Friday, January 9, 2015

Getting the next boat, consolidated

Instead of muddling through all the posts, here they are in one spot.

Part - 1

Part - 2

Part - 3

Part - 4

Getting the next boat. Part IV

So we got up the next day, New Year’s Day 2015, about 7:30am and we were back on the road by 8:15am. We were finally on the last leg home. I never felt so good to be on Interstate 39 north. We topped off with gas, checked the tires and bunk, all good, and started off. 464 more miles until home. One more gas stop as well in Wisconsin. The trip was pretty uneventful through the rest of Illinois. When we got to the toll booth to get in to Wisconsin and exit Illinois, there were 2 cars ahead of us in the line we were pulling in to. I then notice the guy in the booth next to it, get out and motion us all over to his lane. Oh great, this one is closed. So I slowly came to a stop, put her in reverse, and slowly back up a ways and then drove in to the next toll lane after the cars that were ahead of me. That was interesting. So after paying $4 instead of $1.90 as I had a whole ‘nother axel…. We were on our way and in Wisconsin. That much closer.

Wisconsin was, well Wisconsin. In the winter…. We did fine and the boat was staying where it needed to and moving not on the trailer but, with the trailer. We pull in to the Shell station in Lake Delton Wisconsin, not too much farther…. I look at the trailer tires and I see that the one on the left, the other original one from Florida, is worn to the cords. Oh hell, we just want to get home…. So I ask inside if they have a service guy and they said no but Wal-Mart is 3 blocks down and he can call them. So the guy calls the tire service department and they say “Sure, we can change that out”. Awesome so we driver the three blocks, pull in the back by the auto service area and go inside. Here is where the guy says “Oh no, we can’ put a tire/rim on the trailer, we can only put a tire on a rim.” Kidding me right? At least they were open on New Year’s Day. So I bite the bullet and buy a couple of bottle jacks as no way is my jack going to cut it.

Well those couldn’t extend enough to get the trailer an inch or two in the air we needed to get the tire off. So, I call our friends at Boat US again. The gal takes down the information and says she will call back. I call a couple of friends as I am reaching a point where I do not want to be. Just………. Want……… To………… Get………… Home. After about 15 minutes Boat US calls back and says a guy is 30 minutes out. I said to send him and told here where we were. About 15 minutes later a gal from the service company calls and I tell her we are at the Lake Delton Wal-Mart. Boat US forgot to mention that apparently.

The service guy shows up about 20 minutes later and swaps out the tire at pretty close to NASCAR speeds. Makes sure both tires are at the right psi and tight. I give him some info, ask if he thinks the Pack would rather face the Lions or Cowboys. They are getting the Cowboys this weekend. Anyway, and off we go. We are on the final leg home.

As it starts to get dark, I am getting tired, my back has a knot in it, and I am just driving. Stu starts talking to me about music and sports to help me get through the time. He later said “You must have said ‘We just need to get her home’, about 250 times that night.” I bet I did if not more. I turn the flashers on as it is dark now and we can see the miles counting down to Minnesota. We probably could have made it without another gas stop but, it was going to be close so we stopped and I filled up again. Tires good. Bunk good. Let’s get home.

We crossed the border and got on to 494 south and everything started looking very familiar. We got on to Cedar/77 north and then too our exit and then to the house. I parked in front of my house, blocking my driveway with the boat. Stu had asked earlier in the evening if that was legal in Richfield and I said “F*** Richfield. I am doing it.” So we got home at 8:45pm, 12.5 hours after leaving Bloomington, IL.

We unloaded our stuff and I made good on a promise to Stu I had made somewhere on the road as we were tightening the bunk for the who knows how many times. I poured us each a couple ounces of whiskey and we shot them down together. Stu called some friends and soon he was off with them. I couldn’t wind down, even with another 4oz pour of whiskey on the rocks, but finally went to bed about 11pm. What a whirlwind trip and events. Been a long time since I was that glad to be home. We got up the next morning and Stu guided me as I got the boat in the driveway.

I learned a few things on this trip that will stay with me if I ever do anything close to this again. But, she is in the driveway, that’s the important thing.

