Monday, August 27, 2007

Annika makes her debut!

My life change for the better on August 22nd.
My daughter came into the world and has completely rocked me. After all that time of thinking about what she would like I got to see, hold and hear her for myself.... awesome.

Everyone gives you their advice, whether you want it or not, and some aren't even parents!
The ones who said this would be the happiest of times were right. The ones who said this would be terrifying were also right. The ones who said I was giving up my freedoms were total fools. They don't know the pure, true love I have for my daughter. How can you not cry at the birth
of your first born? She came in chord all wrapped around her neck, uneasliy quiet at first, but squirming around as if in search of her lost keys.

Then she squeeked. Sounded funny, wasn't the big huge cry you see in the movies... they put her on my wife's chest and rubbered her off, then she began to wail. Awesome. My beautiful wife was a trooper through it all. I'm so proud of how she handled herself through this.

So, we settled in our room at the hotel CPMC and learned all the things new parents learn, hanging on every word the doctors and nurses said holding our breath hoping nothing they said would be bad. We had such a good experience at CPMC and consider ourselves very fortunate to deliver where we did... the amazing blessing has continued in ways I never imagined.

Now the conversation turns to who she looks like, what she'll become, how long her fingers are, how she looks like her mom some days and like her dad on others. All I know is I've changed... and this little thing is the reason why.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So, What Did You Do To Her?

When DEN 816, soon to be USA 122 arrived I had a plan: Keep the boat out of the water to get a survey done and do any immediate work to make the boat race ready. I had grand ideas of doing a completely new bottom job, but thought better of that after seeing the condition the boat was in with my own eye.

All boats have problems. The decision about what to do about them depends on your perspective and how deep your pockets are... a little logic and strategical planning are good ideas too. Turns out the boat is in really great condition, hardly anything to talk about above water. A scratch or two here and there, but I mean, we are talking about a boat built in 1981.

So there's a crack on the bow where the keel meets the hull... lots of Folkboats have this problem. It doesn't mean much.

A lot of older Folkboats have rust on the keel too. This could be a problem. Depends on many factors and with a little investigation a lot can be understood as to what you should do to solve your problems for the immediate future as well as the future future.

And, after an exploratory bead blasting it was discovered that there was significant rust to the underside of the keel. Not a big deal if you handle it right away. The bigger question is if the keel bolts are rusted and weak. That will have to wait until the spring. They did lift the boat by them in Denmark to get her in the container. Nothing seems wrong and she doesn't leak...

For now the best plan was for me to have the yard blast away all the flaky bits of rust and put on a few layers of metal primer...

... followed by some filler...

... and a little more over here, fair it out nice and smooth...

... And paint it. A little work was also done to the rudder. There were a few cracks I didn't want to get waterlogged over the winter, so they were sanded, epoxy resin sealed, filled, faired and painted as well.

In my opinion, the bottom is now in better condition than when it arrived and is ready to race for the least $ I know how. It'll be just fine for the next month when it is needed for the SF Cup.

A couple factors to consider in the decision was I couldn't find out what the bottom paint was and didn't want to by accident put something on there that was incompatible... that would have been very costly. The other was, why would I want to go big on the bottom right now when I should wait until just before the race season begins? I'm not going to race her this winter anyway and the bottom is not in bad condition at all. In fact, she's real smooth.

So, the paint isn't a perfect match because it was only painted over the parts worked on, but it is smooth and will last long enough to do the job.

I figure before next season I'll have the keelbolts thoroughly inspected and if I need to, I'll replace them then, but for now it's time to go sailing... that is why we have these things isn't it?
They are more fun to sail than to work on, that's for sure.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Boats in the Yard - USA 103 - Folkdance

This is Werner and Chad's Folkboat USA 103, Folkdance. This boat has had a lot of work and upgrades making her competitive once again. A new paint job, top and bottom, new mast, standing rigging, traveller and mainsheet system will make a big difference. A new boom is on the agenda as well!

I caught up with Werner in the yard this last week just after putting the boat in the water. He was busy cleaning out the interior... the yard can put a coat of dust a boat... I always wait until the boat is about to go in to clean as well.

This boat is special to me. My dad built this one in our driveway when I was kid. I spent a lot of time cruising around this boat on our famed Delta trips and down below during races. It's nice to see she is being taken care of again.

