30 March 2013

Progress on Many Fronts

We have again received photos showing the progress of work on Zonder Zorg. The first one gives a general view of the interior looking aft through the framing for the bulkhead between the galley and the heads.

Looking aft, we can see that the bulkhead between the heads and the master's cabin has also been framed, and beside the worker's head, we catch a glimpse of the toilet.

This has been mounted on the bulkhead and we see beside it the Saniflo, the automatic pump, which will take the wastes to the blackwater tank. Marine toilets have certainly come a long way from the days of clunky fixtures, hand pumps and the attendant complexity of levers, valves and clogs.

Further forward, in the master's cabin, we see some finishing details, with a set of shelves installed in the kick under the foredeck, just aft of the mast step. To port, the space has been nearly completed for the installation of the washer and dryer. To starboard is the access to the former crew accommodation, the large space under the foredeck.

Here, in what we will be using primarily as storage, we have decided to leave the original woodwork. It appears that the workers have built a box to house the additional freshwater tank.

Moving aft into the salon, we see that the sliding doors have been installed to enclose the shelving under the side decks. The window frames have been removed, and we assume that this is to have their double-glazing installed.

The hot water radiators for the heating system are being installed.

The framing of the salon settee has begun. The interior work appears to be progressing well, and with a little over four weeks to go to the end of April, it appears that it is on schedule. Boating again in early May seems a distinct possibility.

There has also been progress on other fronts. Last evening I completed the second editing of my book: Sequitur - to Cape Horn in Comfort and Style. It is a big book, 680 pages formatted on 8½ by 11 inch paper with the 312,860 words illustrated by 2422 colour photographs, maps and drawings. I have now begun the final proofreading, and will begin discussing the fine details with the publisher next week.

Also, Edi has begun a blog, posting a daily photo with caption: A Day in the Life of Zonder Zorg
Her aim is to illustrate the day-to-day happenings as we move into and enjoy the next phase in our lives, canal boating in Europe.

12 March 2013

Continuing Refit Progress

We have received another set of photos showing the progress of work on Zonder Zorg. The salon side windows are in, though nothing has yet been done with reworking the aft window nor the steps.

The interior sheathing has been installed above the kick of the side deck, and it is nearing completion on the lower faces.

Looking forward, we see that the portlights have been boxed-in.

The new Fischer-Panda generator has arrived and is being unpacked and readied for installation. It is one of the new Hybrid Power models and it is rated at 6000 Watts DC. It is designed to be interlinked with battery bank, inverter and shore power through intelligent controls so that the most efficient power source, or combination of sources, is used to meet changing power needs. Most of the time the smaller amounts of 240V power will come from the batteries through the inverter. The battery levels are automatically monitored and recharged from shore power, or when not connected, then automatically by the generator. By intelligently monitoring the battery bank, the generator’s operating time is significantly reduced, reportedly by more than 70%. In reading through the manual, I see there is an available easy override of the automatic system.

To celebrate the progress on Zonder Zorg, we continued to draw down the cellar. As a desert after dinner last evening, we started into a bin of half bottles of 1976 Karl Joh. Molitor Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Beerenauslese.

The cork had just made it through its three dozen years of use, the wine having permeated to within a few millimetres of the end. It was seized in the neck, and needed a push inwards to get it moving, and even with slow, gentle extraction with a Screwpull, the cork was so mushy that the bottom half centimetre separated and threatened to remain in the neck. Fortunately, I had anticipated this, and managed to keep it all on the screw, without a crumb in the wine.

After the drama of drawing the cork, we were rewarded with a wine of light golden colour with very slight paleness at the edge; truly remarkably bright for its age. It had a subdued honeyed nose with hints of botrytis and smoke and aromas of butter, figs and apricots. In the mouth it was delicate and slightly oily, with flavours of buttery caramel and apricots, very clean and well balanced with a lingering finish of dried fruits and hints of spice. It was a remarkably vigorous wine, still rather fresh after more than three dozen years. Delightfully, there are more of these in the bin.

09 March 2013

Drawing Down the Cellar

Among our preparations for heading back to Europe to cruise the canals is checking on the condition of the older bottles in our Vancouver wine cellar. We found two bottles with corks that were starting to leak. Both were Tokaji Aszu, one a 3 Puttonos from 1973 and the other an Essencia from 1964. We opened the 1973 first, since it is considerably the lesser of the two. We were amazed at the vitality of this forty-year-old wine from a bottle ullaged to mid-shoulder. While much darker than I recalled previous bottles from this bin, it was still bright and had nice glints of orange in its amber-mahogany hue. The nose was a bit withdrawn at first, but with no hint of mustiness or funk.

The stubby cork had starting giving out after nearly four decades. As the wine opened, hints of dried fruit, figs and apricots predominantly, came through the dried grass and leaves background of the nose and there was a strong honey aroma. The palate was still surprisingly fresh, with light citrus flavoured caramels with some raisins and dried apricots leading to a finish of slightly bitter lemon with honey overtones. Overall, a very pleasing wine, considering that this last bottle in its bin had been held far beyond its reasonable lifespan.

Next we opened the 1964 Essencia. It was a deep amber-garnet in colour, still bright and rather youthful in appearance, with a fringe of orange and ambers. The nose was a huge complexity of spices, figs, apricots, coffee and toffee. It was clean and bright on the palate with apricots, dates and figs in a base of butter caramels and coffee and a nice balancing acidity to foil the high residual sugars. It lingered deliciously in a long spicy finish of cinnamon, nutmeg with hints of butter and molasses. An outstanding wine, wonderfully balanced and at its peak, it was remarkably well-preserved, considering its cork had begun leaking and it was ullaged to high shoulder. We feel ourselves privileged to have enjoyed this remarkable wine in such fine condition at nearly fifty years of age.

Earlier vintages of this wine caused King Louis XIV of France to call it "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum, Wine of Kings, King of Wines". I had bought these bottles in 1978 in Edmonton, Alberta when I was running HMCS Nonsuch, the Naval Reserve division there. We still have a part bin of the 1964 Essencia and their corks all appear sound. From our marvellous experience with poorest bottle in the bin, I see no rush to finish the lot.

08 March 2013

Work is Progressing

We have received more photos on the progress of the work on Zonder Zorg. Last week we saw that the subfloor had been completed, the interior electrical wiring had been run, the ceiling had been installed, the insulation and vapour-barrier was in place and the interior sheathing battens were fitted.

Yesterday we got another batch of progress photos. One shows that the new mahogany window frames had been installed into the roef.

Another  view shows that the interior sheathing is being installed.

Work is also obviously progressing in the engineering spaces, with what appears to be plumbing parts for the hot water system, which will incorporate waste heat from the engine and generator as well as input from the diesel furnace and from an electrical coil. We are pleased with the apparent progress.

Meanwhile, Edi and I are impatiently waiting in Vancouver, chomping at the bit to head back over to Friesland to continue enjoying Zonder Zorg. As a diversion, Edi has started a new blog: http://lifeofzonderzorg.blogspot.ca/