Mileage grand total:3363.9

Now we just need spring……

Getting the next boat. Part - III

So where are we now, day 2? The days had started to melt together at this point. What with the drive down and the weekend in Florida and heading back and the bunk issues and delays and….. You get the picture. So we got up the next morning in Dalton, New Year’s Eve, and checked the bunk first thing. Sure enough, we had to tighten it up. Our next stop is Bloomington Illinois. 584 miles, should be 12 hours. Going to stay at a nicer hotel tonight as I figured we would be deserving after this trip. The Fairfield Inn Marriott.

This leg would take us in to Tennessee, past Clarksville where we stayed on the way down and through Kentucky to Illinois. All interstate this time as I had mapped our gas stops out online and budgeted 10 miles to the gallon with my Explorer. When we did this getting the O’Day, we averaged 9 so I figured it was a good safety margin.

We got on the road I think by 7:30am after tightening things up again. There was a thought in my mind on this return leg from the drive down. When you go through Chattanooga and in to Georgia, there is a nice little “Hill” you go down to get there. It is a bit of a windy 6% grade with runaway truck exits and the like. I was thinking as we went through there, “How the hell am I going to get the boat back up this??” Well as it would be, we actually went down a 5% grade on the way back with no real hill climbing. I wasn’t convinced we were clear of all that until we got to Nashville. Liked that drive so far. Nashville looks like an interesting town and besides the Grand Ole Opry, the do have a pretty good NHL team. Better than ours at the moment and we live and breathe hockey in MN. Anyway….. getting off track…

We got in to Kentucky just fine and the boat was doing what it was supposed to back there. The land was an uninspiring flat prairie so we were just motoring along… Then it happened… I started to her a rattling and I looked in the side mirror and sure enough, we blew the right side trailer tire. We were about 40-50 miles southish from Paducah. So we pulled over at an exit and I called 911 as we were kind of on our own out there. I had a jack and tire cross and spare but…. Was not too sure my jack was capable. Anyway, the 911 operator pinged my cell phone as I did not know what mile marker we were at or the exit number as we had stopped just after passing it. She said I was about a mile outside her county so she transferred me to Kentucky State Police and she dispatched someone out to me.

In the mean time I called Boat US as I have unlimited towing assistance with my membership. She took down all my information and I walked back to the exit sign and l let her know where we were. The state trooper showed up and we talked and I explained everything. He was a very nice guy and when we were talking about getting a spare he said “Well, it is New Year’s Eve. Most places will be shutting down soon and you are in the middle of Mayberry.” That made me laugh and he said it….. though I may have been thinking it. So Boat US called back and said it would be an hour and a half. Stu and I started to realize at that point we may be staying a night in Paducah. Oh hells….. So the trooper went to his car and called the Highway Helper he knew was on the road. He came back and said he could be here in a half hour. SOLD! So I cancelled the Boat US person and the trooper went on his way and the Highway Helper guy showed up about 20 minutes later.

He changed the tire for me. I signed a piece of paper saying he helped us. He gave me a card to an RV center up the road by Paducah and I gave the guy a call. They apparently have a gentlemen’s agreement on handing out the card. So it took 3 attempts but I got a hold of him. He said he was sick and so was his partner but seeing as I was in a bind, he and his son would meet me there in about 45 minutes. We drover there and there he was. A nice older guy that when I told him what I needed as far as a trailer tire and rim, he had his son pull one off of a camper he had for sale. I was very appreciative of this act and the fact that he came out even though he was sick. We took care of business and Stu and I were finally back on our way. 2 hours or so later.

We finally got in to Illinois and I started to feel somewhat better. We were back in the Midwest. We both started to just feel that all we wanted to do was get the hell home. As the sun began to set we came upon a fire truck in the left lane and everyone was slowing. I noticed someone in a yellow vest standing in the middle of the median and something that looked like bundles too. As we passed the fire truck I had a realization as the little Honda CRV or Jeep Liberty that had been in an accident was on it’s roof…. And the bundles were the white tarps over the former occupants. A sickening feeling came over me and Stu. Their families are going to have to deal with the loss and grief. Something I never want to see ever again. People, wear your seat belts no matter what. These two paid the ultimate price for not.

