Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finishing Touches

They tell me it's the finishing touches that flesh out a project, be it the fresh flowers on the kitchen table while preparing a house to put on the market, or the polished brass on a refurbished boat.  While we are clearly a LONG way from being done with the Tartan [ed. Yes I know you're never finished with a boat, there's always one more project. We're talking relative here.], we sometimes find it necessary to add some of those finishing touches as we progress down the must-do and should-do lists.  The effort grants us some small bit of aesthetic pleasure, some respite from the sometimes overwhelming nature of the tasks at hand.  Totally unnecessary and irrelevant to how she sails, yes.  But at the end of a day that was spent chasing an elusive leak and knowing you've had the hatch frame completely disassembled and reassembled and it looks just exactly the same including the persistent drip from the corner, it gives you some measure of satisfaction and a slightly more secure hold on your sanity when you can look at the freshly polished teak and Tartan emblem each and every time you climb the companionway steps.


What's next?

As expect this was a weekend of no wind, a touch of rain, and temps well into the 90s (actual stats at this moment; temp 93, dew point 73, heat index 103). With the sun covers in place we started our normal weekend flog. And as normal jobs lead along unexpected paths. We finished the last of the exterior teak (which looks freaking fine - if I can boast on the work mostly done by Deb). A serious run was made at fixing the V-berth hatch leak but all efforts proved for naught. As it turns out disassembling, cleaning, driving to town to look for parts, fixing and reassembling the port side handle won't fix a leak that is due to a main gasket being ancient, stiff, and shedding pieces. (But Your Honor, the gasket leak was at the handle, how was I to know?) That leak is still on the to-do list.

Companionway teak trim and grabrails all done!

Somehow finishing the teak and working on the hatch got linked in what passes for my brain; the badly corroded hatch frames are now completely unbearable. Some experimentation later and we discovered that 1500 wet/dry and a palm sander is the cure for many an ill...only 3 more hatches to go. (And another item added to the list.)



Deb has been working tirelessly on selling enough stuff to pay for the new head system - which will get ordered this week. Looking forward to having a latest-and-greatest (and hopefully orderless) head system is off-set by a total dread of the work staring me in the face. There is no doubt we will get it done, and equally no doubt I'll be beat, battered and bruised in the process.

The gauntlet has been thrown...

All these projects got me to wondering, "What's next?" Not what project is next (there will always be another project). But right now "The Retirement Project" is this boat. We have spent literally uncountable hundreds of hours grinding on this and wrestling with that, while the sweat dripped off our noses and occasional blood oozed off our fingers. We have been underway, sail and motor, for 38. (Remember that anal logbook thing?) Someday we will transition from, "What do we need to do to the boat," to, "What do we want to do with the boat." Working on the boat will not be the project, living and traveling on the boat will. And the fact is, except for one trip around Long Island and another to Bahama, I don't know much about living and traveling on a boat.

I'm looking forward to what's next.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Counting days

Thursday. It has only been 3 days since I was last on Kintala but I can hardly wait to head to the boat tomorrow. When did I get this attached to being on the water? With trips scheduled to start early Monday morning the city will beckon come Sunday evening, so it will be a bit of a short weekend. We had expected family to be visiting from PA this weekend, but they had a change of plans. The to-do list will be our main companion this weekend instead.

Nothing wrong with that; the work has to get done. It still seems an overwhelming list, but the fact is barely 130 days have passed since we bought this boat, with just 100 or so having passed since she first got wet in Lake Carlyle. When looking back over what has been accomplished since then, well, maybe the list isn't so overwhelming after all? If push came to shove we could flop Kintala into salt water tomorrow and head off. Even with the to-do list far from complete she is now a stout, mostly dry, virtually-all-major-systems-at-least-functioning-reasonably-well ocean cruiser waiting for a chance to strut her stuff. There is absolutely no reason she couldn't leave Port Everglades and set her bow towards the West End. Well, no reason except for being in a land-locked lake in IL and lacking anything resembling serious navigation equipment. Truth though? I'd head out on that trip with a hand-held GPS (or maybe 2) and a paper chart without much qualm.

I am starting to count the days before we might (might I say) head for that salt water...two-hundred and sixty two?

Monday, July 25, 2011


...there is a wee bit of politics in the following...enter at your own risk.

