Monday, March 31, 2014

Aluminum + Copper: A Horror Story

Q:  My friend has a metal boat.  I had him over for beers last night, and all he talked about was electrolytic corrosion.  I love boat talk as much as the next sailor, but I nearly threw him overboard.  What is it with you metal boat people and your corrosion issues?*

A:  Electrolytic corrosion is the worst.  The worst!  It is a creeping horror ready to eat away our hulls and leave us sad and boatless.  I'm sorry your imaginary friend bored you, but this is a real concern for us.  Why?  Because a penny and a little saltwater could send us to the bottom of the sea.

For those of you in need of a chemistry review, galvanic corrosion (or electrolytic corrosion - same thing) happens when two metals are in contact in an electrolytic solution, like salt water.  Essentially, one metal will corrode preferentially to save the other.  The bad news for us is that Aluminum likes to give up its electrons to almost every other metal.

"Really?" asked Stylish after we explained for the 8,793rd time why Copper pennies do not make good toys.  "Can we try it?"
Hurrah!  Science day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Love and Marriage Aboard

One of the questions I get with some regularity is: how has cruising affected your marriage?  And I understand why people want to know.  I do.  People are awed by the prospect of spending 24/7/365 with another person, even someone they love.  But this is a question I have avoided so far, because usually it comes from about-to-be-cruisers, and what they are really asking me is, "Is cruising going to be great for my marriage?  Please reassure me."

And I will.  Sort of.  But I'm going to make this an inductive argument, so hold my hand and be patient.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Swimming, Swimming, in the Swimming Pool

Those of you enduring the endless North American winter this year won't empathize, but we are sweltering out here in the South Pacific.  One day I expect to wake up to find my bones have melted, and I'll just have to flow around the boat like Barbarmama.

Indy has a simple solution: go to the beach.  If she had her way, we would pitch a tent and live there, drifting between the water and the sand. Stylish, who is starting to show her age, is less keen for the simple reason that getting to the beach is a pain.  We can either walk 45 minutes in the blazing heat to get there, or we can take the dinghy,  which would be fine, except the motor needs a tune-up and I don't entirely trust it right now.  I know - excuses.  Family life is an exercise in compromise.  The truth is, I don't want to hike all the way over there every time it gets hot, which is always.

So how to help the kids cool down?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Am I Still A Cruiser When I'm Not Sailing?

I spent Wednesday evening packed into a small cafeteria with two hundred other parents.  As we listened to Stylish's principal talk about school rules and signing homework planners, I smiled to myself as I thought of how many similar "welcome to the new school year" talks I'd been to in years gone by.  French or English, here or there, every primary school seems to follow the same script.  Just the like the birthday party Indy attended the weekend before.  Same kids, same moms, same presents, same activities.  Except for the language, it was just like home.

A chill ran down my spine as the realization hit me.  I am living my old, pre-boat life: staying in one place, husband away working, kids in school, me running the household.  Am I even a cruiser anymore?