Monday, July 03, 2017

Turning Over a New Leaf

Rigging a Gypsy
 The first step of "Operation Build James a Catboat" is finished. Today the Gypsy hull was  carted away by a lovely family to be finished and sailed. It gets closer.
On it's way to a new home.
 Next up will the purchase of plans. One step at at time.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Shoes, Ships and Sealing Wax


Sailing the legend

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
 Regular readers of this blog will know whenever I wax poetical the winds of change are about. Or maybe not but the winds o'change are blowing a steady F3 and that is perfect dinghy sailing. And the age old question arises, what dinghy? The fact is I'm ready for a change of boats. To once again narrow my desires for my water going craft to better suit the type of sailing I want. And to satisfy my needs of the "perfect" boat. Of course sometimes that boat exists in multiple boats. And that is where I find myself. 
 Building and tweaking the Piccup was a good first step. I've had it out three times this year and each time it becomes closer to the boat I had hoped it would be. Interestingly enough when I got my first copy of Jim Michalak's Boat Building For Beginners one of the first things I did after pouring over it was to look at the selected catalog of plans in the back of the book. And I kept coming back to Piccup, putting it on the short list. And I'm glad I did. Lazy Shamrock is a little truck of a boat, sweet mannered and decently weatherly when sailed right. Long enough to overnight in, something I'll try this year, and just enough of a traditional bent to stir the tall ships sailor that lurks in my mind from time to time.
 This last weekend I had a five hour sail in on Esmerelda, my longest so far. Made the Dayton Run in under twelve parsecs and frolicked around the leeward side of a race course for an hour. Boat did everything I asked of her. She was solid as a rock and showed a fine turn of speed. My crew was excellent and it was the type of day sailing not many Lido owners get to explore. When all was said and done I had re-injured one of the old girls recurring injuries, the tiller, and she's on the hard until that gets sorted out. And it's given me time to think. About that boat. And future ones. 
 The fact is while the Lido 14 is still one of the finest first boats I could have hopefully asked for, I think I'm ready for the next one. And that means that some boats will ahve to be disposed. I can't right tell you when this hit me but I'm sure sailing the Beetle Cat had something to do with it. I guess I meet one of my boating heros and I can't go back to where I was boat wise. To be ensconced in wood, with the history and sheer weight that that type of boat brings, well to me anyway meant I had to have a part of it. I want to have a cat boat. 
What a great sail. 

 So that's the plan. I will sell the Lido, get the Gypsy to a new home and build a cat boat. Hopefully get the main construction done this sailing season. Having finally put this plan on paper makes it seem all the more wonderful. I've missed having a project. Something to look forward too. I need boats that will be useful to me alone. And right now the Lido, as much as I do enjoy sailing it and being part, albeit a very distant one, of the Lido Community I feel it's time to move on. When I list the qualities I like of the Piccup it ticks far more boxes than poor Esmerelda can. It's not her fault, she's simply not built to do the kind of gunkholing, messing about type of sailing I want to do. Racing around buoys will never be my real thing. The very act of sailing in light wind on a day when I'm not at work is worth so much more. So I need a boat that will do that. And I think I've found the next one.
  While scrolling through Duckworks Magazine I came across a mention of the Skat. A 12' catboat designed by Jim Michalak. How I had never heard of this boat was beyond me but I was smote quite hard. Almost as wide as the Lido, not quite as heavy. 80 odd squares of gaff rig. I've not had a gaff since my Super Teal Blue Flower, and I do miss it. Straightforward instant build and the ability to put a shine on that will make the most ardent fiberglass fan take a second look and never fail to turn a head when coming into port.
 There was a description of it's sailing abilities with two grown men aboard in less the perfect seas and that's all I needed to read. I've always loved cat boats. Having briefly sailed the legendary Beetle Cat and 100% unable to afford of of those of my own, why not build one? Putting this all down here on my blog make the idea sound a bit absurd but it also shows me I have nothing to lose. In the end I'd rather have boats that I'm sailing then ones I'm not. That's half the fun isn't it? As for the other half it may just be building them. 
 Now it'll be a few weeks for me to get my proverbial ducks in a row to ready the Lido for sale, get the unfinished Gypsy off to a proper home and sail the Piccup a few more times but that is my plan and as ever we'll see where I end up. If I'm lucky I'll get to sail the Beetle Cat again near October if the winds blow right. It's going to be a great season and we're just getting started.
"The mate was a mighty sailor man, the skipper brave and sure..."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quick Evening Sail




 So far everything works. New sails from Minney's and the big boat is ready for a summer of fun and adventure.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Way Out West

Virginia V heading out for it's trip at Festival of Sail
 This last weekend we took a normal vacation. Without weapons. Without a tent or the cots. Just a regular old vacation to Seattle. It was wonderful. I'll break down the highlights of the voyage.

Thursday, 15th

 We got out of town relatively early as I wanted to attend the Sierra Silver Mine Tour in Wallace, ID. I went once when I was much younger but wanted to to again so I could more fully experience an appreciate what I was seeing.  Despite our best efforts we arrived an hour early so after a fast food breakfast we attempted the tour. Turns out they had bus tours all morning and the first opening was not until after noon. This would not work for us so we wandered around a rather closed Wallace for a bit. What a great little town.
Kat standing near the Center of the Universe.

Setting up for the Gyro Festival.

The Wallace Depot has an excellent museum inside.
Our docent displaying a trunk with an iron and board.

The Center of the Universe.
 The rest of the day was driving. Oh and I stopped to look at a sailboat I was thinking of purchasing. More on that later. From Wallace we stopped at Ellensburg, crawled over Snoqualmie Pass, and straight away to Everett, where our generous host allowed us some sleep. It was a good day.

