Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why I Like Retirement? From a friend.

A non-retired friend sent me this a few days ago:

And they ask---Why I Like Retirement?

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.

Question: Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.

Question: What is the common term for someone who continues to work and refuses to retire?
Answer: NUTS!

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal

Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer : If you cut classes, no one can call your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

Question: What do you do all week?
Answer: Monday to Friday; Nothing, Saturday & Sunday I rest.

Happiness is a voyage, not a destination,
There is no better time to be happy than... NOW

Today I actually felt productive. My Outlook has been down for a couple of months. It would hang up trying to Send/Recieve. All the Outlook settings were correct. I uninstalled and reinstalled it, no good, still would not Send/Recieve. Hmm! Finally turned off my firewall and it worked!! Recieved all the emails that were in the webmail. Looked around in the settings of the Virus settings and found some settings that were not correct and sure enough Outlook works again! I had backed up my emails and contacts, so I did not lose anything. Don't know how the settings got scrambled. Maybe the cat did it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Sailboat Racing Career

Lately I have been pondering my sailing career and in particular my sailboat racing career. I started sailing boats when I was 14 years old. I come from a family that has always owned powerboats and for some reason I decided to branch off in sailboats. I owned a few small dinghies and by the time I was 20years old, I owned my first keel boat, a Victory 21. This was a daysailer that had a small cuddy cabin.

In the summer of 1973, I was invited by the members of the yacht club at my local marina to come out on Wednesday evenings for some informal racing. In the fall and winter, this turned into Saturday racing and we raced almost every weekend. My boat was small and slow. I found myself racing against a lot of 30 foot boats. I was usually one of the last boats to finish. But I kept at it, studied, practiced, bought new sails and gear and finally one day finished ahead of a Newport30 that was sailed by a rather hot headed individual. He was furious. How could a small slow boat like mine beat him? The first major race I entered was from Bremerton around Blake Island. That race had a lot of boats 30 feet and larger including a Swan 44. I followed the fleet and when the wind died some, I sailed around a lot of boats and placed 6th out of around 30 boats. That was a great lesson, NEVER GIVE UP! Of note, another sailor was also sailing his first major race in a small 22foot Columbia. He placed 10th and went on to become a respected Port Orchard sailor. Our careers remained parallel until he retired from racing last year.

In 1975, I purchased a used Tanzer 22. I only owned it for a week when I raced it in the Blake Island Race. I stomped the fleet and won over a large fleet of boats. And then two weeks later, I won the Port Orchard Fourth of July race overall. I was on fire! I had learned a lot by sailing my older, slower, previous boat. Later that year, Pacific Handicap Racing Fleet(PHRF) changed my handicap by 18 secs/mile faster(a lot of owners are devastated by a 3 secs/mi change). I was not the only one, a couple of other 22 foot boats also had their handicaps changed, not because of performance data, but because of being "similar" to some faster boats. But not all of the small boats were changed and I owed a lot of similar boats time. I was angry about the change especially when my fellow club members clapped and cheered when the changed was announced. So, I set out to show them and strengthened my resolve to sail well. I sailed that boat in all conditions, on overnight races(imagine that) and won a whole bunch of awards.

In 1977, I moved into a much bigger boat. I bought a new Bystedt30 that had set on the lot for two years. This was the racer/cruiser that I kept the longest. I owned that boat for 22years. I pushed it hard and learned a lot about racing from it. I was also challenged by some of the better West Sound Sailors. Some had similar boats, some bigger. This boat was cursed with a fairly fast rating and I owed time to some equally fast or faster boats. But again, I raced in all kinds of races and conditions. We probably raced 25 times a year. We did overnight races in the sound, eight Swiftsures(once claiming a second) and when I outgrew the boat, I had won over 200 awards including four West Sound Sailing Association titles.

In 1999 I finally bought a boat that I first fell in love with at the 1984 boat show, a J35. This boat is a no compromise "sailing machine". It is a somewhat complex boat to sail and is a "standard" for handicapping. It also came with one of the fastest handicap for a 35 foot boat when I bought it. Other faster boats have since come along and the J35 is actually considered a heavy, slower boat by todays standards. The design is 25 years old! When I started racing this boat, I was very concerned about making it perform. There had been another J35 in our area a year earlier and that boat was so slow, it could hardly get out of it's way. I may not be able to sail as fast as some of the other J35 boats in Puget Sound, but I don't do poorly and I sure have a lot of fun pushing the boat really hard. We have not done a lot of long races, but I have still collected a number of awards from races around Puget Sound and in the San Juan Islands.

