Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 185 The weather has turned.

The weather has started to turn here in Port Townsend.  For the foreseeable future, it is rain and high winds.  We'd planned and worked hard at getting the important jobs done so we could spend a while at a different harbor anchored all alone in peace and quiet all the while letting the world pass us by(and not seeing any political commercials).  Now that we are almost there and could leave, it is to rain and have winds up to 35 knots.  What's the fun in being in a deserted harbor if it's being blown all over the place and the rain keeps you pretty much a captive in your boat?  So for the next few days, I'll concentrate on projects inside Zephyr.  Heaven only knows there are lots of things that still need to be done.  I have lots of drawers that need organization and the bilge still needs attention.

Yesterday was a great day for getting more projects done.  We checked off two biggies.  We emptied the forward sail locker(also known as the "garage") and installed the new anchor backing plate.  For those of you that have been reading this blog, you'll remember me talking about there being a steel pipe that held the end of the anchor in the locker.  I've now replaced it with a 1/2" thick aluminum plate with a big "U" bolt bolted through it.  That anchor isn't going any where.  It is still set up with nylon line at the end of the chain so that if we need to jettison the anchor, all we have to do is cut the line.  If we ever anchor and need to get out really quick due to really bad weather or another boats anchor has slipped and is bearing down on us, all we will need to do is let out all the anchor and cut the line, start the motor and get out of the way.

I got the new electrical outlet installed in the galley yesterday afternoon.  I'd gone to Henery's Hardware and bought a better saw for cutting thin teak.  The last piece I'd tried had snapped in two.  With a saw better made to cut thin boards, I was off to the races.  It cut the opening I needed just fine.  As you can see from the picture, I needed a teak board to cover an existing hole in the wall.  We'd removed a propane "sniffer" that had stopped working and that left a big hole.  You can see our new "sniffer" below the outlet.  With the teak board, I could cover the hole and install the outlet.  Now we have another outlet in the galley.  No more having to move the microwave to get to an outlet or string an extension cord.  I'll be ordering an outlet cover today from Fisheries Supply.  It should be here by next Tuesday.  We'll use some of our lacquer to make the teak blend in with the cabinet it's attached to.

I have a bit of wire left after the install and with luck will install an outlet in the engine compartment.  You never know when you'll need 110 in there.

I found it interesting as I installed the outlet, the orientation of the plug came into play.  I'd asked Tracy which was she wanted it.  She wanted it the way the picture showed it.  To me, that is backwards.  There is the difference of "right" brain versus "left" brain.  Tracy is the "left" brain of the family.  Logical, rational, analytical, and objective.  I on the other hand, being "right" brained am more random and subjective.  That is why we work so well together.  What one of us doesn't have, the other does so we do better at seeing the whole.  (Yeah, I know, the outlet is in backwards but that is the way she wanted it.)

We restocked the pantry yesterday with lots of new goodies.  Tracy keeps a list of what is where so it's much easier to find.  Everything is in plastic boxes in every little nook and cranny as space in a boat, even Zephyrs size, gets used.  When you're out cruising, there is no 7/11 or Circle K to stop into.  You are a floating grocery store.  If you don't have it, you do without.

We ordered a pizza from Papa Murphys last night for dinner.  It took some rearranging to get a 12" pizza into a 9 X 13 oven but Tracy did it.  Apparently the price of pizza has gone up like everything else in the world.  At over $16.00 for a "medium"(they don't have "smalls") it wasn't as inexpensive as I recall.  We used to get a "family" size(really a "large) for about $13.00/$14.00 when we lived in Aurora.   Isn't it strange that with no "small", the first size they offer is a "medium"?  Doesn't that make their "medium" a "small" and their "large" a "medium"?  I guess we as a country just can't settle for getting a "small".  We need to have a "medium".  Make us feel better?  Maybe it just "marketing"?  Who cares?  We still buy it no matter what they call it. 

Well, it's raining now and that is what we can expect for the next week.  Add on 20-30 knot winds and you have an exciting week ahead.  They plan on dredging this marina next week so we will have to watch our access if we can go out sailing even for a few hours when nice weather returns.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 184 The heater works.

Troy stopped by with the heater duct work and got it all installed.  I fired it up later in the day and it works great.  It took a while for the fan to really kick in as it hasn't been run in many months.  With the new wiring, it runs much faster than we have ever heard it.  It really kicks out the BTUs.  I changed out some of the fasteners where the ducts connect to the vents so they will stay attached.  New plates and screw clamps and of course--every mans favorite tool--duct tape.  Where would any house or boat be without duct tape?

By now, many of you have seen the video I posted yesterday morning.  I had to go to Safeway as the Verizon gizmo wouldn't do it.  To slow on the uploads.  It took about 5 times before the blog site would accept it.  The video I took on an actual video camera is apparently too big and so far won't upload.  I'll try again when we go to Safeway.

I started work on installing another 110 outlet in the galley.  There is currently only one and it is behind the microwave.  I'll be installing the other at the far side of the galley.  This way, we won't have to stretch an extension cord across the cabin.  It is going in where the old propane detector was now that it has been replaced.  The previous one had had its wires cut and didn't function so it got replaced.  It left a nice hole that with work will now have an outlet in its place.  

I stopped at Radio Shack for a replacement switch for the light I took off the wall.  The switch had gotten broken while I was working on it.  These light have now been discontinued so I need to fix it since we can't get any new ones.  The people at Radio Shack would be dangerous if they knew anything about electronics.  So far, no one I've talked to there knows anything about wiring or electronics.  Go figure.

Rain is in the forecast over the next five days so not sure what we will be doing.  We're trying to get to another harbor(secluded) and drop anchor for at least a night to see what it is like.  

Off for another day of projects.  As I check off one two get added.  Amazing how that happens.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally a video!!

videoYeah, I know it's sideways but who know that you can't change the orientation of a video like you can a photo.

I've tried to put another on this sight but it may be too big.  I'll try again.

I do have to be at Safeway to get this to post as the Verizon gizmo is to weak and slow to do it.

Day 183 Slowly but surely.

I took apart the radar and added the lithium grease that Raymarine suggested I put on the gears to try and stop the small grinding noise that it has developed.  Here's what the inside looks like.  It took just a small amount and the job was done.  We turned it on and around it went.  It's no better than what it was but hey at least it has new grease.  It still makes that small grinding noise but maybe it is supposed to.  Oh well, I put the cover back on and got on with the next project.  You can't win them all.

There were three lights in the boat that have never worked so I went after them next.  All three are on one wall.  One in the main cabin and two in the forward cabin on the opposite side.  One I fixed a few weeks ago.  It's switch had rusted out.  The one in the main cabin had apparently fried its small circuit board that acts as a dimmer switch.  I swapped it out for one that I had taken off the wall where the TV is now.  I had to merge the two together as the lights weren't identical.  Now it was fixed.  The third had popped a solder joint and with some new solder it was fine.  Now all the lights work on Zephyr.  

The projects continued with adding biocide to the diesel fuel.  Strangely, diesel fuel can grow algae if left untreated.   It's not the diesel that grows the algae but it grows in the water that condenses off the sides of the tank during cold spells if they are not full and pools at the bottom of the tank.  It can really mess up your system if left untreated.

We mailed our election ballots so we have done our patriotic duty.  Al least now I have the right to complain after the election.  Of course, if my candidate wins, I will share in the responsibility of having elected him(not much chance of that).  I found out that here in Port Townsend, there are no election booths on election day.  They only vote by mail!!  They have one of the largest turnouts in the state.  When I mailed our votes, I played devils advocate with the postal clerk that helped me by espousing the fact that having only mail in voting disenfranchises the homeless and the poor since now they have to pay for voting by having to buy a stamp to vote.   He had to think about that for a moment and then agreed with me.

Tracy put some of the canvas over the teak on Zephyrs rail to protect the teaks varnish.  Now she's set for the Winter.

I've got more projects for today.  I'm off to Safeway to try and upload a video or two if possible for the blog.  The Verizon gizmo keeps disconnecting on long uploads and won't allow us to complete them so I need to find a more stable connection.  I'll post a note if I get them uploaded as to where you can see them.

Troy is here fixing the ductwork on Zephyr so we may get to get out later this week for another harbor.  We'll see what Mother Nature throws at us.

Off to more projects!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 182 More projects. Living the dream?

A day filled with more projects and a long list to go.

I started the day installing a crane that Bill(previous owner) had on Zephyr that will assist us in raising and lowering the outboard motor.  It fits over a ball that is screwed to the teak cap rail and then passes through a ring attached to the stern pulpit.  With a block and tackle it will take care of anything up to 100 pounds.  It will make using the dingy to get ashore much easier.

Sea Marine is having to replace the duct work for the diesel heating system on Zephyr.  While Jack, the electrician  was changing out the alternators, he crushed some of the duct work and now it all needs to be replaced.   The heater requires 3 1/2" ducts while the vents all require either 4" or 5" fittings.  They ordered the duct work last week and it came in this morning.  All the wrong size.  I'd told them 3 1/2" but they ordered 4" because they knew better.  I'd crawled into the engine room and measured but hey, what do I know, I just own the boat.  Today they sent down Troy--another electrician to measure the system.  Why an electrician?  I haven't the foggiest idea.  I'm glad I'm not paying for it.  As he measured, he ripped out all the duct work so now instead of having to replace just a small bit, they get to replace it all.  It is the main stumbling block holding us here as it's too cold to be at anchor in some nice secluded bay without a heater.  It's getting down into the high 30's.  So we wait.  At least we can go out on day sails.

