Monday, May 30, 2011

Some days...

are better than other days. My first inclination for a title today was, "Good Old Boat? No such a thing!" Kintala just flat kicked me black and blue this weekend. There was the water heater hose, the sump pump shorted again, I started fixing interior damage from stepping the mast, inside the lazarette was a rat's nest of discarded and tangled up wiring that would embarrass the hammest of ham handed amateurs, and the line to work the roller furling was completely shot and only 30 feet long. Just how does both a survey and a rigging inspector not spot such a thing? ($85 for a new line - thank you very much.)

Then this morning dawned with a promise of steady Force 5 winds, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and Kintala has one sail that can be set. Water systems, interior parts, wiring strung by circus clowns on acid...none of that need stand between Kintala and the lake. After all the help provided by friends at the marina it would have been major weenie to go it alone...Al, Bill, Gary, Joel, Mark, Pam, and Spero all jumped on board, lines were tossed, I pretended to know what I was doing, and off we went.

Once clear of the point Kintala put her bow into the wind and up went the little cutter jib. (I plan on sneaking up on this boat a little bit of sail at a time; which works out well since, at the moment, all we have is one little bit of sail.) On a beam reach with 20 to 25 knots of wind showing at the mast head and nothing but this single scrap of canvas flying, both the GPS and the speed meter agreed; we were making nearly 5 knot over the water! Holy mother of go-fast Batman! This thing is a Good Old Boat after all!

Captain at the helm on the first sail

4.6 knots on that little foresail!

Plenty of room for friends

On a completely different note...
No one who knows me would never accuse me of being particularly patriotic. "My country right or wrong," seems the lamest of excuses for allowing evil to pass. Right now we are letting a lot of evil pass under the bridge without much comment. In 1973 I was 18, and in one of the last groups to have a number pulled for "the draft," though by then it didn't mean anything. I was anti-war then (when it was cool) and I am anti-war now (when it is not cool). I figure war is about the dumbest thing human kind has invented, and if we don't uninvent it soon, it may well be the end of us.

But the idiot things we do as a species are one thing, and the incredibly brave, unselfish, and heroic acts of some individuals is quite another. My Dad served in Korea and was at Inchon. Deb's Dad was a Korean vet as well. I have a brother who did 12 years in the Air Force where, as a SP, he traded fire with the bad guys during terrorist attempts on various bases. They did their time and came home. But uncounted graves lying all around the world are testimony that not all get that chance. The war of my youth was 'Nam. Twice in my life I have stood in front of the Wall in D.C. - the one with 58,272 names etched in its black facade. Both times I sobbed like a child, overwhelmed by horror, humbled by the sacrifice...that place literally hurts my heart.

I went sailing today, spent time with friends, rode a fancy motorcycle back to the city, came home to people I love. But this is a day that belongs to the memories, and the honor, of those who didn't come home.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Emergency Surgery

Kintala had emergency surgery today.  She developed an aneurism which we fortunately caught on time so her recovery is expected to be quick and complete.  It all started out with the installation of our new digital sound system.  In the process of trying to decide where to put the speakers Tim was chasing down wiring from old instruments that don't work anymore but no one took the time to take out.  The wiring was situated under the panel in the lazarette so after removing all the contents of the lazarette and going below, he happened to look down at the hot water heater pressure side hose to discover that it was ballooned out and ready to blow.  On closer inspection we discovered that someone had used soft vinyl tubing on the pressure side of the hot water heater, yeah the one that carries 140° hot water to the sinks and shower, that would be the one.  We turned off the water heater and the water pressure and quickly bled off the pressure in the lines.  After some creative draining of the hot water heater we cut the line and re-clamped it until we can go buy some proper reinforced pvc water line to replace it. So my newly acquired excellent hot water source is on hold and I'm back to washing dishes in cold water with the foot pump.  This isn't actually too bad since "cold" water around here this time of year isn't very cold and I happen to be particularly fond of the foot pump.