In addition to my own boats, I raced a lot on other boats through the sound and learned a lot from some great sailors.

So, after over 36 years of racing I have to wonder what it takes to have a successful racing program. I know, I have been very happy with what I have done. I know it sure was not easy. I have never taken classes or formal instruction. I learned by reading and lots of time sailing my boats putting what I learned to use. I also learned from my fellow competitors and from sailing on other boats. There is still lots to learn, it never ends. I have always tried to keep good sails on the boat, keep the boat in good shape and since I am a good rigger, I keep all my running rigging and gear in good shape. We have had very few failures. And I have never given up on the race course until it becomes impossible to finish the race within the time limit. That is very important!

And yet I have become increasingly frustrated by some newer sailors lately who have complained about their performance and go out of their way to not sail against me even though their boats are larger and potentially faster than mine. Seems like they would set a goal to learn to sail their boats and beat me instead. There has also been a lot of complaining about our handicapping system(PHRF). And since I am a handicapper, it bothers me to be referred to as "corrupt" .

So now I am getting to the place where I am beginning to think about retiring from sailboat racing and ultimately resign from sailboat handicapping. There is probably no shame in retiring, some very respected sailors have also retired. And after 36years of racing, maybe it is time. And maybe my competitors will be happier too! Lots to consider! I can always become a mercenary and find rides on other boats. I am sure there are more people out there who would like to have me sail with them.

Edit: Fixed my years of sailing. My math was off and I originally posted 39 years. Opps!

Racing in the pouring rain in late fall!
Late November racing.

30 knots of wind and flying downwind in October. I have raced in just about all conditions-
wind, no wind, heat, cold, rain, snow and blazing sun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Vashon Island Race 12-05-2009

Racing in Puget Sound is sort of unique. We race most of the year and if there is anything like a first "first race of the season", it is probably the Winter Vashon Race that is run on the first saturday of December. This is the first race of the South Sound Series. It starts at Tacoma Yacht Club and goes clockwise around Vashon Island for a distance of 30.7 nm. At this time of the year, just about any type of weather is possible from warm drifting conditions to driving rain and 40 knot winds.

I delivered the boat to from Brownsville to Tacoma Yacht Club on Friday morning. This was a four motor in calm, cold, foggy conditions. A couple of times the fog closed in to about 100 yard visibility.

I arrived at the reciprical moorage at 1130 and got a well protected spot along the dock. By evening, the moorage was filled to capacity. Tacoma Yacht Club puts on a good pre-race party with a dinner. West Marine raffled a lot of stuff.

Saturday was cold with temps in the low 30's. The forecast was for winds north at 15-25knots, but it was foggy with light SW winds at less than 5knots. The committee postponed the race for about 45minutes until the fog lifted. We were the third class to start. Our class was rather large with 16 competitors, including seven J35's. We had a OK start and entered Colvos Pass. I observed the currents the day before and played the stronger favorable currents. We passed a lot of boats and stayed in the lead group for most of the race.

Halfway up Colvos Pass, the wind filled in from the NE and increased to 15knots. We rounded the mark just behind Declaration of Independence(DOI)(Express 37) and set the spinnaker. The wind was off the beam and we has a fast run down Vashon Island to Pt Robinson. We ran just passed mid channel before jibing to a course to the finish. There were four of us in close proximity. DOI went low, Liberte'(C&C115) stayed high and Absolutly(One tonner) and us stayed on the rhumb line. The wind was puffy with gusts to 20knots and mainly off the beam. We hit 9knots once and stayed in the mid 8's most of the time. Absolutly stayed ahead. We were able to stay even with DOI until at the end, they reached up to the mark finishing just behind Absolutly. We stayed low until a half mile from the finish and then reached up. We almost beat Liberte', finishing 3 seconds and about 15 feet after them! Zorra(another C&C 115) was the first to finish in our class, we ended up 5th and the first of six J35's to finish(one was DNF). I was happy with the results and with the crew work. The crew worked well together and helped us to sail fast.

We went into the yacht club and cleaned up the boat so I could head for home. One of the crew started feeling bad shortly after we rounded the north end of Vashon Island and spent most of the run below. He felt nauseous and had a headache. He did not look well enough to drive, but did and another crew followed him home.

