Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 93. switches, switches everywhere

The electrician had a field day today installing new fuses and switches to better control the battery current so that we will not have problems in the future.  There will now be fuses and switches so that if the power spikes, it will blow them and not the panel or our equipment.  Much cheaper that way.  We left him alone to do his job.  He brought us two books to read about batteries and boats.  I know how to sail, but next to nothing about the electrical systems needed to work the needs of a big boat.  Out last boat had very simple needs.  Zephyr is in a whole new world.  Once he is done with his wiring, I'll have to learn what to switch and what not to.

Our rigger--Brion Toss--showed up this morning for the first walk thru and came back this afternoon with help to better inspect what we had and what we need done.  After 26 years there is some tightening needed and some updating.  He is going to put together a game plan and get with us tomorrow to go over it.

Zephyr gets hauled out tomorrow and "put on the hard".  She'll be braced with stands so that nothing can happen to her.  She even gets her bottom power washed to get all the growth off her.  We have some zincs(a softer metal piece that electrolysis in water attacks instead of more valuable fittings under the water of our boat) need replacing.  They have to be custom made so we will have lots done and kept in storage for the future as they can go fast in many harbors.

It's been a fast day with workers climbing all over our boat and more tomorrow.  Stay tuned for the continuing adventures.  We're just getting started.  The fun(we're still waiting for it) starts soon.     

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 92 Let the games begin!!

Sea Marine started work today.  Jack--the electrician--pulled the starboard alternator this morning and is taking it to the shop for inspection.  It appears to have been dipped in salt water at some point and has a good bit of corrosion on all the bolts and leads.  He had me put some"Kroil" on all the threads of all the bolts early this morning to loosen the threads of the bolts.  Apparently this stuff will loosen just about any bolt it comes in contact with if you let it sit for a while.  Gets in and loosens the threads and off the nut comes.  I pulled replacement fan belts so at least they don't have to be ordered(thanks Bill & Susan).  

Our rigger--Brion Toss--has returned to Port Townsend.  He called earlier today.  Apparently, he hurt himself while in Hawaii and is on some strong medication.  He expects to be down to see us either late today or tomorrow.  YEAH!!!!  That is one of the bigger projects we had slated for this trip.  With all the work that is being done to Zephyr, she will be an even better boat than she was.  After the trip up the coast, I trust her.  With this work, she will be even better.

I spoke to the boat yard about our haul out for bottom work but said I wanted to wait till Brion came back so he could see the boat in the water.  Now that he is back, I expect we will get hauled out either late this week or early next.  Doesn't matter to us since it isn't like we can go anywhere.  With no alternators, we couldn't even start the engines.  With no mast, we couldn't sail.  So onto the "hard" for a while.  As long as we have a set of stairs to get on and off, not problem.

I finished my first real novel yesterday in over a year.  I've been reading manuals and installation guides and sailing info books for the past year.  It was great to actually read some thing that had a plot and not "insert tab A into slot B and twist".  Took me two whole days and what fun it was.  I've started another.  They have a nice little library here at the marina.  Take one and leave one.

Now it's back to the boat to see what the afternoon brings with the workmen.  I'm at the local ice cream store as they have WiFi for free.  The sacrifices I make for you people!!;-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 91 Just hand over your wallet and no one will get hurt!!

The inspection of Zephyr was yesterday afternoon.  The latest estimate is 18 days of work to get her systems upgraded, inspected and installed.  At about $80.00 per hours--oh my G-d!!!  

The installation of the SSB(like a short wave radio) will be taking 3-5 days.  Plus where some of the equipment goes, it will put out radiation as we broadcast so we can't be near it.  This piece of equipment will be in the master stateroom aft.  It has to be near the antenna to work properly apparently.  I'm not quite sure what the radiation is from or what is bad about it, but he said you don't want to be in the same room when it broadcasts. 

Apparently, the wiring is a bit under sized and may need replacing and many of the connections need updating.  It is not a good feature that when you push the macerator button(ejects sewage in the forward head) it turns off the radar and chartplotter/gps.

We will be pulling both alternators off the engine and getting them serviced--maybe replaced so the engine doesn't have to work so hard to charge the batteries.

The "fuel polisher"(he pumps out all the diesel and cleans the tanks)came by today.  Inspected the tanks--at least the outside--and will be back to do the job after Zephyr is pulled from the water.  A simple job that may not need to be done but after 26 years of fuel being pumped in, heaven only knows what may be in the bottom of the tanks.  I figured that since the engines just kept on working during the beating we took coming up the coast, any garbage in the bottom of the tanks would have come loose and clogged the filters and shut down the engines.  Probably nothing there, but it's another system that needs inspecting. 

Another workman came by and measured the "thru hulls".  These are  holes in the bottom of the boat that water either comes in or gets pumped out.  Two leak a bit and one has a broken handle.  They will get replaced during the haul out also.

This morning was laundry day again.  Amazingly it is cheaper to do it at the marina than in town.  We figured they would do a scalping job on the boater but not so.  Guess it's easier to nail the townies.

At Safeway now running errands.  A nice easy bus ride.  Some rain this am but hardly enough to speak of.  The Straits and Admiralty Bay are quite choppy with not a lot of boats out there.

There are only two free WiFi spots here in Port Townsend.  Safeway and the local ice cream store.  Safeway is easier on the waste line.  Broadband Express at the marina runs $11.00 per day!!!   And according to the marina, it's not a good connection--spotty at best.

We are planning on hooking up to Direct Tv setup this afternoon.  Got a board to attach the antenna to when we get back to the marina.  Out comes the compass to find the satellite in the sky.  Not sure how we will anchor the board, but we may use one of our spare anchors to weigh it down.

The electrician is due to start tomorrow.  Not sure what he will do first.  Guess we will see tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 89 I don't feel so bad.

I don't feel so bad about our lack of experience after what I have seen at this marina.  I will admit, I am not the best boater but I try and learn from my mistakes and try and do better next time.  Some of what I have seen here is beyond understanding.

Last night at about 10pm as we were watching a movie on the tv(off the macBook) we heard an engine running beside our boat. Now this marina allows boats to "raft up".   This is when one boat is tied to the dock and another attaches themselves to the side of your boat.  They will stack them three across here.  The boat beside us appeared to be struggling against about a 10mph wind from the west.  We were facing into that wind and nicely tied up.  This guy had manuvered himself perpendicular to to our boat--head on toward our side with another boat tied up to the dock behind him and us in front and virtually no control of his boat.  He had a woman at the bow --no life jacket with  a line and no idea what to do with it.  Another at the stern--no life jacket with an even shorter line and no idea what to do with it.  The"captain" was at a loss as to what to do.  He had planned on motoring in and tying up to the Sea Marine dock.  Sorry--all full with other boats waiting for Monday work.  He looks at me and says--"Are you aware you're tied up at the Sea Marine dock?" My answer was "yep".  His next comment--"Well, we are scheduled to have our boat hauled out on Monday"  Basically--get out, we want your space!!!  I told him what we were also scheduled to be hauled then.  All the slips were full--heck there were 5 other boats rafted two wide all the way down the docks and he expected me to get out at 10pm--I don't think so!!!  There was no choice but to try and take his lines--all to short--so we had to get some of our lines and toss them to him so he could get connected.  Then, his fenders(rubber bumpers that you put beside your boat when you come in) were to small and too few to do the job--so out come more of ours.  As it turns out--he had four people on board-three adults and a child plus a dog.  None with life jackets and no running lights--matter of fact--no lights at all.  I had to loan him a flashlight so he could see inside his boat.  

We got him tied up and off they went to drive back to Bremerton, I think for the night.  This boat is at least 40 years old and a wreck.  He referred to it as a "project boat".  With what that boat needs, I hope he has a really BIG bank account.  He is going to need it.  It would be cheaper just to buy another boat.  No electrical, the port holes are just that--holes--no windows in them and the deck is a mess.  No life lines either.  I don't think I would leave the harbor in it, let alone sail in Puget Sound.

We've seen people just hit boats and keep on going while leaving their slip, run their boats up and onto the docks.  It's amazing what we have seen.

As it turns out, he isn't allowed to raft up to our boat at the Sea Marine dock, so I left him a note as we ran our errands.  I don't think he will be gone when we get back.  He is expecting to get away with out paying for his "raft up", plus the slip he will need for tonight.  Good luck with that.

It's raining her a bit with some more coming later.  We brought it with us.  They "needed the rain".

Our rigger sent us an email--he is coming back late this next week.  That works out fine with us.

The fun(workmen)start tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 88 Safe in Port Townsend!!

We made it in yesterday afternoon and checked in at the marina.  Since we didn't have a reservation--yes, this marina takes reservations, we could only stay one night and had to be out by noon today.  Sea Marine--who will be doing lots of the work on Zephyr --will be putting us up at their dock for a while.  We had a long conversation with them yesterday.  They have their work cut out for them.  We found out yesterday that when you hit the button that empties the front sewage tank, it turns off the radar and GPS chartplotter blinks on and off.  I don't think that is supposed to happen that way.

