06/20/2010, Dockton, Vashon Island
Wool socks? It's the middle of June, the summer solstice for Pete's sake! Now that question and statement are twofold, but we'll get to that!
Here we are sitting at the dock in Dockton with our yacht clubs' annual event, the Minto Mingle. Any one that owns a Minto sailing dinghy is invited to join us for a day of qualifying races, fun on the dock, wine tasting and potlucks, followed by the final victory race Sunday morning. The past two years we've participated in weather that more closely resembled June. Today's weather is even keeping the ducks away!
About 7:30 this morning, Tom quietly asked me if I knew where a pair of our grey wool socks were located. It was too cool for just bare feet and an appropriate chafe guard for the tops of his feet were needed. I replied, groggily, "In my top drawer. "Nope, I don't see them" he responded. He rummaged about a bit more between my clothing drawer and his, grabbed a pair of white shortie socks and headed out the door into the misty, rainy morning.
A couple of hours later, and with no sounds of rain on the deck, I finally stumbled out of bed. I was pretty sure when I'd packed up the winter clothes for storage under the bunk, that at least one pair of woolies had been left out. I pulled open the drawer, lifted a couple of items, and there they were. Yep, it had happened, once again. Now whether you are male or female reading this, and are in a relationship, you know what I'm going to say next. It was a classic example of, - here it comes - The Guy Look! You've seen it happen, or you've been the one to do it!
The Guy: You've opened the fridge looking for the OJ, the pickles, the whatever. If it wasn't sitting right in the middle of the front shelf - you didn't see it did you?! Same scenario applies in the closet, hanging locker, lazarette, galley drawer, garage, or the three foot deep boat style refrigerator. Come on, don't get your knickers in a twist, you know you have probably resembled this remark a time or two!
The Woman: After hearing the "where is the" question, she calls out the location, then she waits. She hears the appropriate noise of the door or lid being opened.... Waits some more....counts down..five, four, three, two, one.. right on time...."Honey! I can't find it!" Or "I don't see it!" Now ladies, you know what your response will be.... The Sigh, with exasperation behind it, of course, and The Eye Roll! Don't deny it, you know you've done it - you might even have done the Eye Roll while reading this!
So, back to my story.... I finish dressing, grabbed my cup of tea that Tom had made for me, donned on my FOUL WEATHER GEAR, (grumble, grumble), and headed out to join the folks on the dock. I casually slipped the socks into his pocket. "Hey, where'd you find them?" he asked. As I turned away, the group of guys began talking about The Guy Look. They all knew what had just happened. There were chuckles and friendly back pats. What they didn't know was that while Tom was looking for the socks, he came across a book of checks that I'd been looking for. Now, in my own defense, - hey, I'm writing this - I had looked at the checks, even knew where they were before looking for them..... I had 'seen' them with the 'other' account name on them! They were the ones I had been looking for. Of course, I just ordered new ones yesterday! Thanks sweetie!
06/13/2010, Des Moines Marina
This was one of those days that would be nicely spent out sailing in the beautiful Seattle sunshine! Or, it could be spent at the dock working on projects. As the number of weekend days dwindles down before we leave, we have done a good job of remaining focused on getting the boat ready. Today would be more of the same.
Last summer we started to upgrade the ground tackle system, by completely replacing the bow pulpit with a new custom made stainless steel bow plate and two heavy duty rollers. Then we installed a new Lewmar H3 windlass, with two deck plates to control the anchor going up and down. We also added a toggle switch in the cockpit to run the windlass as well. We have 300 feet of anchor chain attached to the 45 pound Bruce anchor as our primary system, with the chain being deposited into a chain locker low in the bow of the boat, just forward of the head. This chain locker is also where all the wiring connections for the windlass and it accessories are found. In order to protect this wiring, I have wanted to install a shield of some sort. We had saved a piece of Plexiglas from a prior project which looked to be just about perfect for this job. So, with a little trimming, some wood spacer blocks, and some time spent inside a very uncomfortable chain locker and "presto" we now have a nicely protected wiring system.
While the chain was all out on the dock, I removed it from its permanent attachment on the bulk head where it was connected with a stainless steel "D" ring. I have added a section of line from the bulk head to the bitter end of the chain that will allow us to cut it free if we should ever find ourselves in an emergency and need to leave an area but cannot get the chain in for whatever reason. This will keep the chain on the boat should the windlass fail or if the chain should jump out of the windlass and beginning a free fall to the briny deep! We also marked the chain with paint and bright yellow zip ties at a point where there is 25 feet left before we run out of chain.