Here's the ugly (They even left the tag on to document it...):

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A . Sail . Boat

We've had a new boat now for a few weeks, but I've had a little difficulty calling it a sailboat because until today it didn't actually have any sails on it.  Since the halyard fiasco, we've only managed to get one halyard installed, the only one that we had on the boat that was fit to be used, the inner forestay halyard.  All the other halyards are on order and are on their way here, but for now we only have the one.  So today in the middle of all the little projects that we had to accomplish we decided to stop and try hoisting the couple sails that we have for the inner forestay just so we could actually have a sail on the boat.  The sail up, we stood back and admired her.  Even so scantily clad she was pulling at her dock lines and ready to go.  I can hardly wait to see what happens with her full suit on.  Seeing as tomorrow is supposed to be a perfect sailing day, we may just take her out on the lake and see how fast she'll go on the one sail.  So now we have A . Sail . Boat.  In the most literal sense since we only have one useable sail.

On another note, one of my projects was to do something about the port lenses.  We have Beckson ports on this boat which are great ports, but 30 years of wind and weather and dirt in the screens have taken their toll.  To plug Beckson's site a little, they do an admiral job of detailing parts for their ports and making them available for any port that they've ever built in the history of the company.  I had been scoping out the replacement lenses, but they were $38.95 each.  Not a bad price don't get me wrong, but we have 13 ports in our boat and that just wasn't in the budget.  A friend of ours at the marina suggested we try a new  product he'd seen, Meguiars Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit.  I picked one up and brought it out this weekend and I was completely impressed.

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

So if you have old ports in your boat, give this stuff a try.  It took me about 40 minutes per window because ours were so bad, but definitely better than the bill for 13 new ones!

And yet on another note in the continuing what-did-we-pay-for-in-the-survey saga, I took the propane bottles to the propane place today to have them filled and it appears that we have illegal bottles with the old valves on them that are many many years out of date.  Seems like that might be worth mentioning in a survey, no?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The only thing worse than stuff... fake stuff.

Yes, you heard me right.  I took a couple contract cleaning jobs for a local real estate company cleaning vacant houses that are on the market, something they do every few months or so, and the house I cleaned today was what they call a staged house.  The homeowner who has moved hires a staging company to come into their empty house and place rented furniture, paintings, pillows, potted plants (the fake kind), table settings, towels, and props.  Fake stuff.  Like fake laptops, fake flatscreen TVs, fake fruit, even fake brie... well  you get the picture.  And regardless of the fact that the prop company slaps a fancy "TurboProps" logo on the stuff, it's still fake.  So after hiring the design company, renting the furniture, hiring a real estate agent to market said house, they also have to hire someone like me to come clean their fake stuff  every few months that the house doesn't sell.  I was in the middle of the work today when  I happened to notice the logo on one of the fake props - "TurboProps - Functional Display Art".  The absurdity of it all hit me so hard that I nearly fell down laughing.  I realize then that the thing I like most about our choice of the cruising life is the authenticity of it.  It's pertinent.  It's now.  It involves very little that is not necessary. It's real.  And thank the good Lord in heaven, the only turbo props will be on the power boats that I will studiously try to avoid.

Notebook PropsOpens and closes like real Laptop
3 Units per box
Box Dimensions: 13.5”W x 10.75”H x 7”D
Shipping Weight: 13 lbs
Unit Dimensions:
Opened: 12.25”W x 9.75”H x 10.5”D
Closed: 12.25”W x 1.5”H x 9.75”D
NBBL: Platinum with black acrylic screen
NBGG: Graphite with gray acrylic screen
NBBB: Black with gray acrylic screen
NBBW: White with black acrylic screen
$94.50(3 per Box)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cool Beans

Since I was out flogging the jet late last week Deb beat me to the lake by a couple of days. By the time I slogged in Friday evening she had cleaned the decks of both Nomad and Kintala, then (on the big boat) installed new LED lights in the salon, re-installed the Bimini, squared away some of the mast rigging, had the water system actually working, and discovered a leaking anti-siphon valve. (She seems inordinately fond of the foot pump for the galley sink!)

Cool beans.

Saturday morning I decided to ignore the fact I had no idea how to get Kintala under control. Instead I just went to the first job listed in the manual for setting up the mast, a procedure called "chocking". Now I didn't really have a clue what that was, but pretended to know what needed done anyway. Joel and Jeff stepped in to help and before long the mast was sitting tight in the cabin top; no fuss, no muss.

Cool beans X 2.

