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Blessed Lady
This is the cruising blog of the sailing yacht Mabrouka. The Favorites in the side bar allow those with discriminating taste to filter for just the stuff you want to read. Thanks for visiting, Roy.
Rogue's Gallery, Biopic Robert
Roy / Cool and clearing fog
09/01/2014, Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley, CA

Robert at sunset our first night out of Neah Bay. Robert is the hardest of the crew for me to characterize. With Jim I feel potential for a real friendship. With Ed I am entertained by his presence and inspired by the youthfulness with which he burrows into his old age. With Robert I'm wary. One particular incident sticks in my craw and I'm not as good at forgiving people as I'd like to be.

Robert's generally friendly enough and comes with a good set of skills that are built on solid experience. Though I haven't probed for details, he's spent quite a bit of time crewing on Pacific transits of various sorts and durations. That and the fact that he volunteered to do all the provisioning and cooking convinced me he'd be a good man to have aboard.

The proof of Robert as an asset for the cruise had been delivered several times over by the time we got really serious and departed Neah Bay. He deserves great credit for organizing and doing the lion's share of the leg work to provision the cruise. His skills in the galley, though unashamedly heartless when it comes to the clean-up crew, were way beyond expectations. His meals were unerringly delicious and healthful and he modestly took our appreciation in stride. He was right on top of caring for the stores, too, religiously checking the fruits and vegetables for spoilage and rearranging things to keep problems from spreading. Wonder of wonders, he cooked fresh bread on a regular basis! From tortillas to flatbreads, from rolls to an impromptu cake celebrating Ed's 79th birthday at sea. All absolutely amazing morale boosters for a weary crew.

It was during our unplanned mid-cruise respite in Bandon that things came to a head between me and Robert. Robert's girl friend, Karen, had driven down from Seattle to meet us and he had basically disappeared with her while we worked to solve a couple of problems on the boat. Some personal issues had apparently cropped up for them and Robert may rightfully have been distracted from contributing to our efforts aboard Mabrouka during that haitus.

Beyond a couple of minor convenience/comfort issues I wanted to take care of, our primary concern was an electrical problem that kept us from charging batteries properly. I'd reconnected this and that in transit and managed to get us by, but a real solution was evading me. Though not alone in voicing his concerns, Robert emphasized his worry that a primary system upon which other primary systems depended (primarily the autopilot, duh) was not functioning properly. This is where I got the distinct impression that this valuable crew member had a real knack for identifying and maintaining focus on issues, ...but not on solving them.

So, it came to Sunday night, the night before our eventual departure for the final leg to San Francisco. I'd been working for two days straight performing the nautical version of pushing a rope up hill, i.e. pushing a halyard up a mast. Solutions to the electrical problem had not come easily and were not assured, but things seemed okay. Most of the other odds and ends had been addressed, too, but all had come with a fair level of stress and I was dog tired when Robert finally showed up at the boat around 7 or 8 pm. With everyone together, I tried to give a briefing on the situation and gather input from the crew.

The denouement of the meeting turned on Robert's insistence upon bringing us back again and again to basic points that we were all already in agreement on, refocusing the conversation on worries rather than solutions. At the same time, he insisted that our planned departure the following morning was news to him. Well, that may well have been God's own truth since he'd hardly been around to discuss, or even hear rumors of the decision. Though I was later corrected, I didn't remember a Tuesday or Wednesday departure ever having been seriously considered. Anyway, I reacted to Robert's surprise by saying something like, "Well that just isn't so!" Almost those exact words. Robert's response was to launch the F-bomb at me and start in on a tirade that implied he was more concerned for the welfare of the boat and crew than I was.

Well, I blew up and pretty much of a shouting match ensued in which neither of us made a positive impression on the other. I am ashamed to recall that I actually went so far in my anger as to tell him to get his stuff and get off the boat. As the decibel level went unabated I realized that one of us had to clear the impasse, so I stopped and let Robert vent. After he'd made his points the third time with never lessening animation, I finally asked him if he was finished. Apparently he was finished enough, so we actually moved on and we decided that we were in good enough shape for departure around seven the next morning.

