Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter on Angel Island with the Folkboat Crowd

Decked out all in white, the Folkboaters stormed Angel Island and had a big picnic. The tradition dates back to 1984 and we wear all white because.... "We look good." According to Evie Ashcroft.
Evie did it again organizing the event that was said by many as the best Easter on the Island ever. The weather could not have been better, 75 degrees and a light refreshing hint of a breeze. 75 people were counted in attendance, not including the kids.

We motored over in Bill Madison's Grand Banks and my daughter took the helm. This will be her only exposure to motor boats until she learns how to sail. It used to drive me nuts, but my dad was right, "You'll never learn to sail if you use an engine." This was the way to go this year because waiting for the ferry is just that, waiting. And sailing over would have taken years with the light wind. And since we had so much stuff to bring with us, this made the trip very enjoyable... thanks Bill.
A little after we got there, unloaded the food, wine and set up the tables our little princess needed a stroller ride to fall asleep for a while. Along the way I ran into Chris Herrmann and his trusty red wagon.
He crammed 3 little girls in his wagon and squealing with delight, they rumbled their way down the path only to stop occasionally to stare at a bug or a worm or a moth or a flower or a....
Melissa and Emily Herrmann with their friend from school.
The the Easter Bunny showed up!!! Yeah!!! It's tradition for the season champion to wear the Easter Bunny costume and lead the Easter egg hunt and Don Wilson did not disappoint. Don was brought in on a row boat and brought actual carrots to pass out to the kids... but they wanted candy.
So, after a brief photo opp, the Easter Bunny lead all the kids over to the grassy hill and the hunt was on. The competition was fierce, but in the end all were happy and with their coveted candy.

I was a little busy with family to get many other pictures, so if you have some shots you'd like me to post, send them my way and I'll get them up ASAP.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Return Trip Back to SF from Alameda

We wanted to leave Svendsen's around or a little before 11, but it didn't quite work out that way. I needed to pay the bill, pick up the sails and remove the boom because I had stuck the shackle part into the track and couldn't get it out without removing the boom entirely from the track and to do that I had to undo the outhaul... and Cassandra needed new foul weather gear since she will be racing with me this season! Wha-hoo! Here she is with her new sailing gear. Usually, the girls want to do the trip to Svendsen's, not back to SF because going there is all down wind and chill. But Cassandra wanted to take the day off and make the trip back with me to get her sea legs back... and she likes the challenge.
Checking the jib trim, shaking off the rust. It's been a while since she's been out sailing so no yelling today.
We left a little after noon and caught the beginning of the ebb in the estuary with 2-7 knots of breeze. The forecast was for 25 + in the central bay, but it hadn't filled in all the way yet when we left.
Everything on the check list finished, just clean and maintain for a while. :)
This was the first time we sported the USA 122 on the sails.

I've been an armature graffiti watcher lately... looks like someone from Sweden has been here before... I don't think Bjorn had time to put this here, must have been someone else.
Ok, now this is as close to a cargo ship as I'll ever want to get...
As we left the estuary the wind faded to nothing, but we could see it coming and the current pulled us to it quickly. Since there was still left over flood under the Bay Bridge we went around T.I. to the north where the wind was strong, the current favorable and flat. It was then that I realized I didn't reattach the outhaul line correctly and didn't have full range. I couldn't get the sail flat at all and the wind pipped up to 25 plus. So, I sheeted in, used a little backstay and wrestled the over powered main all the way home. Did it right though. Made one tack and laid the mouth of the marina. Had to bare off a little at the end too. :) There was one series of waves that jacked us up. Seemed like a couple of waves joined forces right as they got to us and lifted us up and to leeward at the same time, kinda scary, but no worries... I'm in a Folkboat.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Love the Smell of Fresh Bottom Paint

The guys at Svendsen's did a really good job on the bottom paint. They really put some effort into the details for me and I'm really impressed with how it came out.
So, they'll hang it on Monday late in the day, work on the spots where the cradle supports the boat on land, drop it in and step the mast on Tuesday and I'll take her home on Wednesday. This plan will give me one more weekend in the yard to work out a few other details, put my rudder back on and get my new sails.
Usually they tape off the gudgeons, but I guess it really doesn't matter.
Panda fixed my wisker pole that Per and his barbaian viking crew destroyed during the SF Cup (I say that not as a slam, but as a term of enderment). I was stoked to find the pole all finished and tucked away down below.
I'll take Peter Kallstrom's advice and actually turn on my VHF this time when I'm leaving the estuary... I did know how to check for shipping traffic and sometimes I do, but it's not really a mystery where they are going anymore. Oh, and a VHF can't get you out of the way if there is no wind and you don't have an engine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out in the Yard at Svendsen's

