Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chilly Hilly Bike Ride 2-28-10

Sunday the Annual Chilly Hilly bicycle ride was held on Bainbridge Island. This is a ride sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club of Seattle. In it's early days in the late 70's, it was started by some diehard cyclists that thought a ride in the winter(the "Chilly" part) on a challenging (the "Hilly" part) course would be fun. The ride is now advertised as the opening day for the bicycling season. I don't understand that part as some of us ride all year. But it is the first of the NW rides to be held. It is a social event that starts and finishes in downtown Winslow. Most of the riders come from Seattle with the ferry fare paid out of their registration fee. This year, the traditional Seattle ferry filled up with 1800 riders and the remaining riders had to catch the next ferry. It attracts cyclists of all ages, genders, abilities, sizes and shapes. Total registered participants this year was 6,028, a new record. The actual course is 32.7 miles with about 3000ft of climbing.

Since I live on the same side of Puget Sound as Bainbridge Island, I drove to Bainbridge Island in the truck and found parking in the Town and Country Store parking lot with a bunch of other local cyclists. I paid my late fee of $30, received my ride packet and started the course at 0845. My start time corresponded with the arrival of the ferry and the roads were clogged with cyclists. Even though the ride is considered a social event, some of us riders treat it like a race and can't help passing slower riders. After about 10miles the traffic thinned out.

The route headed out of town and circled the island on mostly back roads. And the hills are constantly showing up every couple of miles and most of them are steep but not too long. Rest stops are set up at a couple of locations. My favorite one is at the American Legion Hall about 2/3 of the way around the island. The Girl Scouts set up tables of treats that are included in the registration fee, but donations are appreciated.

After the long climb over Baker Hill, the southern half of the island is the best part as the road runs along the shoreline with views of the Olympic Mountains on the western side and Seattle on the eastern side. The sun was out most of the day and the temps got into the mid 50's making for a very pleasant ride.

I found this year to be relatively easy for me. It has been several years since the last time I rode the Chilly Hilly. I felt so good afterward, that the next day I went for another very fast ride of 22miles.

My crumpled and sweaty number bib.

The route of Chilly Hilly 2010. 32.7 miles with about 3000 ft of climbing. We went counterclockwise.

Baker Hill

Short, steep hill.

American Legion Hall with the table of treats.

Jim DePue Memorial Race 2-27-10, WSSA #1

Saturday we raced in the Jim De Pue Memorial sailboat race at Port Madison. This is the first race of the year for the West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) Series. This race runs from Pt Monroe to the red nun buoy off Eagle Harbor, around the West Point buoy, the Port Madison Yacht Club buoy off Pt Jefferson and finish at Pt Monroe. Total distance is 16.5 nautical miles.

We got underway at 0800 from Brownsville and motored to Pt Monroe in Port Madison where the race was started at 1000. The wind was around 7 knots from the SW when we started and rain was predicted. We got a mediocre start near the pin end of the line, but shortly after the start, we were able to out point smaller boats ahead and clear our air. We took a couple of short tacks back toward Bainbridge Island to get around what appeared to be a hole ahead of the fleet. After getting around the hole, we went toward the middle of Puget Sound looking for better current. The small fast boats "Uno" and "Dos"(twin Sierra 26's) stayed close to us in the very smooth waters. The wind lifted some and the boats closer to the Bainbridge shore made some gains, but we still stayed ahead of the fleet. The wind increased to 12knots and more in the gusts near the windward mark.

At the mark, we first overstood a little and then we had a strong gust and before I could depower the main, we rounded up and grazed the buoy. So, we had to go around it again! After rounding the mark, we set the 3/4 oz spinnaker and ran toward the west point buoy. We jibed around West Point and the course became a beam reach to the next mark. The wind increased to around 15 knots and "Uno" and "Dos" planed by us going at least 1-1/2 times our speed. We rounded the mark and started closing up on the two Sierra 26's finishing within a couple of minutes of them when we finished at 1303.