Robert returned to Karen and their hotel room after the meeting, planning to see her off on her oh-dark-thirty departure back to Seattle in the morning, agreeing to be back with the rest of us by 5 AM to get the boat ready to go. He was apparently anxious and/or unclear enough to come back to Mabrouka at 11 PM to interview me again in my bunk about the solution to our electrical problem. He must have been satisfied because he did show up the next morning.

My sleep was disturbed through the night by regret at having lost my temper and by worries that I could not move forward with a crew member that felt he could challenge my authority as skipper and owner on the boat with foul language and a loud voice. With everyone back on the boat in the morning and nominally ready for departure, we were settled in around the salon table at about 5:30 and I took the opportunity to set things straight.

What Robert had reacted to seems to have been my attempt at keeping the conversation moving forward, taking my statement that we'd gotten his message as an attempt to shut him up. After apologizing for losing my temper, I said that, though it was never my intent to stifle anyone's opinion, I had needed to get the group to a decision. I assured them that I valued each and every one of them for their insight and that I had invited them aboard Mabrouka for the express purpose of filling in gaps in my own offshore experience. However, I emphasized, I am the only person aboard the boat that is indispensable, that Mabrouka would go no where without me, and I would not be engaged by anyone aboard my own boat the way Robert had the previous night. If anyone had an irresolvable personality conflict with me that they could, indeed, go right on home.

Robert gets carried away by our approach to Neah Bay.Though I never got an apology from Robert, it seemed I'd obtained a degree of acquiescence, so move on we did, making our first attempt to depart Bandon that morning soon after 7 AM with the full crew intact and with only one false start due to fog. Robert and I got on well enough for the rest of the trip to San Francisco but, from my side anyway, relations felt pretty cool and only warmed up a little in the last day or so. At goodbyes Friday, Robert seemed genuinely appreciative of having been on the cruise and wished us well for the remainder. I'd recommend his experience, skill and participatory vigor to anyone, especially if you're looking for a solid watch stander and good, hearty meals in tough sea-going conditions. More than enough said.

Reflections
Rogue's Gallery, Biopic Jim
Roy / Cool and clearing fog
09/01/2014, Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley, CA

Jim noting our approach to Neah Bay Jim's probably the crew member that I relate most closely with, although I didn't expect to when I first got acquainted with him. I gather he was basically canvassing possible boats to crew on for the trip south and had come aboard Mabrouka to check her out.

Most people comment on how pretty she is. That always surprises me because, like a teenager, I am dreadfully aware of how woefully I maintain her complexion. However, underneath she has beautiful lines and a great Bill Garden pedigree that shines through her flaking varnish and blotchy gel coat. Anyway, Jim didn't comment on that, apparently seeing through the skin to the old girl's bones and organs. He asked probing questions about had I done this and had I thought about that? As I recall I was pretty worn out at that particular time and was dreadfully aware through my mental fog that my answers were not likely to impress. Embarrassment comes to mind. Afterwards I was pretty sure he'd be the last person to sign on for the San Francisco run, ...but he did.

Although Jim's been around boats since he was knee high to a guppy, his offshore sailing pedigree wasn't particularly extensive. He'd been on the delivery crew for Neptune's Car, a go-fast/tourist attraction on the Seattle waterfront, when it was brought up the coast to San Francisco, so that put a tic mark in the plus column for experience with west coast sailing the hard way, northbound. He was trained as a boatwright by the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, another tic in the plus column. Mabrouka's not made of wood, but has plenty of wooden fittings, so his appreciation of wood work if not his specific expertise earned him a warm spot in my heart and did, indeed, come in handy on board when the main mast's starboard spreader needed to be replaced. Mostly, though, I thought his probing insight might uncover some important issues to address, so I decided to invite him along. It flattered me to have him agree.

As with the rest of my crew, Jim's motivations were to get experience with the Seattle-to-San Francisco run for his own transit with next year's Hoho. He's been building out his own Northsea 27 for several years and is about ready to set off cruising in it himself. Manwe is a beautiful showcase for Jim's craftsmanship. Here's a great picture of her with Jim and his honey, Max, at the Coho raft-up in July. The boat came with basically just the hull, the deck and a few internal bulkheads. Jim's arranged the interior very thoughtfully and fitted her with wonderful wood trim throughout. Beautiful.

