Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Shakedown Race-WSSA #2-More Pictures

Getting ready to take the spinnaker down at the Waterman Mark.

Here we are after rounding the Waterman Mark and starting to beat back to the start/finish line.

"Tantrum II", "Great White" and "Tantalus".

Thanks to the Massey twins for braving the cold, wet weather to take these photos.

More photos on: Spring Shakedown_1

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Shakedown Race-WSSA #2

Today was the Port Orchard Yacht Club Spring Shakedown Race. It is the second race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race started at the Port Orchard Yacht Club. This is a 1-1/2 hour delivery from Brownsville. I was underway at 0822.

"Tantrum II" got underway at the same time and we ran together. This is the boat that I helped cut the transom out. See Feb 25, 2009 post. This is the first outing since the mods. He completed the stern rails and rigging yesterday.

All week the forecast was for strong winds from the S/SE. Yesterday the forecast changed to 10-15 knots from the SE and SW. Changing to NW to 25 knots in the evening. The day started out with 5-10 knots of wind from the SE and heavy RAIN!

The race started in light SE winds. We got a good start and lead to the first windward mark , set the spinaker and had a run/reach to the Waterman mark in 4-8 knots of wind. We rounded the Waterman Mark with "Schock Therapy" within a few minutes behind us. On the beat, we short tacked up the Manette shore and in towards the Bremerton Marina to get a boost from the ebb flowing out of Port Washington Narows. The winds stayed light to the start/finish line at Port Orchard. "Schock Therapy" was comfortably behind us with the rest of the fleet waaaay back. The race committee ended the race after the first race of about 8 miles. The race was suppose to include another lap of 4 miles. "Schock Therapy" finished about 3 minutes behind us. "Schock Therapy" did not get a finishing signal. Seems that they entered too late and ran their motor after the 5 minute horn at the start.

The winds died after we finished. The commitee's decision to shorten the race was probably a wise one. We were first to finish and easily saved our time for first in class and overall. "Dulcinea" should be 2nd, "Tantalus" 3rd and "Tantrum II" 4th.

Here is "Dulcinea" , "Tantalus" and "Tantrum II" finishing about an hour behind us.

Once again, I am very happy with our teamwork and the great job the crew did. Also the new sails looked great! It was a good day to be on the water even though it was cold, rainy and had light winds!

The winds did starting blowing from the north on the motor home making for a cold ride.

Log: 28.4 nautical miles


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Road Trip to Port Townsend

I went on a road trip today to Port Townsend. I thought about taking the motorcycle, but it was a bit frosty this morning, so I drove the pickup.

It actually turned out to be a warm day. I drove the back way through Port Ludlow and Hadlock. I stopped at Old Fort Townsend State Park where this old building was located. I have seen this before and have always had questions about the placard.

This placard mentions a high power x-ray machine. Must have been way before my time(and everyone elses), because nobody where I worked had heard of this machine being used for propeller shaft inspections.
I drove on to Fort Worden State Park. The Straits of Juan de Fuca were very calm. Wished I could have been on the boat crossing today. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will take a short cruise to the San Juan Islands.

This is one of the old gun emplacements at Fort Worden. They date from the late 1800's, early 1900's when the thinking was that three forts(Worden, Casey and Flagler) positioned at this entrance to Admiralty Inlet would sink any enemy ships trying to enter Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound. When military aircraft were put into service, these forts soon became obsolete. For trivia addicts, this is where the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" was filmed.

My main reason for going to Port Townsend was to go to the used book store downtown. I am looking for books from a specific NW author. Alas, the book store did not have any books that I was interested in. Took side trips to Point Hudson Marina and the Boat Haven Boat Yards.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

South Sound Series Race #4- Islands Race

This weekend concluded the South Sound Series Races with the completion of the Islands Race. This race starts outside the entrance of Gig Harbor, runs north through Colvos Passage to a buoy set north of Blake Island and returns to Gig Harbor. The race is 29.5 nautical miles long, but can be shortened if necessary.

