Saturday, December 17, 2011

Progressive International Motorcycle Show

Warning: Motorcycle content!

Today was the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. Just before I left for Seattle to go to it, I found out that it was going to be held at the Washington State Convention Center instead of the Century Link (aka Clink) Event Center where I attended last year. I have never been to the Convention Center before, so it was fun to go to a different part of Seattle. So, I caught the 0720 ferry and when I arrived in Seattle, I had a half hour hike up the hills.

The show has most of the major motorcycle manufacturers represented as well as accessory companies, insurance, ride promoters and custom and vintage motorcycles. I liked the show better than last year and some of the motorcycles that were not shown last year were present this year.

 Erik Buell Racing 1190 RS. When Harley Motorcycles shut down Buell Motorcycles a couple years ago, Erik Buell started another company and started producing race motorcycles based on the old 1125 design. When the non compete clause expired, he came out with a new design. This motorcycle is street legal, but is also a major competitor in the American Superbike Series as well as overseas. For a mere $40K, you can own a state of the art American Sportbike.
 Nice display of vintage motorcycles.
 Honda Super 90. I used to have one of these in the early 70's.
 Based loosely on the Buell XB9 chassis and engine, this bike holds a land speed record in it's class at Bonneville.
 On the way back to the ferry, I went through Pike Place Market and finally found Post Alley where the wall is covered with chewing gum. Another great Seattle attraction!
I like the gum hanging from the window sill.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lost In The Port Gamble Forest

Warning! This blog post only contains info on mountain bike riding. Some people who read my blog such as sailors, people who used to be sailors, motorheads, hard core road riders or couch potatoes may not find this interesting.

This week has been cold and gloomy in the Bremerton area. I have felt chilled and lazy. But today, I made a decision to get out of the house and ride the mountain bike. The weather showed promise of  being nice too.

Today I decided to head north to the Port Gamble Forest. This is north on the Kitsap Peninsula. So, I loaded up the mountain bike onto the Bronco and headed out at about 1100. I parked at the Stottlemeyer Rd entrance at the south end of the forest. Kitsap Mountain Bike ( maintains a very good map of the trail system in this forest. The Port Gamble Forresterrs do not object to hikers, horseriders or mountain bike riders using this land.

I rode around the gate at the first road. Soon I turned off onto a trail which turned back onto a road. This was the theme as I headed north along the east side of the forest. Eventually I rode out into the community of Port Gamble at the north end of the forest.

I turned around and headed south only this time I rode the trails and roads down the west side of the forest back to the parking area for a total ride of about 14 miles..

Even though I have known about this trail system for years, this was my first ride here. This ride was more of a reconnaissance ride to see what was there. The trails are well developed and since some did not appear on the map, I assume that new trails are being developed. I was a bit surprised of the elevation changes. I thought it would be flatter. The condition of most of the trails was very good and dry.

And sure enough, the sun was out all day making a very pleasant but somewhat cool day for riding!

Port Gamble Trail Map maintained by Kitsap Mountain Biking (

My dual suspension Cannondale mountain bike loaded up on the Bronco.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter Vashon Race 3 Dec 2011, Or How To Sail Half Way Around Vashon Island In The Opposite Direction

The South Sound Sailing series kicks off each year with the Winter Vashon Island Race on the first Saturday in December. This race is about 30 NM long, starts at Tacoma Yacht Club at Pt Defiance, sails around Vashon Island and finishes at Tacoma Yacht Club. As long as I can remember, the race has always been raced in a clockwise direction. This makes good sense as the current in the first part of the race heading north in Colvos Pass ALWAYS flows north. So this year, it was decided to race the race in the opposite direction so that the last half of the race would be sailed south against the prevailing north flowing current. Did not sound too fun to me. To complicate matters more, the northwest has been experiencing record  breaking high barometric  pressure. This has resulted in stagnant or very light winds.

The delivery to Tacoma Yacht Club was good with calm winds and clear skies. The yacht club puts on a great social time/dinner on Friday night and a filling breakfast Saturday morning.