WiFi at the marina is not only NOT free, but spotty at best, our post may be a bit more infrequent.  We are at the local Safeway(about a mile away from the marina) right now typing out front.  The nearest free WiFi is a few blocks away at the local ice cream store.  Gee what a pitty that I may have to go there everyday.  The sacrifices I do just to keep everyone updated as to our journey.

We expect to be here for at least the next three weeks.  Our rigger is still in Hawaii and is expected back on August 1.  By that time most of our electrical and the installation of the SSB should be done.  Guess time will tell.

The trip up the Straits of Juan De Fuca was uneventful.  The promised winds of 10-15 from the west never materialized.  There was no wind at all.  I have really gotten to enjoy the sounds of our engine.  At least we know she is very dependable. 

We got to Port Angeles on Thursday about 5:15.  The office closed at 5 so no cards to get into the showers and no internet.  They of course wanted the full price for the space we had.  We had called in to make reservations--"sure, no problem, we have plenty of space".  When we arrived, we got a 60 foot space to tie up to squeezed in between two other sailors.  Made it in just fine.  We are learning each time more and more on how to dock our boat.

We left for Port Townsend yesterday at 8:30 and got in about 2pm.  We had to move Zephyr since the space we took was already reserved and the space Sea Marine had told us to take was already taken buy another boat.  So we moved to a different slip and settled in for the night.  We moved out this morning since there were no slips available at the marina and tied up at the Sea Marine docks.  

The fun starts Monday.  As of now, we are walking thru Port Townsend --plus the bus--and getting cleaned up.  I finally shaved after a week of just not caring about it.  Now I have a nice smooth face.  Long over due.

Off to West Marine for some equipment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 85 Recovery mode

Today was recovery mode day.  After the last trip, we spent today fixing, tweaking, and cleaning--plus some resting just for fun.

Some further thoughts and highlights of the trip up here.  First of all, we were in full foul weather gear for the entire trip.  Boots, bibs or overalls, and jackets.  Add on PFDs--inflatable life vests and a safety harness to clip onto the boat and you have our appearance.  Add on a watch cap--like a ski cap only less fashionable and your done.  Relatively warm and dry.  Under it was fleece jackets or vests and that added an extra layer.

We had installed "jack lines" on Zephyr.  This is a long piece of nylon webbing that stretches from the bow to the stern.  If you left the cockpit--which Tracy did to retie the sail ties as one had come loose--you hitched your safety tether to it.  It's attached to your life vest.  We had hitched it to the anchor rollers on the bow and to the stern pulpit with separate attachments at the lower shrouds--wires that hold up the mast.  You could leave the cockpit and go anywhere on deck with a relative degree of safety.  If you slipped, you wouldn't fall overboard.  At least in theory. 

We stored flares and emergency equipment(vhf radio) in the cockpit just in case of trouble.  If something had happened, we were relatively set.  Add in some snacks--virtually not eaten, thank you sea sickness--yuck!!

According to our GPS, out trip was 300 miles long--10 more than the trip down the coast last September.  It took 53.3 hours with an average speed of 5.6 knots.  The trip down was at 6.5 but that was with no wind or waves.  Out top speed was 211.4 knots per hour!!!!  Scottie, this is Captain Kirk,  I need warp speed.  We're not sure where it got that speed but hey, we know electronic gadgets never lie do they? 

Once we settled in and paid our fees here, we started cleaning.  Salt water had gotten in and needed to be cleaned up.  It never dries and can make the floors very slippery.  We washed and dried as much as we could.  I stripped the bed in the master stateroom since Shadow had spent his time there.  He was to scared to go forward.  After that long, he just couldn't hold it any longer.  Need I say more?  The linens needed cleaning.  A trip to the local laundry room and we were good as new--sort of.  The blanket had to be hand washed--electric don't you see.  I like a nice warm bed to climb into.  Tracy , not so much.  We hand washed the mattress pad since we didn't think the laundry could handle it.  After it was washed and laid out to dry, the seagulls took aim for it and scored a bulls eye.  I took it to the laundry  later last night since I found that they did have a large washer and drier.  Unfortunately, there was a propane leak and they had closed them and evacuated the tenants of the building where the laundry was.  I took it over this morning and got it all cleaned.  Boy, who thought seagulls could be such good dive bombers?

This afternoon,  back under the stern berth to take apart the steering assembly and redo it.  Cleaned the shims--they had dropped down onto the top of the rudder post and were grinding somewhat into the top of the rudder post when the wheel was turned.  That was what was causing the binding as the wheel was turning.  I installed the shims and tightened the nuts.  With my socket set this time so I could get a better bite on the nuts and really cinch them down.  They aren't going any where.

Tracy washed down the deck after her nap.  Like I said--recovery mode day.  The salt water had to be washed off all the deck hardware or it will quickly corrode and gum up the hardware.  The ball bearings don't take well to that stuff.  Windows also need cleaning as again, the salt water doesn't dry.  

We checked the batteries to make sure there was still lots of water in them and the charge level was good.  The starboard set of two had been giving me false readings.  One minute the gauge said 11.4 and the next, 12.95.  Makes no sense.  I think the sensing unit and regulator is going bad.  It would explain why the previous set of batteries and charger got fried.  When I tested them with my meter, they came back at 12.90.

We called the boat yard that is set to work on Zephyr and let them know our schedule.  We should be there some time Friday.  That's when the real fun begins.  Installation of new toys--a SSB radio(like a short wave radio) and modem so we can make long distance radio calls and send and receive email and weather faxes(if you believe weather people).  Plus all the electrical circuits will be inspected and revamped as needed.  They are going to get up close and personal with our bank accounts!!!

Our rigger is still in Hawaii.  I figure he will be back in about another week.  Starting with the boatyard, if special parts need to be ordered, there will be ample time to get them in.  Brion  Toss, our rigger has everything he needs in his shop.  As with any boat, there is no way that any boat yard will have everything it needs to complete a job.  Somethings will need to be ordered.  Plus, Zephyr will need to be hauled out so the radios grounding plate can be installed in the hull under the boat.  Not sure why but it does --at least the "professionals"say so.  While she is out, several thru hull fittings will be replaced--they leak--not much, but any is too much on  a boat.

There were lots of other small things that got done--engine oil, transmission fluid, alternator belts, screws, nuts, bolts all over the boat were checked.  We even reprogrammed one of the VHF radios so it will stop scanning and the battery will last longer.

We plan on being out by 7:30 tomorrow morning for the sail up the straits.  At least we are going to try and sail her.  Would be nice for a change.  Hey, she is a "SAIL"boat after all.  Would be nice to see some of that canvas flying over her.

Last nights post was a biggy.  I finished at 1am this morning so if I screwed up spelling, names, grammar, hey what the heck.  Tracy went in this morning and cleaned it up for me.  I just spill my guts every night, she cleans them up the next day.

If I have internet tomorrow, I post again.  Port Angeles is not quite the social hub of the known world.  We were there last year on the way out.  One night was plenty for what we could see.

Tomorrow, the adventure continues.

Day 84 Oh MY G-d!! What a trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are recuperating in Neah Bay on the coast of Juan De Fuca Staits after what can best be described as a boat and people testing trip up the coast.  

We left Newport on Sunday at 5:15am and headed out.  Now the forecast from NOAA  as well as every other weather service had said North winds at 10-15mph with swells of 1-3 feet.  NOW HEAR THIS--THEY LIED!!!!  Try 30-35 knot winds from the North with swells of 15-20 feet!!! 

It came screaming at us about 8 hours out.  Since the wind was out of the North and sailboats can't sail into the wind, we were forced to motor.  And motor we did for the entire rest of the trip.  With seas and winds to the contrary, there was no way we were going to even attempt to put out a sail.  Ted and Judy(fellow cruisers at the marina)--next time you see Keith, please tell him he was right--we should have waited.  Since the extended forecast is for the same, I'm not sure it would have mattered.  Perhaps the best thing we should have done was head South and have the rigging changed there.  Ah, that is just water under the boat.

The first day, it was just getting started.  We battened down the cockpit with its complete dodger.  This is a canvas enclosure that totally closes off the cockpit to keep the elements(insert water here) out of it.  Our thanks go out to Bill & Susan for having this made.  I cannot imagine what the trip would have been like without it.  As it was, water came in thru the front and the slits in the sides.  I'm just glad Tracy had saturated the canvas with water repellent.  It would have been MISERABLE without it.  As we headed North, the wind and waves kept building till they were smashing over the bow(pointy end of the boat) sweeping the deck and up and over the dodger and stern.  Nothing remained dry.  And I mean nothing.  Water leaked into the boat thru hatches and port lights even when they had been screwed down tight.  Time for new seals I guess.  We climbed the side of oncoming waves and surfed down the other to take water over the bow time after time.   Several times, Zephyr was airborne, coming down down into the troughs with a resounding and reverberating bang!!!!!  Every fiber of her shook violently.  

