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.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cursive Penmanship

Today in the local newspaper was an article titled "Is Technology Erasing Cursive Penmanship?". I found it interesting. With modern technology like texting and computers, a lot of people are not writing anymore. It further mentioned that most schools do not teach cursive penmanship beyond grade three. How many of you remember the hours of drawing loops? And that the writing is most legible by grade four and degrades after that.

I always had poor penmanship. I remember being called to Mrs Hoffman's desk in front of the class in Grade five and embarressed because my penmanship was poor. By junior high, nobody seemed to care anymore. In high school, I always had a full load of science, math, history, etc. classes and never had time to take a typing class. But, I did take mechanical drawing and we had to learn to "letter". That could be considered printing, but we used guide lines and the strokes for each letter were precise(you always "pulled" the pencil). So, when I got my first job at Boeings and later at the Shipyard, all of us drafters, techs and engineers prepared drawings by hand. Usually the first sheet of a large drawing contained the notes, LOTS of notes. It sometimes could take a couple days to letter in the notes. My lettering became very "readable". Fortunatly we had secrataries who could type letters and other documents.

After many years of hand drafting, I started forgetting how to write and anything I wrote became a combination of writing and lettering. The newspaper article also mentioned this. Part way thru my career, we started preparing our drawings using computer systems. Since I had not learned to type, I struggled with any of the computer applications that required much typing. I was definatly a two finger "hunt and peck" person. As my career progressed, we employed fewer secrataries and the techs and engineers had to prepare their own letters and documents. Fortunataly my typing had improved, but I was not particulary fast. But the ability to edit what you type is invaluable!

And my cursive penmanship has gotten worse. I can hardly read anything I write. Is this a case of "use it or lose it"? How many of you can still write?

The article from the newspaper:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Camp Muir Hike

On Thursday I went to Mt Ranier to hike up the Muir snowfield to Camp Muir. Camp Muir is a collection of huts situated on a saddle on the southeast side of Mt Ranier at 10080ft. It is used by climbers on the Ingraham Glacier/Disapointment Cleaver Route to spend the night before their early morning ascent of the mountain. The snow field starts at the end of the trail at Pebble Creek at 7200ft. Normally the snow is deep and soft. This year due to our unseasonably warm weather, a lot of the snow had melted leaving large areas of rock and on the upper slopes the snow was mostly non existent and the slope was ice with large open crevasses. Melt water was constantly cascading over the ice. The distance from Paradise at 5420 ft to Camp Muir is 4.1 miles.

I was underway from the house at 0515 and started up the trail at 0844. The trail climbs rapidly and the first mile is paved for the tourists that frequent this area. It was cool when I started but warmed up quickly and I was soon overheated and taking off my outer clothing.

At Pebble Creek I started up the first snow. It was crusty and hard to kick steps. After the second patch of snow, I followed others up the rock field to the left. This was probably not the smartest thing to do. Even though a lot of people had form a crude path to follow, climbing over the rocks was tiring. Just below Anvil Rock(about 9500 ft.) I finally reached some serious ice. Some people without crampons or poles crossed a small finger of ice and went way right to the rocks under Anvil Rock. I put on my crampons and started off across the ice directly toward Camp Muir. With the crampons it was a lot easier than climbing on the rocks. I followed wands that marked a route around and thru the crevasses. Water was constantly running over the ice.

I reached Camp Muir at about 1345. I ate some lunch and started down at about1415. I travelled with three climbers and with crampons the descent went rapidly. At one point we wandered near the rocks and there was recent snow. I stepped thru a thin spot up to my thigh and fell on my face. I popped right up and moved back to the ice, but the guy behind me stepped into the same area and he fell on his face. I thought he saw me fall.

The ice ran out and I followed a stream of melt water thru some rocks to the next section of snow at about 8000 feet. By now, the sun had softened the snow so that it was manageable without the crampons. When I got to Pebble Creek, I noticed that the heat of the day had caused the creek to rise and the rocks I had walked over in the morning were now underwater. I got across but was tricky finding rocks to step on.

The descent down to Paradise was a killer. The pounding of the rock steps and later the asphalt made my legs really sore. I got back to the truck at 1700 and was out of the parking lot by 1715 and home at 2000. When I stepped out of the truck to get the mail, I just about fell down. My legs were so stiff!
Distance: 9.21 miles total(measured by GPS)
Total elevation gain: 4590 feet (measured by altimeter)

Mt Ranier from the Paradise parking lot.

Mt Ranier from higher elevation. Nisqually Glacier in the foreground.

Looking down the snowfield from Camp Muir, Mt St Helens in the distance to the right and
Mt Hood in Oregon in the far distance left.

Crevasse on the upper Muir Snowfield. This one is about 8 feet wide.

Another crevasse on the upper Muir Snowfield. This one is about 6 feet wide. They were lots of smaller ones too that I had to walk around. There were some old wands to mark a route.

