Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movie Reviews: All Is Lost and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

 I watched this movie a couple weeks ago. This is a story of a middle aged sailor single handing a sailboat in the Indian Ocean. In a nutshell, he collides with a floating shipping container, repairs the structural damage, encounters a storm, is dismasted, abandons the sailboat to a life raft and drifts in the ocean until rescue. Or is he rescued?

From the beginning, I found this movie disturbing. It starts with a voice reading a message where the voice talks about being adrift, only a half day of food left and ends it by reading "All Is Lost". Then a caption pops up on the screen that says: "Eight days earlier" and the movie starts with the boat impaled on the container. What! Eight days from his collision to when he writes a note saying "All is lost"! This seemed to be the theme of the entire movie. A theme of a lack of urgency and skill and giving up when things get rough. Eight days is not very long for survival at sea. Many have survived much longer, but our hero seems to show little resourcefulness or mental toughness to survive.

From the beginning, many inaccuracies show up. After the collision with the container, our hero shows a lack of urgency with stopping the inrush of water and repairing the damage. He tries the electrical system to I assume start the electric bilge pump. Nothing works. Hmm, are the batteries flooded? No, when he removes one, it is clearly visible that it is a sealed, AGM(absorbed glass mat) battery that should have withstood immersion. And it did have power left in it to try to make his radio operate. Instead he had to manually pump out the boat with a pump handle cut from a mop handle. What! Here is a boat that probably sailed half way around the world and the proper pump handle was not aboard? And was not lanyard to the boat next to the pump?

Anyway, he tries to make a distress call by broadcasting on a VHF radio( a radio with line of sight transmission only) with the term "SOS". This is laughable as "SOS" was a distress signal developed for Morse Code(..., ---, ...). The proper voice distress call(since 1927) is "Mayday" repeated three times. Where does the moviemaker get this stuff?

He notices that a storm is approaching, so rather than preparing the boat and hanking on the storm jib, he spends valuable time shaving! So when the storm arrives, he is caught trying to manhandle a storm sail around while the waves are breaking aboard. He is rolled a couple of times and is dismasted. Every time he goes on deck, he leaves the companionway hatch and hatchboards open allowing water to flood the boat. He finally abandons the sailboat with nothing but the liferaft. Where is his "ditch bag". Most sailors I know prepare a kit of survival gear that is stored with the raft and goes with the raft. This kit will have survival food, water, flares and other survival equipment. I would include a handheld GPS, handheld VHF radio and a hand operated reverse osmosis water maker.

After the storm and an uncomfortable night in the life raft, the morning is calm. The sailboat is still afloat no thanks to the sailor who left the hatches open so the boat could flood. Our hero reboards the boat to finally try to get provision to survive. He also spends a lot of time retrieving a sextant(celestial navigation device) from a locker deep within the boat. No effort was made to save the boat from sinking and it finally does go down. Since his life raft was still tethered to the sailboat, I was expecting the sailboat to pull the raft under.

The time in the raft was a bit more believable. He showed some ingenuity in constructing a solar still that allowed him to process some drinking water. But when he unwrapped the sextant, the look on his face was one of "what is this?". As has happened with other survivors, while drifting for a few days, ships did not respond to his distress signals.

His final act of signaling for help was one of desperation with no further chance of survival if it failed. This to me is where "All Is Lost" does not present a story of courage and perseverance. The Tom Hanks movie, "Cast Away" is a lot more believable as a story of survival.

Because of the numerous inaccuracies in this movie and the theme throughout of  giving up, I do not recommend this movie. I think that most people will be drawn to this movie because the only character is played by a known actor, Robert Redford. And in nautical "speak", I give this movie two marlinspikes down!

In contrast to the movie "All Is Lost", I liked this movie! Walter is a quiet, shy, daydreamer who lives a non eventful life. He works at Life Magazine as a "negative asset manager". His job title makes his new managers pause and stare at Walter. But Walter handles the photographic negatives for the company.

