Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 277 The Hudson Economic Stimulus Plan.

This was our final day at the Seattle Boat Show.  We had several loose ends to tie up once we got there.  First we visited the man at Cool Blue to get more of the specifics on our new refrigeration system.  I wanted to find out installation hints from them.  After all, the man in the booth is the President of the company.   We discussed the box it will go in and all of its particulars.  We decided exactly where I will be placing it once it arrives.  As I will be stringing in the copper tubing for it, placement is critical to making sure I install it right and don't crink or collapse the tubing as I run it through walls and cabinets.  Once I was clear on what we needed to do, we were off to the next stall.

This one was for the new drop in lid that will be used for the freezer section of our new box.  They make prefab insulated box lids so that all the is required is to remove the existing Formica top, cut a hole on the top of the cabinet,  epoxy in the liner that the lid drops into and then reinstall the Formica surface.  We'll need to put some form of wood or Formica on the top of the new lid as it is white.  Plus, we'll need to install a latch of some type to we can get the lid out when we need to access the box. 

Then on to Hyrdrovane for a wind vane steering mechanism.  Now while out cruising, from what we have heard, you actually spend about 50% of your time using your engine as the winds can be quite fickle.  You get becalmed quite regularly.  Unless you are patient(few of us are) and have lots of water and food, you start your engines and go looking for wind on your way to your intended destination.  With the engine running, we can use our hydraulic powered autopilot.  It uses quite a bit of amps so the best time to use it is when your engine is running.  With this new autopilot. it uses no electricity as you sail.  It has its own rudder so all we have to do is lock
the main rudder, set the top red vane so it faces into the wind and it will steer your boat for you.  No power needed except the power of the wind.  If the wind shifts, the autopilot corrects the direction to put you back on course.  You still have to be on deck on watch(checking for other boats and things in the water) but you don't have to be at the wheel.  There are several of them made but few can take care of a boat Zephyrs size.  It will take about 6 weeks for it to arrive as each is made when the order is placed and they have to be shipped from Great Britain.  Early March.  We're having it shipped to Sea Marine so we'll have a familiar place for the installation.  We may have to have Zephyr pulled out of the water again for the installation. 

Our next stop was for a whisker/spinnaker pole.  Now this can make sailing downwind a whole lot easier.  Their main purpose it to hold the sail on the bow of your boat out so it can easily fill with wind and stay full of wind.  This will make your boat go faster and that is a good thing when you're out cruising.  A whisker/spinnaker pole for the size of Zephyr would weigh easily 4o to 50 pounds and has to be at least 22 feet long.  Now that is a whole lot of weight and length to handle on a rocking boat.  A carbon fiber pole will weigh in at about 23 pounds.  Now for this weight savings you know you will have to pay more and boy you do.  We checked around and found out that the folks at Port Townsend Rigging back near where we resided over the Summer will fabricate the pole for a whole lot less than any other company.  Since we already had one of the ends of the pole--Brian Toss had installed it during the refit, it reduced our price even more.  The biggest problem with these types of poles is that each has to be custom cut and fabricated and that means time and money, money, money.  We could have gone with a straight aluminum pole for a whole lot less money, but weight means everything as you are trying to handle this kind of pole.  Sometimes to get what you want, you have to pay for specialty items like this. 

While at the show, we saw a strange boat that had recently finished sailing to Hawaii.  It's made of plastic bottles and the body of an old Cessna airplane on the deck to sleep in.
They set off last June 1 and got to Hawaii on August 27.  Equipped with a wind power generator as well as solar panels, water maker, and radios to contact passing ships and Coast Guard planes that flew by occasionally. They have more guts than I do.  I think I'll stick with Zephyr.  They did this to draw attention to the crisis we face with all the trash we throw into the ocean.  The "boat" was made with over 15,000 plastic bottles all attached to recycled aluminum masts and booms that made up the deck.  It was quite the attention getter at the show.

Well, it's off to the showers and then more projects.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 276 Colder and with less amps

Here's the newest addition to Zephyr.  A new refrigerator system.  The one on her now is on her last legs and we felt it was time for a new one.  The Adler-Barbour we have now uses well over twice the amount of  amps that the new one uses and since that is any cruisers goal(keep amp consumption to a minimum) it was time for a change.  Even with it being rewired, it was beginning to cycle on and off repeatedly.  Unfortunately, that's the sign of a frig about ready to go bad.  The new Cool Blue will require some work on our part.  First, we will have to install another hatch on the counter for access to the freezer section.  We plan on splitting up the current box--it has a freezer section about as big as two cereal boxes--into two sections.  The left will be the freezer(gets the new hatch) and the right(has a large opening) will be the refrigerator area.  This way, we can keep more things frozen longer for better long term storage and use less amps.  There are companies that make the hatches so we will be talking to them today while back at the show.  We will have to install a new partition between the two halves to keep the really cold air(will cool down to 0 degrees)away from the frig area.  The cold air from the freezer side flows over the top of the divider and into the frig side.  All the materials are available at Home Depot for the partition so that won't be a problem.  It comes with a five year warranty so that makes it even better.

The classes I went to yesterday were great.  Diesel Engines was the first and Marine Electric Systems was the second.  Both taught by Nigel Calder.  He's one of the "gurus" of the boating world with several books to his credit.  I think you will find his books on just about every boat that does any kind of serious cruising.  It's like bibles are in every hotel room except it's on boats.  Pens were flying as everyone made lots of notes and asked questions.  He brought up things I had never thought of and things that I will be following up at Pats" Marine next weekend.  That's when I have my class on my specific engine--a Ford Lehman.

Tracy spent the time taking other free classes on preparing for cruising and talking to Washington state folks about sailing in their waters.  They have relatively strict rules about how long you can stay in their waters without having to have your boat registered in their state.  We're registered in Colorado and want to keep it that way.

We took the Bremerton ferry this time.  A simple 20 minute drive and an hour ferry ride.  It beats a 45 minute drive and and a 35 minute ferry ride.  We use less gas that way and the drive home after we get back is a lot faster.  We've been staying at the shows till 7:30 every night or later and that puts us home after 9:00.  It makes for a long day.

We're back to the show again today.  This time for a few more classes and to buy the Hydrovane auto pilot system.  Plus we need to make a few more contacts with companies and get more question answered.

Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 275 Off to Port Townsend and more.

We took off for Port Townsend yesterday but first we had some unfinished business to take care of on Zephyr.  I connected the wires for the fog horn/hailer and checked to see if it worked.  Yep-- it worked just fine.  I could send our a blast with the press of the key on the mic or set it up for automatic(the normal for being in fog) which is perfect when out boating.  With the radio being below decks, you can't keep running below decks to trigger the blast.  We checked out the hailer on the horn.  Worked just fine.  I can talk to other boaters and then it allows me to listen to their response.  Again, with it below decks, it won't be much use unless one of us stays below and uses it while the other is above decks.  

Now all I have to do is start running the wires through some cabinets and up to the cockpit.  With luck I will find the wires for the Raytheon GPS so I can attach the extra set of two wires that are in the main wire so that it will transmit the GPS info to the VHF radio.  This way, if I have to transmit a distress call on the VHF, it will transmit our longitude and latitude along with the distress call.  All this can be set up automatically on the radio.  A nice feature in an emergency.  You set it up and pray you never have to use it.

I then tackled the problem we have had with the track for the mainsail on the mast.  It just doesn't go up to the top easily.  Tides Marine, which sells "Strong Track"sent us a slide that goes up the track and shaves off a small bit of the track so that the sides on our main will go up and down easier.  I took off the mainsail and slide the "cutter slide" in to the track.  Or should I say, tried to slide it into the track.  It's too big.  I couldn't get it to fit.  Out comes the phone.  The folks at Tides pulled out another slide and checked it with a sample of the track they keep on display and will send it out.  They questioned me as to where I was and the weather conditions.  Well gee--Washington state in the Winter?  Cold and wet.  The rep said it works best at 70 degrees.  Heck, I'd love to feel 70 degrees!  With it being cold--40 degrees, it expands the track and closes off the slide area.  It will probably work fine once it gets warmer.  Apparently when they make it, they subject it to below 0 temps to harden it and then regrind  the track.   While ours was made the same way, the cold temps make it just that little bit smaller.  Once the cutter slide is run through it a few time, it should work fine.  We sure hope so.  It's not the easiest thing getting that big sail up.