With the mast secured in the deck we replaced the trashed inner fore stay halyard with the only good bit of running rigging we had, and with that there was a way to get up to the lower spreaders. Joel called Kacey and by the end of the day I was swinging in the Boson's chair putting the final tension on the diamond stays. Kintala's mast was secured.

Cool beans X 4.

Saturday evening the assembled decided on an "End of the world" bash. In case you hadn't heard Harold Camping had claimed May 21 as the day god was going to call it quits on the world, (24 hour news channels have to fill air-time somehow). Our marina is nothing if not equal opportunity and the rantings of the clearly demented are as good an excuse for a party as any. Actually, had god showed up he (or she) would have had a rocking good time; long before midnight the quips and jokes were flying so fast and so furious that several of the assembled were reduced to tears - we were laughing that hard.

This morning Dennis, owner of the marina, allowed as he had a plan for getting to the very tippy-top of Kintala's 60 foot mast and rigging a way to install the new halyards when they arrive. He wasn't kidding. After an hour or so aloft he had installed a veritable highway of block and tackle that will get me all the way up to the sheaves on a easy Boson's chair ride. I'm not exactly sure how he managed to get from the lower spreaders to the top of the mast without a halyard - some kind of magic trick with foot loops and one-way knots. It worked though, and on the way down he cleared the mast of the tangle of rigging we used to step the mast in the first place. (Joel, Kacey, Jeff and Thorston were all part of the effort as well.)

Cool Beans X 8.

With the mast straight and true and shed of extraneous rigging, there seemed no reason that the Tides Marine Sail Track system should stay in its box. The first attempt at slidding the track up the mast hit a snag, literally. Jeff loaned me his Dremmel which made quick work of grinding smooth the sharp bit of metal that was digging into the backside of the track and stopping progress. With Thorston adding to the grunt, the track went up the mast with less effort than I would have guessed.

Cool Beans X 16.

Mast and track installed, why not get the boom off the deck? With Bill holding the aft end Thorston helped me secured the pin and rig the topping lift. All the heavy metal was up in the air!

Cool Beans X 32.

This time last week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, Kintala was essentially a collection of problems, some of which I had no real clue of how to tackle. But the endless, selfless help of friends lead to an exponential rise in the Cool Beans. There is still a long list of things that need fixed, oiled, tweaked, figured out and understood, but Kintala is a sailboat now, not just a project. She is also a testament to the community of sailors that make up our marina. Without them (and Deb) I would still be standing on the foredeck, limp halyard in hand, wondering what to do next.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Freshman goes to Graduate School

Kintala is a serious boat, built to sail a serious ocean and stand up to serious weather. She demands a serious, knowledgeable Captain. After this weekend its pretty clear I'm not that person; not yet anyway.

Three things need be done to step a mast.
A. Lift said mast as high as necessary.
B. Control the base of the mast.
C. Line the mast up with the boat, or the boat up with the mast, one or the other.

Before the mast leaves the cradle, set a timer for a full hour. Then review the lift. Slowly inspect the whole rig and anticipate what is going to happen to each stay, line, halyard, and shroud, how they will lift, where they will end up hanging, what will they snag or tangle. It only takes 15 minutes? Do it three more times.

On Friday I did a pretty good job on "A", but wasn't smart enough to think of "B" or "C". We had to figure those out after the mast was half in the boat, which was a bit too late. (In my own defense I hired someone who has done this hundreds of times and no, I don't know what went wrong.)

With the mast in place and Kintala back at her pier I spent about an hour figuring out what had to be done to finish the job...yep, that's the hour that should have been put on a timer. Rigging at the top of the mast can best be described as "needing some tension." The port side baby stay got kinked up somehow with the hook end in the mast out of place. On the starboard side the stay was hanging forward of the lower spreader. (Oops, baby stays pull aft.) The topping lift was wrapped around and around, (and around) the back stay. On the foredeck, coiled up kind of neat, was the entire length of the jib halyard. Most of the main halyard lie in the cockpit. Apparently, while I was down below playing dodge 'em with the mast, the deck crew was hastily trying to come with "B" and ended up pulling on the wrong ropes.

Saturday it rained all day, making any trips up the mast a bad idea. Inside boat work filled the day. This morning we were short on time as we needed to be back in the city before noon. But it wasn't raining. I would feel much better leaving the boat for the week with the baby stays, fore and aft main stay, inner forestay, and lower shrouds snugged up. Going as high as I could on the halyard for the inner forestay would get me where I needed to be to straighten out the baby stays. Deb wasn't happy with me going up the mast with so little preparation, but let me have my way.

