Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wasted day.....sort of.....

Did not get a thing done today, except spend 16 hours at work. I work graveyard, and frequently I am required to attend day shift functions such as safety meetings, all hands meetings and various classes. Today I was required to attend First Responder CPR instruction. I get off at 6AM, the class lasted 4 hours starting at 10:30. So I hung out at work from 6 until 10:30, went to class and got home at about 3:30. Went to bed. Got up at 7PM. Had dinner. Watched Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. Went to work. Except for the 8 hours overtime it was a do nothing day. Don't mind a few money days, but they sure slow down progress on the boat.

I had planned on reinstalling the windless today. I tried to do it yesterday, but found that the stainless mounting plate was not level. Apparently when they were welding it together it warped a bit from the heat. It was lucky the case did not crack when it was originally installed as there was about a 1/16th of an inch wobble across it's width. I wasted a couple of hours trying to run down shim stock to shim the wobble out, but could not find anything less then a full box priced at $75. Even the auto parts store has stopped carrying them. Finally located some stainless sheet in a small machine shop that I have used in the past. The guy wanted a couple bucks for a nice large sheet of .048 thickness stainless. It's not precisely the thickness I wanted but I had run out of viable options, so: close enough.

Didn't have anything less then a $5, so asked if he would take five for it. Didn't seem to be a problem. Anyway, I traced a pattern from the mounts of the windless on the stainless, cut and drilled the shims, and was all set to have an assholes and elbows day throwing things together. Thought I would get the project done, and maybe even get the chain up off the dock and into the chain locker.

I know my neighbor will be glad not to have to walk across it to get to his boat. Should be able to get back on track tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I decided to replace the 200' of 3/8" BBB chain that came with the boat. We will now have
300'. It took a little self persuasion for me to abandon the old chain as the new stuff costs $2.85 per foot. The thing with the old chain was, that even though it appeared to be good, I could find no identifying stamps on any of the links. Having had a bad experience with metal pipe flanges manufactured in China I am very reluctant to rely on chain that could have come from there also.

We will sleep better knowing we have good quality chain.

I am marking it with red at 25' intervals and yellow at 100 and 200'. I don't expect the paint to last real long, but hope that the painted surfaces inside the links will hang in a good bit longer then exposed areas. Will also be figuring out additional marks using fabric or plastic.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On a much nicer note.......

First time we really got her out with the main and headsail flying. We were on the way over to Blakely Harbor for the PSCC Salmon Bake. Sailed over and back. Just a wonderful time, except for the anchoring.


Here they are, much better looking now then initially. His arm is no longer being dressed. The only serious area remaining is his foot.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shut down

Been pretty shut down this last week. Didn't do anything at all on anything at all. About the only good I did was help Kris with his wound care.

He has needed quite a bit of help dressing his burns after his daily bath. While in the bath he has to use a pair of sissors to remove dead skin from around the edges of the burns. Quite a greusome task. Thank God I only have to help replace the bandages. Its a three step process. First we cut large guaze pads in pieces that will cover each the wounds, then load the pads up with Silvadeen (sp) ointment and place them with great care, then we wrap the silvadeen pads with rolls of guaze, and finally pull on a stretchy kind of tube bandage. This stretchy thing is real hard to get on without ripping away the guaze dressings, and quite painful as they are dragged over the burns.

Maybe doing this is what has been sucking away my energy. I am the type of sissy that cannot stand to watch someone getting a shot, even on TV. I have to turn away. So looking at all these horrible burns on my son's body has been a struggle, but I am so happy that Judy and I are here to do this with Kris. I can not imagine what it would be like for him to have to endure this by himself.

When we are all done we have we walking (slowly) up the street to a very fine Thai resteurant to treat ourselves to a nice lunch with iced Thai coffee. Gives us some time to hang out without all the distractions.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


It's been about a week now since Kris burned himself. Thankfully things were not nearly as bad as they could be. The only area that continues to concern his doctors is the top of his left foot, from the toes back a couple of inches. They are hopeful that there will not have to be skin grafts.

