Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spiders, Sewer, and Storms

Lori and I had planned to go down to the boat on Saturday morning, but ended up going down Friday night, getting there around 10:00pm. Upon opening the boat up the smell of sewer filled the air. Dave had told me that there had been some back up in to the bowel of the toilet when he was there up Wednesday. Being that it was night, I worked some on it but mainly opened windows and got the fans going. Lori and I shut ourselves up in the forward cabin with the fresh air blowing in and spent the night on the new cushions Dave finished. In the morning I tried to see what was going on and why it would back up. I found that the bilge was full, the pump was not working, and it also smelled like sewer. After some testing I found out that the pump had failed. I got a new one at the harbor store and installed it. Later in the day I talked to the harbor owner and he said that a bad Joker Valve was the problem.  He thought it was caused be using the wrong antifreeze when the boat had been winterized before Dave got the boat. Dave is getting a new head (toilet). We also pumped out the hold tank that was full. I cleaned out the bilge area with the wet vac, and scrubbed and washed it out, too. We may have had lake water leaking though the head valve, filling the tank, and the bowl over flowing in to the bilge. I spent a few hours cleaning and pumping everything out. I also got the last drain line installed on the lav sink. Now the whole system is working. The main fresh water tank is smelling good, which was another problem caused from the antifreeze. We have run bleach plus a number of full tanks of water though the system at this point now. Hopefully after the new head is in we will be done with the plumbing system.

By this time, it is late Saturday afternoon  so we decided to get out and sail for a bit. We headed up river a few miles to have grilled chicken kabobs on the lake. 

This is the way to grill... you watch this.

As the sun was setting, we looked for a good place to anchor for the night. We found a cove near Old Frontenac, where there were two other sail boats already achored. After two tries to set the anchor, we settled in with enough space between the other boats. I checked the weather once again and it sounded like a storm may pass near us. We got set for the night and just before going to sleep I checked the radar, and yes, the storm was heading our way in the next hour or so. I was awoken by the lighting around 12:30. I went on deck to check that every thing was okay, right when the winds came in, rocking and rolling the boat, with the rain soon after. Much of the lighting was going horizontally across the sky, lighting up the whole lake around us. The wind kept changing and turning, and at some point the distances from the other boats looked as though they were changing, too. I checked the GPS mark I had made on my phone when we set the anchor, and we were well within the area with the amount of anchor we had out. I got dressed with my rain gear so I could stand outside and watch the other boats, as well as our location. I think one of the boats pulled out farther into the lake till the storm passed, but it was hard to tell. The storm passed over us in about 25 minutes, and as the winds slowed, the skies suddenly became completely clear. We watched the storm head off to the the SE, and enjoyed the star-filled sky.

In the morning after coffee and cereal we headed back to the harbor. We did not even try to put up the sail, as it was calm. When i pulled the anchor up I could not get all of the muck off of it until using the water hose at the dock. After docking, Lori packed up our stuff while I cleaned the boat some more. I did a little more work before we headed home, taking apart the counter top area by the ice box. We think it will be the last wood we need to replace.  

Throughout the weekend many spiders were seen on the boat, in the boat, at the dock, in the grill, and most every where, of all sizes and shapes. That is not so much fun.

 Neither Lori nor I got much sleep the past two nights, but it was still a relaxing weekend.

Lori took a photo of flowers growing on a log in the middle of a pond, along side the road near the boat, and said "bloom where you are planted."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last Weekend

Last weekend Dave and I took our last class, ASA 104. We drove up Friday afternoon to Washburn, WI, which took a little over 4 hours. We met the instuctor for dinner at a small cafe, then back to the boat to get set up for the weekend and meet the other student. In the morning we had strong winds coming from the North. Lookng at the radar we saw a storm heading our way so we stayed at the dock till it passed over us, and did the classrooom part of the the class. As we looked to head out, the 30 mph winds had the boat tight on the dock. The boat is hard to turn when motoring in the harbor, so we spent some time on how best to get out without hitting the sea wall after pulling out of the dock.