When Walter cannot find a negative that is targeted for the last Life Magazine cover, he starts on a worldwide search for the photographer, his hero Sean O Connell (Sean Penn) to find out what happened to the missing negative. This leads to travels to Greenland, Iceland, Afghanistan and the Himalaya mountains. Although unbelievable things happen to Walter, he discovers himself along the way. Using clues from other negatives, he finds Sean and the negative. In his last task with the company, he presents it to his boss along with a lecture. In the end, he is terminated from Life as it is closing, he "gets" the girl and he stands taller! This is a great movie for us "daydreamers".

The scenes in the movie were spectacular. The mountain scenes especially were good. The movie was well made. The actors believable. I think Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty, played this part well. I give this movie "two iceaxes up" and recommend it as a good movie to watch.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Pony Car Project-More Power!

The following statement from Late Model Restoration's product page described the dilemma I was in:
"1986-1993 Mustang stock alternators suffer from small wiring and low output, and the power wire plug is prone to melt and even cause an under hood fire. Add under drive pulleys and running your accessories such as headlights, A/C or the heat and you'll likely see the lights dim and the battery gauge drop. Throw an electric cooling fan in to the mix and the stock alternator simply cant keep up."

My Mustang never seemed to have a fully charged battery. At night, when I would stop and the engine drop to idle, the lights would dim and the voltmeter in the dash would drop to the bottom of the normal range. Furthermore, even in the daytime, if I drove very far, stopped somewhere and tried to restart the Mustang, often it would grind over slowly before it would start. This could have also been a failing starter. So after Black Friday, Late Model Restoration was having a sale and one of the items was a SVE 130 amp alternator and wiring kit including a number 4 gauge power wire. The sale price was very discounted so I bought the kit.

Last Friday I installed the new alternator. Since it is physically larger than the stock alternator, I had to modify the mounting bracket by cutting a notch in the bracket. The wiring required new terminals crimped on and new connectors soldered onto existing wiring. Lastly, a new number four power cable with fuse was run from the alternator to the starter solenoid. It took me about two hours to complete the installation.

The new alternator puts out much more power. At just above idle, it now puts out about 14.3 volts and keeps the battery charged to 12.8 volts. The battery is charged enough now so that the starter spins the engine over nicely instead of grinding over real slow. Now, I can stop worrying about changing the starter!

 The alternator bracket needed to be notched to clear the larger alternator.
 The 130 amp alternator kit arrived with all the parts needed to install.
 The new alternator installed. Some of the connections are in a different location than the stock alternator. This actually allowed more room with some other components around the engine.
While I was at it, I also changed the instrument cluster with one from a 1991 Mustang that I bought a week ago at a wrecking yard. The old cluster had weak, faded out backlighting and the background paint was peeling off allowing light to bleed through. Also the gages did not seem to indicate properly. I don't know if this was because of dirt, a weak power supply or if someone had removed the needles and reinstalled them incorrectly. The new instrument cluster has bright backlighting and the gages seem to indicate properly. So far, it has been very worthwhile to change out the instruments.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Pony Car Project-The Eyes Are The Window Of The Soul

Headlights are the "eyes" of a car. They are one of the first things that you notice when you approach a car. Some cars hide their headlights and only show them after dark. The 1979-1986 Mustangs had four headlights and the car was referred to as a "four eye".

My Mustang has what is referred to as the aerodynamic front end. The headlights, marker lights and turn signals are molded into the front fairings. I have wanted to change the light set for some time. One headlight had the bulb socket melt (and fog the inside), all of the light were dulled and I could not get them any brighter. Some of the plastics were crazed and chipped around the edges. But the greatest reason for changing the light set was just to update the car and while I was at it, I really wanted smoked lenses to give have a "stealth" look.

For "Black Friday" and until December 6th, Late Model Restoration
(http://www.latemodelrestoration.com/1979-93-Mustang) had a sale on a lot of their items. One thing that I noticed was a substantial savings on their Ultra smoked light set. This is a clear, non ribbed headlight set with a slight dark appearance. I ordered it (along with an upgraded alternator kit) and it arrived last Friday. I installed the lights yesterday.