Night fell and the bunk seemed to have started to behave itself. I think it was around Champaign IL when I saw the flashing blue lights behind me. I thought, “What me? Why am I being pulled over?” So we pulled over thereby breaking one of my Cardinal Rules, No Cops No Hospitals. At least it wasn’t the hospital one. So the nice Illinois trooper informed me that only my blinkers were working on the trailer. So I pulled up the road a bit to an off ramp and we talked and I pushed the cord back in to the receptacle on my truck and wha-hoo, they worked! So he took my license and gave me a warning ticket. I am thinking of framing it. I told him to stay safe and hopefully he isn’t too busy the New Year’s Eve working and off we went.

About a half hour later a semi passed me and flashed his lights. I figured things had gotten loose again so I pulled in to a rest stop to check. Sure enough. Only this time, I couldn’t get them to work again no matter what. So I decided to drive with the flashers on….. Yeah awesome but I didn’t have much choice. So we drove the rest of the way to the hotel with the flashers on and no other incident.

We got to the hotel about 9:30pm, 15 hours later. As I was pulling in to the back of the parking lot I heard a loud thump and bang. I had cut the turn too tight and ran over the curbing. Thankfully nothing was worse the wear. We got in to our nicely appointed room, especially seeing we had been staying at Red Roof and Super 8’s, and basically went right to bed. What a New Year’s Eve eh? I decided to get up around 7am the next morning as I was very tired and a bit frazzled with that drive all things considered. Plus, we would be HOME the next day!


Getting the next boat. Part - II

On Sunday the 28th, we were to meet up with Larry and his some Mike at the boat and get her hauled and rigged for the road. We agreed on 10am as the trailer was not going to be ready until between 10am and 11am. Stu and I got there about 9:45am. I walked around and looked at some boats, some very neglected which is always a sad sight, saw a Manatee, some pelicans, and some nesting cranes. Larry showed up promptly at 10am and we got on the boat to motor over to the ramp. We motored around in the fairways for a while looking at birds and just talking about sailing. After about 30 minutes, we ran out of gas….. The wind blew us over to a private dock that had seen better days but, I had the boat hook in my hand and fended us off and we nudged in gently. Stu held the boat to the dock and I grabbed the gas tank and walked the half a block to my truck and then drove a couple more to the gas station where I put in about 4 gallons. Make sure right?

So after the gas fiasco, Larry called his son Mike as it had been over an hour since he said he was on his way from the trailer shop. New wheels and tires, bearing buddies, and new lights on the trailer at no additional cost to me. He said “Where are you?” Mike replied “At the boat ramp, where are you?” To which Larry replied “No you aren’t, we are there and you are not.” So after a little more chit chat and ooopps, Mike went to the wrong boat ramp…  So about 40 minutes later he arrived with the trailer. All looked OK, except for a fleeting moment I thought the tires were a little under. All told, about an hour and a half delay....

It took about 5 attempts with the boat and trailer to get the boat floated on as close to center as we could get it. It was getting pretty hot too, Florida sun and 80+ degrees….. So after we got the boat on the trailer finally, Mike took to setting the bunks and getting things tight on the trailer. After that, we started undoing the forestay and the baby-stay. We had the jib halyard attached to the trailer winch so we could get things disconnected as need be. After that, we had Stu, all 6’3 and 300# of him, in the cockpit and Larry and I on each side of the mast. Mike began to unwind the winch and the mast started to come down slowly. Just like we wanted. We did have a few “oh hell” moments dropping the mast but, we kept her straight, sorta, and Stu kinda caught the mast the last couple of inches it came down. But, nothing broke!

After the mast was down and I had it secured at the bow, Mike basically said “Go to Harbor Freight, get some straps and strap here and here and have a nice trip home.” By this time I had come to the realization that we were going to be in Florida another night. It was already after 2pm and I was tired, Stu was tired and we both were disappointed about spending another night and not heading towards home. But, in the grand scheme of things, it was the best move.

So between going back to the hotel to re-book a room, going to Harbor Freight, then towing the boat back to the hotel, I think we crossed the Manatee River 6 or more times that day…. I also had to hook up the ground wire for the trailer lights as it was just hanging there. This trailer was just worked on by a trailer maintenance shop right?
So we got back to the hotel, got back in to a room, then walked over to the Oyster bar again for dinner. Plan is to be on the road by 7am to get to Dalton Georgia for the night. 576 miles away, 12 ours probably on the road. The forecast… fog and rain… YEAH!! 