We took off for Port Townsend early in the afternoon.  First lunch at Taco Time.  Sort of like Taco Bell only the food is better.  You get a lot for the money.  

The drive to Port Townsend was through Sun, rain, and overcast.  A normal day up here.  We stopped in at Andersen Machinery to pick up the two clevis pins we need for the forestaysail stay.  They look great though we both thought they looked short.  We stopped at West Marine--no calipers to measure it.  Nice to see Tom again.  On to see Brion Toss to have him measure it.  Oops, he's at the boat show giving lectures.  Over to Sea Marine.  They pulled out their calipers and yes, it is the size Gordon gave us.  I guess the true test will be when we go up the mast to install it.  Having two on hand, I will make sure to mark it so we know what the second one is later if necessary.  We picked up our case of "505" Salsa--YEAH!!!  Finally something with spice in it.  These people don't know that they are missing.  Now we have 12 jars to see us through for a while.  They even tossed in some packets of green chili sauce.  They will be great on a steak or burger.

On the way back, we stopped at "Famous Dave's Barbecue" for dinner.  We had been told about "Famous Dave's by Pat Roberts back in Denver.  There is one there.  A great restaurant for ribs and brisket as well as chicken.  There is just about no way anyone can finish what they bring you for dinner.  Leftovers are always a treat the next day.  

Today, back to the boat show.  Classes this afternoon with Nigel Calder(he's world famous don't you know) on diesel engines and then one on boat electrical systems.  I'm going to be smarter than I was when we leave.  Tracy is going to attend other classes while I'm in these.  The ferry takes an hour from Bremerton so we will be leaving soon.

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 273 Our new home

Here's some pictures of our new "home".  We figure we will be here till at least the end of February--maybe even March.  Time will tell.

The view across the sound.
There's Zephyr next to the police boat.  Safe and sound.

Here's picture of a overlook house where you can barbecue or have a nice picnic.

Here's the main office--up stairs.
Here's the deli/store.

The view from our boat

Day 273 A sunny day!!

Yes, that's right, a SUNNY DAY!!!  It's the first since last Monday.  It can really trash your spirits with gloom and overcast skies everyday.  

I started the day getting the IRS forms mailed out.  I found out the location of the Post Office--down South in Bremerton, or West to Silverdale.  I went to the one in Bremerton down South.  I took the coast road to enjoy the scenery.  Out they went.  With luck, they should get delivered in a few days.

I tried to do the soldering on the connector for the fog horn where it plugs into the VHF radio.  I got two on but the second pair just wouldn't hold.  I looked in the phone book for a computer repair place and called them.  Yep, they could do it.  Off I went.  Forty five minutes later--all done.  I checked them with my ohm meter--makes a sound if the connection is good.  Now all I have to do is connect it to the fog horn we found.  If it works, I'll thread the wired up to the deck and get it set for use later when we go out.  It can also be used as a hailer to call other boats if we have to.

We straightened up the boat yesterday and threw away a bunch of things from the boat show.  I kept business cards from the important people that we need to contact later.  We'll heading back to the show on Thursday and Friday.  Tomorrow, off to Port Townsend to pick up the case of salsa we ordered in.  We can't get 505 Salsa up here in Washington state and so we just ordered it on line.  We placed the order before we left Port Townsend so back up we go.  

I just called Andersen Machinery in Port Townsend.  They're the people that are making our new clevis pin for the forestaysail stay.  This pin holds the wire on the mast that our storm sail goes up on.  It should have been done last week but they were closed.  Mr. Andersen admitted that he had misplaced the order but would would make it today so we can pick it up tomorrow while we are there.  It's the last piece of our rigging that needed attention.  We'll be done with that portion of the refit.

Now off to Safeway to do a photo blog of our new home.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 272 Another windy cold day

Yesterday was another cold windy day.  The first wind since we got here last Tuesday.  We did some rocking but not much rolling.  We are well protected behind a great breakwater.  Some of the boats farther over in the marina are more expose than we are.  With the wind coming in from the Northeast, it worked its way around the marinas nice concrete breakwater and slammed into a few of the boats tied up.  As I was walking toward the showers, I could see them bobbing more than I would have liked if I was on them.

I spent most of the morning and into the early afternoon working on IRS forms that will be mailed out today.  W-2, W-3, 1099s and 1096s.  Boy what fun?  While we only owned the company for January, we still have forms to file.  Once I got that done,  off to the showers and then into town on errands.

Tracy stayed pretty well buttoned up inside Zephyr.  She even took her shower on board rather than leave the boat.  You see, it's not only windy, but cold.  The wind chill factor plus the humidity make it cut to the bone.
It's 24 degrees outside right now.  Just think, we could have been in Mexico complaining about the heat.  Yeah, right.   I took this picture this morning.  Click on it.  It's a picture of the marina.  The surface is frozen.  Now we're floating on seawater which freezes at 0 degrees.  There must be enough fresh water mixed in to allow it to put just a top coat of ice on the water.  It's really strange to see it undulating as the water under it shifts.  The Sun is out but the temperature is supposed to only be in the low 30s for today.  I'll take the Sun anytime.

I ran some errands yesterday afternoon after my shower.  Off to Costco for a few things.  Office Depot for envelopes to mail out the IRS forms.  Over to West Marine--just for fun and finally Safeway for provisions.

Back to the boat to finish the forms and then a nice quiet night tucked in safe and sound--oh and chilly.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 271 Back to the show

We went back to the Seattle Boat show again yesterday.  There were several presentations we wanted to attend.  Information of downwind sailing, sailing to Tahiti from Mexico and the Baja Ha Ha(a group of people that sail from San Diego to Cabo St. Lucas in the fall), plus others.  We had hoped to attend one by the Canadian State Parks but it was cancelled after they had budget cutbacks--a sign of the times unfortunately.  

We have just a few more things that we may need before we set out later this Spring.  One of the last is self steering equipment that will do exactly what it says it will do.  As you sail across the ocean, it maintains a course for you so you don't have to be at the wheel all the time.  Many cruisers use them as basically an extra crew member.  There are electric autopilots(already have one)that use your precious amps(great for when the engine is running), and ones that hang off the stern of the boat that connect to your steering system.  The ones that hang off the sterns many times use lines strung across your deck to the wheel or tiller.  Hydrovane does not.  It has its own rudder that steers the boat.  One of its biggest pluses is that it doesn't need to be mounted at the center of the stern(where our ladder is).  There is no power involved and it will run for as long as you have it engaged.  It's not a cheap thing but for most cruisers, it is a necessity.  I expect we will bite the bullet on Thursday and get one on order.  It takes a few months to be made(very popular) so we would have it by about the time we are ready to leave.  I expect we will have to have Zephyr pulled again so I can get it installed.  It would give us one last time to check everything on the bottom.

We took the Bainbridge Island Ferry yesterday to see if it was any faster getting to Seattle.  Not really as it's a 40 minute drive and then a 35 minute sail.  The Bremerton is only about a 20 minute drive and a 60 minute sail.  Not a big trade off.  We just use less gas getting to the Bremerton Ferry.  We missed the ferry by two minutes and had to wait for the next--65 minutes later.  No big deal.

This time we took the bus to the show--it's chilly out there.  We did walk back to the ferry at the end of the day--missed the bus.  We needed the exercise.

Lots of people in attendance.  The talk on the Baja Ha Ha was packed with people standing all around the sides of the room.  This is the talk on how to sail from San Diego to Cabo St. Lucas.  A very popular get together in the fall.  You shouldn't sail to Mexico before the first of November as hurricanes are still blowing up down there and that is one of the last things you want to run into when you're out there.

We were home just after 9 with rain and snow going on around us.  Luckily, it decided to stop.  I really don't want to have to shovel snow off our decks.

Today, read all the literature and work on IRS forms that have to still go out.  We didn't own the business long this year, but there are still things that have to be sent out.  I don't want to upset the IRS.

Have a great day and stay warm.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 269 Off to the boat show.