My eldest Daughter, Son-in-law, and grandson Christopher dropped by Sunday afternoon for a short visit. They arrived after the storm blew through that brought straight-line winds that must have topped 40 knots and swamped a sizable collection of power boats who didn't leave "Party Beech" in time. Some rain shafts were still visible around the lake and way off to the east was an occasional stroke of lightning, but the air was 20 degrees cooler and a gentle wind blew out of the southeast. Kristin and family are headed to a new home soon and will not get the chance to be on the boat often, so we headed out for a late afternoon sail that gifted me a moment every grandpa hopes for. On the way back with just our big screacher catching what it could of the following breeze, little Christopher and I settled in on the bow to watch the water go by. He sat in my lap to point out the birds, say "SWOOSH" to the bow wake, and tell me how the wind could make the boat go even though he likes to "run with the motor." Just the two of us on the bow of a sailboat wafting though the last of an afternoon on a little lake.

A moment set against the background of this weekend's violence and hatred and political evil. I really don't know how else to describe it. Cutting funding for programs that provide real help to 10s of thousands, if not millions, of people may - in fact - be necessary. (Or not. I don't actually know, but then again, neither do you.) But without a single serious consideration to ending at least 2 wars and closing what everyone concedes are TAX LOOP-HOLES? Then there is the horror of Norway which turned out to be a politically motivated - no matter how demented - act. How is that not evil at work? At the moment everyone who wants to be president is against something, gay marriage, global warming...the strangest being those who are running for government because they are against government. Isn't that like working to be a doctor because you hate to see people get better? If you did become a doctor, what sane person would go to you for treatment? It would seem much of the power structure of the world is arrayed against finding a magic moment with a grandson. There are countless twisted out there who would gladly attack yours and my little boat and family if they thought it would gain them one ounce of political advantage or a few moments notoriety in the 24 hour news frenzy. There are others who will gladly make our lives harder if they think it will provoke us into voting against the other guy. We sail in a sea of savagery and heartless hypocrisy.

And yet there we were...a quiet, no-one-will-ever-know-about-it, but somehow defiant moment where laughter and pure joy eclipsed an entire world. A moment riding on the bow of a sailboat named Kintala.

The more of us who do things like sail with family, the more we win. Not because we fight but simply because we exist.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Slow motion math

"Going slow" is the catch-phrase for this weekend. Fact is we haven't gone anywhere at all, going slow is what we do around the boat and the marina. Various inside / outside projects have consumed the weekend. As everyone knows (with refresher lessons coming about once a week) any boat project will take at least 3 times as long as a similar project not on a boat. Now add the motion-through-molasses of triple-digit temps.

My big project was replacing the interior trim shattered while we were stepping the mast: (((Fit + measure + cut) * 4) + ((sand + finish) * 3) + ((measure + drill + screw + plug + sand + finish) * 3)) + motion-through-molasses = inside of the boat looks a lot better / ass dragging ^2.

Deb got some projects done as well though much of her time was lost in the labyrinth of chain size & type v windlass gypsy. And people say flying a LNAV / VNAV approach is confusing? I got a headache just listening to her describe what she found. We are also trying to decide just how much chain is enough. So far we have heard (read) opinions that range from 30 feet anchor to line rode + how ever much line you like = anchor nealy anywere; to too much anchor chain = 1/0. (Clearly the opinion of someone with a huge boat and a bank account to match. Have you priced chain lately?)

We will figure it out eventually. And we can sit in the A/C while we think about it.

Works for me.

What doesn't work for me is the sheer lunacy that seems to be stalking our world this weekend. From the apparent complete abandonment of the idea that the US government should actually, well, govern; to the heart wrenching attack in Norway; to assaults on birthday and skating parties; I find myself lookout out from the deck of Kintala across a quiet lake and wondering what comes next? It is hard to imagine that things can get much worse, yet every day they seem to do just that. It is a wonder that every sane person on the planet isn't trying to move onto a sailboat if, for no other reason small + moving + distance = smaller + moving target for the nut-cases.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Friends / Old Friends

