Thursday, December 31, 2015

Season Wrap Up

Finally getting around to wrapping up the season with a post. The holidays will delay things.... So we had a good year on Seeker, first year on the boat and I would like to think we learned a lot. Our times improved each race, especially towards the end of the season. Got to do some great fall sailing in November.

Nice that I could sail my own boat in November in Minnesota. Like I have said before, fall sailing is awesome. There were times that it was just us and couple guys out fishing.... Put on the tunes, open a bottle of wine and put the boat on a beam reach. Not much better than that.

Haul out day was Saturday November 21st. It was a balmy 20 or so degrees, no ice on the lake (thankfully), and a light 6kts of breeze. We got to the boat about 10am and my helpful crew was there shortly thereafter along with my friend Clay. (First 260 sailor). Of course the motor wouldn't start due to the cold. Clay gave us all the obvious answer, which I knew was coming, "It's a sailboat, let's sail it to the crane!". So we did. Was a fun last unexpected sail of the year. We should have sailed the Sunday before, 60 degrees and 8-10kts but, my work got in the way of that. We were out that Saturday so... no real loss.

We got he boat hauled and home with no issues. She is in the drive way under her cover waiting patiently for next season. Have some upgrades coming so that all will be documented eventually. Holly took all the pics below. As you can imagine, I am already getting anxious for spring. 





Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Yacht Club

Wayzata Yacht Club celebrated 50 years this past season and at the awards banquet, a video presentation was shown. It really shows who we are as a club and why it is thriving while some others are declining. Video is a bit over 15 minutes in length. 

WYC 50 years

Almost time for haul out. Been some great fall sailing. A summary of the season post will be forthcoming. Easy, don't get too excited about it now... ;-)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Getting better

The saying goes, practice makes perfect. Well we are far from perfect but we are improving our racing program. We are getting better with our sail trim and the boat speed is showing that. Better decisions on the course is also helping us. We had our 50th anniversary fall regatta this past weekend at the club and we in 3 of the 4 races over the weekend, we beat three boats to the line. Of course two out of three corrected over us but, we are improving, which is a good thing. Below is a vid snip from race #2 on Saturday. It was blowing about 10kts and we were doing about 6kts. The GoPro makes it look a lot faster for some reason. 

Only 4 more weekends of racing. 3 Commodore Cups and then the final Frostbite Cup. But, there is still November sailing too.... 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Just a couple of pictures

Just a couple of pictures from the season so far. Haven't really had an opportunity to take many as I have been racing more than fun sailing but, hoping that changes a bit as the season goes on.

More to come.... 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Been a busy spring and in to summer

So where have I been you ask all of my faithful readers? Why sailing and doing boat work and racing and.... yeah.. been a busy spring so far and the summer is looking to be the same. 

My son Stu having a look at the situation Ben is dealing with. 
We finally got Seeker launched on May 4th, yes, Star Wars day to you of the geek persuasion. That all went very well until we wanted to start the motor and head to the mooring. The motor would not run at low idle so we could not get it in to gear. After fiddling about with it for a while i decided to utilize an empty slip directly across from the crane we use to get the mast up at the club. I talked to the manager and the next day I emailed the person who's slip I was in and all was good for the rest of the week. 

Looks good in a slip.

Disconnecting (cutting) motor wires under the cockpit. Yes it was a blast...

The next day I and my friend Clay, First 260 blog here, tried to get it going with lots of carb cleaner, beer and swearing to no avail. I called my friend the car, airplane and not train mechanic but I am sure he could if he wanted to. He said "Dan, just take the f***er off and bring it over to my place." So I did. A couple of days of taking the carb apart, cleaning the sh** out of it and working it out, we (the "Royal we"), got the motor functional. The next day, Friday, which was the last day I could be in the slip, my crew guy Ben and I put the motor back on over lunch then I returned in the evening to motor out finally to the mooring. 

Yep, that's a carb.

Finally on the mooring. Needs boom & sails though.

The next thing that had to be dealt with was the furler. The drum was not quite high enough but not all that bad. So after a few days of messing about with that and trying a few different things, i.e. spending $$$ that I ended up not needing to, I made the decision that hell, the damn thing spins like it is supposed to, let's get the damn sail on and get on with it. So that is what happened. 

In the slip next to Clay's 260 so we could play (work) on her.
Test sail. 

Finally sailing.

We have been racing on Thursdays, Sundays, and Saturdays this season at WYC. We have been learning the boat, gaining experience, and finishing last.... We are not all that experienced racing to begin with and getting used to the boat is taking some time. Staying on the wind, paying as much attention as possible to tell tales, not over driving tacks/gybes is what I am working on learning as the driver. Main trimming, jib trimming, and just plain sailing well is coming along but we all have a long way to go. Schedules of summer make gaining more experience than in races difficult to schedule but that is the nature of the time of year. 

Boom Kicker install.

Boom Kicker install.

Boom Kicker install.

I will be posting more soon on races and sailing in general. Still need to get a pic of her under sail from another boat and I have purchased a GoPro so videos will be coming too.

As for projects;

  • Furler.
  • New Boom Kicker (finally).
  • Lots of little things boat owners can relate too.
  • New Dacron main.
  • New 135% Mylar/Kevlar Genoa.

Until next time!!

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.