...And, thank you Werner and Chad for changing the name back to her original and more appropriate name - FOLKDANCE. No need for a renaming ceremony, it's perfectly acceptable to change a boat back to the original... especially of the name you inherited was... less than ok.

Boats in the Yard - USA 115 Scout

This is Randy's boat - USA 115 Scout.
A lot of time & love has gone into this boat with both top and bottom being painted. The rails have been touched up and I can't wait to see her and Randy out there racing regularly.
15 + boats on the line is looking more likely every year... let's see if we can get that number up to 20, huh?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Brock's Faith - USA 121

Here's the man willing to "go yard" on his new Nordic Folkboat from Denmark. I took these pictures during the first mid-winter race after Brock took delivery. The winds were light and there were a lot of off the wind tactics.
Ok Brock, I'll close the hatch if you concentrate in steering.

I took this picture purely to study the shape of the main... do you see what I see?

The Erik Andreasen barber hauler - Misunderstood by some, underutilized by others... I wouldn't mind having one for mark rounding and reaching situations.

Another Andreasen do-dad. I know why it's important to have it, but it makes it tough for the crew to get the pole up, especially if they are new to folkboating and are up doing the pole for the first time.
All in all the best looking boat in the fleet. Well done Brock. Now stop getting into situations where you get hit!

In the Penalty Box at the SF Marina

This is USA 19 - Freyja. Formerly owned by Evie, this beauty could be yours for a song. I hope you know what you're doing because it ain't going to be easy fixing her up.
Hurry or she'll be scrapped!

I remember one time sailing with Jerry in USA 113 - the infamous "Potato Chip Slip." It was race two of the Woodies, I was 18... I think and just after the start we were called over early. We were bearing off and taking sterns when Jerry slipped on a potato chip and lost control of the helm. We slammed into this boat at "Ramming Speed!" Completely by accident. We punched a hole in the hull about a foot wide and after the boats had finished mating, Evie pops her head up and yells, "Jer-ry!"... with the mortified look of horror. Luckily, Evie, the top notch skipper she is, sailed her in on one tack and to safety for before the starboard side could take on any water. If she had to tack the boat was a gonner! Nice sailing Evie. If it's any consolation after all these years, Jerry felt really bad. Lesson learned - If you're going to eat lunch between the 1st and 2nd races make sure you clean up the cockpit before the starting sequence begins!

Boats in the Yard - USA 116 - Emma

This is Emma - USA 116 - Owned by Judy and this season I got to sail her while I was waiting for my boat from Denmark to arrive. In 2005 the restoration process began on this boat built by Jerry Langkhammerer.
She's available for charter if anyone wants a very affordable in with the folkboat fleet... who knows, this could be the boat that you use until the one from Denmark you order arrives.

The bottom was stripped down bare, fared and sprayed with two coats of Pro-Line. Black on black... kind of a pirate theme.

This is the mast that was replaced this year. See anything wrong with it?

How about now? It was time an luckily, the association had a spare mast for sale.
The mast and many other upgrades have been done and the boat is race ready now. It's good to have a locally made boat still rockin' the bay on a regular basis.

Boats in the Yard - USA 108 - Thea

This is Chris' Folkboat USA 108 - Thea. Chris is doing a great job maintaining this georgous craft.
Keeping up is clearly not on Chris' mind... he wants to win! Look at the perfect bottom this boat has... wow.

Not a flaw to be found. Fair and fast. Might explain Chris' success this year and last.

That rudder looks thin to me... where's the measurerer when you need him!
Nice job Chris, Thea looks great!

Boats in the Yard - USA 67 - Stella

This is Andreas' Folkboat USA 67 - Stella. He was hauled out over at SF Boatworks and doing a great job on the stern when I showed up to see how he was doing.

When I first showed up I couldn't find Andreas anywhere so I took some pictures, looked around the beautiful wood boat. He's spent a great deal of time on her and hasn't even sailed her yet!

He's been on a mission to get the boat ready for the SF Cup and by the looks of things, Stella should be ready to go.