Friday, 16th

 With the hour time change we were up quite early. Kat had never been on a train before so we were taking the Sounder south to begin our exploration.

King Street
The restoration of the interior was amazing

Checking out the F59PHI
Chinatown
 The train ride was great. We saw many different shore birds and had a wonderful view of the sound. We arrived at Kings Street and headed to the International District/Chinatown light rail station. Pioneer Square was just a short Link ride away. The ORCA card that Sound Transit uses is really great to have. We kept ours from our last Seattle trip and used it for most of the transit we used. I wondered why we don't have something like this locally then remembered buses around here are free.
I wanted to check a few boxes off so after some absolutely wonderful donuts we stopped at the Seattle Art Museum to see Hammering Man at work, did a whirlwind tour of a mostly closed Pike Place Market, then rode the monorail to the Seattle Center. There we viewed the Space Needle and wished we could see the Terracotta Warriors at the Pacific Science Center.
At least he gets Labor Day off!
The Giant Shoe Museum is fully worth the dollar you spend
The Future of Rapid Transit!
Still there
 By now it was almost time for my lesson at The Center for Wooden Boats. I have always wanted to sail a Beetle Cat and CWB has one. All it took was a brief email exchange, filling out an automated scheduler, and I had my appointment. We arrived early and looked at the docks before checking in. We arrived about a half hour early to check in and I was asked somewhat incredulously "Are you the guy who checked out the Beetle Cat?" I confirmed that it was me and was given the opportunity to start my hour early.  After the necessary paperwork, it was time to get a PFD, and meet my boat. My instructor, Christian Holtz, was a wonder. He was every bit a sailor and his knowledge and congeniality made the whole experience wonderful. I spent the hour getting to know the boat. My previous sailing skills were up to the task and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Kristian took some photos, I did my best to watch out for seaplanes and we spent time on the heel, something I'm not used to. A grand time!
Beetle Cat!

A great day to sail Lake Union

Checking my sail trim
  We had a dinner date with a friend so we hopped the streetcar to Westlake, a very handy option I may add, then Link back to Chinatown. From there we caught the 510 Express Bus back to Everett. We met up with Todo at a wonderful Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Northgate. This was our first time having "real" ramen and it was delightful. After dinner we attended Wonder Woman, also awesome, then headed back to our sleep spot for rest. It was a very busy day.

Saturday, 17th

 Kat had a meet up at a horse rescue in Redmond so we were on our own four wheels for most of the day. After an IHOP breakfast we headed into town to hopefully see a nautical only bookstore and the Fremont Troll before her appointment. There was a parade in Fremont and our GPS for the first time had no idea what was happening so both stops ended up being a bust. I decided to salvage the mission since we were already in the area and check out the Hirem M. Chittenden Locks. These are the Ballard Locks and we had seen them the day before from the train. As we turned the corner we were welcomed by the mass of the Bering Titan as made it way to Lake Union. Then we saw some more boats.
Most impressive.
Heading for fresh water
Ballard Bascule Bridge
Chris-Craft locking through
Kat liked this one
 From the locks it was a visit to the horse rescue. I'm not much of a horse person but did get to pet one so that was cool.
Kat making friends
From Redmond it was on to Tacoma and the Festival of Sail. Now I had heard about this event from a customer in my line at work who is involved with the Tacoma Sea Scouts. It was going to be veritable who's who of PNW tall ships. I was needless to say excited. Did I mention The Worlds Largest Rubber Duck was there? And Lucy Bellwood? And the Lady Washington?
 I'm sorry to say it was a great idea on paper. The poor execution of the idea really killed it for us and apparently many others. I can only hope if another Festival of Sail  is held in the future the organizers will learn an listen to the issues that were raised and the event will grow and live up to the promise of such an amazing gathering of ships. I did get some awesome pictures and the Tacoma Maritime Museum is not to be missed.
Lucy Bellwood. I fanboyed hard.
Lady Washington. Smaller then I imagined.
Quite the lineup

Tall ships underway
Adventuress leaves for her daysail
Gig Harbor Melonseed.
Kat and a very big duck

 Sunday, 18th

 Our last full day in Seattle was drizzly. We had a few more things on our list so it was up early and off. We parked the car at the Tukwila Link Station and headed into town on the light rail. This is a great option if you want to see Seattle, don't mind walking and like free parking. Our first stop was Uwajimaya, an asian grocery/bookstore in Chinatown. From there it was off to the Seattle Central Library. Eleven stories of library topped with a glass walled reading room. The two or so hours we spent was amazing.
Reading Room
 With those done it was off for a ferry ride to Bainbridge. I took a lot of boat pictures. I also used a sailing app to see how fast we were going. 17.5kts on the way out, 20kts back. You could feel the difference in the speeds. Was pretty cool. 
Seattle
Seattle Sailing Tours
This one got an "Excuse me?" from the ferry
Our captain. I have a lot to learn about landing boats. 
 We finished our trip at Ivar's, eating the planet's best clam chowder and feeding the seagulls french fries. I also saw one of the yachts from Seattle Sailing Tours back down and parallel park in it's slip. Made it look easy.
Tight Parking

Right from the hand
MV Tacoma departing
 After a quick jaunt around some neighborhoods it was time to rest up four the journey home. We did stop by Fishermen's Terminal briefly. 
Fishing Fleets

Monday, 19th

Up early and headed east. I'll miss BigFoot Java. And Top Pot Donuts. And good sailing water that isn't a half a tank of gas away.  But it was good to make it home. Oh that boat I was buying? Picked it up and The Typesetter and I gave it a maiden voyage at once upon our return. It sails far better then one would give it credit for.
Ghosting
On the water.
 It was a great trip. I saw many things. But now to get back to sailing adventures at the end of the PacNorWest. See you out there!