 Here is the Mustang with the older non-smoked headlights. The fog lights are smoked already.
 This is the left side turn signal, headlight and marker light. They are very shiny and the lenses clear with a slight dark appearance.
  Here are the lights installed and illuminated. I was concerned that they would be too dark at night. But they seem as bright as the old lights. LMR suggests buying a brighter set of light bulbs. I think I will wait until I get these lights adjusted better before I consider new bulbs.
 Even without the lights on, the lights have a stealthy look.
 Even without the lights on, the lights have a stealthy look. This car would look good painted black.
 And today, I made a trip to a wrecking yard and picked some parts off a 1983 and a 1991 Mustang. Good finds and a great price!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Vashon Race 2013-It's Called "Winter" Vashon For A Reason

The Winter Vashon Race is a 30.6 NM race that starts at the Tacoma Yacht Club near Pt Defiance and goes around Vashon Island. This race is the first race of the four race South Sound Series. Lots of people think that we quit racing in the winter and start racing again in the spring. This race is the beginning of my racing season.
On Friday, I delivered the boat to Tacoma Yacht Club. I got an early start at 0700 and arrived at the guest moorage around 1050. I was able to get a great spot on the dock. It was a cold delivery. The temperature was in the mid 20's when I left the house. Fortunately, the sun came out and what wind there was was from behind. Until I exited Colvos Pass. Crossing the last few miles across Dalco Pass, the wind was easterly on the beam and was blowing up to 25 knots. This made a pretty uncomfortable, wet final part of the delivery. As the day went on, more boats arrived and the docks filled up with boats. There were many tales of cold people and frozen spray on the boats.  Later in the evening, Tacoma Yacht Club put on their usual prerace dinner. Much discussion centered around the weather forecast for the next day. The forecast was for winds in the low teens and decreasing through the day. One thing was certain, it was suppose to be cold! Through the night, the wind rattled the rigging of the assembled boats. I was able to stay warm in the boat with the furnace running.
Saturday morning was still cold with the temps again in the mid twenties. The wind was blowing at about 10-12 knots from the north east. As boats milled around the starting area, it was interesting to see many boats sailing with small jibs. We thought about it, but decided that the heavy No. 1 jib might be better in the variable wind strengths. We were in the third start at 0915 and got an excellent start at the pin end. The first part of the course took us on a close reach across Dalco Pass and into Colvos Pass where we sailed close hauled. I was concerned about getting too close to Vashon Island and losing the wind, but it stayed fairly constant as it rolled off the land. Since the wind was somewhat easterly, we sailed past Olalla  before we were headed and had to tack. Some boats in our class did not sail as high of a course as us and made multiple tacks before we had to tack. We only made three tacks before a nice shift to the left let us lay the mark from near Fragaria on the Kitsap shore. Near the north end of Vashon Island the wind did get gusty and we saw some gusts in the low 20's and as we cleared Colvos Pass, the wind seemed to settle out around 15 knots. Also the strong ebb flowing against the NE winds made for some sloppy conditions. It remained cold and the crew told me that there was slush on the foredeck from the spray and one of my guys said that the spray was freezing on his glasses. We rounded the mark in first place in our class.
We set the spinnaker and headed downwind toward Pt Robinson. It started out as a fast reach, but as we approached the bottom of the island, the wind became more puffy and the fleet compressed. First "Absolutely" and "Tantivy" closed up some on us and then after we jibed,  "Something Special" climbed up on our quarter. We luffed up "Something Special". They fell off and sailed into a light spot below us. On the final reach, "Absolutely" used there waterline and "Tantivy" reached with their asymmetrical spinnaker and sailed ahead of us with "Tantivy" finishing first and "Absolutely" second just 42 seconds ahead of us. We placed third finishing at 1407.
Results can be found here: Winter Vashon Results
And some great pictures can be found here including several of us: https://www.facebook.com/sean.trew/media_set?set=a.660005064022353.1073741863.100000385963463&type=1
Many more pictures are here, except we are not in any of them: http://janpix.smugmug.com/Boats/TYC-Winter-Vashon-2013/35233680_LWGJzj#!i=2955277832&k=9M7gf2g
It really was a great day for a race. The sun was out the whole day and the wind stayed constant enough to get us back to the finish well before dark. Mt Ranier was visible the whole day. Thanks to Tacoma Yacht Club for putting on a great race. And thanks to my crew of Walter, Rainer, David, Tim and Tom. They did a great job and I never heard them complain about the cold.
After the race, I headed home arriving back at Brownsville at 1835. It was very cold motoring into the now much lighter north winds. I drank hot fluids and bundle up, but my hands got cold and cramped making it hard to get my mittens on. It was 22 degrees when I got to the marina.
One final item. I need to apologize to the start before ours. I lost focus for a couple of minutes and bumbled into there starting area. I know better than this and feel embarrassed that it happened. I apologized to one crew and they were very forgiving.
 Sunrise on Friday morning.
 Rafted boats at Tacoma Yacht Club.
 Later in the afternoon, boats still finishing the race.
Our course for the day. The race went around Vashon Island in a clockwise direction.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Where Were You-50 Years Ago Today....

