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Lemons Way
The continuing adventures of a cruising sailor/family lawyer, his wife (also a lawyer), and their young children.
Life At Sabino Canyon

Here is a little sample of the life I've seen while hiking in the mornings. Desert deer are also common at Sabino Canyon and don't have much fear of people. It's like there's this common understanding not to mess with them, so they come right alongside the road. Rabbits of all sizes are everywhere, as are lizards of all sizes. I've encountered desert turtles and even bobcats. They say there are mountain lions sightings at Sabino Canyon, but I've never seen one. Who can tell me what life is depicted in the rock at the upper right picture.

Getting Started Fitting Out for the Next Sailing Trip
08/11/2012, Side of the in-laws house

Took a few weeks break from sailing after San Diego, but I went back over this morning to begin getting the boat ready for the next sailing adventure. That trip is scheduled for the latter part of October. We've got about two months. I did a complete review of the boat, in and out, and I am pleased with the condition it is in. I washed the decks before I took it out of the water in San Diego but the monsoon rains have made the deck sparkling. I've got a list of things to do to get the sailboat ready, but it's a relatively minor list. We started on getting the trailer lighting fixed but, like all sailboat fix projects, it blossomed and it may be best to hand it over to a professional. I met a guy two weeks ago, Mike from Mike's Mobile Marine, who took off the 10 hp two stroke outboard vintage 1986 and is supposed to be fixing the starter, putting in a new water pump wheel, and otherwise getting it in good shape. Among the projects in store for the next two months: Replace mast and deck light connector at base of the mast, prepare the new tiller, prepare the new outboard by installing engine oil, new tires for the trailer, drill out larger holes on gin pole, install the two additional pop-top dog ears and the four dog ear clips I purchased from Catalina Direct, lube the sail track, attach the spare tire to the trailer, and several other minor things. You are welcome to skip the next set of posts and just go to October.

Hello To Cameron and Jasmine
Keith, rainy in Tucson
07/28/2012, San Diego/Los Angeles

Welcome to my sailblog.

- Keith

Link to a Short Video of San Diego Bay Sailing in July

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Keith and Sarah launching Boker Tov into San Diego Bay

I'm back in the office posting at the end of the workday before I head to the grandparents to pick-up the baby. Sarah and I only got to sail together once while the boat was in San Diego, but on that outing we got the speed up to 7.4 knots, one knot above the supposed top speed of the Catalina 25. Wasn't able to beat that even when sailing by myself. The longest sail of the two-week period was about 26 miles from the marina, out to sea past Point Loma, and back. Truly, every sailing day was better than the last. In terms of maintenance, the most expensive hit was the lifelines. I was forward at the bow taking pictures one afternoon and holding on to the lifeline when it parted at the pelican hook located at the stern. Realizing how compromised the lifelines were after 25 years of exposure to the elements, I knew I had to replace the whole assembly, hardware and all. Fortunately, San Diego has just the place that rigged a new set of lifelines in less than a day. I installed them and they fit just fine. Very comforting to know that if Sarah or Celia or I have to rely on the lifelines, they will hold. The other casualty was the tiller. It looks in good condition, but split along one of the laminated layers. I tried to glue it, but realized that was not going to be a sufficiently reliable repair, so I found a new one at the same shop where I had the lifelines rigged. It needs to be drilled and then I will make it the main tiller and use the old one for a back-up after re-gluing it. There are a number of other things that need to be done to get the sailboat where I want it, but overall I'm very pleased with how the boat performed and the condition it is in. Getting the Catalina 25 to a destination, mast-up, into the water, and rigged for sailing, is still somewhat of an ordeal. Same with lowering the mast and getting it back to the trailer and then home. But it gets faster and less arduous as we get more experience. I'm also not sure about the old Evinrude engine. I always managed to get it started, but the electric starter isn't working and the pull starter sometimes takes several pulls. The next window for a sailing trip is my birthday during the first part of October. That coincides with one of the two best months for cruising in my opinion, October and May. Tonight I'm going to park the trailer in its place at the in-laws home, where Boker Tov will sit until her next adventure.

