09/28/2011, Oak Harbor, WA
Fooled ya!!! OK, fooled me too!
I have been thinking of getting back on and doing some blogging. I have gotten a few requests as well, that has generated more thoughts. So maybe I will add some posts...just not as often as before.
Let's see, what has happened? Well, the biggest part of transitioning has trying to figure out what I want to be when (if) I grow up!!!
We thought about doing the crewed charter thing. Indeed, I think it was right here on this blog I was raving about THE new crewed charter company. Something about pushing Moorings/Sunsail aside, or something of that nature! That was a swell idea for awhile because it gave me something to work on which meant I had less time for getting in trouble!
But then I ran into several roadblocks, not the least of which is that you can't make any money in the crewed charter trade; at least not in the 3-week season the Pacific Northwest offers. So I kinda ditched that idea.
And for about a week or so I was in this purgatory. I was excited in that it meant I had options. The problem was I had too many options! I didn't know what direction to take with my life. And then it hit.
I had been told by Laura and others that I should become a property manager. After all, I have been managing properties for over 25 years. But my idea of a property manager was some (cute) girl (which I am not!) sitting in a leasing office of a large complex making 40 grand a year. That wasn't very inspirational. Well, the cute girl part was, but that wasn't going to make me any money!!
Anyway, I finally stumbled upon the idea that I could ' own a property management firm'. Ooooh! Pretty advanced thinking, huh? That is why they call me 'Captain'! It only took me a few months to get that message!
The more I researched it, the more I liked the idea. I kept telling people about the charter business that I think I like 'growing' business more than I like actually 'doing' business. Don't get me wrong. I can -- and will -- roll up my sleeves and get in there and do the work. But on a long-term basis, I am much better suited for the growing part. Owning a business lets me do just that!
So Ruth and I (and Will -- who turns 15 today!!!) are starting up a new business. We are calling it Full Service Property Management. I'll talk about it more in the coming weeks. We are pretty excited about it because I think the business model I have developed could possibly reinvent the entire industry!
Pretty heady stuff, eh? I don't know that our biz will do all of that. But it will certainly carve out a HUGE niche. But more of that later!!!
08/05/2011, Oak Harbor, WA
I think this may be our last blog. (Sniff...sniff!!) Maybe not -- you never know. But our land-based activities aren't nearly as exciting, and the need to blog seems to be diminishing. (If you think otherwise, let me know.) But for now the plan is to close down this blog site in about a month (to give time for everyone to realize what is going on), and switch to our Facebook site.
Yes, it is true. We reopened a Facebook page. I resisted Facebook -- mostly because all the notifications were so intrusive. But Will showed me how I can turn those off. Plus I heard that Facebook is really important to budding business such as ours. So if you are on Facebook, and want to check out the biz, you can do so. We signed up under the name 'Northwest Charters'.
The first charter is next Tuesday and we'll micro-blog from the boat onto the page. I have gone from not even having a telephone to now having a smartphone and iPad 2. So we are fully plugged in, baby, and ready to rock your world!! :-)
I wanted to start this blog out (and failed) by THANKING EVERYONE who contributed to this site. Even if you read it but didn't comment, thank you! That was contribution enough. What kept me/us going with posting these blogs was knowing you were reading them. Thank you very much. It was very inspirational all of the time, knowing people cared about us and were sharing in the highs and lows of our adventure.
I miss the cruising lifestyle very much. Yes, it was difficult. Things broke allll the time. Bad weather. A host of other issues. But those bad memories fade fast and all I am left with from our trip is memories of fantastic sunrise/sunset vistas, 24/7 with my family, incredibly awesome cruisers (and non-cruisers), historic wonderment, flora and fauna beyond belief, and God-made natural works beyond compare.
So the current plan (subject to change on a weekly basis!) is to work the next 5 years or so, get Will into college (if he wants - he'll be a freshman in high school this year! Yikes!!)), and set sail again -- this time for the S. Pacific and SE Asia. The cruising is so free. No pat searches or wand scans when you enter a country by boat. Having a 30-mile view out your "office" window every day, all day expands and stretches the mind. And, of course, moving your home around this big ball all speak to a freedom lifestyle I find increasingly choked out here in America.
Without going political on you, I am becoming increasingly intolerant and frustrated by all of the government regulation and intervention. I just want to live and not hurt anyone, without the government telling me everything I can and cannot do.
For now we will survive and keep the spirit alive within us. I look forward to staying in touch with the many friends we made "out there", as well as the ones closer to home. We have such love in our hearts for each and everyone of you/them! God bless.
Or as a sign at a church nearby says "Love God...grow together!"
08/01/2011, Oak Harbor, WA
It has been a little over two weeks since Jim and I hit land (not literally 'hit', you numbskull!!). One week of that was taken up with Race Week. So I have been 'home' a total of ten days. It seems like a blur.
