The new foredeck hatch is finally in. Much more trouble than I thought it would be, but I finally found a used hatch at a sixth the price of a new one, and got it installed in a couple days. It would’ve been much easier and cheaper if Lewmar didn’t change their hinge and handle designs every couple years! As a result the departure date has slipped a bit – we probably won’t leave Seattle before Monday the 28th, possibly one or two days later.
Still have a couple little things to do on the boat, mostly related to turning it into a cruiser: installing a depth sounder, finishing up the lazy jack/lazy bag/rain collection setup, fixing some blocks that pulled out of the mast, and doing some electrical wiring.
Matt and I also worked on cutting my #2 genoa into a jib top. This will be really useful for reaching conditions. Since I’m not very good at sewing, we just glued it together with a whole big tube of 5200. Those that know 5200 are probably shuddering right now. The sail’s still curing (I should’ve used the fast-cure stuff), but I can’t wait to try it. Hopefully I didn’t accidentally glue it to the floor.
If I haven’t been keeping this site updated, it’s because I’ve been very busy getting the boat (and myself) in shape for a 9500-mile trip! Here are some of the latest developments:
1. I’ve left my job. It’s hard to leave a well-paying, interesting job, but I felt it was the right time for adventure.
2. Matt and I raced in Sloop Tavern’s Race to the Straits. This is in my top three most favorite races in the Northwest. Doublehanded to Port Townsend on Saturday, and back on Sunday. Winds were light, but it was an interesting race nevertheless. We had good moments and bad ones, and placed in the middle of the pack. I really need to stop putting off scrubbing the bottom of the boat!
3. Boat prep – I’ve been working on a variety of projects: extending the companionway hatch, putting new ends on the backup spin pole, cutting a jib top, making a lazy bag/rain collector, fixing interference in the HF radio, installing the pactor modem, and a variety of odds and ends. We managed to break the foredeck hatch during RTTS, so now I have to fix that too…
At the same time, I am moving out of the place I’ve lived in for the last four years, and trying to get rid of most my possessions, so I’ve been pretty busy!
For now, the departure date is set to Friday, May 25th.
Finally, I’ve finished uploading the chronicles from the 2010 trip, and published them under their respective dates. So if you want to read the last posts from the return trip, go to July 2010. If you want to read about the 2010 SHTP, go here.
With all the free time I have now that the boat is in the water, I’m finding myself quite bored. Luckily I can always find something to do on the boat. Changing out the leaky, cracked old windows, for example. A couple sheets of acrylic, a bandsaw, some Dow 795, lots of masking tape, and voilà! – new windows! Without the screws, these will never crack – theyl’ll probably fall off instead.
After two months, Idefix is back in her favorite element, and sailing! And I’m released from my forced labor and have a life again! Just in time for summer (read: 65 degrees and partly cloudy)! How wonderful!
The bottom didn’t turn out quite as nice as I was hoping for. Despite sanding and burnishing, there were still quite a few spots left with a bit of rough texture, and the rudder still needs work, but overall it’s not all that bad.
So I threw my bicycle on the boat, dropped the boat in the water, and sailed out of Everett, headed for Kingston. A nice breeze filled the sails, the sun filled the sky, and visions of delicious crêpes being served to me by delicious young ladies filled my head. Soon the wind died, clouds appeared, temperatures plummeted, I couldn’t find my audio cable, and the docks at Kingston were completely full of horrid little motorboats. To make matters worse, I was coming down with a cold. So I had to anchor in Appletree Cove and gaze upon the crêperie and its delectable servings, just out of my reach. Instead I dined on some bread and the cup or two of water left in my water bottle, and went to sleep, rocked by ferry wake.
The night wasn’t altogether unpleasant, and in the morning I managed to scrounge some nutella to put on my bread. I tried not to think of the delicious Belgian chocolate, caramel and pecan crêpe topped in whipped cream, or the black forest ham, mushroom and gruyère crêpe that could’ve been my breakfast had those infernal little stinkpots not taken every single available berth in the harbor, while I picked up the anchor and motored across the placid Sound to Shilshole. There I picked up a motley crew of WYC members and we made our way to Blake for a weekend of quiet solitude and contemplative meditation, like modern monks. Most of us survived with nothing more than a hangover and a sunburn, but Hawkeye had to be medevac’ed with a broken collarbone.
On Tuesday I finally got to hoist some ragged old sails and try out the boat against some of Seattle’s finest at Duck Dodge’s Tropical Night. We got a good start and hung out with William Buchan’s Sachem for a little while the rest of the fleet chased after us. Eventually we sailed into some holes and got passed, by a couple faster/smarter boats. I still can’t keep up with the J/29s, the ones around here are all ridiculously fast.
Well, things are moving a lot slower than expected. Last post I was targeting early July for having the boat back in the water, but it’s now looking like early August. This probably isn’t entirely a bad thing since the fiberglass needs to dry out before I barrier coat it. In the meantime I’ve been working on the boat almost every day, removing everything under the waterline, down to bare fiberglass. I’m now working on fairing the hull, which is extremely tiring work. What’s amazing is the hull felt almost perfect to the touch, but slather on some fairing compound and a do a bit of longboard sanding, and a bunch of filled-in spots appear!
I’ve also filled in all the keel blisters and ground out some of the cracks in the flexy areas and glassed them over.
Hopefully next week I can start barrier coating.
I’m also working on a French translation for this site, for my handful of francophone fans (stalkers?). Given how much time it takes me to get things posted in English, don’t hold your breath, this may take a while!
I rode down to the WAC last Friday night, packed my bike into the boat (!) and left the dock on what I think was my first solo sail on Idefix since getting back from Hawaii. Hit the Sound about 2215 and motored North until the wind picked up to 4 or 5 knots about a half hour later. I then had a quiet night of sailing in a light breeze, fighting the flood to Kingston, anchored in Appletree Cove and went to bed at 0200. It was relaxing to be alone on the boat, doing my thing on a quiet night. A couple thousand miles of singlehanding has definitely taken the edge off, although autopilot troubles made me sweat for a little bit as I left the dock. The wind was dead the next day so I motored against the morning flood towards Everett. There were all sorts of weird patterns on the surface of the water from the current, and I did my best to try to use them to get to my destination quicker, although I think I was only mildly successful. The currents around here are both fascinating and frustrating.
My colleague Brian, his wife Jamie and their twin 3-year-olds Jordan and Tatum met me at the dock in Everett and the wind picked up to 6 or 7 knots as we went for a little sail on Possession Sound. Jordan drove the boat for a little while and I’m considering hiring her as a helmswoman.
In the afternoon it was time to drop everybody at the dock and haul the boat out. The bottom paint is in good shape, but the hull is covered in little blisters, which for a race boat is not a good thing… Olsons are known to blister if left in the water, so I’m going to sand the bottom paint and gel coat off, cover the bare glass with an epoxy barrier coat, and repaint. Hopefully the barrier coat will keep the blisters from coming back. This will probably be a couple weeks of extremely arduous work…
There are also a couple bigger blisters in the keel. I poked one with a knife and water came spurting out, in the end I removed a quarter-size pocket of fairing compound. With that and the couple little dings in the keel, there will probably be a little work to do there as well.
I’m hoping to have the boat back in the water sometime around the first week of July, but everything always takes longer than I expect, and for now it’s strictly DIY – just me and the boat… The yard fee is $30/day, so the quicker I can get it done, the better!