The one unique thing I've found about sailing people, is that you can meet someone you've never met before and within an hour you're old friends. We had the opportunity this evening to take some folks out to Fast Eddies, a very famous eatery in Alton, IL for those of you who don't live near here. These folks, along with their Yorkie,  left Minnesota a few months ago and are working their way down the Mississippi to the Ohio River where they will then head off to Kentucky Lake and then South to the Gulf eventually, timing their arrival to coincide with the end of hurricane season. They're doing this in a beautifully restored 1976 Pacific Seacraft, a work of art that is the responsibility of two very talented people. They happened to be stopping in Alton for a few days and a mutual friend of ours suggested we might meet. We had a great meal, helped them with a provisioning run, and enjoyed some Dairy Queen. It was an excellent evening spent with old friends gaining a terrific amount of cruising knowledge and stoking the wanderlust fires.  If you would like to follow their progress you can do so on their blog

Susie, Bob, and Tim

The Pacific Seacraft Heron with terrific sunshades

Ship's mate Wicket

Monday, July 18, 2011


The shower was exquisite; sluicing off what felt like layers of sweat, bug spray, sunblock, and general grime. Just as I closed my eyes to let the water run off my bald head and over my face the shower stall lurched to port, nearly dumping me on my sitting place. Not unexpected, right? Boats lurch. But this shower stall was in the club's bath house, sitting on solid Mother Earth at least 50 feet from the nearest body of water.

It has something to do with shower stalls and long days on the water. Seeing as Kintala had been beating up on us for most of Friday and all day Saturday, it only seemed fair to turn the tables and take her out on the lake. Before departing the pier we pulled big jib off the roller and put up an even bigger screecher that Deb found in the sail inventory. It is a gorgeous sail, looks like it has never been used, and seemed the perfect fit for Carlyle's light, mid-summer, winds. (Someday I'm going to figure out how sails get their names, screecher, reacher, staysail, jib, spinnaker, code zero, drifter...odd.)

Once free of the inlet and with both sails set Kintala started to work her way toward the dam, tacking endlessly against a fitful breeze wafting out of the south. We weren't going anywhere in a hurry but it didn't matter. There are few things better than having no place to go and going there anyway. We were exactly where we wanted to be; on the boat and underway. Hours later and with the sun finally settling toward the horizon enough to soften its relentless assault we decided to start the downwind run toward Bolder. (There was some talk of stopping in Coles creek for a swim, but we decided to keep moving. I'll gladly wrestle the anchor down and up for a night's sleep. Doing the same for a hour or so of swimming? No thanks.)

"Run" might be a bit of an overstatement. Even on her favored point of sail the best Kintala could coax out of the wind was around 2 knots. A distance the jet would cover in about 40 seconds would take Kintala slightly more than 2 hours under sail. So we sat on the boat, observed the goings on around us, (including a ranger boat going by at full song with lights flashing) and drank lemonade for the next couple of hours. By the time we were tied to the pier Kintala had been under way (more or less) for more than 8 hours.

Ocean crossers can chuckle if they like, but 8 hours was enough to give me a case of the least as long as I was in the shower.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A belt that fits...

West Marine in St. Charles is a regular stop. Art had a little trouble finding our order because they had the spelled "Akey" as "Hackey". He felt kind of bad about that since, as he put it, "You have certainly been in here enough for me to remember your last name.

"No problem. I'm getting a 30-year-old, 42 foot sailboat ready for open water, we have a lot of parts to go yet."

I've done a lot of projects in my life; home repairs, remodeling and additions. I've overhauled engines for 500cc motorcycles, 540 cubic inch / turbocharged flat 6s and 750 HP turbo-prop engines for aircraft, and V-dub to V8s for cars. In addition to engines there have been landing gear system overhauls, repairs and modifications to flight control systems, and massive amounts of sheet metal and airframe work on various airplanes trashed when their pilots weren't up to the task of that particular flight. Very often the first person to fly said engine overhaul or airframe repair was me. But somehow, getting a 42 foot sailboat ready for open water seems in a class of project all its own.

Today the focal point for the project was the engine "room". I'm not sure why they call it that as the one thing seriously lacking is "room". In any case the good news was the howling noise was the alternator belt. Here's a surprise, someone had installed a belt that was too thin for the pulleys. There were 2 spare belts in a drawer marked "Alt". Right width, but they were too short. Deb found a part number for the proper belt in the manual somewhere, so I drove to Mr. O'Rielys automobile parts emporium and got me a couple.

They were too long.

