Monday, February 28, 2011

Jim Depue Memorial Race-WSSA No.1

Saturday was the first race of the 2011 seven race WSSA(West Sound Sailing Association) series. Now after two days, I have warmed up enough to type my impressions of it.

In nearly 30 years of racing this race, I have always found this race to be a difficult one to place well in. Many boats from the host Port Madison Yacht Club participate in only this race of the series and frankly, they know these waters better than us. This is my least favorite race of the series.

The forecast was for 10-15 knot winds rising to 15-25 knots later in the day. The temps were still in the lower 30's and there was a potential of snow showers.

We got a OK start and started the beat up the shore toward the first mark off Eagle Harbor. Most boats stayed along the shore to avoid a predicted ebb current. A few boats went farther off shore and did appear to get a port tack lift. Maybe they were smarter, or just lucky? And sure enough, later in the beat when we stuck our nose farther offshore, we actually found favorable current and closed up some on the leaders. We also seemed to have a bit of trouble getting the boat up to speed. But we did stay ahead of another of my fast J-boat brethren, Dulcinea(J105) and actually rounded just ahead of them at the first mark.

On the reach to the West Point mark, the wheels came off our program. It took us three tries to get the spinnaker up. Each time it was either fouled or badly hourglassed. When we finally got the spinnaker hoisted cleanly, then it took a long time getting the jib down, finally getting it down just as we rounded the West Point mark. We probably lost 5-10 minutes on that leg. Tantalus(Express 37) even passed us after we rounded the first mark well ahead of them.

The second reaching leg went a lot better. We gained on Tantalus who jibed late stayed too far to the right. We seemed to close on the boats ahead, but it was hard to tell since we had fallen so far back. At the last mark, we carried the spinnaker longer then Tantalus and then they rounded the mark wide and we were able to round inside them and stay to weather of them. We gained on Tantalus on the final beat and saved our time on them.

We were sixth in our class and ninth overall. Not a great showing, but it is the first race of a long series. It is not the end of the world. Remember, I said that this race is not easy and most of the boats from this club do not race the rest of the series.

Although it was cold, the wind stayed steady all day and the race was completed quickly. I had a great time and my crew of Walter and Jim did well and it was a pleasure to sail with them. I don't have any great pictures, it is too hard to sail the boat and take pictures. I don't know how others pull it off. Maybe they are better than I am!

Results: Here is our track for the day. The course was 16.5 nm. We started at Pt Monroe and sailed clockwise.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- Timing Is Critical

Originally, the plan to transplant the V8 engine into the Bronco was not much more than make the minimum amount of mods to the engine, install it, see how it runs and decide what to do with it later.

Some modification to the engine was necessary. The oil pan needed to be changed to a double sump pan to clear the front crossmember of the Bronco. When I changed the oil pan, I also intended to change the rear main seal. It was leaking badly and when I changed it, it was apparent that it was no good. In fact, half of it was missing!

But the strange thing was the small pieces of plastic that I found in the old oil pan. It did not take much research to determine that the plastic was really pieces of nylon from the nylon/aluminum timing gear sprocket on the camshaft. The shop manual warned that it could be an issue.

I determined I needed to at least pull the timing gear cover off the front of the engine to inspect the timing gear. So I ordered the necessary gaskets, puller for the harmonic balancer and since it really was not that expensive, I went ahead and ordered a double roller timing gear set. Of course, the new timing gear would not be compatable with the old two piece fuel pump eccentric, so I also had to order a new one piece eccentric.

Today I disassembled the front of the engine and sure enough, the nylon/aluminum camshaft timing sprocket was missing pieces of nylon. The missing nylon was exposing the aluminum under the teeth and it too was badly worn.

Now all I need is a longer dowel pin that aligns the camshaft, timing sprocket and fuel pump eccentric. The one that came with the timing gear set was too short. Drat! I read that that could happen and several fixes have been suggested.

The new double roller timing gear set from Ford Racing. What a thing of beauty!
The old nylon/aluminum camshaft sprocket. Not so pretty!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Toliva Shoal Race Feb 19, 2011

The Toliva Shoal race is a 37.4 nm race from Olympia through the islands of south Puget Sound. It meanders to a navigation buoy at Toliva Shoal west of the Narrows and back to Olympia via Balch Pass. This race has a reputation for light winds and shortened courses or DNF's.

