Posts tagged snooze and cruise

Waterborne Again

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!

All polished and ready to go.

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.

Shiny bottom paint, doing its thing.

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.

Nothing is quite so pathetic as a baby seal trying to stay dry in the wake of a passing sailboat.

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.

Hassan enjoying the tough sail back to Seattle.

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.

The crew

WYC Snooze-n’-Cruise: a Taste of Disaster

The crew

Our crew for SNC: Cintia, Heather, Lorena, Kristin, Billy & Georgios.

Idefix and I had some good sailing in the WYC’s Snooze-n’-Cruise this weekend. This is a quarterly event where we take a bunch of club boats, a couple personal boats, load them up to capacity, and take over nearby Blake Island State Park for a weekend. It’s usually a good time for everyone, except maybe the park rangers and the attendants at the Ballard Locks.

This weekend Idefix was blessed with a very friendly crew: Billy, Kristin, Lorena, Georgios, Cintia, and my sweetheart Heather. I was busy fixing the boat on Saturday morning before leaving, putting in place the new compass (mostly just to plug the giant hole in the bulkhead, as you don’t quite need a compass for daytime cruising on Puget Sound…). I wasn’t quite done varnishing the little bits of teak on deck, so there was masking tape all over the place, which I didn’t bother to remove for the weekend.

The new self-tailers get a workout.

We had a good beat to Blake Island in about 10kts. My new self-tailing winches performed well, and the boat was handling well under full sail. My new carbon tiller “paddle” turned out to be well worth the effort, making for some very comfortable steering in a variety of positions. It also got lots of attention at the dock, including derisory comments from a jealous John Courter 😛

The trip home was a broad reach in 18kts, which made for a quick trip. The mostly novice crew did a great job hoisting the spinnaker, and we were quickly surfing the little Puget Sound swells home.

After going through the locks, we unloaded the boat, and I was about to switch the electrics off when I noticed nothing was getting juice in the first place… Smelling trouble I opened the battery compartment and found, to my horror, that the negative terminal on my battery had half melted away! All the battery wires had suffered from serious overheating as well. Wanting to see the voltage on the system I touched the negative wire to the little puddle of molten lead on the battery and sparks flew up. Not good!

Destroyed battery terminal

The destroyed battery terminal.

Kregg came to the rescue with a multimeter and we quickly traced the problem to the second battery box. I hadn’t put the second battery in, since this was just a little weekend trip and one big battery would suffice. Turns out I hadn’t properly stowed the cables for the second battery, and they came loose and caused a short. Since they’re big cables, they didn’t melt, but instead melted the lead terminal on the battery itself, until the cable broke free from the terminal.

I’m testing the battery to see if it will still charge and discharge OK. If the capacity is good, I might try to fix the terminal. We came really close to disaster though – this incident could easily have caused a fire!

On Friday I had been mulling over whether to just bring a little 33Ah racing battery, but figured I wanted to test my SSB and autopilot for the transpac. I ended up not testing anything, so I was kicking myself for damaging a big, expensive, 110Ah battery for nothing, two weeks from leaving for San Francisco!

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