Monday, May 27, 2013

Lock Me Up!

Today I helped a friend take his boat to Seattle. Since we had to go into the Lake Washington ship canal, we had to negotiate the Ballard Locks, officially known as the Hiram M. Chittenden (Hiram Chittenden Locks website ). These locks allow boats to safely traverse from sea level up about 22 feet to the freshwater of Lake Union and Lake Washington. Many Seattle boaters negotiate the locks often. I have not been through the locks in several years.
Since this was the last day of a three day weekend, there were a lot of boats waiting to enter the locks. Fortunately, we arrived ahead of a lot of them.
Approaching the locks from Puget Sound,  the first obstacle is the railroad bridge. It needs to be up for us to pass through. We had to wait for a while until a train passed.
Approaching the "small" locks. The "large" locks are out of sight to the left. The dam that controls the level of the lakes is to the right.
Into the lock chamber. We were the first boat in.
In the end of the lock. The lake is on the other side of the gates.
The lock chamber is filled with boats ready to be flooded.
The lock chamber is almost full and I can see the lake over the top of the gate.
Leaving the lock. Now about 22 feet higher than where we started.

Kitsap Harbor Festival

Each year on Memorial Day Weekend, Bremerton stages the Kitsap Harbor Festival. This is three days of displays, concerts and booths at the Bremerton Boardwalk and downtown Bremerton. On Saturday, I parked in Manette and walked across the bridge to see what was going on.

 Vendor booths along the Bremerton Boardwalk.
 Military vehicle display.
 The car show extended down Pacific Avenue from 6th street to Burwell. The old "cruising" route.
 The car show extended down Pacific Avenue from 6th street to Burwell. The old "cruising" route.
The car show extended down Pacific Avenue from 6th street to Burwell. The old "cruising" route.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Movie Reviews: Young Guns, Young Guns II and the Gillette Connection

I have liked the expression "Young Guns". To me the term meant a younger talented person breaking into a more competitive sports scene. This will be explained more later. Amongst my friends, the movie "Young Guns" was suggested as a good movie. I am not a big fan of westerns, but this movie had a bunch of popular actors in one of their earlier movies. A little research and I found that some of the same actors also played in a sequel called Young Guns II. So, I found unwrapped DVD's of both movies at Amazon. A few days later and they were delivered to my home.

Young Guns
I watched this movie last night. I enjoyed it. When this movie was produced in 1988, many of the actors were starting their careers. The theme of this movie dealt mainly with Billy The Kid played by Emilio Estevez and his gang. Based in 1878, Billy was taken in by a English Rancher and Storekeeper in Lincoln County New Mexico named John Tunstall. Tunstall mentored young men on his ranch and employed them as "Regulators" to maintain security on the ranch. The six regulators were what we would probably call "at risk youth" today. They all had trouble with the law and were very proficient with their weapons of choice. After Tunstall was murdered by his Irish competitor's gang, the "Regulators" fended for themselves and after being deputized, they waged war against the Murphy gang. The "Regulators" soon became known as Billy The Kid's gang and a price was put on their heads. The movie followed their antics until the final scene when they hid in a house of Tunstall's attorney and friend. The Army shot up the house and set it on fire. Billy and a couple of his gang managed to escape and during the escape, Billy finally managed to take out his revenge on Murphy. The end of the movie was captions about what happened to the remaining "Regulators". This movie was rated "R" probably for violence. I purchased it from Amazon. The quality of the movie and audio was good.

Several younger actors played in this movie during the beginning of their careers.

Young Guns II
So tonight I watched this movie. After the first movie told what happened to the "Regulators", the question is why would you need another movie. Well this one started out with a bit of a surprise. It starts in 1949 when an old man wanders out of the wilderness and meets with an attorney. He tells a tale that he is Billy The Kid and wants to meet with the Govenor. The movie follows his story of what happened to him following the Lincoln County wars and follows the myth of Billy The Kid.

This movie takes place in 1879 following the Lincoln County war. Billy has been running wild, is a wanted fugitive and the Sheriffs and bounty hunters were after him. The remaining two "Regulators" are rounded up and imprisoned and waiting trial. Billy springs them free and along with some new members of the gang, they are on the run around New Mexico. It finally ends with Billy dead. Or is he?

