Wednesday, March 31, 2010

80 Days until 2010 Singlehanded TransPac

Time is ticking down and I am stuck in the yard.  Rain has returned to Berkeley this week and it makes for muddy, stick y sanding.  I have a little more sanding and will begin painting the bottom.  I need three or four good days of weather to finish.

On other fronts, I have changed the propeller and fixed a stuck through-hull.  Local shipwright, Steve Hutchinson is making a new pin for the tiller to rudder connection.  Jay Butler, the rigger, is inspecting my rig and making up a new set of stainless lifelines.

Rob Tryon, one of the race committee chairs visited the other day and was very supportive.

Soon I will be free from the yard and will begin choreographing the finer points of sail changes in a variety of Bay conditions.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Prop Overhaul

I did the "2 year maintenance" on my Kiwi Prop on Sunday.  I also took the opportunity to switch to larger blades.  I am now at an 18.5 inch diameter which will probably match the 56 HP Yanmar much better. 

The disassembly was very easy. A pin is tapped out on each blade.  The pin is shown on the lower right of the bottom blade in the picture. The Marelon blade then slides off the stainless shaft. The pin rides in the grove seen at the top of the shaft.  After cleaning and greasing, the process is reversed.  This was much easier than a Max-Prop.  New blades cost only $300 and now I have a spare set.

The old blades were 16 inches.  We could do 7 knots on flat water, but struggled some in chop. It will be interesting to see the new results.


These are pictures of William Garden's first design. Bullfrog is a gaff-rigged cutter that is 30 feet on deck and 36 feet overall.  She was built in 1947 in Seattle by Lester and Frank.  She recently was purchased and underwent a minor facelift at the Berkeley Marine Center.  The new owner said that he is planning a major overhaul in the next few years including refastening all the planking.

There are some more details and history at Simply Sailing.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Big Splash

Osprey is a wonderful little double ender. She languished for years at the Pt. San Pablo Yacht Club, but has recently been finished out in style by a group of hard working people at the Berkeley Marine Center.  She is a Frances 26 designed by Chuck Paine.  Quite a tough little pocket cruiser.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Polar Bear in Good Old Boat

There is an interesting article in the March/April issue of Good Old Boat magazine about Polar Bear.  The Olson 30 raced in the 2008 Singlehanded Transpac.  The article gives a brief history of the class.

The skipper is Eric Thomas from Duluth, Minnesota.  He discusses his motivations and the preparation of the boat.  He took first in class and second in the race.

There is another Olson 30 entered this year.   Adrian Johnson will skipper Idefix.  Paul Nielsen will pilot Culebra, an Olson 34.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Single Handed Transpac 2008 Video

I ran across this short video of the Valiant 32, Feolena, rockin and rolling at 10 knots off the coast of Kauai. Must be a great feeling on a beautiful day to closing on the finish line.  I would imagine that this boat would be in Maitreya's class.

Lost at Sea

I recently reread Patrick Dillon's Lost At Sea, which was written in the late 1990's. It tells the story of Anacortes, Washington fishermen who were crabbing in the Bering Sea in the early and mid 1980's.  This was a time when the US fishing industry lost between 85 and 145 men a year on dozens of boats.  This was also before the time of safety standards and Captain's licenses for vessels under 200 tons.  These stories eventually inspired cable TV's Deadliest Catch.

The later part of the book follows the 8 to 10 year effort to get safety laws through Congress. Also of great interest is a terrifying chapter where Patrick Dillon tells the tale of his own research trip as a cook/deckhand on a crabber for several weeks.

Fishing has always been one of the most dangerous occupations.  Diminishing catches forced much bigger investments and sailing into more dangerous waters.  The Olympic Quota System which causes a race for fish over a very short fixed period drives fisherman to go out in the worst weather to recoup their massive investments in equipment.  The book shows how deadly the dwindling fish stocks combined with unregulated commercialization turned out to be.

Another good book is Kim Bartlett's  The Finest Kind: The Fishermen of Gloucester.  This focuses on the Massachusetts fishing industry in the 1970's on the cusp of large scale commercialization.

Having recently passed the Captain's exam, it is astonishing that most of what I was required to know was not a requirement for "professionals" spending thousands of days in worst seas in the world until the 1990s.  While the Coast Guard exams require study, they do seem like the minimum amount of knowledge a seafarer would need for those conditions.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Single Handed Transpac History

I ran across this brief history of the Single Handed Transpac.  This was put together by Robby Robinson, a friend of ours from the Pt. San Pablo Yacht Club.  Robby completed the race multiple times and also cruised the world in his boat Rolling Stone.  A great picture of Rolling Stone adorns the Scanmar International website.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hope the Tiki Bar will be Open

I sent in my entry for the 2010 Single Handed Transpac the other day.  It is 2120 miles from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay, Kauai. That is a lot of cat food sandwiches.  I will be heading back to Berkeley soon to prepare the boat.  The race is organized by the Bay Area's Shorthanded Sailing Society (SSS). 

I would expect that Maitreya will be the heaviest boat in the run.  I got a PHRF rating of 186, so hopefully she won't be the slowest.  There are 20 and 26 foot boats entered...

Hoping the tiki bar will be open when I arrive.....

Beautiful Kendall 32

A friend of ours is about to launch his Kendall 32 in Port Townsend.  This follows a multi-year restoration that has definitely made this vessel better-than-new.

The boat has some very smart enhancements for long distance cruising.  There is an updated bowsprit with a broad platform for accessing dual anchor rollers.  The pulpit was raised for better safety. Some of the internal bulkheads were modified to allow the anchor chain to be pulled back as far as the mast.  In the picture, you can see a horizontal chain plate before the name. This is designed for attachment of a bridle for a Jordan Series Drogue.

This design is very sea worthy.  The Kendall 32 was the forerunner of the Westail 32.  It is based on Atkin's Thistle and is closely related to the Eric, which inspired the Westsail 32.  There have been many circumnavigations made in these tough little family of boats.  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston won the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in Suhaili

Vito Dumas circumnavigated through the Roaring Forties in Lehg II. Lehg II was an Argentine designed vessel of very similar dimensions.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cruising Destination: Coupeville, Washington

We visited Coupeville for the Penn Cove Musselfest on Whidbey Island.  It was a fabulous summer day for early March in the Puget Sound.  The festival celebrates North America's oldest mussel farm, Penn Cove Shellfish, LLC.  The farm has been operating about 40 years.  Penn Cove was selected because it had the highest density of mussels anywhere in Puget Sound.  Two rivers empty nutrients into the cove which is warmed by the rain shadow of Olympic Mountains.  The operation is all natural.  Mussels are cultivated on 42 rafts that hold about 35000 strings of disks.  Mussels spawn in the warm spring in the open water.  Their microscopic larvae float around until attaching to all surfaces in the cove.  Strings with disks tied to them hang 20 feet from rafts in 60 feet of cove water.   The young mussels attach en mass to these strings. Nine months to a year later, the strings are thinned so that the mussels will grow to market size.  The farm produces about 2 million pounds a year. Much of the catch is flown across the country and consumed within 24 hours.

The mussel festival includes open artitst studios, a classic car show, live music, beer and of course mussels and mussel chowder.  We ate at Toby's .  Toby's is a classic dive bar with a pool table, juke box and a bar that came around the horn.  The serve fresh steamed mussels with a variety of micro brews, including their own red ale. While Toby's is not an official Latitudes and Attitude's hang out, you can buy the magazine there.

Penn Cove is very sheltered and would make a great stop on the way to the Inside Passage. 

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