This time of the year the question comes up about where were you on Nov 22, 1963. That was the day that President John Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas, Texas.

I remember that day very well. I was at Chico Elementry school in 5 th grade. My teacher, Mr. Hopkins came into class and his words will always live with me. He said "I am going to tell you something and don't let anyone tell you differently, the President has been shot". Then later he came in and told us that the President was dead. The little boys joked about getting the shooter and a couple girls cried. We were allowed into the library where a TV was set up and news was being shown. I think we were sent home that afternoon..

The next several days our family was glued to the television during the subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and then the funeral. I remember my dad telling my sister and I to pay attention because someday we may be asked about it.

Today, the news shows are recounting the events and interviewing people who were there when the assassination occurred. The questions always surface about how could Oswald do this and was there a conspiracy? The Warren Commission, established by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination, concluded in 1964 that Oswald acted alone. And then in 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations ended it's own inquiry by finding that Kennedy "was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy".  Who really knows.

So who was Oswald? He was a troubled youth and joined the US Marines in his teens. Trained as a sharpshooter, his time in the Marines was turbulent and after two court martials, he was discharged. He was impressed with Marxism and defected to the Soviet Union. After becoming disillusioned with the lack of opportunities, he returned to the United States with his Russian wife.  He protested against the Cuban blockade and was out spoken against the United States. Was his hatred enough for him to assassinate the President?

Following the assassination, Oswald fled into the residential neighborhoods of Dallas and killed a policeman before being apprehended. Two days later while being moved at the jail, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. The reason was never fully known why Ruby killed Oswald and with Oswald dead, his reason for assassinating the president were never discovered.

Could Oswald have acted alone? I think it is very possible. He was a sharpshooter in the Marines and had been seen at a rifle range practicing his shooting in the weeks before the assassination.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pacific Marine Expo 2013

Wednesday,  I went to the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle. This is a show for the marine/fishing industry to check out the latest equipment and services that vendors have to offer. Each year I receive a free ticket and attend. I like to see what is new and wish that some of it was available when I was working. It is interesting to talk to some of the vendors that are selling equipment that I used to design installations for. I had a really good discussion with a vendor who performs laser scanning of machinery rooms and develops 3D CAD models of the piping systems. This was something that was talked about when I worked, but never implemented. 
I caught the 0845 ferry from Bremerton and was at the show, picked up my ID and was on the floor shortly after the 1000 opening time.

I made a quick trip of it and was on the 1235 ferry after stopping at Ivars for lunch. YUM!
 The displays fill the floor of the Century Link Field Event Center.
 Lots of equipment to look at. Wednesday was the first day of three that the show was open. There was a good turnout early in the day.
This is a General Electric 12V250 diesel engine. This is not the largest diesel engine I have been close to or worked on, but it was impressive that this engine was on display at this show. It can produce 4690 HP. Is about 10 feet tall, 14 feet long and weighs 44,500 lbs. It was by far the largest diesel engine displayed at the Pacific Marine Expo this year..

