Ducks at Sabino DamKeith, Spring
04/05/2012, Lower Sabino Canyon
Lately I work out in the early mornings. It is light enough and warm enough at 6:15 a.m. these days to hike at Sabino Canyon and I've covered pretty much all the Sabino Canyon trails that I can get to in a two hour hike. This morning I took a trail that led me though the riparian area along Sabino Dam, where I found ducks. You may be able to make out the saguaros in the background. Later, when I returned home, Sarah and I ordered the new solar system for the Catalina 25 Wing. 60 watt panel and 10 amp charge controller this morning. Still have to order wire and connectors and any mounting hardware. Slowly but surely I am getting the sailboat ready for safe and comfortable cruising.
Here's a Link to a Video Of The Return Cruise On Our Last Sailing Trip04/02/2012, Lake Pleasant
The Costs of Comfortable, Safe Cruising04/02/2012, Sailboat Shop, Phoenix
This is the most recent bill for the improvements to to new sailboat. I thought I got off pretty easily this time. Already working on the next big project, upgrading the little old solar 5-10 watt panel on the bow forward of the mast to a 60 watt. This will require unbolting the old panel, filling the holes in the deck, installing the new, larger panel on the deck, new wiring and connectors, and a charge controller. I would go larger, but this is the biggest panel that can be bolted fast to the deck and not extend too much into to the working/lounging areas.
Sailing Family Standing Under the Open Pop-TopKeith, nice
03/26/2012, Lake Pleasant, Arizona
You gotta love the Catalina 25 pop-top. My previous sailboat, a Catalina 36, had standing headroom and numerous other features that make long distance cruising enjoyable. For shorter, more modest adventures, the pop-top allows us to stand up in a 25 foot sailboat, but just as important, it opens the cabin up to the outside world. Our Catalina 25 also comes with the frame for a dodger, which may eventually get restored and installed, but for now it is nice to have a completely open design that brings us very close to nature. I will need to arrange a sun shade of some sort to go over the cockpit for when it really starts to get hot out. I'm thinking of just using a large piece of cloth that can be secured somehow above our heads. I think that's more versatile than a bimini. Anyway, we enjoyed morning french press coffee and then I made steel cut oatmeal (with brown sugar and butter) for breakfast. Afterwards, we cruised back to the docks. Dale and Lynn assisted us to get the boat de-rigged and the mast down. Sarah and I were really impressed by their kindness and their willingness to give of their time and expertise. Once again, my sailing adventures are made possible only due to the generosity of others as I don't think I would have been able to get the boat ready to bring home all by myself while Sarah tended to the baby. Both Sarah and I felt we would benefit from having Dale on all our future sailing trips, but alas we will eventually learn to do it better by ourselves. The sailboat trailered pretty well back to Tucson and Sarah's parents were waiting for us with pizza and salad. We got the boat stored for the night and will get it situated for more long term storage later this week. We are hoping to take our next sailing adventure over Memorial Day Weekend in late May. Where to, stay tuned groupies.
My Wife and Daughter Cruising with Me On Lake PleasantKeith, Nice
03/26/2012, Lake Pleasant
The sun was starting to go down as we headed for our anchorage, but it was warm enough to have the baby up on deck. Our little Celia went on her first overnight sailing trip when she was just 5 months old and her second when she was 7 months old. She did just fine, though she does get cranky on the long drive home. We can't blame her. Celia usually sleeps in her own bed at home, and there is a quarter berth on the Catalina 25 for when she's old enough, but this time she slept with her parents in the forepeak to keep warm. We cozied into a cove with a few other boats who also stayed the night. Enjoyed dinner of bbq chicken soft tacos with radishes, avocado, and canned salsa. Warmed the tortillas with a can of sterno, which also served as our heater. Winds were light, water was glassy, and I secured all the creaking lines and other sounds, so we had a silent and uneventful night. Except that Sarah's feeding alarm went off at 2:30 in the morning. I went up on deck after finding her iphone and shutting off the alarm. There is something about a sailboat anchored in a safe cove with masthead light burning bright that I find extremely satisfying. Eventually I fell back to sleep and awoke to the morning light.
Second Overnight Sailing Trip with Sarah and the BabyKeith, nice
03/26/2012, Lake Pleasant
This past weekend we headed back up to the boat at lake Pleasant northwest of Phoenix for another overnight adventure. Things went more smoothly and I think we all had a pretty good time, especially me. Cruising with wife and baby takes a little getting used to. Between the last overnight trip and this one the sailboat shop got the boat's running lights working, installed three fans, and put together a secondary anchor. When we arrived, I discovered that the fans were kind of loud and cheap-o, and one of them was blowing the wrong direction and installed in the wrong spot. That fan was fixed and re-located by the sailboat shop mechanic while Dale helped me to rig the 150 foresail. It employs a cool roller furling design that has its own wire stay, leaving the boat's forestay available to use for a second, smaller jib. It makes the Catalina 25 kind of like a cutter rig, able to fly twin headsails, though the winds would have to be pretty light to justify that. Typically in such conditions I motor. As for the secondary anchor, I wanted something that was self contained and that I could put into a duffel and store on a cockpit locker. The sailboat shop ordered a set-up that was larger and more robust than the existing main anchor set-up, for which I certainly can't fault them. I wound up switching out the anchor for one that is a size smaller than the existing main, but with about 16 feet of chain and another 100 feet of rope. It fits nicely into an old duffel and fits nicely in the locker. Should the main fail or get stuck, I can deploy the secondary in less than a minute. We got out on the lake an hour or two earlier this time and the sun is also setting later as we enter Spring, so we were able to motor all the way to the other side before it started getting dark. We had the 150 unfurled at the start, but there wasn't enough wind to move us. Again, sailboat cruising turns into mostly motoring. I know there are some cruisers who don't even have motors on their sailboats, but they don't have to complete their sailing trips on a tight schedule.