Sunday night was the same all night.  It calmed down some, but the winds just kept coming.  Now, use your imagination.  Put yourself in a tent during an earthquake(lasting 40+ hours), add a big wind machine and some one with a fire hose shooting it at the tent and there you have our trip.   Monday, it built to even bigger waves and winds while the forecast had been for 5-10 mph winds and 1-2 foot seas(insert your tax dollars here).  Water and wind, unrelenting.  We considered taking shelter in one of the bays on the coast, but by that time, it was too late.  We were past virtually all of them and without proper information in getting in, you can get in a lot of trouble.  So on we pushed.  Late on Monday, Tracy stumbled in the cockpit and hurt her left hand and wrenched her knee.  She was in and still is in a good bit of pain.  We expect to see a doctor when we get to Port Townsend.

On Monday, the steering failed.  The bolts that tighten the steering assembly to the rudder that I had fixed about 6 weeks ago had worked themselves loose.  Both sides had come loose.  It had undone not only the primary nut but also the extra one that tightens against the first nut.  The steering assembly had then dropped down and locked up the rudder so it wouldn't turn as much as was required.  Alarms went off on the autopilot when it could no longer maintain the course we had programed in.  Since we had worked on the system, we knew exactly what it's problem was and how to fix it.  Up came the bunk in the master stateroom and down I went to the assembly.  Luckily, this happened during one of the few lulls in the trip so Zephyr wasn't wrenching all over the place.  Once tightened, all was well.  I'm going to inspect it while we are here just to be sure.   It is still a bit tighter (harder to turn the wheel)than I would like.  It's times like that that I am glad I have learned so much about Zephyr's systems over the past ten weeks.  

Later that day, the main GPS went off line.  It couldn't get a "fix".  That took out the main chart plotter.  Then the radar went next this morning.  I was concerned about restarting the GPS as it works with the autopilot and without that the night would have been absolutely horrible.  So we went thru the night without a GPS.  No big deal as I have a backup Garmin chart plotter.  That's what sailors do--we buy more than one of everything.  Even if it had failed, I still have a third system with its own GPS and charts.  Big toys for big boys(and big boats).  This morning, I restarted all the systems and all was fine.  Not sure what caused the system failure but she is running fine now.  

Early this morning, we started getting in with the BIG ships coming into the Straits of Juan De Fuca.  Boy, they make them BIG now a days!!  Having radar became very big on our list of what every boater needs.  Sure are glad we have one.  We could see them on the screen before we could see them with our eyes.  They stayed away from us and we from them.  At about 4am, I saw what looked like a Christmas tree out in the water where a blip on the radar said there was a boat but it was so dark, you couldn't make out his actual size.  I turned this way and that until--having totally confused him, he called us on his VHF radio.  He'd radioed his longitude and latitude and started talking about a boat making several course changes.  Heck, it was easy to  figure out who he wanted to talk to.   I found out that he was 653 feet long and 65 feet wide.  It was so dark, all I was seeing was the command tower of his boat--the Christmas tree.  We talked for a while about what we were doing and got an up to date weather forecast.  Now there was gale force warnings  and small craft advisories out for the entire coast of Washington.  His comment was that right then was the worst possible time to be out there for the next several days(insert Hudson Effect here).  We found out later that all the fisherman here in Neah Bay had gone out and turned right around and come back.  

We finally got to the Straits early this morning after getting other than the occasional cat naps in the cockpit, no sleep at all.  It was the same with the previous night.  Neither of us had had much sleep at all for the trip.  Add on the fact that I had my first experience with getting sea sick and you can see how beat we were by this morning.   I lived on pretzels and water for the past two days.  Tracy had put on sea sickness patches so she was fine--at least for the first day.  She started to crash the second.  Couldn't go below decks without loosing her equilibrium.  She started on my pretzel and water diet--hey no worse than prison food--bread and water.  It worked fine.  I'd already done the "chumming" the first day.  I didn't want to repeat it.  I guess I can no longer boast that I don't get seasick.  Oh how the mighty have fallen!  

As to the "kids",  Blue plotted an act of piracy but the boys wouldn't go along.  I'm still expecting a midnight attack by her tonight.  Shadow was hit bad.  Couldn't stand and couldn't sit.  Just laid there.  Snowshoe want up on deck so up he came and settled into one of the cockpit storage spaces.  We'd brought one of their little sleeping tubes and brought it up on deck.  He slept in it for quite a while.  He needed a bit of loving so he could feel better.  Blue found a nice space on one of the forward bunks and just stayed put.  Never moved.  Just laid there glaring at us as we passed her during the trip.  While they have all been sailing before, it has never been like this.  While they had hated the sound of the engine during previous tryouts, none had caused the boat to do what she was doing.

Given the waves, wind and swells this morning, we stayed way out West of the entrance to the Straits.  Once we were feeling alright about where we were, we turned East and literally surfed down the waves into the Straits.  This was new to us.  Being pushed by waves, having them then go under your keel, leave you in a trough and continue on.  Over and over for over 20 miles. UP and down, up and down.  It didn't stop until we got to Neah Bay about 10:15 this morning.  We radioed in for a berth assignment and motored in.  With the still now totally fixed steering, I missed the turn into the sip.  We turned around and went into another across the way.  People came running to help us tie up.  I'd radioed in earlier to advise them of the fact our steering was disabled a bit but they weren't to concerned.  Oh well, we are here now and will be for a few days repairing several systems.   

Would we do it again?  While we had the choice of heading South and getting it done there or of coming back up here.   Something had to be done so we could get under way in early September for down South.  We'd been in Newport for eleven weeks while we had planned on only six.  We had hoped to get as much done in Newport, but that wasn't going to happen.  At the worst, nothing really bad happened.  At the best, we learned what Zephyr will do when the chips are down and there is no where to go but forward.   We are better for what we experienced and none the worse.  So yes,  I think we would do it again.

Tomorrow, start the cleanup and repairs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 81 Last post for a while.

This will be the last post for a few days.  We will be leaving Newport early tomorrow morning.  The plan is for us to be under way by 5am.  The winds are much lighter that time of day so we will be off.  We want to get far off shore by the time the winds start to kick up.  We figure on 30 miles out.  We will be influenced less by on shore winds by being out that distance.

We've spent the day working thru Zephyr cleaning and battening down as much as possible.  I ran "jack lines" down the side of the deck.  It's a long yellow strap that goes from the bow to the stern fastened to the boat along the way.   You fasten safety straps to these as you move around on deck.  This way, if you loose your balance, you won't fall overboard.  At least in theory.  

All the cabinets are fastened down.  We installed straps on the front bunks so that things that have been stowed on them won't go flying.  Tracy installed a "lee cloth" to the bottom bunk.  This is a cloth that goes under the mattress and comes up the outside of the bunk and fastens to the bottom of the top bunk. Since it blocks your way out of the bunk, it keeps you in it when the boat heels.  You don't go flying out and onto the floor.

The galley is officially closed.  There is no more cooking till we finish the trip.  Tracy has made several dished that can simply be reheated in the microwave while underway.  After we get more miles under our belts, the galley will get more use while traveling.  Until we get that experience, the galley is closed while we are underway.

We figure the trip North will take about two days if we go straight thru.  That will get us to the Straits of Juan De Fuca where we will spend a few days at Neah Bay to rest and recover from the trip up the coast.  Neah Bay is just a few miles inside of the straits.  We stopped there on the way South so we know the layout.  We will see how we feel.  Two days of pounding into rough seas will take it out of you.  Port Townsend is another day up the Strait.

Tracy gave the kids medication so they will travel better.  Shadow hid his under his tongue till Tracy turned her back and then spit it out.  Bad Kitty!!!  He got another one so now he is set for travel.  Showshoe is the one that has the worst problem.  We'll see how he does.

Well, that's about it for now.  Look for a post in a few days.  I'm not sure of the internet connection at Neah Bay so we will see.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 80 Getting closer--still windy

Made more preparations for getting underway.  Tracy started making sure everything is battened down so it won't shift when we are underway.  She cleaned out some cabinets of unneeded things and they were taken to the storage shed.  We fastened down the Tivo & Direct Tv receivers so they will stay put.  I cleaned off the navigation station so it has room for the computer we use to navigate.  It's loaded with lots of charts and since it is hooked to our GPS and AIS, it gives us lots of information that we need while cruising.

The computer program that we needed to reprogram the new VHF radios came in today.  Unfortunately, it won't hook up to my computer as it needs a "serial port" to function and laptops typically don't come with them.  So I had to return the program and it's cables and just leave the radios alone.  The manufacturer told me today that they should be programed by one of their service centers and that I shouldn't have been allowed to buy the computer program and cables.  With luck, I'll find a service center during our travels and get it done then.

I worked with the GPS again today and set up some "waypoints"(geographic locations stored in its memory) that we can use on our trip North.  Tomorrow, I'll put some into the autopilot.  