Before we get started, here is what our first boat looked like--sort of.  It had a white hull but just about the same.  A West Wight Potter.  Fifteen feet of fun.  Easily pulled up on the beach where ever we went.  Ours had a whole 2 horse power British Seagull engine.  It was a clear example of why the Brits drink their beer warm.  It was alway a challenge getting it started.  The pull cord for starting was just that.  A cord that if the engine didn't start, you had to wrap it back around the engine starter wheel.  It came off the engine with every pull.  Ah--the memories!!
Morning came early today as we had to catch the ferry to Seattle for the boat show.  With Tracy's class starting at 9am, we had to make sure we were there on time.  The ferry was set to leave at 6:20 so we left Zephyr at 5:40AM!!!  A short night sleep for the two of us.  The trip takes an hour so that put us into Seattle by 7:20.  We found a Starbucks--really a tough thing to do here in Seattle and had some thing to eat.  We then walked to Qwest Field for the show.

It took us some time to find the right door for us to go through.  I sort of snuck in with her.  She went into the class with Jimmy Cornell on "Planning a Voyage".  Since it was set to go from 9 to 12 noon, I had some time to kill.  I could have attended the class as there was very little security as to who went in and who did not.  Instead, I plunked myself down at the top of the stairs and waited.  That went fine till about 10:15 when I was politely asked to leave and come back later.  I walked across the street and sat in the lobby of a hotel.  Nice place.  Fireplace and nice comfy chairs.

At noon, I went back and we had a quick lunch.  Now the food inside Qwest field is not only expensive but really quite bad and the soft drinks they sell--something called "Jones Cola" is just this  side of horrible but not by much.  We walked across the street to a street vendor and had "polish" dogs and cokes.  Both meals came to less than one inside the show--and tasted better too.

After lunch, we browsed the show.  Up and down the aisles.  On we went, stopping here and there and asking questions.  Taking notes and business cards for later followup.  We did find one product we will buy when we go back in a few days.  It a set of basically industrial suctions cups with a handle between the two.  We plan on mounting it by the life line gates where we get on board.  As we leave the dock and the ladder we normally use to get on board is already stowed, Tracy has a hard time making that final boost to get on board.  With a hand hold mounted just above the gate, it will be much easier.  Plus, it can be mounted on either side as needed.  A great idea.  I don't have to drill holes and mount some piece of hardware that will only get used occasionally.  On or off either side as needed.

We talked to the Gill folks about foul weather gear, Nobeltec on computer navigation software and many others.  For fun, we toured two boats that cost between 1.3 and 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS!!!  I don't quite see where they came up with such an outlandish price as I didn't think they were worth that kind of money.  But hey, what do I know?

Tracy's second class--at 4pm--again with Jimmy Cornell was on "Practical Aspects of Long Distance Cruising".  From what she said, a better lecture.  I expect to hear more about it tomorrow.

With Tracy getting out at 7pm, we left shortly thereafter as we were both quite tired.  Neither of us had walked that far, let alone talked to so many people in quite some time.  We missed the ferry back to Bremerton by two minutes.  Oh well.   We bought our tickets and took off for Ivar's Restaurant.  Tracy--fish and chips,  and I had shrimp and chips.  Neither of us finished so leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  As we figure our legs will be quite tired tomorrow, we think we will wait a few days before going back.

When Tracy went in for the class, they didn't take her ticket, so we can go back for three more days if we want to.  Since the ferry is free to go over to Seattle, and not much to get back--they only charge for going one way,  why not go back.  If the weather is bad, it will give us something to do.  Since we now have something to do if we want to, I expect Mother Nature to bring really nice weather over the next few day--at least till the show is over.

One day down and several to go.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 268 Back to Point Hudson

We headed back to Port Townsend to pick up some special orders and mail that came into Sea Marine over the past two days.  OK, this post is in blue and underlined.  That's strange.  I wonder why?

Then off to Sea Marine.  They had our new inlet for the electrical on Zephyr as well as our new 50 foot yellow cord.  Here's pictures of the old ones-- 

Tracy decided to install it herself after we got back to Zephyr.  It took a few minutes and some wire cutting as one of the wires had melted inside the old fitting. Now, at least we won't have anymore fried wires coming into our new home.  We've had more than our share of fried electrical wires.  We have two cords that both look like this one.  I can buy new ends and install them to give us backup cords for future needs.  They also make new insides for the inlet for the electrical plug that funnels the power into Zephyr.  I'll get a set of the new guts for the inlet and install it as time allows.  You can't have too many backups on a boat.  The average life expectancy of these things on boats is only about 5 years before salt water corrosion take over and they die like these have.

Here's another picture of one of our neighbors--a boat cop!!  He's two slips down from us.

The repair slide came in so we can clean out the track of our Strong Track.  This is a long piece of a special plastic that gets installed into the track that your mainsail normally goes up the mast in.  Instead of using the track or channel in the mast, it goes up in the Strong Track.  It's supposed to be absolutely great.  It makes raising your main sail a piece of cake.  Ours had always bound up going up to the mast head.  Strong Track sent me this gizmo to run up and down the track to clean anything out that may be causing the trouble.  Now all we have to do is take all the existing main sail slides out of the track and run this gizmo up and down it.  We sure hope it works and straightens out our problem.  It would be nice to not have to grunt and groan getting our sail up. 

Tomorrow, we're off to the Seattle Boat Show.  Tracy has two classes--one at 9:00 and the second at 4:00.  I can't get in till noon so I have the morning to kill sitting in a hotels lobby across the street.  Oh Well.

Day 267 Scoping it out

Two of our new neighbors.  These are the messy ones that you don't want to be friends with.

We headed off to Silverdale to look around town and check out the neighborhood.  We had lunch at a nice little restaurant in "Old Town" Silverdale.  Didn't seem that old to me.  Lunch was tasty--roast beef sandwich(me),  Greek Salad(Tracy).  Nice but too expensive for what we got.  We looked for the marina in Silverdale and found the city docks.  I guess that is what they call their marina.

After lunch, we headed South to scope out the ferry we will be taking to Seattle.  It's down in Bremerton about 15 miles South from our marina.  We're both glad we went as it wasn't the easiest place to find.  I made all the turns as we saw the ferry signs telling us to go left and right but suddenly, the signs were telling us to go back the other direction.  There is a good bit of road construction in the area and they had removed one very important sign as to where the final turn was to get to the ferry.  After a quick stop at the police department for directions we finally found it.  

We will be taking the 6:20 ferry over as its an hour ferry ride to get there.  That means we have to leave Zephyr at 5:40 to get to the ferry in time.  If we left on the 7:20 ferry, we'd get in to Seattle at 8:20 and then have to get to the sports center for the show.  As Tracy's class starts at 9:00 and we still have to trade in our electronic tickets for "real" ones, we don't want to be late.  So once we get to Seattle, we'll find a restaurant to have breakfast.

Yesterday was finally "laundry day".  We got started late after our errands and I didn't get the last folded till after 6:00.  Tracy waited in the laundry room while it washed and then I took over during the dry cycle.  The heater for the laundry room didn't seem to be functioning as the room was quite chilly.  I played with what appeared to be a broken off knob on the front and on it came.  By the time the clothes were dry, the room was quite cozy.

Dinner was quite simple.  Tracy had made me a sandwich for the trip down the coast from Port Townsend but since it was just about impossible to leave the deck--a ship coming North at 20+ knots and me going South at 7 knots will collide quite quickly--and since it was cold, I didn't feel like eating it.  Plus, since I was making better time than I had expected, I figured I would be in Brownsville by lunch time.  Tracy cut the sandwich up into bite size pieces and then we had a nice plate of "Summer Sausage" and some smoked cheese and Boursin cheese on a french roll.  Add a nice bottle of red wine and we had a great dinner.

That's about the way the day went.  Today, luxury showers for both of us.  Point Hudson charges .25 for a 1 1/2 minute shower.  Good luck with that.  I can get by for .50 but Tracy needs about a buck for hers.  She's just not as speedy as me.  Of course, I have a lot less to shave while I'm in there.  Here, for .25 we get 4 minutes of nice hot water.  A true luxury getting that long and that cheap.  This afternoon, a drive back to Port Townsend.  We need to pick up our mail and some special orders that have come in.

