Drowning on dry land

by Chuck November 6, 2004

We call our farm "Puddlehaven1" because dealing with rain water and the runoff during the rainy season is takes up most of our time in the fall and winter around here. Some day I'll get my small farm Web site up and running, and you can read about the joy of shoveling 46 yards of hog fuel every fall.

Anyway, I put a tarp over Odyssey this fall to try to keep some of the detritus of the winter off. Unfortunately there was a puddle of water trapped in the tarp after every rain storm. The tarp would sag down between the mast and the lifelines, creating a well that held about 40 gallons.

After taking an inadverdent shower after the last rainstorm, I decided the best way to avoid another ice cold shower was to take the lifeline stanchions out of their sockets.

It's amazing how easy it is to keep water from ponding up when you don't block it from running downhill. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go dig a ditch to keep the water moving downhill from the paddock out behind the barn...

1We used to call it Puddlehaven. Now we call it Brambly Hill. An altogether better name.



Why do they ask?

by Chuck August 4, 2004

My son's birthday party was yesterday, a grand affair that included cake, ice cream, and presents. And water balloons. And a bouncy house.

Anyway, when one of the parents came to pick up his kids, he saw Odyssey sitting there, and he asked me,

So, when's the last time you went sailing?

Oooooo, I hate that question. It implies that owning a boat is a waste of money, that I'd be better off without it 'cause, you know, I really never get to go sailing.


I've decided the right answer is "Often enough." That way I don't have to tell them I've only sailed once this year (see the whole series of log entries about the rudder mishap), and it implies that if I wanted to sail more, darn it, I would.

Which I would.

If only life didn't keep getting in the way.

And there's that whole pesky rudder thing.



Catching crabs

by Chuck August 1, 2004

Ron and Sue spent the last part of their vacation on Salty Lady at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. At night they would sit at the dock and play cards, during the day they would head out to the channel east of Guemas Island and crab.

We spent the day with them, throwing the crab rings overboard and then pulling them up 10 minutes later. We'd check for keepers, then, most often, throw them all back and try again.

By the end of the day, Joe was pulling a crab ring all by himself, hauling it in and then throwing it back out again. Katie kept a running total of the crab we caught, the final tally was 11 keepers, 183 thrown back.



A day of success

by Chuck July 25, 2004

The stars aligned for me yesterday, and I was finally able to finish some of those fussy little projects that have been hanging around on the boat.

Friday I stopped at the hardware store and bought the nuts and bolts I needed to finish installing the new cam cleats and fender hangers. It was murderously hot, over 95 degrees, and my brains were leaking out my ears after having cooked inside my motorcycle helmet all the way from work, so it only took me two tries in the store to buy the right set of nuts and bolts, but I finally managed.

I also grabbed the power plane and the palm sander and took about an 1/8-inch off the end of my rudder stock so the tiller can slip over. Just a little quality time with a varnish brush and the tiller will be ready to go.

It was a pleasant way to spend an evening. One of my co-workers reminded me last week that it can be just as enjoyable to spend an evening working on the boat as it is to spend the evening sailing. In this case, she was right.



Frustrated? Who, me?

by Chuck July 22, 2004

Ever have one of those days? I had one yesterday.

First, Ron brought my new rudder out. I'd left it at his house so he could put a few more coats of polyurethane on. It looked great, 'til I tried to put the tiller on. The tiller don't fit. The new rudder is about 1/8 thicker than the old one, and the tiller won't slip over it. I need to sand down the end of the rudder so the tiller will fit, and then refinish that end.

No problems, I thought. I'll just do some of the other little projects I have for Odyssey. So I decided to put the bumper hangers I bought back in January on. I originally planned to put them on the deck, but as I stood and looked I realized they would work better on the cabin side. I should note at this point that I thought about through-bolting the hangers, but then decided just deck mounting them would be fine. Except the cabin side in only half an inch thick, and I had three-quarter inch screws. Which I found out after driving the first one through the side into the cabin. Looks like they're going to be through-bolted after all. I'd just run to the hardware store and pick up some bolts, washers and nuts, except the hardware store closed 10 minutes ago.

Well, what about the new cam cleats for the jib sheets? I marked the location, drilled the holes, put the bolts (carefully measured from the original cam cleats) in, then went below to put the bolts on. What bolts? They just barely reached the bottom of the hole. 'Nother thing to add to the list when I go to the hardware store.

So I didn't really get anything done, but I did get a chance to play with the boat. And how bad is that, really?

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A day at the woodshop

by Chuck July 18, 2004

Today I took the half-finished rudder to Ron's house. We managed - in only 5 hours - to finish shaping the rudder and put on the first coat of polyurethane.