The winds were light on Saturday morning and it was foggy enough to not be able to see Pt Robinson. The committee set a long line that was perpendicular to the course and parallel to the shore. But close enough to the shore that it made maneuvering interesting. Our class of six J35's and two J109's got underway at 0920 after a five minute postponement for some technical issue on the committee boat. The first leg was a close reach with the light No.1 jib. We had an excellent start and lead for several miles until the wind lightened and boats toward the south sailed high. Three past us: "Tantivy"(J109), "Melange" (J35) and "The Boss(J35). "Tantivy"  and "Melange" cracked off some and headed toward Pt Robinson as we did. "The Boss" stayed high, played Monopoly and went bankrupt in Poverty Bay.

As the winds came aft, we set a spinnaker as did the two boats that were ahead of us. After a couple of jibes, the wind came forward at Pt Robinson and we set the jib and sneaked by in 10 feet of water. We reset the spinnaker and chased puffs of wind as we headed north. We jibed a lot and sailed steep angles to keep the boat moving.

Near the north end of Vashon Island, we could see it getting lighter. We could also see the committee boat on station to shorten the race. I decided to stay close to Vashon Island and sail very high of the finish line. Remember, I told you the current always flows north in Colvos Pass? Well the flow continues for a couple of miles north of the pass and across the finish line. We ghosted along with the spinnaker on a tight reach chasing the puffs. Our instruments indicated that we were drifting as much as 50 degrees toward the right. When we finally crossed the finish line, we passed about a half boat length downstream of the mark. Not too bad of planning.

So what about the other boats? It looked like "Tantivy" finished well ahead of us. "Melange" went wide of the north end of Vashon Island, we passed them and the last I saw of them, they had a jib up and were trying to sail up river to the finish. They finished third but were almost passed by another J35 that took our route. We finished second.

We then motored home to Brownsville and I trucked the crew back to their cars at Tacoma.

Even though the winds were light and the race was shortened, it was a very fun race. The crew worked well today and stayed focused. We were missing a couple crew members because of injuries and illness. Thanks to Walter, Kathleen and Tom for helping make the day a success. At least we did not have to sail upriver against a couple of knots of adverse current in Colvos Pass!

Results when posted can be found here:
 The light winds and fog at the start.
 A log boom went by that split the fleet.
 At the north end of Vashon Island looking back at the boats behind with Mt Ranier looming over them.
Our course for the day. We only made a couple of tacks early in the day. The rest of the course changes were jibes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Reads Your Blog?

I have been blogging now for over three years. I have often wondered who reads this. A couple years ago I installed a tracking program. It provides some interesting data. The program will list who views by IP address, location and provider name. In addition, some data is available about how the reader got to the blog(Google Search, another blog, website, etc), how many times they visit, time of visit and where they exit to(another blog, etc).

I have had visitors from all over the world. I actually have a follower in Singapore. But many of the "visitors" may not have actually read my blog. For example, if someone does a Google search on say "Green Mountain Bremerton" or "New Manette Bridge", my blog will show up in the search since I have written about both of these subjects. But, it does not mean that the searcher visited or read my blog. The time of visit for these kind of searches is often "0". If someone does a search on "svgreatwhite", chances are that they are actually looking for my blog and I assume they probably will read it. The time of visit often reflects this. I have had some people brag about how many hits they get a day, but the reality is that maybe nobody reads or visits their blog.

Many of my regular visitors I recognize from the status counter. Friends from the SW, NW, Portland and Seattle show up occasionally. People from where I used to work are easily recognizable from the unique IP address and service provider from the workplace. Don't they ever work? One visitor is recognizable from the town that he posts from. This visitor has been hitting my blog a lot during the last month. Earlier in November the visits were averaging 9-10 a day then they dropped of to practically nothing only to ramp up to 19 visits a couple of days ago. Almost like they logged in and then hit the refresh button many times. They currently have the dubious status of being my most frequent visitor. Very strange. I might know who this is and take measures to block them.

Tear Down The Dam!

Today I took a "day off" and drove to Port Angeles. I had a few motives for going to Port Angeles. One: To drive the Bronco farther than I have since I replaced the engine. Two: View the removal of the Elwha River dam. Three: Drive up to Hurricane Ridge to check out the snow depth. 