So we got up on time, had something, no idea what now, to eat quick and we headed out in to the ¼ to ½ mile visibility fog. It also decided to rain a bit about an hour in to our journey. The run through Florida was un-eventful save the rain and fog that eventually burned off. We got in to Georgia and were feeling pretty good about things so far. I was doing about 55mph comfortably, over that and she wanted to dance a little back there. We got about midway in to Georgia, around Cordele, and I noticed that the boat was moving a lot more than it should over the bumps and what not. I told Stu it looked like we had a problem and as luck would have it, the exit we took had a Home Depot right there. So we parked in the lot and I headed in for a set of adjustable wrenches as I saw right away the right rear bunk was loose from the boat. We spent some time messing with that and got it tightened up. Every time we stopped for gas, every 120-150 miles, I would check it and Stu would wrench it tight again. Yes, he is a bit stronger than his old man….. 

Yeah, that's not right.... at all...

Night began to fall as I soon realized this was going to be a bit longer of a drive than initially thought. Oh joy, back in Atlanta traffic! At Night! With a trailer you are no longer sure about!! Weeeee!!!! In the middle lane and getting passed on both sides by those bat-shit crazy drivers again. Was pretty white knuckle there but, we made it through and finally got to Dalton 14 hours after we left Florida. Yeah, a bit tired…..

The temp had dropped to a chilly 41 degrees and the wind was blowing about 10-15 so yeah, it was kinda cold. LOL

I know you are riveted to your chair reading this….. It is an amazing story so far, right?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Getting the next boat. Part - I

I sold my O’Day 25 back in October to nice young guy who is planning on taking her on a trip down the Mississippi and out on to the Ten-Tom waterway this upcoming summer. I got enough for the boat and I was glad to finally sell her. So then began the search for the next boat. I was thinking of going for a Beneteau 265 that was (still is) for sale in Michigan but, the more I thought about the size of that boat, the draft, etc… I pulled back from that. I then set my sights on getting a Beneteau First 235. I had always wanted one and I figured it was time for me to get a great sailing boat and one that would do right by me as well.

I searched Craig’s List, Sailboat Listings, and Yacht World. I found two First 235’s in Carlyle Illinois within a few miles of each other. How could I miss right? Well I did, they got sniped right out from under me. Need to move faster, especially with these boats as yes, they are a bit on the higher end price wise but, they are very sought after boats. My friend Clay, aka Jackdaw out in forum land and blog here, texted me about a 235 in of all places Florida. Well there was one also in Canada but seriously, $18,500??? Anyway, I checked the ad and gave the seller a call.

Larry was selling the boat for a friend of his that lived out of state but kept the boat in Bradenton Florida. We talked for a bit then I rechecked the ad and then I decided to just make a damn offer. After losing two I had to move quickly. The seller wanted $12,500 so I called Larry and basically said “Hell, I’ll give him $10,000 for it and I can wire a deposit today.” So he called the seller back, and within a couple of hours, I had me a deal! So yeah!! I bought a boat…. Oh crap, in FLORIDA. 1600 give or take miles away from home. Epic road trip ahead.

So the next couple of days we took care of the particulars and the deposit and I started making plans to make the run from Minneapolis to Bradenton. I decided my son and I would leave the day after Christmas and do a 2 day, 800 miles a day, run to Florida. Then we would look over the boat, take care of business, spend a day in Florida so my son could experience the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, then we would head back. Taking three days to get back. That ended up being basically 600, 600, & 400 mile days. In reality it was a little different. We will get to all that later…..

So my son and I got up about 5:30am on 12/26/2014 and we were on the road by 6:15am. The drive was pretty uneventful for the most part to Clarksville Tennessee. Google for some reason did have us get off the interstate and drive on some county roads in Illinois in to Kentucky, and then drive through a town in Kentucky and then on to some sort of “parkway/highway” and then back on the interstate to Tennessee. We got to see some of rural America I guess and Stu thought a Drive-Thru liquor store was pretty amusing but, could have done without it and would have liked to stay on the interstate. Also, we did get a bit turned around in Kentucky as it had gotten dark and I missed an on ramp. The GPS did its job and got us on the interstate eventually. No idea what type of area we drove through as it was dark. We got to The Red Roof Inn in Clarksville fine and we checked in, grabbed some dinner and then off to bed for the run to Florida.

