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Archive for the ‘Boat Maintenance’ Category

Experiencing summer in the San Juan Islands has been delightful! The past two summer seasons we’ve been up north in British Columbia and I didn’t get out of my fleece and wool clothing till we made trips back to Colorado. I was not a fan. But here in Anacortes, we’ve been enjoying temperate weather—60s to low 80s—which feels just right for the adventures we’ve also been enjoying. (more…)

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I’ve been drawing a lot of attention on the dock in Anacortes, Wash., lately. Who wouldn’t while they’re stripping down to bareness in preparation for a healthy dousing of oil? Whoa! What? (more…)

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WorldMap

Where in the world is Sundown?
Look here!

Our sweet Sundown, a 1982 Hans Christian 33t sailboat, feels newer and more beautiful than ever. And she should as we’ve invested more time and several boat bucks (1 buck = $1,000!) into her over the winter. As we make final preparations to set sail for British Columbia this weekend, we thought you’d like to see some of what’s new.

barometer

A Weems & Plath barometer to help us better predict weather (a generous gift from our friend Chris Bowman who felt Sundown wasn’t complete without it).

Sundown’s original Kenyon stove gave up the ghost…well, the oven did. And you know what time it is when your oven quits? Time to get a new one! We now have a shiny three-burner Force 10 (kind of like a Wolf stove for boats). The oven holds an accurate temperature and the stove top has pot holders to keep what’s cookin’ from sliding off the stove when under way.

toilet

Because $@#! happens! Replacing the original hand-pump-to-flush head with a fancy electric one was the BEST improvement ever! Just tap the rocker switch and “swoosh!” Poo begone!

We installed a ProFurl roller furling for the genoa (the big sail out front). So rather than the genoa being attached to the head stay (the cable the runs from the top of the mast to the very front of the boat) with bronze hanks, which is very traditional, it’s now attached to a rod that runs the length of the head stay and rolls up around it. The photo on the left shows the hanked-on genoa in a down position and tied to the life lines. The photo on the right shows the genoa on its furling. Thank you Dave O’Connor of Bellingham Sails & Repair for modifying the genny for the new system!

We have Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks! Given our experience in BC last year, the farther north we traveled, the more limited off-boat physical activity became. There was nowhere to run, bike or even hike, and the water was too cold for swimming. Having a way to escape the confines of the boat, get exercise and feel independent will revolutionize this summer’s cruise and keep this sailor in a much happier head place!

A new-to-us cutaway Seagull guitar also has joined the fleet of boat toys. It sounds great and will help us stay in harmony as we sail on.

We’ve also done some varnishing, gel-coat repair, re-painted her boot strip on the last haul out and many other maintenance projects to keep Sundown as bristol as possible. If only we could all age so beautifully!

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The last five weeks or so have been non-stop action! First, we sailed (or motored when there wasn’t much wind) from northern British Columbia to Bellingham, Wash., in nine days—two of those days we sat out weather on the hook. So in seven travel days we did about 375 miles. When you go five to six knots an hour, that’s 50-60 miles a day, and 10- to 12-hour days. Whew!

After securing Sundown on Squalicum Harbor’s dock, we took a shuttle to Seattle, flew to Denver and then drove to Fort Collins with one of our sons. We’ll take the traffic in San Juan Channel in July over that on Interstate 25 any day!

The next three weeks was filled with lots of family, friends and fun. We cuddled with our dog; paddled, biked, ran and swam; cooked for dozens of people multiple times; celebrated birthdays; ate at our favorite restaurant, Los Tarascos; worked (yes, that “W” word); and more! While we went home rather emergently, everything/everyone ended up being fine.

Now we’re back in Washington. The first few days here I was on deadline and cranked out several magazine articles and columns. While being home afforded me time for face-to-face meetings and working at Unite for Literacy‘s office with my colleagues, all of which are very valuable, I didn’t get much time to write. So once we arrived in Bham, my keyboard almost ignited I was typing so fast!
On Monday, we had Sundown hauled out, pressure washed and blocked at Seaview North. She sat on the hard in the boatyard for a couple of days while we performed some routine maintenance, such as:
  • Replacing the cutlass bearing on the propellor
  • Making sure the engine was aligned properly (it was)
  • Replacing a couple zincs
  • Re-painting her hull and boot stripe
  • Buffing her topsides
  • Polishing all of her stainless steel rigging, and finally
  • Cleaning the deck and windows.
The pressure wash peeled up the “N” on one side of Sundown’s transom. Clay called  Graphic Partners in Loveland, the company who made our port of hail lettering, and they are shipping another set of letters to us ASAP and free of charge! Thank you, Shavon!
And while we were in Fort Collins, Dave from UK Sailmakers made small adjustments to our mainsail and genoa. He’s also serving as our postbox here in Bellingham. We appreciate him very much!
So, Sundown’s shiny, ready to sail and we’re off to Anacortes, Wash., to meet up with our friends Bob and Sandy. They just bought a new boat and want Clay to do some work on it. We like that town and love “Sob and Bandy,” so it will be a good time. We’re hoping Clay can get more work while there to help pay off the extra expense of our trip home and the boatyard bill. Time will tell.