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A New Boat, Another Project

I went to Silverdale today and while I was there I made my usual stop at Goodwill. Today they had a sailboat displayed for sale. I looked at it. It seemed to have most of the parts and a note said that the rest of the parts were in the back. I stopped a worker and she confirmed that some of the missing pieces came with it. Some of the rigging was in disarray, but I was sure that I could get it straightened out. I wandered around some and thought about it for a while and decided to buy it. I loaded it into the back seat of the Bronco and brought it home.
Now my readers are probably saying "What, you bought a sailboat and loaded it into the back seat of your car?". Yes, you see, this is a radio controlled sailboat model. What I ended up with is a Victoria class model sailboat. It is about 32" long with a 42 in mast. Most of the parts seem to be with it and the controller and manual were the parts that were in the back of the store. In some ways, it looks like it has never been sailed as some of the rigging is in disarray. Fortunately the manual has all the assembly instructions and details.
When I got home, a search on the Internet yielded lots of information on these model boats. The Victoria class are very popular and many clubs and organizations race them. One friend said that they are raced on Green Lake in Seattle. Furthermore, there are many sources of rigging upgrades and go fast hints and tips. Some people have upgraded the mast to a carbon fiber stick or a lighter aluminum mast made of lightweight arrow shafts. Hi tech film sails are available. The stock parts are available, so if the electronics are fried, I should be able to buy new.
So, now I have another project. I have always wanted one of these. 

Some say that these are a replica of a 12 meter. I would say that it looks more like an AC72 with more beam.

All the major parts seem to be here. The hatch is missing, but I should be able to easily build a new one.

Gig Harbor LeMans Race-Nov 9

What is a LeMans Race? In motorsports, it usually refers to a race with a LeMans Start. This is a start where the drivers run to their cars, jump in, start the motor and then race onto the track. This type of start is rarely used anymore. Safety issues such as drivers not buckling in properly and cars colliding during the mass start lead to it being phased out and replaced by more structured starting procedures.

But, a race utilizing a LeMans Start is alive and well in Gig Harbor and has been raced for nearly 50 years. But the Gig Harbor race is raced with sailboats. The competing boats anchor in a "box" encompassed by four buoys. The crew hides below decks and at the starting signal run up on deck, raise the sails, weigh anchor and sail down the course.

For this race, I was invited to race onboard "Dulcinea" a J105 in my club. I like sailing on other boats sometimes. It is a great chance to learn how other boats sail. Since I have my own boat, I don't get invited aboard many other boats.

The day started cold and clear with light winds predicted. The drive to Gig Harbor was in very dense fog. We hoped that it would clear. Sure enough, by the time we arrived at Gig Harbor, the fog had lifted but the wind was non existent.

After the 0900 meeting, we motored out to the starting box near the starting line for our 1040 start. The wind was light out of the north and if it held, the start would be downwind. So we anchored with a single anchor and our bow pointed toward the line. After we established our spot, other boats anchored close and the "box" became crowded.

At the starting gun, our crew of five ran topside and pandemonium ensued. I raised the anchor while the others set the spinnaker and raised the main. The wind was light out of the north as we ran down Gig Harbor towards the narrow entrance. We sailed hot angles and sailed close to the other boats in our class. At the harbor entrance, the fleet compressed and it was crowded with all the boats trying to sail through the narrow entrance together. As we sailed out of the bay and headed north, we set the jib and dropped the spinnaker for the beat north up Colvos Pass. The beat became an exercise in trying to follow light bands of wind while still staying in favorable current. We saw winds as high as 5-6 knots a couple of times, but mostly it was very light with bands of winds just out of reach and dead spots to try to avoid. We rounded the mark at Olalla and started running against the current back toward Gig Harbor.

We reached across Colvos Pass only to find better winds on the west side. So we reached back toward the west side while still trying to maintain target speeds. The race committee announced that the race would be shortened at Pt Richmond. Now as the wind got lighter we wondered if we could even make it to the shortened course finish line within the 4-1/2 hour time limit. We passed a few boats and closed with the finish line, got flushed back by the current and with only a few feet to go ran out of time. It was very intense racing right to the end! When the results were presented, the race was scored at the Olalla mark. Setting a finish line at Pt Richmond was not an option in the rules. It was still fun working so hard to try to get to where we thought the finish would be.

We motored back to Gig Harbor and went to the post race party at the Gig Harbor BoatShop. This was a fun party. The boat shop is a real working shop that was originally the Eddon Boat Shop where the original Thunderbird was built in 1958. We ate pizza in a shop with old  unfinished wood walls, heavy work benches and woodworking tools scattered everywhere. This shop was saved from being razed for a condominium project by the taxpayers of Gig Harbor a few years ago.

