Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Ritual-Boat Haulout

It is Spring and a sailor starts to think of boat maintenance. And spring is the traditional time to perform the ritual of a haulout. This used to be done every year, but as bottom paints improved and boats have been built to be less maintenance intensive, the period between haulouts has become longer. The last time I hauled my boat for bottom painting was October 2007. I went this long because of some circumstances that have finally been resolved this spring. I made an appointment at Gig Harbor Marina for a early March haulout, but our March weather has been horrendous with record rainfalls. I rescheduled twice before I decided to just risk the rain and get it done.

I had a Tuesday morning haulout scheduled for so I took the boat to Gig Harbor early Monday morning. The weather was breezy on the transit south with strong winds and rough seas. I arrived at Gig Harbor at about 1200 and moored to the Jerisch Public Dock.  And since I am such an independent sort, I found my own way home instead of asking someone for a ride. I took a bicycle on the boat and then rode from Gig Harbor through Olalla, Port Orchard, Gorst and Bremerton to Brownsville to get my car. The distance was 37 miles. Fortunately the day was dry and sunny other than some strong headwinds around Sinclair Inlet.

Tuesday morning I brought the boat to the Gig Harbor Marina at 0900. The staff lifted the boat out of the water, pressure washed the hull and set it in the dry storage area securely supported by the boat stands. I was able to get to it by 1130 for inspection. The bottom was in great shape. The paint had done a fantastic job of keeping marine growth from adhering even though I kept the boat in the water much longer than I ussually do. A few areas of paint had eroded away. The rudder, leading edge of the keel and the centerline from the bow to the keel had bare areas. This was expected. I rented the marinas dustless sanding system and by 1230, I was sanding. This went quick and I was finished by 1530. It was good that I finished by then, just as I completed, the rain started.

Wednesday was paint day. Between rain showers, I was able to get a good coat of paint on the bottom. It went on smooth. This was one of the best finishes that I have ever applied to a boat bottom. Thursday I was planning on more paint, but it rained very hard all day. I installed new zinc anodes on the propeller shaft and strut and called it a day.

Friday was splash day. The boat was scheduled to go in the water at 1200. I went down early to try to clean the hull around the waterline and paint the bare spots from the boat stand pads when the boat was lifted by the Travel Lift. The boat was splashed in the water at 1315 and I started home. The trip home was very windy and rainy, but I was back at Brownsville by 1630.

I have been hauling out my boats and painting the bottoms for over 40 years. Some boats have been easy and one was extremely fouled when I bought it. If I had lots of extra cash, I would hire it done. A lot of people are in the position to do this as well as there are fewer facilities that allow owners to perform their own work. Because of the weather, I did not get all the work done that I wanted to do. But, I accomplished what could only be done with the boat out of the water. And with my many years of experiance, I have learned one thing, it always gets done!

 The boat hauled out in the Travel Lift. The operator controls the Travel Lift with a remote control unit. Very cool!
 Mark is pressure washing the bottom. It really did not need much cleaning.
 Positioned in the dry storage area ready for the stands to be positioned.
Sanding the bottom. Suited up in a tyvek suit, dust mask and safety glasses. Ear protection by Sony.
 By Thursday, I had a coat of paint on, but it was rainy very hard, so little work was done. The duct tape "gutters" help deflect some of the water.
Friday morning, the Travel Lift getting in position to lift the boat.
 The boat hanging in the slings. With the boat lifted, I was able to paint the bottom of the keel and the bare areas where the pads bore on the hull.
 Splashing the boat.
 Splashing the boat.
The trip home was kind off windy and rainy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Has Arrived! - Spring Shakedown Race 3-24-2012

Today was the Spring Shakedown Regatta sponsored by Port Orchard Yacht Club. This is the second race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) seiries. This race is a two lap, 11.7 NM race in the waters of Sinclair Inlet between Bremerton and Port Orchard.

The warning gun was scheduled for 1100, but a submarine departed Puget Sound Naval Shipyard with it's entourage of Coast Guard boats. It would not have been a problem for the submarine to leave the shipyard, and depart through Rich Passage except this one announced on the VHF that they would be conducting testing in Sinclair Inlet for about an hour before  they would depart. Almost the whole width of Sinclair Inlet is blocked off when this happens. The warning signal was sounded at 1200 even though the submarine was still within the confines of Sinclair Inlet. We hoped that it would be gone before we sailed to its vicinity.

When we finally started, we had a good start near the pin end. The wind was up to 10 knots. We started on port tack just below several boats in clear air and just above "Blackout" (Santana 30/30 GP). The wind was NW and port tack was favored. The first tack took us to Port Orchard Marina before we had to tack. "Schock Therapy" (Schock 35) and us started pulling away from the other boats in Div I. We also started closing with the submarine and its escorts. They were still setting off the shipyard. The Coast Guard was sending it's boats to the racers that were closest to the submarine warning them to stay to the right side of Sinclair Inlet. Most of the offenders were from the previous classes that started ahead of us. But during the entire beat any boat that wandered to far toward the center of Sinclair Inlet was challenged.