It seems this boat has an after-market alternator. "Ratserfratseridiotsandtheirtoolboxes." So I took another gander at the too short belt - removed the alternator from the engine, adjusted the angle of this and the dangle of that, fit the belt, reinstalled the main mount bolt, repeated same 2 or 3 times, and got it to work. Mind you, part of the job involved removing the water pump belt as well; it runs forward (aft) of the alternator belt. Fore and aft are a bit confusing on this motor as it sits bass-ackwards in the boat; crankshaft pulley and belts facing the stern, transmission toward the bow, and the drive shaft emerging in a kind of "V" shaped configuration. Not sure why, but a guess would be to get a better angle on the prop. Since the "room" was open, it also seemed a good idea to tidy up some wiring, clean the raw-water strainer, inspect the impeller, check the fluid levels, and do some general "getting to know you" poking around.

With a full day's work on deck teak and the engine once again operable above idle we went on a nice night sail...on a friend's trimaran. In spite of the near total lack of serious wind Thor spent most of the time at better than 4 knots, sometimes touched 6, and once made nearly 8. Light from a full moon danced across the wavelets and was bright enough for us to spot the NO WAKE markers on the way back in. It was a fine way to end a day of working on Kintala.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slugging away

Like the pictures say we did some good sailing this past weekend! With no storms in the forecast a chance to get away from the dock just couldn't be missed. By any standard Coles Creek is a modest little cove, tucked away in a small, land-locked lake, with water that (on a good day) boasts visibility measured in scant inches. Yet it remains our favorite place to hole up for a night. The winds helped us off the dock, (once again making me look a lot better than I am) and provided a nice romp under full main and jib. That was a pleasant surprise since there wasn't supposed to be any wind. One had to leave early though. Friends who joined us later in the evening endured a slow drift, but by midnight we had 4 boats at the party.

Come morning the un-forecast winds returned. Deb was at the helm as the sails filled with push, turning south out of the cove and heading for the dam. It seemed a reasonable thing to do given the great sailing. Less than 2 hours later we had gone from the cove to the dam and back up the lake to the marina...less than 2 hours! So we turned around and did it again, though by the second approach to the marina Kintala's big sails seemed to have soaked up all the breeze. Come late afternoon the marina looked like a mirage shimmering in the heat, everything and every one moving in slow motion.

Each time we sail Kintala she seems about 1/2 inch shorter. It no longer feels like the deck stretches into the next area code and I only hold my breath for the last few feet onto the dock. But I'm still struggling with this boat. The "to-do" list does seem to stretch into the next area code. My maintenance log (remember I'm an aircraft mechanic and, by definition, anal when it comes to logs) shows 59 items completed. On the other side of the ledger are 36 repairs, 9 projects, and 13 upgrade or system enhancements yet to be addressed. Each weekend there are still more items added to the list than there are items removed. The A/C controller earned a toe-tag in the middle of last night and the belt squeal is now so bad that the engine can't be run above idle. (Really, the belt started to smoke on the way in - repairs to belt / alternator / pulley / water pump - whatever - will have to be completed before Kintala takes to the lake again. Given my history with this boat, which ever of the above is the most expensive thing will be the thing required.)

My goal is to have Kintala function as a home equal her ability under way. To have her systems stone cold reliable and her interior dry and welcoming (read that as no leaks and not stinking like head). Sometimes I wonder if that isn't a mirage as well. Just keep slugging away, that's the only way forward.

Isn't she beautiful?

Another member of the marina was kind enough to take some pictures of our boat this weekend while we were sailing.  These are the first pictures we have of Kintala sailing so we are greatly appreciative of his kindness.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Bozo the Idiot of "The Incident" fame got me a bit more cranked up than usual; and I started to ponder that a bit. I suspect we all run across this kind of ignorance/incompetence on a regular basis, I know I do. Usually I shrug it off without much effort, normally even giving the culprit some benefit of the doubt. We all have off days and we all take turns adding a bit of "that was dumb" to the workings of the world. I ride motorcycles on public roads and long ago gave up taking the actions of car drivers as a personal affront. Why the musings of thrashing this particular dim-wit?

Maybe its because his actions were deliberately calculated to do damage to people who had done him no harm? Much like the worm-turd who launched the laser attack on us a few months ago, I just can't get my head around that kind of action.