Jim and Max aboard Manwe at the Coho raft-up.

Jim and I started to bond on our trip to Port Ludlow with Ed. As I've described Ed previously, I won't go into additional detail. It's just that, as entertaining as Ed can be, the intensity of his quirkiness can get a bit annoying from time to time, so Jim and I learned to buff the edges off with knowing chuckles and little asides to one another at Ed's expense. (No offense Ed. We love you!)

Here's a note to Max: Jim misses you. I can tell. When you get him on the phone he disappears up forward or, if we're tied up, goes for a little stroll in search of privacy. He always comes back with a smile on his face. I can tell he's supremely entertained by and proud of you, so whatever you're doing, you're doing it just right.

If it can be imagined, Jim is even more easy going than I am. At one point on the sail to San Francisco, Robert and I had a pretty intense head-to-head. That doesn't happen often with me, but you can only push me so far, especially when I'm stressed out. Anyway, Jim made a good arbiter. He's also served me well in reminding me to tend to priorities and get the right things done at the right time in the right way. Thanks, Jim.

Reflections
Rogues Gallery, Biopic Ed
Roy / Cool and rainy
08/15/2014, Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes WA

Perched on the edge of the world, I'm still scrambling to gather loose ends. The autopilot remains non-functional, the VHF radio has developed a temperamental display screen, the wind instrument is with Raymarine back in Nashua, New Hampshire for repairs, and my venerable old White sewing machine has proven itself incapable of making the lee cloths. Solutions for these challenges are staged for the next few days, so I'm hoping for the best.

One success I'm especially pleased with is Mabrouka's new sails. They look great and draw great. She got new sail covers, too, so here's a pic:

Mabrouka shows off her new dress.

Mabrouka's shakedown cruise in the San Juan Islands with the southbound crew went very well. Everyone gets along amiably enough, considering we're four old coots that will be confined together on a forty foot sailboat for a couple of weeks. I expect a personality clash or two, but everyone is positive and eager to share their experience and unique skills with one another. I was entertained to find that I'm the youngest of the crowd at just shy of 62 years old. Jim and Robert are both 64 and Ed will celebrate his 79th birthday a few days after our scheduled departure. Here's what I know of them.

Ed Davis at the wheel.One of the first things I said to the Coho Ho Ho group (a few of us now refer to ourselves lovingly as Hos) was that I wanted to take on volunteer crew for the transit to San Francisco. If Ed wasn't the first to express his interest, he was the most eager. At that time I was still thinking I'd be able to make my shakedown cruise a circum-Vancouver Island affair and Ed touted his resume of having already done it six and three-halves times. That's six full circumnavigations, two half-ways, and one trip up into Alaska that included sailing up the east coast of the island.

Attracted by the salty old guy's exuberance and the sea miles he had under his slickers, I invited Ed to sail with me over the July 4th holiday from Eagle Harbor to Poulsbo and back. Of course, sailing provides plenty of time to get acquainted and our various conversations included some good story swapping sessions. He had me intrigued from the beginning when he announced with a twinkled eye that he had a new girl friend, but "...I haven't slept with her yet!" Okay! Moving right along!

(Post script: JoAnn's made an honest man out of him. Ed, in a somewhat coy-proud way, let on that they're getting married! "For heaven's sake," we said. "You've only just met her!" "I know," Ed said, "but she makes me feel like a kid all the time." What a character!)

Ed was as spry as a billie goat on the trip to Poulsbo, handling lines with ease and enthusiasm, skillfully steering the boat, and generally being a good shipmate. Trudging around town and sharing a couple of meals convinced me that his vigor, experience, and good humor would make him good crew for the trip south, so soon after we threw off the dock lines from Poulsbo Yacht Club I invited him to join me. Before answering, he fessed up to having some health issues. He didn't give a lot of details, but they involved some circulatory problems that he has since addressed by taking a phalanx of natural supplements and modifying his diet to what he referred to as a "flexitarian" regimen. I was a little put aback by this, imagining how I might deal with a heart attack victim while 100 miles off the Oregon coast. I hadn't planned on installing an AED and didn't know how much space to allow for a stash of body bags, but assuming he'd take care of his special needs, decided to let my offer stand. Half an hour later he announced that he liked Mabrouka and would agree to sail to San Francisco.