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CAUTION: This blog post sounds a bit like an advertisement, but I mean every word of it!

Can something be clean and still green? Absolutely! As long as the green isn’t mold. (more…)

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alaskaorbust

What we hope to see in Alaska!

After returning from the Seattle area where we sold and shipped some unused sailing gear that came with Sundown but we decided not to use, we hung out in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for over a week. While there, we accomplished a lot. (more…)

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Fancy fabric

One of the first things we did when we arrived in Bellingham in September was to seek out a sailmaker. We wanted to have the sails which came with Sundown (her original ones!) inspected. Right in Squalicum Harbor Marina, UK Sails has a shop and a very knowledgeable and experienced sailmaker, David O’Connor. (more…)

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Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 1.33.07 PM

Practical Sailor (PS) is a great publication that “takes the guesswork out of boat & gear buying with its bold, independent, product-test reports just for serious sailors.” Clay contacted PS to tell them about our experience getting our Webasto heater registered for warranty. They ran our story in December. It’s a tale of woe and how great customer service turned that around. Enjoy!

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weatherSailors for all history have taken advantage of the ebb and flow of the tide. Here in the Pacific Northwest, and in particular the San Juan Islands, the currents created by the tide have a profound effect on your movement by water. Depending on the time of day and location within the islands, there can be plus or minus two or more knots for or against you. In light winds, that means the currents could cause you to sail backwards! (more…)

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So, it has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. To say the least, Kim and I have been busy…still.

While Kim went to Colorado to take care of business and go to Molly and Matt’s wedding (which I am so sorry I missed, Molly and Matt!)cockpit I kept making forward progress on Sundown. The paint job on the mast and booms was finished and all the hardware needed to be put back on. We replaced all the wiring, lights and halyards. We also inspected and replaced all the standing rigging. New radar, anometer and antennae were installed.

The morning Kim came home from Colorado, the boatyard guys and I stepped the mast. It was a pretty emotional morning for me. I was so anxious! Not only was this the second time I was Sundown’s helm, but Kim wasn’t to help or witness this moment. The whole thing went smooth as silk, however. Seaview North Boatyard and its crew don’t step masts like Mark Grindle and I did in the mid 80s, but their process worked.

It was great to have Kim back after being gone for so long! She and I put the sails on and hoisted them one at a time to work out the bugs in attachment and sheeting. We then did a pre-sail check, pulled the dock lines and left.

It’s hard to describe how you feel after four years of working on a project like Sundown in a prairie dog field in Randy and Andrea’s storage yard in Fort Collins (A Unique Storage…it certainly was while Sundown was there), to motoring out of port with no schedule or exact place to be. We knew where we were going, however, because we had been there before–Sucia Island. Setting off to Sucia gave us confidence and we felt a little more secure because we had sailed there twice before. It was familiar and an easy first stop. We picked up a mooring and enjoyed our amazing boat. Rather than getting the outboard out and attached to Lightfoot (our dinghy), we chose to row it to go and pay our state park fee on the island.

There were two boats in the harbor near us, both from Utah! One of them was a Tayana 37, a very nice blue water boat like ours with very common roots (thanks Bob Perry!).

So the journey has begun. We are roughing it every day. Heater, propane stove, teak furniture, marble counter tops and beautiful ports of call.

The other night as we were anchored in Friday Harbor and snuggled up in bed watching a DVD–The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock–we determined that the wind and the way it was blowing Sundown required us to move our anchorage. Hmmm, never had to do this with the land house, but you gotta do what you gotta do. At 11pm we hoisted anchor and moved a tad farther from shore in the rain and wind. The task taught us some lessons and we are already using the information at our current anchorage in Deer Harbor where we’re still roughing it.

Kim is making chile rellanos and Spanish rice for dinner. We’re listening to Alison Krauss (thanks for the introduction to her, Daryl and Karen Lawyer). Tomorrow we go sailing!

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