Keep up the good work Andreas!
Carefull where you point that heat gun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Launch of DEN 816 - Soon to be USA 122

Tuesday August 14th, 2007 - DEN 816 - Soon to be USA 122 was unceremoniously launched from Svendsen's Boatworks at 12:45pm. I was scheduled to go in at 10:15, but was not in a hurry because of light winds and a flood tide.
Tim, Juan, Chris and Noah put in a J105 before me because the owners were just a little more stressed for time than I was... had I known it would take them as long as it did, I would have asked them to splash me first. In the end, a big "whatever."

I've known Tim the lift operator for years and he's such a great guy. He and Juan work together picking up boats and either bringing them in or dropping them off... always professional and never clumsy these guys have my full confidence.
After getting a proper survey and making some minor keel and rudder repairs the boat was ready to launch.

I would have taken more pictures of the boat actually going in the water, but instead I had the opportunity to get on the boat for it's first taste of Bay water from the stern deck.

After we dropped her in and tied her off, I walked back up to get this 1st picture of the boat floating... a momentary scare when I saw water trickling from the forward bilge... turned out to be some of the water I had used to clean the bilge that had pooled and subsequently released when the boat was finally level in the water.

This is Chris, with the help of Noah (running the mast lift and not seen) dropping the beautifully painted mast onto the step. I guided the mast onto the step from below and was too excited to rig her up and go sailing that I didn't take any more pictures!

So, the rest of the day goes like this: After attaching the shrouds, forestay and backstay, Patrick and I put on the boom and attached the outhaul, vang, cunningham, jib halyard and main halyard lines, attached the mainsheet blocks to the boom, put on the sails, did a double check of everything and as we were checking things over... you guesed it, Svend shows up to check up on us. He looked the boat over and gave his assessments... all favorable so we went and got lunch. We brought it back, raised the sails and headed out into the estuary for the first time. All the lines adjust with plenty of purchase and within minutes we both realized what we had... a really good boat. The sails aren't so good for racing, but you could just feel how well the boat surged through the water. We made several tacks all the while making adjustments just to see if it helped or just to mess around with something. We were in a pretty strong ebb and light but decent winds and we cruised right along until we got near the shipping docks. A BIG TANKER fully loaded was bearing down on us so we went left just as the tug boat was spinning the big angry, will crush a little folkboat with not even a thought tanker. We cleared it just before it went perpendicular to shore and were chased from behind by a ferry. Just as we were in the clear and in the prop wash of the tug another BIG FULLY LOADED TANKER was coming down the channel and we avoided them in lighter and lighter wind. The current was still pulling us out, but then the wind faded completely and we right in the middle of the channel when another BIG TANKER was attempting to leave the channel. We paddled. I admit it with pride... and fear. I don't want to get hit by a tanker in a boat that isn't officially mine yet. It's not even registered yet and I'm out sailing amongst the BIG TANKERS! Not 1, not two, but so far 3 BIG TANKERS. We managed to get to the side of the channel in time to miss the 3rd tanker and we tacked back toward shore because we thought we saw some wind, but alas... just ebb. We bobbed toward to Treasure Island and after about 30 minutes I saw another BIG TANKER, but this one was coming under the Bay Bridge over by the SF side and didn't think it would turn that sharp and be an issue... I was wrong. A big 90 degree turn put its' bow pointing right at us and we were on the inside edge of the shipping lane not really sure which way the BIG TANKER was going to go... no wind and ebb pushing us toward T.I. The BIG TANKER turned away from us to our right, turned toward us head on and then turned away from us to our right and entered the docking area most visible from the Bay Bridge, if that makes any sense to you. I hate BIG TANKERS when I don't know where they are going and the wind is light and I don't have an engine. I guess I should learn to use a VHF for this type of situation. Only a little rattled, we floated toward T.I. and the wind finally filled in just before going under the newly constructed portion of the Bay Bridge. The Coast Guard was everywhere, but left us alone and we reached across the leeward side of T.I. in good wind and flat water... big fun. So much in fact that we made a couple laps back and forth before heading up into T.I. dropping back downwind and put up the whisker pole... the pole works. :) One last reach around T.I. and headed up into the ebb chop and 20-25 knot breeze to give this boat a SF Bay workout. She handles like... a folkboat. After sailing several different folkboats over the past 2 decades I've come to realize they are pretty much all the same. Sheet out travel up in lump, sheet in travel down in heavy wind and flat water. Jib leads back when the wind comes up, jib leads forward when the wind gets light. We tacked toward SF and made our way through the lumps and bumps toward shore and with the wind and current being what they were were back in the SF marina in no time... well, ok.. the whole trip to 4 hours, but we were with no wind for at least an hour. The boat is now safely tied up in her slip awaiting the SF Cup to make her racing debut. Until then, I'll just have to enjoy her from shore because she's not my boat yet.

