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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sailing in Heavy Weather

I recently received from my netflix queue the video "Sailing in Heavy Weather" from the Better Sailing Series hosted by Mark Schrader. I have watched...actually I tried to watch some other sailing videos on Netflix but never got that far into them before turning them off. Either the sound of the wind howling in the microphone was so loud you couldn't understand the speaking, the video camera pointing one direction would be constantly showing nothing important, or the Miami Vice 80's haircut and outfits would drive me to turn it off. "Sailing in Heavy Weather" was mostly upto date and overall pretty well produced especially concerning the conditions.

There are quite a few good nuggets of information in the video but main points I learned for my beginning skill level is below;
  1. Practice reefing before you need to reef. During a 30 + knot gail is not when you want to be figuring things out.
  2. Practice often. Knowing how to reef is good but knowing how to reef very quicking is even better. It is quite difficult to keep enough slack in the sails by heading up in heavy weather to allow the sail to come down. The tension may only be off the sail for a minute before a wave or wind pushes the boat away from the wind direction putting tension back onto the sail.
  3. There are two ways to handle heavy seas, passively by battoning down the hatches and waiting it out underneath and actively by sailing. Todays modern boat designs generally do better by being actively sailed. After watching the video I still not totally sure what to do in a Coronoda 25. It is not a modern boat but I think I would be more comfortable trying to actively steer the boat but I doubt I could keep it up that long.  
  4. Reef early before the heaviest wind comes then test the balance of the boat to see how it handles. Many Captians get in trouble because they reef down too much and can't control the boat. Find the balance of power and heeling that allows the boat to be steered well by lettling out more cloth.
There was  a section on heaving to in the video that I think was done well but I will go into a deeper discussion on this in a later blog as setting your sails so that you make no very handy thing to be able to do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yay Dinghies!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Staying Overnight in the Boat

The First Mate was working so I flea-bombed the house.  It was a toxic flea-killing zone!  I decided to stay overnight on the boat.  In the slip!

I haven't stayed overnight on the boat for a while. Every boating activity is a learning experience and this was no different.  I went down to the boat at about 2200.  It was already dark, but I hooked up the power to the dock outlet.  I had a night cap, read a little, then went to bed.

I learned that I definitely prefer sleeping anywhere but the V-berth. I am not that tall, only 5'9", and I find it difficult to fit in the V-berth. After rolling around a good part of the night trying to find a good angle to stretch out, I was awoken by the sound of rain. I always thought it would be soothing to be in the boat during a rain storm but it was actually fairly loud with the rain hittting the deck.

When I decided to get up I realized I needed two things. First, I need to fix the head because going out in the rain in the morning is not fun. Secondly, I need to get a stove in the boat. I had planned to make some coffee on the BBQ attached to the aft railing, but this was not too appealing in the rain.  I ended up going home at 0830.

Sounds like a bad night, but oddly enough I still had a good time. Gotta love the boating life!  Especially after I went to the Blue Bean for my morning caffine fix.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Losing Sight of the Shore: Mindfulness Exercises

I am totally consumed by the concept of living mindfully.  I buy everything on the subject: books, ipod meditations, local food from sustainable sources, even a sailboat!  I blog. Self-help is my favorite genre.  I try to live peacefully.  I try to be emotionally present.  I try to be an engaged listener.  I try to maintain my boundaries.  I try to do what I have been taught is good.  I try to do what is right. 

I know there is value in this way of living.  I know that these thoughts are worthy of my attention.  I cannot live otherwise, but today...I am exhausted.  I remember hearing an appropriate line from a movie:  “Too much thinking wears down your batteries.” Lois Lane to Clark Kent, in the original Superman.

At any rate, I would like to share a little of the sentence completion exercises from Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life.  This book was phenomenal!  I highly recommend it.  The author has about 30 sets of these sentence completion prompts; here are a few.  Basically, you just finish the sentence with as many endings as come naturally to you.  Don't over-think it.  Just blurt or write out the answer.

If I pay more attention to my inner signals today—
If I am more truthful in my dealings with people today—
If I am 5% more self-accepting today—
If I am self-accepting even when I make mistakes—
If these ideas start working in my subconscious mind—

If I disown what I am thinking and feeling—
If I place other people’s thoughts above my own—
When I look at what I do to impress people—
If I face who I am to make myself “likeable”—
I am beginning to suspect—

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dock Gnome and other Dock Accoutrements

There has been lots of weather as you can tell from the Captain's posts.  Today was supposed to be calm.  The Captain got an invitation from Neighbor Wilson to go out on his 27' Catalina this morning and troll for salmon.  They went out for two hours, but nothing was biting.

The Captain inspected our sail and did not find a new nest.  I was a little sad to hear about that.  On the up side, I won't have to be cleaning baby birdie poop off of the sail.  At any rate, dock life is thriving.

I love the stuff that our dockmates put out for decoration!  I feel extra lucky to have a communal gnome!  I would have never thought to procure one of my own, but I am very happy to share in the collective luckiness!

Check out all the other gnome statues that I found!

