"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More on Vitamin D: Argh, Stay Back June Gloom!

I am sitting here eating my overnight oats which seems like perfect sailor food to me and . . .

Me thinks that Vitamin D has been getting a lot of coverage lately.

As for Vitamin D preventing cancer? Hmm. Well, there are other health benefits to be had. There was actually a recent article that showed that people with high Vitamin D levels had an increase in skin cancers. This is probably due to habitual sun over-exposure.

Perhaps the "old reference ranges" used in laboratories past were much lower than they are now, but that is probably because they were based on the idea of preventing rickets. It looks like the newer ranges are based on studies in "native populations" (non-westernized) which probably get more Vitamin D from both diet and sun exposure.

Vitamin D can only be produced by our bodies when we are exposed to UVB rays, and not UVA. Most UVB rays only occur between 10am-2pm in United States (except the southern tip of Florida) and that for 2-6 months of the year there are not enough UVB rays to stimulate Vitamin D production, i.e. during the winter, and more so the further north you go.

Tanning beds are a mix of UVA and UVB, though the newer ones (i.e. high pressure) seem to be just UVA, and hence would not stimulate Vitamin D production.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Boat to Boat Communication?

The sun was shining, the sky was clear, but the wind was calm at the harbor. Near my favorite surf spot there was a little wind but I still decided not go out sailing yesterday. I didn't want to risk bobbing around for an hour going nowhere like earlier in the week. Then I saw Gracie Ray, a boat I have raced against before, going out. Maybe there is some wind off shore. Great, I can wait for them to get outside the harbor and call them on the VHF to find out the conditions.

Then I realized, I have never called another boat before and have no idea what channel to use. Another research project. Some very basic rules from my online research and talking with other captians:

1. If at all possible, agree on a channel to use with the other boaters before hand.
2. Most folks should have channel 16 on and this can be used to get their attention.
3. An easy example of correct lingo "Training Wheels calling for Gracie Ray".
3. Agree to switch to another channel once this is done, ASAP. Channel 9 is the standard boater comm channel.

Channel 16 is the emergency and distress safety channel monitored by the Coast Guard and they really don't want to hear everyone's conversation.  This is a basic thing but that's what this blog is about. Training Wheels living up to her name.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Right Outboard Motor For The Job

Training Wheels originally came with a 6 hp 2 stroke regular shaft outboard that usually pushed the boat along decently. It was loud and smelly but mostly did a good job. The motor had a regular shaft and somewhere along the life of the boat the transom had been built up about an inch higher (more on this later). This meant that the prop didn't always stay in the water. The first few times I took the boat out, I couldn't figure out why every so often the engine would start to sputter or just thrash water around behind the boat. Then I realized that when anyone went to the bow of the boat or in waves the prop would pull out of the water.  This wouldn't do, and so my research for a new motor began.

I wanted to be safe and have as much power as I could to cope with any condition that was thrown at me so I wanted to go big. This was obviously a previous owner's idea as well, as noted by the drag racer scoop that was attached to the hatch of the engine bay lazerette. I assume this was done to allow enough head room to fit a large 75 hp motor. The first thing I found out is that this was comically useless.

1. After a sailboat reaches hull speed, any extra horsepower isn't really going to do you much good and will only serve to waste fuel. Hull speed is hull speed (maximum of 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length) regardless of whether or not the water is moving itself. Hull speed for my C25 is then 6 knots.  What does this mean? I need an engine that can get my boat to 6 knots which is pretty slow. This is a point for a smaller engine. Large HP engines perform really poorly at slow speed like this.

2. What am I going to do with motor? With me, it will be mostly docking and making it out of the harbor to actually sail. This means backing up is every bit as important as moving forward, and slow speed control is key, so a shallow pitch prop (6 inches or less) is used, and a 20" or longer shaft is mandatory to keep the prop in the water if the boat porpoises through waves or when crew move around the boat. In our Coronado steering is done by the boat's rudder, and the outboard is locked in dead-ahead. No room in the lazarette well to turn it. Point two for a smaller motor.