I started home at about 1730. It was really windy by then. And the temp had fallen into the mid 30's. Colvos pass was really rough and the boat pounded really hard. At time there were snow flurries. I arrived home at 2130, cold tired but happy!
Total distance for the weekend: 86.8nm

Results can be found here:

Our track for the day.

Reaching fast down the eastern side of Vashon Island.
Part of the fleet behind us.

Chasing DOI. We stayed this close or closer during most of the spinaker run. And at times we were ahead of them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Have I Been Doing Lately?

Some of my readers have been wondering why I have not been posting. One thought his computer was acting up and not recieving my blog. Another wondered if I had gone back to work(horrible thought!).

The truth is that I have not done much that I thought was news worthy and at the same time, I have been busy enough to not feel like taking the time to write. So here loyal fans are some of what I have done in the last month.

In early November I went to the Auto Show in Seattle at the Qwest Event Center. I have never been to an auto show before. But this was fun. All the manufacturers had bright, fancy displays set up and lots of lights. And many of the car manufacturers had someone (guy in a suit or a female model) expounding on the attributes of the car on display. I walked by the GMC area and there was a guy in a suit giving his speech on a stage about the new Tahoe, and there was not a soul listening.

I was impressed by the amount of cars there. I set in a few. The really expensive cars(Lamborgini, Rolls, Bentleys, etc) you could not even get close to. Oh well, I am not in the market for a new car anyway. And of course, after the show there was time for lunch at Ivars before the ferry ride home.

A week after the Auto Show, I returned to Seattle for the Pacific Marine Expo also at the Qwest Event Center. This a show that is equipment and services for the workboat and commercial fishing industry. My folks get a free invite because they were commercial fisherman, so I went in there place. Next year I may get my own free invitation by subscribing to a free magazine.
Since I always liked working on ships and main propulsion and auxiliary equipment, I enjoyed looking at the equipment and talking to the reps. Some stuff like the marine electronic and diesel engines are still applicable to what I use on my boats. I was impressed with how some of the electronics have progressed. Both Furuno and Simrad offer some new and innovative components. Diesel engines have come a long way too with trying to meet pollution requirements and improve economy. I picked up lots of brochures and lots of FREE stuff !
I spent more time at this expo than I do at the boat show in January. And of course, I stopped at Ivars on the way to the ferry for fish and chips again.
And now we are up to Thanksgiving Day. I had Thanksgiving with my parents. There was just the three of us. Then on Friday, my sister and brother in law came over from Wenatchee for the night. So out comes the Thankgiving leftovers and we have Thanksgiving dinner all over again. Friday was a beautiful day here. I rode the motorcycle on errands and was real close to riding to Port Townsend. I was part way there, but I had forgot to bring my camera, so I went home instead.

I rode the bicycle for a couple of hours on Sunday and again today.
That should bring everyone up to date. There have also been lots of days of performing small work items on the house and boat, so there is a lot more going on than whet I have told you here.
Next on the agenda is the Winter Vashon race on Saturday. This race starts and finishes at Tacoma. I will take the boat down on Friday and will return either Saturday night if it is not too late or Sunday morning. Should cover about 80-90nm this weekend. I don't use the boat every weekend like some people claim they do, but I sure do put on lots of miles. Just about every race I do requires a two hour or more delivery both going to and coming home in addition to the race.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pictures from Grand Prix Regatta Oct 25, 2009

On the last day, the race committee did get off four buoy races in Shilshole Bay. The last race we had a three way tie for third!

I am driving and Robert is meditating(or maybe sleeping).

The winds were light most of the day.

Pictures from Grand Prix Regatta Oct 24, 2009

The second day was scheduled to have short races in Shilshole Bay. The wind did not fill in for a couple of hours. Two races were started and then abandoned by the race committee.

Peg enjoying the warm weather on the run.
"The wind is over there!" Dave.
Waiting for the wind.
Boats trying to finish the second race just before the race committee abandoned the race.

Replacing the broken control cable for the reverse gear.

Pictures from Grand Prix Regatta Oct 23, 2009

Here are some pictures from the first day of the three day Grand Prix Regatta in Seattle. This is an invitational event for the top boats in the NW .
The first day was an afternoon race of about 20 miles to Blakely Rocks, Pt Wells and a short lap in Shilshole Bay. The winds were an honest 30 knots during the first lap and 20 knots after.
Bodies on the rail.