"Schock Therapy" and us traded tacks from Annapolis to the weather mark. When we rounded we were right on their transom. We set the spinnaker on a beam reach along the shoreline. "Schock Therapy" went higher before they set their spinnaker. I was watching the boats still sailing closehauled towards the mark when "Carmanah" (C&C43) went by laughing about a sideways spinnaker set. Not us, but when I looked to weather, I could see that indeed "Schock Therapy" had hoisted the spinnaker by a clew and were sheeted to the head. By the time they had fixed the problem, they had fallen behind. Since they had wandered out toward the center of the channel, one of the Coast Guard boats came alongside them to escort them past the now moving submarine(chuckle, chuckle).

We reached down the east shore until we were past the submarine/Coast Guard flotilla and then reached toward the Bremerton Waterfront, getting a boost from the still ebbing Port Washington Narrows. The wind came forward and we had a nice spinnaker beam reach to the next mark. After a great takedown and rounding and a close reach through the start/finish line, we were close hauled paralleling the Port Orchard shoreline. We made one short tack at Annapolis and then reached into Radar Target #3. We kept pulling ahead of "Schock Therapy" and then they seemed to stop. Seems that they may have run aground on the shoal off Black Jack Creek. That wa strange as I though they were in our track and we had plenty of water. Before they got going again, "Carmanah" and "Dulcinea" (J105) passed them.

We rounded the mark and set the spinnaker. The wind had shifted more northerly and lightened so our reach turned more into a run. I stayed high and sailed toward the shipyard expecting to jibe toward the leeward mark. But once again, the wind came forward (even though it was light by now)and we made it to the mark without jibing. Another great takedown and rounding and we had a short beat to the finish where we crossed the line at about 1437. The next group of boats finished about 20 minutes later with "Dulcinea"  recovering from an earlier grounding to finish just ahead of "Carmanah".

We were first boat to finish and should have corrected to first in class and overall. Results when they are posted can be found here: Spring Shakedown Results 2012

The day was great. We had winds north to NW from 5-12 knots. Halfway through the race, the sun came out and winter attire was shed. Even though it was frustrating waiting for the submarine and the Coast Guard to let us race, they really were good about working with us. And thanks to the crew of Jim and Michael.

 Dulcinea, Carmanah and Shock Therapy rounding the last mark before the finish.
 Tantalus reaching along the Shipyard waterfront.
 Here, we are leading Carmanah
Photo Credit: Steve Nelsen

Reaching along the shipyard waterfront.
Photo Credit: Steve Nelsen
Our course for the day. The first lap took us from Port Orchard Yacht Club to the radar target at Waterman, then to a temporary mark near Ross Point and then through the start/finish. The second lap went to Radar Target #3, to the Ross Point temporary mark and then to the finish.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wind, No Wind, Rain and Sun-Gig Harbor Islands Race 3-17-2012

Last weekend was the Gig Harbor Islands Race. It was the last race of the four race South Sound Series. This race starts just outside of Gig Harbor, proceeds north in Colvos Pass to a buoy at Blake Island and returns south down Colvos Pass against the "always flowing north" current to the finish at Gig Harbor.

The March weather in western Washington has been pretty nasty this year. The delivery to Gig Harbor on Friday was no exception. The wind blew as high as 25 knots and the rain poured out of the sky. But after arriving at gig Harbor, the sun came out and the day was pleasant. Throughout the afternoon, other sailors and boats arrived until the Jerisch Dock was full. Sailors kibitzed and as during the previous week, smack was being thrown about regarding who would beat who. Some boats did not show for this race. One boat in our class was setting in 3rd place prior to this race. He did not show and sacrificed his position.

Saturday morning, the rain was once again pouring down and the wind was out of the south at 8-10 knots. The forecast was for northerlies to possibly move in and maybe get us some relief from the wet weather.

We had a great start and lead our class of boats up Colvos Pass. As we passed Pt Richmond, the wind lightened some and the classed compressed. Until we passed Olalla Pt, four of us (Tantivy, Grace E, Melange and us) traded places. The wind came ahead and became a close spinnaker reach toward Blake Island. This is not usual to have a easterly wind in Colvos Pass.

The other three boats pulled ahead near Blake Island. We had a bad spinnaker takedown and lost some distance. After rounding the mark, we took a short port tack toward Blake Island before taking to starboard to get east of the island. After a short starboard tack, we tacked back to port and lined up closehauled down Colvos Pass.

By the time we reached Fragaria, the wind lightened and shifted northerly prompting us to set the spinnaker. The sun also came out warming us up and sending people off to look for their sunglasses. There seemed to be more wind toward the east, so we reached that direction. The wind filled in some all across the pass, And since we are not afraid to take chances(and we were behind anyway!) we jibed back to the West shore to find some current relief. We did find some favorable current and seemed to be gaining on our competitor on the east shore.

