Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Seattle Boat Show

"The Boat Show! The Boat Show! The BIG Seattle Boat Show!...." That is the song that the media plays over and over again to advertise the Boat Show. I think it is the same song they have used for 40 years! Oh well.

Once again it was the time of the year to travel across the big water to the big city of Seattle to see what is new in boats and equipment. The show is at two locations in Seattle: the in the water show is at the South End of Lake Union and the rest of the boats and the other exhibits are at the Qwest Field Exhibition Center.

Even though the show did not open until 1100, I caught the 0845 ferry and arrived at Qwest Field a little before 1000 and caught the first shuttle bus to Lake Union. I intended to see the boats in the water when the show opened at 1100. But what I could see of the boats that were there, I determined that there really wasn't much that I wanted to see, so I caught the 1030 bus back to Qwest Field. I should have done my homework!

I arrived back at Qwest Field in plenty of time to be one of the first in the door. I walked around the boats and looked at one new 26 foot trailable performance boat, talked to a couple vendors who I know and viewed the new equipment that is available. So much is the same year after year and there seemed to be less participation from many of the companies this year.

One important item I wanted to do at the show, was to meet one of the vendors. He is someone that lives with his wife and two children on a sailboat that is currently in Mexico. They adopted the cruising lifestyle several years ago and have spent their time cruising the Mexican waters. I found them through their blog He started a business with a partner building and marketing reverse osmosis desalination units. I don't see how he has the time to develop his equipment and travel to all the shows. He was a fun person to talk with!

One store had an exhibit and had a killer price on a VHF marine radiotelephone that I had been planning on buying this year. The price was about $100 off retail which was about $60 less then the price I can get through my account at another store. I wandered around some more and talked to the manufacturers rep. He ask what the store was selling the radio for. When I told him, he said "You need to buy it NOW, that is near cost". So before I left the show, I went back and bought the radio.

I was on the 1330 ferry home.

The sailboat section of the in the water boat show.
The small section of sailboats in the exhibition center.
And the power boats.

This is the radio that I bought. It is a Standard Horizon, Matrix AIS, GX2100. It has the standard VHF transceiver functions of marine radios. In addition it has two other functions: DSC(digital selective calling) and AIS(automatic identification system). The DSC is a system for more automated calling of another boat if you have their identification number(like a phone number) and one button automated distress calling. I am still learning these functions. AIS is a system that identifies vessels that may be around you and can help determine their course, speed and closest point of approach. A vessel with a AIS transceiver broadcasts on their VHF marine radio and until now, a boat receiving the signal had to have additional equipment to receive and process the signal. This radio I bought has the AIS receiver built in. This is a great benefit for boats like mine that have limited areas to install navigation equipment. And it is a lot cheaper to buy this radio than the specialized AIS components. This is the type of equipment that was worth waiting for. Lots of people installed AIS equipment when it started being available a few years ago and spent a lot of money.
I took the radio down to the boat to check the fit of where I was planning on installing it. The old VHF radio is smaller than the new one and I thought I was going to have to move some other instruments to make room for it. Fortunately it fit in the same area as the old radio. I connected the antenna cable and the power and turned it on. It has a lot more features than the old radio and already it seems to receive better. I still need to hook up the connections to the GPS(global positioning system). I also need to obtain a nine digit identification number and program it into the radio.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- Separating The Engine and Transmision

Since I am still waiting for the critical transmission adapter piece, there has not been much going on with the engine transplant. Also, my back has been causing me a lot of pain for several weeks and I did not feel like doing much. My back has been feeling better lately, so today I did separate the engine and transmission. I bolted the engine to the engine stand. With the engine on the stand, it will be easier to do some work on the engine that I have planned. I wasn't originally planning on buying an engine stand, but Harbor Freight had a 25% off New Year's day sale, so the engine stand became a very cheap item to buy. This allowed me to fold up the legs on the engine hoist and park it out of the way and clear some additional floor space in the garage.

Without being able to work on the Bronco, I have also been spending some time on cleaning up the garage and clearing off my work area. I consolidated and stored a lot of my spare parts. Some things have not been unpacked since I moved four years ago. I ended up with several empty large plastic totes. I also bought plastic "shoebox" containers to organize small tools and other items. One of my main goals was to clear as much off the floor as possible and either find a locker to store it in or hang it from the ceiling or off the wall. I installed a hanger for the yard tools and put up hooks to hang the bicycle work stand, excess sailboat lines and extension cords. I was fairly successful and did clear up a lot of floorspace. I can actually see the top of the work bench now!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Duwamish Head Race 1-8-2011

The Duwamish Head race is often advertised as the first sailboat race of the year in Puget Sound. That may be true, but it is the second of four races in the South Sound Series.

My beginning for this race started early Friday when I got underway from Brownsville at 0700. The delivery to the starting area of the race at Des Moines takes about three hours. I was concerned about the weather. It was suppose to blow hard, but the winds stayed mild. It did get cold and rained hard a few times.

The race started Saturday morning at about 1015. The early forecast for the day was for light winds and possibly rain and snow. We actually had some wind out of the southwest at about ten knots. We had a fair start and started the chase north to Alki PT. We stayed out from the shore and lost some to the boats that went inshore. At Alki Pt, the winds were somewhat westerly, so many boats sailed a "great circle" course far north before turning toward the rounding mark at Duwamish Head.

From Duwamish Head, it is a drag race across the sound to round Blakely Rocks. After rounding Blakely Rocks, the wind lightened. We stayed near the middle of the sound hoping for favorable current. The wind filled from the east. Those that stayed to the east shore got the wind first. We finished in the dark at about 1721. The committee had trouble seeing sail numbers, so they are still trying to sort out the finishing order.

We went into the marina, folded sails and cleaned up the boat. I was back underway by 1804 and had an easy motor home, arriving back to the marina at 2115.

The race went well, we had better weather than what was predicted and the crew did well. Thanks to Peg, Tom, Jim, Peter, Ron, Cindy, Kathleen and Michael.

Picture by Jan are found here:

And results when they are figured out can be found here:

Here we are in the middle of three boats rounding the Duwamish Head mark in front of downtown Seattle. A bit early to hear any cheering coming from the Seahawks game.

Ready to go before the race.
Not as many boast spent the night in Des Moines as we have seen in the past.
Our track for the day.