Still Building MOM


NOW AVAILABLE: Power Point presentation of the mast construction.
(3 separate slide shows about the construction and rigging of our mast)

9 February 2008
Still working in Utah and gathering materials to complete the finishing of MOM. Looks like we will return the first part of May to continue the process.

20 March 2008
Carl's splicing wire rope [galvanized 3/8" 1x7 EHS]. We're getting our sheets, and halyards thru the mail. We got our main sail from Atlantic Sail Traders (used) and it's SO crispy! We were so excited to get it at a 4th of the price of a new one! We got 2 more reefs built in and took out the battens and sewed them shut. We also had them take off roach. It'll be funny to see the look on people's faces when they look at our anomaly of a steel boat and say J32? That's the logo on the sail.

We've been working and buying boat parts all winter. Meanwhile, the mast builder is building our mast and we're looking forward to getting back up north in June! I'll be helping Carl drive up to Lopez Island come May, then fly back to finish the school year out. Carl will start getting the bottom paint on and top sides. We still haven't decided on a Non-skid. Now there's some expense! We've looked at Kiwi Grip [paint on] and Tread Master sheets that you apply with epoxy. We've got to finish painting the top sides as well. Then when Carl gets me in June, we'll go launch MOM again and go to Vancouver Island to have the rigging and spar installed. THUS the wire splicing! Carl's first splice looked pretty rough - but the 2nd one looked better. I can tell it's a WAY strong way to go versus swages that are known to crack and fail at the place the wire rope meets the swage after use. With splicing the bending is moved throughout a larger space with not just ONE spot it is bent as the wire flexes with use.

Our basement fills with boat parts more and more. Insulation for the motor compartment and hatches, more electronics - antenna and VHF marine radio, HF Ham radio and tuner once the mast is up – with insulators for the back stay in the wire rigging. Wind Vane and anemometer. Turn buckles. All the mast wiring, bottom paint, plumbing, cabin lights, just to name a few things.

We haven't been up to see MOM since Thanksgiving. It will be great to get back to work on her. It will be such a HUGE step to get her rigged. Perhaps we'll even get to sail her up to Nanaimo at the end of July. Evan Shalers working on our self steering and trim tabs for inside steering so we'll want to go up and perhaps get that installed. He'll measure up our future stern arch for hanging our solar panels on as well as mount other assorted items like radar.

6 April 2008
Well most of my time doing boat things lately has been practicing splicing. I got a rigging vise to hold the wire and thimble while completing the splicing. I had to make my own serving iron (the tool used to tightly service the very stiff wire of the 1X7 EHS). When I first started I wasn't sure if this was going to work but after a couple of practice eyes they started looking MUCH better. The final eyes will be parceled and served with tared nylon twine then the entire eye is coated with black tar paint (common name for this is "slush"). I have now made 2 of the eyes that I will have pull tested at a local wire rope facility. They will pull them apart (full destructive testing) on a calibrated pull tester to see how and where they fail. This wire has a breaking strength of 14,500 pounds and it will be very interesting to see what the eyes do. I will report back on the results sometime next week.

Besides the standing rigging wire I've been doing some eye splices on some Dacron double braid. I got some Samson XLS double braid for the main and jib sheets. Next is the eye splices on the halyards which is New England Ropes T-900 and requires a different eye splice from Dacron double braid. I got a very handy tool from Brion Toss Rigging that make it very easy to do one of these complicated splices in braided rope.

15 April 2008
We went in and had the hand made eye splices pull tested! First thing that Rocky Mountain Wire Rope (the company that did the testing) did was to put on an eye that was machine swaged with a stainless steel sleeve on the other end of the cable (here is Kate holding one cable before testing). Then put the cable into a pulling machine that can go up to 100,000 pounds of pull.

The results are very good. Here are the two pulls graphed out from the machine software. The first test is on the left in the above picture. Both tests held well over 15,000 pounds of pull before breaking. And the part that broke was the wire at the base of the machine swaged eye on the first (with a breaking load of 15,800 pounds), and the wire at the base of the eye plus some strands inside the hand spliced eye (with a breaking load of 16,000 pounds) on the second test.

Well I would call this a success as neither hand spliced eye failed (it was the wire itself which is rated at 14,500 pound breaking strength. Rob (the pull tester) said that any good wire will break at 10% over the rated breaking strength and that seems what we have here.

So with this great news that these eye splices hold extremely well we can proceed to use them with the standing rigging on MOM. It will be nice not worry about there being any strength issues with the terminals on the wire. Most all the components we are using in the rigging are rated at 15,000 pounds breaking strength so all are evenly matched.

23 August 2008

Another day in Paradise

We've got the good weather for a bit again. For 2 days it blew so hard from the west I thought I'd go crazy. Our boat faces into the sea, but the wind has been at our back. Makes it hard to shut the door or open it for that matter! Callie's lovin' it. She's got a nice cool lawn in the path of traffic to lounge about on. It's hard to get her to go for A WALK on the beach cause' she's too comfy in the grass.

