Thursday, June 26, 2003

Eagle Harbor

We actually pulled the sails up and got a little sailing in today. The wind was from the NE and we pulled out all of the canvas. As I was using one of the lower winches to crank in the outhaul, the winch just completely broke off the mast :-(. Looks like the threaded stainless screws pulled out of the aluminum mast. Possibly they were not bedded correctly.

Ranier from Puget Sound

That night we pulled into Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island to stay for a couple of days (turned out to be more like a week).
Bainbridge Island is across Puget sound from Seattle and has a ferry that connects with downtown that runs about once every hour. It is a cute little town and has a nice small town feel to it. As an added bonus, it is pretty easy to take the ferry across to Seattle, have dinner, and ferry back. The last ferry leaves at 1am (or something like that). We stayed at Winslow marnia. It has a littl marine store, a groovy coffe house and a couple of resteraunts.
We also met a fine group of people while we were there. BJ & Trish on another Tayana 37; David and his wife living on a WWII dentist boat; and Bob, a retired minister, on his Hans Christian, getting ready to start sailing a bit.
On Friday morning I hoped on the ferry to Seattle from there I took Amtrak back down to Olympia to pick up our car. All went well, except that the Amtrak train terminal is out in the middle of nowhere with a bus that shows up once an hour. Of course, the bus schedule and the train schedule are not synchronized, so I had just missed the bus by about 10 minutes. While I was digging in the phone book trying to catch a cab, a guy came up to try to buy some tickets at the station. Of course the station attendents had bugged out early before closing time and he was out of luck. I, however, was in luck and managed to score a ride downtown to pick up our car. The next stop was West Marine to pick up a new Battery and a bunch of electronics. Because this is a boat, nothing can ever go smoothly, so of course, the charger I ordered was the wrong type. Seems the catalog had the incorrect numbers in it ... hmmph. Okay, I'll just order this thing and pick it up at some other West Marine .... Everything else seemed to be there and I was off to pick up an outboard motor for our dingy. You guessed it, they were sold out. This was after the sales guy told me two days ago that they had plenty in stock and I didn't need to reserve on. Well they did call around for me and found another motor up in Auburn. Turns out it was on sale and about 100 bucks cheaper than I was going to pay anyway. So a bonus. I didn't have time to hit Auburn today, but could do it on Saturday. So I head back up to Bainbridge Island for a much needed nap.
Saturday - Road Trip
So we have a bunch on our plate ... and it mostly involves spending money .... ye hah. First stop, Auburn to pick up our dingy motor. Cha-ching - 1 unit. Next stop, Union lake to pick up an inflatable. Cha-ching - 2 units. Next stop, Fisheries Supply to pick up a bunch of random crap. Cha-ching - 1 unit. Ye hah. Got to stop.
Afterwords, we went up north to Kenwood to visit one of Kathy's friend's sister and husband for dinner (Beth & Eric). They have a nice house in the woods just north of lake Washington and a nice little wooden boat on the lake. We all seemed to hit it off and they offered to let us keep our car up there for the summer (we were going to keep it at the airport). We will think about it. Anyway, we had a great fun at there house and hope to get up with them soon.
That evening we took the Edmonds-Kingstion ferry at about 11:30pm and hit the pillow pretty hard when we got back at 12:30am!
Beth, Eric and the Kids came over to see our boat. We had a nice time hanging out in Bainbridge and had lunch at a suprisingly good Mexican resteraunt. We couldn't go out for a sail, since I still had to fix the batteries - tomorrow.
Monday - Thursday
Boat work day! Replaced battery bank 2 with new gel. Replaced alternator with high output Balmer. Added new external charger. Rewired battery banks. Fixed a bunch of other crap. Whew. I am beat. Is this the fun part? Somewhere in here we go to Seattle pick up our newly regalvonized anchors and our newly inspected life raft (another unit! anyone keeping track?)
Somewhere in there we had a really nice dinner in Bainbridge.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Gig Harbor