We owe time to one of the Sierra's and the other is modified and may owe us time, so he may or may not have corrected on us. "Carmanah"(a well sailed C&C43) had a great race in the steady winds and may have corrected on us even though they finished behind us as we owe them a lot of time. Other boats similar to us("Tantalus"(Express 37), "Tantrum II"(Shock 35) and "Dulcinea"(J105)) all finished far enough behind us for us to save our time on them. Our final placing should be between 3rd and 5th. Results when they are posted can be found at:

It was a great day for a race in Puget Sound. It misted some, but I never felt like I needed to put on a jacket. The winds were steady and strong enough to complete the race rapidly. The big heavy boats like "Carmanah" did well as well as the little, light boats. Drat those Sierra 26's! I should refuse to race in the same class as them.....! Wait! Now I sound just like some of my competitors! The Sierra's are sailed by some of the best sailors in Puget Sound and I respect their abilities for making those boats go as fast as they do. That is the way of any handicap racing system, every boat has it's perfect conditions, but skill and determination still plays a big part in making the boat perform. Now if the seas would have been a little rougher on the first beat........

Thanks to my crew of : Walter, Jim, Ron and Cindy for a great day of racing.

And for Matthew, here is how far we traveled for the day: 35.2 nm.

Our track for the day. The track looks strange around the nun buoy at Eagle Harbor where we had to reround.

Monday, February 22, 2010

So how close have you been to the America's Cup?

San Diego, 1992. I was right next to the America's Cup and was able to get my picture taken with it. The America's Cup was on display in the America's Cup Museum set up on the waterfront in downtown San Diego. In addition to the cup were the models of previous cup boats from NYYC and lots of old videos and pictures. Cool stuff!

The CUP and I. The security guards are just out of the picture!

The America's Cup.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mt Ranier cross country ski trip 2-19-2010

Today I made a return to Paradise on Mt Ranier for some more cross country skiing. This was my first midweek trip and it was interesting to still see a lot of people on the mountain. Don't these people have jobs? I think some schools are out for a mid winter break too as there was a lot of kids around.

Today was spectacular. The temp was around freezing when I arrived and quite windy, but warmed up some through the day. The snow was very icy when I started toward Reflection Lakes. I don't think that I have glided so far down Paradise Valley before. Actually was too fast for me at times. Because of the lack of new snow and the warming and refreezing, the ski tracks more resembled truck ruts.

I skied past Reflection Lakes to the top of Stevens Canyon and returned. The total distance was 7.27 miles(measured by GPS). The return up Paradise Valley was helped by the heat, the snow was a lot softer. If it had not warmed up, the ice would have been difficult to ascend.

If any of you remember a few weeks ago, I posted how the boots hurt my toes. This time I was a lot more comfortable. I found that I had to cinch the laces on the inner liner and the buckles on the outer shell really tight to keep my feet pushed back in the boot and the heel in the pocket at the back of the boot.

Maybe before the snow is gone, the road to Hurricane Ridge will be repaired and I can go skiing there at least once this year.

Mt Ranier from paradise Valley.
The ski tracks that resembled truck tire ruts. Really, no vehicles come out here! Skis and snowshoes made these ruts.

Looking across Stevens Canyon toward eastern Washington.

Mt Ranier from Reflection Lake.

Strange snow pattern in Paradise Valley.

Lower Christine Falls on the drive home.

Upper Christine Falls on the drive home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Measure Twice and Cut Once, Or Is That Measure Once and Cut Twice?

This weeks project was to replace the head foil on the boat. Head foils are plastic extrusions that clip over the rod headstay that runs from the bow to the top of the mast. The head foils have two grooves for the luff tape of the jib to go to the top of the mast. The luff (front edge) of the jib is held securely in the head foil. Two grooves allow us to run a new jib up one of the grooves before dropping the other when we change sails. The old head foil was getting brittle from age and the top was cracking. Time to change, this equipment does not last forever.

So, yesterday, I started the project. It went fast. The old foil came off easy. Remove the stainless feeder and pry the foil off the headstay. Then pull it down and off the stay. I had help for this. Then came the hard part: measuring the new foil and cutting it. The new foil comes out of the box like a corkscrew. I lost my help, so I taped the tape measure to the foil. I had already measured the boat and sails many times and knew that I wanted the new foil longer than the old.

I cut the new foil, fit and drilled for the upper band and started snapping the new foil onto the stay. It goes slow with only 6-12 inches snapped on at a time. With over 44feet of foil it takes a while. Snap on a few feet and push up the stay. The good news was that I did not cut the head foil too short, the bad news was that it was longer that I had intended and it can only be cut at the top, not the bottom.