Each day, we get closer to being ready to go.  More things stored or put in storage.  We have made lists of things that need to be checked before we go just to make sure nothing gets dislodged while we are out there.  As I have said in an earlier post, Zephyr has become our home, not as a home that moves.  That means that everything in every cabinet has to be checked to make sure it won't move as we sail.  Every door has to be fastened closed down so it won't open.  Many things are now tied or strapped down that hadn't been.  We will be going thru every thing tomorrow just to make sure we are safe and sound and battened down.

So far, Sunday is looking as the day to go.  Still 10- 15 knot winds with gusts to 20 and 6 foot seas but that is fine.  It's the fact that it will still be coming from the North that makes it tough.  I guess that Mother Nature will make the final decision for us.  

Day 79 Clean clothes and more wind

I did the laundry this morning so we can take our trip next week with lots of clean clothes.  I don't think they will have laundry facilities at the boat yard where we are going let alone any where close.

The wind started up early and blew just about all day.  Back up into the 30's again and as always--from the North.  Patience Patience Patience!!

I met some other cruisers this morning while doing the laundry.  They got in yesterday morning from up North--lucky ducks.  They are on a Cascade 36 and heading South towards Mexico like us.  They are just well ahead of us.  I expect we will see them again as the cruising community can get very close as we cruise.  Many times you see the same boats over and over as you move from port to port.  Traveling friends.

Ran a few errands early this afternoon and found that the computer program(for reprogramming our VHF radios) that was due in today missed the truck but is being UPS's in for us tomorrow.  Not a big deal but at least it we will have the radios ready for when we leave.

I worked on the wind/autopilot program most of the afternoon with little success.  It still reads the wind direction from about 130 degrees wrong and I can't find any way to correct it.  I emailed the company that made it with a few questions.  Since the equipment is about 10 years old, I'm not sure that they can answer my questions.  They did last years when I emailed them but you never know.  

Since I didn't get very far with the autopilot, I went at the GPS we use for navigating the boat and pulled the manual and started pushing buttons.  Quite a unit.  Virtually all of our electronics are made by Raytheon and have stood the test of time over the last nine years and show no signs of having any problems.  I've looked at newer equipment, but there is no reason to replace what we have just because the newer equipment has screens that show pretty colors.  We can set up what are called "way points" in the GPS that will pin point exactly where we have been and where we want to go.  We can do the same thing on the autopilot and if we set up an entire string of these, it will take us to each in succession until we arrive at a final destination.  It's called "setting up a route".  We wouldn't even have to steer the boat.  As it hits each "way point" the autopilot would change course and do all the driving.  If I set these up for our trip up the coast, the boat would take us all the way all by itself.   Unfortunately, it only works this way when we are motoring since sailing requires many course changes as the wind changes.  But hey,  if we have to motor, at least we can do it comfortably.  We will have to stand watch all day and night( about 40 hours to get up the coast) to look for other ships and crab pots, but we have other programs that will help us with that.  

I'm amazed at the distance our AIS(automatic identification system) picks up other boats.  We've picked up transmissions from  boats over 80 miles away  This is a piece of equipment that picks up radio transmissions from bigger boats that are required to have a transmitter on them that tells us who, what, where, what direction and course they are traveling.  It also tells us where they are going and what speed they are doing, not to mention their radio call sign.  With this information, we can track them in relationship to us and see if they are going to come any where near us.  During the day, not big deal.  At night, it can really be a life saver.  In many ways, it is better than radar with the information it gives us.  The drawback is that all boats are not equipped with these transmitters.  Most commercial fishing boats aren't required to so that is where radar get important.  Since the Oregon coast has been shrouded in fog for most of the past week, I fully expect we will be using both radar and AIS all the way up the coast.

Let's all hope for fair breezes next week.  It will make the trip a lot easier--and cheaper if we don't have to motor all the way! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 78 More installations

The wire for the wind/autopilot came in today and I spent some of the afternoon running wire from the wind instrument gauge down into the bilge and over to the autopilots interface panel.  Not a tough job, just removing lots of drawers, opening cabinets and removing floor boards.  Over, under, around and thru was the motto of the afternoon.  All went well.  The 25 feet of wire worked out just fine.  Even had a bit left over.  All the connections were straight forward--strip the ends of the six wires, loosen a screw and insert behind the screw--really tough. ;-)  After all the wires were secured with those popular strap ties--easy to put on but a problem if you ever want to get them off unless you use a pair of wire cutters.  I fired up the autopilot and with some button pushing, I had a screen on the autopilot that showed my wind gauge.  Not correct--wrong direction and no speed indicator but at least it was on the screen.  It's a start.  

Since dinner was ready--curried chicken on rice---I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!  I stopped what I was doing and got down to dinner---YUM!!!  As a special treat, we even went out for ice cream.  Came back and visited with several other sailors that had just returned to the marina after being gone for the past few days.  Also talked to a new sailor that arrived a few days ago with a clas
sic 1980 38 foot Hans Christian sailboat.  A true deep water boat.  At 38 feet, it weighs more than ours does at 46 feet.  He's in the process of restoring it.  Bought it in Maryland and had it trucked across the US.  Unfortunately, it got involved in an accident and now the mast and all it rigging will need extensive repairs or replacement.  He's got a big job ahead of him but it sure is a pretty boat.
The Canadian boat that came in yesterday afternoon left at 8am.  They plan of motoring the rest of the way up the coast.  It's a 54 foot Hunter that goes by a model of HC50.  A high performance sailboat that is loaded with electronics and big boy toys.  It even has three water tight doors so you can't sink her.  Our boat weighs in at 38,000 pounds and is 46 feet long.  His at 54 feet weighs in at 20,000 pounds.  It's a lightweight fast boat.  Only carries a 45 horse power engine.  We have an 80!!  They are racers--in a hurry.  We are cruisers--in no hurry.  

The winds continue though not as nasty but Anchorage, Alaska was warmer than Newport yesterday.  Right now, we are shooting for Monday even if we have to motor.  The forecast is for much more stabile seas and better winds but it is only a forecast--not a promise.  We'll make the decision as we get closer.

I visited with the Coast Guard yesterday while running some errands and found that we were short some flares for Zephyr.  When you are sailing off shore--50 miles and farther out, you must carry bigger flares and more of them.  I bought more today while picking up the wire we needed.  So now we have a 6 person life raft, VHF radio, EPIRB beacon that send out an emergency signal if some thing happens, emergency rations and lot of big bad flares and floating canisters that make lots of smoke and even some rockets.   Should anything happen, we are prepared.

Tomorrow, get the autopilot up and running in "wind mode" and the CD for the VHF radios will be in so I can get them reprogramed for "land channels".  We plan on using them to communicate with each other as we dock and leave port so we aren't quite so entertaining to the people on the docks.  I started the day trying to clean up and organize my work bench.  With luck, I'll get it finished.  

Day 77 A lazy day

We sit here waiting.  I know it is the middle of July, but you could see your breath this evening when we were out on the dock!!!   I know it's hot back in Denver but I'd love to just see 70 degrees!

A 54 foot Hunter sailboat came in late this afternoon from down South so we stopped in to see them and swap stories.  They had motored all the way up the coast.  The seas weren't bad just they had to fight the North winds.  They are planning on setting out tomorrow and motoring more up the coast.  They were surprised at how much wind we have been having.  They're from Canada and want to get home.

I spent the afternoon working on navigation programs.  I'm still trying to get our GPS and AIS systems working with our Max Sea program but they just won't play well together.  I try some more tomorrow.  They work fine with my other navigation programs.

The wire I ordered to connect the wind instrument to the autopilot should be in tomorrow.  I'll be running it down into the bilge and over to the engine room from the navigation station.  A simple connection of six wires.  Then set up the autopilot so it can receive the information.  With this connection, we can program the boats autopilot to respond to the direction of the wind as we sail and not have to set it up to rely on a compass heading.  As the wind changes direction, the autopilot will correct and change course as the wind changes.

It's hard to get the "rush rush rush" out of our systems that we have been ingrained with for all these years.  It has always been push as hard as you can for so long that it is hard to just sit and relax.   Both of us are just chomping at the bit to get going that the waiting is really getting to us.  When we didn't leave Monday, we were both quite disappointed.  Now we sit and do the hard stuff--wait for the right weather window.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 76 Still here!

We're still here in Newport.  The winds just keep on coming from the North.  Up into the mid 30's again today.  We thought we would get out today but it started blowing by 9am and just kept on coming.   I'd planned on talking to the two Canadian boats today but they got tired of waiting out the past two weeks and took off into the blow.  Both are long term cruisers with lots more experience that we have.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Meanwhile small projects.  Inspect the lines that control the sails.  Fix some hardware.  Order some more equipment since we will be here for a few more days.  I ordered wire to hook our wind instrument to the auto pilot and a computer program so I can reprogram two VHF radios I bought.  With this new program, Tracy and I can talk without bothering others on normal VHF channels.  Ran some errands and cooked dinner. 