3. Size of your boat. Some advice given was to go as big as you can, as I thought in the begining. The usual example given by powerboaters is stopping power. You're not really able to "stop" a sailboat with your engine, like you do with a powerboat by throwing it into reverse. Especially not an 4500 lbs boat. Because once it gets momentum, it doesn't just stop but only help to slow it down. I've seen sailors with big boats coming up to the dock too fast, then trying to slow down with reverse. And it just doesn't work. When that happens, somebody usually has to jump onto the dock at the last minute and stop the boat with a line on a cleat or pole. Dealers have told me that the 4-strokes have much better low end power (good) than the old 2-strokes and I need one hp per 500 pounds of sailboat. So for my C25 it looks like an 9hp 4 stroke.

4. More hp means more size and weight. I still wanted a bigger engine if I could, and I did investigate 15hp engines. The 9.9hp engines are smaller usually by about 30 pounds (almost 30%), lighter than the 15hp and the price difference is about 10%. The weight is a bigger factor on a saiboat, but for only 10% more, hmm. After reviewing the specs of various 15hps, it would appear that the 15 is not an option. Too big fore-and-aft to fit through the lazarette hatch. So I am now down to picking a 6hp or 9.9hp.

5. Extra features that matter. One thing that is always a concern on a boat is power. 9.9hp outboards are the smallest engines that include electric start and charging of the batteries while in use. This sealed the deal. Now to start the craigslist search.

Winner is a Yamaha 9.9hp 4 stroke long shaft. I found it on craigslist in town for $200. Talked him down easily enough to $150 since it didn't run at the moment. The cylinders had good compression (thumb over the spark plug holes while attempting to start.) but no spark. A trip to the marine mechanic and the engine was up and going for only another $50.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Marina Sounds Like a Casino!

We were in Santa Barbara a couple weeks ago.  Love it.  Love it.  The wind was blowing and slapping the halyards against the masts.  It was a very jingly, jangly sound.  The ocean race was in full swing and every so often a horn would go off.  The steel drum band was playing on the deck of the Yacht Club!  Sea birds were squaking.  Waves were crashing.  Flags were wipping.  Kinda reminded me of the gaming floor in a Vegas Casino. 

Listen: The Marina "slapping halyards" sounds vs. Casino Gambling Sounds.
Readers, I hope these sound bite links work, because they are pretty cool!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


One of my super, uber favorite bloggers is gone for the weekend.  Karla, blogger of Foodologie.com, is in NY and has left her faithful following high and dry.  However, I've also been looking for a weekend away from the networking grind.  I thought I would take this whole weekend offline, but, alas, I am not ready for this "spiritual experience." 

An interesting article on CNN.com caught my eye.  I would recommend reading it in its entirety! 
In this article, Nicole Bliman writes about the Sabbath Manifesto

The Sabbath Manifesto consists of 10 principles.

1. Avoid technology.
2. Connect with loved ones.
3. Nurture your health.
4. Get outside.
5. Avoid commerce.
6. Light candles.
7. Drink wine.
8. Eat bread.
9. Find silence.
10. Give back.

Reboot and The National Day of Unplugging specifically promote the first principle.  Even as a blogger, I really like it!  I dig it!  I get it!  Apparently, March 19th is the official Day of Unplugging.  I eagerly await March 19, 2011!  The Sabbath Manifesto promotes a weekly technology fast starting Friday nights at sunset. The seaside life lends itself to at least 5 of the 10 principles.  For that, I am grateful.  Does this mean that I can still take TGIF sunset cruise pictures and post them on Saturday after sunset?

The point of the Manifesto rings true.  I recall the No Impact Man saying, "Why don't we remember this year as the year that we lost 20 pounds without going to the gym and we became better parents?"  In his blog, he advocates the observance of an Eco-Sabbath every week.

Food for thought.  Food for thought.

Friday, March 19, 2010

TGIF Sunset Cruise

TGIF!  We went on an open ocean sail after work today!  Captain's take: wind was 1-3 mph, 2-4 ft swell, 7 second intervals.  Basically, bobbing in the duldrums...
So, we headed back into the bay for some pictures in the "magic hour"!
Wondered about this boat from Las Vegas....???  Port of Call?  The Venetian?  Treasure Island?
Stopped in for Fish and Chips at the Local Hut!