I raced this race for the first time in 1979, crewing on someone else's boat. The wind was strong and we finished the whole course before dark. My next attempt was (I believe)1984. The winds were light. There was no provision for shortening the course and the time limit was 0630 Sunday morning. We drifted around through the night and covered about 3/4 of the course before we motored in when it became impossible to finish before the time limit expired. Nobody finished that year.

I did not race again until 2000. In subsequent years, we were DNF one more time and all the other races were shortened. I missed 2006 and 2008. In 2006, the wind blew from the north and the sun was shining all day. Everyone finished the complete race that year.

This year was different.

I started this race on Thursday morning when I started the delivery of Great White to Olympia. I went as far as Gig Harbor the first night. Friday I got underway at 0600 to try to avoid most of the ebb through the Narrows and the other passes to Olympia. I arrived at Olympia at 1100 and found my reserved spot at Olympia Yacht Club. I wandered around town some and then had dinner at the pre race party at OYC.

Saturday morning dawned clear and sunny. I could hear the wind blowing at night on the boat and sure enough, the wind was blowing at about 12 knots out of the north. At the breakfast at OYC, the talk was about how strong the wind was expected to blow and how soon we would finish the WHOLE course. We collected all the crew and headed out to the start.

At the starting area it was blowing 17-20 knots. We set the full main and #3 jib and lined up for the start. I timed this one well and was first across the line with Absolutely(Kiwi 39) below us and Tantivy(J109) above us. The beat down Budd Inlet was fast with smooth water, but when we got into Dana Pass, the wind increased to 20 with gusts to 24. The current was ebbing into the wind and it was very rough. Rounding Johnson Pt is a 2 mile reach to G3. We lead Tantivy for a while, but they passed us just before G3. Absolutely was ahead of both of us.

We had a close reach to Lyle Pt on Anderson Island. The water had a strange scalloped dividing line where the brown water from the Nisqually River was on the right and blue water on the left. We stayed high in the blue water hoping for better current. Rounding Lyle Pt, we were once again in rough water. The chop was as high as 4 ft. We continued across the Nisqually Reach to the west end of Ketron Island.

At Ketron Island, first Absolutely and then Tantivy tacked away toward the north. We talked about it and then finally went through Cormorant Pass between Ketron Island and the mainland. I had always wanted to try this. The winds were still strong, but the water was smooth and we had good favorable current as can be seen on our track. After a few tacks, we set out on one long tack toward Mc Neil Island where Tantivy crossed us. They had not gained on us, nor did they lose any distance on us.

Rounding the buoy at Toliva Shoal, we set the spinnaker and headed toward Balch Pass. By now, the current was flooding helping us get through the pass. But the wind was fluky. We caught up to Tantivy, but we stayed to the right and they got some new wind on the left before us and took off. Three of the boats behind us in our class gained on us some.

We had a nice fast reach down Drayton Pass and around Devil's Head. The wind came forward again and we took the spinnaker down for the close reach around Johnson Pt.

Entering Dana Pass, we reset the spinnaker for the run to the finish. Flying Circus(Express 37) and Melange(J35) set their spinnakers earlier than us and we were in real danger of being overtaken. By now the wind had lightened quite a bit and we played the current and sailed to the optimum jibing angle to keep our speed up. The run up Budd Inlet turned into a close reach. We finished at 1552, about five minutes behind Tantivy where we were too far behind to save our time, but was good enough for third place.

We went into Olympia and had hot soup at the club. One of my acquaintances from Brownsville (Matthew with Dulcinea) wanted to return to Brownsville that night. So I agreed to run with him. We got underway at 1800 and with the favorable ebb current, got back to Brownsville by 0043 Sunday morning. That is a very fast run for a 49 mile run. It was a great night on the water. It was clear and the starts were bright. Later the full(or nearly full) moon rose making it easy to see. Was cold though!