So today, I removed the new headfoil, cut 7 inches off and reinstalled. Finished up by taping the bottom spacer and installing the prefeeders.

Now was that measure once and cut twice and it was still to short or measure twice and cut once and it was still too long? In this case better to measure twice and cut twice and end up with the right length.

Trying to measure the cork screw.
Upper band and spacer installed and ready to push up the headstay.

Foil installed to the top of the mast.

Prefeeders, fraculator line and bottom spacer installed and everything taped up.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Toliva Shoal Race 2-13-2010

Perseverance! Yes perseverance is what it took to race the Toliva Shoal Race this year. This race is set up as a 37.4 NM race from Olympia south around Anderson Island, around the Toliva Shoal buoy, north around Anderson past the "big house' on McNeil Island and back to Olympia. Unfortunately, history is such that the course is shortened more often then it has been finished. In my 12 times of racing it, only once have we finished the entire race.

Saturday morning was WET! After rain all night, the morning forecast was for more of the same. Plus the winds were predicted to remain light. What a great combination for a sailboat race.

The start was delayed for about an hour when the committee sent us off in light NW winds. After a slow beat down Budd Inlet, we had an equally slow beat through Dana Pass, but now we were against the flooding current. We worked along the right shore and had good success. Boats on the left shore did not appear to be as successful. Some boats sailed past us on the right side and as we moved more to the right, we found a stream heading our way. We stayed in the favorable river and caught Declaration of Independence(DOI)(Express 37) who was leading our class. When the wind died more, they put down an anchor. We did not and slid about a quarter of a mile back toward Olympia before the wind filled in from the NE at about 5 knots.

We noticed a lot of boats motor away. Lack of Perseverance or just cold and wet?

We had a good reach toward Johnson PT. Two power boats boats were hanging out there and we thought that the race would be shortened. But we continued on to Government Mark #3 at the Nisqually Flats where the race was shortened at 11.7 NM

The winds started filling in from behind bringing up our competitors from behind. Something Special(J35) past us on the right and Melange(J35) closed on the left. We stayed ahead of Melange, but they reached up under us and established a overlap and room at the finish mark. The finish sequence is being investigated, but I think that they were ahead of us by three seconds. That would give us 4th. Results are posted at:

After finishing, we motored on to Gig Harbor where two cars were prepositioned to take crew back to Olympia. I spent the night and returned to Brownsville Sunday morning. Fortunately the rain quit!

Thanks to the crew of Great White: Peg, Kathleen, Jim, Walter and Kurt. They all showed lots of Perseverance!

Total distance for the weekend: 111.5 NM

Soggy Percival Landing before the boats got underway.
Reaching toward Johnson PT.

Our course for the day.

Video from Toliva Shoal Race, and we did not finish at Johnson Pt, nor did we get second place.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Brownsville to Olympia 1-11 to 1-12-2010

Arrived in Olympia about 1200 today. I left from Brownsville about 0930 on Thursday and motored to Gig Harbor. Tied up to the city dock at Jerisch park. It rained hard most of the day. Played tourist a little in Gig Harbor, but with the rain, it was nice to hang out in the boat and read.

Got underway from Gig Harbor at about 0700. Again, it rained hard all day and was cold. The current was ebbing during my run and was slow going through the Narrows. Still arrived at Olympia around 1200. Still not a bad delivery.

I did have issues with the autopilot. Like the time we returned from the Duwamish Head Race, the autopilot would lose its data input. I hand steered most of the way today. This appeared mainly when I was heading westerly and worked fine when heading south. I suspect the compass is acting up. I have an extra fluxgate compass onboard and will get it ready to install if the autopilot acts up on the way home.

Toliva Shoal Race tomorrow!

Approaching Olympia.
View of the capital building from Percival Landing.

Percival Landing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coastal Messenger

Tuesday, I rode to Gig Harbor with my parents to visit their friends on the "Coastal Messenger". The "Coastal Messenger" is a 52 foot steel vessel operated by
Coastal Missions, . This is a missionary organization based in Chemainus BC. They operate along the coast of British Columbia and South East Alaska. My parents met them in the late 1980's when they commercial fished in south east Alaska and have kept in touch sense then. It was a blessing to be able to visit with them.