We put up the gennaker after we rounded the northern tip of Bainbridge Island and when the colorful sail blossomed above the foredeck, Ed and his camera were drawn forward to the sprit, levering himself out over the water with one foot hooked into the bow pulpit so he could lean back and take photos looking up the mast. He spent fifteen minutes up there, craning this way and that, generally enjoying the sight of the sail and Mabrouka's movement across Puget Sound. When he finally came back to the cockpit, he amended his acceptance, saying he really liked how the boat sailed and he'd sign up for the trip to San Diego, too! How flattering.

Now having spent several more days sailing with him, Ed's demonstrated a couple of quirks that, while they remain a source of some entertainment to good natured people, may rub a bit after a while in close quarters. We'll see. One is to repeatedly call me Joe, but he even used Honey once. I don't know where the heck THAT came from

Another is that he's a strong proponent of labeling our cups and mugs, maintaining that it cuts back on the amount of rinsing required. Okay, that's easy! Jim and I humored him on our trip to Port Ludlow with blue masking tape and a Magic Marker, but I removed the tags the following week to reclaim a little bit of my personal space. It was only a few minutes after coming aboard in Kingston on our way to the San Juans that he promoted his idea once again, so the name tags were reinstalled. This time we used white duct tape and, excepting Ed's, the monikers on our mugs evolved to nicknames. Somehow the duct tape doesn't hold onto the marker as well, so they had to be rewritten a couple of times, devolving a little each cycle. Yesterday I institutionalized Ed's idea for the cruise south by getting out an actual label maker and semi-permanently assigning tumblers. Ed is now the Ed-meister, Jim has become Sparky (I can't remember why) and Robert is Le Chef. I'm Captain Joe.

The quirk that threatens to irritate is that, in situations where the data seems to be of particular interest to him, Ed will continually read out the boat speed or the depth to everyone. Well, not just read it out, announce it in increasing decibel levels as he approaches what he considers a critical value. Sometimes the increase works in both directions, getting louder with the excitement of approaching the goal, then even louder still as the goal recedes. How is that possible? Monday, as we were fighting north against the southbound ebb current out of Guemes Channel, he'd found a back eddy that was contrarily helping our progress. While our speed through the water was around 6 to 6-1/2 knots, our speed over ground had been down in the three-points. Ed's helmsmanship had taken us over nearer to shore where we'd sky-rocketed up near six. As it increased even more he began, "Six point one, ...six point TWO, ...SIX POINT THREE!"

Jim escaped to the bow of the boat and I laughed. Robert was oblivious down in his usual station cooking up a storm in the galley.

Well, I'd intended to do profiles on Jim and Robert in this post as well, but I've used up too much of your time on Ed alone. He's just provided so much fodder. Stay tuned. I can't promise as much entertainment with the rest of the crew, but time perhaps will tell.

Reflections
Catching up a bit
Roy / Cool Seattle morning
08/04/2014, Jibe Espresso at Shilshole Bay Marina

Aside from my previous post on my trip to Blakely Island with Lisa, there've been many weeks left out of my updates. Rest assured, there's more to catch up on and I may yet pummel you with additional details. Right now I'm down in Ashland for a couple of days visiting with my youngest one last time before I hit the high seas. She graduated from Southern Oregon University this past term, so there's a bit of that celebration, too.

With Lisa and Claire at Mill Creek Falls

If I were really going to catch you up on activities I'd have to remember what I've already told you about. That's too hard. I will offer the summary statement that I've disproven the prediction I made in my Alphas and Omegas post that I'd probably made my last exit from Lake Union. This is a happy circumstance that was generated by an unhappy one. First for happy: spending time in one of my favorite places with some of my favorite people. The unhappy circumstance is that I'm having to make a fairly significant repair to my rig. Here's the back story.