I'll post some photos of our new neighborhood as soon as we get some sunshine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 266 Photos of the trip.

The ship that called me on my VHF radio.  Doesn't look clear does it.  That's the fog making it look blurry.  She's about 1/4 mile away.  That's close enough for me. 
Here comes that dreaded bridge!!  It sure looked low to me.  Blurry=still foggy!
Under I go!!!  Cluck Cluck Cluck!!!
I've cleared the bridge!!!

Day 266 Getting settled.

We're settling in after our first night here.  I met some neighbors this morning.  Randy and Sharon.  They're on a sailboat a few slips down from us.  They've been here a while.  They're "do it yourself" sailors so I hope to be able to get a lot of knowledge from them.

After we docked, as we were plugging into the dock, we found that the socket on deck that the cord plugs into that carries the electricity to Zephyr had melted one of the plug holes on the cord.  We had already replaced the cord once thinking that it was a bad cord.  Now it appears to be a bad socket.  I phoned Tony at Sea Marine and he will be ordering the replacements in for us.  It will be there tomorrow which will work out perfect as we will be back up in Port Townsend to pick up some special orders that also came in yesterday.  If I order from him, there is no sales tax and no shipping fees.  A nice savings.

We got out Direct TV dish set up last night.  This time, we set it up on the forward deck instead of on the dock.  We wanted to see if we were steady enough to maintain the signal.  So far so good.  The dish is mounted onto a nice slab of 3/4" plywood so it's not going anywhere.

Randy and Sharon told me that the dock has three otters in residence.  As I was talking to them, I saw them swimming around out in the bay.  About ten minutes after coming back on board, suddenly there they were on our deck wandering around our boat.  They may be cute, but one of the last thing you want wandering around the deck of your boat are otters.  They tend to make big messes and are known to chew up lines and canvas.  I rushed on deck and shooed them off.  They just stared up at me without a care in the world.  Now we have to figure out a way to keep them off the boat.

I tried to solder the wire for the fog horn last night so I could get that problem done.  I just couldn't get the solder to stick to both the post and wire at the same time.  The iron(battery operated) may not be hot enough or it may be the wrong solder.  I'll buy a corded iron and try it.  At the worst, I"ll find a computer shop that does this work and have them do it.

It's laundry day now that we are at our new home.  The machines are cheaper so that is a nice perk.  When you don't have big closets and lots of clothes, you can run out of duds real fast.

While we will be paying for our lodging, the costs for Brownsville are about half of what we would have had to pay if we had stayed in Point Hudson.  It was $560/month plus electricity(metered).  We're paying $392 for everything from now to the end of February.  We are now scoping out our new neighborhood to see what it has to offer.  The Brownsville area is right in the midst of a much larger shopping area.  Lots more things available that I would have had to drive a long way to find anywhere near Port Townsend.  That has it's advantages and disadvantages.  If it's not available, you won't buy it.  If it is available, you'll spend more money.

Well, we're off to do laundry and take showers.  Time to get everything clean.

If your are checking us out on Google Earth.  Here's or latitude and longitude:
47 39.05 N   122 36.44W.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 265 A new home.

It took a while, but we made it to Brownsville, our new home(at least till the end of February).

We were up by 5:20 this morning and I was off by 6:20.  I left in the dark.  Sun up isn't till 7:50 this far North.   Now being on the water on a pitch black night in a fog can be less than enjoyable.  It is hard to figure out where the water ends and the sky begins.  It is like flying blind.  You are going forward but you're not sure where you will end up or what you might run into out there.  Being all alone makes it even more of a challenge.  Tracy had to take the car down to Brownsville.  It is hard to imagine what courage it took centuries ago setting off across the water not knowing where you were going or what could happen out in the cold dark ocean.   
I headed East across the strait and took off South down the Admiralty Inlet toward Puget Sound.  About two hours in I received a call on our VHF radio to "Vessel heading South toward Bush Pt"--hey, that's me!!!  I called him back--he was probably surprised I was actually listening.  I've yet to get a call back from the boats I've called.  He turned out to be a BIG freighter heading South right behind me--ok, three miles behind me but still, he was coming up on my stern.  He asked that I stay as far to the West of the strait so he could get past me.  He was far enough back that he wasn't showing up on my radar screen yet.  I changed course--West of course--to get out of his way.  A few minutes later, up he came and past me he went.  At about the same time, another freighter was heading North and they crossed in the channel.  All in all, I passed probably six ships as I made my way South.  

Now it didn't help that it was cold, cloudy and a good bit of fog.   Visibility was down to a half mile at some times.  I'm glad we had radar and a good chart plotter.  It made the trip much better.  The last three days had been great--lots of Sun, but today there was no Sun at all.  Oh well, this is the Northwest after all.

The reason I left so early was that there is a large bridge I had to pass under to get to Brownsville.  By early afternoon, the current caused by the tidal flow would be approaching 4.5 knots.  Not a fun place to try and get through as the pass is only about 1/10th of a mile wide and 4.5 knots can really slow down your boat and could ruin your day.  As the bridge is just across the bay from Brownsville, I had some miles to go to make it before noon if at all possible.  Now it is a 38 mile trip--at 6.5 knots, it would take time.  I passed under the bridge exactly at high tide when there was no tidal flow at all.  Perfect!!!  

Now here is what actually happened when I got to the bridge.  The chart said that there was a 75 foot clearance under the bridge.  It didn't say if that was at high tide or low tide.  No real problem as I only needed 62 feet--water line to the top of Zephyrs mast.  The tide was at its max--11 feet.  If you take the height of 75 feet and subtract the 11 foot high tide, that still would have left me 2 feet to spare.  That is assuming that it was measured at 75 feet at low tide, not high tide.  As I got closer, it just didn't seem like Zephyr would pass under the bridge without taking off the top of the mast(new) and all its nice shiny new rigging.  With what we had paid to have it done, I turned chicken and slammed Zephyrs transmission into reverse.  Cluck, Cluck, Cluck!  Just at that moment,  Tracy called to check in.  With Zephyr at a standstill, I had her go up to the marina office and find out if the 75 feet was at high tide or low tide.  It was at HIGH tide so I was safe--big sigh of relief!!  Into gear--nice and slow(cluck cluck cluck) and under I went.  I was clear!!!  Now just a few miles to go and I would be at our new home.  A half hour later, I was at the dock with Tracy grabbing the lines to tie us up.   We were home!!

After a quick lunch at Wendy's, we were off to find the local West Marine.  They aren't that far from the marina and have a lot more than the store in Port Townsend.  We bought some anti freeze for the forward head tank.  I really don't want it freezing again.  I really don't enjoy sticking my head down into a stinky bilge again if I don't have to.  As it it supposed to  be down to 25 tonight and what ever is in it could freeze--bad!!  Now there will no longer be that problem.  Yea!!

Now for a nice quiet night at the marina.  Tomorrow is another day--hopefully with some sunshine. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 264 We're moving!

I hope you enjoyed the photos in yesterdays post because as of tomorrow we are moving to Brownsville down the coast.  Mark-yard manager and Larry--salesman, came by this afternoon to measure the dock.  They have two big boats coming into the water.  One is a 54 foot Mapleleaf that they have been working on of the past 7 months(hate to see that bill).  I've mentioned it in earlier posts.  It's now into its final stages of its refit and ready to come back in the water.  The other boat is the 40 foot that was set to come up a week ago but got delayed by weather.  There is only so much space at the dock and the 54 footer will take up most of it.  It will be at the dock for several weeks so we are off to Brownsville just East of Silverdale.  We were supposed to be there as of January 1 but hey--free is free where we are now.  

So this afternoon we spent getting things ready for the trip tomorrow.  Tracy is driving the car while I drive Zephyr.  We filled the water tanks and added another hose clamp on the discharge hose for the forward head.  That's where I was when Mark and Larry showed up to break the news to us.  I also found that the hose that leads from the head to the tank leaked at the top of the tank so another hose clamp was added there.  Problem solved.

The wire showed up today for the fog horn but it will have to wait till we get to Brownsville.  I have several horn that will work if there is fog tomorrow.  We will be coming back here regularly.  We have several things on order that are already shipped an should be here with in the next week or so.