These movies were partially based on true events. There really was a Billy The Kid, John Tunstall, Regulators, Murphy and the Lincoln County war. Also several people have come forward claiming that they were Billy The Kid. But there was never any proof that he survived.

Again, this movie was rated "R" probably for violence. I purchased it from Amazon. The quality of the movie and audio was good.
Three "Regulators" returned for this movie.

The Gillette Connection
I have always liked motorsports and follow the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A few years ago, several younger racers were brought onto teams to race the Sprint Cup series. These drivers had made their names in the Nationwide series and other lesser NASCAR series races. The Gillette corporation picked up on this and labeled them as the "Young Guns". Many funny and silly commercials were made with these drivers and subsequently a race series was set up that involved the "Young Guns" and prominent sports celebrities from outside of motor sports. Here is a Wikipedia article about the Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race: Wikipedia Article About The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race

These racers have gone on to be well respected competitive racers in the stock car community.

The "Young Guns": Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.

Port Orchard Invitational-WSSA No. 5

Saturday was the Port Orchard Invitational Race. It was the fifth race of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race starts at the Port Orchard Yacht Club, sails north up Port Orchard to a temporary buoy and back for a distance of 16.4NM.

The weather forecast was for a chance of showers. The wind was predicted to be at 7-10 Knots. At least, the direction was given as from the SW. After a couple of races that were mostly reaching, maybe this will finally give us a race with a long beat!
We lined up for the start late and set the spinnaker without a jib flying. This created a bit of a mess with the jib on deck getting wrapped up in the spinnaker gear. After getting everything squared away, we set off toward the East Bremerton shore try to escape the small flood. We were seeing good speed and sailed really low angles. We sailed close to the south point of Illahee State Park and seemed to get the current boost we were looking for. But we soon jibed away from shore as the winds were fickle as normal. We angled slowly toward the Bainbridge Island shore and stayed away from the strange conditions around University Point. We closed with the mark at Battle Pt. and had a good spinnaker take down even though, I fell backwards into the cockpit and almost ran over the boat ahead!
On the beat back, the wind velocity was up and down from 7-15 knots. We sailed with the heavy No. 1 jib that was a good choice although we were a little underpowered in the lulls. The wind oscillated back and forth making many chances for gains and losses. We short tacked up the East Bremerton shore looking for current relief from the now ebbing current. We finished second and one well sailed boat from division II corrected on us giving us 2nd in class and 3rd overhaul. This placing once again pushed us back into first place for the series. Results can be found here: Port Orchard Invitational
It was a good day for a race. The winds for us were pretty steady although they lightened after we finished. Rain was predicted but I only saw a few drops. It was actually warm during the day. Thanks to my crew of Jim and Dave for all the great help and keeping me focused.
Boats approaching the Battle Pt buoy.
Photo Credit: Steve Nelsen

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Pony Car Project: Changing The Fairings

When I bought the Mustang a couple of months ago, one thing was immediately apparent. The ground effect fairings between the wheel wells were not the correct ones for a Mustang GT. The ones installed were after market items. Furthermore, the short side moldings that someone had screwed to the body(they are supposed to be attached with double backed tape) were from a LX model and did not match the other moldings. Some might question, "what difference does it make? It is just a car and this does not effect the operation." And that would be correct, but, this is "The Pony Car Project" to make something great from a project vehicle and it is not intended to make any sense at all!
 Here is what I am talking about, the ground effect fairing is the part that fastens between the wheel wells and below the door. The short moldings between the wheel wells and the door are from a Mustang LX model and are narrower than the ones for a GT model. The door molding is missing in this picture.
 One of the first things I bought for the Pony car was a set of OEM ground effect fairings for a Mustang GT. I found the ones that fit between the fender wells and under the door on Ebay and bought them from a company in Pennsylvania. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned them up, sanded them smooth and painted them to match the Mustang.

 Here is the right side with the fairings installed. These fairings have a "fake" brake cooling scoop(there is also a matching one in front of the front wheels), a "MUSTANG GT" logo on the rocker panel area and the size matches the existing door molding. Furthermore, there are no unsightly screws holding parts on, they fairings are attached from behind. I think this gives the car a slightly wider, lower and tougher appearance than the old fairings.
Here is the left side. I still have not installed the rubber door molding. I am still cleaning it and will need to paint it to match before I install it. Even without the door molding installed, I think this looks much better. The short sections of LX moldings were screwed on and hanging loose at odd angles. It was very distracting.