I think Tracy is catching a cold.  Sniffling a lot and keeps rotating between hot and cold spells.  If it is a cold, it's better that we didn't leave for Port Townsend.  With all this wind, I'm not surprised that the chill didn't catch up with one of us sooner or later.   

More small things to get tidied up tomorrow.  Just trying to keep busy till it "Go" day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 75 Part Two

After talking to other sailors, we have decided to wait a bit longer before setting out.  The wind is still coming from the North at 25+ knots.  It's been the same for the past week.  Every day, it starts at about 10am and goes till about 10pm with no let up.  Since the prevailing current is from the North along the coast and the wind is the same, to head out now would not be the smartest thing.  If we motored, it would still be a rocky & rolly ride.  We talked to one of our friends--Keith.  He has been sailing since he was 16 and is now 69.  His advise was to wait it out.  There are two Canadian boats waiting at the visitors dock to head North.  I figure I'll talk to them tomorrow and see if they have any plans.

Meanwhile, we have Zephyr all ready to go.  We filled the water tanks.  She now loaded to 265 gallons.  Checked the diesel--both tanks full.  Checked all the rigging--looks good.  Took off the mainsail cover and rerouted some of the lines and checked others.  Took a load of extras to the storage room.  Lots of extras we won't need this trip.  Easy to bring back aboard when we return.  Took off the side fenders and stored them in the "garage".  Tied down the dingy and stored the gas tank for the outboard under it.  Tracy rearranged and stowed lots of equipment in the boat.  It looks a lot more ship shape and prepared for the cruise.

We received another email from the rigger that will be redoing the standing rigging.  He is still in Hawaii and is almost done.  Still not exactly sure when he will be back but wanted us to send him the specs and pictures of Zephyr so he can start making plans for the job.  The information went out earlier this evening.  We'll see what his plans are in his next email.

Meanwhile, we keep Zephyr tied down and ship shape in case the weather changes in our favor.  Tomorrow, when it is calm--early in the morning--we will be raising the main and inspecting the lines and its rigging.  Then on to the roller furled genoa if it stays calm long enough.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 75 Tomorrow with luck

If all holds, we will be off tomorrow.  I didn't get to do a post last night as fatigue, a steak dinner and a bottle of wine over road my energy.  I was out by 10pm. 

Yesterday was another day of projects.  Needed gas for the outboard motor as well as the generator we brought on a few days ago.  We'll store the tanks under the dingy on deck along with fenders.  Get to strap that down too.

Cleaned the cockpit and put away lots of odds and ends that had made their way there.  Now we will be adding flares and a VHF radio in the cockpit just in case.

We went to the Farmers Market again for a few loaves of bread for the trip.  Supermarkets just can't touch the flavor of her bread, especially with butter and nice orange marmalade. 

We just filled the water tanks and cleaned the front windows of the dodger and bimini.  Used a special produce we got in Seattle called Rejex.  It is supposed to put a barrier coat on the glass and plastic so that nothing sticks to it.  Every day, there is mode dirt on Zephyr.  Not sure where it comes from since we are in a sandy climate.  The winds blow in salt water and that adds a layer of uck to the mix.  We wanted to set sail with full water tanks for two reasons.  First--added stability with the extra weight.  Second--not sure when or where we will be able to refill.  We will be in Port Townsend in about a week but better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Worked on the electronics yesterday.  The depth alarm on the auto pilot kept going off as we motored to the fuel dock.  No, I don't use the auto pilot to get me there.   I use it to tell me the angle of the rudder.  It gives me more information  as to what is where when we are traveling and knowing where the rudder is can be very valuable.  I had to disable the alarm.  Boy it can get annoying when you are trying to concentrate an what is happening around you.  BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! over and over again.

Tracy baked a lot of things for the trip--cookies, muffins--instant meals for when we can't sit down and eat while we are out there.

We'll let you know if we will get out tomorrow probably some time tonight after we get the weather.  After that, we will report back once we get to Port Townsend or where ever we can connect to the internet.

Of to more jobs.  Lots to store before we go. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 73 Getting closer?

Started the day early by taking Zephyr to the pump out station.  We had to get there early to avoid the winds the days have been full of.  We've been clocking winds over 30 knots for the past six days.  Gust up to 39.  Always from the North.  We're still hoping for a break by early next week.  As we were finishing the pump out, the winds got started.  Headed back to our slip as soon as we could.  The wind complicated the arrival plus it didn't help that I cut the turn just a bit to short.  Zephyr requires a good size turn angle to get into the slip.  We had to back out and turn around and try again.  Took two more tries but we got her in.  It's always a learning experience since we are still new at it.  Last time it was calm, this time some wind.

We took off the canvas cover that protects the teak cap rail.  Now Zephyr is revealed in all her glory.  We had several people stop by and stare at her this afternoon.  Tracy washed them to get all the mold off that had grown over the Winter and Spring.  We laid they out to dry, put corrosion preventative on each snap and put them into storage.  It's nice to see all the teak that separates Zephyr from all the other boats.  Once that was done, Tracy scrubbed off all the fenders and the fabric that covers them.  These are basically heavy rubber balloons that protect Zephyrs sides.  They had lot of growth on them.  Especially at the bottom where they are close to the water.    

Off for lunch and some some shopping.  Tried to get a prescription filled at the local Rite-aid only to find that the payment for our health insurance that we had set up thru our bank had never been applied to our insurance account even though the "check" had been sent back on June 26th.  Not sure where it is, but to get the prescription filled, we had to make another payment for this month on a credit card.  Now they have two months of payments with only one credited.  Of course the money has long since come out of my account.   They promised me an email when it "arrives".  Guess we will see.  Hey at least we got airline
 miles out of it.

Stopped by the storage unit and picked up the generator and took it down to the boat.  Rated at 3000 watts, it will give us plenty of power should we need it.  The engine makes power with its two alternators as will the DuoGen wind generator once we get it installed later this month.   The last thing you want to face is running out of the power you need to run your systems.  We'll be looking at solar panels later to see if we need them.  

We had a lovely dinner of left over pizza that Tracy made last night with a loaf of Focaccia bread from last weeks Farmer's Market.  Lots of Pepperoni, cheese, bell peppers and jalapenos.
A great spicy dinner.  After dinner, we walked to the visitors dock to see some other cruisers boats that had come in over the past week.  There are two Canadian boats docked waiting for the same winds we are.  Both look to be long distance cruisers.  Lots of great equipment.  With luck, we hope to talk to them tomorrow.

After a day like today, God bless advil and motrin.



Day 72 Odd jobs and the hunt continues

More odd jobs today.  I tried to get our old "waste" thru deck fitting open.  The bronze fitting has been sealed closed for years.  I had tried to get it open ever since we got here with no luck and had finally replaced it.  I still need the fitting as it could be used to replace another one I have on board.  It is in a small space and the new one I bought is much bigger and wouldn't fit.  I heated it with a propane torch four times and then stuck it in cold water to try and break the seal--no luck.  I've turned it over to another sailer that has a metal shop here in Newport.  He'll get it open.

One of the other sailers in the marina gave Tracy  a pass for a free hot rock message.  We had been passing on some of the old equipment that we had been replacing to them.  They have a 48 foot steel sailboat just down the dock from us.  Nice couple.  While some of the equipment is older, I couldn't just throw away a decent piece of equipment.  If they could use it, I was happy to pass it along.  Tracy got her message this afternoon.  

The thermostat in the frig died today.  Worked almost 24 hours.  It just couldn't maintain the temperature settings and shut down the refrigeration system.  Out he came again and the old thermostat went back in.  It's cooling just fine but we expect it to start short cycling again soon.  Some frig beats no frig.  He's going to do some research while we are gone and find the right thermostat for our frig.

Last night as Tracy was cooking dinner, the propane ran out.  Zephyr has two tanks so that was fine but we used a small 5 pound tank we brought with us from our last boat.  I had brought it aboard so we would have an emergency back up.  At least now we know that it will fit the system.   Off to the store to get a new tank this afternoon while Tracy got her message.

Next, we realigned the winches (see the photo)in the cockpit.  They are a special style that not only help controlling the lines but make it possible for one person to reel in the line all by them selves.  Normally, when a line is under a heavy load, one person cranks the winch while the second person pulls on the line.  These do both.  To work properly, the line they reel in needs to come into the cockpit where it can be stowed.  Two of ours would have put the line outside the cockpit.  A simple job of taking out four screws and rotating the arm.  A quick job but another that needed to be done.

There is still water showing up under the toilet in the front head.  When I got up this morning it was nice and dry.  Two hours later--the paper towels under the head were soaked.  We checked the fittings again--dry.  We are baffled.  The flush sea water comes into the boat and travels up a hose to a pump that pushes it thru a second hose into the rim of the commode so that it can pour into the commode and flush it.  The water then travels out of the commode and up a tube pushed by a pump up a hose to the storage tank.  It's a relatively simple system with very few places that water can get out.  All the hose are dry.  Any place water could get out--connections and joints are dry.  It goes for hours with no water then boom, there is water under the commode.  There are no wax seals like a normal commode in a house--just hoses and hose clamps.   Next, I think I'll try food dye in the bowl and see if it is leaking.

