Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inclining the Schooner "Lavengro"

The Schooner "Lavengro" is a classic gaff-rigged Biloxi Schooner. The Biloxi Schooner fleet once sailed the Gulf of Mexico harvesting oysters and shrimp. "Lavengro" was built in 1927 and is operated by the Northwest Schooner Society ( which uses historic ships to teach people about the history and operation of a classic sailing ship. It has been designated as the official Kitsap County "Tall Ship". Info on "Lavengro" can be found here:

Since "Lavengro" carries passengers, it has to be certified by the Coast Guard. One of the requirements is to prove the stability of the vessel. This is accomplished by performing a test called a Inclining Test. This is simply placing weight near the rail of the vessel and see how far it heels (or leans) over. Calculations are prepared in advance and the amount of weight used and the maximum amount of heel is known in advance. The test is to verify the validity of the calculations.

"Lavengro" moors at the Brownsville Marina(where I moor my boat) and the port personnel used their work boat to move the weights on and off the deck of "Lavengro". A large group of "Lavengro's" crew and volunteer were on hand to help. The Coast Guard was on hand to witness the test and the local newspaper had a reporter and photographer to document the proceedings( ). I was there to watch and get in the way!

Nearly 7000 pounds of iron ingots were first loaded on deck evenly split between port and starboard sides. This was to simulate the weight of a full load of crew, passengers and provisions. This was to establish a "load line" that would indicate a full load. The weight was then removed from the port side and placed on the starboard side. With the full weight on the starboard side, the criteria was that the deck/hull intersection could not be underwater. This was to represent the load of the wind with the full complement of sails set.

When it was all done, "Lavengro" passed all tests satisfactorily.

Schooner "Lavengro" 63 feet overall length, 48 feet long on deck, 44000 pounds, 1370 square feet of sail area.

Loading the first bags of iron ingots onto the starboard side.
With half of the weight on the starboard side, "Lavengro" being moved to the other side of the slip to load the other half of the weight on the port side.
Loading weight on the port side.
Back to the starboard side, the total weight of nearly 7000 pounds loaded on deck.
The maximum heel with all the weight (and two men) on the starboard side.
Maximum heel.
Maximum heel.
Unloading the weight.
With most of the weight removed, "Lavengro" sitting more upright.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Fourth and Final September Six Pack Series Race. I Am Glad This One Is Done!

Tonight was the last race of the four race September Six-Pack series.

About an hour before I was ready to leave the house, a package arrived. My autopilot computer was finally back from the repair facility in New Hampshire. It had been acting up for several months. I performed diagnostic tests and determined that the fault was not in the compass. The tech at Raymarine confirmed that the problem was probably in the computer. So, in mid August I sent the unit to the repair facility. They repaired several circuits and installed the latest software.

I hurried down to the boat and reinstalled the computer and got underway to perform the calibration procedure. Once that was done, I headed to Port Orchard. The autopilot worked great, probably better than it ever has. It was nice to have it again during the delivery. It is illegal to race with it.

The race got underway in about 6 knots of wind out of the SE. I had a OK start just behind Tantrum II. I was able to go through there lee and pulled ahead. Rounded the first and set the spinnaker for the run north. About half way to the next mark the wind lightened and came ahead. Up went the jib and down came the spinnaker.

I worked through the two classes of boats that had started ahead of me. I got to the mark first and rounded it to port. I sailed about 50 yards toward the finish when the boat behind me informed me that I HAD ROUNDED THE MARK THE WRONG WAY! How stupid! I jibed around to reround the mark . Tantrum II, Falcon and Tantalus got past me before I rerounded. Those three boats stayed ahead of me and set spinnakers. I did not set a spinnaker, but reached up toward the left shore. I got some new wind and closed a lot on Tantalus, but could not pass them. Tantrum II won my class, Tantalus was second, I was third. Falcon was a division II boat and won their class and won overall. For the series, I won Division 1 and probably overall.

And with the race tonight, the summer evening series are over and we go back to weekend racing. The June and September Series were a lot of fun and a good chance to get out on the water. And now the rest of the story: I sailed all eight races alone. There should have been no way I could have won almost every race.
Oh, and the delivery home in the dark was great. Calm , warm and a huge full moon lighting the way!

Approaching the first mark.
Picture credits: Robert Hennessy
Rounding the first mark.
Photo Credits: Robert Hennessy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Six Pack Series-Race #3

Tonight was the third race of the Six Pack series in Port Orchard. Tonight I decided to eliminate confusion among my competitors by leaving my luck at home. I did not want luck confusing anyone.

