- Commissioning: The boat is not fully commissioned even as of this writing and probably will not be until April 1.
- Challenges: Literally everything in the 7 day period has been challenging and sometimes not so pleasant.
- Steroids: Symbolizing in the extreme.
The boat show ended on Monday the 17th at 6:00 PM. I spent the entire morning from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM with the electronics supplier learning to operate the navigation, entertainment and security systems. We ultimately "knocked off" the navigation and entertainment systems. There turned out to be a serious glitch in our navigation system specifications that was finally resolved by Jeff Druek, Outer Reef's president (and to my complete satisfaction). We did not get to the security system. I finally got to enjoy the last hour of the Boat Show at the Miami Convention Center. As you can imagine, I did not get to see very much at the world's second largest boat show (Fort Lauderdale is number 1). Lesley and Amelia arrived Monday night.
|Amelia at 16 months exploring her new surroundings|
(Notice Cat in the Hat. At 16 months Amelia is totally involved with books)
|Outer Reef's very fancy "office away from home" is gone|
|Show Management releasing us from our prison|
|Diana and Kodi watching as we depart|
|Boats behind us waiting for the bridge to open|
|Boats in front of us waiting for the bridge|
|We made through at the 6 minute mark|
Reader Note: The 63 at full throttle achieves a speed of 15 MPH. We were only doing 9 on Biscayne Bay. Captain Randy explained that shallow water sucks the boat's stern down and that that accounts for the speed reduction. During the Cat sea trial the following day in deeper water the boat achieved 15 MPH at full throttle.
We then headed north from Biscayne Bay into Government Cut and then into the North Atlantic. As we approached the sea we encounter 4 foot waves on the nose. We turn north and headed for Fort Lauderdale with 3 to 4 footers on the starboard aft quarter. The boat's stabilizers handled the waves beautifully but, unfortunately, 16 month old Amelia got her first case of "sea sickness." Lesley was not thrilled.
|Port Everglades at sunset as we returned from the Miami Boat Show|
Thursday (2/20) at 8:00 AM Troy from Pantropics, the local Caterpillar dealer arrived, to perform a sea trial to activate the engine warranties. Back down the New River (approximately 6 miles at 6 MPH) and out to sea. Sea trial completed and back to Marina Bay Marina. I piloted the boat most of the time and handled the landing, again under ideal conditions. Scott accompanied me on this trip. Lesley and Amelia stated behind. Troy finished at 3:00 PM.
Meanwhile, did I mention that our punch list continued to grow?
Friday (2/21) at 9:00 AM Chris from Concord arrived to familiarize me with the GOST security system. We finally ended our session at 3:00 PM. Notice that I did not use the word "finished." Speaking of words, the word "frustrating" does not begin to describe my experience with the GOST system. Reader will recall that we had problems with this system from the get go including an unintended activation of the siren on our first night on the boat.
Where do I start? Let's start with what the system does. In addition to being a security system, the system monitors temperature, electrical power and high water in the bilge. The system is a computer chip attached to a cell phone. Hence, activation requires a SIM card and monthly phone service. The cell phone enables the user to control the device from a cell phone.
Even before Chris arrived we had problems. I sent Diana to Verizon for a SIM card. She got it and it did not work in the GOST. Oops. Chris forgot to tell us that the only SIM card that works is AT&T. So Diana went on a fools errand. Oops again. Turns out Verizon's system is based on CDMA while AT&T's is based on SGM. See explanation below. Bottom line. A CDMA device does not communicate will with a SMG device especially if the communication involves touch tones. Short and simple. AT&T does not easily recognize Verizon's touch tones. You would think that the dealer would have forewarned us that we needed AT&T phones to use GOST successfully.
Explanatory Note: What's the core difference between CDMA and SGM? It all has to do with the way your data is converted into the radio waves that your cellphone broadcasts and receives. GSM divides the frequency bands into multiple channels so that more than one user can place a call through a tower at the same time; CDMA networks layer digitized calls over one another, and unpack them on the back end with sequence codes.
The SCDM / SGM thing really complicated the process and we wasted gobs of time trying to get my simple LG phone to communicate. We finally gave up and used Diana's cell phone, which proved to be slightly better but, unfortunately that caused other problems.
Now to the device itself. When it calls you or you call it, it requires the use of touchtone inputs. These inputs are in response to prompts from the system which offers the options at a machine gun pace. The system is NOT user friendly and the system's voice is HOSTILE. Further the prompts themselves are not easily understood as they were not written with the user in mind. Add to this the inability to put our cell phones on speaker so that Chris could hear what I was hearing (as the speaker interfered with the GOST's ability to interpret the touchtone do to the noise. It gets worse but I'll write about this later. Just the process of describing this raises me blood pressure.
Reader Note: To be continued with my Thursday 2/27 discussion with Robert at GOST.
Did I mention that the punch list continued to grow?
Explanation: The boat finally arrived on February 2. We closed on February 10. We moved to the Miami Boat Show on February 11th. Outer Reef normally requires 30 days to commission a boat. Our was "partially commissioned" when we left for the show exactly 9 days after she splashed. Hence, the growing punch list, which I am fully confident that Outer Reef will successfully address every issue.
Meanwhile, Lesley, Scott and Amelia were aboard. Background: When we planned this vacation and Lesley booked the flights we were anticipating the boat's arrival in late December. That was optimistic to say the least. The combination of the ever increasing punch list and the demands for my time essentially took me away from enjoying my lovely granddaughter.
|Future Captain Amelia|
Back to the rat race. On Saturday I spent the entire day (9:00 AM to 4:00 PM) with Captain Randy learning the boat's systems. We literally went from stem to stern at each level discussing the boat's systems and equipment. Captain Randy did a spectacular job. Our day ended with using the davit to lower the AB DLX 13 into the water.
Finally, I was free and we all decided to take the tender and motor down the New River to Los Olas Boulevard for a family dinner. No sooner did we start then Lesley announced that there was a lightening from a cumulus nimbus (thunderstorm) cloud just off to the north. Discretion being the better part of valor we scraped the dingy ride and went for dinner at the Rendezvous restaurant on the Marina Bay Marina property.
Sunday morning arrived and I finally had no one to see and my punch list, which while still growing, was, at least, up to date. That's the good news. The bad news was that Lesley, Scott and Amelia had to leave for the airport and 12:00 PM. We decided to take the tender and motor down to Los Olas Boulevard for breakfast. The photos below tell the story.
|Amelia Sunday morning on her second dingy ride|
|AB DLX 13 parked at the Los Olas Boulevard public dock|
|We had breakfast at the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House|
|Scott Lesley and Amelia at the Fort Lauderdale Science Museum|
Written by Les.
Post Script: Marquip arrived on Monday to finish the installation of the boarding ladder. They were only able to mount the stairs to the port side bulwark install the starboard side bracket (used to secure the stairs). They could not install the bracket as they were missing striker plates. Add another item to the punch list.