The winds just kept on blowing again today--from the North again.  Topped out at 39 knots--about 44 mph.  The weather people think it may quiet down by Sunday/Monday/Tuesday so we are still shooting for one of those days.

Our rigger emailed us today that he is still in Hawaii but is willing to fly back to do our boat when we get to Port Townsend.  We told him not to worry that we are still trapped here and it will still be a few days before we can get out.  Explained about some of the new problems we had been having but that we would be happy to wait for him.  Once we get going, if the wind is still not the best, sailing will take us close to a week to beat our way back to the Straits of Juan de Fuca.  Motoring would be quicker--two day trip but with diesel being what it is today, sailing is the best way to travel. 

The final part of our short wave radio came today(an antenna tuner what ever that does) so that piece of equipment is ready for the installers when we get to Port Townsend.  Once installed, we can talk to people all over the world as well as connect to the internet and get weather faxes when ever we need them.   A great piece of equipment for any cruising sailer.

Tomorrow, more jobs and start bringing over things for the trip up from the storage shed that we think we will need.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 71 Just don't know

We went after the leak in  the bow today--just about all day.  We had been getting water down in the bilge for a while and we wanted to find out where it was coming from.  Tracy saw water in the bow under the boards so today we went in search of the elusive leak. 

First, I took everything out of the storage area in the bow we call the "garage".  I went down to floor boards and checked all the plumbing I had worked on and fixed a month ago.  No leaks in any pipes, nor in the fiberglass tank.  The macerator was fine too.  No leaks in the "garage".  That's a good thing.  If there was a leak there, that would mean we were putting sewage back into the boat all over again.  Everything went back into the "garage". 

Next, check the thru hull.  That's where water enters the boat so that you can flush the toilet.  Some water there.  A slight leak in the valve.  A drip here, a drip there.  Nothing to be concerned about but it will have to be addressed at the haul out at Port Townsend.  Off to lunch.

Upon our return, we found more water under the toilet.  Out came everything from the garage again.  right down to the hull.  I had to take out the floor board that I had been standing on so I could get all the way to the hull.  Nothing!!  I had put some water down tubes that help to drain a channel around the hatches that lead to the storage area but we felt most of that had been mopped up when we started under the toilet.  Still nothing!! No water at all!!  Everything went back into the garage again.  

Found more water under the toilet again.  I'd put a sheet of paper towel under there--nice and dry.  Come back ten minutes later--it was soaked!!  Everything had been nice and dry a few minutes before.  We hadn't flushed the toilet.  We have no idea where the water is coming from.  Tonight, the paper I put in a few hours ago is dry.  I plan on closing the thru hull tonight and see if the water is coming in and leaking from the hose that goes to the toilet.  The hunt begins again tomorrow.

The refrigerator specialist came by today and put in the new thermostat.  So far so good.  It's nice and cold.  He did a temporary installation just incase it didn't work as planned.  If it does, he'll come back and install it permanently.  Meanwhile, he left the original thermostat in the refrigerator so I if something should go wrong, I can reconnect it.  It's holding at a nice 35 degrees.

It's been blowing all day from 25 to 30 knots with gusts to 37. The wave are 13 to 15 feet.  Gail force winds and small craft warnings are up for the coast.  We had white cap waves in the marina.  We keep hoping for a Sunday/Monday cast off.  Mother Nature may have another idea.  It's midnight and the wind is still howling. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 70 Maybe we found it.

Maybe we found the leak that is putting water in the bilge.  Tracy was putting things away under one of the forward floor boards and saw some water just under the boards.  Well, the only way water can get to that area of the boat is if it comes in from the bow and since it hasn't rained in a couple of days, that means the forward head tank is leaking again!!!  Boy, I thought I had fixed it.  Guess not.  Tomorrow, out comes everything from the forward storage bin and down I go to explore.  Last I checked, the tank was dry which leaves the plumbing to investigate.  A loose hose clamp?  A leaking hose?  My guess is a leaking joint where a piece of pipe connects to the macerator--either into it or out of it.  The hunt begins.

I got a call at 8am from the refrigerator specialist that he wanted to come to Zephyr--now--he was in the parking lot of the marina.  Since I had JUST gotten out of bed and run to the phone, I had a few things to do before he got there--like put on clothes!  The refrigerator had begun to "short cycle" again.  Run for a minute or so--shut off and restart--over and over.  The unit would run just fine for hours.  I'd put in baffles so the airflow over the coils was perfect.  Lots of air was cooling them off just fine.  The technician showed up and used his meter to see what was happening.  Since the condenser was nice and cool, and there were no leaks, that only leaves the thermostat.  He'll be back tomorrow to replace it.  Oh joy, we get to unload the refrigerator all over again and have it re-chill down to the 20 degrees it has been running at.  That only take a couple of days--it's not the most efficient refrigerator.  At least once this is swapped out, the unit should work just fine--at least we hope so.  

We ran more errands this afternoon.  Tried to find a cable that will hook the GPS to the serial port on the laptop computer.  No good.  Everything  had a male usb plug to male RS-232 plug.  I need a female usb plug so my GPS will plug into it instead of it plugging into the GPS unit.  Oh well, its time for an internet search.

Off to Englund Marine for a second steel hook that is used to hold the anchor to the boat when at anchor.  With the anchor down, you attach this hook which has line attached to the chain that goes to the anchor and then tie it off to a cleat on the boat.  This takes all the stress off the chain as it attaches to the windlass(big motor that pulls up the chain).  This way if there is a sudden jerk on the chain from the wind, the stress it placed on the metal hook and line and not on the chain and windlass.  There is already one of these on the boat, but as always--two is better.  If I only had one, I'd sure as heck loose it over board.  With two, I'll never loose it.  Murphys Law.

The ICOM IC-M802 shortwave radio showed up this afternoon.  Just 27 hours after I had ordered it.  The antenna tuner--don't really know what it does but you have to have one, is some where with UPS.  The radio came by DHL.  The only thing I can guess is that they are coming from two different warehouses.  The UPS tracking number that the merchant sent to me shows no information as of yet on the UPS website.  I'll follow up on the shipping tomorrow.

Met some more sailers today.  A gentleman that owns a boat a few slips over came to visit his boat.  He bought it several years ago and his wife hate to sail--gets seasick-bad.  So since she won't go, he can't go.  Now he is selling his boat.  Needs a good bit of cosmetic work on her.  He hasn't touched her in at least two years.  Lots of things growing on and under her.

The weather looks to be turning by this weekend so we hope to be off by Sunday.  We are running out of time to get down what needs to be done before we can head South.  We have to be out of here by early September at the latest for safety sake.  Oregons coast can get really testy after that.  As of now, we may have to head to Port Townsend and go to Astoria on the way back South.  We'll see what the weekend brings.  Wish us luck.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 69 A day off

I recounted our days and today is actually day 69 not 68.  Not a big deal but hey what the heck.  Accuracy counts when you're a sailer.

Computers again today.  One of the couples I have been emailing that is currently in Turkey sent me a navigation program that includes ALL the charts for the entire world.  All I had to do was get it up and running.  Now he sent me the program back in February and working on it on and off over the past months I couldn't get it to run let alone see the charts.  Last month I finally got the program up and running but couldn't get the charts to display properly.  After several emails back and forth, I finally found which file had the charts and did the old copy/paste routine from the disk to the hard drive.  It too over fifteen minutes to get them transferred just to give you and idea how many there were.  I rebooted the program and I was done.  I now have the charts for the world.  To let you know how much this saved me--to get all the charts for another program I run would cost over $11,000!!!  That's what this program has saved me.  Tom tells me it is the program that is used by more sailers than any other.  It was well worth the work.

Tracy did laundry this morning while I paid more bills and sent emails out and washed dishes.  Off to the post office after lunch and on to the computer work I talked about above.  I then spent the rest of the afternoon working with it trying to get my GPS and AIS to run on it.  They require different cables and connectors so I'm off to the computer store tomorrow.

We still have some water coming into the bilge.  That's the space way down in the bottom of the boat.  We haven't found where it's coming from yet, but we will.  We just pump it out once a day so it doesn't get out of hand.  I have automatic pumps down there but I don't want to wait for them to kick on.  Some where there is a leak from a tank or from a thru hull.  We will find it eventually.

Meanwhile, the wind just keeps on blowing--always from the North.  That's the direction we need to go so that won't work unless we want to motor all the way and that's not what sailing is about.  With steady winds of 20+ and gusts to 27, we just sit and wait and do odd jobs that we have been ignoring in favor of more important jobs.  Now the small ones go to the fore front.  