I sewed two of the straps we will be needing so that we can reef the main sail if the wind gets too high.  You use two rings--both stainless steel-- and some 1"nylon webbing and place the rings on either side of the sail, and use the webbing to join them together.  I have to buy some more webbing as I ran out.  It takes more than I thought.  We already have the rings.  At over $11.00 per ring, they don't come cheap.  I'd learned how to do this at the class I took at Carol Hasse Sails.  Carol walks by our boat just about every day and we have time for a quick chat.  She saw me sewing today and love the fact that I was doing something from the class.

I tidied up the deck today taking care of lots of loose lines.  Shortening them up so they fit properly in their spaces.  Re-whipping some as necessary.  When they redid the electronics on deck, they turned off the light on the wind gauge.  I had to unscrew it and turn it back on.  It's a simple thing if you know where the switch is on the gauge.  Luckily, there is a backup gauge inside Zephyr so all I had to do was look a the backside of it.

As I sit here, I keep hearing the fresh water pump going on and off.  It is only supposed to run when the faucet is turned on.  There is no more water running into the bilge so I think the pump may be malfunctioning.  I've already contacted the manufacturer and they are going to replace it.  I bought it back in May so it is still under warranty.  They wanted me to send them the pump and they would send me the replacement.  I explained to them that we live aboard and they are willing to "sell" me a new pump and credit it back upon the return of the one we have here.  I'll get going on that tomorrow--or today as it's after midnight as I type this.

I forgot to tell you what we found last night when we got back from Whidbey Island.  As we walked down the pier, there on deck was Snowshoe waiting for us.  Some one had come on board while we were gone and slid the hatch open.  We have no idea who it could have been but all the kids were still on board.  With there being a family of otters living in the marina, they take a dim view of cats--or any other animals for that matter, and will kill any they find on their territory.  Glad they didn't see the kids while we were gone!!  We may have to lock up the boat in the future.

Well, it's off to bed.  Lots of projects for the next few days.  Rain is scheduled by Thursday. 



 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 181 The stress is gone. Now the recovery.

The stress we have felt over the past 6 months of not being able to sail Zephyr is now over.  We've had her out in the winds and seen how she performs with us at the wheel.  Saturdays sail was just the thing we needed.  Now we have sailed our boat!!! 

We moved on board almost exactly 6 month ago and it took us that long to finally get to sail Zephyr.  It seemed that no matter what we did, either there was no wind or it was against us or it just wasn't safe to take her out, something kept us from getting her out.  Now that the standing rigging(holds the mast up) and most of the running rigging(controls the sails) have been replaced and the electrical system has been overhauled, she was ready for us to take her out without the fear of something happening.  

There are few words to describe the feelings Tracy and I felt as we flowed through the water.  We had even taken the ferry just to get water under our feet.  We have dreamed of cruising for the past 20+ years and now we are getting to that point.  There are a few more tasks that need to be attended to as there always will be on board a boat, but the hard, time consuming jobs are now over and we can try and plan for the future.

Yesterday, when we got up, you could just feel that the pressure we had felt was gone.  Tracy was exhausted and I sure wasn't up to my best.  We had finally sailed.  With that being said, we took a day and rested and tried to rebuild our energy.  We took the ferry again to Whidbey Island to drive up to Anacortes to see what it was like.  It is one of the places we know we will be sailing to shortly and wanted to see first hand what the marina was like.  Unfortunately, we cut our time a bit short as we missed the 1pm ferry and had to take the 2:15 which get you there at 2:45.  We made reservations for the 6pm and took off North.  We stopped for lunch at Wendy's.  It's not haute cuisine but it filled our stomaches.  On the road again till we got to Anacortes.  Quite the boating town though since it was Sunday, just about everything was closed.  By the time we got there, we had to turn around and head back or we would miss the ferry.  

Whidbey Island is a lovely combination of farming and urban with both taking a strong hold on the island.  We passed through lots of farmland and then were amazed at all the big box store we came upon in the city.  Gas is cheaper on the island than it is here in Port Townsend.  I would have thought the opposite.

Today, more projects.  I need to move the crane that helps lift the outboard motor down to the dingy and back up.  At 87 pounds, I sure can't do it myself.  The crane is on the port side and the motor is on the starboard side.  The crane is getting moved as the new wind electric generator will be on the port side.  I'll be dismantling the forward head as water is still seeping back into the head from the hose that leads to the sewage tank.  A valve appears to have malfunctioned.  And you thought cruising was all fun and no work?  Hah!!!

I'll be practicing the sewing I learned at Carol Hasse's class a few weeks ago.  I have to attach nylon straps to the sails so that we can reef them when the wind comes up.  After the rigging was done, the sails sit too high to allow the existing grommets (metal rings in the sails)to fit onto the reefing hooks that they are supposed to go on to make the sail smaller.  With the nylon straps and big stainless steel rings, it will work just fine.  I've got three sets to do.

The weather is supposed to be perfect over the next few days so we will bet as much accomplished as we can.  We can't quite take off yet as the yard has to replace the ductwork for our diesel heater that got crushed when they removed the alternators.  Until that is done(we like a nice warm boat at night) we're not going anywhere.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 180 Out SAILING!!!


We made it.  Finally out sailing!!! 

We spent the morning getting Zephyr ready to go.  Put off all the other projects we had planned and battened down as much as we could and had a quick lunch and took off about 2pm.  Winds out of the North at about 12 to 15.  Perfect for Zephyr.  Started the engine and out we went.

Once out, we set about raising the main sail.  Tracy pulled down on the halyard to raise the sail and I used the winch to make it as easy as we could.  It's a big sail and even with the new rigging, it's still a bear to get up.  Then out came the big Genoa sail at the bow.  Tracy pulled the lines that get it out and I slowly fed out the lines that pull it back in when we are done.

Suddenly, what we have dreamed about for months was a reality.  We were finally under sail on our own boat.  AND LOVING IT!!!

We were making great headway across a virtually deserted stretch of water.  A 
tug or two but we had the water to ourselves.  We decided to go for broke and put up the forestaysail.  That's the sail that is just back from the big Genoa sail at the bow.  With that up, we had every piece of canvas up that we could and Zephyr took off!!  The picture shows us up to 8.8 knots!!  That's a lot faster that we've ever been before--motor or sail.  The winds picked up to about 15 knots so we decided to "reef" the big Genoa sail.  Since it is on a roller furling system--pull a line and the sail slowly winds itself up making it smaller.  We took in about 25 % and Zephyr even herself out and flew along on a nice even keel.  Sweet as you please.

We stayed out till about 4:30 and headed back as we had a pumpkin carving party to go to tonight at Brion Toss's loft.  As we headed back to Port Townsend, the current in the water got faster and faster and the wind less and less.  I checked our computer navigation software and found the current was running about 2.6--2.8 knots where we where.  The knotlog--small wheel under Zephyr read we were going 5+ knots while the GPS on Zephyr had us going at 1.7 knots.  The current was causing the reading to be false on the knotlog but couldn't fool the GPS unit.  Since we had a party to go to , we fired up the diesel engine and took down the sails.  

First, the forestaysail.  The second one from the bow.  All down and bagged.

Next, the big Genoa sail.  Tracy let out the sails sheets.  That's the line that controls the sails as we sail while I pulled on the line that causes the sail to roll up on itself.  Zip, in she went.

The main was last.  We loosened the halyard and down she came.  A bit slower than I would have thought she should but still she came down and got stowed.

The engine took over and we were back at the dock about 5:45 and off to Safeway for a pumpkin for the party.  Tracy carved--the artist in the family.  I sat and observed everyone.  About 6 people came.  When some showed up, some left through the evening.  We took off about 7:15 and had a quick dinner at a nearby McDonalds and then settled in for a quiet evening.

The weather tomorrow is supposed to be even better than today so we should be out again seeing how Zephyr does under different conditions.  Boy, it sure is fun to get back on the water sailing.  It's been almost two years since we did any serious sailing.  Nice to know we still know how.

Stay tuned for actual sailing stories.  Yeah, that's right--no more "on the hard" stories!!! 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 179 We left the dock!!!

Yes that's right, we actually left the dock--and under our own power!!!  Late this morning, we started the engine, loosed the lines and took off.  Through the marina and out the passageway to the Admiralty Straits.  Turned around and came right back to the marina and up to the pump out station!!!  Hey, it ain't much, but every trip starts with baby steps.   

When we arrived here back in late July, we never had a chance to pump out the sewage tanks for the head as we blew the transmission just after we got into the marina.  Now that we are back in the water they needed to be pumped out and flushed with clean water and flushed out a second time.  You do it twice to make sure you got everything out and have a "clean" tank.  Failure to do it this way can result in pipes left full of yuck and that is not a good thing.  It's against the law to pump out your tanks into the water unless you are three miles off shore.