San Diego Sailing Is Amazing
Cloudy and cool when we first arrived, not sunny and warm

I am posting from my parents' place in Coronado. They are walking the baby along the boardwalk and I have a few moments to myself to update the blog. It was a long trip hauling the sailboat from Tucson to San Diego, but we made it without incident. Towing it became easier as I got more acclimated. After the 10 hour drive, it was a bit stressful getting the mast up, launching the boat at the ramp, and finding the slip at Lowes, but it's been nothing but good times since then. I've been going out sailing for several hours every afternoon for a week now. This is some of the best sailing I've experienced anywhere. The winds here are strong and steady, but not too strong. Ideal for putting this sailboat through its paces. Boker Tov sails excellently. The standard size sailing rig can handle plenty of wind even without a reef in the main. I've got the roller furling 150 up and it provides as much or as little forward power as I could want. I've put nearly 100 miles on the sailboat just cruising up and down the San Diego Bay. Haven't run the engine more than 15 minutes altogether. This boat is sturdy, points well, and I can handle it pretty easily single-handed. It drives nicely on all points of sail. A few mechanical glitches, but nothing major so far and nothing I can't easily take care of. I doubt I'm going to get any long-distance cruising in on this trip as its more difficult than I thought to sneak away for long enough to go far, but the day sailing has more than made up for it. I've learned that when I go cruising, I need to dedicate the trip to that and not combine it with a family vacation in a specific place. It's ok though, because the opportunity to test the boat out in all sorts of ways and to practice maneuvers and procedures in a systematic way will make future cruising that much safer and more enjoyable.

Dinghy/Backup Outboad Arrives

The outboard dinghy motor I purchased for my first cruising sailboat dinghy (the Zodiac Zoom) was a 2hp Honda. It was easy to move around, loud, slow, but pretty reliable. Tropical Dreamer came with a 3 hp Mercury. I stored the Honda in the motor home and used the 3hp as the dinghy motor for the entire cruise down the ICW and back and forth to the Bahamas. It was also light, powerful for its size, and mostly reliable. It got sold along with the Catalina 36. When I tried to start the Honda 2HP after returning to Tucson, it wouldn't. Must have sat for too long and gummed up the jets or something. The time and expense to have it repaired were too much, considering I didn't own any sailboats at that time, so I sold it on Craigslist. That left me without a dinghy and without a dinghy motor, which was fine, until recently. The new dinghy outboard is a Tohatsu 6 hp short shaft. One may wonder why, now that I have downsized the sailboat, I doubled the engine size. The answer is that it is a lot more fun, and safer too I suppose, to have a strong and reliable dinghy outboard engine. According to the box and materials, Tohatsu is Japanese. It is the same engine as Mercury and Nissan, with a less marketed label. This one is big enough to replace the 10 hp attached to the stern of the sailboat if that one dies while on a cruise. But mostly it is because I wanted to be able to go fast on the Saturn dinghy. The tank that came with it holds 3.1 gallons and will run the engine for many hours without refilling. My only worry is that seems bigger in person than I thought and, at 57 pounds, it's going to be hard to get it into and out of the locker and onto and off of the dinghy, especially without the benefit of a step-down transom, like on the 36. But, I'd rather have a dinghy engine that is a bit too big than one that is too small. To put things into perspective, the preferred dinghy engine for cruisers is the 15 hp two stroke Yamaha. That engine is three times as powerful as mine. I'm hoping to have this long enough for Celia to learn how to drive the dinghy by herself one day.