Sailing from Poulsbo to Eagle Harbor with Ed Davis











Boat projects are still ongoing, with new ones turning up even more frequently than the old ones get crossed off, but Mabrouka has still gotten out for her paces a couple of times in the past four weeks. July 3rd and 4th saw Ed Davis (one of my Ho Ho crew) and I sailing to Poulsbo with Tyee Yacht Club to join Poulsbo Yacht Club for barbecue and Independence Day fireworks on Liberty Bay, then back to Eagle Harbor for Tyee's own celebration bearing witness to Bainbridge Island's 4th of July display. I punctuated an extended post-holiday stay anchored in Eagle Harbor with two trips across to Shilshole to get the new mainsail fitted and to attend Coho Ho Ho meetings.

July 4th fireworks on Eagle HarborThe second trip was a shakedown sail to Port Ludlow this past Thursday and Friday with Ed Davis and Jim Herman, another Ho Ho crew member. Although Ed had had the time to become familiar with Mabrouka on the 4th of July trip, this was Jim's first time on the boat. We got some good sailing in on Thursday, dropping anchor in my favorite back cove in the early evening. After sundowners, dinner, and a barrage of dirty jokes, we settled in for some reading and rope splicing. How manly of us. There may have even been some belching and farting.

Our Friday morning start was stifled when I ran out of propane in the process of heating water for the morning coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. I hopped right in the dinghy and putted to the nearby Port Ludlow Marina with the propane tanks, though, so we were back in operation before long and Ed scrambled up a hearty breakfast that fueled us for a few hours of poking at the boat.

The major effort of the day was to investigate things up the masts where I'd identified a couple of loose screws that needed to be checked and tightened. Ed, being the lightest of us, was the loose screw that Jim and I hauled up in the bosun's chair. As he diligently kept us apprised of the screws he checked ("One, two, ...thirty-seven, thirty-eight, ...fifty-one...") we cranked Ed up the mast a foot or two at a time ("Okay, up a foot, ...whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!)" or eased him down ("No, wait. The safety line is stuck on a screw!").

As much work as that was for us, it was Ed that I felt sorry for. He's a wiry old guy and his scrawny little butt didn't carry much padding aloft, so that wood and canvas seat got pretty uncomfortable for him after a while. With the mizzen mast done with no notable issues, we took pause for lunch and a midday break. Back to work afterwards, it was halfway up the main mast that Ed advised us that his 79th birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks, and he hoped to be going up masts well into his eighties. I guess my birthday present to him was the padding I'd added to the bosun's chair seat just before banishing him aloft again.

Okay, so the upshot of this was that Ed's trip up the main mast found a loose screw that wouldn't be tightened. In this case, applying the screw driver only resulted in continuous screwing. The wood at the heel of the starboard spreader was harboring some dry rot. (The spreaders are the stick-a-ma-bobs that project at right angles out from the mast and stiffen it against compression load from the shrouds. Uh, the shrouds ... those are the up-and-down cable-y kinda thingies that hold the mast upright. Dry rot, ...well, if you don't know what dry rot is you're missing the point, anyway.) Ed kept apologizing as he probed the wood and little blobs of spongy brown stuff fell to the deck and I kept complaining that he was making me sad. Still, he kept on poking his finger into the soft spot, repeatedly sharing the results as I stood on the deck below attempting to stiffen my lip with every pronouncement.

As is commonly said with such news as this on a boat, we all nodded sagely, agreeing with our vast seagoing wisdom that it was better for us to find this now than have the spreader announce it independently with crunching noises while crumpling under the strain of a raging gale. Still, I only admitted that in a certain crumpling tone of my own. Nevertheless, we trusted the weakened rig enough to have a really great sail back toward Seattle. The new genoa performed fantastically under a broadening reach as we rolled by Foul Weather Bluff and past Point No Point. After dropping Ed off where we'd picked him up in Kingston, Jim and I motored in the dark across to Shilshole where I got a transient slip for Friday night.

The next day Jim and his friend, LB, helped me motor through the locks to the Tyee YC dock on Lake Union. I'd intended to camp out there for a few days while making repairs, but at Karyn-with-a-Y's behest, I shifted Mabrouka over to tie up at Kathy's houseboat instead. (Thank you SO much, Kathy. It is much MUCH more pleasant at your place.) So, I'd been welcomed back to my old neighborhood by generous neighbors and the nostalgic horns of the Fremont Bridge, two things I thought I might never experience again.