 The Elwha Dam has been mostly removed. The river seems to be flowing down one of the old spillways. I don't know how long it will be before Lake Aldwell will be drained. I suppose that the area where the dam was  will be widened as the level of the lake drops. I was disappointed that there was not more to see. The upper dam at Lake Mills is not accessible.
 The river routed down one of the old spillways.
 There is a good snow pack already at Hurricane Ridge. I have seen more at this time of the year.
I walked across the meadow where I could see Hurricane Hill. It is covered and a few cornices are visible. I brought my snowshoes, but did not use them.
It was a warm day on the ridge. It was a nice drive and the Bronco behaved well and kept cool.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Captain Dan's Fleet Of Sailboats

Lately I have been locating photos of my old sailboats. Some were very low resolution snap shots taken with an Instamatic, some were taken with large format cameras from aircraft and boats and some were digital. Those that were not already in digital format, I tried to scan. Obviously, the small Instamatic shots were hard to scan, so the quality is not very good. I did the best that I could.

So this is a history of my fleet of boats during my more than 40 years of sailing.
1967-1968: This was really my second boat. I bought this while in Junior High. It was called a "Sea Scooter", a 10 ft sailing dinghy. I learned a lot about sailing with this little boat!
 1968-1972: My father and I built this boat. It is 15 feet long and built from plywood and covered with a layer of fiberglass. When we built this boat, we bought the plans at the local lumber yard for 25 cents.

 1972-1975: This is "Rascal". It is a Victory 21. It was a small boat at 21 feet long and had a small cuddy cabin mainly for storage. But, I took a few short cruises in Puget Sound with it. It also was the boat that started my racing career.
 1972-1975: "Rascal"
 1975-1977: This is "Rascal Too". It is a Tanzer 22. At 22feet long, it had enough accommodations to cruise comfortably. I took several cruises in Puget Sound and to the San Juan Islands with this boat. I also raced this boat a lot and I was pretty successful.
 1977-1999: "Good News" This boat is a Bystedt 30. It was designed by Bob Perry as a half ton racer under the IOR(International Offshore Rule). Only nine of these boats were built. Although it was designed primarily as a race boat, it had a comfortable interior and lots of storage space. I raced this boat a lot and in the 22 years I owned it, won a lot of awards. In addition this boat took me to farther than any of my previous or current boats. I cruised a lot in Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and on into Canada including two circumnavigations of Vancouver Island and to the Queen Charlotte Islands. This boat actually contributed to my enjoyment of cycling. It had enough space inside to carry a bicycle partially disassembled. On my long cruises, I took a bicycle with me and when I could get ashore, I could explore inland. I enjoyed sailing this boat. It had a light helm and tracked well. Like many boats designed to the IOR rule, it rolled a lot when sailing fast downwind with the spinnaker.
 1999-Present: "Great White" is a J35. A J35 was designed in 1984 to be a high performance, simple, sailing machine. About 330 J35's were built between 1984 and 1992. I looked at these boats when they first hit the market and fell in love with them. When I got to the point in my life when I could afford a J35, I searched the Internet and found this boat in San Diego. When I was in San Diego on a business trip I arranged to see it. It was more "complete" and had more equipment than the boats I was viewing in Puget Sound. So I bought it and had it transported to the NW. This boat was well equipped and had most of the interior options that make it comfortable to cruise in. I actually lived onboard for five months when I was between homes. For me, I found it adequate. I have not cruised as much as I did on "Good News". Most of the time on this boat has been racing. We have been fairly successful with this boat. It is a thrill to sail and the power is felt when the wind picks up. It is no longer considered a high performance boat like the newer boats that have come out since the J35 was built, but we still are as fast as a lot of conventional 40 foot boats. That is what the ads said it could do!
1999-Present: "Great White"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It Is Time For Fowlweather, Gobble Gobble!

Snow, rain, no wind. That was some of the forecast for the weather for Saturday. Not a real good forecast for a sailboat regatta. But the Fowlweather Regatta was scheduled and we can't control the weather.

This three race regatta is run just before Thanksgiving Day with the intent to award the winning boat with a Turkey(frozen not alive). I raced events like this at a former yacht club that I had belonged to in the mid  70's to mid 80's. Then I established this event for West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club in 1989 when I was the race director. It has been a popular event. In my extended family, the decision to buy a Thanksgiving day turkey was usually delayed until after this race. I have been quite successful in this event and have brought home many pounds of frozen, tryptophane laden, fowl flesh!