In the end, the instuctor had us with 4 lines (ropes) on the boat as we got ready to back out. One of the lines ran from the front port side of the boat, around the front of the boat to the aft of the boat, and around the dock to the other side, then back to the starting point on the bow of the boat. In other words, there was a bunch of rope that looped from the front of the boat down the length of the boat, and then around the dock. The idea was to use the rope to stop the boat from hitting the sea wall, which was just South of our dock. Dave was at the helm. Because of the wind, the boat was tight on the bumpers on the dock. Backing up and pulling out of the dock was going ok at first. But after we had just cleared the dock, I saw that the long rope had snagged on the dock. Dave had started to move forward at that point, and I was able to get the line off the boat, but that meant we had about 70' of rope that we or another boat could get caught in their prop. Luckily a guy was at the dock and pulled it in.  Now to get out on Lake Superior.

After leaving the shelter of the habor the waves got higher as we headed out to the lake. Becuase of the weather, all of us had harnesses on and were tethered in. As best as we could tell, we had about 8-10 feet waves with some bigger, plus we headed almost straight in to the 30 mph winds. The instuctor wanted all the dock lines removed and stowed. There was one on the very front of the bow. I crawled on my hands and knees to remove it.

The bow was moving up and down about 15' so when the boat was rocking downwards, the deck of the boat was nearly level with the water.  After a number of tries we decided to let it be.  We had pre-reefed (dropped the sail part-way down the mast) the main sail to the 3rd reefing point, but the main line to raise the sail was clipped to one of the side rails. The main boom is high on this boat compared to Dave's, so the top of the sail when all of the way down can't be reached from the deck. The mast does have fold down steps to climb up and connect the line. So up on the steps I went, and lashed myself the the mast. To make the connection I faced the aft on the front side of the mast and reached around. In the somewhat short time up there, the pitching of the boat caused the mast to slam into my chest repeatedly.

Now we are ready to sail. Dave is still at the helm.  The wind pushes us so the wind and the waves are on the starboard side, and even with the wheel hard over, we are not able to turn into the wind. After a little debate between Dave and the instructor on why, we dropped sail and motored the rest of the day. We got to Bayfeild after 5 plus hours going less than 1.5 knots per hour.  (At the same engine speed on Sunday, we were over 6 knots per hour.)  We took turns at the helm, and simply standing behind the wheel and riding the waves was a lot of work.

In Bayfield, I was able to dock the boat just fine. By this time the wind had calmed down some, and the protection of the habor made the docking a lot easier. The original plan was to anchor off one of the islands but the weather forecast kept changing. After a short relax, the instructor started making dinner for the rest of us. I ended up falling asleep sitting at the table and woke with a plate of food sitting in front of me for a little while. All four of us were completely exhausted from the day. Shortly after dinner, most of us curled up and fell asleep. At least one of the lights got left on all night. It was nearly 8:00 a.m. before I got out of bed, and hadn't slept well the three previous nights. So eleven hours of sleep was nice.

Dave and I then headed up to one of the cafes in Bayfield, WI and got a real breakfast and coffee. About 9:30 a.m. all four of us were ready to head out.  The water was nearly like glass with some light winds. We practiced a number of man overboard drills and were able to do some sailing, before heading back towards Washburn. We also did some anchoring with two anchors. After that the wind had died down to nearly nothing. So we motored the rest of the way back.

We pulled up to the gas dock and refueled, and had the waste tank pumped out. After a fair amount of discussion with the other student on how to back off the dock, he did end up clipping the dock with the anchor. He backed the rest of the way out to the lake, where I took over. In order to re-dock the boat, I had to pull in and do a 180-degree turn with the boat. It's pretty tight quarters with this size of boat (35'). I didn't quite listen to the instructor's instructions on how to dock the boat, but was able to pull it in and dock it just fine. I found out later that the other student was in a similar class and both times while docking, hit the dock boxes with the boat.

