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Colin Hacking

January 10 - February 4, 2002

Jon's father, Colin, came down three weeks after we moved aboard Ocelot while we were still stuck in Simpson Lagoon in St. Martin.  We were thrilled when he volunteered to visit us on a "busman's holiday.  That is, we weren't going to sail around with him.  Instead, he and Jon were going to join forces to co-engineer the new boat.

Ocelot was originally designed as a charter boat.  Charterers typically don't mind running their engines every morning and evening, but cruisers (especially us!) don't want to have to do this.  Therefore, several boat systems needed to be converted from alternator/engine power to being able to run on 12vDC from the solar panels.

Lunch in Ocelot's saloon
Jon, Amanda, Colin & Chris having lunch in Ocelot's saloon
Cutting the top for the new Fridge
Cutting the top for the new fridge
Installing the new Mainsail ... again
Installing the new mainsail ... again
Removing the old radar mount to make room for the new Solar Panels
Removing the old radar mount to
make room for the new solar panels
Designing and Building the new solar panel supports
Designing & building the new solar panel supports
Assembling our Fortress storm anchor
Assembling our Fortress storm anchor

With Colin's help we began to turn Bipede-the-Charter-Boat into Ocelot-the-Cruising-Boat.  This involved, among other things:

New ships batteries - 200 lbs each!
New ship's batteries -
100kg (220 lbs) each!

As it was, we didn't get quite as much done as we'd hoped.  For instance, we couldn't find appropriate materials to convert our fabric awning (bimini) into a hard bimini.  (We finally upgraded the bimini in Fiji!)  As Jon says, "When you get two engineers together, it might take twice as long, but they have twice as much fun."  Colin and Jon had a wonderful time designing and refining systems, bouncing ideas off each other, arguing about the best way to do something, and using our limited manufacturing capabilities to do what needed doing.

Colin also was a willing guinea pig to Sue's very rusty "tropics/islands" cooking.  Luckily French St. Martin had an unlimited supply of French bread, French cheese, and French beer which, when consumed for lunch, smoothes the way to more experimental dinners.  Couldn't ask for a better father-in-law!

Although he didn't expect to go sailing at all, there was a yacht race in St. Martin while he was there, and one of our friends raced their boat, so Jon and Colin crewed on that.  After all the great hard work Colin did with us on Ocelot, it was great to see him having some "real" fun!

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