I ordered a "Sex on the Beach".  Just so you know, this is out of my usual form--too much Red #5.  But, we are thinking that we have to come up with a drink called "Sex on the Boat".  The Captain says that it must stave off scurvy in order to be authentic. "Sex on the Beach" is Vodka based, but I wanted to come up with a Rum alternative.  But, isn't that a "Shipwreck"?  We don't want that!  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Numbers and such for a 1970 Coronado 25 sailboat

Found this information at Sailboatdata.com from the original Coronado 25 sales brochure.  The stats will come in handy for my next post on picking the right outboard motor for your sailboat. I am sure I will also be able to refer to this in the future posts as well. ~Captain

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nautical Knots!

I bought this book-kit at Border's for the Captain.  He has been doing some pretty impressive stuff!  Hours of endless fun for about $5!  I was tickled pink to come home from work and see decorative knots hanging from every door knob! 

It really comes in handy on the boat too!  Look at some of the beautiful knots that he has made!  Nautical knot-tying is one of the arts of traditional sailing!


Friday, March 12, 2010


Thanks to the good Captain, we had planned to take the boat on the Bay for BBQ Filet Mignon, photography, and local Sauvignon Blanc!  I was so grateful to have this evening cruise on the schedule, because it has been a super long busy crazy week!  And, I've been reading The Motion of the Ocean!  This is Janna Cawrse Esarey's book fully entitled: The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife.

So, I had planned to present the B-HAG concept to my Captain: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  This is Janna and Graeme's grand concept, a'la stimulus package!  Basically, come up with a goal that is bigger than life, create a stategy for accomplishing it, and then throw caution to the wind and take a deep, cleansing breath, and go for it!!!!!!

If you have a big Goal . . . . would you dare even say it out loud? Would you share it with anyone? Would you keep it silent, secret and let it build momentum inside like a 2 Liter bottle of Pop shaken up? What do you think?

TGIF!  We had a wonderful sunset BBQ cruise!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sailing Forecasts, or lack there of!

Last week, I wrote about the difficulties I have with finding decent sailing forecasts to help plan or determine if I should go out to sail. Today's sailing adventure was a prime example.

For the first time in a month, the swells have gotten below 10 ft and I was a little exited to get off the surf board and onto the boat. Even though the swell had been tolerable, the winds for the last two days were gusting up to 50 Mph. Way more than I want to deal with!  But always the optimist, I keep thinking any day now it will be perfect. And waking up this morning, I knew today was that day.

The surf forecasts on http://www.surfline.com/ were for 4-5 feet at 12 seconds. Swell is good, now onto wind. http://www.weather.com/ listed the wind at 10-15 Mph.  Bingo, I am on!  But before I left, I decided to look at the bouy reports themselves, it showed a gradualy increasing 12 ft swell at 20 seconds. Not great, but 20 seconds is long enough to make these Pacific rollers a non-issue. I also decided to check a surf spot on the way to the boat and the wind seemed lighter than 10 Mph and waves looked barely 4 ft. Once again, I am stoked and good to go.

So, I am on the boat heading out of the slip and I am calling some bros to come out and experience this perfect day with me. Then I notice the wind seems a lot more than 10 Mph. I would have actually guessed more than 20 Mph. No way this is going to ruin my perfect day!  I needed some practice reefing and handling in stronger winds anyways.  My first view of the harbor mouth is pretty calm but as I get closer I start to see the waves are a little bigger than 4-5. They actually look more like 8 -9 feet. Not perfect but I usually put my limit at 10 feet so I am still good to go.  I decide to get my sails ready before I get out of the breakwater's protection. I unfurl the jib but only to about 40% original size and imediately take off hitting the boat's top speed, so I skip the Main altogether. A gentlemen I met at a bar said he owned a 1969 Coronado 25 and it handled better in heavy wind with Jib alone, so I decided to put it to the test.

Moments later, I have almost reached the breakwater at the harbor entrance and a swell comes in that is bigger than the 8 feet I saw earlier. These were more like 11-12 feet. Morro Bay's harbor is notorious for having large waves in the harbor mouth and they usually calm down about a half mile out. I charge on. The swells are making it slow going and just outside the harbor another set comes through bigger than the last. The first two waves were bit of a rush but the third wave of the set was 16 feet or larger and looked like it was going to crash right on the bow. Not having a lifeline yet, I wraped the jib sheet (rope from the front sail) around my arm, griped the tiller tighter and crouched down bracing for impact while thinking "is this auto-inflat life vest going to blow up if I am hit by a wave?". I hit the bottom of the wave trough and started to climb the wave. Yep about 16 feet, the 25 foot boat easily fit on the face of the wave. (waves are measured from the midline up, so the total face of the wave was about 30 feet.) The wave never broke and I easily made it over. Being by myself I decided to head in and declared my perfect day officially a bust.