We worked as a team to get away from the dock and back to it.  Tracy guided me and I steered the boat.  Next time, we will reverse the procedures as she needs to learn how Zephyr operates just like I do.  When on the boat, you wear lots of different hats. 

After the tanks were empty, we motored back to our dock space, pulled a 180 degree turn and plunked her right back in her space, just as nice as you please.  Since it has been three months since I had "driven" Zephyr, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous but pulled it off without a hitch.  We didn't kill anyone!!

The day started off with Brion, Gordon and Nathan(riggers three) showing up to try and figure out why it is still darn near impossible for us to raise the mainsail unless you have two people at a minimum.  Brion took out the main halyard(line that pulls the main sail to the top of the mast) and re threaded it down the inside of the mast hoping that it was just tangled with all the lines inside the mast.   There are 5 different lines fed inside the mast.  Once that was done, it did seem to go up easier.  We are trying to get out for a day sail this afternoon.  We still have lots to batten down before we take off.  Living on shore for three months, you tend not to stow properly all the gear in your boat since it's not moving and nothing is rocking that would dislodge it.

After that was done, I fixed a few things outside while Tracy worked inside.  I checked the cotter pins on the fittings for the rigging and drilled new holes in some track on deck that a "car"(has a big wheel on it to leads the lines) that the jib sheets(lines that control the jib)run through  but the pin that stops it from sliding on the track wouldn't fit the existing holes in the track(how's that for confusing).  Not sure if it was simply rust or the wrong size track but the problem was fixed and now the pin on the fitting will fit the holes in the track and stop sliding when I don't want it to.  It may not seem important, but when you need a fitting in a particular place and it won't stop there for some reason, you need to make sure it will so that you can get the best out of your sails. 

I scrubbed the deck as the local birds are eating the berries off the bushes and leaving very colorful poo on everything around the marina.  It was much worse when Zephyr was back in Birch Bay.  Bill(previous owner) used to wash the decks just about every day to keep them clean.  We can go two days with out doing it.  The poo(lovely shade of dark red) can stain your fiberglass.

We decided to drive to Sequim for the afternoon to run errands and get more supplies.  Having a car here will make these errands MUCH easier.  We can bring back much more in one trip.  Tracy's phone battery was dying and needed replacing.  The kids needed more food and so did we so off to Petco and Costco for "stuff".

We stopped by West Marine on the way back for a special order piece of hardware and still need to order some more fitting.  A block for the tackle that helps pull a person out of the water on the crane we have no longer works.  One of the wheels in it has locked up and refused to rotate.  One last fitting for the roller furling Genoa line so we can pull it in from the cockpit.

I picked up some special lithium grease for the radar unit and with luck will be dismantling it this morning and re lubing the cogs inside it.  It makes some strange noise as the dome goes around and Ratheon recommends re greasing it.  Of course, being on the water requires a special grease so we had to go in search of it.  Finally found it in a local auto store in Sequim.  NAPA didn't have any unless you wanted a tube big enough to do every boat in this town.

Andy(jack of all trades) at Sea Marine brought us a special gift this afternoon of a bottle of champagne and a bottle of Merlot to celebrate us leaving the dock.  We were amazed how many people noticed that we had actually left the dock this morning.  Not only the folks at Sea Marine but Jenny who is working on her boat in the same yard we had been.  She hopes to have her boat back in the water in the next month or so.

Well, it's time for a shower and get ready for another full day getting Zephyr ready for at least a nice afternoon sail.  We've been invited to a pumpkin carving party late this afternoon at Brion Tosses loft.  We don't want to miss it. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 178 Update

One of the comments I received advised me to file a complaint with the PUC(Public Utilities Commission) in Colorado about Qwests treatment on my DSL line.

I filed a complaint and they emailed back that they have no control nor can do anything about Qwest and the internet.  The PUC only makes sure that Qwest provides basic telephone and fax service.  The internet is not regulated by the PUC.  I guess the legislature hasn't caught up with that yet.  We just have to wait for one of them to have problems and then we will hear the cry to battle.

So if you have problems with Qwest and the internet, there is no where to turn other than:
1.  Hope your current ISP is a fighter.
2.  Have your service cut to what ever Qwest feels is OK with then and stay with your ISP.
3.  Find a different way to get internet into your house.
4.  Joint the great folks at Qwest and send them more money for screwing you and your current ISP.
5.  Drop off the world and cancel all internet service.  Good luck with that.

Have a great weekend!

Day 178 It's just weird.

It's been weird these past 24 hours having a car here in Port Townsend.  Up till now, we've used the bus system to get where we needed to go.  It's been great.  We've met far more people than we ever would have if we had had a car this entire time.   We knew the schedule like the back of your hand.  When to be at the top of the hill to catch the bus and where it would drop us off.  Now, we have a car.  I didn't even know what the speed limit was!!  I've only gone one way down these streets.  Suddenly, I can go the opposite direction if I choose.  It's like always having vanilla ice cream and suddenly you can have chocolate.  You  get the same cold taste in your mouth but it has a different taste.  I had to go to West Marine this afternoon and just jumped in the car instead of waiting for the bus.  No more chauffeurs taking us around town.

We went to Washington State Parks this morning and picked up our state pass so we can use any of the moorings as we sail in the San Juan Islands this winter.  We got to pay for the entire year, not just the final two months of it.  Yeah--that seems fair doesn't it??  Pay for 12 and use it for 2.

The rest of the day was spent working on assorted projects on Zephyr.  The riggers came by and installed a few more things.  Tracy and I lowered the big genoa and installed a new piece of hardware since the previous piece had broken.  It didn't go back up as easily as it should have.  We'll have to check it out before we set sail.  I installed the new roller furling leads on the stanchions.  These will lead the line that closes the big roller furling sail.  Tracy tried to hoist the genoa sail but it just got too hard.  The roller furling just keeps on hanging up or just goes too slowly.  We have to work on getting it to roll and unroll smoothly, but it likes to bind up.  More work to do on it.

Tracy tried to raise the main sail but it just would not go all the way to the top of the mast.  Again, we will be working on that tomorrow.

This evening, I installed a new light over my workbench.  Just slightly bigger than what was there.  The riggers had broken the electrical connections getting it off so they could stay install and new piece of hardware on deck.  I also tried to clean up my workbench area and installed two new cleats on the bracket that holds the winch on the mast.  We'll need them to hold all the new reefing lines we will need to control the main sail while sailing.

With luck, we will be out sailing by this Saturday.  It is supposed to have great weather.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 177 Home again.

I arrived home at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon after driving from just South of Portland.  I had to make a stop at South East Marine in Scapoose just NorthWest of Portland to pick up the rest of our new wind/water generator.  The original pole we had picked up was just a bit to short for Zephyr so I needed to switch it out for the longest one available.  I wedged it into an already full car and took off for Port Townsend.  

Meanwhile, the time during the drive from South of Portland to South East Marine were spent talking and waiting to talk to Qwest.  After much talking(insert "heated discussions"), they put us back to 1.5 megs while we were on the phone.  They didn't need to come out to the house at all.  Isn't that amazing?  Before, they had always needed a tech to come out to do it there.  This time, they just hit a keyboard, or flicked a switch and it was done.  They assured me that the connection was unstable and would remain so until I switched over to Qwest as my ISP.  Ah--the power of the Evil Empire.

In later conversations with Kathy at Peak to Peak, they worked out a temporary solution with Qwest that they(Qwest) would assign a "monitor" to my account to make sure I stayed as close to 1.5 megs until the problem could be resolved--either technically or legally.  They are prepared to do battle as they have had to do in the past with Qwest.  Go get'em Peak to Peak.

My drive up was uneventful other than stopping for lunch and an occasional stop to boot up the computer to see exactly where I was and that I was on the right road to Port Townsend.  Having a GPS plugged in made it the perfect computer for traveling. 

It's nice to be home!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 176 I'm a traveling man, plus more on the "Evil Empire"

I'm now in transit to Scapoose outside of Portland to get the rest of what we need to finish our wind/water electric generator.

I cleaned out our storage building yesterday giving a few things to the Port of Newport.  Some things were just too big too fit in the car.  The car is packed like a sardine can.  Big items in first and then pack around them.  It's amazing how much stuff you can get in a small car.  Now we will need to get a small storage building in Port Townsend or find some more space on Zephyr.

To Ted and Judy, sorry I didn't catch up with you while there.  You weren't at your boat and I drove by where your studio is but I didn't know which one is yours.  We'll see you next month in Port Townsend.

I got on the road by 2pm and am just South of Portland ready to head into town.  With luck, I'll be back in Port Townsend by late this afternoon.  It will be great to be home.

Now, on to the "Evil Empire" of Qwest.  The wonderful people of Qwest left a message on the home phone on Monday that they would be sending out another tech on Tuesday to "fix" our connection.  YEAH!!!