Here are the old fairings posing for a picture that is now posted on Craigslist. Hopefully they will find a new home.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book And Movie Review: The Great Santini

At my marina, often cast off stuff is left at the gate. This could be boat equipment, CD's, books and even kitchen items and clothes. The intent is for someone that could use some of these items to take what they want. I have picked up some good stuff lately. A couple of weeks ago, a box of books was left. I picked through them and found a few that I thought I would read. One was "The Great Santini".
This book is set in 1962. The main character is Bull Meecham, a Lt Colonel Marine pilot. Only once does the book use his real given name of Wilbur. A World War II and Korea hero, he is a Warrior without a war. For some reason not explained, he likes to refer to himself as "The Great Santini". Passed over for promotion, he finds himself in a "last chance" appointment as a commander of a jet fighter squadron at a base in rural South Carolina near Charleston. His family includes a wife, two sons and  two daughters. The eldest son Ben, is 18 and a senior in high school, a gifted athlete who is trying to fit into a new school. Most of the book deals with the relationship between Ben and Bull. At an age where maturing sons are often a threat to a Father, the book deals with Bull's strong willed, abusive treatment of his family and Ben's desire to leave the family as soon as possible. And there is an underlying thread of how Ben is trying to please his dad even though he does not believe he is. Many men have this desire to please their fathers and receive a "blessing" even though they deny it. 
Throughout the book there are many situations that occur that led this reader to wonder about how dysfunctional this family is. Bull treats his family as his troops. One short sections has him totally ignoring his eldest daughter and ordering her away when she wants to have a discussion with him. His heavy drinking leads to abuse and violence with his family. But at times you can see how there is some "play" that goes on as well. At the end of the book, Bull dies in one last heroic act. As the family packs up to leave the home and goes back to the wife's home in Atlanta, you can see how Ben has adopted many of his dads ways and really shows how we are our dad's sons even though he despised Bull.
One strange thing about the book was it's somewhat disjointed nature. Some story was being told and then at the end of the chapter it would end and the next chapter would launch into another story without finishing the previous story. Strange!
I saw this movie in 1988 or 1989. It originally played in 1979. After finishing the book, I decided to buy the movie and view it again since I don't remember much of it from the first time I saw it. I found this movie in DVD on Amazon. Of course the quality was not great and the sound was not full surround sound that I use in my home theater. I selected 5 channel stereo and that gave me adequate sound quality.
The movie paralleled the book nicely. Bull was played by Robert Duvall. I like his acting and he played this part well. The other actors played their parts well. The scenery of the "Old South" was well done and the selection of the town and community fit the era and the location of the story in rural South Carolina.
There was a few omissions probably to keep the movie length reasonable. The most obvious was the lack of a friendship that Ben had with Sammy a local character and school chum. Another picky comment has to do with the flying scenes. The scenes were good except the aircraft used were not the same as in the book. The aircraft that Bull flew in the book were F-8 Crusader, single seat fighters that were in service in 1962. The planes used in the movie were F-4 Phantom fighters. These were two seat fighters that were just being brought into service in 1962. What difference does it make? In the book Bull was always alone in his aircraft and that seemed to suit his nature. When he crashed, he was alone even in the movie. I am sure that the choice of aircraft had to do with what was available when the movie was made in 1979.
The ending showed the "passing of the torch" to the eldest son Ben. Just like his dad, when they started their final road trip without Bull, Ben hustled everyone into the car before daybreak("because there was less traffic"), proclaimed that there would be few stops, and placed his sunglasses on the dash. Like father like son.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Puget Sound Blood Center Partners In Life Luncheon