We got moved into our apartment....barely. We haven't gotten anything out of storage, so we are living out of boxes on the floor. It reminds me of 'The Godgather' when they talk about moving into flats and "going to the mattresses". Ruth has assembled an ecclectic collection of household items she has collected from the boat, friends, local shops and thrift stores and we are pretending to be 'home'. But it is physically tough.
Mentally we are fine. Living in Oak Harbor is much, much better than that urban jungle they call Seattle. So the call was a good one for transitioning.
The charter business has been ramping up well beyond expectations. So we are busy getting the boat ready for that. We have been blessed beyond our dreams with not only several charters, but charters from really cool people! I think I am really going to like this charter biz if the clientele keeps up with our first batch!
07/23/2011, Oak Harbor Marina, Oak Harbor, WA
We arrived a week ago Thursday and I had just enough time to catch my breath before Race Week started last Sunday night. Whew, that was close! I got a ride on my friend's Beneteau First 35s5 -- J Rosenbach and s/v 'Bodacious' -- and I was glad we made it in time for the racing. It was good!
They put us in with the P30 group -- a bunch of 30-footers that include Olson 911s and S2 9.1s. It is a fun fleet, even if I did diss them in a letter-to-the-editor several years ago! (Ooops! Another "foot-in-the-mouth" move!) Anyhow, we also had a Cascade 36 with what I will affectionately call a "gift rating"-- s/v 'Rain Drop' from Portland.
This boat has had so many facelifts it makes Joan Rivers look like she only recently took up knives and sewing!! This thing is a late 70s/early 80s vintage sailboat that looks like it has had about $80,000 crammed down its 36-foot length. It is really too bad because the boat takes away from the good sailing that the crew aboard did all week. Any good sailing the crew did was immediately chalked up to this really whacko boat and its 'improvements'.
Anyhow, we got off to a slow start on Monday. I think the crew might have been a little intimidated. There was lots of competition and it was alllll good! I know I was a little intimidated. J had me calling tactics -- a position I am still growing into. Being up there on "the big stage" kind of got to me, I think.
The boat was going OK, but between a few bad calls I made and a few crew snafus, we managed to eke out a 2nd in the 3rd and last race of the day to save our pride. Tuesday was slightly better -- again with one 2nd but also with some more crooked numbers. Instead of posting a 2-5-8 on Monday, Tuesday we posted a 2-5-9. But the crew was feeilng 'up' because we were definitely sailing fast. The 9 came when we had a huge 'issue' that sent us from 2nd to last, only to claw back to 9th. So we knew we 'shoulda' had a 2-5-2.
Wednesday came and we knocked off a pair of 4s. Not really a stellar performance. But a bad call on my part in the last race of the day gave up, like, 2-3 MINUTES to the competition! We had 3rd locked up and I went and threw it all away going to the wrong side. Had we gotten a 3rd, we would have finished 3rd for the day and been in the prize giving.
I was feeling bad cuz I couldn't deliver the hardware (trophy) to J for the day. Thursday morning I woke up hungry for a trophy and confident. We had the boat going well and we were just getting better and better. I knew the team was peaking at a good time. When the breeze in Penn Cove picked up, I knew we had a fighting chance.
Sure enough, we scored a 2-1-2 in Thursday's 3 races and now J had the pickle dish I so desperately wanted to deliver on. A side benefit was that it moved us from 5th place overall to 3rd!! Not only did we have a pickle dish for the day, but we were in contention for the week as well. All we needed to do was sail well on Friday (which we were already doing) and protect our lead.
The wind was real light on Friday -- not conditions that favor our boat. But the breeze never filled in and with no races on Friday, 3rd in class was ours.
The whole week was a positive experience for me. Even though I made a few bad calls early in the week, I redeemed myself later in the week when the chips were down. Plus there were a couple of times when J let me drive down wind and I either held our position or gained. So both of those positives helped me gain confidence.
Calling tactics can be a 'pressure position'. Make the wrong call and everyone points the finger at you. Make the right calls and the crew pats themselves on the back for a good race. But J's crew was great -- keeping the pressure off and letting me do my thing. And it worked out great.
We did a year's worth of lee bows in one week. The competition was fierce and I got a chance to sail against some of my old crew -- Jeff Janders, Kelly Havig and Jeremy Groesz. Sailing against them was almost as much fun as sailing with them. Maybe if they hadn't beaten us and finished 2nd in class it would have been more fun!! :-)
07/18/2011, Oak Harbor Marina
This blog is written after-the-fact and will cover the last week or so of our passage from Maui to Oak Harbor, WA. Hopefully those of you who are/were interested had the opportunity to read of our journey for the first half of the passage.
But when the comm went down in the way of our computer monitor blinking out, everyone -- including us -- was in the dark. We couldn't blog; we couldn't email; we couldn't get grib files. That meant we were back to navigating the "old fashioned way. We earned it!" I felt like Magellan, Cabrillo, Cortez and the many others that went before me without anything except a chronograph, a sextant, and intuition.
