Monday, January 28, 2013

Seattle Boat Show 2013-"The Boat Show, The Boat Show, The Big Seattle Boat Show"

It is January and time for the boat show. As has been the case for several years, the indoor part of the show is at the Centurylink Event Center and the "in the water" portion is at Chandlers Cove at Lake Union. There is a free shuttle that runs between the two venues.
Since I am not in the market for a large boat, I attended the indoor venue. I am usually just looking at accessories and talk to vendors for various concerns about their equipment. But this year I wanted to look at a new sailboat called the J70.
I also ran into several acquaintances that I have known for a long time through. I only spent two and a half hours there and caught the 1330 ferry home. No Ivars Fish and Chips today, but I may make another trip to Seattle next week!
 One corner of the event center had small sailboats including the J70 and sailing gear.
 Most of the event center was filled with powerboats, big and small.
 My friend Kevin. The "K" in "DMK".
 How about this? The hot tub boat! Yes, it really is a functioning boat completed with twin screw electric propulsion, joystick control and stereo.
The hot tub boat can be rented on Lake Union or one of your own can be custom built.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day At The LeMay America's Car Museum

Today, my church had a "Mens Day". This is a day for the men in the church to social It started with a breakfast and culminated with a steak dinner and a guest speaker. After breakfast, several activities were planned, I elected to go with several friends to the LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma. I also took my dad as a late birthday present.
Harold LeMay ran a successful refuse company in Tacoma. He collected the world's largest private collection of automobiles. The city of Tacoma donated land next to the Tacoma Dome for the museum. Many automobiles are displayed from the LeMay collection along with automobiles from other collections. The museum has four levels. The side halls were designated specific themes(British Invasion, Ferrari in America, Alternative Propulsion, etc) and the main halls were random collections.
It was well worth the visit. The LeMay  Family also has their private collection on display at another facility near Parkland, south of Tacoma. That might be another great place to visit.
 The main hall.
 The main hall.

 Lincoln hood ornament.

 One of many side halls.

 Highly Customized Ford Thunderbird.
 One of two DeLoreans on display.
 A 1994 George Barris custom. AKA, the Flintstones Car.
 Rare 1961 Chrysler 300. 413 cubic inch Max Wedge engine, 375 hp. Two four barrel carburetors on the cross ram induction manifold.
 Early GM Electric car with charging station.
 Stanley Steamer boiler. Steam buffs should appreciate that this operated at 600 psi. It could do 75 mph, but only for 50 miles before it ran out of water.
 1964 Sunbeam Tiger, A performance version of the Sunbeam Alpine with a Ford 260 cubic inch V8.
"Chi Town Hustler". A seventies era Funny Car that had a body style to resemble a Dodge Challenger.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Wanted To Believe In Lance...

I always wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong did not use performance enhancing drugs(PED), but there was always something about him that kept me from thinking that he was "squeaky clean".  I remember when he showed up on the racing scene as a young cyclist. Much was written about him. Talented, headstrong, hard to coach, tempestuous were some of the things I remember. I found him to be very arrogant. He showed some promise in his younger years and competed in many events and proving himself in both amateur and pro cycling. In 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and after a well publicised treatment, he was declared cancer free in February 1997. During his treatment,
his professional cycling team fired him. They did not think that he could return to professional cycling. They also were not sure he would live.

Here is where I really wanted to believe in him. He started training and reversing the ravages from his fight with cancer. The US Postal Cycling Team hired him and he went on to win seven straight Tour de France titles. Some naysayers said that he could only do this if he was taking PED's. He adamantly denied taking drugs. I even defended him saying that no doubt that he took one of the banned drugs EPO as part of his cancer treatment. He continued a fight against the allegations until 2012 when he was stripped of his Tour de France wins and banned from competing for life. During his defense, he testified under oath that he had not taken drugs, sued news media for there reporting and bullied his teammates that were testifying against him. He damaged a lot of lives. It was his ex-teammates and families testimonies to the USADA (United States Anti Drug Association) that finally allowed them to take action.

Some people have defended Lance by saying, "All the riders dope". Others have said of his defense, "Oh, everyone lies".  When I raced bicycles, we knew what the rules were. The rule book had an extensive list of band substances. And we knew the consequences of being banned. I was never drug tested, that was usually reserved for the event winners, and, well, I never placed that well. But I knew that since excessive caffeine was on the banned list, I too had to watch it because even drinking too much coffee could trigger a positive test. We read about how the Europeans were really good at using PED's and it seemed to us that the penalties were not very severe. Unfortunatly professional bicycle racing is still experiencing severe drug use.

