Monday, March 10, 2014

Sailing Puget Sound -The Dream Continues

I liked this early 70's Catalina Capri 21, not a drop of water in the Bilge...means no leaks, but the sails were toast.

When you make the turn toward Shilshole Marina you get a different view of the Olympics
Just before you get to Shilshole Marina you see this Bascule Railroad bridge over the Lake Washington Channel just before the Ballard Locks, quite a landmark! 

This Tanzer 22 Looked promising at first.

The Solution, Windworks!

Captain Elena was my checkout skipper on "Sleepnir" a Dufour 32.5

Besides being a captain she is expert Crew.

I only made 3 little mistakes during my checkout ;0
You can see the Mainsheet winch next to the companionway, a long way from the wheel, and the Jib sheet winches on the combing again too far forward making singelhanding a man over board drill in this cockpit troubelsome. That big cockpit table making it difficult to go from the starboard to Port jib sheet winch in a hurry. Would not own this boat.

1.Yell “man overboard” and designate a spotter. This person never takes their eyes off the COB.
2.Throw type IV PFD or other flotation devices .
3.Immediately change course to a beam reach.
4.When you are about 5-7 boat lengths* from COB, tack and let the jib luff completely.
5.Fall off to a broad reach and cross your original path, pointing 2-3 boat lengths* downwind of the COB.
6.When the COB is approximately at 10:00 or 2:00 o’clock*, sharply head up to close reach.
7.Let main luff and coast to a stop beside COB in safety position. Ideally COB will be on your low side. Remember, this maneuver is executed perfectly in an ideal situation ONLY. If you have a crew-overboard situation, the most important thing is to get them onboard as quickly as possible.

Free Sail on a Bavaria 34 with Glenn, David, Dave, Jeff and Rick

Motoring out of Shilshole

When it was my turn at the Helm the wind died, but it was easy to get this pic of  just one reason why you have to a proper lookout!

The winds perked up and we sailed for Elliot Bay

Glenn on my right and Rick at the Helm

When the space needle came into view I knew the Admiral could see us so I texted her and asked her to take a pic or us.

Elliot Bay marina in the Foreground, us out in Puget Sound and Bainbridge Island in the background.

Zoomed in a bit

Then Full zoom

This Spot was just outside of Shilshole Marina

Our Spot tracks for the whole sail.

1st Sail on a Capri 22 with Sailing Buddy David

Well you can use the Google Map program on your Iphone to help identify your position as well

The Capri 22 is a lively and responsive, I wonder if the Colgate 26 is any better? 