We've collected all the invoices from Sea Marine and Brion Toss to send to the Boat US folks so they can review our insurance.  Having done so much to Zephyr, the value they put on her when we bought her is now no where close to what we have spent on her.

It was another sunny day so we spent as much time outside as we could.  Tomorrow, I'll be outside all day so I hope it is as nice as the last three days have been.  Wish us luck.

More from Brownsville.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Click on the photos

If you click on the photos, they enlarge to an easy viewable size.

Day 263 Part two--Photos

 Here are some pictures of our neighborhood.

The clouds you see in front of the mountains is actually a fog bank.  It stretched across the straits.

Day 263 Sun!

The Sun finally poked it head out from behind the clouds!!  There is more scheduled for today!  The Sun drought is broken.  It is forecast for the next few days.  That being said, we spent a good bit of the day outside soaking it in.

The replacement fender from Polyform showed up on Friday and I threaded the line down the center of the tube(sitting outside) that runs down the center of it and tied the knots top and bottom to keep it in place and slide the cover(UV protection) over it and reattached it to Zephyrs side.  Next time, I'll come in a bit slower and easier.  It was great for Polyform to replace it with no questions asked.  I even called them to thank them for such great service.  I'll spread the word about them.

In the afternoon, with it being sunny, we took another walk.  This time around the marina and up the shore.  It was at extremely low tide and lots of actually sandy beach was exposed.  This makes it easier for Tracy with her weak ankles.  The shore up here is normally covered with rocks.  We went up the coast about a mile picking up the stray stone and shell.  It was great to see the Sun again.  Now, it's not that warm, but the simple fact that the Sun was out made all the difference.

With that being said, we're about to be off on another walk.  Got to get our exercise.  

Later this afternoon, we expect to empty the forward cabin to not only see what is in there(a bit of a mess)but to make room more equipment and storage.  When we are at the boat show later this week, we will be looking for a freezer chest to supplement our refrigerator setup and we will need a space to keep it.  There are several made that run on both AC and DC so it covers the best of both worlds of charging systems.  We will see what is available.

Time for a walk.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 262 The search continues.

It was as I feared, there was no wire(20 gauge 4 strand) available in this area to install the fog horn.  I hit Henerys, then Napa, two more home improvement centers(one didn't carry wire at all), an electrical store(had it but only in a solid wire--not good for boats), West Marine, Radio Shack and another electrical place that was closed as it had been bought and hadn't reopened yet.  So back to our home base of Sea Marine who started looking for it and will order it in when they find it.  At the worst, Home Depot in Sequim carries a 22 gauge-4 strand if I get desperate.  It's a 45 minute drive to get there, but it may be my only solution short of the hour drive to Silverdale--a much larger town down the coast.  I started at 9:45 and got back to Zephyr at about 1pm.  So much for a productive morning.

I had a nice chat with my brother Rick who lives back in Pennsylvania.  It was his 60th Birthday yesterday.  Happy Birthday big brother!!!

Late in the afternoon, one of our friends that is working on her boat here at Sea Marine stopped by to tell us about a NOAA website that produces weather information on a global scale available for download so that we can see what is going on out on the ocean.  Some times it's not easy to get that information, especially in a map form.  There are cruise books that will tell you when it is the best time to go between point A to point B, but their information is based on yearly averages and trends, not on what is out there.  With these maps, we can better understand what we will face on any particular voyage as we see what is happening today and not as an average over the past many years.  The more information you can get before you set out the better the cruise will be.

We took a drive to Fort Worden (about two miles up the coast)in the afternoon to take a walk.  This is the sight of where "An Officer and a Gentleman" was filmed back in the 80's.  We went down on the beach and to the light house(sorry, I forgot my camera) and way out past it.  A nice long walk.  A bit chilly in the breeze that was blowing, but fun to walk the coastline on an actual sandy beach.  Our son called as we walked, so we had a nice chat.  It's always good to hear what is happening in his life.

Other than that, it was a quiet day--no sun, no wind, no rain, just cloudy skies again.

Have a great weekend.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 261 Not much

We went from busy, busy, busy to not much going on in the span of a day.  I got the wire for the fog horn.  Eighteen gauge was what was recommended by Troy.  I peeled and striped it back so I could solder it on last night.  As it turns out. eighteen gauge is too big.  Twenty is what is called for.  Another project delayed.  I returned it this morning.  Unfortunately, they don't carry the wire I now need so I'll be off to see if I can find it locally.  I don't think there is much chance with out another trip to Sequim.  That's part of the problem with small town living.  The pace is slower and the selection is the same.

As I mentioned in yesterdays post. Sea Marine had sent out cards offering a free boat haul out.  A 40+ foot wooden two masted boat(circa 1950) showed up yesterday for their haul out.  With this crane, one of the masts had to be pulled.  So Sea Marine had to hire a crane to get the second mast up and out.  They will not be making a lot of money on this job.  The mast got hauled in the early afternoon and then the boat was put in the slings and out she came.

And that was about it for yesterday.  Like I said, from busy to bored all in one day.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 259 Busy, Busy, Busy.

Sorry I haven't written but it has been a few days of distractions and trips.

Monday started with a trip to Sequim for more supplies from Costco and a stop at Home Depot.  I needed a small soldering iron to do the wiring for the fog horn.  I also bought an infrared heat gun.  It's a neat gadget that will tell you the heat of anything that you point it at.  It's helpful at diagnosing any kind of heat problems that might occur with the diesel engine.  If it starts to over heat, by pointing the gun at any particular area of the engine you can see where the overheating is happening.  It won't get used often, but is just another tool to add to the locker of useful gadgets.

Tuesday was the big day of the past three.  They finally finished the refit on Zephyr!!  As I was sitting down to do our blog,  there was a tapping on the deck.  Jack--the legendary electrician,  Troy--Prince Regent electrician, and Eric the Earl of Electricity showed up to install the replacement masthead light!  As it will be the third light they have installed, Sea Marine sent every electrician they had to our boat to get it installed.  Eric was the lucky man to go up the mast.  Jack pulled down on the halyard while I cranked the winch for the same halyard.  As always, it bound up about 10 feet from the top but we got past that with some extra pulling.  Troy and Tracy winched the backup safety line.  Any time you go up a mast, you should always have two lines attached to your harness.  If one goes, you always have the backup.

Now the light that had been installed still glowed, but only as bright as a very dim star in the heavens.  Once Eric got up to the top,  he yelled down "This thing is covered in bird c---.  No wonder you can't see it".   OK, now we have three guys on Zephyr that all normally bill out at $75.00+ per hour and I'm being told the reason my light won't shine is that it is covered in "c---".  That is not what I wanted to hear.  I knew I wasn't going to be billed for it(considered warranty work) but still, to have all the electricians show up just to figure out the problem was this was just a bit much.  Jack turned it on so it would strobe--bright flashes of light.   He and I walked over to shore and looked at it through binoculars.  Eric was saying it was strobing just fine.  Jack and I couldn't see anything.  Eric then hooked up the new one and it was a tremendous amount brighter.  Ah Ha--it wasn't the bird c---, it was just a piece of c---.  Eric installed the new one and we lowered him back to the deck.  As it is set up to turn on automatically when the Sun goes down(it has a photo cell), I set it at that and found all was well when it lite later that evening.  It's glowing as I type this.  

With that being done, Tracy and I were figuring it was their way of saying--"It's time to move on"(they have had the new light since back in late November).  We already had planned to move to the Port of Brownsville down the coast but we were in no hurry as this space is free the Brownsville isn't.  Hey--a penny here and penny there.  It all adds up.  We went up and talked to Matt--one of the owners.  He had no problem with us staying right were we were.  I offered to pay for the electricity so at least he would have that covered--hey , lets be fair.  He said he would look into it but hey as long as Tracy bought a cup of coffee every now and then we were fine staying right where we were. 

Sea Marine got it right over Christmas by offering free haul outs to anyone who wanted them.  All they had to do was bring their boats up here and Sea Marine would haul them out of the water at no charge--about a $320.00 savings.  They sent out cards to all of their old clients.  It has been a mad house here at the dock ever since.  We have a boat tied up to the side of ours as I type this.  