The instructor asked us whether we wanted to take the test Saturday evening or after we docked on Sunday. Neither Dave nor I were sure what parts of the book we were supposed to study. I had not looked at the book since the 103 class over a month ago, so we opted to take the test on Sunday afternoon with the plan of reading on Saturday night. Dave was able to do a little bit of reading, but I couldn't keep my eyes open. Before starting the test I was completely prepared to fail it, thinking I could re-take the test in a couple of weeks. The class requires a grade of 80% to pass the written test. I ended up getting 80%. Dave fared a little better, but at the end of the day we both passed.

One of the things the instructor pushed regarding the Belize trip was that we have an extra hand for the stretch across the Gulf of Mexico, so Dave ordered an auto-pilot to assist the two of us. Lori and I will be on the boat this coming weekend to do more work and more sailing. Dave will be off racing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Long weekend

We both passed the 104 class. Rain, thunder, 30 mile a hour winds to no wind. 8-10 foot seas to glass its been along weekend. Now a 4 hour drive home. More details later.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This is the boat we are on this weekend. Windy this morning. Rain is on the way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

First night on boat

Tonight we started the 104 Class. we are docked in the harbor but in the morning we head out on the big lake. It sounds like we might have some rain at wind.

More later if I have cell service.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

time is going by fast and slow

Dave and I still have lots of stuff to get ready before the trip. We leave in a little over 3 months there  is only 4 weekends from now till the end of Sept. that both of us are open to work on the boat. Plus all of the things other than the boat we both have to do, and not sure how all of it is going to get done. On top of that there are days I would love to just leave now and can hardly wait to get going. It looks like there will be some work days without the other person. I think Dave is going down to the boat midweek next week, and I am planning to go with Lori the following weekend. I know when we set sail we will we be as ready as we can.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

fear about sailing??????

I was looking around the net tonight and came across a sailing forum. It talks about the USCG statistics for boating in 2008.

It is really strange how statistics can make thing look. Below is a quote:

"So, taking these statistics into account, am I correct in surmising that,

[IRONY ALERT] statistically speaking, any sailor's best chance at survival is to get 10 or so hours of some informal training on how to sail, take a 40' vessel into the open ocean in rough to very rough conditions, wear a pfd, don't drink, stay on the boat (regardless of make or year), sail REALLY fast, and, in all probability, you'll be just fine?

It seems the most dangerous sailing out there is sailing a small boat on a sheltered body of water in calm conditions. Could that be right?
Surely that's not it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big weekend coming up

This weekend Dave and I taking our last Sailing class. We will be sailing out of Washburn WI near the Apostle Islands and Madeline Island.  We are taking the 104 class Bareboat Chartering Standard. We board the boat Friday night and stay until late afternoon on Sunday. One of the nights will be spent out on lake Superior. This will be the closest thing to open water we can get before hitting the Gulf of Mexico in the Fall. I believe it is Dave and I plus one other student and the instuctor that will be on the boat. The boat is 35' so just a little bigger than Dave's. It is called the "Donalee."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bikes, trains, automobiles, and the boat

This last weekend was full of boating, camping, biking, and the beach. On Friday Dave, Noelle, my Mom, Scott, Jane, Lori, and myself met early in the morning at the boat. We took it down the lake 10 miles to Pepin, WI, and docked at the Marina, where we had lunch at the Habor Veiw Cafe. The food was outstanding. We did try and sail some on the way back, but with no wind that is hard to do. Dave let Scott be the helmsman, and no one died. After returning back to our marina, my mom and Scott took off to meet some friends of their's, and we headed off for the campsite to meet up with Ed and Beck. Dave, Ed, and myself all had our motorcycles so we could do some riding. Ed was our cook for the weekend, and, as always, did a fabulous job of planning and preparing our meals.

After dinner and the day on the boat all of us were really tired. None of us got much sleep at the campsite. We were supposed to camp at the state park, but currently our state government can't get their stuff together, so the park was closed. We found another campground in Lake City. It was in a nice grassy area with some big shade trees, which were very much appreciated this weekend. One of the things about being located in a river valley is many times there are trains on either side of Lake Pepin. There are two main lines that the trains run on about every ten minutes. Being that we were in Lake City, and there was five rail road crossings in the city, the train laid on its horn for a couple of minutes about every ten minutes. That, combined with the hot temperatures, made for less than desirable sleeping conditions.