Now he has finally agreed to a interview with Oprah Winfrey. It aired last night. I finally watched part of the interview this morning on YouTube. I do not have access to Oprah's channel. She ask him straight away if he had used PED's and blood doping. His answer was "yes" to everything. I found it interesting that he was adamant that when he made his comeback in 2009 after retiring in 2005 that he was drug and doping free. And yet he still placed a respectable third in the Tour de France. I would like to believe that he still could have won previous Tour de France's without doing drugs or doping. It was hard to tell from the interview if he was really remorseful for what he did or if he was sorry that he was caught.

So now where does this go? Some say that this is a way for him to get back into competing in triathlons. That may or may not happen even if his ban is lifted in a few years. The USADA  has commented that he would have to swear under oath to them before they would ever consider lifting the ban. His sponsors have dropped him, and some which includes the US Government are starting legal action to retrieve the money that was paid him. Will this leave him broke? He has been stripped of his 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal. He has separated from the Livestrong cancer research organization. How will it fair? An interview on TV this morning with the CEO made it sound like they have confidence that they can continue. I never bought one of their yellow wristbands. He has published two books (that I have read) about his life, cancer, recovery, Tour de France wins and how he did it all with just hard work. Will he write another book and finally tell all?

So, I always wanted to believe in Lance. I am glad he finally admitted his involvement and his lies. This is what I wanted all along. I still will have to decide if I ever want to believe in him.

Seven Tour de France championships. He contents that his drugging and doping during that time just "levelled" the playing field.

Lance and Oprah

Monday, January 7, 2013

Duwamish Head Race 1-5-2013

The Duwamish Head Race is run the first Saturday of each year(unless it is the New Years Day weekend). It is a 30.7 NM race that starts at Des Moines, sails north around Alki Point and around the Duwamish Head marker at the entrance to Elliot Bay. From there, the race continues across Puget Sound to Blakely Rocks and returns south to the finish at Des Moines. This race is the second race of the four race Southern Sound Series.
For me, this race got underway early Friday morning when I left Brownsville Marina at 0700 for the delivery run to Des Moines. Deliveries are just one of the parts of preparing for a race. It is still fun to be on the water and spend time on the boat. By 1020, I was moored in Des Moines and spent most of the day kibitzing with acquaintances on other boats as they arrived.
After a breakfast sponsored by Three Tree Point Yacht club, we rigged the boat and got underway to the starting area. The winds were predicted to be light all day, but there was enough wind to make the boat move well. The wind was SE and allowed us to get a good start on starboard with the spinnaker set. As we headed north the wind was spotty. Some boats played the right shore, but we seemed to find better wind near the middle of the channel. The current was better in the middle as well.
As we approached Alki Point, the wind had built to about seven knots and was very easterly. This made the reach from Alki to Duwamish Head very tight. We could see some boats having trouble carrying their spinnakers, so when we got close to the mark, we brought ours down and reset it after rounding and setting our course for Blakely Rocks. At this point in our class, we were following "Absolutly"(G&S39), "Grace E"(J35), Tantivy(J109) and "Melange(another J35).
The reach across the sound was a parade although "Jeopardy" (J109) and "First Dance"(Beneteau First 35) took a high lane and passed us too. At the rocks we started a beat back toward the south and soon past "First Dance". We got to the shore near Restoration Pt and the light wind evaporated. We drifted in the current induced chop until we managed to sail into some newer wind coming from the SE. We sailed toward Alki Point where we could see most of our class leaders. "Melange" stayed more toward the middle and we lost track of them. We made one tack into the beach just south of Alki, but when we tacked back out, we found better wind away from the shore. The wind was still light at around 5knots, and was variable between SE and SW.
We started gaining and passing the boats ahead that stayed on the east shore. After Fauntleroy, we had passed "Jeopardy" and "Grace E" with "Absolutely" and "Tantivy" still ahead. The wind seemed to finally settle on a SE direction and we had one long tack to Pulley PT. "Grace E" stayed right behind us and "The Boss" (J35) had moved up with them. "Absolutely" and "Tantivity" were well ahead so we determined that we needed to cover "Grace E" and "The Boss" and try to stay between them and the finish that was about 3 1/2 mile away. As it got dark it became difficult to tell where these boats went.
South of Pulley PT, we saw "Tantivy" appear to tack in toward the beach and we followed them that way for a while. After we tacked back, we seemed to get a bit of a lift, but it was short lived as we headed back off shore to again, better winds. As we headed off shore on port tack, a starboard tack boat boat approached. In the dark it was hard to define who it was. Lets see, tall fractional rig, dark sails, dark hull, Oh my, yellow stripes! It was "Absolutely", the boat that had been way ahead of us! Now we had another boat to cover! And we did! "Grace E" tacked back our way and had gained on us by their long tack offshore. We could not identify "The Boss" anymore. As we stayed ahead of the two boats, another boat approached from the right. Lets see, fractional rig, white hull, three digit sail number. Oh my again! It was "Tantivy"! We passed above them, tacked to starboard, and now we had three boats to cover! Fortunately they stayed in a group. On our last tack to port to the finish line, we were just ahead of this group and then "The Boss" showed up just below "Grace E". We finished first in this group at 18:13:46 with "Grace E" finishing 6 seconds behind us, "The Boss" finishing another 5 seconds later, "Tantivy" 17 seconds behind "The Boss" and finally "Absolutely" 11 seconds behind "Tantivy". That is some close racing! Unfortunately, my computer choked and I do not have any tracks to display.
We knew we placed well by finishing ahead of this group of boats, but how well? There was no gun for first to finish. Sure enough, when we motored into the harbor, "Melange" was already there and had finished about 10 minutes ahead of us. We were still happy with our finish. Combined with our 2nd place finish at Winter Vashon , we are leading the class with 4 points. But, there are still two races to go in the series. Results and pictures should be be found here: Southern Sound Series and here: Three Tree Point Yacht Club.
The banter in the harbor with our competitors was great! Everyone was in a great mood and congratulations were going around amongst all the crews and skippers. This is a fun group of sailors to race with!
After getting the boat cleaned up, I headed straight home and arrived at Brownsville at 2204.
This was a great race! After falling behind early on, we persevered and put our great night racing abilities to work to pass the boats ahead. Thanks to my crew of Jim, Tom, Walter and Ranier for staying focused and working hard.
EDIT: The race committee has been fine tuning the results(they are still preliminary) and the finishing order has now changed. We still finished first of our group at 18:13:46 with "Grace E" finishing 6 seconds behind us, "The Boss" finishing another 5 seconds later, but "Absolutely" actually finished  28 seconds behind "The Boss" and finally "Tantivy" finished 4 minutes 49 seconds behind "Absolutely". In the dark and with us concentrating on finishing, I did not pay much attention to those finishing behind and relied on the results for the times.
Video taken shortly after the start in the light reaching conditions.
"Jeopardy" a J109 in our class.
"Last Tango" and "Dulcinea" (both J105's), matched raced for most of the downwind leg.
The crew working the boat on the light air downwind run toward Alki Point.
Boats sailing across Puget Sound from Duwamish Head with the Seattle skyline in the background.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years 2013