Friday, August 10, 2007

GoldCup 2007 - Kerteminde DK

This is the link for the 2007 Gold Cup... *The* regatta of the year for Nordic Folkboats.
Looks like all the major players are showing up for this one.
Per Buch was the winner last year and he is back to defend his title.
Donald Bratt from Sweden is fresh off winning the Swedish International Championship
and never count out Anders Olsen also from Sweden... from the records I've seen he's either right at the top or down and out.
Erik Andreasen may want to add to his trophy case, but watch out for Ditte Andreasen, Erik's daughter... she's been around Folkboats over 3 decades.
Shall we start a betting board? We'll put all the names of the skippers on board and each sqaure
costs $1... might make it more fun for us over here on this side of the pond.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Den 816 - USA 122 Has Arrived

So, I'm doing my laundry and missed the call from Svendsen's. After I checked my messages I realized a couple hours had passed, but I was so excited that I didn't want to wait until my clothes had finished drying. When I called the yard they told me they were unloading the boat that very minute. I threw my damp clothes in the basket picked up Cassandra and tore off to Alameda.

When we got to the yard there she was...
perfectly stowed in a cradle. I'll have more pictures later tomorrow... I'm having problems getting my pictures ready.
But, the people at Svendsen's were kind enough to send me these pictures of the boat in the container as they opened it. Bummer they didn't get any shots of the boat coming out. It's OK, the boat looks great and I'll get to work tomorrow cleaning and prepping the bottom for painting.
Svend was around the yard and took an hour out of his time to go over the whole boat and mast with us. He didn't like the teak on the combing of the cockpit, but liked how the cabin cleats were labelled in Danish... I think I'll leave them that way even after Per is gone. I think Svend likes messin' around with folkboats as much, if not more than me even after all these years. What's even better is that every time I spent time with Svend talking about boats, nothing but great advice comes from him. It's like having a family member looking out for you. I think I will affectionately refer to him as "Uncle" Svend from now on. Svend said, "it was a pain in the ass taking the boat out of the container." But it's not like he's never done it before. Mike Peterson showed up next and we went through the boat again. I was stoked to find all the things a folkboat should have: boom, whisker pole, motor mount, boom crutch, flag pole, sails... but the big smile grew on my face when I found the camping tent, stove, ladder and running lights. I found the place for the battery and assumed if I hook it all up it should work right. This will also make it all the more easy for me to hook up an electric engine when I get around to it.

Come by and check it out if you have the time, I'll be in the yard all week.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Folkboat USA 116 is Available for Charter

Folkboat USA 116 - Emma - is available for qualified applicants to charter. Since 2005 I have been working on this boat to get it race ready and serviceable for someone interested in getting into the Folkboat fleet for a minimal financial investment. Emma has a new mast, running rigging(05, forestay (07), mainsheet system, new bottom paint (April 07) and new tiller and extension, plus many other subtle details.
Prospective charter costs include slip fees, bottom diving and minor maintenance. Annual mast care and bottom prep can be split with owner. Regular racing season 6 month contract and/or mid-winter racing contract available.
There are two main and job sails on board, but a serious racer knows that new sails are a must each season. Insurance must be provided and anything damaged or broken must be replaced. Emma was the winning boat in the 1997 SF Cup and has had a solid race record.
If you've ever been interested in racing Folkboats but weren't sure if you wanted to make that huge financial investment, this may be the opportunity you've been looking for. It's all the fun of sailing a boat without the continued burden of owning one.
Folkboats race in the most amazing setting with the best racing venues in the world. The slip is 5 minutes from the city front where most of the racing occurs. The dock has many Knarr and Folkboat sailors so advice on wind and tides is always available.
If interested, reply using the comments link from this blog. Serious inquiries only.