Today I attended the Puget Sound Blood Center(PSBC) Partners In Life Luncheon at the Kitsap Conference Center. As a long time blood donor (85 whole blood donations), my time to be invited rolled around again. I attended the first time about five years ago. This was my second time.
This luncheon is to honor donors and volunteers. The CEO of PSBC spoke and gave us a status of PSBC and the far ranging effect it has. Many other donor coordinators spoke as well as a young man who volunteers as well as being a long time recipient of blood from the center.
It was fun. I saw some people I know and set with some of the volunteers from the Silverdale blood center. The lunch was a chicken/rice dish with a salad, veggies and desert. I feel privileged to have been invited.
Many people attended the luncheon. Most were long term donors representing thousands of gallons of blood donations. A vampire would have been very happy here!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Race To The Straits May 4 & 5, 2013

This weekend was the annual Race To The Straits. This is a two day race from Shilshole Marina north of Seattle to Port Townsend on Saturday and return on Sunday. This race is for doublehanded(two people) and singlehanded(one person). Another unique part of this race is that the handicaps are applied at the start with the slowest boats starting before 0800 and the fastest boats starting nearly three hours later. In a perfect world, all the boats should be finishing at the same time.

The weather in the NW has been very unusual with sunny warm days and wind blowing from the north as well. The forecast for the weekend was for temperatures in the 80's and wind forecast into the high teens. Sure enough, at my start at 09:29:48, the wind was already blowing 10-15 knots. After arguing with myself, I set the heavy No.1 jib. After the start, my sail choice seem correct until I got near Kingston where the gusts increased to 18-20 knots. No sooner would I think about changing jibs when the wind would moderate and the heavy No. 1 was the proper sail. This trend continued on the entire beat, the wind would blow at 10-12 for awhile, increase to 15-18 and then decrease again. I was "shifting gears" often during the entire beat. I played the left shore for current relief until I got past Point No Point and then my course took me toward Useless Bay. But a tug and barge forced me to tack to the west. And when I tacked, there seemed to be some meanders to the current that seemed to help.

After Double Bluff, I headed on starboard tack toward Marrowstone Island. It seemed like I was getting some lift from the current and examining the track seemed to confirm this. Most of the other boats headed into Mutiny Bay. I worked along Marrowstone Island and got nice port tack lifts. I finished at about 1542 which was a pretty quick beat.

After filling up Point Hudson Marina, the racers enjoyed a noisy party and dinner at the VFW hall.

On Sunday morning, the sun came up to a clear sky. It was warm enough at 0600 to wear shorts and a t-shirt. After a great breakfast at the Hudson Point Cafe, I got underway to the starting area for a 09:29:48 start. The wind was light, but out of the north. There was a strong current flowing across the starting area, so a early start was not recommended! I got a good start on time and set a spinnaker. The wind built as I got farther into Admiralty Inlet. Since the current was changing to flood, I sailed quite a ways towards Whidbey Island before jibing to starboard. But it looked like a shift toward the left so, I jibed back to port and sailed on a nice reach around Bush Point and on toward Double Bluff  before I had to jibe back to starboard to round the Double Bluff buoy. During this reach, the wind had increase to about 15 knots and with the current flowing, I was seeing speeds of 8-8.5 knots over ground.

After Double Bluff, I continued straight toward Point No Point. The wind lightened some but then changed back toward the left. So after another jibe, I was heading straight toward the finish at Shilshole. I had gained on some of the boats that sailed high toward Hansville. I worked the middle of the sound and the wind came forward near the finish. The boats that stayed near the Kingston shore seemed to have more wind and some passed me. I finished at 13:48:20. That has to be the fasted time for me to sail from Port Townsend to Shilshole. The GPS track said that I averaged about 7 knots.

It was a great weekend. The wind was strong all weekend and it was sunny and warm. 117 boats entered for the race. That is a all time high amount. Results can be found here: Sloop Tavern Yacht Club Homepage

The track for the northern section from Double Bluff to Port Townsend. The red track is Saturday and the green track is Sunday.
The track for the southern section from Double Bluff to Shilshole Marina. The red track is Saturday and the green track is Sunday.

Some of the 115 boats entered moored in Pt Hudson Marina.
Some of the 115 boats entered moored in Pt Hudson Marina.

Some of the 115 boats entered moored in Pt Hudson Marina.

Some of the 115 boats entered moored in Pt Hudson Marina.

Running down Admiralty Inlet on Sunday.
Some boats just took it easy and cruised home on Sunday. This is the Sloop Tavern Yacht Clubs Commodore's boat "Defiant".
Other boats like these two J105's had a close race.