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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

100th Post

100 Things We Love about Sailing and Blogging

1. The opportunity for fine craftsmanship is never-ending.
2. Ample opportunities for fun entertaining and bbq-ing aboard.
3. Learning a new sport: ocean racing, crewing on other people’s boats, etc.
4. Sailing uses wind power and natural energy, a green activity.
5. Sailing gets us outdoors and off the couch!
6. We can do it together!
7. Great photographic opportunities abound.
8. We meet new people in the local community and online community.
9. Dockmates are the spice of life!
10. Neighbor Wilson is quite the gem!
11. Teak is beautiful wood, very needy and endearing.
12. Galley cooking challenges are fun.
13. All our friends are excited to visit us and get a boat ride.
14. We’ve met new blogging friends on blogspot.
15. Our family knows what paraphernalia to buy us for the next 200 birthdays and Christmases.
16. Being on the water is calming and peaceful.
17. Dinghies are just as fun as sailboats.
18. Learning how to sail our boat, our “pig”, has been comical and satisfying.
19. Working with marine paints and varnishes is pretty intense.
20. Doing something adventurous makes us adventurous people.
21. Sailing is something to do when to surf isn’t up.
22. Learning sailing language: lines, sheets, grog, and halyard!
23. Learning knot tying. There are so many kinds of rope and knots in the nautical world!
24. Taking friends on a water tour of Morro Bay Embarcadero.
25. Buying and reusing boat stuff on craigslist. Recycle. Recycle.
26. Getting away from technology; leaving pagers and computers behind.
27. Happy Hour and ocean racing with the Morro Bay Yacht club.
28. Watching sailing movies and reading sailing books.
29. Watching the Jessica Watson and Abby Sunderland sailing sagas unfold. These young ladies rock!
30. We hear that Sailing is one of the safest sports and the least amount of injuries. Even though it feels dangerous, it is actually very safe.
31. Pennants make me smile.
32. Slapping halyard sounds, screeching seagulls.
33. Blogging has improved our writing skills.
34. It is easier to blog than to become a member of the yacht club.
35. A photography hobby has been born. I can share pictures with others without even buying a photo printer!
36. Interactions with nature, finches, seals, otters, pelicans, cormorants, etc.
37. The smell of fiberglass resin in the morning.
38. It is Simon-free activity for the most part! Ha ha, Simon! You sucker.
39. Another excuse to use power tools around water. I love the added risk of electrocution.
40. Chilling wine on a line in the ocean water.
41. Pirate fantasies. ARgh matie.
42. Travelling without cars and planes. Practicing patience. Nothing moves fast on a boat.
43. Planning future sailing trips.
44. Dreaming about retiring on a 45’ live-aboard in the Caribbean.
45. Dreaming about buying a bigger boat so we can stand up straight in the galley.
46. Blogging has made me a better story-teller.
47. Being a Captain has made me a better husband.
48. Being a First Mate has made me a better wife.
49. Blogging has taught me to be willing to be in the story, even to be unselfconscious as the main character in the story.
50. Sailing has allowed us to get in the Morro Bay game. We are engaging the community with good old fashion fun.
51. Blogging has made me feel more comfortable with my poetic voice and my artistic choices.
52. I’ve learned how to tell a story in a photograph.
53. I’ve learned how to pick the best picture out of hundreds of piss poor ones. A picture is worth a thousand words.
54. Capturing a flattering picture of a friend in a photograph is a gift to the friendship. It puts a smile on our faces and reminds us of the joy in living.
55. I imagine I have a “blog audience”. My blog readers have expectations. I imagine they have hopes to find something memorable here. And I hope to be creating a memorable story. I write the hope that I expect from myself.
56. There are no ropes on a boat, only lines. And sheets are ropes.
57. The First Mate is admittedly obsessed with deck shoes and white Capri pants.
58. The Captain is admittedly obsessed with sanding down the resin mold on the dinghy.