Now I know that sailors normally go up the mast on one halyard while using a second one as a safety line. Climbers though, go a lot higher than a sailboat mast on a single climbing rope. I'm a moderately experienced climber and besides, I only had one halyard available.

Friend Kort volunteered to help Deb on deck and up the mast I went. A few minutes later all was well with the baby stays ready to take up some load.

"Okay guys, I got it, let me down."

The Bosun's chair dropped a to just between the upper and lower spreaders then bounced to a stop. All was no longer well.

"Ummm...guys, let me down please."

"Hang on, the halyard is shredding."

"Hang on to what? I'm hanging on the halyard!"

The outer covering on the line had parted and managed to get totally wedged in a jam cleat, reveling an inner core that didn't look too healthy either. I was stranded with no obvious way to get down. At least no way that involved a soft landing.

Sometimes a man needs a good idea in a hurry.

Kort is a dive master, climber, and long time sailor. He's a cool head and has worked his way out of a lot of interesting situations. Deb is a sailor, pilot, climber, and life long biker. She too has had her share of moments where thinking quick and getting it right are of equal importance. When things go south she is the one person I want nearby.

Me? Well, I've survived my own stupidity for this long. I figured I had a pretty good chance of getting out of this one. (Or maybe I'm just too dumb to know when I'm real trouble?)

Kort ran to his boat for a line and carabiner for me to haul up on one of the baby stays. If things go wrong when Mother Earth is a lethal fall away, a good line, a locking carabiner, and a solid anchor point are all one needs to go from barely hanging on to just hanging out. Kort had me two-thirds of the way; all I needed was something to hang from. Deb suggested I make use of the sling we had tied off between the spreaders to lift the mast, which (fortunately) was still rigged above me. Hoping the halyard would last for just a few minutes more, and knowing that I would be betting the farm on the knots I was tying in rather trying circumstances, I released my death-grip on the mast, managed enough slack in the sling for an overhand loop, clipped on...and just like that all was well once again. Kort (and a few others who had tuned in to watch the show) picked my weight up on the good line. I untied the fraying halyard, tossed it away for a faithless whore, and soon touched softly down on deck.

I gotta get smarter, faster. But I have gotten this smart. Even if I have to work a few extra months to pay for it, before Kintala takes to big water every bit of running rigging is going to be replaced. And I'm never going to believe another surveyor...ever.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beaten with a stick.

Kintala looks like a sailboat again! There is this big, tall thing sticking out of the center of the boat with thick strands of wire strung out all over the place. The rigging is loose, the boom isn't on, and there are a host of things to fix - which is another way of saying that stepping the mast didn't go as smoothly as I hoped.

The worst moment came when the mast was about half way into the boat. I was below shouting instructions to those outside, which included just about everyone who was at the marina. There was a crew at the gin pole, a crew on the boat, a crew across the way on one pier putting tension on the fore stay to pull the mast up straight, and another crew crew on a different pier pulling the boat to starboard, trying to get the boat directly under the mast. It was a bit scary having that much mass hanging out over that many people, and then something shifted. Down in the boat the butt end of the mast started chasing me across the salon, bending the tie rod and trashing a good bit of teak trim in the process. The sound of splintering wood and creaking metal had me thinking the whole mast was coming through the cabin top - I had a quick vision of going down with the ship.

Fortunately I got just enough out of the way so as not to add to my list of injuries. No one else got nicked either and we recovered our poise, figured out something, and eventually got the mast settled in its spot. All said and done the mast is up, no one got hurt, I hope to feel Kintala move under sail sometime in the next few weeks, and there isn't anything broken that I don't know how to fix. A successful day if not a perfect one.

Is it up yet?

When is Grampy T ever going to be done???


