Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 Melges 24 World Championship Corpus Christi

While the Melges racers were here a shrimp boat caught fire and sank very near where our boat slip is in the marina. The boat was lifted out of the water a few days ago and trucked out of here.
Here is a pic of the racers returning from the course to the Marina.

The 2011 Melges Worlds are nearing completion here in Corpus. This is the first time I have been so close to professional sail racing. We went out early in the week on Wand'rin Star to view the a pre regatta race up close, it was a relatively unusual light air day so the racing was certainly interesting but not what all the buzz was about. In fact they cancelled the second race for the day due to dying winds. The course was to far off shore to see from land so if you wanted a up close view, or some days any view at all due to the heavy humidity haze, you had to go out in the bay. I found the You Tube videos by searching for the 2011 Melges worlds and found I could actually get better results just viewing the professionally shot videos who could get some up close action and they have interviews and other neat videos online. The local racing community here in Corpus put their life on hold for a week to volunteer and make sure these guys have a great time so they will come back here and do it again sometime. There are ususally around 100 boats entered in the competition but only about 30 showed up in Corpus due to it "being in the Boonies" as one Melges skipper stated. All the teams from foreign countries have to have their boats shipped in shipping containers and find a flight to Corpus which is just not as easy as going to either the East or West coast. The link on the title of this blog goes to the final results page. The Italians, USA, and a Irish team finished 1,2,3 respectively. I took lots of picture but none of them are really good enough to post (to far away). But you can just go to You tube and search 2011 Melges Worlds and see it all there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Admiral Doesn't Blog..but she writes

The Beach on Mustang Island just 3 minutes walk from our rental condo is different every day. Sometimes it is spotless clear sand for miles with calm blue water, most times the water is full of wave action and a brown color from all the sand stirring up and the sea life.

Just the a few days before the seaweed or sargassum weed that comes all the way from the Atlantic ocean was 2 feet deep covering most of the beach.

Fishing with Katie & Greg for morning and afternoon, we caught these tasty Whitings and lots of Gaff tops which we tossed back even some say they are tasty.

Here is the Least Bittern, he is clinging onto the reeds stretching down to catch himself a minnow sized fish.

Here he is hunting low in the reeds for the next tasty morsel. This guy is Funky!

As our tank project begins to fade away we are finding more time to enjoy our second found hobby of Birding. And of course long walks down the beach and fishing with friends. Katie & Greg came to visit for 3 days and it was blowin 30 knots each day so we went fishin.

Birding is a free hobby, unlike sailing. Lot's of Birders carry very expensive binoculars, and/or spotting scopes and/or cameras. The Admiral has a nice pair of birding binoculars, I rely on my marine type of binoculars that we ordinarily keep on the boat & I bought a inexpensive 5 year old camera off Ebay to act as the Admirals camera man for the weekly article that she writes for the Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper. Hanging out with birders is not a bad place to be, everyone is happy, there is nothing controversial except perhaps the identity of a bird. Your always in a nice environment with friendly, smart people who love to share their finds and are curious about what you have seen. We have spotted and become familiar with over 200 species including coastal birds, shore birds, hawks, falcons, and all types of migrating birds large & small. My favorite of them all though is the Least Bittern, it is the smallest of the American Herons. He is elusive and funky. I really have fun spotting and watching this fun bird. I enjoy them all but this guy is worth the hunt and I feel lucky when I spot one. The admiral doesn't blog but she does write, just go to: and search Lynn Steakley in the archives to see some of her articles and some of my photos.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Phase III Living Small

The broken secondary bilge pump switch is on the left and it's new replacement on the right mounted on a piece of Starboard.

This is the secondary emergancy bilge pump, a 4000 GPM pump

This is the completed installation, secure & tested.

The final panel installed just under the companionway stairs.

Our Memorial Day weekend destination. the Lydia Ann Channel Lighthouse.