On Tuesday(yesterday) they left three messages.  The first was from the tech out there doing the work just down the street.  He advised us that he had "fixed" the connection by putting us "BACK TO 256/640 AS REQUESTED"!!!!!   Say what!!!!  The second call as well as the third were from the business office advising us that the connection was "fixed" and if I had any questions to give them a call.  They had just done what I had refused to authorized them to do.  I've had 1.5 megs for years and enjoyed(and paid)its speed.  Now, I'm back to just about dial up speed.  I called them back and after transfer after transfer got to a supervisor that set up another tech call for today to get us "fixed".  He, like all the other techs I've talked to don't understand at first why they are doing this to me.  I'm about to place a call to the Business Office to see what is going on.

Last night, I filed a complaint with the Colordao PUC(Public Utilities Commission).  It was lengthy and detailed and took quite a while to file but hopefully will do some good.  I also called and left a message with Kathy at Peak to Peak.  We'll see what happens today.  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 175 The inner geek surfaces.

Yesterday was travel day.  Back to Newport to clean out the things we left in a storage room there and pick up the car.

While on the plane, I fired up my MacBook and plugged in the small GPS I use on  Zephyr and watched our progress as we flew.  The small GPS has a suction cup to make it easy to attach to the window.  The program I used gave me the speed, altitude, and heading as we jetted across the sky.  A map was on the screen with all the towns and roads we passed over.  As I was on two different flights, the people beside me watched as well.  Ah, the inner geek surfaces all over again.

The flights went well with only a slight delay in Salt Lake City but I made all the connections with time to spare.  The shuttle was right on schedule to get me the final step from Portland to Newport.  I had plenty of time to even finish my book.

I hiked over to the marina as the driver wanted an extra $20.00 to take me there from the normal drop off spot(which is farther down the road).  With all the walking I've been doing in Port Townsend, it was an easy jaunt.  Our buddy Keith was there with the keys to our car.  We had a nice chat catching up on the Summer in Newport.  A great guy that has been a big help while we were in Newport.  The Mazda started right up.  Needed a bit of water in the radiator but the tires were still inflated unlike the last time we came here from Denver.

I stopped by the storage building.  Lots more in there than I remember.  I'll have a good bit to give away before I leave.  Sort and repack will be the order of the day.  

I expect I'll be here till tomorrow and be on the road for Portland etc then.  We'll see as the day goes by.  I'll check out and check back in if I need the room for another night.    


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 174 Working around the house.

I leave early tomorrow morning so I thought I better get my blog in early--or late tonight.

Today was work around the house day plus show our house sitter how some things work.

First we started by draining the ponds out back. They were filled with plants that keep the algae down to next to nothing. With those taken out--filled 6 garbage bags, we put hoses in and syphoned out the water. While the syphoning was taking place, we changed out one of the flush floppers in the upstairs bathroom. It had been leaking water into the bowl causing it to try and refill the tank on occasion. A waste of water.

Lessons in our snowblower were up next. Flip on the choke, plug it in and hit the start button--first turn the key to on-DUH. She started right up. Blew some smoke but ran just fine. We swapped out places in the garage with the lawn mower so it's easier to get at when it's necessary.

Next, we cleared out a lot of the overgrowth of plants in the back. Or at least the sitter did. I took off for Home Depot for paint and brushes as well as a small roller to do the job. After I got home, we had a quick lunch and went at it. Took a bit of time but the door frame for the garage door looks great. I'd bought a sander so all the old paint was taken off before the new was put on. I came real close to a perfect match to the old paint.

Once that was done, we took off to pick up the old computer from Action Computers. As it turns out, the hard drive was just fine, the power supply was not. The fan had burned itself up and was close to crashing the computer. What is with the Hudson family and electricity? Good thing I listened to the computer the last time I was using her. Once we had the computer, we went to Costco as the sitter had never been there. As many of you that belong to Costco can agree, the first time in is an eye opener. All the great stuff and at great prices.

Home for left overs and get the computer installed back in its cabinet. We labeled the cords for the future just in case it has to be removed again. Once the cords were hooked up, she started right up and is running great.

We watched "Captain Ron" tonight. Our sitter had never seen it. For those of you that haven't, I highly recommend it. One of Kurt Russells best films.

As I leave early tomorrow, It's off to bed. I packed earlier so I'm all set to go.

Day 173 Errands galore

It's interesting how fast I have gotten back into the "civilization" mode of life.  For the past 6 month, we have lived in "small town USA" with all its laid back ways and friendly people who actually know each other and appear to care about each other.  Suddenly, I'm in the big city with its million plus people, freeways, cut you off, go through red lights, not let you merge let alone look you in the face way of life.  It's back to where I was 6 months ago.  It didn't take long to blend in and become one of the masses.  When Tracy came back to the big city, she was struck by her reaction to all the people and their attitudes as soon as she got off the ferry.  Strangely,  for me, it felt no different from any other day.  There were just more people than what I had been around in a few months.  While I was raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, I have spent the last 40 years in an assortment of big cities.  I'd gotten used to its ways.

Many cruisers get culture shock upon their return to "life" after being "off the grid" sailing by them selves.   They purposely shy away from big cities and stay in small harbors to avoid the hub bub and chaos of the big city.  When they finally do reenter "society"(as we like to think it is), they get a claustrophobic feeling of being closed in.  So far, I'm not there and there is no reason I would be.  We've not yet been "off the grid".  Small towns still have lots of people.  When you're out cruising, you stay in little inlets by yourself or with just a few people at best.  You get used to being alone.  We'll get there hopefully some time this Winter.  

Errands were the call of the day.  I went in search of a boatyard that I had visited several years ago way up North on I-25 that sold used boats.  Since we had had such problems with our current arrangement, I went in search.  It took a while since I couldn't remember their name but I found them.  Unfortunately, they now sell RVs and rent U Hauls.  The boat lift was still there but not a boat to be seen.  We'll just have to look elsewhere.  

Back to the big city and off to see our bank to take care of some paperwork.  Then the hardware store as I needed to pick up some thing so I can fix things around the house.  Sailboats move a lot and require a good bit of maintenance(boy don't we know that!).  Houses may stand still, but things still break.  Sunday will be spent working around the house getting those small little things taken care of that didn't get done before we left.  Some paint, some screws, and some nails.  Little chores.

I leave Monday for Newport to close out things that we'd left there.  With the delays we have experienced, it will be a while before we sail back into that harbor.  We'd figured we would have been there back in August.  And we may be, just not this year.

Oh, by the way, Kathy from Peak to Peak called me yesterday afternoon.  She knows of another person that has experienced what we are going through(see yesterdays blog if you dare).  They got it worked out with Qwest and now all is fine for them.  She is going to contact these people and see if she can find out who they talked to to get it resolved.  There might be hope.  The battle resumes on Monday.  To arms, to arms!!! 

Have a great Sunday!  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 172 Qwest---The EVIL EMPIRE!!!

One of the primary reasons I came to Denver this trip was we had a service tech coming to our house to "fix" our internet connection.  Since August, our connection was spotty at best.  Some times good, fast and reliable.  Sometimes bad, slow and nonexistent.  It had taken everything our house sitter had to convince Qwest to come to the house(they saw no problems on the line).  I had tried to get them to come out and they had flatly refused no matter how I had tried.  Money was no object to them(I had offered to pay for the service)!! 

I waited at the house for the tech to arrive--scheduled for 1 to 4pm.  I got a call about 1:30 that he was up the street at the local junction box checking our connection.  I was advised that our current line went all the way to the main station and to "fix" it, he just had to switch us over to the new "local" box.  Then he saw that our ISP was the lowly Peak to Peak!!!  A simple local ISP that has been my ISP for more years than I can remember.  Our son, Matt, set us up with them many years ago when the internet(Al Gore's invention) was new.  They are one of the many local ISPs that dot the country.  Not one of the big overpowering ones that so many people use.  

Well, once he found that out, the situation changed.  He couldn't do anything to help us.  We weren't really customers of Qwest, we were customers of Peak to Peak and he couldn't switch us to the new equipment as Qwest wasn't compatible with Peak to Peak and visa versa.  TO BAD!!  Of course, if I was to drop Peak to Peak as my ISP I could have my connection(1.5 megs) restored back to its full power.  In internet terms, that's called "Slamming".  That's when one company hijacks you from the company you are with to theirs.  IT"S ILLEGAL!!!  They had "slammed" me several years ago.  I had to fight to get back to Peak to Peak and had lost internet service for over ten days during that "slamming" since taking me away from Peak to Peak had taken less than a minute, getting me hooked back up with them was much harder.  YEAH--RIGHT!!

I was advised that Qwest, in order to serve it's customers, had "upgraded" it hardware to make it's connection stronger and faster.  Since I wasn't with Qwest as my ISP, well, it worked just the opposite!!!  The rant goes on!  They could no longer guarantee my connection at the speed I had had for the past many years, I would have to downgrade to a speed of 264.  That's 1/5th the speed I had had.  Nice upgrade!!!  BUT--if I wanted to have my full speed back, just switch over to Qwest and all would be forgiven and I could be renewed!  Praise Qwest in all its glory!!!! 

The tech had called me several times to try and tell me that that was just the way it had to be.  I urged him to talk to Peak to Peak.  He said that they probably wouldn't talk to him.  I assured him that they were waiting for his call as they had been actively trying to get my situation resolved.  I provided him with the phone number and extension on my ISP tech--Kathy.  He hung up and made the call.  I called Qwest and after many button pushes ended up with "Bill" in India.  I explained the situation and he agreed, that shouldn't be happening.  It shouldn't matter who my ISP was and who I got my email from, I should have the same service I had had restored.  On to "hold" I went.  He came back and asked questions several times during that conversation.  He consulted with "senior" techs and asked for the local techs phone number.  