He has been working pretty hard doing physical therapy. Lots of walking and lots of manipulation of his foot, ancle and toes. The idea is to retain range of motion as the skin heals.

He has been pretty positive about things so far, believing that maybe his higher power has put him through this for a reason. He has been getting very welcome visits from Brenda, Tim, Scott and Dawnell, all members of the bible study group that he attended along with Judy and myself. They are wonderful people!

On the boat front, I have started working on the anchoring system. I was going to focus next on some of the issues I felt were important to sailing, such as lazy jacks and various leads for our control lines, but after having had the misfortune of supplying one of the corner anchors for our last raft up (seventeen boats) I feel that the most important next area is the windless, chain and anchor.

I removed the 200' of 3/8" BBB chain that the boat came with, and took it down to a chain supply house to have an additional 100' added. I am in a quandry about this 200' however, as the galvanizing is pretty much gone on the outboard 100'. There is a very light layer of rust, but no significant loss of metal. I am inclined to keep this but I need to see if I can identify where is was manufactured. Most domestic chains (and maybe foreign chain) have identifying stamps imbedded in the links every so often. There are no such marks to be found on mine, leading me to believe that it might be some cheap crap that lacks the strength of the good stuff. I am going to contact Bob Perry, the boats designer, and see if he has any idea where the boatbuilder might have got it from.

If I can't get a good read on this, then I think I will just buy 300' of new Acco chain and rest assured, while anchored in a gale, that our chain will not fail us. This will not be cheap....$2.84 per foot plus tax.

Also will be rebuilding the Muir Cougar windless and getting an anchor to replace the 45 lb CQR that we now have.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Went to our quarterly dock captains meeting Tuesday night with Tom. Good meeting....the Port is really trying to be a customer driven organization. Quite remarkable for a government organization. One big item that they let out is that we will be issued key chain fobs for the new card readers that will be unlocking the dock gates, and better yet, the fobs will be universal. We will be able to get on all of the marina docks with the fobs. This is good for the live aboard community, as we now all possess perloined universal keys that give us the same access. Without the universal access the live aboard community would be severely challenged visiting each other.

That was not the scary thing though. When Tom and I got back to the car, I found a note from Judy on the seat. Kris, our youngest son, had just been taken to the Harborview Hospital burn center, and that Judy was on her way down. This was the extent of the note.

Two years ago I lost my older sister to burns. She was in a house fire, and had been severely burned. I rushed down to Portland to her, and was there as family started arriving from all over the country. The extent of her burns made recovery an impossibility, even though she could be maintained using a ventilator. They recommended that we stop all heroic efforts and let her go, which her childern decided to do. About an hour after support was removed, she passed away.

All this was flashing back on me as I rushed down to the hospital. When I got there I was met by a social worker who took me back to Kris's room. Much to my relief he was awake and talkative, but in great pain from some very severe localized burns on his arm, hand, leg and foot.

Now, several days later, it looks like the only really serious area is his foot. The arm, hand and leg look like they will not need skin grafts, but we don't know about his foot. That will depend on how it responds to treatment the next several days. We are all praying.

One complication, besides his diabetes, which reduces healing of foot injuries, is his drug history. He has grown a tolerance to opiates, so his pain management is very complicated. To little and he is suffering, a little bit more and he may fall into a coma and lose the ability to breath. The sweet spot between the two is pretty small.

I would say too bad, face your consequences, but too much pain also inhibits healing. Besides he is trying so hard, working every day and doing so much right in his recovery that this attitude is just not appropriate.

I feel so bad for him.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sat. Night

And here I am at work...At least I got a bellyful of wine. Was it a good wine? I can't remember, but maybe the name gives a clue: OOPS. Yeah, a wine from Chili named OOPS. Marketed by some dude in Peru, or maybe it was Bolivia. Can't remember.

Left for work about an hour early. Takes that long to get here when you're doing the speed limit.

You know, I could make a career as a cop busting people doing the speed limit. The only folks driving the speed limit on Saturday night are drunks. Duh!!! Another give away: working taillights. Drive the speed limit with both taillight working, on a Saturday night: in my book you're a drunk felon with warrents. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

So here I am, having run the gauntlet of dumb cops, drinking decaf tea with nothing on my mind but sleep.