As it turned out, this Fowlweather regatta was an excellent three series for a late fall day. The weather started out clear and cold when I left Brownsville early for the delivery to Port Orchard. The decks of "Great White" were slippery until the rising sun melted the frost. But as the day progressed, the wind rose to as high as nine knots and the sun made the day feel warm.

Even though the turnout for the regatta was only five boats, the competition between "Great White" and "Dulcinea"(J105) was intense with "Great White" winning the first and third races and "Dulcinea" winning race two. On "Great White" we showed excellent upwind speed and good tactical calls. Our downwind speed was also good enough to stay ahead of "Dulcinea" who excels on the downwind/reaching legs. The winds speed varied enough that "Dulcinea" would gain some on us when the winds lightened in races one and three. But, we were able to sail hotter angles and find patches of new winds. In race two, we were way ahead of "Dulcinea" at the weather mark, when a mess up with the spinnaker set caused us to lose the lead and the race.

Following the race, the club had a deep fried turkey at the marina's visitors float. It was very tasty and on the delivery home, it was hard.....

Here are the tracks of the days three races. The red track was the first race of the day. The green track is the second race and the blue track is the third race. All races started at the Port Orchard marina. The wind was NW swinging to north as the day went on. The three races all went around the course in a counter clockwise direction.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pacific Marine Expo Nov 17

Thursday I attended the 2011 Pacific Marine Expo at the Century Link Event Center(aka Clink) in Seattle. This event is a trade show for commercial fisherman, commercial vessel operators, owners and the people who maintain or modify commercial vessels. Am I a commercial operator? Not really. My parents were commercial fisherman and were invited each year. I took their invite and added my credentials and my business name. Now each year I get a free invite. I don't think anyone really pays to attend. When they finally opened the gates, nobody checked any of the badges.

I enjoy going to this show. I can talked to vendors and they seem interested in talking to me. Little do they know that I am not in the market for a 200 gpm centrifugal pump or a 500 hp diesel engine. But I can still be interested in things that I can use on my own boat. I feel that I come away with a lot more information about what is used in the marine field. The exhibitors and participants at this show are a lot friendlier than what I experience at boat shows.

After the show, I had enough time before the ferry left to walk down the street to Ivars and get an order on fish and chips. YUM!

 Most everything needed to operate, maintain and modify commercial vessels is here.
 Big diesel engines.
 The floor is filled with exhibits.
The model basin is always interesting.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Got Me Under Pressure"

With credit to ZZ Top, I was under a lot of pressure this week, hydraulic pressure! With a boat, it is always something. There is a continual list of maintenance and repairs. This week on my boat, it was the hydraulic system that needed work.

This all started a few weeks ago. A modern sailboat  can use a hydraulic system to tension some of the rigging that holds the mast up. On my boat, I have a manual pump to supply the hydraulic oil to the cylinder. It is not uncommon to pump 3 to 4000 psi into the system. The seal on my hydraulic cylinder started leaking during the summer. I started looking for someone to rebuild the cylinder. A prominent rigger suggested an authorized rep in Seattle or just a local hydraulic shop could do it. I called the rep in Seattle, but he did not return my call(the number on the website was an old number he did not use). So I took the cylinder to a local hydraulic shop. They could not get it apart. So, now came Plan B. I found a used one on Ebay and decided to take a chance on it. It arrived and it became immediately apparent that it was in terrible shape plus it had the wrong rod installed and could not be made to work without replacing the rod and replacing the seals. The cost would be as much as a new one. I am still trying to return this cylinder and get reimbursed.

So now, I get a call from the factory rep in Seattle and yes he would be glad to see if he could repair one or both. So I sent both cylinders to Seattle to see what he could do. He possibly would need both cylinders to make one workable one or maybe both would be unusable. After a few days, he called to say that he could rebuild mine, but the Ebay unit had many problems along with the short rod and is pretty much junk and only couple of the parts were any good.

Yesterday I took a bicycle ride to Seattle to pick up the cylinders. The rep lives right at Alki Pt. But first I rode north from the ferry to the north end of Lake Union(near Gasworks Park) to Fisheries Supply for some small boat parts. Then I took a detour to the Ballard Locks. From there I retraced my path to the ferry terminal and continued around Elliot Bay to Alki Point. I loaded up the two cylinders along with two quarts of hydraulic oil and headed back to the ferry. I arrived with enough extra time to buy fish and chips from Ivars. Yum! By the time I rode home from the ferry, I had travelled 44 miles. A good days ride!