Jeff, the local tech, called back while I was still on hold with "Bill".  He'd had his conversation with Peak to Peak(I'm now juggling two phones to keep in contact with everyone(one cell, one land line).  He told me that the person he had spoken to at Peak to Peak wasn't a "nice person".  He held his ground that my only solution if I wanted good reliable service was to dump Peak to Peak and go to Qwest as my ISP.  Since I was refusing, there was nothing more he could do for me and hung up.  

After a while, "Bill" came back on the line.  Apparently, the senior Qwest people had wised "Bill" up and He was suddenly agreeing with Jeff, the local tech, that my only solution was to dump Peak to Peak and become a loyal Qwest customer and he need an answer NOW!!!  Wa I ready to switch? 

For those of you who know me,  I don't like being told what to do by people on the phone.  It gets my back up and I will dig in my heels like you wouldn't believe.  I can be more stubborn than a mule.  Just ask Tracy(she hates it).  Plus it pisses me off greatly!!!  I advised "Bill" in India that that was not satisfactory and I wanted to speak to someone in Qwest management.  Back on to hold again. I'd been on the phone over an hour with"Bill".  He came back after a while and said I was being put through to Diane at the "Business office".  I could talk to her about the situation.  You can guess what happens next right??  Diane comes on the line and BOOM, I get disconnected!!!  I'm left with "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again" recording!!!!   OH MY GOD!!!  I was ready to explode!!! I get back on my cell phone and try and get back with Qwest.  Don't even ask me what my blood pressure was.  Again, after much button pushing, I got back with what must have been "Bill's" cousin.  Had the same accent strangely!

Suddenly, my land line phone rings.  It's Kathy from Peak to Peak.  I'd been speaking with her as the afternoon went on between calls from Jeff the local tech, and while on hold with "Bill" in India so she knew what was happening.  She was going to set up a three way call with Qwest's Business Office so we could get it resolved.  This is why I want to stay with Peak to Peak.  They don't take this lying down.  They come out fighting for their customers.  I would not want Kathy on my bad side.  I was about to see her rip the person at Qwest a new one.  

Once we had the Qwest rep on the line, she agreed that what we were asking seemed very reasonable and that none of what had happened should have.  There had been a "special group" created at Qwest to handle just such a situation and she was going to get a work order put in to have them contact me that night.  She went on the hem and haw about Qwest, not being sure whether or not I could continue with my current service and stay with Peak to Peak.  OH MY GOD!!! Kathy latched on to that and went at her for clarification.  "Was Qwest really going to make me drop Peak to Peak to stay connected".  Mrs. Lewis, at Qwest couldn't comment on that as she knew very little of how the system worked but she didn't think so.  Kathy could have bitten through steel at that moment. If this was the attitude that Qwest was taking, it would put small ISPs like Peak to Peak out of business.  I can see the lawyers lining up now with smiles on their faces for the fun and games that would come from this.  Since I will be heading back to Portland on Monday, I took down the telephone number of the Qwest office so I could get back with them on Monday.  Kathy gave me her personal phone number so I could follow up with her once I heard back from the "special group" at Qwest.  How's that for service!!!

Yeah, I know, I talk to much but the story is almost over.

Qwest called me back about 6pm.  Hey, guess what the "special group" can do for me?  NOTHING!!!  IF I want to keep my connection, I have to drop Peak to Peak!!!  "Would that be alright?"   Care to guess what my answer was???????  Back on hold and off to the "Business Office" again.  A nice young lady came on line trying to get me connected to a person but no one was answering.  GEE what a surprise--it's Friday night after 6pm!!!  Oh well, they will try and get back with me on Monday!!!  Ah, the joys of being a multinational big behemoth of a company.  They up grade their hardware but downgrade your service!!  I called Kathy and left her a message.    Let the games begin!!!!

Ok, that rant is now over!!!  Oh, if you have Qwest, watch your back.  They may try and "improve" your service too.

The morning was great.  I found a company just North of Denver that had the stainless steel pipe I needed for Zephyr.  BECK Metals in Loveland.  Since I needed such a small piece--1 foot, if I wanted to drive up, they would give it to me.  They also gave me  the phone number of another company here in Aurora to try.  This new company  had the pipe but they had a minimum order of 20 feet at $7.00 per foot.  Hey, nothing wrong with a road trip.  Off to Loveland and problem solved.  The folks at Beck could not have been nicer.  Even gave me a bottle of water when I got there.  The stainless steel pipe will be perfect.  I'm off to the Post Office to mail it to Zephyr as I don't think the TSA will allow me on the plane with a 14 inch piece of pipe.

I drove down and had a nice conversation with Jeff Keith, our old "landlord" if you could call him that.  Over the 7+ years we were in Littleton, he became more of a friend than a landlord. Hey Jeff, it was great seeing you yesterday.  Unlike most of your typical "landlords" Jeff was always there to help us with any problems and get them solved as soon as possible.  The owners of the building are lucky to have him(and I've told them so when they came to visit over the years).  Stay well buddy!

I had a great dinner with Pat Roberts and her husband Tom at one of the local barbecue places.  It's been a while since I'd had barbecue.  Sure went down easily.

Other than that, my afternoon was spent on the phone at the house with the "evil empire" of Qwest and the lowly underdogs of Peak to Peak.  Stay tuned for the continuing sage of Bill/Peak to Peak versus the dastardly Qwest.

OK, the rant is over, let's get back to life. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 171 All over the place.

I was all over town today.  I called our internet provider to see why our connection at home was flakey.  She suspected a bad modem and recommended I get a new one.  Did that later in the afternoon.  First stop of the day- the Apple store to get my MacBook looked at.  I have been unable to download the critical updates from Apple all Summer.  I'd set up an appointment for 9:45.  Walked in unzipped my bag and pulled out the computer.  I recognized the "genius" behind the counter.  He looks at me and asks "how's the sailing"!!!  He remembered me from all the time I'd spent there back in February getting the computer fixed.  

Once I booted up the computer, it must have realized it was back in an Apple store.  That's the only reason I can find for the fact that the tech connected to the internet and voila, the critical updates downloaded perfectly!!!  He never touched another key on the machine.  I'd tried for months to get them to download, all with no success.  He touches the key-throws the fear of a complete rebuild into it and it works fine.  Go figure.  At least it works now.

Off to Fancimats to pick up the mail and visit for a few minutes and then over to see Jeff, our ex-landlord.  Missed him.  I'll try again tomorrow.  Then down the street to the Post Office to see my friends there.  They were amazed to see me.  Down to the spice store to get some of a special rub I have come to love(Pikes Peak Rub).  It's great on steak when put on a few hours before I barbecue it.   

Lunch was at Tokyo Joe's.  They make an amazing curry chicken bowl with rice for $4.95.  It's to die for.  I had the same for dinner tonight!!  I'd taken a bunch of their sauce with us when we moved on board but it was long gone.  Now I could have it again--YEAH!!!

While I worked on our old computer at home last night, I heard a strange sound coming from it.  As we all live in fear of the "blue screen of death", I figured it was the hard drive getting ready to crash and burn.  As the computer is about 10 years old, I made arrangement to have the hard drive replaced as soon as possible and all the information in the existing hard drive move onto the new drive.  The last thing I want to have happen is the loss of all the information I have on that computer.  Better safe than sorry.  I'll have it back before I leave Monday.

Off to Micro Center for the modem and then home for installation.  I called our ISP and they walked me through it.  Nice people--Peak to Peak.  I've been with them for many years.  Since you are reading this, the connection worked fine and we are up and running.  The previous modem kept cutting in and out--suspected close call with lightening back in August.  If this modem stays connected, I'll be able to cancel a service call I have set up for tomorrow with Qwest.  

It's like I said at the beginning of this post, it's been a day of running all over the place.  Tomorrow will be the same.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 170 Bill's Post --Two for the price of one!!


I spent the day in the mountains. After almost 6 months at sea level, I was surprised that the altitude didn't affect me. I know Tracy had problems while she was here but that may be because she was in Winter Park for several days and I was there for only a few hours.

I had to put Sloop to Nuts(1982 Laguna 26 footer) to bed for the Winter. We've kept her at Lake Granby for years. The lake is just outside Rocky Mountain National Park at over 8,000 feet so the backdrop is wonderful. The drawback is that the sailing season is quite limited. Early May, if your are lucky, to October 15 at the outside. The months outside that bracket can be quite tough as the lake freezes to a depth of 8 inches or greater.

With all the snow that the area can get, covers need to be applied to stop any possibility of melted snow getting inside the boat. There is lots of teak and the floors are carpeted. When we bought "Sloop", she had ugly carpet so we put in a nice wool carpet custom cut and fitted to the floor. There were no nice teak/holly floor boards on her, just white fiberglass. We've had one instance of the snow/water getting inside the boat and it can make a real mess to clean up.