At the post race party, the race chairman said that when the 50th anniversary of the race occurs in a few years, he plans to revive the original start of the race. The way the race was run in its beginning was the skippers rowing a dinghy to their boats and then tow the dinghy throughout the race. That would be more of a "true" LeMans start!

Thanks to Matthew, Mike, Mellisa and Tessa for inviting me along on this race, I had a good time.
 Looking down Gig Harbor before the start. There was not much wind!
Boats in our class anchored waiting for the start.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taking The Bronco On A Road trip To Port Townsend

It has been a few months of work and frustration on the Bronco. First it was the discovery of a failed transmission cooler that flooded the transmission with engine coolant and contaminated the engine coolant with transmission fluid(UH OH!, UH OH! Part 2 and UH OH! Part 3). And more recently, it was a flooding problem that required disassembly of both the primary and secondary float bowls of the Holley 4 barrel carburetor. After it appeared that these problems were finally getting behind me, I thought it would be a good time to take a road trip on Monday to test the Bronco.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a strong breeze blowing out of the north. I drove across the Hood Canal bridge and took the first right. This road took me through Port Ludlow and I continued north towards Hadlock. This was a time to explore, so I took a side trip on Olympus Blvd to the county park/launching ramp at Mats Mats Bay. I have been here before, but I mistakenly took a different route to get there. I also had arrived by boat in the 60's when there was a small marina at the location of the county park.

Back on the road, I made the right turn and crossed the bridge over the Port Townsend Canal onto first Indian Island and then Marrowstone Island. I drove north to Fort Flagler State Park. I drove around the park and wandered through one of the old gun sites and headed back south. At Mystery Bay, I took a left and drove the East Beach Rd that looped back to the main road and off the island.

Back on the mainland, I turned right at Hadlock and drove to Port Townsend where I stopped to shop at the bookstore before continuing on to Fort Worden State Park. The wind was really blowing and was crashing over the rocks. After a quick walk around, I drove back home with only one stop at the Port Townsend Goodwill Store.

It was a great day to get out for a drive and the transmission shifted smoothly, the engine temperature stayed stable and the carburetor did not flood.
Mats Mats Bay. This is a very protected bay with a narrow, shallow entrance. We came here in the 60's on my dad's boat. There used to be a marina here where I think we bought fuel. 
 Mount Baker
Pt Wilson lighthouse. 
Heading home over the Hood Canal Bridge. The purse seiners were fishing off to the right.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Better Place To Work

I call it my shop, but it really is a two car garage that like a lot of two car garages, two cars really can't fit. And like a lot of garages, the previous owner did not park his cars in the garage, but used it as a shop and storage area. He did install three workbench sections across the front wall that look like store counters. They are stoutly built with wood and formica tops and storage underneath. There are also two drawer units that look like cut down chest of drawers.
I do park one of my cars in the garage and the "second car" stall I use to park the motorcycle, some bicycles and other loose items. Fortunately, the car I park in the garage is short, so I do have some room around the workbench. This is my "shop".  It is nice to have an area to work in that is at least dry and well lit, even if it can be cold this time of the year.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a nice metal top workbench at Goodwill for $12. The people at Goodwill called it a desk and it does have a foot well that allows me to set with my legs underneath. This is what I have been looking for. I sometimes want to set on my high stool when I work on small stuff and with the old bench, I had to set "side saddle".
So one morning last week, I moved most of what was in the second car side of the garage outside and started rearranging the work benches and the drawer units. The workbench sections were heavy and would not slide. I had to get the hand truck under the end to get them to move. When all was done, I actually ended up with more room, or so it seems. Part of what I did was to get rid of a lot of junk too. Any shop needs to be cleaned out occasionally. Over the course of a few days, I rearranged some of the mounted tools. The air compressor was now too far down the bench, so I moved it to an empty storage bay closer to where it originally was. Of course, the compressed air piping does not line up any more, so I need to reroute that. Then I swapped the location of the wash tank and brake press to open up more room around the grinder. And last, I cleaned off the top of the bench and stored or disposed of what was there.
My "shop" may not be large or fancy with a lot of tools, but a lot of amazing and successful projects have been accomplished here.
 Here is the bench/desk that I found at Goodwill. It is 50 inches long with a steel surface and is close to the same height and depth as the exiting workbench.
 First I moved everything from the garage outside. With everything outside, I took the opportunity to sweep the floor too!
After clearing out bicycles, bicycle workstand, motorcycle, table saw and a lot of other stuff stored in the corner. 
First I had to move the drawer unit 90 degrees from the north wall to the east wall. My bench grinder and band saw were originally on the drawer unit. 
It looks like a mess(and was), but I needed to move the two sections of work bench to the right to insert the new bench. 
 With the two sections of work bench moved, the new bench/desk fit well. And I can set on my stool with my legs underneath to get close to my work.
 After the rearrangement. Some stuff that was on the floor is now on the drawer unit. The bench grinder and the band saw mount with more room and a better height on the work bench. There is more room around the drill press and more room in the corner.
 The entire work bench. I had to move the air compressor and still need to reconnect the shop air piping. I also cleared off a lot of loose stuff off the surface so I can actually see the top now.
I moved the wash tank to the last section of work bench and the brake press from the last section to the center section.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Commodore's Cup Regatta