Maybe its because he boasted about being a 767 pilot and dismissed the idea that I just might be his equal? (A friend pointed me out during the verbal exchange.) Given his clear inability to control his machine, and the questionable character of a person who moons a collection of teen-aged girls, Bozo doesn't even measure up to the student pilots I used to work with at the University. I hope he isn't a Captain on those 767s, and I hope none of them fly over my house even if he is the FO. (Rumor has it Bozo flied for Japan Airways; a carrier with a serious reputation for excellence. If his Chief Pilot had been on one of our boats, my guess is Bozo would be looking for a job.)

Maybe having family on the boat, including a 2 year old grandson, (any of whom could have been easily injured by the wake hit) is why this one is a bit more personal than even the laser blast? It is our nature to protect family first. This guy assaulted mine and there was nothing I could do to protect them.

Whatever it was, it has taken a considered effort on my part to let this one go. The sad reality is that human ignorance is as much a part of nature as thunderstorms and big waves. Gaining a little wisdom (and putting chips in Mr. Vigor's Black Box) comes from accepting that surviving people is as much about preparation and attitude as is surviving the sea. Even though the winds were calm and the lake quiet, we rafted up with bow, stern and spring lines, and set multiple anchors. Short of ramming us head long Bozo couldn't have damaged our boats even though he tried. We put chips in the Black Box, and it paid off almost immediately.

And Bozo? He gets dismissed, a bit of bothersome in the world like snakes or stray dogs. They might bite and are best avoided if possible. What one does if they can't be avoided...well...that comes down to one's own background and attitude. No two moments in life are ever exactly the same, so no one response is ever right for more than one moment. But I will keep an eye out for Bozo's big, yellow, zoom-zoom boat. Some caution is usually a good idea, even when dealing with worm-turd.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Future Sailors of America

I just had to post some more pictures of my grandson's visit.  I'm sure hoping that we're still able and fit to sail some day when he's a teenager and he can come do all the sail raising and sheet winching!

Christopher figured out the companionway pretty quickly

King of the companionway

Even Teddy gets a Coast Guard approved pfd

Don't  you love the shades??

Monday, July 4, 2011

The incident

I wasn't going to say too much about "The Incident", but since Deb brought it up...

Maybe 200 feet off the bows of our 12-boat raft was an 8-boat string from another marina. There is a lot of cross-friendships between the marinas, one boat from our marina was rafted up in the other group, so you can imagine the waters between the two were full of people. In spite of the crowd a large powerboat actually nosed its way about half-way between the lines to drop a tiny anchor off the bow on what looked like zero scope. Then the entire crew took to the water, the adults with beverage in hand. Every sailor reading these words knows what happened next, the power boat started to drag directly toward our bows.

Word was passed to crews swimming off the sterns and people filtered forward to ward off any damage; not angry yet as we are getting pretty used to power-boat lunacy (particularly over the Fourth of July weekend). The Captain (henceforth known as Bozo the Idiot) finally noticed that his ride was leaving without him and clambered aboard. For reasons unknown to thinking man he cranked up his mondo motors and stared to back down the entire length of the raft with his anchor still hanging from his bow, completely unaware that he was about to hook onto our anchor lines. Advice offered was curtly rejected and even under power he managed to move ever closer. At that point some of the assembled suggested that he find somewhere else to be stupid. Bozo took offence at the implication he wasn't the best sailor on the lake with his big, pretty, zoom-zoom boat, and the rhetoric from his side of the exchange escalated to the unpleasant. Additional abuse was hurled in our direction from Bozo's drunken girlfriend still floating around in the crush. She was apparently unaware that Bozo-boy-friend had his bow pointed directly at her, engine running, and that a shift in gears would turn her into mangled carp food.

Somehow he missed our lines and got himself back into the middle of the two rafts without chopping anyone to bits. Once there he started the whole process a second time! Yep, he actually drifted down on us again. As you might expect the rhetoric was in full blown hostile territory by this point. The THIRD TIME he did the same thing? A nuclear war of words. Bozo then decided that 12 anchored sailboats were at fault for his display of utter incompetence, threatened to ram the group, fired off a string of insults, powered up and dragged a 3 foot wake directly down our line in a clear attempt to do as much damage as possible. Apparently the people in the water, including a large contingent of kids, were equally at fault for his lack of brains as he put them at serious risk as well. He ended his display by dropping his shorts and mooning the crowd, including that same large contingent of kids.