We finally got Gordon(one of our riggers) to go up the mast to measure the pin that holds the forestaysail stay to the boat.  That is the wire that one of our sails goes up near the bow of the boat.  When the mast was raised back in October, Brion(main rigger) hadn't ordered in the pin so he installed the wire with a stainless steel bolt and nut(he then lost the measurements-oops).  It works fine, but it isn't made for long term usage.  It really needs a proper pin installed.  So up Gordon went and the measurements were taken.  I took them to the local metal fabricators and am having them made to order.  While not cheap, it will be cheaper than getting them from another source.  It's a long stainless steel pin and not readily available.  Being a sailor, I'm having him make two--just in case.  Hey paranoia is my friend!  I should have them by some time next week.  We might actually get this boat done!!!!

I bought the wire for the fog horn and expect to work on it tomorrow.  I had planned on doing it today, but instead we went to Seattle on another road trip.  We decided to go just as I was settling in to do the blog again.  There were several companies we had met at some boat shows and we wanted to see their showrooms.  Sure Marine, The Off Shore Store and Fisheries Supply we at the top of the list.  Off we went with maps from Map Quest(I don't like getting lost).  We took the Kingston-Edmonds Ferry across.  Out first time on that ferry.  We got to the dock one minute before they set off.  Of course, a car bearing Colorado plates was a bit unusual so the "sniffer" dog were paraded around our car before we were let on the boat.   Not sure if it was drugs or explosives they were looking for.  

I had the forethought of checking out where the local Qdoba restaurants were on our route.  A little bit of home.  There isn't one any where on the peninsula.  There just happened to be one right on our way.  Boy it sure was good!!

Sure Marine--we'd bought our fireplace(nice little propane fireplace that mount on the wall) for our last boat(when you're at over 8,000 feet, it gets cold up there) from them as well as our Force 10 stove we installed on Zephyr.  Nice people but small store.  The space they have at the shows is bigger than their showroom.  The also sell and service Wabasto heaters.  They were nice enough to show me how to take them out.  Ours needs to be serviced and I plan in doing that later this week.  They already sent me the service manual for it--like I said--nice people.

The Off Shore Store was about the same.  A small hole in the wall whos space is bigger at the show.  We got some good information from them on the up coming installation of our SSB radio.  We also bought a book on the proper use of the SSB.  It couldn't hurt.

Now Fisheries Supply is a whole nother thing.  It was HUGE with lots of things to drool over.  We were like kids in a candy store.  Looking at and trying out lots of boating toys we had never been able to see, let alone touch and look at.  We finally got to try out a set of REALLY expensive "electronic stabilizer binoculars".  As the boat rocks back and forth, it can be a bit tough to see things through a regular set of binoculars.  These on the other hand make it really easy to see things as when you rock back and forth, it takes a lot of the movement out of what you see.  Real pretty, but at $1300, it's way out of our price range.  Spinnaker poles, hardware, faucets, rope.  Your name it, they had it.  Just about everything any boat would love to have.  We asked questions and looked but didn't buy.  Heck, I can have Sea Marine order it in and not pay sales tax and delivery is free.  We're from out of state and don't have to on things we will be taking out of state.  We were good.  It hurt not getting any new toys but we used our will power to over come the "boating demons".

We made it home nice and safe and sound by 8:00.  

Tomorrow--back to more projects.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 257 More rain and fog--gee what a surprise.

More rain and fog yesterday and today.  We're pretty well socked in.  Tracy and I had talked a while ago about adding a fog horn to our inventory of electronics on board Zephyr.  I'd already bought the connector for our Raytheon VHF(it has an automatic fog horn feature) all I needed was a horn of some type.  Well, a few weeks ago, behind Sea Marine in their "free" bin--old stuff people no longer wanted--was a horn.  With all the fog that happens around here, I guess it is time to install it.  All I need now is a long set of wires and a small soldering iron to make the connections.  Neither should be too hard to get.  We are off to Sequim today anyway so I will pick up the soldering iron there and get the wires from Sea Marine.

While I'm doing this set up, I can also attach wires from our GPS to the same connector on the VHF so that if I ever have to push the distress call button on the radio, it will transmit our longitude and latitude to who ever is listening.  A nice little feature.  Amazing what you can learn what something will do by simply reading the owners manual.  Not really that important as if we're in that much trouble, I will deploy my EPIRB (emergency position reporting beacon).  It transmits our exact coordinates to the USCG and any ships or airline jets any where with in hundreds of miles. 

It's still calm 24 hours later.  Of course it is still raining--well sort of a mist really but you will still get soaked if you stay out in it for long.

Tracy sat and stitched most of yesterday while I read more manuals and magazines to try and get rid of more of them.  I've collected quite a lot as other boaters tend to leave them in the laundry room after they are done with them.  

We took a walk in the mist late in the afternoon just to get some exercise.  On Saturday, we walked all the way through town.  Amazingly, we've been here for 5+ months and have never walked and window shopped through Port Townsend.  We've driven through and been bussed through but never took the time to just walk through town.  We'd been told many nice things about Port Townsend before we got here and they have proven to be correct. It's a nice town with great, friendly people.

Off for another road trip today.  Oh Boy!

About the Eco Sphere I wrote about yesterday, we stored it on a shelf back in the stern cabin near a port light with lots of towels around it during the trip here.  It was nice and safe and still had the sunshine it needed to continue to produce the algae the little shrimp need to live.  We wanted to make sure it didn't get broken.  Of course, when we stowed it there, we had no idea we would face what we did on the trip up here from Newport, Oregon.  It goes back there every time we head out from the marina.

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 256 Blues entertainment.

A little over a year ago, Matt & Kayobi gave us an Eco Sphere(  This is a self contained little world of coral, algae and little tiny shrimp.  It is a cool little globe that is totally self contained.  A world unto it self.  It now sits on the dining table aboard Zephyr.  Blue(youngest kitty--yet the queen of the boat) sits and just stares at it occasionally bats at it and slowly pushes it around the table.  She just knows she will someday get at those little shrimp--Dinner--ok, just a small snack.  It started our with four shrimp and we are now down to three.  I guess one became dinner for the other three.  Survival of the fittest.  They swim around in circles nibbling the algae that grows on the coral.  No muss, no fuss--just entertainment for the fur people.

 After several days of wind--lots of wind, it is finally quiet.  It's strange to be able to hear yourself breathe.  It's been whipping through here for the past week.  Day in and day out--wind.  Now being a sailor, that's not so bad, but unfortunately, it brought cold and rain with it.  Snow earlier.  Now it is calm.  I don't know how long this will be but I'd take a day of it.  Heck, throw in some sunshine and it would be perfect.  It's so quiet, I just heard the frig come on.

Yesterday was straighten up and put away day.  First the workbench and then the nav station.  It continually amazes me how much stuff we bring on board that just never finds its way to where it is actually supposed to go until a day is set aside to do it once it gets out of control.  In a house, it can go on for quite some time, but in a boat, you can junk up the inside real fast.  

As we sat here yesterday, we heard another boat come into the marina area.  Amazing how the sound of an engine travels through water.  I got up and looked out one of the port holes and a BIG power boat passed our berth.  I had to look up to see the anchor on his bow.  Now Zephyr is no slouch when it comes to size, but this baby dwarfs everything in the marina--now and for the entire time we have been here.  He's 60 feet at least.  We both rushed up into the cockpit to watch him come in.  There isn't a lot of space in the back of the marina where we are.  He went past us and stopped, then fired up his side thrusters(like an outboard motor that is mounted sideways on the hull)and turned himself 180 degrees and went right up to the dock slick as you please.  He had to spin using the space that was open between Zephyr and the boat behind us just to make the turn.  If we had been packed in really tight, I'm not sure he would have made the turn.  It's always interesting to see the different boats that come in here.  Of course it helps to be a boater.

Sea Marine had asked us on Thursday if we could leave the dock for a few hours on Saturday as they were bringing in another boat for a couple to inspect.  They were going to sail it up from some where down the coast.  I gave them our phone number and told them to let us know when they would be in so we could move out.  I wasn't sure where we would go.  As it turns out, the customers decided not to to come up as the winds were in the 25-30 knot range and it was raining sideways.  Smart move.  You don't want to leave the dock in weather like that unless you have to.  If you are in a marina, stay there if out on the water, try and stay out until it calms a bit.  You can trash not only your boat trying to come in in a gale like that but also some one elses boat in the marina.  It can get out of control quickly in wind like that.  Maybe next weekend.

