05/24/2011, Owl Harbor, CA
So I've sat down to write this post out for about a dozen times, don't know why I don't get it started.
So here goes.
Well this year our Yacht Club "Andreas Cove Yacht Club" is bringing back an old race that hasn't been run in about 8 years, it's called the Island to Island race, and it is a pursuit endurance race that will last around 24 hours. The race starts at Bruno's Island which is across from the Owl Harbor on 7 mile slough off of the San Joaquin river here in the California Delta, the slowest boat (probably me will leave at 9am on Saturday Morning, then race down the San Joaquin river, through Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay, and out onto San Francisco Bay around Angel Island and back to Bruno's Island non stop, through 4 tide changes and overnight.
I have a crew of 3 to 4 friends that are going with me, only one has any real sailing experience, so we are going to be keeping two man watches throughout the race while the other two guys are trying to catch some shut eye or cooking, etc.
My loving wife got me a used auto pilot off of E-bay (she loves me so much) and I found a killer deal on a Jib Furling system that allows me to use my existing sail inventory. My Brother in Law is going to pick me up (hopefully) some spinnaker pole ends.
So last weekend was spent working on the boat, trying to install a new compass, getting the autopilot and remote working, replacing the water line from the water storage tank to the faucet, and several other chores.
I have to work over memorial day, but hopefully next weekend I will be able to step the mast, and install the roller furling system and modified sail. Tune the rigging and take the boat for a test sail with her new crew.
I find myself thinking about this race most of the time, I'm very excited about it and hopefully I can pull off all of the repairs and improvements in time to at least finish and place!
Well that's it for now, 4:30am comes too damn early these days.
04/24/2011, ACYC Clubhouse 7 mile slough San Joaquin river
So after getting a good nights sleep on the cheese, I woke up at 5:30 so that Larry and I could get to the Stockton Sailing Clubs opening day events which included a swap meet!!! Ahh yes, women love garage sales and antiquing men get weak in the knees at swap meets!
Well we showed up in Stockton thinking that the meet started at 7, but it actually starts at 8am, no problem, we got there early enough to get a look at the goodies while they were actually being unpacked. I happened to run into an old friend of mine Jack C. he was there as a vendor and had some great sails, and a cool little cruise and carry outboard, but alas nothing I needed. However I did hit the gold mine at other stalls. I started the morning off with a Life-sling for $30.00 something I've been desperately needing for a couple of years. Followed up with a hand held compass for $5, new Batten for my mainsail and Barlow winch handle for $15, but the piece de resistance was when Larry and I were leaving I found a Magna propane rail mount BBQ with all brackets and accessories, including two canisters of propane for $10! I seriously thought I should be looking for the police and "Cops" cameras as I loaded the last bit of booty into the back of the Suburban headed back to ACYC clubhouse for the first of the spring series races.
While we were waiting for the skippers meeting at the clubhouse the wind seemed to be picking up, so the race chairman decided on a longish race down to Marker 30 and back, turning at light 47, then back to the start finish between lights 40 & 41. Seemed like the minute we got out on the river the wind died, and we were fighting an outgoing tide. Larry decided to crew with me on the Cheddar Cheese instead of his Catalina 30 Irish Rose since we were both without crew that day. Once we hit the river we raised sails and began lazily tacking back and forth in the very light winds (4-6mph) the start time was 11:30 and about 11:15 we were pushed below the starting line, I knew from experience that in these conditions it is almost impossible to get back above the starting line in time so I had just enough time to fire up the outboard and motor far enough above the start finish line that when the starting horn went off we were actually drifting across the line ahead of the pack.
Unfortunately since every other boat was bigger than the cheese we soon were at the back of the pack again, but with quick jib change to my 150% sail we were able to at least keep up with everyone until the turn around at marker 30.
Let me explain how light the winds were, it took us about 2 hours to race to a spot that I had sailed to the day before in about 45 minutes, yup it was pretty much a drift boat race.
Once around the marker it was time to raise the spinnaker, unfortunately the spinny sheets got tangled with the jib sheets but in a few minutes we had the spinnaker up and poled out. Unlike the rest of the fleet we were flying an asymmetrical spinnaker, meaning that instead of the sail being loose footed, one point is attached to the bow, one to the mast and one to the pole. in the end this helped us I believe. the other 4 boats had thrown their kites up as well but in the extremely fluky and light winds were really having a problem within 5 minutes most of them had pulled their spinnakers down and were holding even with the current.