I am generally an anti-gun sort of person; which is a very good thing. Had there been an appropriate caliber weapon at hand I would have put another crater in Bozo's moon. While I was contemplating massive physical trauma nearly every boater in sight, (including I might add, the other power boats in the area - they aren't all idiots) reached for mics and started calling the park rangers, a few others dialed 911. Literally within a minute a ranger boat showed up. Friend Jeff of jet-ski prowess got near enough to read Bozo's registration number out over channel 16, you could hear it on speakers in every direction. He then motored over to the Ranger boat and pointed out Bozo's retreating wake.

Ranger boats in these parts look like light-weight sport fishing boats...driven by twin 150HP outboards. Bozo's big, bad, zoom-zoom boat didn't have as much zoom-zoom as he thought. In less than a mile he was corralled by, as it turned out, two boats of badged and armed officials. That's the good news.

The bad news is, according to rumor anyway, Bozo the Idiot got off light. No boating while intoxicated charge, though he did get some other tickets of some kind. In any case he will pay a fine that likely won't bother him much, keep his zoom-zoom boat, and probably menace the lake, and any sailboat that crosses his wake, well into the future.

I'm a bit unhappy about that. Bozo didn't do any damage to our boats; we are actually pretty expert at rafting up. He did, however, leave more than a few bruises behind as people down below got thrown around. He also put a lot of people, including a lot of young people, at real risk. He then exposed himself to that same collection of young people, my Daughter, Wife, and 2 year old grand child. I took that kind of personally.

I did not participate in the war of the words. Generally I don't bother talking to fools, am mostly amused at people who can only count to one using a middle finger, and am completely sure there is absolutely no cure for stupid. For the most part I was just enjoying the show...right up until he tried to hurt someone. Now I figure he needs a serious thrashing; the kind that causes a person to stop and think before they start flapping their lips, damage property, try to hurt someone, or bare their ass to teen-aged girls.

But of course no such a thing can happen; we live in a civilized society. And Bozo knows that. No matter how ignorant, right up until he actually maims or kills someone, Bozo has no skin in the game. He ranks, in my mind, as the lowest form of worm-turd on the planet.

We work hard at protecting a lot of things in this country, including the right to spend your money on anything that tickles your fancy, like a big zoom-zoom boat. Unfortunately, one of the things we also protect is pure, uncut, ignorance.

I'm not sure that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Are we there yet?

My daughter and son-in-law and grandson came to visit us on Kintala this long holiday weekend.  They had been here before for the infamous mast raising extravaganza but this would be the first time that they spent the night away from the dock.  The original plan was to sail to Cole's Creek Friday night and cove out there and then make the rest of the trip to the dam on Saturday, but due to the oppressive heat (100+ heat index) we opted to stay on the dock and enjoy the air conditioning.  Christopher entertained himself with the wheel and added another item to Grampy T's maintenance list, dealing with the squeaking wheel.

Saturday morning we were pleased to sail nearly all the way to the dam before succumbing to the iron genny, a nearly perfect sail.  We anchored out in Cove 1 for the evening's festivities and fireworks display and waited for the rest of our crew to arrive, enjoying an unusually refreshing swim in the lake while we waited.  Unusual, because the normal depth of the lake at 8ft means that 100° weather turns it into a jacuzzi in no time.  Since it's now 20ft deep, there's a cool layer below the warm one and all those folks in the water were really mixing that cool water in.  Unfortunately the day's festivities were dampened slightly by the antics of some drunken [insert your favorite derogatory noun here] on a power boat bent on showing a group of sailboaters just who had more testosterone. [ed. Tim will not be so gracious in describing this incident...]

Kristin, Brian and Christopher on the way out of the channel

Christopher's 4th of July swimsuit - he's very proud of it

Teddy stole Grampy T's hammock

Early Sunday morning the kids headed out to the dock so they could drive back to St. Louis to visit with the siblings and their kids.  This involved a jet ski ride complimentary of Jeff.  In spite of the fact that Christopher had asked for a ride all day Saturday, when the time came I think he was a little nervous because he was clinging on for dear life.

After the kids left we took off up the lake and had one of the best sails we've had so far - full cutter rig flying and doing 6+ kts in 12-14 kts wind.  The cutter rig was just what was called for because it got us a knot and a half extra speed and 15° extra pointing - very important when you consider the storm that we narrowly missed.  When we arrived at the channel entrance we were hit with a gust front making it impossible to enter so we circled for a while till the initial gust settled down and then made our way to the dock.  It was the first time we docked just the two of us but we had several people on the dock to take our lines and it was textbook. 