I've been accused of being a compulsive list maker.  I'm sure that my neat piles of To Do and To Buy and To Take lists spread over the kitchen counter have something to do with that.  I've found over the years that list making helps lower my stress level a good bit because it relieves me of the need to constantly remember everything that needs done, and when you have 3 children underfoot there are copious amounts of things to remember, so my list making has become ingrained habit.  The problem with list making is that it constantly reminds you of everything that needs done, and when you have 3 children underfoot there are copious amounts of things to be reminded of, and little space for anything else in your consciousness.  So as I worked my way down my pre-list-the-house-on-the-market-have-to-do-to-stage-the-house-so-somebody-says-WOW list, this week, one of the items was shredding vast amounts of old paperwork like old tax returns, medical bills, etc.  Stuck in the middle of our 1993 tax return (don't ask me how I have no idea) was a small sheet of memo paper with a To Do list on it from, not surprisingly, my preparation to sell our house in PA and move to AZ.  The list completely blew me away because I realized suddenly how absolutely wonderful it is to be married to a man that can see past the lists and concentrate on what's important.  How unbelievably, incredibly wonderful it is to be sharing this adventure with someone like him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

And the sign says...

For Sale - it's official!  
Almost exactly four years ago we set out on our 5-year plan to retire to a sailboat.  We've endured a lot of "Ahhh I see..." and "You're doing what??" and "A sailboat?  Really?" as well as those too stupified to respond.  But we rarely set out to do something that we haven't, beforehand, carefully and thoroughly worked through to be sure that it's what we wanted, and that both of us were equally on the same track, so we rarely fail to complete something we set out to do.  There was always the thought these last 4 years that we might discover we really didn't like sailing all that much (not) , and the thought that maybe once we got out on open water we might find we weren't suited for bluewater cruising (can't wait to go back thank you John Kretschmer) , and the thought that we might somehow find other interests more compelling.  The latter was easily dispelled by anyone watching us pack up to go back to the city last Sunday.  We had to leave early to meet with our youngest for her first Mother's Day celebration, but even an event as monumental as that failed to hurry our departure and we dawdled for over 2 hours trying to pull ourselves away.  The most remarkable thing is that we don't say we're packing up to head home anymore.  In the last few weeks we've made the transition - Kintala is now our home and the house in the city is some place we go for a few days each week to take care of business.  Sunday night we were laying in bed and it was utterly, completely quiet in the house.  I couldn't sleep because there was not breeze coming in through the hatch over my face, and no gentle clanking of the halyards on the masts outside the boat, and no frogs singing for their mates, and no great blue herons with their prehistoric cry.  It felt strange and foreign and I just really couldn't wait to go home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Drumroll please...

... We have a name!  After much tossing and turning and debating and researching and hemming and hawing and getting tons of advice from all sorts of willing contributors, we have officially sent in our USCG paperwork to change the name of our Tartan to Kintala.  For anyone interested, part of Tim's heritage is gypsy so the name Kintala is especially appropriate.  It is a Romani (gypsy)  word that means "a state of balance" or "karma".  Being firm believers in John Vigor's Black Box Theory, the name becomes even more appropriate.  (And then there's always the fact that we have a narrow stern and need a shorter name...)  So sometime soon we will have the renaming festivities at the marina to appease the sea-gods and undoubtedly copious amounts of alcohol will not only be offered to Neptune, but to all The Assembled as well.  Now if we can just decide on a font...   Care to vote?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gray Teak People...

(One should be careful about making sweeping generalizations about people, particularly when those people are sailors. But what the hell, this is all in good fun.)

It seems to me that Gray Teak People are a special breed of a special breed - sailors who prefer to spend more time with the sails up than the lid of a tool box open. John K. is a Gray Teak kind of person. One does not rack up hundreds of thousands of blue water miles prepping, sanding, finishing, and polishing. The going is the thing, the adventure, the landfalls. There is no pretence in a Gray Teak Person, no vanity, no need to have someone stopped dead in their dock-walk tracks by the soft glow of hand rubbed rails and decking. Gray Teak People spend as little time a possible at the dock. What a boat looks like is of little value compared to what it can do, where it can go, what kind of weather it can endure safely. Gray Teak People are the movers and the shakers.

I decided that The Tartan was going to be Captained by a Gray Teak Person. The goal was to get it working, get it sailing, get it going, and then get gone. Time is of the essence; it will not be squandered by "pimping my ride." But alas, the finish was peeling off the helm. Not only ugly but rough enough to scrape skin. (Something the Surveyor actually listed as needing fixed. Who would have guessed that a helm smooth to the touch is more important than a working sump tank?)