The wind was light at around 5 knots at the start and it started raining hard. I had a good start on time about three boat lengths down the line from the boat end. We were being sent north to a radar target north of Retsil. I took a long starboard tack toward Bremerton. "Tantalus" and "Tantrum II" were to weather and pointing high and seemed to be getting a lift toward the right. I kept my speed up and pulled ahead some. My plan was to get far enough to the north to pick up the ebb flowing out of Port Washington Narrows. Sure enough, before I could tack and lay the mark, I detected on the GPS that the current was setting me right toward the mark. I soon was set to weather of "Tantalus" and "Tantrum II". As we neared the mark, the smell of the Retsil sewer plant became noticeable indicating a new breeze coming from that direction. I tacked twice to stay to the right side of the mark and in a lightening wind rounded the mark first where the committee boat shortened the race. Several boats went north of the mark and had quite a struggle to get up current to the mark.

I was first in class and first overall for the night. "Falcon" finished close behind me for first in class 2 and 2nd overall. Another fine evening although it rained hard the entire night. I collected my six packs of sodas(I don't drink beer) for the three races so far and headed home. The dark, rain and fog made it fun getting home. I was back to the dock at 2134 and home by 2206.

Since I left my "luck" home tonight, how do I explain my success? Maybe it was the symbiotic relationship between me and the boat where we are on the same path of going fast through the water...... Nah!!!
Light winds after the start. Left to right: Tantrum II, Tantalus and Swan.
Falcon off Annapolis. Retsil is toward the left.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walk Around Downtown Bremerton

Today was kind of a rainy lazy day, so I put on a light raincoat and took a walk through downtown Bremerton. I started in Manette and walked over the Manette Bridge stopping to watch the construction on the new Manette Bridge. Then I walked around the boardwalk, parks and through the "artsy" district of downtown. When I worked, my lunch time walk was often around the same downtown route and I saw the progress of the parks and fountains while they were being built. Construction on the new Manette Bridge alongside the old bridge.
This is one of the foundations for the towers that will support the bridge. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic so concrete could be poured in these pipes.
The "jumping fish" fountain. This seems to represent fish jumping upstream. It is usually pulsed and not continuous flow like in this picture.
The Boardwalk and Marina.
The fountains next to the Ferry Terminal. The designer made this fountain look like sails of a submarine lined up going to sea. It is hard to see, but the water shoots in the air every couple of minutes.
The Navy Museum. This is Building 50 from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and was the original administration building.

The sail from the USS Parche in front of the Navy Museum. And oops, the building where I used to work in the background.

The new water works/historical park between Pacific Ave and the shipyard fence. It includes the bow from the USS South Carolina. This was completed after I retired.

This sculpture was put up by the city in the in the "artsy" district. Seems that there was some leftover grant money from the construction of the tunnel and parks. This fish has a fishing rod and reel.

And this sculpture is on the opposite corner from the fish. And the fisherman has a lure in his mouth. Go figure!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is it better to be good or lucky?

Tonight was the second sailboat race of the 4 race Six Pack series in Port Orchard. Like last week, we did not have a race committee. Again one boat sounded the starting signals. I had a great start on the left side, but did not hug the marina like I usually do. Because the wind was so skewed to the left, I thought I could work up on the boats to weather without overstanding the mark.

No sooner did the start happen when the wind shifted about 70 degrees to the right making starboard tack favored to the first mark. I tacked to starboard and found I could lay the mark. I got up to speed and was soon leading the fleet. The wind lifted more and soon I was close reaching to the first mark.

Now I had a dilemma. The spinnaker and pole was set up for a starboard set and the wind was now a direction which meant the pole needed to be on port. No problem, I tacked around the mark and set the spinnaker on the weather side of the jib and pulled it around the jib to the leeward side, set the pole and off we went!

The wind was quite far forward and puffy making control interesting. I did round up a few times. So, before I got too close to the leeward mark I headed down wind some to blanket the spinnaker and then we took down the spinnaker with a perfect letterbox takedown. Did not even get the sail wet.

The rest of the race was a close reach to the finish because of the unusual wind direction. I won my class, but one or more boats in the second class could have corrected on us. It is hard to save your time over smaller boats when the course is all reaching.

After the race I was talking to a friend. His normal ride did not show, so he got a ride on another boat in my class. He was telling me that the owner/skipper of the boat he sailed on was always making comments that my success in this race was all luck? LUCK?

So lets review the important parts:
1. The start-I stayed close to the line and was up to speed at the start. Luck or skill?

2. Picking up the wind shift at the start- everyone got the shift at the same time. Luck or skill?

3. Setting the spinnaker and getting it around the jib. Luck or skill?

4. Executing a great letterbox spinnaker takedown without getting the sail wet. Luck or skill?

Maybe the wind shift was the closest thing to being luck. Everything else was a well thought out maneuver.