It's been a big jump from 27 to 42 feet but after only 5 times of sailing Kintala I feel like we're adjusting well. My goal post for knowing we've made the transition is the first time we dock the boat without anyone else's help on the boat or on the dock.  That's going to take a little figuring because of the cramped space here.  This marina was built for 30-32 footers, not 42 footers so the channels between the docks are just a tiny bit too narrow.  We're having to learn to use dock lines for what they're intended and I'm spending a good bit of time in The Annapolis Book of Seamanship docking chapters, but I think we'll get it figured out soon.  Yesterday, no one was docking without help due to the storm, and some even had a great amount of difficulty even with all the extra help.  All in all it was a great day.  Good friends, good sailing weather, safe just doesn't get any better.


Kristin, (eldest daughter) Brian, (Son-in-Law in excellent standing) and grand child Christopher joined us for part of the holiday weekend. They are the branch of the family most enchanted by our sailboat plans and they join us whenever they can. Sadly that is not often enough, but whenever they do come aboard makes for a special time.

Christopher has perfected the art of climbing up and down the companionway stairs, which tower nearly 3 times higher than his own toes to nose distance, equivalent to me going up about 16 feet. Pretty impressive for a 2 year old. He also decided that swimming in the lake is about the coolest thing a person can do, particularly when the crews of 12 rafted up boats are all splashing around as well. Ours can be a pretty family oriented marina and this Fourth of July raft-up / fireworks party included a large contingent of participants that ranged from age 2 to 14.

Around 0300 something frightened Christopher and he woke up crying, which woke up the rest of his crew. Kind of a good thing actually, since the wind had shifted, (there wasn't supposed to be any wind) twisting the boats 180 degrees. We had deployed the anchors off the 3 largest boats and played out plenty of rode, but the raft had pivoted around Kintala. She was holding all 12 boats in place. I went out to the cockpit to spend the rest of the night on anchor watch. As the winds picked up and lightning flashed a couple of more shadowy figures could be seen walking various decks. By dawn the winds had eased, the boats had drifted around to their original orientation, and all was well with the world.

By mid-morning Kristin and family had been ferried over to the car by friend Jeff and his wave runner so they could head into the city to visit siblings. Boats motored out onto glassy waters to try and hunt a little wind, Kintala in trail. It turns out we have another item to add to the "fix-it" list; the anchor windlass and the anchor chain appear to be a miss-match. The chain jumps the windlass drum under the slightest load so yours truly started the morning by hauling up the anchor hand-over-hand. (So now I get to learn all about windlasses.) We got it done though and Kintala, Deb and I headed off for the first sail with just the 3 off us.

And it was GRAND! As the winds slowly built we flew the full jib and main, added the staysail, doused the staysail when the winds built even more, came close to putting a rail in the water, made 7 knots in 15 knots apparent, closed on the marina after tacking up the lake, furled the jib without fuss, then dropped the main just as a massive gust front nailed us from the storm we had been trying to outrun. Main under control Deb turned us back out into the lake so we had some room to figure out what to do next. There was just too much wind to make trying to shoehorn Kintala into her slip a good idea. We puttered around in the lee of the point riding the calmest water we could see and watching a second, massive, dark, lighting spitting mountain of a cloud start to roll over the lake from the dam. Things was about to get interesting.

The first storm moved away, the apparent winds died to less than 10 knots and Kintala made a dash for home. Down the lake the white sticks of friends boats were set in relief against the black storm trying to run them down. Waiting friends fielded our lines and we were warped in secure. Deb got the boat closed up while I joined the group catching the incoming fleet. The marina's big Cat coughed a motor just as it turned the corner. A small army of helpers minimized the damage as the boat bounced off of a line of finger piers and sterns, finally corralling Tango in the nearest open slip. Miss-My-Money, Paradise, Orca, and a few others coasted into waiting hands, with Gail Force taking to her slip just as the trees seemed to give way to the winds. The most exciting part of the day came when a boat that had cooked its engine trying to run came charging down the channel under bare poles. Friends ran out into the driving rain to muscle this last survivor home...

...and all was well with the world.