Camp Muir. Ranger Cabin on left, guide cabin just to right of Ranger Cabin. Public shelter on the far right with latrines just to the left. Cowlitz Glacier is on the other side.

Upper slopes of Mt Ranier and Nisqually Glacier from the Muir Snowfield.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is it better to look good than to be good?

One of the things that amazes me about not working anymore is: How did I work a full day and get any boat maintenance done? One answer is that I did not get all the maintenance done. Anyway not done as well as it should be. One item that always seemed low on the priority list was keeping the boat clean and looking good. So this summer I had a lot of time to do just that. A couple months ago, I washed and waxed the hull and all the fiberglass that is suppose to be shiny above deck. Of course, I started this project when the weather was the hottest and a few days when the temp was in the 90's, my motivation was hard to find. But the result is that the boat looks a lot cleaner and there is a shine to much of the boat. Not bad for a boat built in 1985!

Then a couple of weeks ago I attacked the teak. There are 18 pieces of teak on deck consisting of toe rails, foot chocks and companionway trim. I prefer the look of varnish and even though I used Eppiphanes last time, the varnish was peeling in little more than a year. Some friends and some of the dock rats suggested Cetol. I was never a big fan of it because of the color and the satin finish. I did some research and found that Cetol makes a "Light" finish. I could live with that. They also make a Clear Gloss overcoat. That sounded good too! So I scrapped and sanded the remains of the old varnish off and applied three coats of Cetol Light followed by three coats of Cetol Gloss. Does not look as smooth and deep as many coats of quality varnish, but does give me the look that I like. And hopefully if some of the dock rats are correct, I should not have to repeat this for some time. Just a yearly maintenance coat. Although some naysayers say: "You will be scrapping it off again next year."

While I was sweating in the heat waxing the cabin sides, one of the "naysayers" that owns a boat near me came by and said: "You know that is not going to make you any faster". I know that none of the cosmetic waxing or teak work that I have done this summer will actually improve the performance of the boat. But, like one of my crew said: "It will go faster, trust me. It shows your pride in ownership and can infect the crew with the same." I am sure that the crew does not enjoy setting on dirty decks or bird poop! I know that I don't like it when I sail on other boats that are not well kept up. So now I feel like keeping the boat looking good. And I have the time too!

So maybe if the boat looks good it really will be good!

On another note, I know that a lot of things not related directly to sailboat racing can improve my racing. I find that when I keep my weight down, excercise a lot and eat a healthy diet, I can concentrate better and think better while driving the boat. And my performance is improved.

Hmm, something more for the "naysayers" to think about!

Foot Chock in the cockpit.

Toe Rail

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

50 Years Ago......

How many of you can remember your life 50 years ago? Of course that assumes that you are older that 50 years old! I remember 1959 very well. That year we moved to the Kalama Falls State Salmon Hatchery.

When I was born, my dad was working at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. Due to flucuations in the workload at the shipyard, my dad's job was in jeopardy of being eliminated. So, in the mid 1950's, he took a job working for the State of Washington Department of Fisheries. His first post was at the Green River Hatchery in Auburn, Wa. In 1959 he was reassigned to the Kalama Falls hatchery. Kalama was (and still is) a small town on I-5 about 30 miles north of Portland, Or. The Kalama River empties in to the Columbia River about two miles downstream of the town of Kalama. The hatchery was located about nine miles up the river on a very rough gravel road. In 1959, the area was very remote and isolated.

The Kalama Falls hatchery was finished in 1959 and my dad was part of the first crew to operate the hatchery. We were the first family to live in our house on the hatchery. This was a great place for kids to live in and my sister, neighbors kids and I were always playing in the forest.

We lived on the hatchery for two years until 1961 when my dad returned to Bremerton and once again went to work for the shipyard.

Today my folks and I drove back to Kalama to see the hatchery and the town. This was the first time since my dad quit that they had been back to the hatchery, I had been back in 1985. The hatchery remains much the same except for the four missing houses. Three new houses have been built on the hill above the hatchery. It was neat driving up the river road. It is now paved and even though much has changed, much is similar and I could recognize a lot.

We went into the town and drove by my old elementry school. It looks alot like it did in 1959 and I could pick out my old classroom.

The hatchery was built in the bend of the river on a plain that records showed had not been flooded in 100 years. That was until 1996 when record floods flooded the five houses built along the river. Only one remains today.
The main hatchery building. Inside were store rooms, work rooms and the incubator room where the eggs were hatched.

The ponds where returning salmon are held prior to spawning and young salmon are held until they are mature enough to be released to the river.

This is the only house remaining of the five built in 1959. My family was the first to live in this house. The window visible behind the cars was my bedroom.

This was our home on the hatchery. The river was right behind the house. These houses were concrete block construction and were pretty nice for that era.

In dowtown Kalama, this used to be the church that we attended. It is now an antique store. Looks a lot better now than in 1959.