Larry and I however were actually making progress up river. Our secret you ask? Well I stood on the bow, actually holding the spinnaker pole out, constantly adjusting it for the winds while Larry manned the tiller this allowed us to make the best of every little gust of wind, unfortunately just as we were racing into 3rd place (at about 1 knot over ground) the race was called for lack of wind. Larry and I think that it was actually because the bigger boats, one being a tri, couldn't deal with being beaten by a little 25' Catalina (hah!)
After motoring back to the clubhouse, having a great BBQ and board meeting I finally headed home about 9pm, even with the lack of wind it turned out to be a great sailing weekend.
04/24/2011, San Joaquin River, Ca
So the new company I'm working for gives everyone Good Friday, I took advantage of the time to get down to the boat for an overnight, since ACYC was having their Spring Series race #1 on Saturday followed by the monthly board meeting (which I had to attend anyway).
I was hoping to get down to the boat Thursday afternoon but because life tends to get in the way of sailing, that didn't happen. I was able to make it down on Friday mid morning, do some projects at the clubhouse and sailboat one of them was getting the outboard back on the boat and testing it, this time it worked great.
The wind was light, and weather was overcast but by 2pm the wind was building.
I got the boat out on the San Joaquin around 2:45, and headed down river towards Antioch, it's been a while since I've sailed there just for the hell of it.
The wind was blowing straight out of the west at about 15-20 mph I was running my 110 jib and new (to me) main off of the pearson 26. the boat was doing great I was able to make it from our marina on 7 mile slough to the entrance to 3 mile slough in 3 tacks it is usually a 5 or 6 tack trip, unfortunately the trip between False river and the Antioch bridge wasn't as easy but it was a fun sail with the boat leaning past 45^ several times and of course everything ending up on the cabin floor. I was getting boat speeds of 7 knots pretty regularly and having a fun time by myself. by about 5pm I finally crossed under the Antioch bridge turned around and headed back on a downwind run. This was nice but I also had a following sea of about 2' causing the boat to pitch like a drunken sailor, meaning I had to spend even more time at the tiller to keep the sails filled.
It took me a 1/2 hour to sail downwind the distance it took me over 1 hour to sail while tacking. Once I had arrived at False river I was able to get below and clean up the mess, I found that my refrigerator had shifted around and had been open for most of the trip, something I will have to work on to correct in the future.
I decided to not return to 7 mile slough the way I had come, but to take false river around the other side of Bradford Island and Webb Tract. While sailing back to the marina I saw an interesting site on the San Joaquin, apparently while moving a very large houseboat/boat house, actually it looked like a small two story apartment complex on floats, the tug operator lost control of the beast, which then got caught up on a shoal, and partially sank. So here is this large two story building listing at about a 30^ angle with the entire first floor on one side under water, with pumps spraying a steady stream of water out of the windows on the other side. The delta never fails to amaze me, in one way or the other.
I made it back to the marina about 7:30 where I hooked up with a sailing friend who had come down for the races the following day. Had something to eat and watched a movie with Larry, Jim and Allyson in the clubhouse till after 9, then headed to bed, big day on Saturday.
04/20/2011, Sacramento, Ca
Well it's been forever since I've posted, I keep wanting to put together some kind of chronological series of posts with my sailing adventures, but it seems to never happen, so here is my hodgepodge post.
We've been sailing as much as we can over the last couple of years but not as much as we would like. Last summer just blew by, and before we knew it our calender was packed with events other than sailing. We did get in a few weekend sails here and there with the summer culminating in a week long adventure on the delta. I had built a rack for my two solar panels using 3/4" copper pipe and had finally gotten them wired into my battery bank just as we started the trip.
I have a small bar refrigerator that was inherited from my step father, it fit perfectly in the V-berth, and I ran an extension cord back to the inverter, thinking this would be a great way to keep our perishables fresh for the trip.
Well while the trip was a great adventure for us, 5 nights and 6 days on the delta (3 nights at marinas, 2 at anchor in wilderness anchorages). I wasn't seeing the charging on the batteries that I expected, in fact the batteries went completely dead several times. when the trip was over and I was unpacking the lazerette locker I found the problem, one of the many items that I shoved into the locker and pulled the wiring from the panels out and no juice was making it to the batteries.