The next morning we hung around Boston Harbor for a bit so that the Tacoma Narrows tide was running in a favorable direction. The views were just kicker!
Many people really like Gig Harbor. I'm not sure what the appeal is. We thought it a bit dumpy. The highlight was the mega-yacht "Mystic" that had just been commission. All of their crew was running around trying to get the damn thing to work. They had people flying in from all over the country trying to get it set up. They even had a fleet of mopeds with "Mystic" engraved on them at the head of the dock. Truly ghastly.
Mt. Ranier from South of Tacoma

Boston Harbor

Damn, now the boat is ready and we still have to buy food. That is just friggin' crazy! But we load up pack the boat and pull away from the dock at about 4pm. It feels good to get away. Never mind that our destination is only about an hour away in Boston Harbor. We are finally moving. We don't quite have our shit together to anchor so we are going to moor in Boston Harbor.
Boston Harbor is a cute little community just north of Olympia. It has a cool little store with kayak rentals and nothing else.

It also has some kick butt views of Mount Olympia.

After Kathy and I got back from a walk a guy was having a his picture taken in front of our boat for an album cover for his latest album. He said it was spiritual music. I'm not sure what that means in Olympia (they have a Magic/witchcraft store in Olympia), but I suspect it is more of the traditional burn in hell good old time religion.
We also met a nice couple that had a boat for sale across from us, Gary and Susan. They were in the process of selling off all their possesions, buying a new boat and heading for the open water. Susan gave us a couple of prints of her artwork to liven up our boat. We wish them good luck and hope to see them again on the high seas.

Monday, June 23, 2003

See Ya Olympia


The sails are done. We cruised over and picked them up. Lookin' good.

Monday - Still in Olympia

It looks like we are really going to get out of here. The pulpit is done. It took most of the day to reinstall it and drill new holes in out new platform. But it went mostly well. I installed the running lights and they even seem to work. Now for a little of this and a little of that and we can cruise.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Summer Solstice

But fist, what Saturday would be complete without a trip to the boat store? Three of them. At the first store we picked up a new burner for our stove. It seems the previous one was only held together with epoxy and managed to break and produce all kinds of funky flames. The trip was interesting we managed to hit tons of traffic around .... Later we found out why. We were only mere steps away from another famous summer solstice event. The Fremont summer solstice, let it all hang out, parade. Complete with a bevy of nude bicyclist to top off the day. Now that is some pagan fun.But there is more boat crap to do so we head over to Budget Sound Inflatables and check out some dinghies.
Now we are off to the Vikings. And these guys really know how to party. Tug of war. Fish toss. Bonfires. A good time, you betcha.

Don't forget to enlarge this baby so you can zoom in on the fish during its flight to the bucket.

Sacrificial Virgin

Ahh the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the time when all good pagans go a bit crazy. Since we are pretty much stuck for the next couple of days we decide to check out Poulsbo's summer solstice festival. Poulsbo is a tiny town located on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula. Years ago, as their fishing and farming lifestyle waned, the town fathers dug hard and deep into their collective creative selves and decided to reinvent the town. The town would now be Norwegian. They would have Vikings and rename the shops and make downtown look like a bit of Norway (Heck they were even located on a fjord ... of sorts). And like any good Viking town, they must celebrate all of the Viking holidays.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Limbo Land