As I went up the hill Friday night at about 11pm, there was a family of seven otters playing on the dock.  They live in the marina under the marina office building.  Playing on the docks, climbing on and off boats all over the harbor.  Now they may be cute little things, but the last thing you want is them making a home on your boat.  They tend to leave "surprises" where ever they go.  Remember--what goes in must come out and with seven of them there is a lot that comes out.  I've heard tales of them trashing small boats.  As long as they haven't learned how to climb a ladder I figure we are safe.  Heck, there are times we have trouble getting on board Zephyr--hence the ladder.

More rain in the forecast--gee what a surprise.  The weather people say the Sun is coming by the end to this next week.  Wait a minute, I think I see a turnip truck on the road.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 254 You can't get there from here.

There is no way to get from Seattle out of the state by road unless you get really creative.  All the main highways are flooded.  The main road South(I-5) is flooded and closed for about a 20 mile stretch.  The roads east through the mountains are covered with avalanches.  They're are now talking on the news about upcoming food shortages since the trucks can't get through.   The buses and Amtrak can't get through.  Horizon Airlines has added lots of flights and given cut rate fares so people can get between Seattle and Portland.  As far as the local television stations are concerned, nothing else has happened in the world.  They expect to have at least I-5 open later on today.  There are lots of semis lined up along the road just waiting to get back on the road.

Ah, the joys of youth.  As we left Zephyr yesterday morning, there was a group of high school kids putting on life jackets to take a rowing class on one of wooden boats here at the marina.  I guess one of the PE classes at the school is "Rowing".  I saw one girl in a VERY short skirt and a life jacket about to climb on board.  Not a single one was dressed for a day of rowing especially since with in an hour, the winds were blowing at the 20 to 25 knot range.  As of sundown, they were still not back.  I guess they found a place to put in down the coast to wait it out.  I figure they will be back sometime today as the wind has let up.

We headed back to Safeway for some forgotten provisions.  Since we couldn't find every thing we needed, we decided to head down the road to Port Hadlock to another market.  QFC is the only competition in the area as far as groceries go.   The market there had remodeled last year and was a nice bright store with lots of things we couldn't get at Safeway.  We even found B & M Brown Bread to go with our baked beans.  We had looked in lots of markets around here for it with no success until yesterday.  It is one of the meals I grew up with.

Once we were done there, we took off on another road trip to explore Indian Island and Marrowstone Island.  Indian Island is just about entirely taken up by a military base.  Marrowstone Island isn't so we toured there mostly.  We stopped at Mystery Bay as it had been recommended as a great place to anchor for a few days.  It's well protected since it is in the cut between the two islands.  We also toured Fort Flagler.  A long since closed military bast that had been created to protect the Puget Sound from foreign invaders.  It was part of three forts here in the sound that made it pretty much impossible to get past without getting shot up.  From 1907 to 1926, the guns there had only been fired 16 times and never at an enemy.  It got closed shortly after WWII. Now it is primarily a convention sight where you can rent the old houses and building for company or for a nice Summer visit. 

Upon our return, we found that most of Port Townsend was blacked out.  No power through most of the town.  Even McDonalds was closed!!  Point Hudson had had a blackout, but by the time we got there, they had the power back on.  Since the winds were hitting the mid-30 knot range, I figure some tree some where came down and trashed the power lines.  By 3pm, they had the power all back on.

As we came back from pumping out the heads the other day, I came into the dock a bit faster than I should have and one of the fenders(big rubber bumpers that hangs off the side of the boat)along Zephyrs side took it personally and popped.  Blew right out the top around where the line goes through to hold it onto the boat.  I called the manufacturer and they said to send it back to them and they would probably replace it.  Most fenders come with a "lifetime" warranty.  I actually read theirs just for fun.  The fender does have a "lifetime" warranty as long as you have the original receipt(must be the original owner), never expose it to sunlight(UV rays) or harsh chemicals, stress, water or any thing else you can imagine.  If it was an "act of God", you are out of luck.  I sent it back to them yesterday.    I expect to hear back from them some time next week.  Who know, maybe I'll get lucky.  

Most fender manufacturers will replace any fender that ever goes wrong.  I had one on our last boat that collapsed.  Since the boat was sailed at over 8,000 feet up on Lake Granby in Colorado, when it was brought back to Denver(5,280 feet), the fenders tended to collapse.  Fenders are now made to be inflated with a bicycle pump(easier to ship).  These were not that kind of fender.  I sent it back--all collapsed--and they replaced it, no questions asked.  

The winds continued till late last night and are calm now.  We'll see how the day progresses.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 253 The Ark?

So far, no sign of the Ark.  Seattle is getting it bad.  Lots of flooding and the main hi-way(I-5) is closed.  Lots of schools are also closed and people have been evacuated from their houses.  First came the snow.   Then came the rain to melt the snow.  It's a mess over there.  While it is wet here--lots of rain--it is no where near what is happening there.

We sit snugged in reading and stitching the day away waiting for the Sun to come out and the place to dry out.  Maybe tomorrow.  We did make a run to Safeway for more "supplies" though.

One of Tracy's pictures fell off the wall a while ago.  It's one of the pieces of cross stitch she did many years ago that had hung in our last boat and made the move to Zephyr.  Unfortunately, when it fell, it broke the joints of the frame.  This baby was done by us a long time before we opened our store and became "professional" picture framers.  My job yesterday was to glue it back together.  With no clamps nor an under pinner, I had to get creative.  I used a card to put glue into the joints(still together but loose) and used a short piece of rope to go around the frame and then tightened the loop of rope with a pencil to pull the pieces together.  Let it sit for an hour or so and then went onto the next corner.  I let it sit over night just to make sure the glue has set and can now put her picture back together again.  Creativity, who would have thought it?

Our antenna came in for our SSB radio yesterday.  It clamps onto our backstay (big wire that goes from the deck to the top of the mast) and then runs down through the deck to a tuner.  Normally, it has to be spliced into the backstay but this one doesn't.  We had found it on sale and grabbed it.  We had planned to have it all installed last Summer, but when the transmission went, so did the money to have it installed.  Now we will try and do it ourselves.  I'm sure I can find a good book on exactly how to do it or get answers from several of the cruiser forums I log into.  It can't be that hard.  I just have to make sure it is grounded well and the connections are sealed to keep the moisture out.  It's all a learning experience.
Tuesdays dinner was set to be steak on the grill.  Well, it was raining at a good clip but what the heck, I wasn't going to melt so I started up the grill and did the steaks in the rain.  Sure I got wet, but at least I didn't have to dig my grill out of the snow as I have done in Colorado.  At least I could sit in the covered cockpit while it cooked.  Of course, I had to use a flashlight to see how they were doing as they cooked.  You have to admit--I'm a dedicated griller.

Today, we wait for the Sun today to start the dry out.  Well, at least for a few days.  Sun, Sun, where for art though dear Sun?

By the way, if you haven't tuned into the Sandpiper blog(linked on our site) you should.  They almost lost their mast coming across the Atlantic!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 251 Blow me down!!

When we got back from out trip(about 4pm) to Sequim on Sunday, the winds were hitting into the mid-40 knot range.  There had been a weather advisory on the radio as we came back but we couldn't receive it on our car radio.  An AM frequency we couldn't get for some reason.  Apparently the winds earlier in the afternoon were even higher.  They had been clocked at Port Townsend--about 1.5 miles down the road--at 70mph!!  I'd left the DuoGen up and running while we were gone and it was spinning to beat the band.  Lots of Amps were being made for the batteries.  I lowered the unit upon our return as I didn't want to stress it more than I had to.  Matt--one of the owners of Sea Marine--had come down to the docks to help some people onto their boat that they(Sea Marine) had been working on.  An older wood boat that had a great deal of their hull replaced.  I can't imagine how much their bill was.  He commented to me when I saw him how fast the DuoGen was running during the wind storm.  

The wind started dieing down after sunset and was just about gone by midnight.  Yesterday, there was no wind all day.  Today, we are back to the winds--15-20 knots with more rain in the forecast.