After that I blew my old main sail out sailing at a regatta that out Yacht club puts on every year, I patched the sail up and blew the Jib out on the next race.
I spent the winter trying to find a cheap used mainsail that would fit into my budget, finally getting a Main off of a Person 26' that I had to make some minor modifications to the head of the sail to get it to fit (getting pretty good with the old sewing machine) .
I was elected onto the board of our Yacht Club in January as cruise chair, so I have been trying to get our cruising calender fuller than last year, starting earlier in the year, but some very cold weekends kept everyone away until weekend before last, my wife and I and a friend finally got out to do an overnight cruise. But again we were beset with challenges and problems.
My old Honda outboard which has run like a champ for the last two years wouldn't start for anything, finally put on the 9.9 johnson that I use on my Zodiac and used it for the weekend. The Johnson worked alright but since I had not planned on using it that much, then I did, the engine ran out of gas on the way back Sunday Morning, and I had to be towed in by my friend Larry in his Catalina 30. Still it was a fun trip.
I brought the Honda & Johnson home, and found that the water pump impeller is in poor shape and will need to be replaced soon, and after much tinkering I was able to get the Honda back to running like it's old reliable self.
I planning on taking this easter weekend and going down to the boat testing out the outboards and getting some much needed sail time.
Hopefully I will get the time to post about it when I get back.....
Or even to post some of the sailing/adventure stories from the last two years.
07/21/2009, San Joaquin/California Delta
Well I've been telling my parents about how great sailing is for a couple of years and when we were power boating we took them out for a couple of evening runs which they really enjoyed. So when my Mother who will turn 70 next month said that she was going to be spending a week at a genealogy convention in a small town about an hour from where I live I invited her to an evening of sailing.
She told me that she would love to and asked if she could bring a friend, of course I replied the more the merrier. Well the appointed day came last night and my Mom and her friend Caroline showed up about 2 in the afternoon we stayed at the house and visited for a little while then caravaned down to the boat.
I got to the boat a little earlier than my Mom, her friend and my wife Pegirae, the first thing I realized was that it was really blowing and there weren't any other sailboats out.
Well I went about washing the dust and spiderwebs off of the boat, and getting it ready for the trip. One of the first things I did was to get the 80% storm jib out and get it hanked on, I also put the reef in the mainsail. I figured the worst thing that would happen was that we would poke our nose out of the harbor and turn back, then have dinner at the dock. Not quite what I had in mind, but I wanted my mom to have a good time.
While we were visiting I explained to my mom and her friend the physics of a sailboat, how it is normal for them to lean over (a lot sometimes) and how if everything is working correctly the weight of the keel will bring the boat back up every time, I'm sure glad I did that.
We motored out of the harbor into some pretty fierce winds, but with the smaller sails the Catalina took them in stride, she leaned over and took off. I didn't have the sails trimmed for best performance I had them trimmed for decent speed and the comfort of my guests and it seemed to work. we stayed at about 20% lean most of the night and while we had some interesting tacks (4 people in the cockpit while trying to single hand can be interesting) we had a good sail to Fisherman's Cut where we dropped anchor and had a great dinner of warm sourdough bread and pasta salad.
The only hitch of the evening came when I tried to pull the anchor, and ended up pulling up about 70lbs of sea grass, and mud. The anchor was so heavy and the wind was blowing so hard that I had to leave the anchor tied off just above the chain rode, and motor out into the middle of the San Joaquin river to keep from being blown onto the rocky side of the levee.
Well once out in the relatively open river I had to pull the anchor up while trying to balance on the bouncing bow of the boat, I finally got it on board fully engulfed it's green muddiness. I pulled the sea grass off in hunks and was finally able to extricate the anchor, get it into it's locker and shove the rest of the crap into the river. At that point the sun was starting to set, so we headed back to the harbor, the wind at our backs doing 7knots SOG at some points in a beautiful sail. My mother and her friend left very impressed with sailing and hopefully the have a good memory that will stay with them for years. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures from last nights sail.
But after the last couple of sails it was nice to have a sail where most everything went well.
Does anyone else notice that not very many people are posting? Must be because of the summer weather we are all out sailing instead.