We got up early the next morning and started on our way to Florida. Everything was going quite well until we got to Atlanta. Driving through town was not the best for traffic but, it wasn’t all that bad. One note on driving in Georgia…. THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS!!! They drive like they are going through Eau Rouge at Spa or the Parabolica at Monza. Seriously, no wonder they have such high traffic deaths, over 1000 in 2014. No signals, trying to put two vehicles in the same space in a lane, that does kinda break the laws of physics Captain…. Anyway, just outside of Atlanta the traffic came to a halt. I figured it was just traffic but, after almost 2 hours and having to exit to get gas as we were just mostly idling, we finally say a traffic board sign that said there was an all lane blocking accident north of Macon. Yeah, that was a bad deal. We say the skid marks of probably a semi-trailer truck at the mile marker but that was about it. 2 hours later. So hopefully no one was hurt or worse in that. We got to our hotel (Super 8) in Ellenton Florida 2 hours later than we wanted but, we got there. I texted Larry and let him know we were in and that we were on to look at the boat around 11am the next day.

Stu and I got up around 8:30am the next day as well, we could. We got ready and headed over to the Anna Maria Oyster bar right by the hotel to meet up with Larry. We exchanged pleasantries and then we followed Larry over to the little marina that the boat was slipped in. The boat looked great, there were some personal items on the boat that apparently the owner did not care about but, other than that, she was in great shape. I had already figured on buying new sails and when I felt the fabric of the main, well, it felt like a bed sheet. Everything looked to be in great condition and we decided to meet up at 10am the next day to haul the boat and get her rigged for the road and then Stu and I would start heading home.

Stu had never seen an ocean beach or salt water so we went to Hooters for lunch and then headed for a beach. The waitress at Hooters had suggested some beach a little south in Sarasota and that there would be “signs everywhere”. Yeah no. We got in to congested traffic in Sarasota and turned around. Asked the GPS for Bradenton Beach and eventually we got to the “Public 64 Beach” as the locals apparently call it. Stu enjoyed himself in the sun, sand and sea. It was a gorgeous day, 79 degrees, sunny, and about 5kts of breeze. We watched the sun set, then headed back to our hotel to shower and then grab dinner at the Oyster Bar, who funny enough had run out of oysters, and then back to the hotel to relax and get some more rest before the busy next day.

Next up, hauling the boat and getting it rigged for the road.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Closing a chapter

So it has been a while since I have posted anything. Had been busy sailing and working on selling the boat. We did OK this year with the racing. We went form DNF, to TLE, to actually finishing. We have a fall series called the Commodore Cup. Saturday morning races around the lake. We were able to do two of those this year and even though we finished in the rear, we actually could see boats. I know, its the little things. Anyway, the last race we did was a beautiful fall day. Was just Ben and I but we did OK. Unfortunately we hit a spot of zero wind and that set us back quite a bit but, we had fun.The fall colors had just started to come in as well.

After we came in and I drove home I realized that that could very well be the final sail on my first boat. Yes, there have been trials, tribulations, great times, and lots of fun on that boat but it was odd to think that was going to be it. A week or two later she was hauled and back in the driveway. I had a couple coming up from Wisconsin to have a look. They liked the O'Day 25 but were going to look at others too. My friend Clay, who sails the First 260 you have seen me sailing on at times, especially late fall, had been talking to a young guy at SailboatOwners about his first boat. So he got us connected and lo and behold he bought my boat. I towed it up to his parents' place about an hour north and that was that. 

Did get a nice fall sale in on Blue J, First 260, a couple weeks ago. Was blowing 15-18 and peak temp was about 55F. Spin run on the way back, fire in the fire pit at the club, great people, how could you go wrong?

I am currently boat-less.... is odd pulling in the drive way and nothing is there. I do have my eye on a couple of First 235's and I am pretty confident one will become "Next Boat". They are great boats and would do us well in our club racing. No more excuses though, can't blame the boat for being slow, we as a crew will have to be stepping up our game.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Securite, Securite, Securite

For the last near 30 years, the company I work for has sent employees to the Omni Resort on Amelia Island north of Jacksonville, FL for your 10 year anniversary. My trip was September 11th through the 14th. I was actually more bummed about traveling on my daughter's birthday than the significance of the 11th to everyone else. Anyway.... They provide everything from airfare to all food and drink, unlimited. We have a choice of multiple activities, one of which is sailing. So of course that is what I chose to do as golfing, Segway tours, or spa days are really not my style. No significant others, just spouses, so I went alone.

