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.