Of course, we had the almighty GPS so it wasn't like we were totally lost! We could watch the GPS show -- in excruciatingly slow fashion -- the reduction in miles to our first waypoint, the Juan de Fuca buoy outside of the Straits. I have always maintained that the last 20% of an ocean passage takes 50% of the time. This passage was no different.
Without gribs we were stumbling our way across the pond in the best fashion we could -- taking the lifted tack whenever possible. We had turned right at 32 deg. N on a southwesterly breeze thinking that we were entering the trades. Instead I think we entered the Pacific High. (In hindsight, I wish we had gon further north, maybe to 40 N before turning right.) Consequently our passage was beset with light winds that required motoring and motorsailing.
The motoring started to cut into a dwindling fuel supply. With a little over 500 nm to go, Jim and I were quite conscious of an impending fuel shortage. Whenever the wind cut out we would turn the motor on, but only turn it over at 1200 rpm in order to conserve fuel. Normally we had the "3 knot rule" which meant anytime the knotmeter registered below 3 knots we were free to turn on the motor and motorsail. Well, with diminishing fuel supplies we adopted "the 1 knot rule" -- oftentimes drifting along at 1.5-2 knots -- to conserve the fuel.
I'm not exactly sure where but I think it must have been with about 800 nm to go we hooked our first bluefin (ahi) tuna. It was about 30# and after we cleaned it and iced it down I was wondering how we were going to eat so much fish. As it turned out, no problem!! Even though we were eating tuna every day, we never tired of it. I was pan frying it with a bit of oil, the fish, a squeeze of lime and a shake of salt and pepper. 1-3 min. on each side and voila! We were eating like kings!
About that same time we had an easterly fill in. An easterly? That was the last wind I expected to see! But it was a good breeze and we booked north on starboard tack and made some great miles, even as it swung to the SE and then the S. At this point I figured the wind was either going to continue to veer to the SW and then the W, or it would just quit and refill.
Sure enough, after about a day of sailing on the easterly/SErly the wind died, we motored (slowly) for a few hours, and then a Werly filled in that quickly went NW. Now we are beam reaching and the boat is flying! We are doing 7s, 8s, and even a few 9s and we started to log 160+ miles day -- not a bad days work for a short crew!
But all good things must pass and so it was after two days of closing on the mainland in rapid fashion that we sailed out of that breeze into nothing. From this point on the story gets a little boring because it involves a LOT of motoring!! We chugged along and finally came upon our first waypoint marking the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We were on full alert to make sure we didn't foul the congested commercial traffic lanes.
By now the fuel gauge is reading "E" and we have precious hours left before we have to shut the whole engine down. As we passed Clallum Bay I motored within shouting distance of a fisherman and asked him if there was diesel in Clallum Bay. When he nodded affirmative, a big smile started to creep across my face from ear to ear. It was at that moment I knew we had made it.
8,000 nm in 9 weeks, and we did it. The boat is/was a little worse for wear, but nothing out of the ordinary. I'll give a full report next blog.
From Clallum Bay we motored down the windless Straits to Port Angeles, where we killed a little time downloading email and getting some email out to family and friends teling them we were OK. Our trip to Oak Harbor required a passage through Deception Pass. That passage requires timing with the currents and we still had 6 hours to kill before we could go in with the flood.
That evening -- as we waited for the next day's morning flood -- was one of the toughest. We nearly hit Discovery Island off of Victoria in the middle of the night! Dense fog combined with torrid currents and little or not wind made for some difficult (and impossible) sailing. It was also quite frustrating given the fact that both of us were dog tired.
But we pushed on through and arrived safely in Oak Harbor Marina Thursday last at approximately 1330, 19 days after we started. I was off on my original estimate out of Hawaii by 3 hours!!! I have never, ever gotten the right date when we are playing "ETA roulette". But this time I hit it spot on! Wheeee! Jim owes me a beer!!! :-)
07/15/2011, Oak Harbor Marina
Greetings! We have arrived! And safely, too! We got back yesterday around 1400. But before I share with you some thoughts about the passage and returning home, I first need to take care of some housekeeping.
About a week out of Hawaii the monitor on the ship's computer went on the blink. That effectively cut out communication because I didn't have a screen for writing emails, or for downloading grib files, or uploading blogs..
Some of you were concerned about the lack of comm., and I appreciate your concern. I am not sure about those two scallywags - Janders and Combie, though. I suspect Janders was hoping he could score my Hobie gear while I am not sure what Bob's line was. As for Ruth, she already had cashed in the life insurance policy and spent half of the proceeds! So we'll be having a garage sale shortly to try to repay the insurance company!
In the meantime, I am posting a few blogs I wrote enroute but could not post. They are dated July 7, 9, and 10. I have another blog written for the period from the tenth to when we arrived. But I will wait a day or two to post that to give y'all a chance to play catch up on the other blogs.
Thanks, again, for your concerns - it is quite comforting to know. It is good to be home. I'll share with you the rest of our travels and travails in the next day or two.