The helm's shape precluded the use of a palm sander, so the gentle scraping of hand wielded 150 grit filled yesterday evening with sound and my jeans with dust. This morning dawned perfect, cool, and quiet. With the helm looking so good it just seemed right to have the helm seat match. An hour or so later, with seat done and glowing softly, the entry way could not be ignored; and thus my desire to be a Gray Teak Person was overthrown. I know I have opened a Pandora's box of wood finishing; cockpit seats, companionway hatch, dorad boxes, hand rails, toe rail...but I don't mind. They will not all get done right away. Pressing systems repairs remain at the top of the "Do this next" list. But there will be other quiet mornings or cool evenings, hours with no wind to play in or no place to go. A Gray Teak Person will find more imperative things to do at those times, but I will be content to coax beauty to the surface of exquisite bits of trim. The world needs movers and shakers, but I have no need to be one of them.

(Out on the land-locked fringe of Gray Teak People is the "Lead, follow, or get out of the way," crowd. Of them I have no use or patience. Why should I lead? Maybe you don't want to go where I am going. And if you do, why am I responsible for getting you there? Why should I follow? Maybe you are going to a place I don't care to see. As for getting out of the way? Try shoving if you must, but if you do someone is going to land on their ass.)

A boat is a way to experience adventure and landfalls and weather and all the things I love about being on the open ocean. But in my mechanic's heart a boat is also a work of art, (some better than others) a statement, an expression of intent. I admire Gray Teak People. I envy their drive to get off the dock and under way. I am a fan of their hard core pragmatism. (After all, the helm of The Tartan will work exactly the same, finished or no, as will the seats, the toe rail and the dorad boxes.) I fully intend to catch up to them out on the open ocean someday soon. But they are going to get a head start.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tops and Bottoms

I worked on the top today, Deb worked on the bottom. The mast is stretched out on the deck, hanging off both the bow and stern pulpits. It only took the combined efforts of ten or so hearty laborers taking advantage of the high lake levels. I nosed The Tartan right up to the bank since there was more than 5 feet of water over the road. Heave on the hoe and pretty soon mast and boat were reunited. The rest of a long, long day was spent stringing out the rigging to decipher what went were. By nightfall the number of cables equalled the number of places to hook cables too...always a good sign. The wind was up and the breakwaters are still under water, but I managed to assemble the rigging on a bouncing deck without dropping a single pin / screw / cotter key in the lake.

While I made like a rigger Deb was disassembling the head / forepeak area to solve our water system mysteries. Among the discoveries:

- The aft "Waste" deck fitting doesn't actually go anywhere, the pipe just hangs below the deck behind a panel in the head.

- The outside water fitting next to the useless "Waste" fitting doesn't go anywhere either, just a length of hose ending under the floorboards.

- A line running off the holding tank also didn't really go anywhere. (Lots of hoses not going anywhere useful on this boat.) It ended up under the "V" berth - its only apparent purpose was to let stink escape as an indication there was stuff in the holding tank.

- The holding tank vent is in the chain locker...that's a new one.

- Instead of the promised 4 water tanks, there are just 3, which equals the number of "Water" deck fittings. Its good when the bread and peanut butter come out even.

- There is a thru-hull that goes into the tank bowl, it was left open.

- There is a thru-hull to empty the head overboard. That line was capped with a plastic sandwich bag secured by a zip-tie. Fortunately that thru-hull was closed.

We even found a Tartan Manual buried in the paperwork - thanks for the offer Ed, but it looks like we are covered after all.

We got a lot done today, but I'm thinking the sun will rise on a sore body paying the dues of spending a day clambering around the deck like an eight year old playing on a jungle gym.

By the by, we were planning on leaving the exterior teak gray - until I sanded and oiled the helm. That is some good looking wood...

(Some videos coming tomorrow - too big to load on the marina wifi!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

I feel kind of bad...

...that I don't feel kind of bad.

Though it's only Friday evening we have already been at the lake for a couple of days. After a quick, 1-day, trip south in the jet (and a seriously fun time shooting a GPS approach down to a few hundred feet in the rain) the rest of the week was kind of slow. But another corporate type airplane driver was flying into St. Louis on Wednesday with a full day to spend before heading home on Friday. He lives in OH, used to sail on Lake Erie, is looking to get back on the water, and was hoping to take a look at Nomad as a way to make that happen. I have a couple of vacation days to spare so Dan and Mark (it takes two to make most jets go so Mark had a day to kill as well) picked me up at the house and we headed to the lake. Deb had gone on before to open up the little boat and get her ready to show.