Tomorrow is another day

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 67 Odd jobs today

Today was the day for odd jobs around Zephyr.  We took off this morning in search of 15 amp fuses for the fresh water pump the I had installed a few weeks ago.  There is a fuse that helps protect the pump from burning out should an electrical spike happen.  Well, the pump only came with one fuse and on this boat, we have spares for just about everything--that means more fuses.  Found them at NAPA so into the electrical box just in case.  If the fuse had blown, we would have to hand pump the water in the boat.

Next on to the stanchions(hold the life lines to the boat) to try and tighten them up.  There is some play in them when you hold on to them.  Loosened some of the screws that hold them and retightened them.  Helped some of the stanchions but some are just loose in their fittings.  They will still do their jobs.
I moved the six person life raft to the port side at the stern.  It's an easy place to keep it.  The photo shows lots of safety equipment.  The life raft attaches to the stern of the boat with a strap so that if it gets deployed, it will inflate when it reaches the end of its strap.  The rules of life rafts is that you don't use it until you have to step UP into it.  You stay with your boat until it is going down.  A big boat is a lot easier to see than a small life raft.  The problem is that many people who think their boat is going down get into the life raft and abandon their boat when it's not necessary.  Many times, the boat is found later--not in good shape but still floating. 

Top left--Life sling.  If someone goes overboard, you throw the life preserver that is stored in the bag to them.  It's attached to a line so that as you turn the boat toward the person that fell overboard they can reach the life preserver and can be pulled on board.     

Next, the traditional style of life preserver--throw it and hope they can catch it.

The white box is our new EPIRB--Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon.  If some thing should happen to Zephyr, it will automatically eject the beacon and it will transmit our position to the proper authorities so that they can come and save us.  The signal it sends out will be picked up by commercial boats, passing airplanes as well as the Coast Guard.   When you buy the beacon you MUST register it with the federal government giving them all the information on your boat as well as contact information  in case the beacon goes off.  Any serious cruiser should have one on board.  

There is a storage cabinet built into the deck near the stern of the boat.  Every time it rains, water tends to collect in it.  I had put a seal around the hatch to it but water still gets in.  That means that the things stored in it will be sitting in the water--bad!  I found raised grid squares(12" X 12 ") that lock together and will keep every thing in the cabinet out of the water.  They got installed this afternoon.  The first four were easy, the rest had to be custom cut to fit the space.  Now things will stay dryer.  

Next, I lubricated all the snaps and fasteners on the bimini.  That's the canvas cover that goes over the cockpit.  It has lots of panels that snap on and off as we need them  We can totally close off the cockpit if necessary to protect us from the elements.  It also gives us an extra room when we are in port.  When closed off, it is a great place to sit and read, with an occasional snooze.  The snaps and catches that hold it together as a unit needed some lubrication so they will work easier.  While I was at it, it did the catches on the main sail cover too. 

We took lots of things off Zephyr that we felt we would not be using on this trip.  They all went back to the storage room.  We can pick them up when we get back next month.  This way, there will be more room for essentials and less things that may go bump as we sail up the coast.

We had our neighbors over to tour Zephyr this afternoon.  They had never been aboard and really wanted to see our boat.  Since we will be gone when they return in a few weeks, now was their last chance.  We gave them the royal tour showing them everything Zephyr has to offer. 

Tomorrow, still more things to do as we wait for the right weather window.  We had 25+ knots of wind throughout the afternoon.  All from the North--just where we want to go.   

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 66 Cloudy, cool and lazy

Woke up to a slight drizzle ant totally overcast skies.  We had a quick breakfast and took off for the local farmers market.  They have a local baker that does great bread.  We got there before she was even set up and yet she already had a line outside her tent 20 people long waiting for her.  We bought several loaves of bread and rolls and then moved on to the berry booth.  Fresh raspberries and strawberries.  They are so much better than what we can get in the supermarkets.  The only drawback is that they have to be eaten quickly as they are at their ripest.

Went back to the marine store to see if they had added anything new to their sale stuff.  No such luck.  Then off to the regular grocery store to get the things we needed that the farmers market didn't have and back to the boat. 

A nice lazy day followed.  Reading manuals and snoozing in the cockpit.  With all the canvas surrounding the cockpit, it a nice enclosed space.  Blue doesn't like it as it keeps her from free access to the deck and it makes it easier to keep track of her.  The boys don't care.

Tracy spent time organizing and figuring out things that can come off the boat and be put into storage before the trip North.  Tomorrow, off they go.  It will clear up a good bit of space and make less things that will go flying if the winds are fickle when we are out there.  Everything has to be tied down or with the wave action we might face, they will go flying.  

I tried to clean off my workshop area.  Some success but still more to be put away.  It's getting hard to find places to put things.  Plus keeping everything organized so I can find it when it's needed is the real challenge.  I'll start in on it again tomorrow.

More clouds and drizzle set for tomorrow so we can spend more time inside getting things fastened down.

Day 65 Newport does it right

We just came in from watching the fireworks show from the bow of our boat.  What a show.  Went on for half an hour of nonstop explosions.  It was preceded by almost two hours of people shooting off their own fireworks on shore and from their boats here at the marina.  An amazing show the likes of which I have never seen.  Kudos to Newport!!

Today was odd job day.  I started off by going over to Englund Marine to see what they were offering up on the 4th of July tent sale.  Not much of real interest.  Bought a few things and figure I'll go again early tomorrow incase they put out anything new.  Most businesses are closed for the entire weekend.

I finally got time to put the hardware on the new screen we had made for the hatch in the master stateroom.  It has swivel catches that fit into slots just under the hatch.  Fits great and the teak is not quite as wide so it will allow more light and air into the cabin.

I'd fired up the Acer computer and booted the navigation software that we will be using as we cruise.  It is set up with charts plus information on ports, tides and will show our position on the charts it displays on the computer screen.  We have attached a GPS  to the computer to show our position plus an AIS system that shows what boats are around us so we can watch out for them.  It tells us all about the other boat--who they are, where they are going, what their speed is, any course corrections they make plus lots more.  It's got a range of about 25 miles yet I've only seen a few boats pass Newport.  Only boats of a specific size or larger have to send out signals about their boats.  We finally had a boat that is with the NOAA come in this afternoon.  It was great to see the system work flawlessly.

I took off the wall boards in the stern head to inspect the storage system for the head.  A nice stainless steel tank.  Checked all the hoses and joints.  Nice and tight--no leaks.

Got into the engine compartment and pulled the water filter that strains the water that cools the engine.  Lots of grass in the filter but for the most part clean.  It's real clean now.  Checked the transmission fluid for the engine.  A bit low but nice and clean.  I'll probably change it anyway just to make sure it's alright before we leave Newport.   Then off to the filters for the sumps--all clean now too.  Tried to trace the diesel fuel lines but they sort of disappear down into the engine compartment under the engine.  I'll try with mirrors another day.

I stowed the life raft at the base of one of the stanchions at the stern of the boat.  I tied it off to the rails so that if something should happen, it will deploy and inflate.  With it being made for six people, it should hold not only us but the kids too. 

It rained a good bit this morning and finished off the day with more showers.  Surprisingly we haven't had much rain lately.   Having just washed Zephyr yesterday, this will at least give her a good rinse.

Tracy just vegged today.  She's worn out from all the work we've been doing.  It's time for her to just sit back and relax for a few days.

Hopefully the weather will stay coming from the South for the next week so we can get underway.  First, a trial sail now that just about everything is up and running.  We don't think there are anymore systems that could cause us anymore problems.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Hope you had a great 4th of July!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 64 Oops, got that wrong.

Oops got that wrong.  Tracy didn't eat that beautiful Lump Fish.  It was actually a Ling Cod not a Lump Fish.  It was late and Tracy was already asleep.  But boy, that Lump Fish was ugly!!!  

We started the engine this morning and put it into gear.  This was after checking the dock lines to make sure they would hold us.  The propeller shaft rotated just fine so the repair did it's job.  All is well.  I'll check the bolts one more time just to make sure it is tight enough to make sure the shaft doesn't come loose and it's all done.  I went to each of the three men that had helped us and thanked them for their knowledge.  Nice to have a close boater community here.

While I tightened up the life lines on deck, Tracy inflated a dingy to work her way around the boat scrubbing the hull at the water line.  We had built up a bit of growth just below the water line and she wanted it gone.  Reached down deep with  a brush on the end of a long pole and scrubbed the propeller.  It had gotten some growth since we had it scrubbed a few weeks ago by a diver.  To get the best speed out of a sailboat, the bottom needs to be as clean as possible.

Ran errands early this afternoon.  Picked up our new two way radios so we can talk as we sail and dock.  No more yelling back and forth and entertaining the other boaters on the dock.

I spent several hours scrubbing down  Zephyrs deck.  Beautiful green algae was making inroads on the fringes of the teak.  We are amazed how much dirt and dust builds up when the air is so 
humid and there isn't a lot of exposed dirt any where around us.    As it was a lovely sunny day, it was the perfect time to wash, spray the teak with a diluted bleach solution and scrub her down.  Now her decks look great.  By the time I was done a few hours later, the Sun was gone and  the fog came rolling in and the temperature dropped like a stone.  I had put on shorts for the first time of the year.  By the time I was done, it would have felt a lot better being in pants.