New Years! A time when people set resolutions, look for a new start, and  have a time to celebrate the coming of the new year. Well, I did not go to any parties and I really have not set any resolutions, but I do have one thing I would like to work at changing this year.
For New Years Eve, I stayed home. I worked for a couple of hours on a video, watched a movie and since I rarely am asleep by midnight, I layed in bed and watched the TV coverage of the Space Needle fireworks. The neighbors did shoot off fireworks and someone that lives in the woods just west of me had a very impressive display of rockets and mortars. My neighbors on my street were really quiet. They usually set off a lot of fireworks. The cat was not as freaked out as he usually is on these nights. Really wild evening eh!
In the morning I was up at my usual 0600. After breakfast and taking care of some house work, I watched the coverage of the Rose Parade for a while and then went to the Sharis Restaurant New Years Day Car Show. This is similar to the Tuesday evening shows that are run during the spring and summer. There was a lot of cars, as many or more than in the Summer. It was a perfect day for it, it was very sunny and somewhat cool. There was a lot of cars that I had not seen before and it appeared that some groups came from out of town. I ran into some old friends there too.
After a couple of hours at the car show, I went home, got out one of my bicycles and rode to the Brownsville Marina to watch the crazy people run into the water. There was a good turnout and I got some good pictures and video. I rode home the long way through Tracyton and ended up with a ride of about 18miles. Once home, I changed to the Bronco and went to my folks for dinner. Home again in the evening, I completed the Brownsville Marina Plunge video.
So there it is, my wild New Years celebration!
I spent time on New Years Eve making this video of a ride on the day before.

 There was a lot of cars at Sharis. As many or more than in the summer
 I like this, a nicely restored police car,
 Modern Mustangs lined up displaying their power plants.
 This car had a straight eight Buick engine. Supercharged with dual side draft carbs.
 Mazda Miata with a Ford 5.0 V8 engine. A very clean installation that looked like it could have been factory original. More room around the engine than I thought possible. I did some research and found that this is a common repower and kits are available.

Avery nice day to be looking at cars and meeting up with old friends.

Video of the Brownsville Marina New Years Day Plunge.