Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Rest of August 2017

The Rest of August 2017

I got a call from Kristen who supervises the volunteer instructors at the Center for Wooden Boats. She asked if I would like to participate as an ambassador to an event for a sponsor who had just purchased all new mainsails for the fleet of 20' Blanchard Jr. Knockabouts

I was so honored by the call I said Yes! Just a small contingent from the company that owns several restaurants in Seattle were able to attend the event so only couple of instructors were needed to skipper a vessel for a tour of Lake Union sporting the new sails. The rest of us tagged along behind just enjoying another beautiful Seattle day on Lake Union. Then we enjoyed a very nice reception catered by one of the restaurants. The wine went great with the oysters!

Sadly the West coast fires that first dominated in Canada and California soon covered Oregon and Washington State. smokey days outnumbered the clear days when the winds were blowing onshore to send the smoke back from whence it came.

Each weekend begins with a ferry ride to Eagle Harbor, This Saturday Morning a few hundred bikers had there own event scheduled.

Lucky for a clear day at the marina.

Friday evenings we avoided the crowds at The Mural at Seattle Center for free concerts and opted for a smaller event at Bell Street, the music is always good

We enjoyed the Solar Eclipse at the marina. fuzzy shadows and other interesting observations filled the morning.

This 9 month old is the center of attention these days as she challenges the very earth that her brother inhabits.

Terry and Richard Butler met me at the Center for Wooden Boats. The best way demonstrate the beauth of Seattle is to take them for a sail on Lake Union in Blanchard Jr. Knockabout. 

They loved the constant float planes taking off and landing.

Terry and Richard are in Seattle preparing to board the Uncruise to Alaska. I'm excited to know someone taking the cruise since we have learned a bit about the advantages of taking this particular cruise by small ship rather than the big mega boats. : Terry's  Facebook page reflects the Uncruise website

Always good to have accomplished sailors on board, I can just turn over the tiller and enjoy the sail!

Fun to see the kids sailing camp.

We have learned to Trail Bathe when you can, here at Discovery Park

Not unusual to see an unusual military ship in Puget Sound.

Noticed this guy in the shallows near Shillshole, not sure if he ran aground or some other problem. Being on or near the waters of Puget Sound now I have seen several vessels run aground in areas that are well marked and are common knowledge. It is not like the Gulf coast up here. On the Gulf coast you have shifting sands that can overnight become an unmarked shoal. These shallows have been in the same location for possibly hundreds of years and are marked on all the charts. It is more rocks than sand here. No wonder we in our hunt for our Puget Sound vessel we saw so many vessels with significant structural damage.

We are now #17 on the wait list to get a slip at Shillshole marina. They say maybe by next spring sometime.

A cool little trail at Discovery Park.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

SNOWBALL Seatrials

The seawater pump was one of four items that needed replacement before the vessel made the trip to  Puget Sound. I hired a mechanic on San Francisco Bay to replace it with an Orberdorfer.

The hoses to the hot water heater needed replacement so I did this project.
This is no ordinary heater hose. over $9 a foot and needed 24'

The transmission shift cable needed replacing. The clamp bolts were frozen so I cut the old cable so that I could remove the mounting arm. I drilled out the old clamp bolts and our mechanic from Poulsbo, Steve Roberts, replaced the shift cable.

Steve also fabricated and installed the new exhaust elbow and riser.

Steve installed a new heat exchanger and fabricated some new brackets for the job.

Fist day is just to setarial the engine. Make sure all components are working with no leaks or any other problems. 

The local Scenery is awesome.

Just emerging from Eagle Harbor channel, with Seattle in the distance.

Blake Island on the right, We ran down to Tilicum Village and back to the marina

Day 2: We're getting all the sails out today.

We had N winds 10-15+ She sailed awesome. 

Lots of shipping traffic to stay aware of. We made sure to keep out of the Ferry lanes but there are lots of others to keep an eye on as well. We passed well in front of this Coast Guard  ship. When we started across the shipping channel you could barely see the ship, now just a couple hundred yards from us.

The ferry ride back to Seattle is always nice.