Bluegrass Concert At Sabino Canyon Later in the DayWarm, but nice
Today they had bands playing in an area of Sabino Canyon that is typically off limits to regular folks. This picture is taken where the forest service employees live. They welcomed us into their private area for the event. Little Celia likes to hear live music, from Gangster Rap to Bluegrass.
Enjoying Sabino Canyon Multiple TimesKeith, beautiful outside
Early mornings on the weekends, and sometimes during the week, I take the 2 minute drive to Sabino Canyon national park to recreate in nature. I hiked a portion of Esperrero trail on Saturday morning and a portion of Phone Line on Sunday morning. This is a photo of these amazing yellow flower bushes that grow this time of year when we have an early Spring. You can see the trail to the side and a bit of the mountains around me.
Sailboat Morning with Mommy and BabyKeith, warm again when the sun came out again
02/26/2012, Lake Pleasant
We didn't exactly sail on this first overnight sailing trip. By the time we got the boat into the water and unloaded our stuff, the sun was low in the sky and we were getting exhausted. There wasn't a lot of gas in the tank and I don't yet know how fuel efficient the engine is, so we started by going around to the marina and filling up with a gallon and a half just to make sure we wouldn't get stranded somewhere. Then I hooked up the tiller piston auto pilot and figured out how it works while we headed out into the lake. It appears to work better than the one I had in the last Catalina 25. The sun was going down and we didn't have a lot of light left, so I had to find someplace to anchor quickly. It was actually kind of hard because it is deep on the side close to the marina and there is over 100 feet of water within 1000 feet of shore, so I had to find someplace with water shallow enough to anchor. By that time the sun was below the horizon. We had a rather uninspiring dinner and spent some time unpacking our gear to make more room to move around. Made-up beds for ourselves and the baby and shortly thereafter we headed off to sleep watching the movie Super 8 on my mom's old LCD DVD player. Next time we'll download a movie onto the IPAD and watch in HD. I have to admit it was a little claustrophobic in there, having gotten used to the Catalina 36, which is itself rather small. I was having a lot of second thoughts. By early morning, the wind picked up and it started to get cold inside the cabin. We brought a propane heater, but didn't want to use it too much because of the baby and possible fumes. Eventually we bought the baby into the forepeak with us and stayed warm by huddling all together. Later on in the morning I turned on the heater and placed it under one of the slightly open ports and it warmed nicely without too much odor. It took a while for the sun to come up over the mountains next to our anchorage, but when it did we got warm again. There were several creaking sounds that bothered us over the course of the evening, but I managed to find and resolve most of them during several nighttime forays up the forepeak hatch and out on deck. In the morning I found that our anchor had snagged on a tree in the water and I had to use the winch to free it, so we probably didn't have a safely dug-in anchor, but whatever we did have held enough to keep us in place. Need to get a back-up anchor set-up. We had planned to take down the mast and bring her back to Tucson in the morning, but we were kind of exhausted and wanted to give the Lake Pleasant overnight one more try in a few weeks before storing the boat. Overall the boat performed well, though there are a few things still to finish before it is ready for more serious cruising. The new porta-potty worked fine and paid for itself on the first overnight trip. The Raytheon knot meter/depth meter with its flush mounted computer on the cockpit bulkhead worked excellently and will serve us well when speed and depth matter. On the way back to the docks from the anchorage, I exceeded 6 knots using the engine, and I believe this boat motors faster than my previous Catalina 25. The one thing that didn't change from my last sailing experiences to this one is how beautiful the sunset is from a sailboat and how nice the morning light feels after a night on a sailboat.
Overnight sailboat trip with my familyWarm during the day, chilly in the dead of night
02/26/2012, Lake Pleasant North of Phoenix
Yesterday we headed up to Phoenix to spend the night on the Catalina 25. All three of us, including our baby girl. I would have to say that one night on a sailboat on a lake in Arizona with a wife and baby is comparable in terms of accomplishment for me to cruising the Sea of Cortez or down the Intercoastal Waterway and then across to the Bahamas and back. Those prior sailing accomplishments were awesome, but I think I'll stick with family sailing, modest though it may be at this point. It was rather a rough adjustment from solo cruising to family sailing. At one point late in the evening, I determined to put the boat back on consignment and forget the whole thing. But we made it through the chilly night and awoke to a bright new day full of promise. The light was almost all gone by the time I took this photo, so you have to adjust the angle of your screen to see it if it appears black.
Singer Family Adventures
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