Oh, the boat.....

Decided to forget the inverter and all things electric, unless directly related to getting off the frigging dock. Have started to install a deckwash pump. Deckwash is a misnomer, as it will be used primarily to wash our anchor chain as we bring it back aboard. Our anchor locker, really a chain locker, is seperated from our berth by a mere 5/8" bulkhead. The bulkhead has doors, and the doors have louvers. In essence we sleep with our chain..... and I don't want to sleep with a chainful of smelly Puget Sound bottom mud.

So deck washfirst. Lazy Jacks second. And pictures to follow, when I remember to bring my camera.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boat Projects cont.

Ok, back to work.

Got a new project to add to the list.....ME!!!

We took a couple of hikes while in the San Juans and I thought I was gonna die. It was all I could do to drag my ass up the hill from the dock. My heart was pounding, my head was spinning and my legs were spaghetti. And this was only the first hill of many on the four mile walk to Turn Point Light House. I did make it. The only thing that kept me going was day- dreaming about the nice beer chilling out on the boat, awaiting my thirsty return.

We did this hike a few years ago when I was in shape, and I don't recall that it was much of a problem. I remembered it as a nice stroll. This time, however, it was a wake up call: How much sense does it make to slave away trying to have a fit boat and end up with a body that is not. A person does need to be in good condition to safely sail offshore.....so, I am my new first priority.

Step one was to get my bike out of storage. Two, get a tonneau cover installed on my truck to hide if from parking lot thieves and shelter it from salt air coming off the Sound. Three, find my helmet, shoes etc. stored away in some nondescript box in one of our multiple storage areas. Four, buy a new tire pump, replacing one that was stolen from bike storage in our condo. Five, (tomorrow's job) pump up the tires, climb on and ride.

Will follow the program I used last time I was starting up from scratch. Ride six days a week, starting at six miles and gradually work up from there. Last time I was doing about three hundred miles a week before my knee gave out. Actually, it wasn't really my knee that gave out it was my will. I only used the knee as an excuse. I was training for a ride across Washington in one day(286 miles), but didn't think I could make it because I lost a week vacationing in the BVI's, and a week riding the Harley from Fort Meyers, Fla. to Seattle. Lost time and lost motivation. So I put the bike away....... for about three years.

And turned into a tub of lard.

This time I am not going to overdo. I'll limit my mileage to something reasonable--50 to 60 miles per week and do the weight circuit at the gym that I've been a member at for the last four months. Will be nice to get back. Havn't been there since they gave Judy and me the new member tour. Thank God Judy goes or it would all be money down the drain.

And then there is the boat.

Started installing wire for the inverter today, but I'll save that story for next time. It'll be a good look at how I muddle through things. There is absolutely nothing elegant about the way I go about my projects, I just try not to give up until I have made all the mistakes it is possible to make...... I just sort of hang in there until I am all dumbed out.

I'll try to remember to bring my camera down here the next time I do this. All text is no fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tripping in the San Juans

We finally broke free from the dock. Our boat has not moved since we brought it down from La Conner last December.

It was a great relief to have the engine and electrical system work as well as they did.

I rebuilt the entire raw water cooling system on the Volvo diesel. Replumbed the water lines, rebuilt the raw water pump, relocated the syphon break, removed and acid cleaned the fresh water and oil heat exchangers, renewed the exchanger zincs, replumbed the transmission cooling lines, changed the belts, filters, oil in the tranny and engine, and replaced the coolant. There must be twenty new O-rings that could have leaked but didn't. The thing ran perfect, which is very unusual for one of my projects, since I normally only get thing back together approximately right the first time.

I also ripped out and replaced a ton of old non tinned 2/0 wire, junked three 165 lb. 8D gel batteries, replacing them with six Trojan T105 golf cart batteries and a dedicated engine start battery, installed fuse blocks and fuses on all the major circuits, installed new battery switches, and rewired the voltage regulators on our charger and alternator. Everything worked great. I did feel a little less apprehensive about the electrical work since I had to have everything kind of working every evening by the time Judy got home. She would not have appreciated going without power for lights, the stove, American Idol, etc.