What did I learn?  First, I should have checked the NOAA automated reports on the VHF radio, they probably would have given a clearer picture of the actual conditions.  I also needed to pay more attention to the bouy's live feeds than surfline's report which is specifically for near shore predictions.  I knew this, but I really wanted to go so wasn't going to let a bouy rain on my parade.

Next, I need to get a lifeline. A lifeline is just a rope that ties you to somewhere secure on the boat like the mast. It keeps you from going overboard. I had this as a lower priority item on my purchase/project list because I didn't really envision sailing by myself that often. I don't really want to, but I have come to the conclusion that I will solo sail from time to time.

Finally, I need to find a frakk'n better way to get surf forecasts at home so I can avoid these type of let downs. The day was a bust, but at least fitting in the Battlestar Galacticaism means I can end the day with a smile.

Over and out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cabin and Galley

I should really care about his post...because this is my domain.  I know I should be really passionate about the work that we did to the interior.  And here in lies the dilemna.  What do you post when you don't really feel like posting anything? 

It is not really true to the author and not really fair for the reader, but here goes.  I do have some pictures saved up on the galley.  I don't have before pictures, unfortunately.  Just, after pictures.  And a shameless plug for the GREATEST UPHOLSTERY BUSINESS IN THE STATE: Shannon's!

Ok, I do have a before shot of the NASTY OLD MUSTY cushions in the galley.   ewuuhhhhh!
The zippers were rusted out!  I don't even want to know what happened on these cushions in the last 40 years!  NASTY!

So, we looked through about 400 vinyl marine quality samples with Mr. Shannon!  We chose "Cardinal"....any surprise?  Yes, it fits well with the Captain's USC fettish.  Check them out!
We made a new teak table which we high-glossed the same way as the exterior teak.  We also high-glossed the Galley cabinets.  The cutting boards are just wiped down with teak oil.  The faucet is new. 

I like the way it all turned out.  There are some older blue vinyl cushions and the bright cardinal cushions.  All of them wipe clean easily.  The interior is warm.  It is cozy.  Even if I never go on an ocean sail, the boat has enough charm to keep me happy in the dock. 

It has been so rainy lately that we haven't been able to enjoy it.  I miss it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Beautiful Spinnaker Sail!

Ode to the Spinnaker Sail that I do not have enough money to buy . . .

I wish you were Matthew Modine and I was Baby
And I owned a sewing machine in the floor….
Oh, how I would make a spinnaker.
Oh, how colorful she would be.

If anyone can get this slanted reference to a Disney movie called Wind, staring Matthew Modine and the girl called Baby in Dirty Dancing....it was basically a 13 year old girl's trashy romance about saucing sailors and a killer magnifico spinnaker.
At any rate, I love the Spinnaker Sail!  It is always bright and cheery and wonderful.  It fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat.  Can I just say it again: I love spinnaker sails!!! 
We saw several spinnakers this weekend.  I realized today that we will probably never have one on Training Wheels.  Flying a spinnaker is for the Big League-er.  We are just not on the level.  It is best flung with the help of a crew; extra hands are needed to fly it and reel it in.

Again, I apologize for not keeping the horizon horizontal.  I need a tripod or level attached to my camera!  I took these with the 55-200 mm lens on RAW setting.
The picture quality broke down even on the RAW setting when I zoomed in to get a close up of the blue spinnaker.  I am still not sure how to best capture these distant events!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Magic Hours

Heather Angel, author of the book "How to Photograph Water", encourages me to photograph in the magic hour. This is the hour that light plays at sunset. The color is just right, and it is magic.

I drive to work during dawn and dusk.  These are the magic hours!  I used to drive to work in the dark and come home in the dark, but I'm enjoying the good life now! 

Daylight savings time might change all that!  Save the date: Spring Forward March 14th!

Photographs from the Magic Hour:
ps: yes, Timoteo, the last one is yours from July 2008!  Great pictures don't die!