Dock/Garden Gnome:

Function: noun
Etymology: French, from New Latin gnomus
Date: 1661
1 : an ageless and often deformed dwarf of folklore who lives in the earth and usually guards treasure
2 : an elemental being in the theory of Paracelsus that inhabits earth
— gnome•like \-ˌlīk\ adjective
— gnom•ish \ˈnō-mish\ adjective

I was thinking about getting a fake owl to stand guard over our boat when we are gone.  I think the plastic owl is supposed to discourage gulls and other birds from making homes on the boat.
I love the shiny triangle "used car lot" streamers!  I want some for our boat, but I don't know where to get them.  Seriously, if anyone knows where to get these, please let me know!!!

I am a sucker for shiny things....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sailing Season?

One thing I didn't expect living in California is a sailing season. In the Midwest and Northeast because of winter cold or even in the Southeast with huricaine season I could always imagine people all giddy at the beginning of spring with anticipation of being able to sail again. Well spring is here and I am the giddy one. Maybe it is just a result of a really bad winter for sailing.  I have mentioned in previous posts my difficulties in finding good days for sailing. It was tough to even find days that you could get out of the harbor due to large surf breaking in the harbor mouth.

The surf this year wasn't as bad as this picture shows. This picture is an anomaly.  There have only been waves of 50' plus like this breaking in the harbor mouth a couple times ever, but it was over 10' alot more than it was under this winter. This picture is still great, that bus is about a thousand yards in front of that wave and still looks tiny.

Spring is here as is smaller waves and I am ready for a long cruise.

This is the start of a couple of posts that will be planning a trip to the Catalina Islands this summer. Before I sail a couple hundred miles, I think the first step will be a trip to Avila which is 20 miles by boat. The main thing to find out is where to anchor when I get there. I am sure I will learn many more things before the planning is done. Updates to follow.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sailor Food, Eating LOCAL, and Carol Alt's Raw foodbook

I have been saving this one up. This is for the all the Foodies and the Foodie in me. I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. If you don’t know this book, you’ve got to pick up a copy! Barbara Kingsolver is Michael Pollan expanded and enriched. The book is Sally Fallon’s dream! It is the fulfillment of the Slow Food Movement!

I buy it all, hook, line, and sinker!  We have been subscribing to a local farmer's food basket delivery service.  It is not technically a CSA, but it is basically the same concept.  So, we've been doing this for almost 2 years and it has been great!  I don't have to stress about getting to the market and we are eating everything local and in season.  It feels so healthy!!!

I love feeling more in tune with my surroundings, the land, growing things. . . and the composting!  Oh, the composting!  I am in heaven!  We are greener and brighter and cleaner!

And, I've been trying to go raw, and using Carol Alt's primer to get started.  My contention is this: how do I eat RAW and LOCAL?  Umbashi plums, coconuts, tarmari sauce, flax seeds . . . not local! And not in season!  It is much easier to eat local, but I can make some modifications. I’ve spent a lot more money just getting together a RAW kitchen. I can’t decide which is best.

Which brings me to the discussion of The Cans of Dinty Moore.  After reading Charles Dewell's account of 40 days at sea and losing 41 pounds, living on Dinty Moore. . .  Is this the reality of sailor sustenance?    Really?  Is that necessary?  I get the sea sickness. . . . but, all that MSG?  Really?  Do I have to?  Did they really have to drink grog to stave off the scurvy?

As for sailor food…

Me thinks that sprouted grains and beans are perfect for the boat. Eating in the Raw is possible!  What about dried hummus, dehydrated fruits, bottled kombucha, and live food bars?  Luckily, I can have this conversation in my head and it is all theoretical because we never intend to do any long ocean sails, so hopefully I will never be that far from a beloved farmer's market. 

The food is where it is at!  What do you think?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Surprise!

We went down to the boat today for some cleaning.  When we got there, we found a little surprise!  We disrupted a poor mama bird's new nest.  She circled to boat to see if we would leave.  We've only been away from the boat for 4 days, so she must have thrown this one together pretty fast!  I kind of wish that we had left the nest there and waited for babies!  Oh well.  Better luck next time, little friend!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stepping the Mast

A nice feature of our 1970 Coronado 25 is the ability to fairly easily "Step the mast", nautical speak for laying the mast down. This mast is hinged to make the step easier than masts on other boats. I may never have a bridge that I have to go under as many river sailors do, but it does make maintenance easier.  Theoretically.

Easier, that is . . .  if you have a tri-pod, of which I have none.  I didn't even know I needed a tripod the first time.  We wanted to put a fresh coat of red paint on our mast, so we layed it down and hoisted it up with brute strength.  This required three people and a lot of heave-ho-ing.  We also bent about half of the turnbuckles (the brass connectors that run the lines from the mast to the deck).  I don't recommend doing it this way! 

Our Incorrect Steps for "stepping the mast":
  1. Bought beer and bribed a friend to help.
  2. Removed all sails.
  3. Removed boom from mast.
  4. Disconnected topping lift from boom.
  5. Inspected and loosened standing lines at attachment points and turnbuckles.
  6. Secured one end of both Geneo and Main Halyard to a cleat on the mast.
  7. Ran line through block at bow of boat to winch at back of boat and attached line to jib standing line.
  8. Needed another block to get over companionway.
  9. Painted.
  10. Tried to pull mast up, but we were just pulling it into the boat.
  11. Heave-Ho-ed up.  Picture: World's Strongest Man contest.
To Be Continued . . .
The Correct Way to Step the Mast!
Next "stepping" project is installation of Wind Vane and replacing a light bulb.