Saturday, February 28, 2009

Port Madison Race-WSSA #1

Today was the first race of the West Sound Sailing Association (WSSA) 2009 series. This is a series of seven sailboat races in the West Sound area(Bremerton, Port Orchard, Brownsville, Poulsbo and Port Madison). It continues through June.

We got underway from Brownsville at 0800 for the 1-1/2 hour motor to Pt Madison. It was cold and clear, 36 degrees when I left the house and some frost on the dock. Our start was scheduled for 1010. Our class consisted of an electic mix of boats: Mumm36, Schock35, 6meter, Sierra 26, Express 37, C&C43, another J35 and a few others.

This race is 16.5 nautical miles long. It starts at Pt Monroe near the south side of Port Madison. First mark is a club bouy near Presidents PT on the north shore of Port Madison. From there it goes across Puget Sound to a navigational bouy at West point, back across Puget Sound to a red nun at Wing Point at Eagle Harbor. Then back to the finish at Pt Monroe.

The winds were from the north at about 8 knots at the start. The weather mark was on the north side of Pt Madison near Presidents PT. We had a great start, stayed high and squeezed up on "Dos", the Sierra 26 forcing him to tack. The Mumm36 went low and fast, and overstood the mark. We were first around with the Mumm and the 6meter close behind.

Next was a 6 mile run across Puget Sound to the buoy off West Pt. The wind built to 14-16 knots and we had a nice fast broad reach. "Dos" started planning and past us before the mark. The very well sailed C&C43 started closing on us. The Mumm went way to the left and gave up a lot of distance. We gained a little on the Schock35.

We pulled off a good jibe and into another broad reach to the red nun bouy off Wing PT at Eagle Harbor. "Dos" went high, but we stayed lower. I had trouble picking up the mark. Also the current was ebbing from left to right forcing us higher. We should have gone lower and did as we approached the mark. We gained some on "Dos", but the C&C43 went low early in the run and gained some more. We still rounded second. During the run, we changed headsails from the Light No.1 to the Heavy No. 1

The beat to the finish was fun. The wind stayed in the 12knot range and for once, we got to play the middle of the sound instead of the edges looking for current relief. We gained on the Mumm, Schock 35, C&C43 and closed up some on "Dos". Near the finish at Pt Monroe, the wind started lifting and we cracked off some. As "Dos" got close to Pt Monroe at the finish, they had a big knock and had to tack. We stayed high and avoided the header and finished about a minute behind "Dos". There always seems to be a bit of a suprise with the finish of this race! We owed time to "Dos", so they corrected on us and probably corrected first. The Mumm finished a couple of minutes behind us(they owed us time) and the C&C43 finished about 3 minutes behind us. We owed them time, they may have corrected on us. The Schock35 finished close to the C&C43. We rate the same as them. There was a big gap to the rest of the fleet, so results are difficult to determine.

When results are posted, they can be found here:

It was a great day to be on the water. The crew did a great job and everyone seemed to have a good time. My only regret, is I wish I could post some photos, but I am always too busy to get the camera out. The tactician might yell at me if I tried too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Boat Surgery

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY BOAT!

The last two days I have been helping a fellow sailboat competitor cut the transom out of his boat. Why would he do that you ask? He has a Schock 35, that is a popular racer/cruiser built in the early 90's. In California, there are pretty large fleets racing. As a way to modernize their boats, the original builder,W.D. Schock, designed a modification to the transom that allows for access straight out of the end of the cockpit. The new extension allows for more cockpit area as well. The owner of this boat has small children and this will help get them from boat to dinghy.

It was pretty cold yesterday and today. Could snow tomorrow. The boat is out of the water in Port Orchard. Fortunatly we had a good cover built over the boat and the yard let us use there scaffolding to work from. At least we are staying dry.
We still do not have the new cockpit extension completly fitted into the cutout. We are taking "baby steps" in cutting out the old structure. Better to "measure twice and cut once". Or is that "measure once and cut twice". Oh no, I can never get that right!
Here is the extension setting in place. Still a lot to do, When fitted he needs to glass it in. Then the rudder stock needs to be cut down and refitted to match the new bearing installation in the deck. He also needs to extend the backstay, relocate checkstay blocks, relocate exhuast as well as new lifelines and rails.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Mini Laptop

A couple of months ago, I bought this neat little computer. Now before you get into brand bashing, I will say that it is a Dell Mini 9. I know, not everyone is a Dell fan. I have had good luck with the three I own. Hp, ACER and others make similar small computers, but there are differances.

This little guy is for me, the neatest computer I have ever owned. It is only a 9 inch screen and ends up being about the size and weight of a medium sized hard back novel. Other features I like is that it has no hard drive. I did opt for 16 Gb of solid state memory. This is adequate for my needs as a computer to use when I travel. Includes WIFI. I have a 320 Gb external harddrive and an external CD/DVD/player/burner for larger files and the times when I want to load or unload files. Works great as a DVD player. It boots up quickly and operates fast. Will operate 4 hours on the battery. Without a hard drive I hope that it will be more durable.