The Dream Continues

Sailing Puget Sound

As soon as we arrived in Seattle I started thinking If or when we might put Wand'rin Star on a truck and bring her back up here. Any sailor who has the opportunity to stand on the shores of Puget Sound can only think of sailing these awesome waters. My volunteer work as a Sail Instructor at The Center for Wooden Boats certainly helped distract me from those thoughts but after nearing competency as a sail instructor I again turned my attention to the Sound. We have family in Texas that will soon need some assistance so trucking WS up here is just not practical now.
My next inclination was to just buy a small, inexpensive day sailor and just sell it when we returned to Texas.
The Wooden Boat Center gets several vessels donated to them which they put up for sale to raise money for their programming. A 21' Capri was donated and I soon started thinking about that vessel and started checking around on slip fees at Elliot Bay and Shilshole marinas. I also did a little research on local companies that chartered small sailboats but at first it seemed that it would be best to own my own. The Capri was pretty cool and it was a dry boat, meaning no leaks, But I would need to buy a small outboard for it and the sails were completely worn out. So I checked Craig's List and found a very reasonable Tanzer 22 which happened to be at Shilshole. I met the owner Gordon at the boat and spent an afternoon with him discussing the boat. When I spotted the boat from a distance it looked promising but even though I tried to work through the many issues surrounding sailing, purchasing, or even sharing the vessel with the owner I could not commit even though the owner offered several different options since he needed to unload some or all of the responsibility of the vessel. It was clear that any vessel that I would find  would have some issue requiring additional fix up money and possibly even haul out cost to check hull condition. If I was to get the Admiral or any of my family out with me here in Seattle I had to make sure the vessel is safe, and that takes a bit of investment.
As I was leaving Shilshole on my visit to talk to Gordon I stopped in to check out the membership deals at one of the companies that operates a sailing club and charter boats. They had a 1/2 price initial fee during the boat show so that got me to paying attention to joining the sailing club where you pay a monthly fee for unlimited sailing. I went back to my computer and checked on the sailing clubs one more time. On my last day at the boat show I checked the program to see if any of the sailing clubs had a booth. I found Bill at Windworks Sailing booth so I got to talk with the owner directly and he answered all my questions regarding the Capri 22 club. This was the perfect solution for my needs. They have a very well maintained and safe fleet of vessels and so that is taken care of and I do not need my own insurance so that is another expense saved. Now for less than a slip fee at Shilshole I get unlimited Sailing as a member of the Capri 22 Sailing club. They have all sorts of vessels both power and sail of all sizes in their fleet so if we wanted to do something different we would get reduced charter prices for other vessels as well. The club calender is filled with all sorts of other free activities where they get members together different boating and social events. The free monthly happy hours are great fun and you can connect to others who want to share the Sail!
They accepted my sailing Resume and said I would only need to do a sail checkout with a Captain to demonstrate my sailing skills. I scheduled a Wednesday afternoon with Captain Elena who turned out to be a terrific skipper. She ran me through sailing skills on a Dufour 32.5 and the last thing I had to do before going in and demonstrate my docking skills was to demonstrate a figure 8 Man over board drill. Well I had done this several times in my early years but it had been a while since I had practiced. The first attempt was ok but it was sketchy, so I told her I wanted to go at it two more times to refine it. The second time was better so I told her I would single hand the third time since you often only have two on board anyways. I nearly overshot the MOB but I successfully sailed up to and stopped the vessel and retrieved the fenders from the water. Single handing the Dufour 32.5 was a challenge since you have to get in front of the very large wheel to the mainsheet. knowing your vessel is a large part of performing a Figure 8 efficiently. I am sure one could make it a lot better by practicing a position to steer from forward of the wheel so you could be in closer proximity to the mainsheet. We went in to practice docking and it went pretty well but on one occasion we had a difference of opinion on how to use a spring line to spring off the dock when the wind has you pinned on. We had to spring off on lots of occasion during our cruise to Florida so this is something I can do single handed. I tossed it off as a difference in language as she expected me to spring off in reverse rather than in forward so she prepared the spring line her way and it caught me by surprise when we did not spring off neatly, I thought to myself, whoops, she put the line on the cleat the wrong way? Oh well we talked about it and shrugged it off. No one died so she passed me and since I did the check out in one of their larger boats I am good to charter any sailboat in the fleet.The one thing that I am so impressed with are the number of women that are every bit as good or better than any man sailor here in the PNW. I have met three female captains and they are all awesome. I teach just as many women as men at the Center for Wooden Boats. Many more women are fully competent sailors than you find in the South on the Gulf. It is just the culture in the PNW, it is a outdoor culture where the playground is not only the water but the mountains, forest and the weather.  Elena is a first rate Captain and I was lucky to meet her.
The first event I attended was a Free Happy Hour where I met several people but did not make a connection for a sailing buddy. Then I went on a Free Sail, you just call and reserve a spot and then show up jump aboard with 5 other members for a 5 hour sail. Another good chance to meet and talk to local sailors. I met David, Dave, Glenn, Jeff, and Rick who had all been members for several years and a couple even own their own vessel at Shilshole. David and Jeff said they could get off during the week and would like to sail with me on the C22's so now I had two new sailing buddies. Windworks does not allow you to single hand their vessels, they said even if it is a 10 year old kid, just someone who can operate the radio and call for help. Well it is pretty cold water in the Sound!
Then the 1st week of March I finally checked out a Capri 22 and David was able to come along. It is always good to have some local knowledge on board when venturing out in these kind of waters. Besides the big tides and currents the shipping lanes are pretty busy and it helps to get practical sailing advice and some mental landmarks for the purpose of staying alive.I always think of  Dr.Ken Dorman at Commanders Point Marina who would say after returning to the docks " Cheated Death one More time". We sailed West from Shilshole 5 Nm. over to Port Madison on "Ruby Slippers" with winds from 18-0. We reefed the main before leaving at the dock since the C22 is a a relatively light vessel. We would reef our C250 anytime the winds were above 12 mph it was such a tender boat. The winds were good until we got into the lee of Bainbridge Island entering Port Madison (bay) and I wondered if the current was providing all the way? We had to get back by 5pm since I had also scheduled a Free Night sail with Captain Curly (aka Bill) and started back across the Sound with rain looking close by. the winds picked up 15-20 as we neared the marina but we escaped any rain and just a few sprinkles as we were closing the boat up.
The Night Sail was different though. 6 members total on a Bavaria 34, a very nice 34' see:  and one of the best boats of that size I had ever been on. I can't remember all the names I met that night since it was just enough to try and learn the important surrounding lights in mild to heavy rain and shifty winds. Being able to pick out the Navigation lights among all the lights on the shore is a challenge for anyone who does not regularly sail their local waters at nigh especially squinting in the wind driven rain on your face. I did not bring my foul weather pants with me from the boat, I just had water resistant soccer pants on so I was pretty soaked from the waist down. There was a partial Bimini and a Dodger but only the two who hid under the dodger and Captain Curly at the Helm received the benefit. I wanted to move about and see it all anyways and I have already acclimated to the non-Texas temps.
The Icing on the cake was just yesterday when the skies cleared, the sun came out and the Admiral came sailing with me on "Ruby Slippers" in Puget Sound.The winds were up a bit so I decided to not work to hard and just enjoy the afternoon on the water for a casual cruise with just the Jib. She spotted a Eagle flying over and as we were making our way back to the channel to the marina she spotted a Sea Lion swimming by. She wasn't sure about sailing in such big waters in a 22' boat but she relaxed and had a lot of fun looking for and spotting wildlife.

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