The beauty of the Islands still amaze me. Each one is a jewel in its own way, and when you want to have a little dose of urbanity, Friday Harbor is real close with its fabulous brew pub at the foot of main street.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ordered Sails

Have placed an order with UK sails for five sails. Main, 110% geneoa, staysail, and two storm sails. This was a long time coming. We were being advised by all to go with Hassee or Shatteaur, but just couldn't spend 30k on sails. I think UK will make us a real nice set of sails that will take us where ever we want to go, and back. Glad that's done. Now back to ground faults.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Boat Projects cont.

Ok, did good. Got the first four items mostly done.

Was not able to locate the souce of current leakage, but did determine that there was nothing coming from the DC side. Since it is AC I have far fewer items to check on, but it will have to wait, as I am heading up to Victoria on the Clipper tomorrow. I will be meeting Alex from UK Sails. He will be showing me thier Bluewater Finish cruising sails. I would really rather have Hassee or Shatteaur do our sails, but the price for the UK is a bit less then the other guys.

If we were planning to do Cape Horn, then UK would not be my pick, but since we are just Ma and Pa Cruiser, looking for eternal summer, I think UK will do just fine.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm having fun now. Figured out the picture thing. Whoever designed this software is a genuis because I can never figure out how to do anything. In this case, however, it was a snap. Watch out now.

Oh, the picture shows the view from the Gorge Amplitheater in Eastern Washington. The Columbia River is in the background. There were times (12,000 to 15,000 years ago) when the entire canyon was filled with water flowing from ice age glacier lakes. Occasionally ice dams holding the lakes back would break releasing huge amount of water (up to 15 cubic miles per hour flowing from a lake that was 2000 feet deep, covering an area larger then Lake Michigan). The flood plane carved by these outflows is called channeled scablands. Miles and miles of river channels were carved out of the basalt rock in just a few days.

Google "Dry Falls" for the real scoop.

Boat projects.....

Just a beginning.

Remaining electrical stuff:

Complete battery link installation
Find source of A/C current leakage (now @ 30 milliamps)
Finish battery compartment fan installation
Make temporary wire connection for windless
Install inverter in Q-berth and install controller @ nav desk
Windless relay installation
Windless switch relocation to nav desk
Move Ample Power energy monitor to nav desk
Figure out what to do about 2/0 welding cable running to windless
Install battery watering system

I would like to be done with the first four items, at least, by next Friday so we can head up to the San Juan Islands for a week with Tom and Jan.

Friday, May 25, 2007

1st Post

Been struggling with the idea of blogging for a while now.

I like the idea of journaling. Our lives have taken a real turn lately, and it would be good to create a periodic record of events.

The problem is that I am not good at continued efforts. I can accomplish a lot when tasks have a beginning, a middle and an end. Building our last house for example was exhilerating. Required a herculean mental and physical effort that, on a daily basis, resulted in profound and lasting change. I finished on schedule, and on cost with a truly beautiful home. But when I was done, I was done. It was good to move in and move on.

The move on thing turned out to be landscaping. Judy was absolutely adament that she was not going to live in a nice new house surrouned by mud. So, off I went on the next project. Planted well over a thousand plants, all natives to the Northwest, including some that I collected from up in the hills. Installed a drip irrigation system to keep them all nicely watered through the transition to thier new home (none of them died). Also installed a sprinkler system for the bane of my existance, grass.

Beginning, middle, end. Been there done that. Now I am quit of the whole house building, landscaping thing.

I could barely bring myself to mow the darn lawn. I fought a good fight with the moles that moved in from the greenbelt behind the house to the more furtile hunting grounds my lawn provided, but in the end they were more motivated then me. I was going to rip the lawn out and plant a nice ground cover (beginning, middle, end) that would hide the piles of mole dirt and eliminate the need for a lawn mower, but we ended up selling the place and moving on to a condo before I got around to it.

I did manage to turn on the irrigation every spring.

So, daily maintanance is not my thing, and I have the good grace to excuse myself from all blame if I never write another thing. It's not really what I do.