The fast run.

Robert and Peg

"Eye Eye" surfing past us.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Home Theater

The weather has been nasty for a few days, so I started thinking about some mods inside the house.

One of the cool things about my house that I liked when Ibought it was the home theater. The previous home owner installed surround sound speakers in the walls of the basement as well as a rack built into the wall for components. I actually had to buy the install seperate from the house. In other words, if I did not buy it, he would remove the speakers and patch the walls. We negotiated a rent agreement along with some cash (the realtor covered that part) and I ended up with a home theater. I don't watch that many movies and the TV is really not that wide or great. But one thing that always bothered me was the seating. Sure, it was fine when I was alone and I could set in the recliner. But the rest of the furniture was a hodge podge of a couch, rocker and recliner that was parked along the back wall. Those that set at the end had a bad angle to the screen and the surround sound was not set up as well for them.

So, today I built a riser to make tiered seating. $30 dollars of material and a few hours work and I had a 10" high riser that the couch set on and people sitting there can see over the recliner and rocker sitting on the floor. A lot like a real theater. The next step is to get the riser carpeted. And maybe someday some more or differant furniture for what sits on the floor. Making two rows of seating seems to take up less room than the single row of furniture along the back wall.

An accaintance is building something he calls his "man room". Basically it is a rec room and will have a wide screen TV. He too was thinking about making tiered seating. But since his room will have a sports theme, he was trying to find stadium seating. So far I don't think he has found anything that is available. Good idea though!

Making improvements on a home can be as much fun as making mods on a boat. That is why I don't think I could live on a boat again. I have too much fun having a "homebase" to return to.

Step up for seating in the back!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix Regatta Oct 23-25

Last weekend, the Great White Team competed in the Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix Regatta at Shilshole Marina. This is a three day invitational regatta. Boats are invited based on good placings in selected races in the northwest.

The first race was at 1300 on Friday. The weather was forecast for 20-30 knots out of the SW with rain. We were not dissapointed. The committee set a medium distance course from Shilshole to Blakely Rocks, Pt Wells and then a short loop around bouys in Shilshole Bay. The wind was 30 knots at the start. We started with a No. 3 jib and a reefed main. It was a sloppy beat to race rocks. We were in company with some J109's and ahead of Zorra(C&C115) and Grace E(J35). Declaration of Independence(DOI, Express37) and Absolutly(40ft One Tonner) were way ahead. We set the heavy No.1 for going downwind and had a fast run, hitting 10 knots a number of times. While taking down the No.1, I touched the leeward mark and in rerounding, we lost a place to Shada(J109). The wind moderated to around 20knots and we had an easier beat and short spinaker run before the finish. We finished ahead of Grace E and Zorra was behind but dropped out after a sail problem. We were 7 out of 9 entries.

Saturday was a beautiful morning, but there was no wind. After a couple hour postponement, the RC started a race. The wind was about 5 knots, but shifty in direction. After the first lap, the RC abandoned the race because of a shift in the wind direction. The RC reset a new cours and started us on a shorter course with less wind. Near the leeward mark, the wind got lighter and the current threatened to sweep us past the mark. We ghosted to the finish ahead of Zorra. Even though there was another hour of time before the time limit expired and most of the boats were able to finish, the RC once again abandoned the race. No races scored for saturday.

Sunday was a bit grey and rainy. The RC again set up buoy races in Shilshole Bay. The wind was light at first, but eventually filled in to ten knots. And again it was shifting from SEto SW and back. The RC got off four races in rapid succesion. We had a couple good starts and some good legs and some not so good legs. It was a lot of fun and the courses short enought that there was lots of action. Our best race was the last one. We rounded the leewared mark ahead of Zorra, Grace E and close to J Tripper(J109). We ronded close to the mark and got inside J Tripper and rolled over them on the beat. We stayed right and could almost lay the buoy end of the finish line. Absolutly and Shada went left toward the Committee boat end of the line. We seemed to have more pressure and when we tacked and shot the line, we felt that we were ahead of Absolutly and maybe in third. But when I looked at the results, we were in a three way tied for 4th place with Absolutly and Shada! Absolutly rates the same as us and Shada owes us a little time and finished slightly ahead.