So after some corporate "team building" the morning of the 12th, we had lunch and then were sent off to our chosen activities. The charter company was Windward Sailing. A smaller company with 3 boats, I believe. They do classes as well. They have a Hunter 340, a Hunter 280, and a Beneteau 265. Really wanted to get on that 265 as there is a possibility that will be "Next Boat" but, alas, no such luck. My group went out on the 280. There were 2 couples, me, and the charter captain on the boat. We sailed around the Cumberland sound area not going very far north. The wind was a bit light. Starting out at about 5-6kts and building to about 10kts towards the end of the day.

To the north of Cumberland Island is King's Bay Submarine base. The US Navy has both fast attack subs and nuclear armed boomers based there. The hangers looked huge from 7 miles away even. The folks that went out that day on the 340 along with the people on the fishing charter got to see a US Navy submarine surface. Yeah, I was really wishing I was on the 340 that day. Did see a couple of F/A-18's heading to the Naval Air Station though, so that was cool.

Each of us guys on the boat took turns at the helm, I did some trimming on the jib, and we just kind of puttered about. Nothing really all that exciting though, we did see 3 dolphins in the river on the way back in. No pics of those and below is the only pic I took that day. Not really a fan of the 280, decent for sailing around but that's about it.

Sailing on Saturday was in the morning and the forecast looked like a motor around as opposed to sailing. Got to the marina and there was some wind but not a lot. Two couples, me, and a gal from Chicago were on the boat this time, the 340 so there was ample room. As our charter captain was backing the boat out, was Tony the owner, he asked if there were any sailors on board and I was the only one who raised their hand. After he got us turned around and heading out in to the Amelia River which, is part of the Inter-coastal Waterway, he looked at me and said "Take the wheel and go that way." So I started helming the boat. Which, came to be for the entire 3.5 hours we were out. No one else seemed to want to make an effort to take the helm. Fine with me. 

So we sailed out in to the Cumberland sound for a while. Wind was really light, we were sailing downwind with an apparent wind speed of about .5 to 1.5kts at times. We sailed north and in to Georgia state waters as we were that far north in Florida. We took a left and sailed for a bit down the St. Mary's river. We then tacked back around and started heading towards the the exit out to the Atlantic between Cumberland Island and Amelia Island. Soon after we were in the area between the islands, a small Navy patrol boat with an unmanned M60 machine gun on the bow zipped past and headed out in to the channel the subs use to transit the entry and exit of the area. He came back a few minutes later. Our charter captain was on the binoculars quite a bit checking back towards the sub base to see if anything was going on but, nothing yet.

By now the wind was picking up. Sailing with and against tides was new to me. It was somewhat of an adjustment as I have only lake sailed. There aren't tides on Lake Superior either. So we got out far enough for me to say I sailed in the Atlantic Ocean. Whoo hoo!! OK, not that far but still, for me, it was a cool deal. The winds even picked up to 14kts and we actually got moving. We had to turn around and head back as we did not have enough supplies or time to sail to Morocco. 

Our captain kept up with the base check and I continued to sail with him doing the trimming. Was pretty nice actually. So he checked the sub base again as the wind was dying down. Was getting all flukey and switching directions. He said he saw some activity. So I was all excited now as I really wanted to see a sub. Then the radio piped up;

"Securite, Securite, Securite. This is US Navy Security, attention all vessels in the Cumberland Sound area. We are escorting a deep draft naval vessel. You are required to stay 500 meters away at all times. This is US Navy Security. Securite, Securite, Securite".

Yeah, that got our attention. So we moseyed to a spot that was far enough from the channel they would use but we could still see. Then we heard "Pleasure vessel 'name of boat'. This is US Navy Security off your port bow, blue light flashing. Over." They responded and decided on a different place to have lunch on their boat.

So eventually time began to run short but we did get to see the aforementioned "Deep draft naval vessel". Below is a crappy cell phone pic and a pic of us "heading out to sea" while sailing. 