Well we have certainly entered a third phase in our retirement and living aboard. Nine months after leaving our home in Austin we both have settled into our new living small sailing home. We no longer feel "temporary", we have found our comfort zone. The tank project is 99% complete, just a few remaining details to finish. I recently replaced the secondary (emergency) bilge pump switch to the 4000 gallon per minute pump. I then put in the final piece teak panel that provided access to this area closing in the bilge area for a very long time. I did however rearrange the screws in the panel so it could be removed without having to crawl under the galley sink. There is a lot that goes on in this area and having easier access is comforting.

We definitely have decreased our footprint dramatically. Water for one is used very sparingly. I added a 3m water filter to our water system so we could safely drink the water from our new tanks but it caused our water pressure to drop. After talking to Randy who lives aboard a few slips down I decided I need to move the filter further down the system just past the pressure tank. Hopefully this will restore the water pressure to it's normal rate. This will be tomorrows project. Fuel is another thing both for the boat & cars, of course a sailboat uses very little diesel, at 2000 rpm, and 6 knots of speed we consume about 1 gallon per hour. We still have 2 vehicles and at some point we will sell my little truck and keep the Admirals car somewhere. One of these vehicles stays parked for week or longer at a time so we have dramatically decreased the need for gasoline. Food on a sailboat is another area where there is very little waste. Since refrigeration is much smaller you make the most of meal planning. All the left overs are usually consumed the next meal. Buying clothes is almost completely out of the question since we both have way more than we need and if we want something different to wear we just stop by our storage and trade out clothes there. I think the only thing that either of us has bought is new tennis shoes to replace the worn out ones. Our need for electricity is certainly decreased. Our home in Austin could easily use up $225 worth per month in the summer months. Here where the electricity rates are a bit higher and the heat much more intense, we used no more than $47 in the summer months to AC the boat. We use LPG for cooking & grilling. We have two 5 gallon tanks and have not needed to refill either tank since we moved here. Of course there are no property taxes on a boat, you just have to purchase your bi-annual registration sticker like you have to do for your car on a annual basis.

Routines are established when you live on a boat, even though it is a comparatively small space, it is much easier to lose something on a boat so everything has it's place and I mean everything. The Admiral & I must agree on the exact storage spot for every thing we have on the boat. If a certain item is not place exactly back to it's proper spot it could be deemed lost forever and you just have to buy a new one.

The winds have been blowing here 25-30 with gust in the 40's for the last 12 weeks so getting the boat out for a sail just is not practical. We did finally have a couple of normal days here, winds 15-20 gusting to 25 so on one of those days we sailed over to Shamrock Island and anchored in Shamrock Cove for the day. The island is a Bird Sanctuary and no humans can step onto the sand there but we got the kayak down and kayaked for an hour or so along it's coast and inlets. I did not take a camera as the winds were a bit of a challenge for kayaking & I knew I would need both hands for the paddle. This is the first time the Admiral & I anchored out on Wand'rin star without several other boats along. We will return to this special place for a longer stay but it has to be with North East or East winds to be comfortable in this cove. The prevailing South East or South winds could make it not fun here. We were able to go out on a three hour Bay sail a couple of days later and enjoy 15-20 knot winds with no gust. Even though we have a big heavy boat, the sails are huge so even with winds like this you have to reef the sails a bit. So we used 80% of the main and about 70% of the Genoa.

We will go with the BYC cruise to Lydia Ann Light House the 27th-29th. So we made reservations in the Port Aransas Marina for 2 nights. Some are planning to anchor out in Lydia Ann channel and dingy over to the light house for dinner but one of the BYC members is providing a power boat to ferry those staying in Port A to the Light house for the event. The Major problem with planning on an anchorage this far out is knowing the wind direction and weather forecast is impossible here. Way more often than not the weather is not going to cooperate with a planned date. So if you want to be sure to have the best chance of going you just have to get into a marina. Also there are plans in the works to sail to Fulton for a Jazz Festival there. Here we may accompany the Huddelston's and follow them there to an anchorage that he says is completely protected. The cruising begins!