I was happy with the results. In the last two races we gave away places late in the race. This time, everyone stayed focused in the difficult conditions when the wind was blowing and the equally difficult conditions when the wind turned light. Thanks to my crew of Jim, Walter, Kathleen, Michael and Peg.

Results can be seen at:

And pictures by Jan: A slideshow of Jan's photos ...

And some other good pictures: SOME TOLIVA SHOALS PHOTOS

Reaching fast down Drayton Pass.
Our track for the day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- The Part Has Arrived

My transmission adapter kit has finally arrived! This has been on order since October, 2010 and I found out that it had been back ordered for two months before that. So, a six month lead time. And yes, I think they only build it after an order is placed.

So some of you who do not follow this blog much maybe wondering, "What is he talking about?". The story started last year and several blog entries chronicle the story. I became interested in changing the anemic old V6 engine in my 1984 Ford Bronco II with a small block ford V8 engine. I have owned the Bronco since it was new and it was always something that I wanted to do. Almost every young man wants to build a "hot rod" at some point in his life and this is probably as close as I will get. I also found out that this is a common modification and a lot of information and parts are available.

In Oct 2010, I found a low mileage older Ford with the required engine and transmission. I bought it, extracted the V8 engine and automatic transmission. I also started ordering the necessary parts for the conversion: radiator, engine mounts, headers, electric fan, shifter, gaskets to name a few and the most critical part, the transmission adapter. The adapter is needed to allow the automatic transmission to attach to the four wheel drive transfer case. The length was dependent on what transmission was originally installed in the Bronco II. I had the five speed manual transmission and that was the adapter that was not in stock at Advance Adapter.

Originally, my schedule was to have the Bronco back on the road by mid January 2011. Now I am not sure when I will be done. I can proceed with installing the adapter. This will require a complete disassembly of the transmission to change the output shaft.

I also have some more engine work to do. I cleaned and painted the engine. I have replaced the rear main seal and plan on replacing the timing gear, intake manifold gaskets and oil pump while I have it opened up. An acquaintance who used to be a certified Ford mechanic suggested some things like replacing the intake manifold gaskets. He had "tricks" to installing the gaskets so they wouldn't , but now won't tell me anymore or help me. So I can muddle along on my own.

I know one thing: I am not going to remove the Bronco engine until the new engine and transmission are ready for installation. I still drive it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dungeness Spit Hike 2-8-2011

Last Tuesday hiked out Dungeness Spit to the lighthouse on the end of the spit. It was a nice day, a bit windy and cold in the morning, sunny by noon.

The lighthouse(built in 1857) is manned by volunteers who maintain it, provide tours and answer questions. They live there for a week at a time in the old lightkeepers residence.The hike to the lighthouse and return is about 11 miles. The volunteers get a ride out and back in a jeep.
It was cloudy, windy and cold when I started.
The tide was high when I started down the beach. I had to stay far up the beach in the loose sand. That made hiking harder.
Still a ways to go to the lighthouse.
Getting closer.
Almost there.
The lighthouse at the end of Dungeness Spit. The volunteers are there for a week and had the lighthouse open. I went up to the top where the light is. There are also rooms in the lighthouse with lots of displays of the history of the lighthouse.
I have arrived!
The sun came out on the way back. See the lighthouse waaaay out there?

Typical Afternoon Bicycle Ride

Today we had a bit of a break in the weather after yesterdays storm, so I took the opportunity for a bicycle ride. After church and after working on the V8 engine, I took the road bike out for a typical ride out Illahee Rd, Ogle Rd, Military/Walker Roads, Central Valley to Scandia and return through Brownsville and Illahee Rd to home. This is a 21.76 mile ride and very hilly. The temperature got up to 52 and it only rained for a few minutes as I neared home.

Even though it is still cool out, a fast ride like I did today is exhilarating. I often go out even in freezing temperatures. Something good must be happening, my blood pressure and pulse are still low.
The distance: 21.76 miles.
The time on the bike: 1hr, 31minutes, 0 seconds.
Average speed: 14.3 miles/hour. This is low and I should be able to raise it eventually to at least 16 miles/hour. The hills on my route really cut into the average.
And my maximum speed on a short, steep downhill: 41.0 miles/hour.