So I guess if my success tonight was luck, then the following quote may be applicable:

"Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. "

I can accept that!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Mountain Mountain Bike Ride

I used to ride a lot on Green Mountain. Almost 40 years ago I rode motorcycles there and then more recently I rode mountain bikes up and down the mountain. But it has been several years since I have ridden there. After I moved to East Bremerton, there is just something about hauling the bicycle somewhere to go riding. Most of my off road riding has been in Illahee Preserve which has a lot of fun trails, but not much climbing and is only a mile and a half away.

So today, I found my Camelback hydration pack, cleaned and filled it and loaded the bicycle on the roof rack of the Bronco and headed to the Wildcat Trailhead. The Wildcat Trail seems to be my favorite. It is about 9.5 mile round trip to the summit and about 1100 ft of climbing. The day was great for a ride like this. The weather was cool and overcast and the ground wet, NO DUST! There was some water on the trail, but nothing you could drown in.

I started up the trail and realized how rusty I am. The rocky sections were probably no harder than they ever were, but it took me a while to get comfortable attacking the ridges and overhangs. One thing I noticed was how wide most of the trail was. When I started riding motorcycles there, all there was was motorcycles. Now Quads have become popular and they need a wider trail. Also, there has been a lot of trail maintenance and a lot of logs placed across the trail for erosion control. These gave me fits on some climbs when I could not get enough momentum to clear them.

I made it to the summit without a lot of walking. After a short rest, I started down. By now, I felt more comfortable and rolled attacked the downhill sections. I also felt better on some of the uphill sections and was able to clean some technical parts.

It was fun and I really need to get out and visit some other areas like Newberry Park, Banner Forrest and Port Gamble. The Kitsap Mountain Biking Club ( ) has been working on a lot of new trail systems.

I feel like a kid again!

The Wildcat Trailhead.
The summit of Green Mountain.

Looking toward Bremerton.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bremerton Blackberry Festival and Car Show

Labor is the time for the annual Blackberry Festival. It is a time for the downtown and boardwalk areas of Bremerton to be inundated with vendors booths, kids rides and a stage for entertainments. There are also fun runs, special displays and a car show a few miles away at the Bremerton National Airport.

On Saturday after the rain stopped mid morning, I went to the car show. There was quite a number of restored and custom cars. I am always impressed with the talents of the car owners who customize and restore their rides.

In addition there were several 60's and 70's vintage dragsters. They fired them up one at a time. The noise was tremendous and the smell of the fuel was still on me when I got home. Of course this was a big fan favorite.

On the way home I stopped for a short time in Bremerton and walked through the booths on the boardwalk. It was very crowded. The festival continues through Monday.
The cars were lined up along the taxiway at Bremerton National Airport.
Another 60's vintage dragster.

Herm Petersons "Northwest Terror". A famous top fuel dragster from the 60's. Herm fired it up and wowed the spectators.

This car is on fire!

The Bremerton boardwalk.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Busy Friday and Friday Night Boat Races

Today was a busy day. I suppose this is what most people think us retirees do every day!

I was up at 0600, made breakfast and read the newspaper. Following breakfast I spent some time on the computer working on some sailboat handicapping stuff. Then off to the home gym and weight trained for an hour. Finally off on one of the road bicycle for a 19.5 mile ride.

I returned in time for lunch and since I was going sailboat racing at Port Orchard, made some eats for later in the evening. I left the house about 1330 and went to the boat. I spent some time cleaning the boat and was underway by 1500 for the 1-1/2 hour delivery to Port Orchard for a 1800 race.

The racers started arriving and it became quickly apparent that the race committee was not going to show. So, a start/finish line was established and one boat sounded the starting signals.

I had a great start and tried to navigate the calm areas on the way to the first mark. I held the lead although "Falcon" was close to me at the first mark. I was not worried about them as they are in a different class. "Tantrum II" and "Tantalus" rounded the weather mark several minutes behind me.

I set the spinnaker and had a fast run even though the wind was only about 6 knots. I worked on sailing at the boats "target speeds" and gained more on the field. At the leeward mark, I had a clean spinnaker takedown and had a easy beat to the finish. Since I was the first boat to finish, I had to take my time and the times of the boats behind. I easily saved my time on "Tantrum II" and was ahead of "Tantalus" (we rate the same). I probably saved my time on "Falcon" and was 1st overall.

I managed to get away from Port Orchard at about 2030 and was back to Brownsville at 2100 after a nice motor back in the dark., arriving back home at about 2130.

Now, does that sound like I stayed busy enough? Oh, and tomorrow I will probably go to the car show/flyin at the Bremerton Airport.