After Ed got breakfast made for all of us on Saturday, we made our way down to the boat because there was wind projected for the day. And did we have wind. We ended up with some gusts over 20 miles per hour. At times, the boat was traveling almost 8.5 miles an hour. While that may not sound fast, it's basically as fast as a sail boat will travel. I think both Dave and I enjoyed the wind and maneuvering the boat. Our passengers may not have all shared in our enjoyment, as things slid from one side of the boat to the other. I made the mistake of putting our sandwiches into the cooler that had lots of melted ice in it. So after sliding around for a while, we ended up with soggy sandwiches for lunch.

After we finished up our lunch, we started to head back to the marina and we tried to sail wing and wing, where the sails are on opposite sides of the boat. It is somewhat of a dangerous maneuver because if you have shifting winds (and we did) the boat can accidentally jibe. The boom was almost fully extended on the port side, a little shift in the wind, and swung hard over to starboard. Dave was trying to pull the main sheet in to slow it down a little bit, but luckily ducked and the boom missed his head. We found out later that one of the shackles got bent from this maneuver. With still heavy winds, we got back to the marina, which is normally completely still because of the burms around it. This time I'm at the helm, I tried to come in very slow, and about half way in to the slip, the wind started pushing me towards another boat. So I ended up reversing out, backing up-wind, and then coming back into the slip. I came in a lot better, but a touch too fast, and ended up kissing the dock with the bow of the boat.

We headed back to the campground where Dave, Ed, and I took off South on motorcycles around the lake through Wabasha into Wisconsin North up into Red Wing and back to the camp. Beck stayed at the campsite to hold down the fort, while Lori and Jane went to a movie in an air conditioned theater. Later in the evening Ed cooked up another meal for us, and had a fire and some popcorn and roasted marshmellows and everyone was off to bed, but not necessarily sleeping. It was still, humid, and in the 80s at 10:00 pm. So Jane, Lori, and myself had a hard time getting to sleep.

Despite the trains, we did get more sleep, until the rain came at around 6 a.m.  It started out pretty light, and then got heavier and lasted over a couple of hours. So breakfast was served in our pop-up camper that we pull behind the motorcycle--5 adults and one child. The rain cleared off. Dave headed back to the boat to get some work done. Lori, Jane, and Beck headed to the beach for a quick swim. Ed and myself held down the chairs in the campsite, until the girls returned. Mid-day we packed up and headed home. It was another long tiring weekend, but had a great time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Great weekend on the boat

Lori and I spent the last two days on the boat . The temps were in the upper 80's both days. Saturday night we anchored on the lake. We had some light winds on Saturday we sailed down to Pepin got some ice there. It is about 10 miles down river on the lake. then we motored back up about 1/2 Way where we spent the night. At 4:30 am the anchor drag alarm started going off. After checking everything out we were fine. I needed to change the settings some. The lake was nearly like a sheet of glass. The wind changed overnight from north to south, and it looked like we were floating down river, but with that very slight south breeze, it only made it look like it.  In the morning the wind was nearly zero so we ended up motoring back to the harbor and picked up Lori's brother Brian. We did try to do come sailing but still no wind. So we cooked some food on the bbq grill and relaxed  before bring Brian back. Then off to DQ for quick treat then back the boat for more relaxing and naps. Tonight we plan to watch another movie before retiring for the night. In the morning we head home. But we will be back on Friday again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Many days of work now time to enjoy the boat

Dave and I worked yet another day on the boat on Wednesday. We wrapped  up some of the work but looks like we are getting close with the main part of the rebuild. Dave finished up the main part of the bimini. So I will test fit it in the morning.

This weekend Lori and I get a long weekend on the the boat with just the two of us, plus maybe her brother for a while on Sunday. I do have a few small things to work on like installing the new TV/DVD player and some cleaning. We are both really looking forward to the weekend, with some sailing and lots of relaxing.