SNOWBALL Seatrials

It is obvious that certain modus operandi in ones life do not change that much no matter how hard you try to move towards a new paradigm. I tried several times to break the pattern and do it completely different. How nice would it be to just buy a late model vessel and avoid all the restoration work. The one vessel, a 2004,  that seemed to have everything in my eyes, turned out to have a broken spine. Fortunately with a really good surveyor we discovered the heart breaking truth before we even got to the haul out yard. The 1986 Catalina 30 we bought was 18 years old and I spent 3 years restoring the boat to bristol condition. Then later we bought the 1987 Endeavour 42 Wand'rin Star and spent three years restoring her for our extended cruise. SNOWBALL is a 1998 but she is 19 years old, at least we moved toward the new millennium a bit.
Each vessel had certain systems that had been completely restored just before we bought the boat. The C30 had a brand new engine. The E42 had all new electronics, standing rigging and interior cushions. SNOWBALL has all new standing and running rigging and all new sails. All three vessels were structurally sound and offered a good value for the price. The catch though is there were some definite systems that needed restoring to get the vessel up to our standards. The C30 was like going to boat restoration high school, she prepared us for the E42 which was the Masters Level course in boat restoration. I truly dreamed of just buying a boat that did not need hours and hours of restoration time.. After going through the survey results with SNOWBALL I immediately decided I could get this vessel in shape with a years time. Some things had to be done now and others put on a list. 
Before the boat left San Francisco Bay I had a new seawater pump, seawater strainer, new house and start batteries and new head and holding tank hoses installed. The first three items were safety issues and needed to be done before the boat even left the dock again and the fourth item is one of those projects your glad to pay someone else to do the job. Heck, I was going to have my hands full when the boat got to Hybelos yard in Tacoma anyway. Having the smelly head hoses replaced was a blessing and there was a guy who did the work for a very  reasonable price and he came highly recommended by the San Francisco sailing community.
As a result of the engine survey, $5K of work needed to be completed before the boat would be seaworthy. The sales price was renegotiated as a result and the survey was very helpful in not only knowing the work that needed to be performed but also the real cost. With me doing part of the work the cost was about $600 under the survey. Most of that involved the cooling system and exhaust. After calling several reputable mechanics and being told that their work was 3 months or longer out I met Steve Roberts from Blue Heron Boatworks out of Poulsbo, WA. I really liked this guy so I gave him the work. He said he would fit me in and do the project as he was filling other work orders. So I expected perhaps two to three weeks we would be ready to go. While the engine was under repair it gave us time to completely deep clean the boat to the Admirals standard. That means it is safe to lick any surface on the interior of the boat. I also tracked down and repaired about six leaks, mostly from leaky port windows that was surprisingly easy to repair with the Lewmar ports having replaceable parts. But finally after two months we finally have the engine work complete and we can begin to seatrial not only the boat but also our sailing skills. There is always a learning curve on a new to you vessel. After essentially being boatless for 4 years have to relearn how to work as a 2 person team in docking and sailing this boat together. Every boat handles differently and it strikes us how much easier the C36 is to maneuver compared to the E42.
We took one day to just seatrial the engine for 3 hours and so we ran down to Blake Island and back. All new engine components have a "break in period". All was good except for the engine smell when we returned as all the new exhaust gear sort of burns in. That will dissipate soon. The next day was just to concentrate on the sails and running rigging. I have yet to fully learn just how well this boat sails, the C36 is known as the best sailing vessel in the Catalina line. I was impressed. even after owning two smaller Catalina's this boat certainly stands up to its reputation and no wonder it is a popular club racer/cruiser. Later we found some unexplained water in the bilge. We keep a dry bilge so any water at all automatically puts the Labrador into play. Our third day on the waters of Puget Sound was just to track down any possible leaks. None found, so I think it is from full water tanks leaking out of the clean out cover when the boat heals. The Admiral is not convinced of my suspicion but we will both be on alert until we figure this one out.  We both agree that everything is easier with this vessel compared to the E42. I'm thinking about 1/3rd the effort to get all this done on a 36' vessel. 
The vessel is now declared seaworthy and safe to travel the waters of Puget Sound. We still have a list of projects, mostly upgrades that will increase the safety and comfort, both of which are part of our game. dingy davits, bimini, wireless radar and AIS, and a dedicated Ipad for navigation are at the top of the list.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cascade Falls, Rustic Falls, Hidden Falls Forest Bathing at its Best

Just a short Forest Bath walk to the Falls

But when you get there, the falls add a whole new dimension to the Forest
Bath,  Rustic Falls See:

Now you can Bath in the sounds of water.
Cascade Falls:

Bath in the mist.

Touch 100's of years of growth.

Be the trail.

Fun to see these wooden vessels sailing the Pacific Northwest

These guys floated by on the ebb tide at about 3 knots

We returned to the North beach area where we took our summer solstice pics to to the sun set in the thick Canadian wildfire Smoke. 

The sun is actually the same color as the reflection on the water.

If you zoom in a bit the camera starts to pick up those colors that are due to the smokey haze.

The sun begins to disappear into the smoke as you are looking through progressively dense the sun goes down.

Can barely see the sun. 

The sun has not set but the smoke looking through this angle is so thick it is no longer visible.

Cascade Falls, Rustic Falls, Hidden Falls Forest Bathing at its Best

Spending our time in the various Orcas Forest trails provided a Great Escape from the looming Canadian Forest Fire smoke. Hanging out with the water falls enhanced that experience and to us is always worth seeing Pacific Northwest water falls wherever they are no matte how large or small. I have heard of some incredible water falls in the rain forest of the Olympic Penensula but then you have to hike two or three days to get to them. We are official Forest Bathers so hiking is not where it is at for us. The next day we took the ferry then drove the two hours back to Seattle just to find the city surrounded by the same smoke. Eventually a few days later a fresh onshore breeze blew the smoke out and we have had nothing but sun and blue skies of Puget Sound. To date Seattle has seen record heat this summer on the longest stretch of days above 70 degrees and the longest stretch without rain. Getting pretty dusty up here. We learned from the TV news that spending a full day out in the smoke was the equivalent of smoking 7 cigarettes!!! We are thinking the forest and water mitigated that to some degree, were hoping.