Boat projects in Newport

We knew we’d be in Newport at some point in September, so we had a bunch of boat parts and Amazon orders sent to our friends Jim and Kate in Portsmouth RI, in advance of our arrival. They were kind enough to stack all of it up in their garage, and we retrieved everything when we made it to town. Thanks for not making us pay rent for storage, Jim and Kate!

As you can see from our main photo on this post, one big boat project in Newport was adding Starlink internet. We had thought about this one for a long time, and have been following the changes to Starlink dishes and plans over the past nine months or so.

Before we ordered the dish, Patrick did a whole lot of calculations on how much power it would use, how we’d mount it, how we’d run the wiring, and all that jazz. (I mostly cheered loudly for not having to scavenge wifi at random place on shore to write and publish blog posts.) Once it arrived, Patrick did a lot of work to mount the dish, cut a hole in the stern for the wiring, plan how the wiring would get from one place to another on the boat, and add Starlink as a switch on our electrical panel. (That last one isn’t useful just yet, as we need some parts to do a conversion from AC to DC, so right now it’s hooked up via our inverter.)

I helped out when it was time to pull the line from the panel all the way down the starboard side of the boat, across the stern, and over to the dish. Patrick jammed the connector at the end of the wire into a piece of spare heater hose, and we used that to help fish it through the very tiny spaces next to all the other wiring you can see in these photos. It took a few tries but we managed!

And the result is that I’m writing this post sitting in our main salon, using our fancy-schmancy Starlink, which is as fast (if not faster?!) than our home internet. It is pretty cool! We don’t have it on all the time, nor do we plan to — part of being on a boat is being a little disconnected! But it sure is nice to have as a convenience. It’s also serving as one of our two emergency communication methods that we will have in place for the trip from the US to the Caribbean.

The other boat projects were maybe not as exciting as Starlink, but we did other stuff too:

  • Dropped our liferaft off to be inspected, serviced, and repacked
  • Had our stackpack (the canvas that encloses our main sail) repaired and also added a zipper to create a space for a third reef to be tied in
  • Replaced the gasket for the hatch over our bed, which was leaking and thus had been wrapped in a garbage bag and closed for over a month. It’s so nice to have a hatch we can see through and open again!
  • Replaced the washdown/outdoor shower faucet on the stern, which had been slowly leaking and causing our freshwater pump to run every now and again due to said slow leak
  • Wired a direct connection to our electrical panel to charge our Torqueedo (electric dinghy motor) battery
  • Replaced the joker and flapper valves for our aft head

We also did other mundane boat stuff, like laundry and grocery shopping. Laundry in Newport was made easier by our friends Rory and Michelle’s washer and dryer (thanks guys!). Grocery shopping is always a bit of a haul, and we also inventory everything and where it is located on the boat as we put things away, so it’s a bit of a process.

All in all, Newport was a lot of fun but we did still get a good amount of work done, too! Here are a couple more happy snaps from our visit.

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