As we approached Olalla Pt, we could see that the boats ahead were getting into a new SW wind and were sailing close hauled. We stayed to the right and the wind changed suddenly from North to SW. Down with the spinnaker, up with the jib and away we went. The wind was puffy between 10 and 15 knots. Unfortunately, the boats on the east shore also got the wind and stayed ahead.

Grace E and Melange worked the west shore and since we had nothing to loose, we worked the east shore along Vashon Island. We seemed to have trouble pointing and after too long, we determined that the hydraulic backstay valve had gotten open and backstay tension was slack. We pumped the backstay back up and got moving again finishing at 1653. We got fourth with Tantivy, 1st, Grace E 2nd and Melange 3rd.

After looking at the previous race results, with one throwout, we are tied in 3rd place for the series with Grace E. With the tie breaking process, we should have scored better than Grace E and taken the 3rd place.

Results when they are posted can be found here: South Sound Series Results

Also there are lots of pictures by Jan here: Jans Photos Gig Harbor Islands Race 2012

We took the boat into Gig Harbor, cleaned up, folded sails and the crew went home. I had a great night delivery back to Brownsville and was in my house by 2154.

Thanks to the crew of Jim, Tom and Michael.

 The motor down to Gig Harbor was very wet. I have a small dodger(convertible top) that covers just the companionway. I can sit here with my autopilot remote control and stay dry. This is easily removed and stowed for racing. I once got in trouble for some comments about full cockpit covers that restrict visibility and the ability to sail a boat. I like the small one, it does not get in the way.
Our course for the day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Seattle Bicycle Expo-March 10

Each year in March, the Seattle Bicycle Expo occurs for two days. As has been the case for the previous two years, it was held at the Pier 91 Cruise Ship Terminal. This makes it a short bicycle ride(or long walk) from the Seattle Ferry Terminal. I rode the cross bike to downtown Bremerton and caught the 0720 ferry to Seattle. It was a nice, but a bit wet ride on the path through Myrtle Edwards Park to the cruise ship terminal. At least the wind was at my back! I arrived 20 minutes before the 0900 opening and got in the already long line.

To me, the Bicycle Expo is a lot like the boat/car/motorcycle/marine trade shows that I attend each year. One guy called it the "yearly gathering of the flock". I guess I don't look at any of these shows that way. I usually don't know that many people attending, so I don't socialize much.

 There is a lot of the same stuff every year, but also it is a good chance to see new stuff as well as pick up lots of free brochures and maps. A lot of clubs, tour companies, county parks and other government organizations are there to encourage you to ride their organized ride, buy their tour or visit their region. I like to pick up the free bicycle maps from areas around the pacific northwest, it makes it nice to preplan tours and destinations. I ended up with a big bag of brochures and maps to sort through.

Something I also look for is good deals on clothing and components. In the past I have found great deals on shoes, gloves, tire tubes and handlebar tape. This year there did not appear to be as many good deals as in the past. I looked at some leg and arm covers, but was not impressed enough to buy any.

I spent about 1-1/2 hours at the expo and then headed home on the 1110 ferry. The weather forecast was for rain in the afternoon, so I was looking to avoid it. I did not take time to eat fish and chips at Ivars either!

Total riding distance(with a short detour to Elliott Bay Marina): 18 miles.

 The upper floor with some of the exhibits.
The lower floor/entrance. I did find a booth here that was promoting rides to support people with ALS. They were nice to talk to and provided me with a lot of good information. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Goodbye Trooper Tony

Tony Radulescu immigrated from Romania as a teen, became a US citizen, enlisted in the US Army and served as a Washington State Patrol trooper for 16 years. He was a Christian. I did not know him, but the community in South Kitsap who did, adored him. He did his job professionally and had a charming personality who some said made you glad you were stopped by him! Trooper Tony was gunned down last week while pulling over a vehicle on Highway 16 just past Gorst late at night.

Today is the memorial service at the Showare Center in Kent. A memorial procession started in Silverdale, wound it's way through Port Orchard and on to Kent. I went to the Eldorado Hills overpass over Highway 3 to watch the procession. There were about 400 law enforcement vehicles. The first one was the VIP vehicle with the trooper's family onboard.

God bless Tony, you will be missed!

Trooper Tony

 The local fire department was out.
The procession of about 400 vehicles.

The individual that gunned down Trooper Tony was a young ex-con who was part of the methamphetamine subculture. He fled the scene and received help from some of his friends before killing himself in a South Kitsap mobile home. By Monday, six people were arrested for assisting the killer. They transported the killer around to try to find a place for him to hide and attempted to arrange transportation out of the area. Everyone of them had records or involvement with methamphetamine use, trade or manufacturer. It seems inconceivable that people would provide assistance to someone that would commit such a heinous act.