I left the rudder with Ron, he'll put on more coats of poly, and then I'll need to test fit the rudder on the boat and the tiller on the rudder, but it looks good, real good.



The blade is done

by Chuck July 17, 2004

I went to Coast-to-Coast today and bought a new 50-grit belt for the sander to replace the one I tore last night.

Once I had the new belt on, it only took about 5 minutes to finish shaping the blade. I can't decide if I wish I had the new belt earlier, or if I'm glad the old belt wasn't quite so quick to cut through the wood.

Then I got out the palm sander and spent an hour or so sanding the gouges left by the belt sander out of the wood. Now it's off to Ron's as soon as I can for the finish work.



A minor setback

by Chuck July 15, 2004

I started to sand on the blade again tonight, but the 50-grit belt broke, and I don't have a replacement. I'm shut down until I can get a new one.



Lake sailing

by Chuck June 19, 2004

We decided to go somewhere different for our first sail of the year, since we splurged on a new trailer over the winter expressly so we could go to different places. For this trip, we decided to sail in Lake Washington, launching at Sandpoint in Magnusen Park.

The new trailer towed like a dream, occasionally I would look into my rear-view mirror and be surprised that I had a boat tagging along behind me. Having a trailer that tows so nice turned out to be a good thing, since I got a little lost heading to the park and ended up pulling the boat through the narrow streets of a Lake City neighborhood.

Once I found park I took the time to walk from the prep area to the launch to make sure there were no low hanging wires or tree limbs that would interfere with the mast while we moved. Once I was sure there was anything between us and the water, Dana and I made pretty short work of rigging the boat for launch.

Once we got the boat in, we headed out into the lake to hunt up some wind. There wasn't much to be found, so we decided to head across the lake to Kirkland so the kids could get out of the boat and swim. The crossing was OK, but quite rough considering there was very little wind to pick up the waves.

We found an opening at the end of the Kirkland public dock and did a touch and go, stopping long enough to drop off the Dana and the kids. I took Odyssey and headed off the dock a quarter of a mile or so, then waited for Dana to call me when the kids were done swimming.

While I was heading out, I noticed that I'd lost one of my fenders over the side. I turned around and went back in, where I saw the fender floating in the lake with a couple of boats circling around. One boat, a bow rider with three kids in the front picked up the float, and then the dad threw it over to me. He threw it like a football, and made a perfect toss to Odyssey's cockpit.

I spent an uncomfortable hour bobbing about in Odyssey while the kids swam. The lake was rough, and other boaters seemed oblivious to their wakes as they sped past, sometimes only yards away. I was only too happy to head in and pick up Dana and the kids and get away from the Kirkland waterfront.

The wind finally came up after the family was back on board, and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours chasing the fluky breezes around. At one point we sat with our sails slatting while 50 yards away a Catalina 22 rolled past with her sails full. Later, we managed to find a breeze and sailed past a J-24 on the opposite tack with no wind in her sails.

A thundercloud forming in the late afternoon chased us, and apparently everybody else, off the lake. We circled for half an hour or so waiting for our chance to get to the launch and get out. Once we had our chance, the dock assistant and the other people waiting to launch hurried us to get onto the trailer and out of the way.

That's when I made my big mistake and allowed the pressure of getting out of the way to overcome my good sense. I pulled the boat out of the water with the rudder still down, and broke the rudder into three pieces when it dragged on the ground.

Dana and I quickly picked up the pieces and got out of Dodge so the people pointing and laughing weren't pointing and laughing at us anymore. We took the rig down and headed for home, where I started looking for a replacement for the rudder.



What? Another boat show?

by Chuck March 6, 2004

This year the NWMTA is putting on the first Everett boat show in the brand new Everett sports center. They covered the ice where the Silvertips play hockey and brought in about 1/4 of the boats and 1/8 the booths of the Seattle boat show.

The vibe at the Everett show is very different than the Seattle show. In Seattle, there are thousands of people every hour hustling on and off the biggest and best boats the major dealers have to offer. In Everett, the smaller dealers in the Snohomish county area brought in their smaller boats (the biggest boat in Everett was 34 feet). There were only a few hundred people there while Katie and I were at the show, so we got to go on almost every boat we wanted to see without a wait.

Katie was a lot of fun to be with at the show. She was hyped and excited and asked questions and ran ahead and went on every kind of boat and charmed the sales people and and and...

Now if only I could get her to have as much fun on the water.

I also learned that there are three boat builders in Monroe, the little town outside of Everett where we live. I knew about two of them, but three, that's getting greedy.

I didn't manage to get away from the show without buying something. I bought a boathook from Popeye's for $16.25. Now next year if my best hat goes in the water we will have a better chance of picking it up.



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