I cleaned up the rails a bit with that two part teak cleaner... love that stuff. I'll teak oil them later. I don't need to be out in the yard to do that.
Washed and buffed the hull... Mike G. took my rudder off (without permission), but I should thank him. I discovered the lower gudgeon was loose. Unthreaded it, cleaned it and 5200'd it back in place. I also discovered the jib halyard shiv was totally shot and replaced it. Got a new, lighter, smaller wind indicator for the top of the mast and put on my CF numbers. OK, I hired a guy to do it... I ran out of time. Call George Kelly if you need yours replaced. One of my major concerns was handled... at least enough for now.
I had the middle keel bolt replaced to check the threads for damage to see if I really needed to do the other aft 2. The above picture is the replaced bolt (#3) next to one of the old bolts (#2). Number 1 and 2 look fine, but 3 seemed to have a very slight leak and had rusted pretty bad. Turns out the bolt itself was in very good shape. I was lucky (or very smart) to take my boat to the only boatyard that would possibly have a Danish built nordic folkboat keel bolt repair kit on the shelf.
Up close what the new one looks like... no I haven't finished cleaning yet.
This is number 4 with the lifting strap still attached. I was recommended not to use this lifting strap anymore and whoever did before me was lucky it held. I don't need to lift her out, I don't have a trailer and the only lift I thought might work or would want to use can't handle the load. Good news is I don't have to remove the keel to change the last bolts if I don't want to... they simply screw in and out... Andreasen never ceases to amaze me with the details and craftsmanship of his boats.
Now all that is left is the super slick racing bottom paint job and we're ready to race. Good timing here too... I've got Spring break next week to go out and practice with my new crew.
Now I'm also ready to start Crew Development Night. Starting in April Tuesday nights will be dedicated to taking out people who want to learn to crew under race conditions. Send me and email and sign up for a Tuesday night.... more to follow soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chased By Tankers On The Way To Svendsen's... Again.

The annual pilgramidge to Svendsen's Boatworks in Alameda... It simply means the racing season is about to begin.
So, you get the boat ready and shove off.
We throw up the cruising sails and here in the U.S. these sails get a double take. It's not everyday we see DEN on the sails in The Bay.
It's almost always dead down wind to Svendsen's from the SF Marina so there is time to walk around the boat and look at stuff and take classic shots looking up the mast.
Make sure Patrick's dog, Scholan is watered a fed and has her lifevest on.
This time down we were riding the tail end of a mild ebb and decided it was best to avoid a tanker we saw at the Golden Gate and go to the north of Treasure Island and to check out the Bay Bridge building progess (Mostly, these pictures are for Lars Landen in Sweden who really really likes building bridges).

This is where the story turns into a familure one... I saw this tanker before it was under the GG Bridge and thought, that's going to be a problem later. Patrick laughed at me, but after our last experience leaving Svendsen's last Fall, he didn't laugh much.
I don't know about you, but when I see a big tanker's bow turn and face me while sailing, I get a little nervous.

And as long as it keeps turning and doesn't continue to face me, I'm OK.
But, when it keeps getting closer and closer and you try to figure out it's course and realize there aren't very many choices for this thing.... well...
OK, now that's two times the bow of this tanker has faced us... I think this is one of two reasons to have an engine... oh, by the way, I don't have, nor have I ever had an engine. I really don't even know how to use one. I think they are smelly and noisy and vibrate the boat too much.
Well, if we hug the shore they can't hit us, right?

I usually try and avoid big tankers, but lately they have been like a magnet to me and this is about as close to one as I've ever wanted to get.
When you can see the name tag on the work clothes of the guys on the tanker, you're a bit too close.
We managed to avoid getting smashed by this one and started to relax a bit.
I'm glad they didn't try to park this thing in front of the black tanker... we'd have been crushed!
Bye bye tanker, don't come back!
We put the pole back up and enjoyed the warm weather, but wait...
Now what?! The big tanker is mad at us and wants revenge. She is spinning around and making a 2nd pass at us!
Kind of a narrow gap to slip through, but I think we can make it.
These Cosco tankers have a bad reputation after the oil spill, perhaps hitting a small Folkboat will... what? Make their rep better?
Ok, now this is as close to the bow of a tanker as I'll ever want to get.
For those keeping score at home, that's 3 times the bow of this tanker has faced us.
Ha ha, even if you tried you couldn't hit us now, silly tanker.

The prop wash from the tug boats did shove us around a bit.

The dog was OK, so we sailed on.
We saw some girls rowing and they were nice, but their coach was mean. She didn't like us helping out. We did learn this... "Keep your chin level with the water!" Apparently this is part of good form and technique while rowing... they kept repeating this, so we did too.
Perfect landing, tied her off and lowered the fenders.
Took the sails down...
Removed the boom and prepared everything so the all the guys had to do was release 3 pins before removing the mast. Since I know all they guys now, it's sort of a courtesy to do this now. All boat stuff finished just before the sun went down.
A rather fast trip actually... 2 hours and 40 minutes with 5-10 knots of breeze and a beautiful day. So, we'll check out those keel bolts and get a really fast bottom paint put on and see what else need to be done while out of the water... maybe I should have those CF numbers put on so the Coast Guard doesn't board me?