Monday, June 30, 2014

Sailing Lake Union with David

David knew about this fantail Motor Vessel, he knew the owners had spent Lots $$ on getting her restored, She is sometimes on display at some of the yachting events around the area so I might see her again up close

Olympus:  check out this linik!

Had to sail by the huge mega yacht 1 more time.

We saw all these people eating dinner on this old Washington State Ferry on the North shore and had to wonder if it was a restaurant or??

Getting Married?

If you want to sail all the way to the I5 bridge, which was my goal today, you have to sail by Ivar's first!

Had to dodge this ship coming out of the Mont Lake Cut bridge

Best way to verify you made the bridge!

More than 1 historic ships on these waters

David had taken a tour of the newest section of house boats on Lake Union so he gave me a tour.

David knows these waters well but he usually does it by Kyak.

Sailing Lake Union with David

I first met David on a free sail at Windworks. I later sent him a email to see if he would go out on a Capri 22 since you have to have crew on there vessels, they do not allow single handing. Anyway David has become a good friend after several ventures on the Sound together so I invited him for a Blanchard 20 Sail on Lake Union. He took right to the Blanchard and since he has frequently Kayaked the whole lake he was full of local information on the goings on at Lake Union. I t was a fine day for a sail and finally enough wind in the right direction to allow us to make the I5 bridge that has been a goal of mine and the previous two attempts I made failed due to light or no winds in the channel leading toward Portage Bay.
Davis is a retired Ford Motor Company Executive so we enjoy comparing retirement stories. We both agree that is is difficult to know how we even had time to work a full time job since we are both so busy all the time now. I think it is probably pretty typical of retired baby boomers who loved their careers when they were in it but live the retired life with the same enthusiasm and definitely with a lot more appreciation for what we have going for us.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Could I Forget Palo Alto?

One of the World's Funkiest Hotels

Flora and Flora in every single Impossible Space

Check out this video of this special garden area just off the parking garage that greets you as you head toward your room:

Good, This will be Big D's first chance to go Swimming!

He Loves it, cautiously....

We came to Palo Alto so my daughter could attend one of her annual Conferences at Stanford, she works for the Stanford Medical Research and does all their blogging and Social Media.

Fun for the Whole Family here

We spent the better part of two days here.

First time for us to see Canada Geese chicks

These wetlands are part of the San Francisco Bay that pass way South and behind Palo Alto

We saw a lot of Stilts here

Huge panoramic vistas

There we 5-6 of these artist, I wanted to hang out behind them and watch but I thought I was invading their space.

"Above the Baylands rippling green
the smooth winds roll, smooth and clean
and the crisp clear flocks of birds, skim serene
exalted above the Blue expanse".

Definitely have to wait for high tide to get a boat out from here

On the map

Drew likes Birds

Our son called and told us about the Greek resturant Evvia , he said we had to eat here and to get the Lamb chops

He was So right

Drew learned that if he wanted to get a ball he had to be fast to beat the others looking to snatch one.

Palm Drive into Standford.

We decided to do lunch at the Alumni Center

D liked Standord, all I have to say is they are gonna have to up their game if they want Drew to attend here. 

D and I had some time to kill while waiting on the Admiral so we watched this Over 60 men's soccer game. The Old dudes enjoyed talking to Drew and they invited me to come join them. The oldest guy on the team was a 92 year old Forward!

I went to get some take out salads for dinner with my daughter and she told me about these Killer Sangria's at Sprouts so I got us a couple while we waited. The Sangria Mark made for us in Palm springs was a bit better though.

I always passed these massage chairs up in the airports, never again!

Take a picture so you can remember where your car is at the Sea-Tac Airport

How Could I Forget Palo Alto?