We brought the sails by Cox Molded sails for them to have a look. The owner was pretty nice and is going to try to have them done by next Monday (1 week). So Kathy and I think that we can leave on Thursday for Gig harbor and use our old beater sails and just pick up the repaired sails when done. Sounds like a plan.
Shurtz finally got to work on the bow pulpit platform. I've been waiting over 2 1/2 weeks for the stupid thing and am ready to get the damn thing on! So far it looks pretty good, but the anchor rollers are now 2" back. Now I am just praying that the anchors will fit. I was supposed to get the anchors back from the galvonizing place today, but they are behind schedule so I won't get them until Wednesday. A Thursday departure is starting to look unlikely.
On Tuesday I finally dry fitted the pulpit itself. This is another thing that should have probably been fixed a week ago. I ended up taking it over to a local welding shop to have some of the cracked welds replaced. Maybe they will be done by Friday. I am sure now that we are here for the duration of the summer.
Now it is Wednesday morning and we have a funky misty-rainy day. We will pick up the anchors and liferaft.
The anchors look good. I brought them down to the boat and tried to have them fitted ... of course the big 60# CQR is way too big. Didn't these guys measure the old pulpit platform. So now even a Friday departure is looking like a no go.
On Thursday, the Shurtz guy comes over and we enlarge the roller holes so that the big CQR fits. Right then the welder guys calls and says the bow pulpit is ready. Holy crap! I may make it out on Friday. I cruise on over and they've missed a couple of welds ... damn! However, I did get the new backstay mounted radar mount in the mail (to replace the old crappy one that was mounted to the cap rail). Of course I am batting about only 0.300 today, so of course there is a problem with the fit. After farting around with it for about two hours I realize another h/w store trip is in order and decide to blow it off until Friday.
Friday morning rolls around and I head off to the library for some serious dingy research on the Internet and then off to the h/w store for some parts and a grinder for the drill. It is amazing how easy things go together when you have the right equipment! The new radar mount goes right up and looks great. Now I just need a waterproof cable pass-thru for the electrical cable and it is good to go. As an added bonus, after reading the manual, I noticed that the unit was not properly grounded. I wonder what other fun surprises I'll find as I dig deeper into the bowels of the boat. The pulpit is still not done. When the hell do we get to leave? I've made an executive decision. If the pulpit is not done by noon on Monday, then I take it with me and have it fixed in a couple of weeks. It is time to get out of here!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Week of Boat Prep

Saturday, Olympia
This week was boat prep week. I've been slowly knocking items off my list. The big surprise project this week was installing a new water strainer. Earlier in the week I was feeling positively lazy. I was going to let Shurtz install the strainer for me. So on Wednesday we cruised over to the work dock and started the process. Turns out the old strainer had two different size hoses on it: 1 1/4" where it connected to the thru-hole and 1" where it connected to the water pump. I, of course, just measured one side of the strainer and picked up 1 1/4" fittings. So we nipped that project in the bud. Shurtz was also supposed to install my new bow sprit platform, but that wasn't quite ready so we delayed that until Friday.
On Thursday, Kathy and I cruise back up to Seattle to get parts and to look at our life raft. The life raft is getting ready to be repacked and is sitting fully inflated on the floor of Puget Sound Inflatables. It is kind of nice to see what the thing looks like before you need to use it. The raft also has a dome light and flasher that needed replacing. but the (rather small) battery cashed out at $180, we are already paying $600 to get his thing serviced. Screw that! The existing one still had a good charge on it and we have a strobe on our EPRIB, so I decided to nix it. Then another trip up to Fisheries Supply to pick up all of the water strainer parts. Hmm, it is 5pm and I have all of my strainer parts so I decide to install the damn thing myself. Of course nothing is ever as straight forward as one might expect. I had to move by charger first (to a drier location!) and remove the inverter that was mounted on the opposite side of the bulkhead. Now the inverter was not connected and I was going to see if it even worked. When I removed the inverter it made the most amazing rattling noise. I opened it up and noticed that someone had let all of the smoke out of the power transistors that were connected to the AC output. Looks like someone had connected the inverter directly to shore power --- oops. Pitch one inverter. The rest of the installation was pretty straightforward and three hours later and it was all done.
New strainer with old leaky strainer below.