The last project left to complete the ground tackle system is to install the anchor wash down pump. This will give us a supply of water to clean off the chain and anchor as it is brought into the boat.
But I think I will wait for another nice sunny day to work on that little project!!
06/09/2010, Des Moines
There's been some recent conversation on a fellow bloggers site, S/V Third Day, about what to put on a boat instrument wise. We read almost daily Rich and his family's stories of their experiences and 'episodes' while cruising. They've just purchased a new boat to continue their cruising on, and then call home when they feel they've had enough. His posts lately have had to do with the 'list' for the new boat. One item they've decided not to spend their cruising money on is wind instruments for reading direction and speed of the wind.
We originally had the basic little needle showing the wind direction at the top of the mast. When we pulled the mast a year ago to install other instruments, we installed the wind gauges as well. We've enjoyed having them, but our best instrument is what we call our 'heel- o meter', at least as far as my Mom is concerned! She's got a little mark on it that's her spot - the one that means " Ok, time for Linda to get off now"!
Most of the times that she's been out with us we've chosen our weather/wind carefully. She doesn't mind it if it's more of a drift, especially if the sun is out! But on occasion she's kept her eye on the little gauge located above the companion way door. Just a couple of weeks ago our Kiwi friends Mark and Diana were in town on their way to a kayaking adventure in Alaska, and joined us on the boat with my folks, Linda and Gordon. A nice little 5 knot breeze greeted us as we cleared the breakwater. It soon became a steady 18. Linda was below fixing sandwiches and seemed to be handling the heel just fine.
Joining us in the cockpit she laughed and seemed very relaxed. She even commented that she was pretty sure we were past her 'stepping off' point, but she stayed on the boat. Back at the docks she stated to all that 'that was pretty fun'! Maybe sometime in the next ten years I can get her to take the helm!
06/06/2010, Des Moines
I love our boat...I love our boat!! This weekend was a real mental challenge. After a very long, tiring and difficult work week, what I so badly wanted was nice quiet sail. We had planned to spend the weekend in Burton chilling with our great friends Pam and Timber. So after work we untied the dock lines and headed out. As the wind tends to do here in the Puget Sound, it was coming directly from where we wanted to go. But we set the sails any way and figured on a couple of extra tacks. After clearing the mid channel marker between Des Moines Marina and Point Robinson the wind started to shift to the north so we changed the sail trim and were able to head right where we wanted to go on a very nice beam reach, with 6-8 knots! Unfortuneatly this was not to last...the wind shifted again back from the south west, right on the nose. Yet another sail trim with us heading 90 degress from where we wanted to go. Then the wind made a bit of a change....not direction but speed. We now have 20 knots with gusts to 22. Jeanne and I were both very tired, and really did not want this kind of sail so we furled the head sail and turned on the motor. Those of you that have been reading our blog will know that in the past few weeks we have had a problem with our injector pump getting air in it, but felt pretty confident that we had it fixed. NOPE...Jeanne ran the RPM's up to about 2200 and the engine ran for about five minutes and died. So now we have an engine that is for the most part dead (it will run at very low RPM's) 20 knots of wind, and just to make us as miserable as possible, the wind completely shifts back to being directly from the north/northeast. Yup, right we need to go to in order to get back to the Marina. To make this part of the story shorter than it really is, we sailed until we had just cleared the break water, dropped the main, furled the head sail and idled back into the slip we were using at the guest dock.
Saturday morning it was time to see what I needed to do to get this fixed once and for all!! I started out by tracing all the fuel lines looking for a faulty connection or leak. Every thing looked great, but I tightened all the connections again. I fired up the engine, ran her up to 2000 RPM's and started bleeding things. First time on the primary injector pump, resulted in a bunch of air coming out, so I then bled the secondary and got just a very small amount. I let the engine run for about 30 minutes and tried again. Nothing...not from either location, so we let her run for a while more, ran the RPM;s up a little higher, checked again and still nothing. So I guess we will have to give her a go and see if I have finally removed all the air. If all my connections are good, then the only thing I can figure is that when I changed the two Racor filters I did not get them primed correctly, and allowed some air in that I just had to get worked out.
While I was there with the floor boards up I reached over and checked the water in the house bank of batteries. A couple of the cells were pretty low, so Jeanne got me the distilled water and I procedded to pull all the batterys out and top off the cells. Our house bank is four 6 volt batterys in the floor of the galley. One of these is back under the cabinets, so in order to get it out, all three of the others mush be removed. After getting them all pulled, filled and replaced, it came to my attention that the digital gauge on the electrical panel was not working.....in shuffeling the batterys around I had damaged one of the connections for the wires that goes to the panel. So, yes, all four batteries had to be pulled out, and replace the connection.