It just dawned on me.Since we came up to Seattle we have been immersed into the world of 30 somethings. Their whole world is way faster and since they value their time more than money, any time away from work is filled with doing something. They never take advantage of a day off just to chill out and sleep or just laze around. Way different from a couple in their 60's cruising around the Coastal US in a sailboat and never faster than 7 mph! My brain is struggling to keep up.
So that is how I forgot to blog our Palo Alto trip. The last time we were there in 2003 was to attend our daughters graduation where she earned her Masters in Communication. Since that time she has had several jobs as a writer for various online and print newspapers, magazines, and Journals.She currently works for the Stanford Medical Research as their Blogger and Social Media person. She does this from her home in
Seattle and only has to physically report in to her office in Palo Alto a few times a year. So she asked us to accompany her and Drew for her annual week long Big Data in Biomedicene Conference  We were up for it since the last time we were their we really only got to see Stanford and then help her move out of her apartment. Don't get me wrong, anytime during our travels there was a college or university near by we stopped and walked around the campus There is just something that is always positive about being on a college campus.
This time we wanted to see Palo Alto. It all started with the funky hotel that was just a couple blocks from the Stanford Campus, The Stanford Terrace Inn: "An oasis of unexpected elegance" For Sure!
There were potted plants in every available space through out this hotel including small fruit trees of all types. It created a special funky atmosphere in a hotel that draws a international clientele since it is right next door to Stanford so you have quiet the mix. It seems like it was an old apartment building converted to a hotel since the rooms are really spacious and have full kitchens and living areas. The pool was perfect for Big D's first swimming pool experience.
We found the Bay Lands, a protected wetlands on the East side of Palo Alto that had the Lucy Evans Nature Center. We took D birding and exploring this wetland area that also had a bit of boating history connected to it since it is part of the San Francisco Bay area estuaries. We managed to get in two visits and each time there were several artist there working on Panoramic type vistas with the Santa Cruz Mountains as the background. We all liked our time there and we saw some familiar birds and our first Canada Geese chicks.
Another day was spent meeting up with Drew's Aunt and cousin at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo This was his chance to see if he could keep up with a 4 year old super smart girl...nope, to fast! Then a day walking the Stanford Campus and eating a late lunch at the Alumni Center.
The best part of following your daughter around on her adventures is that she has the local knowledge before we arrive so she knows all the good places to eat and we did like the Salads and Sangria at Sprouts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Puget Sound Thursday Night Racing

Windworks offers Thursday Night Racing for members and non-members, you just sign up a few days in advance and show up.

About 18:00 those participating in the evenings racing meet with Eric who provides the course details and randomly assigns crews and boats.

Three make up the crew so you meet your group on the dock and head out to the start line.

The mushroom mooring bouy is the West end of the start line
The white painted Rock at the upper right is the East end of the start line.

This is Warren and Garr, I drew a great crew, they both do this regularly and have the local knowledge we need.

This is where you want to see your competition.

Today the winds were out of the North so we did  three windward leeward races.

At least three other fleets were out racing in the same area so we often had to sail through their fleets.
Two seconds and a fourth, races done at sundown.

The discussion is lively on the docks + some good Ale

A great way to experience racing on Puget Sound.

Second Time out I drew Eric and Erin. We had a first and a second, the third race was cancelled due to high winds and things started breaking.

Racers accumulate points individually so the only way to stay in the hunt is to participate frequently and place in the top three. 

Puget Sound Thursday Night Racing

May was tune up month for the Capri 22 racing at Windworks. After reading about it in the newsletter I decided i would give it a try. The Individual points start in June so I walked into the start of the races that count. Around 18:00 Eric who is the race organizer shuffles everyone into the small classroom to detail the plans for the evening races. Here I find out they will try to get in 3 races if winds allow and learn that I will crew with Warren and Garr. Eric decides who will race with who to make sure the teams are constantly mixed up each week to prevent any type of advantage by having one team with a lopsided advantage by experience. Since we had twelve sailors show up he divided into crews of three and 4 boats. I had sailed with Warren before on a pleasure cruise had met Garr for the first time at one of the monthly happy hours. 
Each boat is skippered by a person chosen by Eric as well as he knows who has the most experience on these Capri 22's then he attempts to assign two other crew to each vessel based on his knowledge of the crew to level the playing field. So in the group of twelve were all levels of experience from those who had years of racing to those who were racing for their first time. 
We learned that with the North winds we would start on a close hauled beat to a green can a couple of miles North of the Marina and back across the start/finish line. If winds allowed we would make three races by sundown.