The Commodore's Cup Regatta is a three race regatta sponsored by West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club(WSCYC). Not many people know of the history of this regatta as many of the current racers were not racing for WSCYC when this regatta was started. This regatta is limited only to members of WSCYC. It is like a season championship for our club. I am not sure of the year(I did race in the first one), but I think it was 1989 when our Commodore(I will not mention his name) who was a great racer, bought the cup for the club and set up the first regatta. The cup resembles a large brass ice bucket mounted on a square wood pedestal. The winner gets his name engraved on the cup and gets to keep it until the next year. This regatta has attracted some interesting entries. Because it was open to club members only, sometimes you could see fast boats(and crews) from other clubs show up at the starting line after being "chartered" by club members.

The Pacific Northwest has been in a period of high pressure. This has resulted in foggy mornings and light winds. The winds on Saturday were predicted to be light and they were. At each start, the winds were only 3-4 knots and combined with a short starting line each start was very crowded. There were more infractions and over early starters than we usually see all season. We were over early in the second start, but we made a quick turn around the starting pin, a large turn around the mess of stalled boats and ended up with a pretty good start at the breakwater end.

Each race was a light air affair. "The Boss" finished ahead of us in each race pacing first for the series with us second overall.

Thanks to my crew of Tim and Jim for all the good work for the day.

Results(when they are posted) should be found here: http://wscyc.net/event/commodores-cup-regatta/
Some boats behind in the light winds. Swan is leading Blackout and just out of the photo to the right, Falcon.
Here we are drifting along in very light winds.
Photo Credit: Chris Mathews

Foulweather Bluff Race Oct 5th

This is old news, but I just retrieved the race track off the GPS.

October 5th was the Foulweather Bluff Race sponsored by Edmonds Corinthian Yacht Club. For the first time, the course was reversed from the normal direction. It is a 26 mile race that starts  just north of Edmonds,rounds the bell buoy off Scatchet Head,  rounds the bell buoy off Foulweather Bluff, and back to the finish north of Edmonds. This year, the weather was forecast to be sunny, temps in the 70's but the winds were suppose to be light and maybe up to 5 knots. The forecast was very accurate! Is this really October?
I delivered the boat to Edmonds early on Friday and got a choice moorage spot at the visitors dock. I explored uptown and spent time kibitzing with old acquaintances and met a few new ones. Interesting how the sailors from outside my normal sailing area around Bremerton are so friendly.
On Saturday, the weather was as predicted with light winds from the north.. We motored to the starting area and lined up for our start. We were assigned to a class of 9 boats. We were the smallest boat in our class, most of the boats were 40 feet or larger and even though we owe some of them time, they are boat designs noted to be fast in light wind.
We got a great start and headed across the sound toward the Kitsap County shore. When we were about half way across, a large header made it a great time to tack. At this point, we were in the lead, and our competition was all heading north on port tack. But, the wind died leaving us drifting in circles until the wind filled in from the west. As we got closer to Whidbey Island, the now adverse current was setting us east and we tacked toward the west into now stronger winds. The now flooding current was flowing west to east at close to three knots. We sailed high of the rhumb line to Schachet Head before tacking to port again. We sailed a heading that was nearly twenty degrees higher than the bearing to the Schachet Head buoy just to get or COG(course over ground) to equal the bearing to the mark. Thankfully the race committee ended the race at the first mark. 
In hindsight, the smartest move we could have done was to have continued all the way across the sound to the Kitsap shore for current relief and to pick up the new northwest wind. Many boats that had fallen behind at the start sailed around us well to the south and beat us to the finish.
It was still a great day. Thanks to the crew of: Walter, Kathleen, Dave, Tim, Jim and Rainer.
Results can be found here: CYC Edmonds Foulweather Bluff Race
I arrived early enough to get a prime spot at the dock. 
 Friday night, the harbor was filled with boats.
 Friday night, the harbor was filled with boats.
Our track for the day. Lots of drifting around with the current.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seattle International Auto Show 2013