I started my delivery from Brownsville to Gig Harbor on friday morning. I was underway by 0815. It was cold and rainy with winds from the south at about 15 knots. Since it was a delivery, I hunkered behind the dodger and motored, arriving at the Jerisich Park public dock at 1205. "Dulcinea", who is also from my marina was the only boat there, but the owner had already left for home. I went up town to the used book store and found three old books. One was by a local author from the 30's. It was not the book I was looking for, but it looks interesting anyway.

Towards afternoon, the wind and rain picked up and blew more from the west. The wind built until it was reported that Gig Harbor had a maximum gust of 46 MPH(not knots). Boats were still coming in and it was fun trying to get them moored. After that squall moved through, the skies cleared and it got cold. Got a great dinner to go from the local Mexican Restaurant and settled in for the night. It was 28 degrees F when I got up Saturday morning.

Saturday morning was cold and foggy. The crew showed up, we got the boat rigged and were underway by 0915 with a 1010 start. The fog burned off and the sun came out and the coats came off. The winds were pretty non existent and the race committee delayed the start for about 90 minutes.

We started under spinaker with light winds from the SE. The current always flows north in Colvos Pass, so along with trying to go fast, we also looked for "rivers" of current to help us along. "Declaration of Independence" (DOI) and us jumped out to an early lead. We crossed paths with DOI for a while until they got ahead. Staying in the middle of the pass, we seemed to hold our own and many of our competition who went toward shore were left behind. About 3/4's of the way up Colvos, the wind died and acted like it was going to reverse direction to the north. The boats ahead from other classes stopped and we caught up to them. Boats behind caught up to us. We worked to the east side of the pass with some of the boats in our class. DOI and "Grace E"(another J35) went to the west shore. The wind finally filled in from the east and we had a nice spinaker reach toward Blake Island. Two boats in our class, "Intuition"(C&C37XL) and "Zorra" (C&C115) got ahead of us and when the wind filled in on the West shore, Grace E also got ahead. We rounded the NE corner of Blake Island and continued NW for an extra 1/2 mile before jibing towards the west to the rounding mark where the race was being shortened. Most boats stayed closer to Blake Island where the winds were lighter and we passed all the boats in our class except "Grace E" for 2nd place in our class. "Intuition" was third, "Zorra" was 4th, "Something Special" (another J35) was 5th and DOI was 6th. Since this was the last race of the series, the results for the series are as follows:

Zorra- 1st
Something Special-2nd
Great White- 3rd

DOI was 4th for the series. Normally they are the class winner and have been the top boat in the entire NW for several years. This was a great accomplishment for the three top boats.

Since Blake Island is only 10 nautical miles from home, we unloaded three of our crew to "Something Special" and motored home. It was an excellant day. I actually got a little sunburned on my face.

All of locations of these South Sound Series races are 24-50 nautical miles from Brownsville and can become an interesting delivery. I look at it at a chance to spend time on the boat. This delivery and race amounted to about 50 nautical miles for the weekend, a pretty decent outing for the first weekend of spring.

Hopefully pictures on a subsequent post. Sean Trew was also taking video of use at the finish. I never have time to take pictures while I am racing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In support of the Saimakers Economic Stimulus Program

With the state of the economy, I thought it would be a good idea to support the local sailmakers by purchasing two new sails. I ordered a new mainsail and light No.1 genoa. They finally arrived and today I was able to sail with the main for a little while. The wind was too strong to use the genoa.

The mainsail looks good and seems to fit the boat better than the last ,mainsail that I bought in 2001. The new sails are laminated with yarns of kevlar laminated between layers of mylar like material. Unlike the last sails, these are not assembled from cut panels, they are pretty much one piece with only a few seams across the body of the sail. The yarns take most of the load.