 After much usage of the Googs, I found what submarine it was. It is the new generation British fast attack submarine, the Astute class. There are two commissioned and one launched, still going through commissioning. So this was either the HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, or HMS Artful. More information on these subs can be found here.

So all in all it was a good two days on saltwater. I got to sail, got to see a few dolphins, and got to see a submarine.

Boat is still on the block but have a very interested party, Crossing fingers on that.

Friday, August 22, 2014

So far.... so OK.... decisions...

It has been a while since I have made a post to the old blog. All we have been doing is "racing" on Thursdays. Saturdays, and Sundays. It has been OK so far. The boat sails, sort of. Due to the CB being stuck up in the trunk. Not sure at this point if it is the trunk or the new CB or the installation or a combination of all. The first race after launch was around Big Island. Went to undo the CB line and nothing. Decided that I would sail it with the board up, "cruiser style" and then deal with it next season, if I kept the boat. I even had a friend that is a certified SCUBA diver dive on the boat and he couldn't get any leverage to pry it out. Fine, F-it, leave the damn thing up.

I have regular crew this year. Pam has been a member of the club for about 7 years I think and knows what to do. She likes sailing on "Old & Slow" and the fact that we do not fly a spinnaker is a good thing as it is just the two of us. I also have convinced one of the new kids, yes he is 22 so he is a kid, at work to join as well. He seems to like sailing and learns quickly. We have had some success, finishing races, a few DNF's due to various reasons, a couple of TLE's but, hey, we are out there and learning and doing about as best we can with this boat.

With the CB up this thing sails like, well you know, in light air. Under say 8. Above that it does OK as the shoal keel actually starts doing something. 55-60 degrees off the wind sucks rocks when you are trying to make a windward mark. Yeah, its that bad. That's why I refer to it as "Cruiser Mode". When cruising around you wouldn't really care too much about it. That's why I love those statements about the 25's w/CB. "You can sail with out it". "Just glass it over, no real need for it". Umm yeah there is, hence the fact that it is there. It points like sh** without it.

Anyway, I hinted in my launch post on a decision that was needed. I have made said decision and S/V Papillon is up for sale. Here is the link to the Sailboat Listings ad.


They are fine cruising "Friends and Family" boats but, I want to do better in the racing I am now doing.

The next boat? Well, I still want some cabin area below as I want to be able to cruise around the lake with friends and maybe spend a night out. So I am looking at something with that and a bit more jump in her step. Boats on the list include, Beneteau 235, S2 6.9 & 7.9, Rangers, maybe Precisions.... you get the idea I am sure.

So I now have owned a boat, 3 years now, and now I am selling a boat. If I have Papillon next season then so be it. I don't really want to have 2 boats.... at all. One thing for sure, when I launch next season, going to pry that damn thing out, find a spot where it drops and then sail with it down like the designers intended.

So if anyone knows of anyone that would like a nice cruiser, point them my way. If anyone knows of a nice racer/cruiser $10K and under, let me know.

More racing this weekend and in the weeks coming. Just going to sail her as best she can and have fun. After all, I will be sailing.... 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Launch Day Commeth

Well after various logistical issues, see blog post on waiting, Clay and I finally were able to hook up and get good old Papillion in the water. Oh yeah, the T-Pins did finally arrive. They were shipped 2 day priority mail so of course it took nearly 7 days for them to get to me. Everything went pretty smooth too. After we got her up on the crane, I finished painting the spots on the bottom and keel that needed paint due to them meeting up with the trailer. it was a warm and humid day as we have been having a lot of rain around here. The lake is at it's highest level, ever.

Minnetonka is the headwater for Minnehaha Creek, which is quite, not sure if famous is the right word or what would be but, it flows to the Mississippi River and that starts here in northern MN as well. Well the lake is in a complete no wake restriction, we can sail as our wakes are not of consequence. Minnehaha falls are roaring as per the picture below. The dam on the lake for the creek is wide open and the water is still spilling over the sides. 

As I said, we did get her launched without much issue. Unfortunately we did not have time for a little shake down sail. The next day was a race at the club but, yeah, more rain and thunder. Funny how it takes 15 - 20 sailors looking at the same radar image and hearing the same thunder overhead an hour or so to make a determination to abandon racing for the night. Well 15 - 20 might be a little on the low side for the count.....