Warning: This post involves new, old, and restored motor vehicles most of which are hydrocarbon burning and carbon spewing vehicles. A lot of the vehicles are in the price range for the 1% er's and a few for us 99% er's. Those people looking for sailing info will probably be disappointed, move along.
Today was a good day for retired people like me to go to the Seattle International Auto Show while the working people were, well, working! I supposed that the furloughed workers could have attended too. The show is at the Century Link Event Center. The intent is to show new cars for the 2014 model year. As always, a lot of the displays are glitzy and the cars are displayed under bright lighting. Most of the well known(and lessor known) manufacturers were present. Cars are not for sale at this show, but many brands were offering discount coupons to those people who were really interested.
As usual, I spent a lot of time at the Ford display. Their Shelby Mustang GT500 was a beauty. Elsewhere, everyone had their electric car or hybrid this year. I think an electric car could be a good way to get around for running errands and shopping. But so many of the major manufactures put in all the frills of a gas powered car at the cost of more weight and less range on a battery charge. I cannot buy or lease an electric car for less than what I pay for gasoline each month.
All the "exotic" cars were up on the mezzanine. Here were the Land Rovers, Jags, Bentley's, Porsche's, Lamborghini's and even a Smart Car. What! Did I say? Smart Car? I sure did!  I often think they would be a great little car for running around town, or even taking a trip. I was always impressed with them when I was in Europe and am glad to see more of them here.
After a quick trip through the displays and Lemay museum cars, I went back to the 1500 ferry, after a quick trip to Ivar's to get fish and trips to go and was home by 1615.
I am not a convertible fan, but I really liked the Shelby Mustang GT500. This is a very high performance car with a big price tag. It is advertised as having the most powerful production V8 engine in the world at 662 hp with 631 lb-ft of torque. It also has a track tested speed in excess of 200 MPH. I would be happy with the Mustang GT that has a mere 420 HP.  
The Cobra emblem. 
 This year we could sit in the Shelby Mustang GT500. I really like the Recaro seats!
Evil looking snout. 
 I have always liked the Audi TT.
 The new Corvette. At least this year they got rid of the strange looking plexiglas window in the hood.
The little Mini keeps getting larger now with an all wheel drive SUV looking  model. 
I always thought the Dodge Challenger was a great looking car and was on my list of cars I would like to own. But after owning a Mustang for six months, I appreciate the light weight, high horsepower of the Mustang. The Challenger is a much larger, heavier car. When I set in it seemed huge! 
The obligatory Ferrari picture. 
The Tesla all electric car. At $70K it is spendy. It is suppose to get 300 miles on a charge, but depending on your home charging system, it can be recharged overnight or it may take a couple of days to recharge. 
This is an actual NASCAR Sprint Cup car that used to belong to the Michael Waltrip team. I believe it is a generation one, COT(car of tomorrow). It was wrecked and a group bought it, had it put back together with a driving simulator installed. They take it to events to show it off and advertised their product. I got to "race" Daytona in it. It was so intense that when I came out of it, I was sweaty!
Nicki Lauda's Formula One racer. Griot's garage in Tacoma restored it and will be starting it up on Dec 7th along with the McLaren next to it. This is the car that you will see in the movie "Rush". 
 The Lemay Museum was represented with a large display of cars. I do not remember this many cars in previous years.
 More cars from the LeMay Museum.
I was able to make a side trip to Ivar's on the way back to the ferry and had fish and chips on my way home.