The crew did great and we had plenty of practice in sail handling.

One scary thing happened on the first night as we were coming into the slip after the race. I started turning into the slip and put the diesel in reverse. I was not slowing down fast enough so I increased the throttle. The boat went forward faster. I missed the end of the finger pier and the neighboring boat, but hit the end of the slip putting a good sized dent in the wood on the dock. I discovered that the control cable to the transmission broke and the engine was stuck in forward. I was really bummed and we fiqured out a way to get underway for the next morning. Early the next morning, I was waiting for a ride to breakfast and I noticed something laying on top of an electrical box at the head of the dock. I looked and it was a used control cable. Nobody was around to claim it and I assumed that it was left there for someone who could use it. I finally picked it up and it found that it was a exact match for the broken cable. I installed it Saturday night. I consider it my miracle cable!

Committee boat and mark boats waiting for the wind to fill in on Saturday.
Waiting for the wind to fill in on Saturday.

Boats trying to finish on Saturday. Just before the race committee abandoned the race. We were already finished.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

R.I.P. Buell Motorcycle Company

My Buell XB12X Ulysses Adventure Sport Bike

Some of you that follow my blog may remember that I bought a new Buell motorcycle in March as one of my retirement presents. So I was shocked to hear on Oct 15th that production of Buell motorcycles was being discontinued. Buell's parent company Harley Davidson was experiancing third quarter losses and made the decision to discontinue Buells and to sell off MV Augusta(an Italian motorcycle company owned by HD). More casualties of the slow economic climate.

Buell motorcycle company was formed by Erik Buell in 1983. Erik is an ex-Harley Davidson engineer who has a passion for motorcycle road racing. He developed mainly racing bikes untill the rules were changed that made his racing motorcycles obsolete. He launched into production sport bikes. He developed and patened many innovations. Some include fuel in frame, mass centralization, ZTL(zero torsional load) disc brake(caliper inside the rotor), underslung exhaust and muffler and multifunctional components like the swing arm oil tank. The result of much of this development resulted in light, stiff framed motorcycles that had very low center of gravity and low unsprung weight. This resulted in great handling and performance. Way beyond my capabilities!

Buell was involved in racing and this year a Buell 1125R motorcycle won the year long Daytona Sportbike Series with Danny Eslick riding. Buell became a wholly owned subsidiary of Harley Davidson in 1992. There were 135,000 Buell motorcycles built. Certainly the only American made sport bike.

I selected my Buell motorcycle for the engineering and innovations that I could see that were built into it. I really could not find any foreign or domestic motorcycles that offered the features and the design that I liked. So it saddens me to see the company be discontinued. My investment in this bike is in jeopardy and parts may be hard to obtain in the future. Also 180 people at the company are out looking for new jobs. I can only hope that somehow it can be resurrected.

Here is the announcment from Erik Buell:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Foulweather Bluff Race 10-3-09

On Saturday, we raced the Foulweather Bluff Race. This race starts at Edmonds, goes to the Foulweather Bluff Buoy, Scatchet Head Buoy and returns to Edmonds. The total distance for the long course is 26 NM.

I went to Edmonds at 1000 on Friday and got a prime spot on the guest moorage. I played tourist and walked to the downtown area of Edmonds. Toward evening the boats started arriving and the harbor soon became packed with boats. I heard that there were 73 entries.

Saturday we had a 1030 start. The sun was out and the wind was about 10 knots. We selected the heavy No. 1 and had a great beat out to Foulweather Bluff. The winds rose around Point No Point to about 20 knots. We had to make a tack in the shipping lanes to clear a large container ship in the inbound lane. We could have changed to the No.3 jib, but the wind would drop to 14 knots for a while and then increase again to 20. The heavy No.1 was doing the job and I could keep the boat moving in the stronger winds. Most boats seemed to carry their larger jibs.

We rounded the mark, but did not set the spinaker as the wind was forward. After about a mile, we set the 3/4 oz spinaker and had a great reach to the Schatchet Head Buoy. We hit 10 knots a few times and with the flood current, we hit 11.2 knots over the bottom. I got a little low of the Schatchet Head buoy. The current was setting us right and the wind came forward a little, but I managed to head up enough to clear the buoy. We jibed shortly after rounding the mark and had a almost dead downwind run to the finish. Again, the current was setting us right.