59. We learned that HMS = her majesty’s ship. Can’t use this one, because we don’t have any majesty in the U.S.
60. But, s/v= sailing vessel. Maybe we might use this one.
61. Yet again, s/y= sailing yacht; why do we need this abbreviation?
62. You can get cheap drinks at the Yacht club!
63. There is a $2.50 corking fee at the Yacht club if you bring in your own bottle, which is the cheapest corking fee I’ve ever heard of!
64. The First Mate still wants to eat pate with French bread and a fine Viognier on the boat, watch a sunset, and write amazing poetry. Ahh, Hemingway, I love you.
65. The Captain still wants to sail to Catalina.
66. The First Mate still doesn’t know how sea sick she could be.
67. The Captain still doesn’t know how sea sick he could be.
68. Training Wheels still has no official boat mascot, aka, cat or dog aboard.
69. “Let us imagine care of the soul, then, as an application of poetics to everyday life.” –Thomas Moore
70. Boat maintenance is just as therapeutic as weeding the garden or painting the bedroom or scrubbing the toilet.
71. Floating along in the dinghy is almost as fun as floating along in the sailboat.
72. There is floating along. And then there is being set adrift. The only difference is attitude and motivation. Just floating along is perfectly fine with us.
73. Mutiny on the Bounty is a great book! I never would have read it otherwise!
74. We are 100% satisfied with renting a slip for our boat. We’ve both decided it is money well spent. We couldn’t imagine trying to get all the work done on a mooring or pulling the boat out of the water!
75. After a whole year, the First Mate has decided she is ready for an ocean sail adventure. Watch out Seasickness, here I come!
76. Participating in the Yacht club’s events are so worth it! We’ve learned so much!
77. Otters are the house-cats of the sea; we are really their pets, we just don’t know it.
78. Captain’s secret dream #293: to have a picture of my boat on the wall at the Yacht club.
79. Few things are a picturesque as flying a colorful spinnaker!
80. When we stay on the boat overnight, our cat can’t wake us up at 3:30 in the morning.
81. By the time this list is posted we will be prospective members of the yacht club.
82. By the time this list is posted we will be installing our new boom. Or painting it.
83. The women at the yacht club are readers! Sweet soul sisters for this First Mate! I couldn’t be more blessed by this surprise!
84. There are many “firsts” like breaking my first boom! Another “First”!
85. We’ve met at least three people who have retired by age 50 and live the ‘simple life’ aboard in the Caribbean! We are so jealous! I mean, really, do you think that my retirement money/IRA/Medicare will be worth anything in 25 years?
86. If I were to be even more romantic I would learn to sing and play guitar so that I can live more of the ‘life’!
87. SPF 70 and polarized sun glasses are a godsend!
88. Bloggers write for a season in their lives, like the year of an internship or the year that they searched for optimal health and performance. When their season is over they usually stop writing. I wonder how long our blogging season will be?
89. We have reconsidered our desire for a Rottweiler; they are not very good water dogs. Hmm?
90. Cool iphone apps exist for navigation, sailing, compass, speed, etc!
91. See one, do one, teach one. It is true for almost everything!
92. Smile lines, crow’s feet, sun damage, leather necks… ah, the hazards of facing the elements!
93. We don’t have to do it, but we want to do it.
94. Blogging helps us organize our thoughts and reflections about sailing and what we can possibly improve in the future.
95. We are so blessed to be living this dream!
96. A portable Coleman camping toilet is a perfectly good option. There is no shame in that.
97. What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner. –Colette
98. If you have the means, we highly recommend getting a boat and taking up sailing!
99. If the U.S. falls into chaos, we have an exit strategy!
100. We don’t need as much as we have, and less is even more than we think.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Good News and More Good News