Charge it
Friday morning was wet. After being here for about two weeks it was our first rainy morning. I had to cancel the bow platform installation because of the weather. Of course about an hour later it cleared up a bit. I spent the rest of the morning deciding what to do about my batteries. Kalliope has two battery banks. Bank 1 consists of 2-4Ds. Bank 2 consists of a 4D and a DF180. On the charging side of life a nice multi-step shore charger (Truecharge-40), Solar panels, and a Delco-type Automotive Alternator. This set up is seriously broke and I suspect it is why bank 2 holds less of a charge than a AA battery. When I bought the boat, the Truecharge had been set on AGM instead of gel. I initially thought that was why bank 2 was trashed. But I have other issues. First the solar panels put out an unregulated voltage of around 18v. So they will just charge and charge as long as there is sunshine (there is a cutoff switch though). Second, the alternator puts out 14.8 volts and is unajustable. This voltage is way to high for gels and is probably what cooked them. So now I am looking at replacing the alternator and Bank 2. After thinking about this on and off for about a month I've decided to rewire the boat so that it has a single house bank (Bank 1) and starter bank (Bank 2). I think this will be easier than it sounds since the only major thing that I need to do is move the dedicated electronic connection from Bank 2 to Bank 1. The other thing that I decided was to use independent chargers for each bank instead of using a combiner or an isolator. So the Trucharge-40 stays since it can charge multiple banks independently (by the way, the house switch was typically set on both at the dock, this defeated the advantage of having multiple charger outputs). A couple of months ago I picked up a FlexCharge Solar charge controller with dual outputs (PV7D), it also stays. And the final piece will be a Balmar alternator with dual outputs and two chargers. Monday Update: On monday I called up Balmar. It turns out that the dual outputs are not independently regulated like I thought. It only uses one charger. Kind of a goofy solution. So now the change is a single output alternator with a digital echo charger for the starting bank.
So with the pieces in place, I decided to install the Solar charger next to the Truecharge-40. I also placed an off switch so that it won't fight with the Truecharge when I'm at shore. Today I've turned off the Truecharge and just using the solar panels. I had a light on all morning and have been running the fridge and playing the radio. It has been mostly cloudy and the panel seems to be keeping up. Tomorrow it is supposed to be sunny so I'll measure the current at noon and see how these panels are doing.
Wash Day Sunday
The panels put out a peak of around 4.3 amps when connected to the charger. Average seems to be around 4 amps. So we should get around 40 amp-hours a day on an average day and maybe up to 50 amp-hours on a really sunny day. Probably enough to run the fridge!
So we pulled the sails up to the grass to wash them and also to inspect some of the random sails that we have. We had a bit of a nasty surprise when examing a couple of them!
Sail Inventory:

  1. Main: Heavy duty main. Dirty, but seems to be in good shape.

  2. Staysail: Original sail. This sail has a rip at the head and needs repair. As an added bonus it's luff cord is basically gone. We will repair it for now and replace it at the end of the summer.

  3. 130% Genoa: In really good shape except that the UV cover stiching is completely dead and must be restiched - bummer.

  4. 100% Jib: The original jib. Pretty dead. We will use it until we get the Genny back from the sail maker.

  5. Storm Jib: Really good shape. Doesn't look like it has been used much. Use it until the Staysail is repaired.

  6. Big Ass Asymetrical Spinaker: Fine shape.We will probably stow this for now and bring it out once we have our shit together.

Thursday, June 05, 2003


Saturday was mostly a day of rest. We probably only worked on the boat a couple of hours. However, we did manage to explore Olympia for most of the days. Olympia is the Southern most part of Peugeot Sound and also the capitol of Washington.In recent years Olympia has bee fixing up their water front. There are multiple marinas, a boatyard, and grocery stores all within easy walking distance. Multiple restaurants line the water front and nearby 4th street. One of our favorite lunch spots is Pho Olympia (Vietnamese). Kathy and I shared a nice hot bowl of pho one cool day. Other spots of interest include the Spar (on 4th). They have wireless Internet access for about $3/hr. A block away on 5th, The Tea Lady, offers free WiFi access and a nice spot to have a cup of tea. Also check out Mercato a nice Italian spot near the farmers market.
Probably one of the nicest features of the waterfront area is Olympia's farmers market. They are open Thursday thru Sunday and are a great place to provision on vegetables, organic meats, fresh breads, pastries, and seafood. We picked up some fresh whole scallops for the evening meal. I had never had scallops in the shell, but kind of knew what to expect. They are amazingly disgusting! But after cleaning, they were delicious.