Tracy marinaded some chicken this afternoon.  On to the grill, added a nice $5.99 bottle of wine and some scalloped potatoes and we had a great dinner.  We're continually amazed at the cheap prices for wine here in Oregon.  With no sales tax it is a great bargain and gives a nice buzz with dinner.  Ah--the joys of a cruisers life.

Tomorrow, the Fourth of July.  Let's all hope for nice weather everywhere so we can all enjoy the fireworks.  We are amazed how many of the stores here in Newport are going to be closed for the entire three day weekend.  We will have to do some selective shopping over the weekend.

Everybody have a great holiday!

Day 63 Part two

Finished the epoxy this morning on the propeller bracket.  Went fine.  I cut off a piece of the epoxy tube--just like Billy Mays says to--and mushed it together for about a minute.  It turns from green to white.  Smashed it into the space left by the old bolt and let it cure.  It is supposed to cure in 10 minutes and be "hard as steel" in an hour.  Yeah right-insert turnip truck here.  Four hours later I could still make small marks in the surface with my fingernail.  Now yes, it was a lot harder but "hard as steel"-- don't think so.  I'll let her cure over night just to be on the safe side.  Tomorrow, I'll start up the engine and let her rip here at the dock.  I figure my dock lines will hold Zephyr in place for a bit of a push.  I want to make sure she's ok before we leave the dock.  I don't see any reason she won't be.  As a matter of fact, I figure the fix we did will make her a lot better than what she was before.  There can be no shifting of the shaft the way we fixed her.

While the epoxy was curing, we took off for Lincoln City 27 miles north of Newport.  We had to go to Wells Fargo to take care of some business.  There is no branch any where in Newport.

We had a lovely lunch in a restaurant just north of Lincoln City called Wild Flower. Tracy had the Lumpfish and chips while I went with the more traditional Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.  Both were excellent.  Sure beat McDonalds.

On the drive home, we stopped at every hardware store looking for 20 gauge, 6 conductor wire.  I want to hook up the wind indicator that we use to tell us what the wind is doing to the autopilot.  This way, we can use it to steer the boat by the direction of the wind and not have to steer by using the compass heading.  If the wind is blowing toward Zephyr at 90 degrees from the right, we can set the autopilot to maintain that angle to the wind at all times instead of telling it to steer at say 335 degrees.  That way, if the wind shifts, the boat will shift its heading to keep the wind at 90 degrees and will move much faster.  I can program an alarm to sound if the course of the boat shifts more than say 15 degrees.  With the autopilot being controlled by the wind, it will make sailing her when the wind blows a lot faster and with less course corrections.  Unfortunately, not a single store from Lincoln City thru Newport had the correct wire.  After 9 stores we gave up and decided to wait till we get to a bigger city. 

We will be here thru the 4th and if the weather changes, be off for Astoria early next week.  We missed the weather window for this week and there was no reason to travel during a week with a holiday in it.  We need winds from the south or southwest to make it a nice sail to Astoria.  With all the work we have been doing, we have only left the dock to go sailing ONCE since we got here two months ago and that didn't last long with all the chaos on board and with the very stirred up ocean.

Tomorrow, the engine test. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 63 Almost fixed

Almost there!!  Picked up the stainless steel brackets and went at it.  For those of you who missed my earlier posts, this is the bracket that holds our propeller shaft in place between the transmission and the propeller.  The wood bracket blew apart a few days ago and we had to figure out how to fix it without having to remove the entire assembly as it was all fiberglassed onto the hull of the boat.

I had to chisel off a layer of the plywood in order make room for the new stainless steel plates I had made.  The tolerances were that close.  Used a chisel and scraped off one layer.  Since I screwed up the template for the first plate, I had a second made and it fit like a glove.  I bedded the entire assembly in 3m's 5200 adhesive and bolted both the plates to the original wood bracket.  Had to get a few new bolts as the assembly was a good bit thicker but it's almost done.  I have to let the adhesive cure for 24 hours.  Then I plan to fill the void created by the wood blowing out with an epoxy putty to make it absolutely stable.  I'm sure you've seen the Billy Mays commercial for the miracle epoxy putty that comes in a tube and you cut off what you need and mush it together and shazam, you've got epoxy ready to go--it will even pull a ten ton truck or fix a broken coffee mug.  I got mine from West Marine so I'm sure since it says "marine" it is better than what Billy Mays sells--yeah right.  That's one of the last project that we have to do before setting off for Astoria.

Tracy got called for jury duty back in Arapahoe County back in Colorado.  She appealed and has been excused.  She told them where we lived and that's all it took.  I on the other hand have never been called and I'm the one with lots of lawyers in the family and would love to be on a jury.  Go figure--karma I guess.

We had lunch at the roadside dinner I talked about a long time ago--the one with classical music playing and peeling linoleum on the floor.  It was packed with people--and this was at 2:30 in the afternoon.  The shrimp I had was great.  I did notice something strange though.  Over each door to the restaurant and the grocery store next door was a zip lock bag full half full of water stapled to the door jam.  I asked them the purpose--it keeps the flies out!!  I had to admit, there were no flies in the place.  Didn't see a one--unless you went outside.  They--the restaurant people claim that the flies eyes see this bag of water as a sort of waterfall and they won't come thru the door.  Any one ever hear of this???  So for all of you that have problems with flies in your house or store, hang a bag of water over your door and you will be fly free.

We had a new screen made for the hatch in the master stateroom by a local carpenter.  The old screen bit the dust earlier when the joints came loose.  If we were still in Denver, I could have made one but I don't have all the tools here to do it.  He did a great job with the teak--lap joints to make it very stable.  We bought the fiberglass screen and a nail gun and just have to install the screen and it will be set.  Fits the hatch like a glove.  I'd have him do the rest of the screens we have, but as this one took over a month since I dropped it off, there just isn't enough time before we set sail.

We've ordered some two way radios for Zephyr so Tracy and I can communicate with each other when we are out sailing or coming into the slip.  They come with a head phone and mic so it will make it a lot easier to relay directions between us and requires a lot less yelling.  I know that Bill(previous owner) had a set of hand signals between he and his wife Susan.  I'm sure we will develop a similar set as time goes by but until then, this will do nicely.  They should be here by the weekend.  

Since the weather has changed and the winds are now coming from the North, we are stuck here till they shift from the South.  With the holiday weekend coming, there is no reason to set off as most places will be closed for the three day weekend.  Oh well, from what I hear, Newport has a great fireworks display in the harbor.  We will be right in the middle of it here at the marina. 

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 62 Happy Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Day!

When I was a young child, my parents taught me to say "Happy Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Day"as the first thing I said when I got up on the first day of the month.  It was to ensure good luck for the entire month.  I don't know why, and not sure where they picked it up but through out my life, I have tried to do this.  As a child, your parents tell you many things--some true and some made up.  A while ago, I googled it just to see if there was any truth or history behind what my parents had taught me.  Yep, if you google "Rabbit Day" you to can see the history behind this saying.  Apparently it dates back to the 1400 or maybe as early as the 1200s.  There are lots of variations to it.  Now I come from a linage of just about pure white anglo saxon protestant as you can get.  According to the family tree researched by my grandfather, my family tree dates back to Henry Hudson, the explorer.  The only thing I can guess is that this has been passed on from parent to child for a long time.  So I pass this on to you and yours.  May it bring you good fortune to you in the future.  By the way--"Happy as a clam"  is really "Happy as a clam at high tide" because you can't fish for them when the tide is in. 

Yesterday, I took the templates to the metal workers to have the brackets made that will reenforce the plywood that had blown out for the propeller shaft coupling.  We had them back in a couple of hours.  Put her in and I'd measured wrong.  I had the hole for the bolt to low so back to the shop to have it made again.  We found that while fitting it into the space, I was going to have to shave down part of the plywood it was to be attached to as the tolerances were so close. After taking the  bracket back, it was off to the hardware store for a chisel and longer bolts to put everything back together then to the marine store for a tube of 3Ms 5200 adhesive to bond the steel to the plywood so they won't shift.  This stuff is so strong that I first used it back in 1987 when I drilled a big hole in the bottom of another boat to install a depth sounder.  To this day, it has never leaked.  I should get the correct brackets back today and have it all installed.  I hope so as the adhesive has to cure, plus I have to fill what is left of the blown out hole with epoxy to make sure there are no voids in the entire assembly.  And that will take time to cure also.

While we are both glad this happened now and not off shore somewhere, we missed a perfect weather window to head to Astoria.  Nice winds from the South to help push us along.  The normal winds this time of year are from the North and you can't sail into the wind.  After the repairs are done, we will get Zephyr ready so we can jump  at the next weather window when it arrives.  

Cloudy and overcast again with a bit of mist today but I'll take that over the 90+ they are having inland and up at Portland.  This will go down as the coolest Summer I've ever experienced.

More coming later.  Have a great day!