Hp's and ACER's mini computers are similar(OK, Hp's is a 10 inch) but they also have 120 Gb hard drives. I would think that they would use more power as well as being more fragile. I followed a couple of cyclists last year that did cross country treks from Neah Bay to Florida. One started out with a 12 inch laptop only to have it break half way across country. He bought a mini and was happy with its size and light weight. The other cyclist had a mini laptop the whole time. I could invision using it when I bike tour, as well as car camping and sailing. Now I need to research solar panels to keep it charged when I am on the road. Many backpacking styles are available.

I still have my heavy duty desk top with all my big applications loaded for home and office use. But I often carry the Mini around the house with me. With wireless internet, I am never out of touch!

After years of lugging my huge Dell 15 inch laptop all over the world, I wished I would have had this little guy!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Delivery From Olympia to Brownsville

After another night on the boat, I got underway at 0630 on sunday morning. It was cold, 28 degrees with frost on the deck, but clear and calm. After about an hour, the wind started blowing and the sky clouded over. It got really cold and I bundled up, even putting on the motorcycle goggles, they helped a lot. I had an eye problem a couple weeks ago and my eyes are sensitive to the wind and cold.

The Narrows was ebbing at about 3knots and made for a fast trip except the wind was also blowing against the current at abou 25knots and created a nasty chop that really slowed the boat down. All the way up Colvos Pass it was really sloppy with lots of water coming over the boat. Fortunatly by the time I reached Brownsville, the winds had abated to about 7knots. That made docking easier. I arrived at the marina about 1425, not a slow passage.

The new and old Narrows Bridges.

Toliva Shoal Race 2009- South Sound Series Race #3

Toliva Shoal race is not noted for having a lot of wind. I don't know why that is-geography, global warming, time of the year, who knows. It is noted for shortened courses and lots of DNF's. I did finish the complete course in the early 80's when the wind blew strong the whole day. 2006 was also a great year and the entire 36.8 miles was completed, but alas I was moving out of my house and onto the boat that day.

Olympia yacht club sponsored another great breakfast and we got out on the water for a 1010 start. The winds were only a couple of knots, but at least the current was favorable most of the day. We drifted out of Budd Inlet into Dana Pass and swept toward Johnson Point. A little breeze came up just before Johnson Point where the race committee wisely shortened the race to about 9 miles. We finished at about 1400, five seconds behind Grace E, another J35. We placed 6th out of 8 boats in our class. Declaration of Independence, a usual winner in our class placed behind us in 7th. It was a nice warm, sunny day on the water, JUST NO WIND!

For a video that shows some of the exciting action, view the following(Thanks Sean!):

I motored back to Olympia instead of continuing on to Gig Harbor and kicking eyeryone off the boat to find there own way back to their cars in Olympia. The Olympia Yacht Club had delicious soup after the race. YUM!

Boat Delivery to Olympia

Where our tax dollars are spent!

Percival Landing, Olympia Washington

In preparation for the Toliva Shoal Race on Saturday, I started delivering the boat south on Thursday. It is about 56 nautical miles from Brownsville to Olympia, not a long distance for a one day delivery. But, the currents in the Narrows and the south sound would be adverse for most of the day. My thoughts were to go to Gig Harbor which is about halfway to Olympia and just before the Narrows.

I got underway around 0930. I expected to top off the fuel tank at the marina before I left. They were leak testing the system and it would be down for 45 minutes. No problem, I could pick up fuel at Gig Harbor.

I motored 4 hours to Gig Harbor. It was a clear cool day. But alas, there is no longer a fuel dock in Gig Harbor, so I called ahead and found a place closer to Olympia to buy fuel. I wandered around town some and bought a couple of books at the used book store.

I was under way at 0550 and had about 2 hours of flood that carried me past Balch Pass and McNeil island before it started ebbinging. I bought fuel at Boston Harbor about 4 miles from Olympia. I arrived early at Olympia at about 1040. I played tourist and walked up to the Capitol building. It was a nice clear day again and by mid afternoon boats started arriving. Not as many boats showed up as has been seen in previous years.

Olympia yacht club sponsored a great prime rib dinner for the race contestants.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It Is Still Winter

Yard covered in snow, but not enough to ski!

Yesterday another snow storm blew thru. It snowed most of the day untill after dark, quite heavy at times. Accumulation was only about 2 inches, more west out by Hood Canal. I was working on the boat during the worst of it and got soaked. This morning the sun came out and most of the snow has melted.

Tommorow I am underway early with the boat. I need to top off the fuel tank and then get underway by 0930. Probably motor to Gig Harbor(4 hours) where I will spend the night. I have not been to Gig Harbor in a while and am looking forward to exploring some. Need to go to the used book store and Kelly's novelty if it still exists.

Friday, I plan on getting underway by 0600 and ride the flood through the Narrows. Should get to Olympia by 1100. May wander up to the State Capital to see my tax dollars at work!