Garr was our skipper so he took the helm at the first race and with just 4 vessels in the race we would have plenty of space at the long start line that stretches from the marina breakwater to a mushroom mooring buoy a good 100+ yards off the wall. Garr had obviously races here lots so I took mental notes He believed there was an advantage to a Port tack start so at the 5 minute warning we sailed the line to prepare to tach and come across the line on a Port tack. With the long start line it isn't difficult to zip across right at the start horn.
Garr knew the winds were best close to shore so we found ourselves at the mark on a starboard tack and had to drop below a port tack competitor even after warning "Starboard", They did their 360 penalty and we zoomed around the mark and the finish line in second place.
My turn at the helm so I planned on just copying Garr's effort and planned on a Port start. the 5 minute warning and I headed out past the mooring buoy, tacked and headed for the start line. Whoa! whats happening ?, all of a sudden 20+ Lasers were obviously using the same line for a start of their own that had me sailing through this huge fleet of fast moving targets all on a Starboard tack! Whew, we made it and the start about a minute late but we had good winds that allowed us to catch up with the two vessels in the lead at the first mark. Again I was on a port tack but there would be just enough room for me to tack in front of them and round the mark first., The winds were great now and I tacked through the winds and with my inexperience I over steered and lost the advantage the other two sailed right on by and no matter that we all three chose a little different course to t he finish it was just not enough and so I fell from first to fourth on one blown tack.
Warren decided he would start on starboard and we found ourselves in second after the first Mark. The lead vessel was way out front but Warrens' local knowledge had us closing fast and just a few seconds behind scoring another second place finish.
The beer and lively conversation on the dock as the sunlight faded convinced me that I would be doing this as often as possible. Racing in the sound is not all about sail and knowing where the wind is but also where the currents will be favorable The learning environment here is rich and since you never know who you will crew with there is always someone new to learn from. 
On my second experience I got to sail with Eric, the race organizer (and who else has more experience here since is a paid employee who manages every race) For Windworks, and Erin a new employee who wanted to come along and learn on her first race. Eric informed me I would be on the helm for every race since this way it took him a bit out of the equation and Erin was to new so she would just crew. Great, this would really help me with repeated races to refine my technique at the helm. Just three boats for today's races.
The start for the first race was delayed due to no wind and this time since we had South winds we would cross the start on a windward beat on a triangular course to the Low water Mark out near the beginning of the channel going to the Ballard locks, around a green can and back to the start/finish. The problem was the Low water mark had been removed so Eric got on the VHF to notify the fleet that the course had been shortened. We placed 1st on the first race since we were in excellent position when the fleet was notified of the change in course! The winds really pipped up so Eric notified the fleet to put in the first reef in the mainsail before the start of the second race. One vessel elected to put in a second reef since they had a hanked on jib and could not reduce the foresail by rolling a bit in. We know had a windward leeward course and with the winds beginning to gust on the front edge of a weather system it was a lively race. Eric counseled me to just feather up into the gust rather then use the main to spill off wind. After a few hard round ups causing us to tack on one I returned to using the main to spill off the excess. We finished second and began to prepare for the third race by putting in a second reef on the main.We hove to put in the second reef and as we fell off to start the start sequence I looked up and noticed a popped sail slid on the mainsail. At this point Eric decided to call the race rather than risking breaking any more stuff. 
At the dock the Beer and committee talk were good again and Eric announced that just the second race would count since not everyone heard the course change on the VHF. Darn, I could have had three more points! Maybe I can make them up Thursday?