The "Coastal Messenger" is making there yearly(almost every year) visit through Puget Sound. They will return to their home base and start their maintenance period in early March and will be underway on their first voyage in April. The boat will be underway until November. Crews rotate at various ports along the coast. During their voyages they will call on many isolated ports and villages in very remote areas. Some of their journeys will take them along the open ocean areas of the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Roy was captain on this voyage and actually drew the plans for "Coastal Messenger" and was the construction boss along with a lot of volunteer help. My dad actually helped during a visit to Chemainus. The boat is a great example of a very tough, seaworthy, west coast style work boat. It is NOT a yacht. It is built of steel. The accommodations are limited as they only travel with a crew of four. Roy did a great job with the design. Tom gave me a tour including the engine room. The engine room is spacious and well thought out with lots of room for maintenance. The pilot house is large with great visibility all around. The main salon has plenty of seating and also includes a piano that folds down out of a locker! Large amounts of storage space is included through out the vessel. The boat was launched in 1998 and was in service in 1999.

The previous "Coastal Messenger" was a similar sized wooden boat that was a retired BC fisheries patrol boat. I was on board once many years ago. It was in immaculate condition too, but the thing I found interesting was the Rolls Royce diesel engine. It was a showpiece. It was an antique and had been rebuilt. Coastal Missions actually had a spare Rolls Royce diesel that was initially installed in the new "Coastal Messenger" but has since been changed to a John Deere diesel.

Coastal Messenger(picture from the website)
Coastal Messenger at Gig Harbor

Coastal Messenger at Gig Harbor. Tom on board and my parents on the dock.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toys-Part 2

Today I went to Seattle mainly to buy boat stuff. I rode the ferry to Seattle. The day started out gloomy, but the sun came out in the mid day.

I went to Fisheries Supply in Fremont with a long shopping list. There was only one item on the list that they did not have and it was optional anyway. The total cost came out way under budget.

I met one of my racing crew for lunch and then drove to Tacoma for some diesel engine parts and then a quick stop at Harbor Freight.

Tonight I have some rope splicing to start on to create some running rigging for the boat. I enjoy splicing. This will be fun!
Lots of fun stuff here: rope, shock cord, hooks, snap shackles, gloves, twin, engine control cable, engine water pump impeller and head foil.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Toys-Part 1

This may not look like much, some pieces of plastic, metal, clamps and screws. But, this is the "comfort kit" for my motorcycles. The Buell XB models(they are air cooled) develop a lot of heat on the right side from the rear exhaust pipe and also from the engine cooling air. Buell developed a retrofit kit that includes a right side air scoop(there is already one on the left side), a metal guard for the exhaust pipe and a new air duct that redirects the engine cooling air from the fan down and out the back of the motorcycle.

So far, I have the scoop and exhaust pipe guard installed. The air duct is more complicated to install as you have to remove the battery, ECM(electronic control module), fuse block and battery pan to get to the area that is modified.

I am looking forward to getting this finished. Last summer in Eastern Washington, my right leg was always painfully hot, even through the leathers. Sportster riders say that they have a similar problem, but I somehow don't think they sit on top of the engine like I do.

This is one of the last upgrades that I can do to make the motorcycle like a 2010. I have heard about a rearwheel/wheel bearing upgrade, but doubt if I will pursue that.

So will this make my 2009 Buell XB12X Ulysses worth less now that it resembles a 2010 and the bikes are no longer built? I don't care, it should be more comfortable. That is all that matters to me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Boat Show

For weeks the TV ads have played the same jingle over and over:

The Boat Show!
The Boat Show!
The Big Seattle Boat Show!

This is the same jingle that has been used as long as I can remeber. As a kid we used to go to the boat show in the Coliseum. Then it moved to the Kingdome(anyone remember it?) and now the boat show is at the Qwest Field Event Center. There is also an in-the-water show at Lake Union.

So am I buying a new boat? No. I mainly go to the show to look at gear and equipment, pick up new catalogs and also look at boats. This year I only went to the Qwest Field Event Center site and did not take the shuttle to Lake Union. It was still good to look at the "stuff" and talk to differant vendors, some that I know. I came home with a bag full of brochures and catalogs(most that will be discarded) and a head full of new ideas.

And what good is a trip to Seattle without stopping at Ivars for fish and chips on the way to the ferry? Unfortunatly a seagull snatched one of my pieces of fish as I walked out to eat on the pier!

All kinds of boats!

The best fish and chips in the northwest are sold here!