Continuing to Refit and Prepare for Coastal Cruising
Keith, hot and begining to get humid as the monsoon season begins in Tucson

Things have been busy at the office so I've had to limit my sailboat work to Saturday and Sunday mornings. Took the scooter to Boker Tov both mornings and we made some solid progress this weekend. The solar system is 99% done, except I'd like to put a little piece of trim around the charge controller where it fits into the instrument panel. It appears to be charging the two marine deep cell batteries at a rate sufficient to keep them at or close to full charge. With the fans running inside, voltage was well over 12 and holding. We had recurring issues with the 12 volt plug-in (i.e. cigarette lighter) and wound up replacing it and adding a three plug expansion, but still was not working right. Finally found the problem in the wiring and now it works perfect. It can charge two phones and have the inverter going at the same time. The previous owner installed a pretty nice compass on the cockpit bulkhead, but the light inside it it wasn't working. We wound up tracing the wiring all the way back to the unit and discovered the original installation was a complete mess. After all we've done, we should be able to get that back in action in short order. A lit compass will be nice for the overnight passage from San Diego to Catalina Island and it's just a cool feature to have on a sailboat at night regardless. The photograph above shows some of the safety equipment I've been collecting and the new hatch dog that I installed to replace the one that broke last weekend. The pop-top is one of the great features of the Catalina 25, but it has been criticized as undermining the sailboat's ability to passage safely offshore. Catalina Direct says they responded to this risk in the final production runs by adding two more hatch dogs and recommended I order and install two more on my boat (one of the original bronze fittings is still in good order). I followed their advice and I've got the two extras ready to install, but it will require some more drilling. That should make the pop-top less likely to pry open in the unlikely event of a knockdown and thus less likely to fill with water should the boat go over 90 degrees or more. At this point I've completed almost all the projects I set out to do for this refit, and a few I didn't set out to do. Now that the big things are done, I can see some of the minor remaining issues. Owning a sailboat means never-ending maintenance or one sort of another. Those little things will get done in time. I enjoy the process and find it quite satisfying. Still waiting on the metal fabricated part to complete the repair of the gin pole mast raising system. Hopefully that will come today or tomorrow and we will do a final test raise of the mast before or after work this week. One way or the other, the plan is to take the sailboat with us to Coronado next week. If worse comes to worse, I can get the mast up another way. Stay tuned.

Two New Beans

These are the two 5 gallon gas tanks that will be secured on either side of the deck along the lifelines to add some additional cruising range to Boker Tov. Long time followers of the blog may remember the first two beans that allowed me to climb the beanstalk metaphorically and cruise across the Sea of Cortez in Singmeaway, the previous Catalina 25. That one was a swing keel. Good thing it was, because I ran aground at least twice on my first cruise and if it wasn't for the ability to raise the swing keel, I'd have been in trouble. Little Law Office history in this picture. I was going to throw that sign out but Sarah encouraged me to keep it.

Hello New Chart Plotter

I downloaded ISailor from ITunes for 15 bucks and then downloaded the Southern California charts for another $5. Now I have a GPS chartplotter with the charts I need for a cruise from San Diego up the coast to Catalina Island and back (actually, the $5 chart package I downloaded covers all of the Southern, California coast). The last chartplotter I bought was a Lorance. It must have cost around $500 and wasn't very reliable. The last time I sailed to Catalina Island with my brother and his then girlfriend, we didn't even have a paper chart. We followed a compass course heading and made our way in from sight alone. I'm pretty sure we didn't have a depth sounder on that little sailboat either. Come to think of it, we didn't have a VHF transmitter either. She had a cell phone, but that was long before cell phones had GPS. We got kind of lost on the way home and followed the beach past sunset and into the darkness, not knowing exactly which inlet was ours. At one point I think she tried to call the Coast Guard for help. Shortly thereafter, a Coast Guard boat that must have been watching us the whole time shined its light ahead and to the right to show us the way in. This time, I'll be able to find my own way, and with precision. Stopped by the in laws house yesterday afternoon to pick up the baby and went up on Boker Tov to check the charge controller on the solar system to see if it had reached float. It had, so it is only a matter of doing the finishes to complete that project. Still waiting on one more part to complete the repairs on the gin pole mast raising system and then we are ready to bring the mast up again. I have purchased and replaced four of the six shrouds amidships and the turnbuckles will have to be adjusted to tune the mast straight. Otherwise, we are on the home stretch of this refit and on track for the 4th of July trip to San Diego.


Singer Family Adventures
Port: Tucson, Arizona
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