Today I took the cylinder down to the boat to install it. First I flushed about a quart of new oil through the pump and hoses. Actually installing the cylinder only too a couple of minutes and then I pressurized the system to 3000 psi a few times to purge any air out.

So even though it is more fun buying glitzy things like fancy electronics for the boat, sometimes the low tech items take priority.

 The two cylinders. The lower one is the one from my boat. The upper one is the one I bought from Ebay. Notice how far into the cylinder the rod goes. It can be pushed all the way into the cylinder.
 The cylinder from my boat is also fully retracted. Notice the difference?
 Cylinder once again installed and leak free!
 The large locks at Ballard have been drained for maintenance. I have never seen this before.
 The large locks at Ballard have been drained for maintenance. I have never seen this before.
 The bike trail heading along Elliot Bay back into Seattle.
 Alki Beach.

Opening Day For The New Manette Bridge

 Today the new Manette Bridge opened. Once again the downtown Bremerton and the Manette community are joined by a bridge. I rode the bicycle down to witness the event and walk across the bridge. The day was spectacular! The weather warm and sunny.

 The new bridge is built to modern standards and provides plenty of room for all forms of traffic.
 One of the few times that the bridge will ever be this empty.
 The crowd waiting for the ribbon cutting ceremony. It was reported that about 400 people attended.
 And away they go! Pedestrians were given about a half hour to walk the bridge. I heard one woman say that she crossed it four times.

 The old bridge is being demolished. This will go on for some time and everything down to the bottom of the narrows will be removed. The old bridge is in poor shape. Many have suggested leaving it up for non motorized traffic. But the footings are eroding away and the steel construction is rusting badly. Continual maintenance would be expensive. So after 81 years, it is time to say goodbye!
 The parade of first cars to cross from Manette to Bremerton. The first people to drive across were chosen by lottery. I rode my bicycle back to Manette.
And some motorcycles too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seattle International Auto Show

Today was my yearly trip to Seattle to look at the new cars at the Seattle International Auto Show at the Century Link Field Exhibition Hall, AKA as "The Clink".

As in previous years, the new auto displays were very glitzy and the sales personnel friendly.

 The Cadillac CTS-V coupe. This was painted in the black diamond finish. It was beyond metal flake and hard to describe the appearance of the sparkly finish. I set in this car and it is very comfortable. Ricaro seats with nice bolsters. Also, with it's high horsepower and great suspension package, it has bested the European luxury cars in performance. This is NOT my uncles luxury Cadillac!
 Ahh, the Mustang Boss 302! This car was locked up and I could not sit in it. They would not open the hood either. This is a serious performance vehicle. With it's high horsepower V8(444 hp), handling package and spoilers, this car just begs to be driven fast on a track. Surprisingly, Ford removed the back seat. It is a true two seat car now!
 The rear spoiler looks functional.
 Ford F150, SVT. This has a larger engine, offroad suspension, fender flares and a very comfortable interior. I could enjoy driving this. I am not a big fan of four door cabs. I wonder if they make this in a standard or super cab?
 One from the other side. Chevorlet Corvette. I have already forgot the model, but this guy had a supercharged V8. Sort of cheesy, they put a plexiglases window in the hood to see the supercharger.
 Hard to see in this photo, but this model of the Mini Cooper has a streamlined roof that ends in a hatchback. Called the Mini Coupe, it is not as boxy as the original flat top Mini Hardtop. It has lost the rear seat too and is now a two seater. The "S" model also utilizes a turbo instead of the supercharger that I was used to. One cool feature too is the rear spoiler that automatically deploys above 50 MPH.
 I was told that the Dodge Charger had been redesigned. Sure enough, I like the full width tail light.
 I still think of the Charger as a four door sedan. But this baby had a Hemi engine, suspension package, Brembo brakes and sporty wheels. Pretty cool family car!
 Ahh yes! The Dodge Challenger! This is the car that I would buy if I had LOTS of disposable income.... Oh well, nice to dream! To me, this so resembles the late 60's early 70's Challengers. But these have a 392 cubic inch Hemi engine, better suspension, brakes and interiors.
 I always like this stance!
Can you say Hemi?!
And finally, here is a high end Lamborgini.