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.