I'd taken the spreader down on Saturday afternoon, so Mabrouka looked a little forlorn with a few dangly bits hanging from the starboard side of the mast. Jim's a boatwright and has access to a shop, so he and I had planned on going to Crosscut Lumber on Monday to get some spruce, then to his shop to make new spreaders. Lisa joined us a little after 9 AM, so we were off to a fairly early start. Working with wood is almost always a fulfilling experience, so the occasion for this repair wasn't all bad. The three of us had a good time sawing and planing and shaving and sanding. By mid-afternoon we had a new starboard spreader shaped and sealed, plus a rougher blank ready for the future replacement of the port spreader just for good measure.

With Lisa on Blake IslandThe next day Lisa and I set off for a couple of days at Blake Island while Jim sealed up the spreaders with some epoxy and a coat of paint. The trip was a slight disappointment for Lisa, since she'd asked to go on an actual sail before I set off for the wide ocean. With only one spreader in place, we were only able to motor. Leaving our adventures at Blake Island for a separate post, I returned her to dry land on Wednesday afternoon, then met the sail makers at Shilshole Bay Marina to (finally) take delivery of the new main and the new sail covers.

Reflections
A Raccoon Tide
Roy / Clear and warm with a light breeze
07/30/2014, Blake Island State Marine Park, WA

Mabrouka moored at Blake IslandMy last update wandered around the topic of having to replace the starboard spreader on Mabrouka's mast. That used the setting of a sail to Port Ludlow with Ed and Jim as the backdrop to discovering the problem. Since then, the replacement has been installed aloft, with me hoisting myself up the mast and Jim down below making small adjustments to the fittings and sending tools and supplies up to me. It looks grrrrrreate, except that now it inspires installation of the port side as well. If you read my previous post, you'll know that a new one has been made for that, too. Fortunately a replacement is not actually required and refreshing the old one can wait until Mexico.

Before putting up the starboard spreader, Lisa and I went for a nice overnighter at Blake Island. It was around noon on Tuesday that we left Kathy's houseboat on Lake Union for the LAST last time. Honest! Our passage out the ship canal and through the locks was uneventful with a corridor of clear blue sky widening above us through the trees as we motored west toward The Sound. The draw bridges at Fremont and Ballard eventually obliged when we honked our horn to request passage, but the Chittenden Locks were a little more begrudging. After the Navy divers and their big grey boat got out of our way, Lisa and I shepherded Mabrouka safely through to open water and a casual putt over to Blake Island. There was a little dos-i-doing when we found no open buoys along the west side of the island and readied the anchor, but the northernmost spot opened up at the last second and we raced up to snag it before any outliers could beat us to it.

Then laziness set in. What exactly DID we do? I can't remember. I think I fiddled a bit. We may have had a beer. Eventually we motored the 30 yards to shore and paid our mooring fee. There was dinner and a DVD, but that was about it.

Waking up early the next morning, I went topside to avoid disturbing Lisa's beauty sleep. I'd taken my camera to stalk wild life on the beach, but instead had my attention pulled the other direction with a flyby by the USNS John Glenn. It looked like a big, black tanker that had misplaced all the tanks between the bow and stern from the waterline up. I'd noted it down by the Navy fuel pier the previous afternoon and pointed it out to Lisa. Expounding with my vast experience in shipbuilding, I carefully explained that it was a submersible ship designed to ballast itself down, sinking deep in the water until just its bow and stern floated above. That would allow smaller ships and other floating thingies to park on its submerged deck after which it would float back up, lifting them out of the water for transport to distant ports.

USNS John Glenn on Yukon HarborNow she'd sidled up only a quarter mile away and, clearly in sight above the fog, her bow armed me with a name that had not previously been visible in the distance. Starting my day with a life-rending shock, I Googled up some info on the ship and learned that I had been wrong. The John Glenn is NOT a submersible, it's a Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) intended as sort of a mobile, floating pier to service air-cushion vehicles (LCACs) and roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ships. (See http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/mobile-landing-platform-mlp-ship/.) It also turns out it was built by my old employer, National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego. Hurray, guys!