I put the canvas cover that we made 2 years ago back on and tied it down. Then another smaller tarp to cover just the main cabin area. Over that went a really big tarp. Tracy had purchased a 49 foot by 36 foot tarp. Sloop is only 26 feet long so there was much to much tarp for the boat. There was no place to anchor the bungee cords that hold it on to the trailer. It blows really well up there and you have to fix the tarp down well or it won't last long. After trying for two hours to get it to fit--of course the wind was blowing just enough to take the tarp off the boat just as I was about to get it fitted, I gave up and drove into Granby and purchased another tarp. It only took about an hour to get it attached. I attached the trailer lights and used strips of velcro to hold down the wire that hold the mast up.  Some rope tying and I was done.  Got out of there by 5:30 for the 2 1/2 hour drive home.  

I'd "borrowed" a bolt cutter from Home Depot to use on Sloop.  They don't rent them in their tool rental area so they just "loaned" me theirs.  I need to cut the BIG Master Lock off the outboard motor bracket so I can bring it back to Denver for storage over the winter.   Since it is only three years old(beautiful 9.9hp with electric start Honda motor), we try to protect it as much as possible.  Tracy got tired of pulling the rope on the old 7.5hp motor to start it and I was advised to "go get a motor and make sure it has electric start"!  Try as I might, the bolt cutter wouldn't cut through the steel of that lock.  It's a BIG tough Master Lock.  It dented the edges of the cutters blades.  With all the moving we have been doing, we misplaced(insert "lost" here)the keys to get it off the boat.  I guess it will just have to stay there till Spring.

Finally got back to Aurora about 8:00 and had a nice greasy dinner at "Long John Silvers".  After living and eating in the "healthy"and "organic" state of Washington, my body wasn't used to stuff prepared like that.  It sure tasted great going down though.

Tomorrow,  more things to get finalized while I'm here.  Errands, errands, errands!!

Day 170 A day of tweaking

Bill is currently in Denver putting our Laguna 26, Sloop to Nuts, to bed for the winter, so I'll do my best in keeping the blog current. So here goes.....

Yesterday started at o dark thirty. The Autumn air was crisp and the stars shining brightly as Bill and I made our way up the hill from the marina to the "bus stop". Bill had to get onto the bus to Poulsbo at 0545 and arrived into Denver at 1930. To say the least it was a long day for both of us. Troy arrived at 0700 and worked on the Wabasto heater's wiring,
connecting it into the circuit board. He also tried to get the strobe feature on the masthead light to work, the switch isn't the problem, it is with the unit at the top of the mast. I think we are in the final stages of fixing here at Sea Marine. Thank Goodness! I've had conversations with both the boat yard and with the rigger that I expect to be shoving off as soon as Bill gets back from Oregon.

Brion and Nathan arrived shortly after Noon and "tuned" the rig. There is a "machine" that they hook onto the wires that tells how much stress there is on the wire and they turn the turnbuckle tighter or looser to the specified requirement. Brion also put the genoa on the furler on the forestay. We actually look like a bonefided sailboat now.

A small "tug" rafted up next to us as they were due to be put on the travel lift at 1600, but they were running late and they didn't get taken out until today. It looked like we had our own personal tug. Not that I wouldn't like one sometimes when the wind is really howling and is taking us sideways in a really confined space.

Today, I slept in as Troy was going to Port Ludlow to fix another boat and I figured it was a "free" day. The cats snuggled in around me and all was right with the world until I felt guilty about snoozing so late. The tug was being separated from Zephyr and the tromping of feet urged me out of bed.

Today, I stitched. I'm determined to finish Shepherd Bush's Happy Haunting. I started it last year at the Heart of the Rockies. I'm down to the bottom "hill" and I really want it done for Halloween this year. I'm getting much better with stitching over one, thanks to Karen Page. When my eyes were blurry I stopped and caught the bus to Safeway for dinner fixings. As I walked up to the boat I saw a cart parked nexted to the steps up to the boat. Gordon was diligently working on one of the shrouds, I guess Brion thought it was a tad too long, so Gordon was fixing it. It was 1630 and getting drizzly. Tomorrow is another day, Gordon or Nathan will be back to continue.

Hopefully, it won't be raining in the morning. Troy is due back on Zephyr tomorrow morning, so the fun just continues on. I think I'll just plant myself on the starboard setee with my light over my shoulder and stitch to my hearts content, after all isn't that what a vacation is all about?...Bill won't be back for a week plus.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 168 Odd jobs

Today was more of the odd jobs for us as well as for Troy, the new electrician.

I started the day by taking off for the local UPS store to send off the tower for our wind/water electric generator.  This new "toy" for Zephyr will make electricity from wind with a propeller and from water when we all a small propeller, invert the unit and put it into the water to drag behind the boat.  It's called a DuoGen.  Made in the UK.  We bought it back in May from a company called Southeast Marine in Scappoose, Oregon.  It gives sailors the best of both worlds.  When at anchor, you put up the big propeller and let the wind make your power.  As you sail, you put it behind the boat and let the speed of the boat going through the water make the propeller spin and make electricity.  When we are out sailing or at anchor in a deserted harbor, we will be able to make all the power we will ever need.

I then took off for Henerys hardware looking for metal tubing for shims for the new furling gear we will be using for our roller furling unit at the bow.  They attach to the stanchions down the starboard side of the boat.  The stanchions are are 1 1/8" in diameter.  These new rollers are 1 1/2" so I needed shims to re enforce the fittings.  No such luck as what I found would cause corrosion between the two metals involved--stainless steel and copper can't be put together.  I'll have to look elsewhere for something that will fill the bill.

Back at Zephyr, Tracy was cleaning up our old space in the boatyard.  It has to be cleaned and swept and  all of the rest of our gear removed.  We hauled our inflatable dingy down to the dock, re-inflated it and hoisted it onto the deck using a crane that is attached to the new shrouds.  With a block and tackle setup, it came out of the water with a bit of effort and up onto the deck.  We then turned it upside down for storage and took off on the next job.  

I used some stainless steel wire to seize the attachment fittings on the anchor.  We don't want the bolt that holds the anchor on to the chain to come loose.  With that done, I joined Tracy back at the yard space where Zephyr had been for the past ten weeks.

We hauled the old shrouds and stays--all stainless steel over to a storage space on the far side of the yard.  We have a friend in Newport that wants to use them as lifelines on his boat.  The stainless steel is plenty strong enough for lifelines as it's 3/8" thick.  We have plenty to do his boat .

With the area clean, we headed back to Zephyr just as it was about to rain so we could do things inside the boat.  I installed a new wire for the diesel heater that is inside Zephyr.  It had apparently been wired to the starter motor to get the power to run itself.  Unfortunately, it would drain the starter bank of batteries if used for that purpose.  It was supposed to be wired to the "house" set of batteries.  Over Christmas, we discovered that it had been wired to the wrong set of batteries.  We discovered it by the fact that after a while, the unit wouldn't work and when we tried to start Zephyrs engine, it didn't have enough power to turn the engine over.  At least now it will be wired correctly.   

No word from Brion Toss as to when he will finish the rigging.  I tightened it this afternoon as it just felt to loose.

Now that Zephyr is back in the water, the cracks that had developed in the cabin sole in the main cabin have come gone away and now the floor looks just fine.  It's amazing the pressure that water had put on the hull after getting launched.  The "floating" floor is back together.

Happy Columbus Day!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 167 More class & clean laundry

While I spent another day in class, Tracy was off to do laundry at the marina and clean "house".  It's been awhile since it was done and both of us were down to the last of our clean clothes.  One of my classmates asked to see Zephyr at lunch break as she had only ever seen pictures of Liberties on websites.  She and her husband are currently looking for a cruiser so they can do the same thing we hope to be doing soon--go cruising.

Tracy hanked on the forestaysail this morning.  Yeah, I know,  another nautical term.  This is the sail we had called the "jib".  Since it isn't raised all the way at the bow but is actually the second sail  back from the bow, it is actually called the "forestaysail".  Ah--the lessons we learn in class.  I saw her raising it as I was sitting in class.  I had done the same while she was gone just to check it out and attach new sheets(lines that control the sail).

Class today consisted of doing more hand stitching in the morning.  We attached leather to the edge of a sail.  This is for chafe protection as you are out sailing.  One of the biggest problems while sailing is chafe on sails.  It can destroy the edge of a sail quickly.  We learned several stitches that can be used to repair seams and patch tears in sails.  The afternoon session consisted of learning how to use sewing machines and how to apply patches and sew parts of a sail together in case you want to make your own.  The first machine I used was obviously made for power boaters.  It was either "let's go as fast as we can(and frustrate Bill)" or stop.  There was no "let's got slow so Bill can learn" the machine.  It made for some really bad seams.  I tried other machines and it came out much better.  We bought a sewing machine from Sailrite about two years ago.  We've used it to make a new canvas cover for Sloop to Nuts but nothing for Zephyr yet.  It is specially made for use on multilayer canvas like sails.

Strangely, I found it quite relaxing to just sit and stitch away on the sails.  Maybe there is hope for me doing cross stitch in the future.

Class lasted till 5:30 and then we had a wonderful dinner of cheese fondue and steamed asparagus with chocolate tapioca for desert and a nice bottle of wine.