We had a great time and the crew work was good. We placed 5th out of 8 boats in our class. The heavier boats did the best. A C&C115 was first and two old 40 ft One Tonners placed second and third. We did place ahead of the other two J35's and a Schock 35.

I stayed around untill after the awards and got underway at 1730. The wind was still blowing 20 knots plus and the sound was large waves with whitecaps. I had a good motor home and arrived at Brownsville by 2000.

Results here:

Photos by Jan(many of them):

This is our track for the day. The start area was north of the marina so this chart shows the short tracks to/from the marina to the starting area.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What was Raymarine thinking?

A few years ago, I bought a Raymarine S100 wireless remote controller for my Raymarine autopilot system. The S100 is a great addition to the autopilot. It handles normal pilot, track mode(using GPS output to the autopilot to navigate to waypoints), wind mode(using apparent wind data from the B&G wind instruments) and tack mode. It allows me to handle autopilot functions without being at the autopilot control station that is at the back of the cockpit.

But with all the good comes three items that has me wondering "What was Raymarine thinking?".

1. The S100 is powered with two AAA batteries. In normal warm sunny conditions, these batteries operate for quiet a few hours. But during a winter delivery with some manuvering, the batteries only last 4-5 hours. Of course the batteries die while you are punching buttons in the middle of a maneuver. And there may be a low battery indicator, but who wants to change batteries more often? Larger batteries would have been nice. More on this later.

2. The S100 comes with a neck lanyard and also a holster to wear on your belt. I like the lanyard, partially because I am usually in rain gear and do not have a belt. The lanyard attached to a very tiny plastic bar(about 1/32" dia) on the bottom of the unit. After about a year, the plastic bar broke when the unit got tangled up in my harness. I carefully drilled a hole in the case and screwed in a p-clamp. Why was a stronger lanyard attachement not built into the case?

3. This is the item I really don't understand. Remember I complained in Item No.1 that the battery life during cold days was short? Well changing batteries is a nuisance. The battery pocket cover is held in with two very small screws. The scenerio goes like this: It is a cold winter evening. Your hands are cold. The water choppy. The batteries die. You go below, find the case of jewellers screw drivers and carefully remove the screws laying them on the chart table. You pry out the case cover and change the batteries. Then you try to pick up the small screws(remember your hands are cold) and reinstall them in the back of the case. The screws are easy to drop and fortunatly I have been able to find them on the cabin sole. But doing all this under the dim red light from the chart light with the boat bouncing around can be an ordeal. I have numerous small electronic devices(handheld GPS, altimeter, cyclometers) and with out exception their battery compartment covers are held on with twist lock, cam lock or very large coin operated slotted head screws that are held captive. Very easy and quick to change batteries and still water resitant. No tools required. Why didn't Raymarine think of this?

I will continue to use the S100 a lot and will continue changing bateries and hopefully I can find new screws when I loose the old ones on some cold, dark, windy, winter night........

The Raymarine S100 wireless autopilot remote controller. In the picture the autopilot is running in track mode to a waypoint, recieving data from the Garmin GPS. Cross track error(XTE) appears to be 0.00 NM. This was while crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca, right on course even with current running across my course.

The back of the S100 wireless controller with the battery compartment removed. Notice the tiny phillips head screws. Also the p-clamp screwed into the back of the case where the lanyard attachment broke.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

San Juans Cruise - Day 7

I got underway from 0605 from Friday Harbor. The previous evening the weather was pretty wild. It rained very hard. It was interesting to see people heading out to their anchored boats in open dinghys. But the weather had cleared by the time I left. I motored out the San Juan Channel with a swift ebb current. I hoped that the winds would be westerly, but their was no wind in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It turned into a motor boat trip the whole way. The sun did come out, but it felt cool on the boat. I arrived back at Brownsville at 1525. Not a long run.

Total distance for the cruise: 210 Nautical Miles

I will be home until Friday, when I take the boat to Edmonds for a race there on Saturday. I have a busy day tomorrow taking the racing sails to the boat and the cruising sails home. Also need to do some shopping and buy get a new cell phone to replace the one that fell into the cats water bowl on the second day. Oh well, it was old anyway.