While in Sequim, we bought the replacement cartridge for the galley faucet.  A Moen faucet that would only give us hot water.  Never any cold no matter where the handle was.  I checked out their website and saw how easy it was to replace the cartridge--a lot easier than changing the faucet so since no one in the local area had one, we picked up the cartridge in Sequim.  Out with the old and in with the new and now we have cold water in the galley.  Another small project done.

We picked up a Honeywell weather station while at Costco.  Our previous weather station(we've had for years) was slowly dieing and needed replacing.  This baby comes with not only a barometer, clock, and three temperature monitors--one for outside the boat, one for in the refrigerator(see how cold it is in there) and the main unit, but a anemometer(wind gauge) and a rain gauge.  With all the rain this area gets this time of year, we'll see how much it reads.  I mounted the anemometer on a board I tied to the stern rail to see what the wind is near the DuoGen.  It's actually quite a bit less than at the top of the mast.  Now it's all programmed and up and running.

A boater brought his small sailboat up a few days ago to have Sea Marine work on it.  He tied it up to another boat behind us over the weekend.  With all the wind over the last few days, it had gotten pushed under the haul out dock and it's outboard motor bracket had gotten stuck so that each time the tide went up, it was under the dock as the water rose.  It bent the bracket and if the tide had continued to rise, it could have sunk the boat.  I alerted the marina manager and he showed up a while later and Sea Marine got him all hauled out.  He got lucky.  He could have lost his boat

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 249 Sunshine!

Friday was absolutely bizarre.  We had SUNSHINE all day!!  From the time the Sun came up to it going down, it was sunny.  You folks in Colorado have no idea how good you have it.  A full day of sunshine here is a gift from the Gods.  We stayed outside as much as possible.  Running errands, taking walks, working outside or just sitting in the cockpit.  We just baked it in.  All that wonderful vitamin D.  Just about all work inside was suspended.  It was strange as it was overcast and snowing/raining in Seattle yet beautiful here.  What a day!!

We did get a chance to see a Catalina sailboat playing "bumper boats"in the marina.  For some reason, he decided to sail out of the marina.  He started out from one of the slips and just kept going back and forth under just his head sail.  Hit one boat, turn around, hit another boat, turn around.  Back and forth.  Either a boat or a piling, he slowly made is way out of the marina.  People just stood there and watched him smack his way out.  Either his engine didn't work, or he did it on a dare, it was a stupid thing to do especially since the wind was coming straight into the marina entrance.  No one said all boaters are smart.

Yesterday, it was back to normal.  15 to 20 knot winds again straight into the marina with clouds and intermittent sunshine--or at least a bit of blue sky.  I finally installed the 12 volt outlet in the stern stateroom.  Of course the first length of 12 gauge wire I bought for the installation was to short.  Back to West Marine again.  Boy they love me there.  I found an empty circuit breaker and threaded the wire behind the bulkheads--in and out, up and down.  Each turn fastened to either another wire with a zip tie or screwed down.  The fittings at the ends were crimped and sealed with shrink tube to keep out moisture--lots of that on boats--so that corrosion doesn't cause the connection to fail.  It's the way I was taught by the now famous "Jack the electrician".  Before then, I would simply crimp the connection with connectors from the local hardware store instead of proper marine fastener.  I used it last night and it worked just fine.  Another project down.

Went through lots more magazines after the installation.  Still more to clean out.  Once we are done with them, they go up to the laundry room for anyone else to take as they see fit.  It beats just throwing them away.
Today, off to Sequim for a Costco/Home Depot run.  We need some more supplies and some tools that just aren't available here in Port Townsend.  We have been having a problem with the faucet in the galley.  It only puts out hot water no matter where the handle is.  I took some of it apart yesterday and called the manufacturer(Moen) about it.  Apparently, there is a cartridge inside it that will need to be replace to make it work properly.  No hardware stores locally carry them.  So it's road trip time.  Snow and rain are scheduled for later today so we will be off later this morning.  Hi ho, it's off to Sequim we go.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 246 Happy New Year!!!

And so we start a new year.  Last year was quite the transition year.  It's hard to believe all the changes that have happened in the past 12 months.

January through April:  Plan and pack and get the business sold.  Looking back, it seems like a lot longer ago and was a lot longer than it was.  Time is relative I guess.

From May on is another matter.  Having moved on board at the very end of April down in Newport Oregon was the start of a new chapter in our lives.  We left behind a great deal of security to experience a dream we had dreamed of for many years.  Now it was becoming a reality.  Life was supposed to become a lot simpler.  Nope, afraid not.  Our surrounding were but our lives just got filled with lots more jobs.

Every project that we though would take just a few hours ended up taking, in many times, days instead.   Just getting a mechanic to come to Zephyr took over 3 1/2 weeks though I had called and made contact with one before we even left Denver.  

We both had lots to learn of Zephyrs systems and operations.  What to do and what not to do.  What needed attention and what was fine.  While we have been sailing since the early 80's, we were in a whole new territory.  Zephyrs systems were unlike anything we had ever tackled before.  From redoing bilge pumps to rewiring the systems on Zephyr to working on a diesel engine.  Everything became a very large learning experience.  And believe me, we are the better for it. 

On the outside, Zephyr was a pristine boat, but lurking below the surface there were areas that needed attention.  We learned how to fiberglass holding tanks in the head.  When the seams of the holding tanks split, the last thing you want coming into your boat is what they hold.  We learned where the bilge was and how to clean it--over and over again--as water and other things found their way down there.  I am proud to say, I am a close friend of our bilge having cleaned it at least 8 times over this past year.  A clean bilge is a happy bilge--or at least a lot less stinky.

We've learned about all our standing rigging.  Those are the wires that hold up the mast(the big pole in the center of the boat that the sails attach to for you land lubbers;-) ).  While ours were original to when Zephyr was made(1982) and we had been told they were fine, we felt it prudent to get then changed.  With our plans to circumnavigate the world, just for peace of mind(and safety) it was at the top of the list to get done.  It took a BIG chunk out of our bank account, but we will feel a lot better sailing knowing that what is up there is new and done correctly.  We could have hired any number of riggers but we chose Brion Toss and Gordon here in Port Townsend to do the job.  We know the job has been done right.

Getting to Port Townsend from Newport was one of our biggest learning curves.  While the folks at the National Weather Service said we would have nice weather going up the coast, I think 35 knot winds--straight at us--and 20 foot waves were not what they had in mind.  It sure wasn't what we had in mind.  One of the biggest lessons we  learned was we had a lot to learn about what we were doing.  This wasn't a lake where you can see all the sides of as you sail.  Oh no, this was the ocean where you don't see anything if you are as far off shore as we were.  Sure, it shows us on our charts where land was but since all the harbors were closed all the way up the coast, there was no where to go and hide from the storm.  We talked to passing freighters on the passage and they asked us what the heck we were doing out there in this storm.  We huddled in the cockpit (eating pretzels and water) which at least was totally enclosed(thank GOD) and muscled through it thanks to our engine.  Of course, once we got to Port Townsend, the transmission gave out on us.  Better there than where we had been.

Another lesson we have learned and are still learning is patience.  Having been in the corporate world for so many years plus having our own business, it was hard and still is hard learning to just slow down.  Not everything  will go as you expect.  We had expected to be out of here by the end of August having arrived at the end of July.  We had PLANNED on being down in Mexico by now.  What needed to be done to bring Zephyr up to where we wanted her would take a lot longer than either of us could have imagined.  If they had told us we would still be here at New Years, we would have thought them crazy.  But here we are.

As the new years starts, some things still need attention but the list is a lot shorter than where it was and the end is insight.  I've taken one diesel engine class and still expect to take a second more intense class before we set off for Alaska in the Spring.  There is a boat show later this month in Seattle that we expect to attend.  It is one of the biggest in the United States and it is not to be missed.  Hopefully we will still have some money in the bank accounts by them.  It is amazing that once you add "Marine" on to any part, the price doubles.

Well, I've rambled enough.  It's a new year with lots more to learn and lots to experience.  We are both entering a new chapter in our lives together with eyes wide open ready for what ever will come.  Wish us luck!