Sounds like the winds are suppose to be light through the weekend. Typical Toliva Shoal race! And to make it better, there is still a chance of snow for the next three days.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Boat Projects

This was part of my project on my boat today. This is a new jib halyard made from the rope that I bought yesterday in Seattle. A jib halyard is a line that runs up the mast, over a sheave and back down. It is used for raising the jib(the forward sail on a sloop). Anyway, we broke the jib halyard last April. The actual cause of it breaking remains a mystery, but since it broke in the splice near the end, I was able to shorten and resplice it. It worked fine until I could replace it. I tried to buy new line, but it was "always on order" until yesterday.

This line is of double braid construction and is what is referred to as "core dependent". It has a braided core of Vectran material that carries the load(core dependent) and an outer cover of polyester to protect the line and give it the diameter and finish to be able to pull and winch on it. It is immensly strong. It started out 110 feet long. I removed 41 feet of the cover where it was not needed and tucked a foot and a half of cover inside the core where the transition occurs. I then spliced an eye in the end of the "stripped" core to attach the snap shackle. The other end of the halyard also recieved an eye, but it was the end of the cover tucked inside itself and sewn to provide a light duty eye for pulling the halyard into the mast with the old halyard. OK, so now you know how I got it run up the inside of the mast, over the sheave and back down to the deck. I also prepared and installed a similar halyard for the mainsail. Each one took me an hour each. Tommorow I have two more lines to splice. These are control lines for the check stays(rigging that controls the bend of the mast). I have not decided if I want to strip the cover off or just put an eye splice in each one.

I have always enjoyed working with line and splicing. 40 years ago my dad and I built a 15 foot sloop. I wanted to use Samson double braid running rigging. Both my dad and I knew how to splice 3 strand. Some how I learned to perform the double braid splice. Since then I have always done my own rigging and splicing on all my boats. Making all rope halyards is easy. I used to use wire rope on my previous boats and I spliced the double braid rope into the wire rope. That was a lot of work!

Well, that was one item off the boat "to do" list. Many more to go!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dan Federici 1950-2008

I am a Bruce Springsteen fan. I am sure most of you don't know that. Yesterday at Costco I picked up the latest album from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band. Inside was a eulogy for Dan Federici who died of lymphoma in April 2008. He played the organ and sometimes the accordian for the band. He was one of the first members of the E Street band and was involved with Bruce in another band in the late 60's. He was a wildman on the keyboard and really got into his music. I looked for him on the Super Bowl halftime show and could not pick him out and now I know why. His son filled in on the accordian in a couple of the albums songs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Boat Maintenance and Other Stuff

Oh The Joy Of Boat Ownership!
Look Ma, No Hands!

Some of you have owned boats, so you know how much work goes on keeping ahead of maintenance issues. And then there is always some mod that needs to be done.

This week I have finally got out of my funk and started doing some work on the boat. I was also sick for last week and the weather was cold and ........ I have all sorts of excuses. So this week I started a small project.

I bought new LED running lights a couple of years ago and did replace the bow combo light. Monday I rode the motorcycle down to the boat and put two new bolts(with self-locking nuts) in the bow light. Afterwards I rode to Port Gamble and back. Yesterday I rode one of the bicycles down to the boat with all the tools I needed(drill, bits, wrench). My goal was to install a new stern light. I had to drill new mounting holes in the stainless steel mounting plate while squeezed thru the upper and lower tubes of the stern rail.. That was the hardest part. Bolting it up and hooking up the wires was easy. Only lost one self-locking nut and a small screwdriver over the side. Next I have a multi-position nav light switch to install. Doing electrical work on these boats is easy and fun!

Today, no work on the boat, but did go for a long bicycle ride. The weather this week has been spectacular.

Since I only live 5 miles from the boat, part of my plan was to outfit my ex-commuter bicycle with small panniers so that I can use it for running errands and taking tools and small stuff to the boat. I have actually used it to buy groceries at Fred Meyer's. Tommorow, I am planning to take this bike to Seattle and ride to Fisheries Supply. I need to buy some hi-tech rope to splice a new halyard and some controls lines. Saves the gas, ferry fare and gives me some excercise as well.

Next Saturday we are racing out of Olympia for the Toliva shoals race. I have not decided if I will leave on Thursday or Friday. The currents in the Tacoma Narrows are not very good for making it in one day. If I go on Thursday, I will stop in Gig Harbor for that night and get to Olympia early on Friday. I need to get busy on more boat maintenance and prep!

Ordered a couple of new sails, but they will not be ready until late February.

Need to ensure that the boat is in good shape for some cruising too. For some time I have been planning a cruise to Friday Harbor and the San Juan Islands for late this winter or early spring. That is something I have always wanted to do and is on my list of things to do when retired.

On the retirement issue: I recieved my first interim annuity check on time and directly to my checking account. The system is working! The amount was quite small though. It was suppose to be 75-80% of my anticipated pay, but was only about 60%. Good thing my income tax refund should be here in a couple of days.