We have had an electrical problem since we were put back in the water.  We've blown the circuits on the boat twice.  Jack wired us to be able to handle a 30 amp circuit but we have been blowing it at about 20 amps.  When we were in the yard, we only had access to 15 amps so we thought we were in heaven having 30.  With that much power, we could actually have heat in both the main cabin and in the rear stateroom.  Ah,  what luxury!!!  

With the circuit blowing like that, I will be talking to Mark, the yard foreman about getting it fixed again.  Jack has rewired most of the circuits so I don't expect this to be on our bill.  The bad thing is that Jack is off to another conference on solar panels this week and then is on vacation for the next two.  As we have found, each electrician is an artist on how they do their wiring and with Jack gone, another electrician will have to check and see how Jack wired the boat and see what it will take to correct the problem. 

After having lunch at the local Chinese restaurant(Shanghai), I got a fortune cookie with the fortune in it saying "You will have a happy adventure soon".  Sure hope they are right.

It's blowing quite well outside and Zephyr is just sitting here letting it pass her by.  Rain is in the forecast over the next few days so I guess Winter is setting in for good.  Oh well, it was a nice Summer even though we spent it in a boat yard. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 166 Off to class.

We had planned to go sailing over the weekend since the weather was to be nice but those plans went astray when we remembered that I was scheduled to be in a two day class at Carol Hasse Sails on how to repair sails.  Drat!!!

Carol Hasse Sails make world class sails for most of the off shore cruisers that are out there seeing the world.  Custom lofts like hers are getting fewer and fewer each year.  Having seen some of her sails, I can tell you, they are some of the toughest sails out there.  Lots of re-enforcements at every possible seam. with lots of hand sewing at all the stress area on the sail.

Yesterday, we got a long lesson on sails and the different type and then spent the afternoon on a sailmakers bench sewing grommets and rings into sails.  We installed three different types and then did lot of hand sewing to finish them.  I learned how to sew on the nylon straps I mentioned in an earlier post that we will need to attach the mainsail to the gooseneck when we need to reef the mainsail.  We won't have to haul the big sewing machine onto the deck to do it.

Today is to be spent learning how to use sewing machines to easily repair large seams in sails when they blow out plus lots of other information we will need once we finally get to go out sailing.  

Tracy spent the day cleaning our space in the yard and hauling things we had left there since we launched so quickly.  It has to be all picked up or they will charge us an arm and a leg to do so.

Well, it's time for breakfast and off to class.

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 165 Splashdown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Miracles can happen!!!! We are in the water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Earlier this week, Rich, who runs the boat lift told us that he had been told that we would be launching on Friday.  Mark, the yard foreman knew nothing of it so that went down in flames.  Tracy decided to take a "proactive" stance today and approached the company with the fact that we wanted to be back in the water today if at all possible.  The rest of the work needed on Zephyr could just as easily be done while we were in the water as out of the water.  Brions rigging is the same.  Jack, the electrician got involved.  It was his first day back from the boat electronics show.  He pushed the folks behind the counter to get us in.  The boat lift operator--Rich--was there and told them he had plenty of time to get us in after lunch.  They decided on 1:00pm and we were off to the races.  Back to Zephyr to get her ready to for splashdown.  Clean off the deck.  Stow anything that wasn't necessary for launching.  A quick lunch and the lift arrived just after 1:00pm.  Off came the back stay.  We attached the main halyards to the pad eyes on the deck that is to be used for the running back stays to stabilize the mast and we were ready.   The boat lift picked us up and took us to the launch area and we were in the water in 15 minutes!!!  We went from waiting,  waiting, waiting to water in  the span of a few hours.

Once in the water we went through the boat checking for leaks.  The new stuffing in the rudder post was nice and dry.  The mechanic that changed out the transmission came on board to inspect the engine and transmission for leaks and to make sure the liquids in both were at the proper fill level.  I started the engine as soon as we got in the water.  We had several leaks at the engine from clamps that had to be tightened.  Leaks stopped.   I checked the bilge and found water.  I attributed it to the leaks on the engine.  We started the engine and stopped it several times.  I emptied the bilge after the hose clamps were tightened.  As I was inspecting the bilge after emptying it, I saw more water coming down the side from the galley area.  Further inspection revealed another loose hose in the space under the galley.  Once tightened, all water stopped coming into the boat.  YEAH!!  Apparently , one of the men that is new on the job but has lots of experience on diesel engines has a problem tightening hose clamps.  He almost sank a boat a week or so ago.  They had launched it and found water inside and quickly pulled it back out.

The engine fired up on the first turn of the engine and the transmission worked great in forward and reverse.  We are up and running so far so good.

We tied Zephyr up to the dock with lots of lines to make sure that we were safe and secured against the changing winds of the marina.  It blows from the North and then just a quickly turns from the South.  The prevailing winds in the Winter come from the South.

To celebrate the launch, we had a great dinner of steak and baked potato with a great bottle of wine.  A nice way to finish a great day.  It's been ten weeks since we got here and now we are back in the water again.  We're not done yet, but just being back in the water is a big step forward.
Earlier in the day, we got a tour if one of the last Liberty 458s that was made back in 1989.  The current owners had stopped by last night and toured through ours.  It was interesting seeing the differences between the first and just about the last.  Lots of changes were made during the manufacturing of their Liberty.  They are just the second owner as the previous owner had her for 18 years.  Lots of subtle changes and some major ones but she is still a Liberty.

Day 164 Visitors

As we sat watching tv early last evening, suddenly there was a man atop the stairs to Zephyr staring at her decks.  We get people from time to time staring up at her but few will venture up the stairs.  I poked my head out and there was a couple scoping Zephyr out.  Their first question "Is this a Liberty 458?"  For those of you who have followed the posts from the beginning, I have to hedge what I say as to who and what we are.  For those of you that are new, well we should be a Liberty 458 but can't call ourselves that, at least not in public.  The Zephyrs first owner stiffed the Liberty company way back in the 80's when she was bought.  Cheated them out of their commission.  Ever since then, Zephyr had been the black sheep of the "Liberty family".  The owners of the Liberty company have threatened to file suit against the two previous owners to stop them from advertising Zephyr as a Liberty when they attempted to sell her.  With that being said, I told the couple that we were actually to be called a "Shin Fa Custom Cutter 458" but that we were actually the very first Liberty ever made.  We invited them on board.  As it turns out, they own "Ursa Major".  That is number 30 in the list of 458s and are in the marina!!!  We chatted for over an hour about the Liberties and the difference between being number "0" and being one of the last ones made.  We talked about what we have had done on Zephyr over the Summer.  It was great talking to another Liberty owner.  They have invited us over this morning to see their boat.  We can hardly wait.  I've waited all Summer hoping that another Liberty would show up and here we almost missed it since we hadn't been over near the marina yesterday.

Yesterday was a bit of an odd day onboard.  I spent the morning "whipping" lines on Zephyr.  The ends of all the lines need to have them wrapped with waxed thread so that they don't unravel during use.  In all, I "whipped" eight different lines.  Most had been done previously, but the true end of the line had been fused with heat.  That will truly stop any unravelling, but could cause damage to hands or sails if it rubs against them as the ends can be sharp being basically a melted piece of nylon fibers.

Once that was done, we took off for lunch( at Sea J's-cheapest and best burgers in Port Townsend)) and grocery shopping at Safeway.  Re provisioned with with the normal essentials.

Back at Zephyr, I slipped on one of the last fittings needed to finish the roller furling unit on the bow.  The "centering bushing" that keeps the roller centered on the forestay(big wire at the bow) so that it will rotate properly.  Now that it is on, all we are waiting for is for Brion to make the attachment pieces to keep it from rotating while in use.  It had previously been shackled to the stem fitting(gizmo that holds the anchor on the bow).  With it now being raised much higher, a new fitting had to be devised.  Once it is on, we can run up the genoa sail.

I bought new gear that will lead the furling line from the cockpit to the roller furling unit at the bow.  They look much like donuts and slip through the stanchions(posts on the side of the boat that hold the lifelines).  The line for furling the roller furling runs through them on a ball bearing wheel.  They are made by Schaeffer.  Bill, the previous owner had two of them installed.  They are made in 1" and 1 1/4" openings to fit the width of the stanchions.  The ones Bill had installed had pieces of stainless steel between the units and the stanchions since they were too big.  I ordered in the small units only to discover that our stanchions are 1 1/8".  They don't fit!  While the other size is said to be 1 1/4", it is actually 1 1/2"--too big for the stanchions which is why Bill had put in pieces of stainless steel between the unit and the stanchion.  I've ordered three more of the bigger unit and will devise some sort of metal fitting to take up the slack.  Luckily, the supplier will take back the four smaller units.

It stated to rain about 4pm and that ended the outside work for the day.  It got colder and clammier as the evening wore on.  We had had the heater inside Zephyr going all day for a change.  Normally, with the Sun out, it gets nice and warm in Zephyr.  Not yesterday.  I think we topped out at 48 degrees.  Last night, I think we went down to the high 30's!!   That cold front off the Pacific is making it downright uncomfortable.  At least it will pass in time for the weekend, not that that matters any more.