The old sails are still usable, but are delegated to backup duties as the "B" sails. As an old racing boat, I also have a "C" racing main, light genoas up to a "D" sail, a dacron delivery/cruising main and several backup heavy jibs.
Other racers supported the Sailmaker Economic Stimulus Program last saturday by participating in a race in Seattle from Shilshole to Scatchet Head and back. The winds blew a steady 25 knots with gusts to nearly 40. I was not there, but the photos and videos were assume. The sail loft was covered in damaged sails.
This weekend I am off to Gig Harbor for the Islands Race, the 4th race of the South Sound Series.
Where old sails rest until needed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Well, it IS still Winter!

This morning when I left the house at 0800 to go to church, it had been snowing for about a half hour. Big, sloppy, wet flakes.

By the time I got home at 1200, the snow had stopped but there was an accumulation of about three inches.

I personally think that this is neat. Unfortunatly, it can be a hardship for some. The wind has built and the rain has started. This accumulation should be gone shortly. It was never that cold anyway. It was about 35 degrees F when I left the house. This has been forecast for several days.
I hope my "live aboard " retiree friends in AZ can appreciate this and get their "dinghys" out for a long ride.
Today will be a good day to work on some projects in my shop, especially since there is no NASCAR racing today.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Excellent Day

Today the weather was about as good as it can get in the NW for this time of year. Beautiful clear skies and temps in the upper 50's. Tomorrow it is suppose to rain and there is a chance of more snow by Sunday.

I went for a bicycle ride today. It was not very far, 10.4 statute miles from home down town and back. The route is hilly on the return.

Then went for a motorcycle ride to Bainbridge Island and back. I have done some more work on the motorcycle and it runs a lot better and I feel more confident that it is reliable enough to take longer day trips. I would like to go to Port Townsend the next time the weather gets nice. What I really would like to do though is buy a new motorcycle. The last one I bought was in 1982, and I am still riding it. One of my early blogs from summer 2008 shows pictures of it.

Here is a picture of what could be my next motorcycle. It is a Buell Ulysses XB12X. They call it an "Adventure Sportbike". It has most of the same features of the rest of the Buell line except the suspension is beefed up and the ground clearance increased to give it fire road capability as well as touring ability. I need to take a test ride yet, but this seems to fit my needs. Reports are that it is still comfortable on the road and luggage can be retrofitted if storage is needed for longer trips. The weight is quite light and the center of gravity is low in these bikes. The engine is based on the Harley V-twin with 73.4 cubic inch displacement, 103 hp and 84 ft/lbs of torque. I like the engineering that has been put into these bikes. Sorry Scott and Dave, I really don't find anything in the HD line that I like. I did look at the new Sporster XR1200, but it really did not appeal to me that much. Suprisingly, I don't find much in the Japanese line either. After being a hard core Honda guy for nearly 40 years, it may be time for a change.

Now for the trivia experts lurking out there. Here is the distance that I rode the bicycle today:

10.4 statute miles= 9.037352896 Nautical Miles=16.7371776 Kilometers(when converted using a calculator and false accuracy (as an instructor informed me once)) and :

10.4 statute miles=9.04 Nautical Miles=16.70 Kilometers (when converted using a slide rule)

The computer on the bicycle can record distances in Statute miles or Kilometers. I leave it on Statute Miles. If I ride to the boat and want to know how far it is in Nautical Miles, I need to convert from Statute Miles.

I know, it really does not make a difference and the only time I use Nautical Miles is when I am underway on the boat for distances that the boat travels or needs to travel and kilometers only when I am traveling on land outside our country. The traditional definition of a Nautical Mile is one minute of arc along a meridian or line of longitude. One degree=60 minutes. Angle from north pole to equator=90 degrees= 5400 minutes=5400 nautical miles. Ok, I am sorry to try to lecture! Schools out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sorry for the inconvenience.

I always thought that it would be fun to have a blog as a way to communicate my activities to family and friends especially during out of town trips. I have visions of being on the road and on the water a lot in the future and a blog would be a good "travel log" for those that read it and a form of journal for myself. Many of the blogs that I read are informative and are journals of daily activities and "travel logs". Comments to my blog are a way to know if anyone even reads it. Unfortunately I have been getting some inappropriate comments.

