Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back On Water

I'm back in the water and floating. Its good to be a boat again. I took my dad over to fairhaven to where I moor the boat, and we made fabulous speed the whole way, so I am very excited about the bottom coating. Very fast. Lafawnda did wonderfully for the upwind run from the boatyard to Fairhaven, so I'm happy about that as well. I think she works better now that the bottom is cleaner, and the boat is faster. One point of trouble, my waterwheel speedometer is not working so hot now, I painted it a little bit and that slows it down, so its wrong by about 1/2 a knot or maybe more. Here are pictures of the sequence...
So now there the only things to do are to get food, fill up with water and diesel, and make sure I have everything packed tight.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I hauled out today, and cleaned the bottom and did some painting. Unfortunately, in this kind of work, there isn't enough time to get pictures, so I don't have any of the hauling part, or of before the bottom was cleaned off, but suffice to say, it was quite dirty, with 3 inches of barnacles on the bottom of the keel. Dad helped me clean it off and then we put on a layer of bottom paint (EXPENSIVE paint, it was $300) and I'll put another layer on tomorrow. My hands smell toxic still.
Altair is still up on the hard tonight, and will be getting back into the water on Wednesday, so I'll have enough time to put another coat of paint on, hopefully enough to last for a few years.
I also made a video of the boat after painting it a bit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More sail work

I made a spare mainsail, in case I ever destroy my normal one. Its really small, but hopefully will do the trick to get me into port somewhere. I sewed the edges with my mother's Viking machine, and I'm really impressed with the job it did. Also, I'm trying to make a new dodger, but I keep ending up fixing the old one and putting it back on, because it fits right. Its really hard to make the new one fit just right. (Picture is of the new one) The old one works, but its old, and not as nice looking, and has some holes in it. Oh well. The Zodiac is out sailing a lot, which is nice, I like watching that boat sail. Its really sailing season here now. Yesterday (sunday) there were 30 or more sailboats out on the water just playing around. I didn't go sailing, but worked on sewing instead, and I'll go another time. In fact, once I put on my main with the new reef point, I had to try it out, so I took the boat out for a couple hours, and then tried to Heave To. (see video)
I think I'll try to make a Sea Anchor as well, just to have something that will help steer the boat while Hove To. The way that works is that you tie to the anchor at two points on the boat; front and back, and you use the two cranking points to adjust the angle relative to the waves. If the two lines are the same length, then the boat is sideways to the seas, so you adjust it to be about 45 degrees off, and then try and stay in the slick you generate. In the books that you can read about old-time small boat crossings, they would use oil or kerosene to create a slick upwind of them, and it would help keep the waves from breaking over the boat and being damaging.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring at last!

I think today proved that spring is really here. It was nice and sunny, and that warm northerly breeze started up, the one that blows only in the summer here. I'm excited. I also took my car out for a drive over the weekend (and got a speeding ticket, my first one ever!) And here it is! My new ride, well, new to me, and new to me about two months ago... Anyways, its a nice little honda civic again, like the Smurf Rocket, but slightly newer. I'll get more glamor shots later. Maybe I'll do some road trips in it some day.
So I drove down to Samish Island, and took the shot of Bellingham bay from the way south (can you tell which one it is?).
I've also been doing some work on the boat, of course. I just sewed myself another reef point in my main sail, and it wasn't that hard to do. It took me about 3 hours to sew it up, and then I went to this sail shop (Skookum sails) and they put grommets in, for a total of 12 bucks! This is the cheapest big fix I've done thus far, I think.
And I've put in my swim step ladder, on the side. It works out well I think, but I'll have to be careful if I run into anything, or it might get torn off as I scrape by things. But it will help a lot in getting into the boat from over the side, and if I take other people out with a skiff, its really useful for getting back on board.
The Zodiac (tall ship based in Bellingham) is out sailing again as well.
I've got a list that is getting smaller by the day, and soon I'll clean off the bottom and then I'll be off!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I did some engine work!
I replaced my Freeze Plugs, one of which was leaking, and I cleaned up the engine as best I could, trying to get all the corrosion off. I also changed the oil, the oil filter, the fuel filter, and replaced the stuffing box (which lets the propeller turn, but keeps the water out). I did tons of stuff, and I'm very proud. Now the engine only has an exhaust leak, which is not an easy fix, but I think I'll manage sometime, and it will make it quieter, and there is a super slight water leak in the thermostat.
I changed the engine zinc, which keeps the corrosion out (supposedly), but since its a tiny zinc, I added another one on the top of the engine. To do all this, I had to lift the engine up out of its mounting place, and put it in the middle of the boat. Only then did I have access to the propeller shaft, so I could replace the stuffing box. I did it while it was in the water, which means water is pouring in trying to sink the boat. But I was quick, and now its done.
The engine sounds pretty good, and I have plenty of power and almost no water in the bilge, so I'm pretty happy with it all. I think I spent about 60 bucks on the whole shebang. These pictures are of before, during, and after the freeze plug surgery. I've also taken some movies, I'll post them too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Patos Light

I took a trip out into the northern San Juan Islands over the last couple days, and saw some flowers that were pretty, and went ashore on Patos Island, to walk over to see the lighthouse. I'd never actually gone over to the lighthouse before, so it was pretty nice. High above me there was a Peregrine Falcon watching, and the lighthouse is closed for the winter (for tourists). Patos was Isla de Patos, or island of the ducks, named by the spanish explorers who came here a long time ago. In fact, George Vancouver sailed in on a mission to map the NW coast and met Quadra and Bodega (I don't know their first names) when they were also mapping the area. Consequently, the area has lots of English and Spanish names (like Whidbey, Vancouver, Bellingham, and Fidalgo, Eliza, Guemes, Gabriola). Bodega also had a bay named after him in California. And Quadra gets an island near Campbell River.
It got really rough out in the strait of Georgia, where the current and wind oppose each other, and I believe it was something like 40 knots of wind, so I'm not to happy to be reminded about how uncomfortable the boat is going to weather. I also have broken my new roller furler, but not badly.
So I'm hoping for calm seas before heading southbound, and I think I'll be selective of my weather windows.