Chick-a-dee dee deeEventually Lisa got up and after a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bacon, we motored in the Pudgy around the north end of the island to the visitor center/park where we spent some time photo-strolling at the beach, around the park, and up one of the walking paths. It was a beautifully warm day with the sun dappling our path through the island of trees overhead.

With digital fawns, chickadees, raccoons and distant volcanoes stored in the Canon, we headed back to Mabrouka. On the way we came up with a new marine term. It's very technical: The Raccoon Tide. That's about mid-way between high tide and low when all the raccoons in the universe come out to forage on what I fear are probably slimy little snacks that wriggle from the mud. We didn't exercise the diligence actually to count all of them, but I'm sure we would have tallied over twenty raccoons within sight around the north end of Blake Island if we'd bothered. There must be something REALLY tasty out there.

Non-tidal raccoonWe dropped our buoy a little after noon and set off to get Lisa back to Shilshole for an evening appointment with social destiny. The return trip was adventurized by the Coast Guard and the US and Canadian navies forming up for their annual Fleet Week parade past downtown Seattle. The ships took turns posing grandly for us in front of the Space Needle as we motored northward over a Puget Sound that calmly reflected the clear blue skies. Coming up to West Point, we joined a parade of our own with three tug/barge combinations and the tour boat, Goodtimes II. They were all headed in through the locks we passed out of on the previous day, but we got on the radio and negotiated passage with them only as far as Shilshole Bay Marina.

Fleet Week flotilla

Having avoided being crushed by the big boys, I got Lisa back to the dock at a timely 2pm. While she headed off for Olympia, I set upon some more cruise prep chores. Ah, I'll be glad to finally call an end to all that, throw my dice on the craps table of the ocean, and sail off for San Francisco in a couple of weeks.

Reflections
Project Status update
Roy / Sunny and warm
07/01/2014, Tyee YC Outstation, Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge, WA

To Do ListMostly as a way to bolster my standing among the cruisers of the world in terms of fortitude and technical expertise in the completion of boat projects, I'm happy to offer a brief summary of progress. Here's an annotated version of the list I posted in my Winter Update post from early last February:

install the new SSB [Installation complete, though I still have to commission it and learn how to use it.]

purchase and install new refrigeration machinery [DONE! It's doing a great job of keeping food at much lower energy demands than the old unit!]

purchase and install a new autopilot [About 3/4 done. All electronic components are installed and the mechanical portion that drives the actual rudder is about half done. If all that works, I'll still have to figure out how to interface with my navigation system.]

design, machine, and fit a double-pulley to drive the high-output alternator [Done, and working great. The old system used to squeal in protest when asked to charge the batteries, but the new system is very stoic. The new belts produced a fair amount of rubber dust in their first few hours of breaking in which I attribute to slight variation from the standard v-belt groove profile. They've stopped that now and I'm very pleased!]

pull and paint the masts and inspect structural components [Pulling and painting masts will still have to wait for the cheaper labor rates down in Mexico. I am also just plain out of time before departure on the Coho Ho Ho. I have inspected most of the chain plates on the starboard side, at least from the inside. They look pretty good and have bolstered my confidence in their integrity.]

sell one or both existing dinghies and replace with a new Portland Pudgy [My friend Len bought the old RIB, although I had to invest $850 in engine repair to even put it on the market. The Grandy skiff has not attracted enough of the right kind of attention to give me much encouragement. I don't know what I'll be doing with her at this point. The new Portland Pudgy has been in service for a couple of weeks now, although delivery of the lifeboat canopy and the solar panel were back ordered. It's proving to be a fun little boat under oars and outboard, but I have yet to try out the sailing rig.]

add a second house battery to double available amp-hours [Done, along with the addition of a separate Comms battery and charging management system.]

test fit and, if necessary, reconfigure the emergency steering tiller [Done! I'm glad I did this, though it was only an educational process. I learned that I'll have to remove the wheel to give the tiller enough clearance for use.]

add a Forespar whisker pole for the genoa and gennaker [Done, though yet to be used away from the dock.]

add another set of reefing points on the mizzen sail [I've decided this won't be necessary.]

replace the staysail and rig new sheets [The staysail has been replaced, but I've decided to stay with the old sheet system.]

add a storm jib. [Done.]


Of course, the list has expanded.

Reflections

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