Therefore, I have activated "comment moderation". What this means is that anytime a comment is posted to my blog, I get to screen it first and I can reject the inappropriate comment or user. Most users will only notice that their comments may not show up immediately or maybe not at all. Anonymous comment posters may be at risk of being rejected.

Hopefully this will rectify the situation. If it doesn't then the next step will be to require a log in process for friends that want to even read the blog. I really do not want to do that!

Once again, sorry for the inconvenience and I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time for a new racing bouy.

Today I helped set a new racing bouy in Sinclair Inlet. Two clubs use and maintain two bouys that are set permenatly. Problem with one is that it was set too close to a lane used by commercial tugs and barges that anchor farther up the inlet. We think that they run over the bouys. This is the third bouy set in this location since 2001. For thirty years we used to use the Navy mooring bouys, but after 9/11, those areas are off limits. The new bouy is set closer to the south shore on Sinclair Inlet and hopefully will be less likely to be run over.

The Port of Bremerton graciously provide one of their boats and operator to carry the bouy, chain and anchor out to the location. Tom B. stenciled the bouy and cast the anchor. I loaded them into my truck and gave him a ride down to the Port Orchard launching ramp. Tom B., Bob B. and I rode the boat out and set it in the right location. The sail chairmen from the two clubs wanted to help, but something called "work" kept them away. So us three federal retirees pulled this job off.

The bouy system is pretty substantial. The bouy is a plastic barrel. The anchor is a bucket filled with about eighty pounds of concrete. And the chain is well, very heavy.

Tom B. and Bob B. attaching the chain and anchor to the new bouy.

Race Bouy #2.
And just because I am not in the photos, I did help. I helped load the gear onto the boat. I also "dropped" the anchor over the side.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where are we now?

I am kind of a sucker for older instruments and plotting tools. A few years ago while I was on four months of temporary duty in Japan, I started collecting slide rules. OK, so I was kind of bored and I discovered Ebay! The other engineer with me and I had a lot of fun biding on these collectables. I already had a few slide rules left over from my college days in the early 70's. Now I have about 20 of all types. Picketts, Posts, pocket size, full size, circulars. I tried to buy one of every style and brand. I was good at using them in college and my early days at Boeings. The last few years at work, it was really fun to pull one out and show the young engineers. Most of my slide rules are older than the engineers. Even though I use calculators, I keep a slide rule on board the boat as well as a time-speed-distance circular slide rule. The time-speed-distance slide rule is a usual item on most well found boats I have been on. My dad taught me to use it when I was 12. I am definatly not afraid of picking one up and using it if there is a need. I often find them quicker for some calculations than the calculator, especially if acuracy beyond three places is not required.

Along with my slide rule collection, I like to collect other drafting, plotting and navigation tools as shown below. The three arm protrator is Soviet Union navy surplus. My oldest sextant that I have had for over 40 years is not in this picture. Seems strange to think that a kid in junior high would spend hard earned money buying a sextant and learning how to use it!

Onboard the boat I keep several plotting instruments(parallel rules, paragliders, triangles, protractor, dividers) for use on paper charts or plotting boards. Always useful for plotting position when using the handbearing compass or plotting courses. These are all skills that have not gone away even with modern devices onboard. They are still taught and tested for advanced endorsements.

And yet, look were we are now. This is the nav station onboard my boat. Actually more instruments than are probably needed. My boat is not that large and does not have a fancy sit down nav station like a lot of cruising boats. Oh, the counter top is also the top of the icebox!
I do like the GPS chartplotter and the computer with navigation software. I have a complete set of electronic charts from San Diego to the Artic Ocean. When motoring, the GPS slaved to the autopilot can steer a better course than I can. The radar gives me more confidence when travelling in the fog. This is pretty much it. No fancy chart plotter in the cockpit. There is an instrument in the cockpit that displays "numbers" from the GPS(SOG, COG, CTE, BTW, DTW, etc), plus there are also the usual wind, speed and depth displays.
All these things are part of a sailors well stocked toolbox!