First, the good news is that someone at the Yacht club has a spare boom that he will donate to us to replace Trainings Wheels' broken boom. This is a big blessing because I was dreading the cost of either buying a new one or having a used one shipped from somewhere. I don't even know how to go about shipping a 12 foot piece of aluminum.  A minor repair job and frabricating a mount and Training wheels should be ready to go!

Now for the really good news: I will have to wait until October to start the repairs. "How is that good news?" you may be asking yourself.  In the ongoing journey of becoming a better sailor, I have accepted an invitation to crew aboard a 61' ketch from Oahu to Morro Bay (about 2500 miles). This will be a huge learning experience and not just about sailing. Gaining more experience in navigating and sailing in heavy weather will be hard not to do on a passage such as this. The journey should take about 20 days at sea with one point being about the farthest from land as you can get (1200 miles).  You can follow our progress on the sailblog for s/v Go For Broke.

We've added the blog to our blogroll.

I will be leaving for Hawaii on Sept 3 and will be setting sail for a shakedown cruise to Kauai on Sept 5. We will post daily progress and small written updates during the voyage for those following from home.
~The Captain

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Morning After: Avila to Morro Bay

After the awards ceremony at the San Luis Yacht Club we took the skiff out to the boat to spend the night!  We had a great night and woke up to the sun coming over the hills.  We made breakfast on the BBQ and started to motor back to Morro Bay.  Here a some pictures from the trip back to our home dock.

Motoring wasn't too fast and we even got passed by these guys!
With our broken boom strapped to the deck, we motored most of the way to Morro Bay at 4.2 knots.  We passed a cool looking old lighthouse.  The sun finally came out!  We put up the genoa and kicked it up to 5.2 knots.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Details of Training Wheels' First Ocean Race

The Zongo Cup is the first ocean race that Training Wheels has participated in.  She has sailed out to sea just for fun, but turning back was always a convenient option.  The race was different.  She had to get to the finish line!

I have to say that racing adds a different perspective as compared to the usual cruising we do. I learn a lot more during races. Sailing a preset course requires you to take what wind and swell you have and use it to your best advantage in order to arrive at a specific destination. You also have a measuring stick, being the other boats in the race, to measure your progress by.

The Zongo course never took Training Wheels far from land, but the iphone app turned out to be a wonderful way of keeping track of her speed and direction to the next marker bouy. We have been opposed to tech on the boat wanting to keep things old school, but knowing the boat speed helps in finding the optimal sail trim to hit the top speed. Too bad the top speed for our Coronado 25 was only a whopping 4.8 knots.  We have MotionX GPS lite on the iPhone and it works very well. I will write a little more on this later.

The race started out smoothly with light wind.  Upon rounding Point Buchon, about 4 hours into the race, the wind picked up on a downwind run with gusts to 20 knots.  I guess this was too much for her 40 year old boom because she broke right in half! I must remember to ease the boom vang when running downwind. I am sure this contributed to the boom failure.

The boom flapped around uncontrollably, but luckily no one was hurt.  We stabilized the broken half into the sail and the standing rigging for the next two hours.  hen we got into Avila we were able to take down the sail and boom.  We will have to take the sail to SLO Sails for the repair.  We hope to buy another boom from anyone who has a spare or on craigslist. 
The boom is down, the sail folded, and boat anchored for the night.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Zongo Cup!

The 2nd Annual Zongo Yachting Cup was a hit!  The race was sponsored by the calypso band Zongo All-Stars.  The Yacht clubs of San Luis and Morro Bay hosted the start and finish festivities.  Most boats sailed the course in 4-6 hours.  Winners got trophies; all others received fun mugs.  The courtesy skiff service was great!  We spent the night on the boat and motor-sailed back today.  Our top speed was 5.2 knots.

Training Wheels made it to Avila Beach and back intact, but not without some hitches!  A picture is worth a thousand words so I'll just post some of the most amazing shots.  We will go over the mishaps in the next few posts, but basically, here is a synopsis:  the boom broke in half tearing our mainsail; we lost an anchor and nearly floated to Pismo Beach; the percolater wouldn't make us coffee on the barbie.

Friday night Farmer's Market, Avila Beach, and the Zongo All-Stars!
The boats have all come into port.
Training Wheels taking down the mainsail and broken boom.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Zongo Cup: Regatta Route

The Zongo Cup is a race from Morro Bay to Avila Beach.  This means we will be sailing from one dark black square to the other dark square on the map above.  The route takes us around Point Buchon. 

This aerial view of Avila Beach shows the pier and a few boats.  We will be piling in 30 or so more boats this weekend! 

We didn't think that the navigation would be that tricky, but this week we've had thick fog until about 5pm.  We didn't think we would lose sight of land during the whole trek down to Avila and back, but now we are thinking again.  The marine layer limits visualization significantly.  We know we will be atleast a mile off-shore, so we'll have to use our iphone apps for navigation.  The Captain bought a car-charger/cigarette lighter iphone charger today--great thinking--so that we can have it online for the whole trip. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Unexpected Development . . . the Zongo Cup LESS THAN 1 WEEK AWAY!