More odd jobs for today.  Never a dull moment here on Zephyr.

Have a great day!!  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 163 Anchor on board!

The anchor is on board!!  Tracy dragged the chain back under the bow of the boat so we could 
get it on board yesterday morning.  I was out running an errand to pick up the new aluminum plate that will be the backing board that holds the "U" bolt to the bulkhead in the forward locker. 

Tracy handed me the rope from the ground that will connects the chain to the boat.  You need to have it set up that way so in case you have to ditch the anchor in a really bad blow and you can't get it back up, you simple cut the rope and you're free.  If you have to try and unhook the chain from a fitting with the chain under a load, that is just about impossible.   

I fed the line around the windlass(big motorized gizmo that hoists the anchor)and fed it through the hole in the deck down into the anchor locker.  Loaded the chain into the slots on the windlass and pushed the button and up came the chain.  Every 25-30 feet, I had to stop and crawl down into the locker to reposition the chain.  It tends to bunch up in  a pile to close to the bow so I have to pull it back toward the end of the chain locker with an old boat hook.  Up it came nice as you please.  When it finally got to the anchor, I had to reach forward and pull it over the fitting and into place.  The nylon tabs I had sewn on as markers of anchor chain length worked just fine.  None came off while being pulled up.  Another job off the list.

Next came the reefing lines on the mainsail.  Our mainsail is set up with three reefing points.  These are big grommets that are placed in the sail at certain levels from the bottom of the sail to about half way up the sail.  You install lines--also known as rope--from the boom up through the grommets and back to the boom and then lead them forward to the mast and a cleat is used to fasten the line so it won't go back out.  As the wind grows in strength, you use each reef in turn to make the mainsail smaller so that the wind doesn't cause your boat to get pushed over by it's force.  You still make headway but it allows you to remain in control of your boat--real nautical stuff huh?  

The riggers had left lines known as "messengers" inside the boom so that we could feed the lines inside the boom from the fitting where they attach to the outer end of the boom to the outlet for them where the boom meets the mast--also known as the "gooseneck".  Once through, they are cleated and stowed til needed.  The problem with having three of them is that when you raise the sail, each of those lines had to run free while the sail is up which makes for lots of extra lines running aloft.  If you forget to let them loose(done that a time or two) you can't raise the sail.   

While measuring for how long the lines needed to be,(we got lucky and had some lines in storage that we could use) we found that when they reattached the boom to the mast--just a bit lower since the holes didn't align from the last fitting, the sails grommets won't reach the hooks that hold it down when we need to reef.  Now we get to make nylon straps and install them through those grommets with metal rings attached so that it can be attached when the reef is needed.  Another project for us.  It's like I have said in the past--knock one down project and another rises.

I have to re-whip the ends of the reefing lines as I had originally whipped them and then fused the ends of the nylon lines with a lighter.  Well, I've been advised by Brion Toss (our rigger)that that is not the way to finish them.  Just whip them and leave them alone.  If you fuse the ends of the lines, it makes them hard and they can be sharp and cut not only your hands but also the sails if they come in contact with them.  So off with the fused ends and redo them.

"Whipping" a line means just taking a piece of waxed thread and winding it tightly around the end of the rope and then pass the end of the thread through the rope using a needle so it is nice and snug and won't pull off.   That's all there is to it.  Not a tough job, it just takes some time.

Brion, our rigger is ordering a few more fittings to complete the rigging.  Hopefully they will be in in the next few days.  We have the main on and can hoist the jib sails but the big sail at the bow--roller furled genoa--still can't be raised as one of the fitting to raise it had gotten misplaced.  The "running backstays" still need to be installed after the "pad eyes" are taken off and rotated 90 degrees.  They were installed in the wrong direction.  The lines are all set for installation in the block and tackle that will control them.  These lines are used to balance the pressure on the mast as we use the jib sail during big blows.  As the wind pushes the sail, it tends to bend the mast out of shape.  This block and tackle will pull the mast back to a straight position.

Troy, our new electrician is off to the doctor for a followup to the tonsil surgery he had last week so he was gone all day.  His doctor is clear over in Seattle so it's an all day trip.  He is having to go back again today.  Jack, the original electrician is just back from the boat equipment show he went to earlier this week.  We might see him on Friday.  He's off to a seminar on solar power next week so hopefully Troy will be ok by then.  

It's chilly outside today.  The HIGH is only going to be in the 40s!!!  At least the Sun will be out and not much wind so we can still get some things done outside.  If it gets too chilly, there are several jobs that need to be done inside.  Rain is forecast for later today.

Well, it's back to work.  
  

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 162 Closer.

We're getting closer.  At least things are getting wrapped up.

Troy, the new electrician, was in today working on more items on the "punch list".  It gets a bit shorter each day.  Since he is still recovering from getting his tonsils out, he's not here all day but the time we have him is very productive.  Monday, he was here till about 1:30 and left totally wiped out.  Yesterday, he cut back to 12:00 so he could go home and get some rest.  Apparently, they had to put him under the knife twice while in the hospital.  The first time to take out the tonsils and then as he was about to be discharged, he developed a blood clot where they had done the surgery and he had to be rushed back into surgery to get that taken care of.  At least they caught it before he had gone home.  Once is bad enough but twice is really bad.

Troy bundled wires together down in the bilge and installed new solenoids under the floor boards so the pumps that empty the sumps will run more efficiently.  Before, the wiring was routed all over the place over quite a long run.  Now they are on a heavier line and run correctly.  I ran a new wire yesterday for Troy for the sumps after he left.  I'm a lot cheaper than he is and since I had already stripped out lines previously, running them was a piece of cake.  Since he has a fewer interruptions during his day, he gets a lot done.  We made sure he was out and on his way home on time.

We finally put on the main sail yesterday.  Gordon brought it over on Monday and on it went yesterday.  We had a new fitting put on the outer end of the boom that pulls the sail out to the end of the boom since the last fitting was about ready to break.  Now, our "out haul" runs inside the boom on a block and pulley system so it's easy to adjust whenever necessary.  High tech stuff don't ya know.

We hoisted the sail on the boom.  Nathan, one of the riggers, pulled on the main halyard as I fitted the slides into the slot on the mast.  We slid in the battens (long rods of fiberglass that hold the sail out from the mast) and up she went.  It was still all Nathan could do to get it up to the top of the mast so there is still some adjustment that needs to be done there.  The goal of getting this rigging done is so that Tracy can do all the hoisting and pulling by herself and control the boat without my help.  We're not there yet.  It was great to see the main back on board.  Again, one step closer to being done. 

I took off for West Marine late in the morning to get two more block for the main halyard and the boom vang lines.  They will both be led to the cockpit so that we can control them from there while out sailing.  We needed two new blocks to make the turn from the base of the mast across the deck to the cockpit.

I installed two more folding steps on the mast yesterday afternoon so that we can now climb high enough to cover and tie down the sail after it gets lowered.  Even after the main is lowered, its about 8 feet off the deck.  The last steps that were on the mast were just too small to allow a proper foot hold when climbing to put the sail away.

I had to re-drill the fittings for the boom vang as I had placed it at too large an angle to make it properly do its job.  This "handy billy"( a nautical term I learned yesterday from Brion Toss for a block and tackle set up---consider this the "Readers Digest" word of the day) requires a 30 to 45 degree angle to work efficiently to hold the boom horizontal when sailing downwind.  I had set ours up at to close to a 45 degree angle.  Brion wanted it much closer to 30 degrees, so off with the old fittings, drill new holes and refit it to the base of the boom at the proper angle.

Yesterday was quite the change in weather from Monday.  Winds from the South all day long as the cold front came blasting a shore on Monday.  Yesterday, the winds turned out of the Northwest as the new high pressure starts pushing the low pressure to the East.  We try to pay attention to the weather patterns as a lot of our passages in the future will depend on it.  Before you set out on any ocean passage, it is important to have some idea as to what you will be facing after leaving the protection of the harbor.  There are countless books written on how to observe and forecast what may be coming.  From the current clouds that are on the horizon to reading you barometer.  Each has their own way of doing it.  Many cruisers subscribe to a weather service that they can download off their satellite phones or their SSB radios into their computers.  Many use a weather fax machine that will download and print charts of what is currently happening out there and what they "think" is coming.  It works just like the weather people you see on your tv every night.  They have the same information at their finger tips.  It's all how you interpret what you read.

The remaining three red/white light fixtures came in yesterday so I can get them installed when time permits.  It will be nice to be able to see while inside the cabin at night while on passage without ruining your night vision.  It's important to be able to see what is happening when you go on deck for your "watch" without having destroyed your night vision by being in bright light and having to wait for it to return after a while.

This morning I'm off to West Marine to get some 3/8" rope for the reefing lines.  These lines attach to the boom, go up the sail and pass through grommets in the sail, come back to the boom and then go forward to the  mast.  When pulled on, they help you to have less mainsail exposed to the wind.  During big blows, it's important to be able to make your mainsail smaller yet still able to use some of it to help propel the boat through the water.  Our mainsail has three reefing points so it can be made substantially smaller as is necessary as the wind increases.

Well, its off for another day of projects aimed at getting us close to "splashdown".

Have a great day everyone.