No pictures or tracks today. See "San Juans Cruise - Days 1 and 2" for a similar track to what I did today(only reversed).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

San Juans Cruise - Day 6

Left Jones Island at about 0840. The wind was blowing SW at between 15-20 knots. I sailed with the main and No.3 jib. This was a good combination. I vang sheeted and in tyhe higher gustsw played the main sheet. Pretty lumpy near Jones Island and then calmed near Friday Harbor.

Arrived in Friday Harbor abot 1005. Bought fuel and then found moorage at the reciprocal moorage. Yea free! Rainy today, but expected to clear some tomorrow.

Track for the day. About 6nm straight distance.

San Juans Cruise - Day 5

After a calm night, the wind pick up to about ten knots from the SW.. I was moored to a buoy on the south side of Spencer Spit. I raise the main and sailed off the buoy and headed north through the narrow pass between Frost Iswland and Spencer Spit. Since I had never been hear before, i alwaqys wondered about this narrow passage. There was lots of water. I had motored through there the night before.

I proceeded down Harney Channel and then through Pole Pass. Pole Pass is also very narrow and some people will not go through it. I themn sailed up Spring Pass to the state park moorage at the north end of Jones Island. I had great winds the entire day.

Looking back at the narrow opening between Spencer Spit(right) and Frost Island (left).
Sailing through Pole Pass.

The moorage at Jones Island State Park.

Track for the day. Approxamatly 12 nm.

San Juan Cruise - Day 4

The handicappers meeting went on all day, so did not get underway untill about 1540. My original plan was to go north to Sucia Islands, but the wind was NW at 20 knots and it was pretty lumpy in Bellingham Harbor. So, I headed south with the intent to go to James Island. I had a fast sail to the south end of Decatur Island and then the wind died. I motored to the west side of James Island. The small dock was filled with two boats. So, I continued on to Spencer Spit and picked up a State Park buoy. Arrived in the dark at about 2000. Had a pleasant calm night.

Poor Burrito got seasick leaving Bellingham and barfed up his Kibbles.

Mt Baker from Bellingham Bay.
Track for the day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

San Juans Cruise-Day 3

I do not have anything exciting to report today. No great scenary or sailing pictures to post.

This morning I got up early and went to the Rocky Bay Cafe for breakfast. I had there breakfast burrito, Yum, it is fantastic.

I got underway at 0715 and motored through the middle of the San Juan Islands. This is a great place to travel with the mountains, forests and small passages. It was a bright sunny warm day with no wind untill I got within a couple miles of Bellingham. I timed the currents well and arrived at 1110. Once again, I struck out on reciprical moorage. A small regatta was underway and all the yacht club moorage was reserved

I walked up to a used marine hardware store, but did not find anything exciting,

I am really not a big fan of Bellingham, The actual town is a long hike from the marina and when I was here last year I went up town and did not find anything I wanted to go back to, Was going to ride the bicycle, but lost interest in that too.

Tomorrow is the handicappers meeting and if it gets over by 1500 I will probably leave and go to Matia or Sucia.

I was thinking today. I came to the San Juans for the first time in 1975 and have returned usually once or twice most years since. In those 34 years, I have gone through just about every pass or channel except for two, Lopez and Mosquito. I have not anchored or moored in every harbor, but have sure made a big dent in the list.

Todays motor through the middle of the San Juan Islands.

Friday, September 25, 2009

San Juan Cruise-Days 1 and 2

The ultimate goal for this cruise is to be in Bellingham on Sunday for a handicappers meeting and then be back to Edmonds next Saturday for a race. This means I have to return home on Wednesday. This is a quick trip!

After I had a routine dentist appointment, I got underway at about noon on Thursday. I motored to Boat Haven in Port Townsend and arrived about 1700. The currents were favorable and the winds not too strong. I had hoped to moor at the club reciprocal float, but it was full. Did walk to the Pt Hudson Marina at the other end of town.

I got under way at 0600 on Friday. Initially, the currents were adverse but became favorable after Smith Island. I put the main up and motorsailed, but never saw winds over nine knots. It was a quick trip, I arrived at 1115. Again, the reciprocal moorage was full. Friday Harbor was really busy with lots of Canadian boats leaving when I got in. TRhe sun has been out all day and it is very warm. One casulty is that I dropped the cell phone in the cat's water bowl. Oh well, it is past time for a new phone!

Track for Thursday from Brownsville to Port Townsend.
Track from Port Townsend to San Juan Channel on Friday.

And the final track from San Juan Channel to Friday Harbor.

