So…the weather won. Winds were strong Friday into Saturday, with 25+knots with gusts to around 35 along with periodic rain. I was not ready to tackle that solo, so I stuck to the dock over the weekend. I was a bit disappointed as I really wanted to get out and it was my last chance for February. So no February sail. But I decided to get some things done on the boat to make it more enjoyable for those days I can’t venture out. Your first thought might be, why go to the boat if you can’t sail? I must say, I love being on the boat no matter what. I enjoy having my little home away from home. And excuse to get away for the weekend. Relaxing in the saloon or cockpit, drinking a boat drink, talking with my dock neighbors, and even working on the boat.
So, I went down to the boat anyway, and stayed both Friday and Saturday night. I had already come up with a meal plan, so I stuck with it and saved myself some money by not going out to each the whole weekend. Cooked four meals on the boat. Two breakfasts, and two dinners. I skipped lunch as I was wasn’t hungry after a good sized breakfast. First night was just some canned chili with the fix’ins. Forgot that I had no bowls at the boat, so ended up eating out of the pot. Will need to remember to take some bowls down. Dinner Saturday night was something I called Pork Monterey. Basically chicken monterey, except with some pork chops we had sitting in the freezer that needed cooking. Pork chops, add some bacon, BBQ sauce, and cheese, done. They were not bad. Breakfast Saturday morning was breakfast tacos of eggs, bacon, and cheese, with the eggs cooked in the bacon fat. Those were some tasty eggs. I tried to plan all my meals so I would have as little wastage as possible. I ended up with some left over cheese and tortillas, but took those home and they should get used up no problem.
Boat projects for the weekend, since I wasn’t sailing, were both electronic in nature. First up was an attempt at setting up a WiFi setup. The idea was to use my windows tablet as a bridge between the marina’s wifi and my boat wifi. I had an external wifi adapter that has two antenna ports. One of the antenna ports I used a 8dbi long range outdoor antenna hoping to maximize the connection to the marina wifi. Then the tablet shares that connection via an internal wifi to other devices on the boat. I was hoping to basically have one point of connection for the devices so only the tablet needed to be connected to whatever internet source I had available (in this case, the marina wifi). The good news, it works. The bad news, the marina wifi totally sucks. I mean its worthless. Might be a case of too many people for too little bandwidth. It was so slow it was worthless. There where no other open connections within range either, so while it worked, the project was a bust for use in the marina. Might be useful once out of marina if I happen to anchor near an open wifi that is not snail slow. Till then, I am back to using my verizon hotspot and tethering off my phone. That works great for email, facebook and general web surfing, but streaming video (netflix, youtube, hulu, whatever) is basically limited. Not by the speed, as they are plenty fast enough, but by the data usage. I could easily blow through my data limit for the month in a few hours of streaming. Which leads me to my second project of the weekend.
I had watched videos on my various tablets, and on my laptop, and even had a tv tuner on my laptop. But I found the laptop to be inelegant, and holding a tablet and trying to watch on a small screen ok, but not great. I seemed to have wires everywhere. Enter the desire to have a TV on the boat. Some may see no reason to have a TV on a boat, and for the most part I would agree. Worthless while sailing. But see above. I love to spend time on the boat even when I can’t sail. I like to watch movies in the evenings, doing so on the boat just makes them better (ok, maybe not a good as the media room back at the house, lol). After some research and a lot of internal debate, I decided on a small 19″ tv. A DC tv might have been the way to go, but I wanted the functionality of a specific Samsung UN19F4000. In addition to being a low power LED tv with all the usual stuff, it had the ability to play video off a usb stick (more on this later). So I acquired the tv and a mount. I already had a small inverter, but I did want a new DC receptacle near where the TV was to be mounted so I picked up a receptacle and wire from the local chandlery.
Let me say, I love my boat. While its a mix of fiberglass, wood, and plastic, most of the interior has pieces that can be removed to access areas that would be impossible to work in otherwise. I was able to cleanly route wire behind the scenes from the electrical panel to the hanging locker. One end was tied into a breaker for the TV and stereo, and the receptacle was mounted inside the hanging locker. Near it I mounted the inverter and hung the excess power cable from the TV.
The TV was mounted to the outside of the hanging locker. It hangs a little lower than I would like, but the mount point on the TV is high on the back. No big deal, butts up against the seat cushion when folded in and might even be helpful to keep it from swinging around while underway. The mount is a 10″ swing arm, so I can be positioned so that it can be viewed from anywhere in the saloon. It folds up about 5” from the locker. Ignore the mess, but here is the finished project.
Right now I just have a small inside antenna which doesn’t get very good reception. Will be looking for a smallish outdoor antenna with some outdoor coax. Then when I need it, I will just lead the coax through the port and haul it up the flag halyard, then I should get all the local channels. But of the few channels I did get, one was running a Doogie Howser marathon, I admit I did watch a half dozen or so episodes. The USB function was a partial success. The good, it played my video files. The bad, I had to transfer them to a smaller 32gb usb drive as the TV didn’t recognize my 64gb drive. The ugly, the audio was out of sync. Started off fine, but as the movies went on it got worse. By the end of both movies I watched, the audio was off by a full second or more, which is annoying. I had also gotten a Amazon Fire Stick for my various streaming sources, but not sure it will get used much due to the wifi issues I mentioned above. But I did find that I would use AllCast on the Fire Stick to stream from my tablet to the the TV without the audio issues. So that corrects that problem, though now I didn’t need the samsung and could have gotten a DC tv, or an even cheaper tv. Well, it is what it is.
Let me say, with the cooking on the boat, and the addition of some mindless entertainment, the boat has gone a sailboat and decent place to hangout, to also a nice weekend home and even a bachelor pad if I ever find myself is that situation again (not likely). I actually decided I could actually live on this boat…if I were single. Thats a big if.. This weekend ended after foggy Sunday morning. Loving my boat, my second home. Love live Jester!