Once at the lake our guests were suitably impressed at the near record high water levels, and seemed equally impressed with Nomad. There was a nice breeze blowing out of the south so we offered Dan and Mark a chance to go sailing. Mark bowed out. It seems last week they were waiting out a day on a coast somewhere and went deep sea fishing. Turns out Mark spent more time feeding the fish than he did trying to catch them, so he was content to stay on the docks.

It was a pretty nice sail. We romped across the lake flying the working jib and main sail while just missing making 6 knots a couple of times. Dan spent a good bit of time on the helm and Nomad did herself proud. We haven't gotten an offer yet, but as I stepped onto the pier after the sail hand ended, I realized we might have taken Nomad out for the last time. And I was a bit surprised at how okay I was with the thought.

I expected to be a little more attached to our little Com-Pac, but the reality is we always knew she was our "practice boat". And she has been a perfect one. I hope she finds a good home. One where she can point her bow out into the Great Lakes would be nice as well, she deserves a chance to sail bigger waters than Lake Carlyle. But what ever happens, the time has come for her to sail off in one direction, and Deb and I to take another.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Odds and Ends

This was a day bummed off work to hang around the boats, just making sure all would be well. (Never underestimate how good it is to have a sailor for a boss!) Deb left the marina before me to get some work done on the house. (It hits the market next week, which is kind of exciting.) I poked around the head / holding tank / pump out trying to figure out where the water was coming from that was seeping back through the head, leaking onto the floor, flowing down to the sump tank, and eventually dripping into the bilge we worked so hard to clean. The port side of The Tartan has two deck fittings marked "WASTE". First appearances is that the only one actually connected to a waste holding tank is the forward one, which wasn't closed tight, opening the way for the water ending up in the bilge.

So I decided motoring The Tartan over to the pump-out station was the quickest fix. I know there must be other problems as well - holding tank water should not end up in the bilge; record rain or no. But I ran out of weekend, so these will have to be a problems solved on a different day.

Though the flood is hard on a lot of folks for a lot of reasons, this is sure a good time for a newbie to practice driving. With Schmitty and Bill along to handle lines and offer advice we eased away from the pier in a steady rain. Idle was all we needed to push the flood-muck gently aside, coast up through the finger piers, hook a 180, and glide up to the hose. After sucking gallons of rain water out of the holding tank Schmitty allowed as, since there was so much lake to play in, I could just swing The Tartan around and motor back. But when the lake returns to normal there will not be near the room; so I decided to practice. Trying to look like I knew what I was about I bumped into reverse with the intent of backing all the way out, around a reverse 180, trundle stern first between the finger piers, and back to home plate.

And by golly, that's exactly what we did. So the mystery of where the water was coming from is solved, but a new mystery of just what deck fittings go to where takes its place. There are 3 marked "WATER", 2 "WASTE", and 1 "DIESEL". But so far as I have figured it out there are 4 water tanks, 1 holding tank, with the diesel tank being the only one I have a handle on. It's a puzzle.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Family Visit and Flood Pictures

My youngest daughter and granddaughter came to visit us on the Tartan today.  They were the first family to see the boat after a long parade of marina friends.  My daughter is not fond of sailboats being highly prone to seasickness, and was not completely impressed.  My granddaughter, on the other hand, was totally thrilled and spent a few hours checking out all the available berths to play in, finally settling on the pilot berth as her favorite with Grampy T in close attendance to be sure she didn't tumble off onto the table.  She did manage to wear herself out and flopped in the aft cabin for a short nap.  After her nap we took a tour of the campground to check out the flooding and spent a short time entertaining her on the swings.

Flood water level Thursday, April 28th

Same place on Sunday, May 1st
As I sit here writing, the rain is coming down steadily on the deck. Mean pool on the lake is 443.  The record was set in 2002 at 459.6 and this morning it was 457.07.  It was supposed to crest at 458 on 5/4 if we didn't have any rain but...ooops... we're now supposed to get 2" of the stuff tonight and tomorrow on top of 7-12" we got last week.