Since I now had all the electrical supplies out, I might as well run the wiring for the Link battery monitor. This includes two wires from the primary positive terminal on the battery, one from the negative side of the shunt, and a pair of twisted wires each from one side of the shunt. It works great!! We now have a monitor that shows our battery state, amount of Amps being used, amount of Amp hours remaining in the bank, and percentage of the bank remning as well. It also includes some low voltage, and high voltage alarms.
So, while this was not the weekend I had in mind, we did get a bunch of stuff done...
05/31/2010, Des Moines Marina
We have judged much of our progress getting Eagle ready, by the number of what we call the "large" projects. Well, we checked off one of the last big ones this weekend. The long Memorial Day weekend gave us the time that we would need (if our plan worked) to mount the Monitor Wind Vane.
For those that don't know what a Monitor Wind Vane is/does, this moderatly expensive piece of stainless steel tubes and gears and rudders and vanes is designed to be able to steer the boat all by it's self, mearly by keeping the boat headed where we set the Monitor in relation to the wind. The vane that is at the top is set in a neutral position to the wind, on a course that we want the boat to head. If the boat should veer off that course, the vane will no longer be neutral, and will steer the boat back on the course set so that the vane is neutral, and we are back heading where we want to go. The Monitor's have taken thousands of boat all around the worlds, in some of best and worse sea conditions avaliable. By having this equipment steering, we are able to tend to other things on the boat. Many of the people that we have spoken to that have one, will say that after learning how to get it set correctly, it will actually steer better than most humans can!!
Jeanne's Dad, Gordon, had offered to give us a hand so we (OK me) wanted to get an early start first thing saturday morning, but woke up to a pretty steady rain and 10-12 knots of wind. I gave Gordon a call and pushed the work back until after noon, just to see if the weather would break. Thankfully, it did for the most part, and we started lifting and measuring and measuring and measuring and well you get the point. Connect "A" to "B" to "C" along a parallel line that is 15 degrees from "D" ARRGGHH, all of this while hanging mostly upside down and out over the water off of the edge of the dock. Gordon was a life saver here, he did some heavy lifting, was always on the ready with the tools, or parts or what ever, and most importantly, was able to steady the boat from the wind and waves. For the most part, this project has gone very well, with the "heavy lifting" so to speak all done. We will still have to sort out how to run the lines to the steering wheel, but we are very happy with how this has all worked out!!
Now, to just finish up the water maker and all the "BIG" projects are done!!
And now the count down begins.......
05/22/2010, Shilshole Marina
As many of you know, we lived aboard Eagle at Shilshole Marina, just north of Seattle in Ballard. For the majority of our time there, we were on "N" dock. N dock had a very large percentage of live aboards on that dock, perhaps as much as 40%. Our two closest boat neighbors were Phil on his 36 foot catalina, SV carrie Lee and Robb on his 35 foot Niagra SV Gambit. Now after several years apart, with Robb living with his wife Dea in Ashland Oregon, and Jeanne and I living in Des Moines, we all decided that a get together was needed. This was made much easier when Robb called to let us all know that he and Dea were coming to town. There was little doubt that we would all get together on a sailboat, and to get everybody back together on "Eagle Cafe" was the natural thing to do. So Friday night (read the previous post) we sailed up to Shilshole Marina to meet up with the balance of the crew. Of course this would not be a complete party with out Brian Lowery joining us, as he was very much a part of the regular crew!!
Saturday morning came early, what with the long night before, but we were very excited to have the whole gang back together again so we were up getting the boat ready for company!!
Once every body was there, it was as if we had never been apart. We had some great laughs, laughed about some of the old stories, and of course, there was the food!! I have come to learn that that food around this crowd, is nothing but spectacular!! Jeanne might have out done herself with a new garlic shrimp recipe. Three kinds of cooked garlic, and then toss in some shrimp, followed by Chicken Cacciatori that was cooked in the pressure cooker.
Sunday moring found us all out for a sail. There was a huge sail boat race going, the NOOD (National Offshore One Design) sailing regatta. there was over 175 boats all out racing on three different courses all around us, it was a blast to watch, and fun to tack around to stay out of their way!! It was a blast to have Robb and Phil out on Eagle, sailing again. We even got to try out our brand new 3/4 oz aysmetrical spinnaker. It is red and white and features a North American native indian eagle on it. We will post a new photo of both our new spinnakers in the photo section under spinnakers