So Saturday the 21st is an around the island race. That will be the next attempt though... the weather will be clear but the wind? Possibly non-existent.... and Sunday, 40% chance of more rain and thunder......

Here are some exciting pics of a sailboat being launched....

Been doing a lot of thinking about some things...... this could very well be my last season with this boat...... Just need to do some deep analysis on what I have and what I want.... more on that later.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting

As it is now the end of May I would have thought that I would have launched by now. I think I am the last member of the club to still be on the hard. The reason is as follows..... waiting for hardware to arrive. 
I ordered new open body turnbuckles a couple of weeks ago from Garhauer as they had the best price. They took a week to ship and then another week to show up as these things are never in stock apparently. They arrived yesterday and I went outside to start putting them on. Well, seeing as my boat is the oddest oddball of the oddballs, they would not thread on to the stud of the shroud/stay as mine are the opposite thread. Figured this all out from a conversation with Garhauer customer support. So seeing as apparently most boats have right hand threads at the stud and the t-pin is left handed, mine is left handed at the stud, if I unscrew the t-pin, the stud screws in nicely, and right handed at the t-pin. So after conversing with Doug at Garhauer and getting my mind wrapped back around how all this works, this is the conclusion we came to. 
I am now getting right hand t-pins sent to me on Monday as of course, they are not in stock, and they should be here by Friday. Next day air was cost prohibitive at this point. Most everything else is ready to go. I am pleased with the help from Garhauer as they are willing to do an exchange on the t-pins, so in the end it won't really be costing me all that much to do all this... just wish it was all done by now.
I will be detailing the bottom and stripe painting, compass install and other little projects in the next couple of posts. Which will be coming soon as I really don't have much else to do besides blog this weekend as the weather is supposed to be crap and my boat is in the driveway.......

Oh I suppose I should mow the lawn too...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Current Conditions

Shivering here in MN in January is pretty typical. Though, we have been spoiled a bit the last couple of years with above "normal" temps. Currently it is 12:42PM CST with a sunny sky. Temp is a balmy -8F/-22C with a breeze of 15 mph/13 knots giving us a windchill of -26F/-32C. Here is a view of the docks at the yacht club. Those "shacky" things out in the frozen bay are ice fishing shacks. Not my idea of a good time but, to each their own right? 50 days until spring doesn't mean much up hear at 45 degrees North. Iceout is the real date we care about.... sometime in April if we are lucky. Though, who knows this year, even Superior is 53% ice covered......

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lacking Updates

I know, I know... here it is January of 2014 and the last post I made was before I launched in may of 2103. Well, this is what I did..... 

  • Recored the deck under the mast as it was fully rotted. Cut it out, put in new ply, epoxied the cut out glass back over. Very solid and seems to have done the job.
  • Sailed some. I didn't get out as much as I wanted to. Do we ever? I had issues with the centerboard being stuck up in the trunk. My friends Clay and Rob helped me pull her out sometime I think in July and I pried it out of there. She sailed better but still had a wee bit of lee helm. Old main sail was proven to be pretty worthless as well. Heck it was 35+ years old I think.
  • Bought a new mainsail and that helped a bit, lot, more. She actually sailed in lighter winds. Moved through the water, tacked and everything.... I know, I have high expectations.
  • Pulled the boat mid November and brought her over to a fix-it marina and had a new centerboard put in. Also got the trunk's who knows how long the crap has been in there dug out too. 
  • Figured a few other things out, like block placement for sheets for the new to me 145% jib. Needing to get the motor completely out of the water and the swim ladder as well.
  • Did some sailing with Clay & Pia on both Blue-J and Kestrel. Was nice to get back up to the Apostles and do some sailing.  
  • Oh yeah, ran aground and announced it over the radio to the entire fleet my very first race.... lee helm was bad as I said. So I got that out of the way in my sailing career now.

I am looking forward to the upcoming season. Hoping to be in a slip this year but if I am back on a mooring, so be it. Hopefully there won't be any further sailing issues with Papillon, and if there are, I can get them worked out.

I have some projects to thin about doing for the boat, bottom paint being first on the list and then painting the deck as well. As you know, one always has a list of things they want to do but, getting it done is a different story.

Well, that's all I got for now. I will try to make more frequent updates this season as I know you 8 followers were really  bummed about the lack of posts last year.