Back to working on the boat. I decided to start up with some of the basic maintenance. I checked the raw water strainer and saw a bit of seaweed in it ... so I decided to clean it. Opened it up cleaned it and noticed corrosion on the brass around seal. I tried to put it back together, but was unable to seal it completely ... looks like it is time for a new strainer. Nothing is easy about this. The existing strainer is this tiny thing that was custom built in Taiwan. Replacement strainers won't fit into the existing strainers space. Time to reroute the water inlet!
So when I bought this boat it had a battery charger that was had been set to charge AGM batteries, the problem was that I had GEL batteries. Bank 2 has always seemed to be a bit weak. I started doing some load tests and concluded it was really hosed. I started trying some of the Nigel Cader tricks to revive it. Next week I'll try the more drastic measures and the replace it if I need too.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Homeward Bound

We had planned on taking the Anchors up to Seattle to get them galvanized in the afternoon and then swing back and get a hotel room near the Airport since both Kathy and I had early flights on Thursday. Of course the Anchors were not completely sand blasted to we found the afternoon off. We decided to drive up to Tacoma and check out their water front. We had earlier read an article about how Tacoma was developing their water front and trying to attract cruisers. The article included a couple of pretty photos of the new glass museum. Well Tacoma still needs a bit of work before it hits my list of places that I want to hang out. They have some good ideas going, but they are at least a year or two away from getting everything done that they need to.

We did manage to get to Point Defiance Park that afternoon. It is a really nice urban park with a really pretty drive around the perimeter. It also includes a zoo, multiple gardens, and miles of hiking trails. Definitely worth a look if you are in the area.

That night we stayed at a hotel near the Airport and ate at nice little strip mall Italian place called Luciano's. Very tasty.

We are truly insane. Our next couple of days will cause us to travel thousands of miles all around the cou. I'm off to Huntsville, Alabama to visit some high school buddies from the debate team (you already knew I was a geek, right?) and Kathy is going back to Colorado to bring back Trier's remains to our house and to get Belini so she can stress out on the boat.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Steppin' Out

Ah, today we get to be a sailboat again. It is kind of embarrassing to be docked without a mast. People actually come up to you and say things like, "That sure is a funny looking boat. It almost looks like a sailboat." But first we get to change the oil. I decided to let Shurtz do the change since I didn't feel like buying an oil pump. So we motor on over and they do the oil change. Now it is time to step the mast. I start up the motor and start pulling around the dock and the engine just dies ... damn, they forgot to turn the fuel back on. Luckily we aren't too far away from the dock and I get a line to Kathy and we proceed to line her around the dock. This is really quite the chore since we weight over 13 tons. But the mast finally goes on and we are a sailboat again.
Tonight I found an open WiFi location that I can access from my car: The Tea Lady on 5th. We ended up going there the next day and connecting as well (also got a spot of tea).

Monday, June 02, 2003

Fishing for Anchors

Road Trip to Seattle

We decided to road trip to Seattle and do some marine related errands. The first was too get a new battery for our EPIRB and get the life raft serviced. We took them both to Puget Sound Inflatables. Servicing these guys is not cheap and will probably cost us another unit.

We also found a galvanizing place to get our Anchors cleaned up. This place was truly a dump. Later we found another place, Ace Galvanizing, that was only a mile away from the Puget Sound Inflatables that we ended up taking the Anchors to. I dropped off three Anchors: 65# CQR, 45# CQR and ~30# Dansforth. It will cost about $75 to get all of them dipped.

Our next stop brought us to Fisheries Supply where we managed to buy all kinds of goodies. These guys are already cheaper than West Marine and if you get an account with them the savings can be even larger.

After that we took a break and did a bit of touristing. We visited the Market in downtown Seattle and had dinner at Wild Ginger. I had eaten at Wild Ginger about 10 years ago. They've moved since then and have greatly expanded their space. I liked their old satay bar better, but the food was still outstanding.