’s no key required to start up the Yanmar, you just switch on the circuit, and the diesel starts with a push of a button at the helm.

Jenneau41DS_08

The 360 Docking bow thruster made getting in and out of the slip a piece of cake, and the 40hp Yanmar sail drive pushed her up to hull speed with no problem.

Jenneau41DS_10

Captain Mike brought us out of the marina and then handed me the wheel while he showed us how to unfurl the main and the jib.

Jenneau41DS_09

The main sheet system has no traveler. Instead it’s set up, so that the main can be adjusted from either side of the cockpit to enable you to control it from both helms.

A line of dark clouds was visible on the horizon just as we set the sail, and it was only minutes before Captain Mike was explaining that the blue dots on the sails were suggested reefing points as we furled some sail back in.

Mary, although excited to be sailing on a new boat, still wasn’t feeling well. Add to that the fact that our GPS was reading 7.5 knots SOG as the boat was heeling more and more with every gust, and she was not happy. Yes, we had reefed, but it wasn’t doing much to slow us down when the wind was gusting past 30 knots.

As the lightning flashes started getting closer and water starting spraying over the cockpit, Mary snapped one photo of me (and her finger) before a gust heeled us over far enough to knock everyone’s phones and sunglasses off the cockpit table.

Jenneau41DS_11

We’d been out for less than 20 minutes, but it was time to get the sails down and get back to the marina before things got really bad. I kicked the engine back on, we furled the sails and headed in. Motoring downwind we were surfing waves in the channel and still had an apparent wind of 21 knots behind us.

I was sure that sailing a nice big monohull would convince Mary we didn’t need a catamaran, but I think the weather sabotaged me. I never even got her to take the wheel.

Personally, I was impressed with the way the boat handled. The dual rudders made it very responsive and easier to control than our smaller O’day 34. It also did a much better job of pushing through the waves. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of a roller-furling main, but it was easy to use, and we still had plenty of power and control with it reefed.

We made it back to marina and backed into the slip just as the dark clouds swallowed the sky over us.

Special thanks to Texas Coast Yachts and Captain Michael Clark for the chance to sail on such a nice boat.