Our pre-race inspections took an unexpected turn yesterday!

We've heard that this is the case: just when you think you are ready to shove off . . . something else comes up!  Yesterday, Truman went to check the head tubing (clearly corroded!) and it sprung a leak!  Not that we were planning on using it anyhow!

The question remains . . . how will we pee?  Now, there is a little ledge on which to mount a portable toilet for the Zongo Cup.  Which should we buy?  Or should we just save up the money for a new head?  Compost toilet?

In the meantime, I have ordered my Go-Girl for the weekend.  Might be voiding into a jar! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Preparations for our First Regatta: The Zongo Cup!!!

Next weekend we will participate in our first local regatta.  The Captain has crewed other boats on the blue ocean, but this will be Training Wheels' public debut.  We are sailing with the Morro Bay Yacht Club from Morro Bay to Avila Beach.  It will be a 4-6 hour sail!  When we get to Avila, we will raft up and enjoy the tunes of the Zongo All-Stars! 
Zongo Cup Preparations
Abandon Ship Bag (Floating)
First aid kit
Strobe lights
Seasick pills
Emergency rations
Emergency blanket
Tool box
Socket set
Rigger’s bag (electrical)
Rigger’s bag (misc)
digital small camera
Nikon D3000
Head lamp
Halogen spotlight

dried fruit
CLIF bars
beef jerkey
adult beverages

Propane for BBQ
Safety harness and line
sleeping bags
Check Electricity
Check Gasoline
Check Battery
Check Solar power
Check VHF

Invite all our friends to meet us in Avila!

Are we forgetting anything?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Report: Mutiny on the Bounty

So, I finished reading Mutiny on the Bounty. Lots of nautical terms, classical sailor stuff, and swashbuckling jargon!  I dog-eared the pages with passages that I wanted to share with you, my readers. There are too many to share. Here is a small passage to whet your appetite:

Page 31 reads, “I shared with Hayward, Stewart, and Young a berth on the lower deck. In this small space the four of us swung our hammocks at night and had our mess, using a chest for a table and other chests for seats,” and, “For a month or more every man aboard received a gallon of beer each day, and when that was gone, a pint of fiery white mistela wine from Spain—the wine our seamen love and call affectionately ‘Miss Taylor.’ And when the last of the wine was gone we fell back on an ample supply of the sailor’s sheet anchor—grog.

As I mused on the Bounty’s sails and ropes, asking myself how this order or that would be given, and wondering how I should go about obeying were I told to furl a royal or lend a hand at one of the braces, I felt something of a spell which even the smallest ship casts over me to this day.”

Mutiny on the Bounty is such a classic tale that one fellow decided to recreate Captain Bligh’s treacherous journey from the Tonga to West Timor! A re-enactment of 4000 miles at sea on a starvation diet!

I am off to the library to get Moby Dick!
Happy Reading!

Here is a list of other great Sailing Books for your reading pleasure!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Introduction to the "Whisker Pole"

Downwind sailing is usually a bit of a drag. Flapping sails, a lot slower progress that upwind, and even worse is that not feeling any wind on your face gives the feel that the boat is standing still. Can't do much about apparent wind versus real wind. We don't have a spinnaker, but I found that the best help for gaining speed in a downwind situation is using a whisker pole!

A whisker pole is a light, aluminum pole (ours is stored in the v-berth) that can be attached to the mast and the clew of the headsail (Genoa). The whisker pole allows the sail to keep better shape in light wind usually when running wing and wing (mainsail to one side and Genoa to the other)

A couple tips I got from the Forspar website that I didn't do in my first attempt shown above to help keep the best sail shape: Use a topping lift. Attach a spare halyard to the end of the pole attached to the sail to keep the pole's weight off the sail. Next move the jib sheet block as far forward as possible. If you can get it directly under the clew (bottom corner) of the sail you've gone far enough. Making this line a sharp angle to the bottom of the sail and fairly tight will then stop the sail from "skying" or raising up in puffs of air once again improving sail shape.