Burrito wrapped in his Polar Fleece tortilla.

Smith Island, about halfway across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Port of Friday Harbor. Edit: This is like a Where's Waldo, only it is where is Great White? And I can pick it out in this mass of boats!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Port Orchard Yacht Club Fall Regatta and What's Next

The "perfect" start of Race 2. Left to right: Great White, Tantalus, Dulcinea, Tantrum II
Great White leading Dulcinea

Tantrum II overtaking Tantalus
(Photo Credit: Steve N)

Saturday was the Port Orchard Yacht Club's Fall Regatta. This was on the schedule all year, but the organizer had a poor turnout last year and was not planning on running the regatta. The crew of Dulcinea(J105) had not raced since Whidbey Island Race Week and were going through withdrawls. So they pressured the organizer to put on the regatta and pressured other racers to participate.

So, this regatta was set up as a three race series starting at Port Orchard Yacht Club(POYC) and racing around various permanent buoys in Sinclair Inlet. The day was wet and the winds were 5-10 knots out a very unusual NE direction.

Race 1 was the shortest course available and was 2.8 NM long. We had four boats starting: Dulcinea (J105), Tantrum II(Schock 35), Tantalus(Express 37) and Great White(J35). All the boats except Dulcinea rated the same. We owed Dulcinea 20 sec/mile. I got rushed at the start and ended up near the pin end of the line. We did have good winds, but the boats on the right did better and Tantalus lead at the weather mark. They did a bear away set that took them to the right side of the course. We did a jibe set and was able to lay the leeward mark without jibing. Dulcinea closed some on us, but at the leeward mark we tacked away early and got stronger winds on the left side. We finished first and saved our time on Dulcinea. Tantrum II was third and Tantalus fourth.

Race 2 was set up as a longer course at 4.6 miles. This course has one weather mark to the east near Retsil and another weather mark across Sinclair Inlet near Pt Herron off East Bremerton. The finish was going to be a downwind finish, there was no leeward mark. Everyone had an excellant start and were lined up perfectly down the line. We were at the boat(breakwater) end of the line. We pulled away, but dit not cover Tantrum II who went right and got ahead of us. Near the first mark, we gained on Tantrum II and rounded less than one boatlength behind. The next leg is usually a beat, but since the wind had so musch east in it, it was a beam reach. Tantrum II pulled ahead again. At the next mark, we jibed around and stayed low of the finish and in better current. Tantrum went higher. The wind was too close for spinakers but as soon as it started coming aft, both Tantrum and us set spinakers at the same time. Tantrum stayed a few boat lengths ahead but was 75 yards to weather. As we neared the finish, the wind came slightly aft and we reached up and passed Tantrum finishing ahead of them by 2 seconds! Tantrum was second, Dulcinea was third and Tantalus finished fourth.

Race 3 was two laps around the same course as Race 1 for a total of 5.6 NM. The start was hectic and everyone was over early. We cleared ourselves and gained on everyone on the beat. We jibe set again. This time the wind was more northerly and we had to jibe twice. Dulcinea passed us on the run. We gained on the second beat, passed Dulcinea and jibe set again. This time the wind was more east again and we sailed the leg again without jibing. The boats behind did bear away sets. We crossed the line first, but could not save our time on Dulcinea and they corrected on us by 48 seconds. So for the last race it was Dulcinea, Great White, Tantrum and Tantalus.

Boat Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Total

Great White 1 1 2 4

Dulcinea 2 3 1 6

Tantrum II 3 2 3 8

Tantalus 4 4 4 2

This series was a whole lot of fun. I did not take it too seriously and used my "B" sails. Our crew work was excellant and I think everyone had a fun time.

Now, what's next? After the racing was finished for the day, I took the racing mainsail off and today rigged the cruising main. I also rigged the jack lines tonight and brought home the racing sails and put the bicycle on board. I am putting the boat into cruising mode for a trip north. I have a handicappers meeting in Bellingham and I thought "why not take the boat". If all goes according to plan I should get reciprocal moorage at the yacht club where the meeting is being held. Following the meeting, I plan on taking a quick trip through the San Juans. After I arrive home, I will have one day to convert the boat back into a racing boat(change sails, unload cruising gear) and then head to the other side of Puget Sound for a major race.
And then after the next race? Well, there may still be time to hike the High Divide Loop out of Sol Duc. It is only 18 miles.