The Forspar site made a comment about the position of the whisker pole that isn't possible on my boat.  "The pole should be flown level (Thus the need for mast track and cars!) and at the same relative angle to the wind as the main boom"  Training wheels has a stationary whisker pole attachment so that the pole shouldn't be level.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MBYC Ocean Race: Took 3rd Place!

The Captain crewed on Gracie Ray for the Summer 2 Ocean race with the Morro Bay Yacht club this weekend. Calm seas and light winds made for a slow going but we still had a enjoyable and close race. The light winds was also timely providing some more experience with whisker poles. (The First mate and myself first tried our whisker pole out on Training Wheels this last week and will complete a more detailed post on whiskers poles soon.)

An exciting moment during the race was when we caught up to Kiskadee.  We didn't expect to catch up to her because our boat, Gracie Ray, a Catalina 30 sailboat, has a much higher handicap. In sailing terms, the handicap is referred to as a  "PHRF" (United States Performance Handicap Racing Fleet). The PHRF allows boats of varying type and performance to sail on a level playing field. We made it neck and neck with Kiskadee until rounding the last marker that started a down wind run (wind from behind). Kiskadee put up her spinnaker and promptly left us in the dust.

Kiskadee setting a spinnaker
We tried to run wing and wing (Main sail to one side and Genoa to the other) but without the use of a whisker pole to hold the sail's shape in the light wind the genoa was less than helpful. At times the Genoa would even back wind and slow us down. Kiskadee finished about 5 minutes ahead of us, but we still placed ahead of them because of Gracie Ray's handicap. We did well and came in third place missing second place by about a minute. Captain even got to bring home the trophy mug!

My First Mug!

Friday, August 6, 2010


We celebrated the end of our Anniversary Week by riding our beach cruisers to the Yacht club for Friday Night Social.  I met lots of nice people, most of whom the Captain has already met or sailed with.  One lady, Judy, is the coordinator for the Writer's conference that we are attending in September.  It was nice to get the inside scoop on the conference. I can't wait! We also saw a couple who have a catamaran.  They want to sail to Catalina--a 3day sail--but they had trouble finding a crew for the 10 day trip. I told my Captain to crew for them, but they had already downsized to a couple 3 day trips in the area. The Captain was tentative about the whole ten days but will probably join them on one of the short trips.

I really hope that Truman can sail with them.  It would be such a wonderful learning experience.  I would have to stay at home to work, but he would have such a memorable time!  At any rate, we are happy and healthy here on the waterfront.  It is a blessing to be able to be here.  Clean water, clean air, healthy living and good loving.  I cannot ask for more!  Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

He Said, She Said

We are approaching another anniversary: one more year of marriage; one year as Captain and First Mate. It was on our last wedding anniversary, one year ago, that the idea of owning a boat first came up.

He Said

I wasn’t sure that the First Mate would go for it, but even after all these years she can surprise me. I thought it would be viewed as another hobby/sporting event that would require more time apart. She was actually very enthusiastic about having a project together and becoming the first mate. So after a year of cleaning, sanding, painting, and more cleaning I am happy to say that I think it was a good decision. We have had some good times along with the hard work. The BBQ’s with friends, learning new things, and sunset cruises have created the kind of quality time and memories that this Captain would highly recommend!

She Said

I was really excited when Truman took the sailing class at the yacht club last year. I have always gotten seasick, like with deep-sea fishing and whale watching trips, so I never considered that I would actually sail with him. But our harbor is really quiet so I started to entertain the idea of floating around, sunbathing, wine-drinking, and generally looking like Goldie Hawn on Overboard. Then I started thinking about getting my hands dirty and “taking it all out on the boat.” Sanding and painting, waxing and washing are free therapy sessions! And Truman has always wanted to buy a boat and possibly live aboard. What wife could possibly resist the opportunity to give her husband a little slice of his dream? I said, “Yes, let’s do it,” and the next week we went out and bought the boat!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Skipper's Watch: cool animation

Alert! This may be the dumbest post of the year, but The Captain still thinks it is cool. I have been admiring the Rolex Skipper's Watch advertisements on the CNN MainSail website. But just today the First Mate pointed out that the watch in the ad is actually showing the correct time. The second hand is even moving! Fricking Sweet.

If the ad has been replaced you can view it below.