I climbed a neighboring mast today to measure something way up high. I had never climbed a mast and was a bit nervous but found I LOVED being way up high like that. I felt quite safe on the steps our mast builder is building for it was his mast I climbed. While up there I saw a seal checking the whole scene out. That seal I think is quite fascinated by every goings on here and hangs out. Anyway, I should have no trouble climbing and looking out for the reefs in the future.

The seal: she/he? Came close the other day as I was walking up the dock. She then dove. I was so sad for that was a day I was missing everyone back home and I was glad to have some company. Anyway, I looked around for her head to pop up again and just below me in the water she was laying on the bottom looking up. That was so neat!

Then we were having coffee out on the back bench over looking the water and a whole family of otters swam just below the surface below us. They all got under the dock and checked us out, then onto the dock just about 10 feet away. Their cheekie little guys and are always in trouble for pooping their foul shellfish poop all over peoples boat lines. We watched while they swam over to another dock and sure enough, started pooping in perfect aim to all lines people would have to handle. Oh the trials of the beach life!

It's so funny because I said to Carl the other morning when we were just here for a few days, this place is really dead. But as we stay here and stay still, we begin to see eagles, herons, clams spitting from the mud, and all the other wonderful creatures here. It's like a slow unfolding of magic.

Tony [our shipwright] arrived yesterday by boat and has already started to transform MOM into a more livable vessel. The main things will be to make a tool shed, dinette, and drawers for the kitchen/ galley. I found out he has a hole drill for metal and hope to get him to install the windshield wiper!

Beautiful day.
Ok, where to start - so much has happened. The mast maker is DONE! He finished the last bits yesterday. Carl needs to put some things on BUT not by welding /hot glue gun, as the mast guy puts it. That'll take a bit more time.

We've been traditionally parcel, servicing, eye splices. It is the old way of making ends on the wire that holds the mast up. It is a long process but a tried and true method. First you splice eyes in, then tar the ends spliced, then parcel [which is wrapping several bits of tape, special hockey stick tape] around the turned wire end. Then you take a serving mallet and wind twine [that has been dipped in tar] around and around the wire spice over the tape. The twine is carefully wrapped and wrapped to the end and pulled through with a marline spike. Then you tar it several times for water proofing. It turns out beautiful. In this day and age it is rarely done this way. Most people swage an end on [about $150 for EACH wire if you go Norseman] and you're on your way. The way we're doing it takes several weeks. BUT it is strong and we probably won't have to do a thing with it for the life of us.

The weather goes from freezing to today which is quite nice and not too windy. We'll be up in town [about 15 miles away] and it's warm and calm. We come down here to the waters edge and it's blowing like hell and COLD! But no worries, put on the heater, sip a cup of tea and go to bed.

Our ship Wright has got the base of our tool shed in and has started on the dinette. It's a cute breakfast nook but not really as big as I hoped. I think I understand why most people who build Brent Boats go with the galley up, dining down. We've got a HUGE galley down in the cabin, and a tiny little dinette UP in the pilot house. I am a bit dismayed at that - but I do love the BIG galley. It is very nice to cook in there. What the hey. Today I was making tea while he was cutting wood right next to me. Poor guy. We just won't move out!

The next big adventure will be raising the mast. We were supposed to do it here BUT the barge in which we have a crane on to lift the mast has sunk. It has been worked on to bring it up but as yet is not UP nor is the crane functional [that's covered in kelp several feet thick!]. So we may have to take the mast to Sooke and then the boat and have it raised there - more money than we had planned on spending SURPRISE SURPRISE. BUT we've got approximately another month here perhaps the barge will rise and so will our mast here. God, I hope so!

Sunday we went up to Nanaimo to get our roller furler from Evan. He builds a nice one. It's for the front sail to wind on instead of hanking on and pulling up a front sail. You just unroll the sail and wind it back up when not in use. It keeps YOU back in the cockpit safer and not in front messing about with a sail. In Nanaimo we met a bunch of friends we've made there for breakfast. 3 live on their Brent Boats, Evan and another boating legend or 2. It was so fun to be greeted so warmly by our new boating friends. It was about 71 degrees in Nanaimo. VERY nice. We spent the afternoon with Evan and trundled back down island to MOM. On the way we got fish n' chips in Chamainis @ Barnacle Barney's YUMMY. Said to be the best on Van. Is. and on the way we saw this terrible accident. Right above the chaos was a sign that read "Slow down, this ain't the mainland". and at $1.13 for 20 gallons of gas! I drive as little as possible!

Foggy day
But the sun is inching its way in and we hear the fog horn eerie out towards Race Rocks. Sometimes we hear a ship answer in a lower tone, beautiful out here on the "Straits" [Juan de Fuca].

We hope to step the mast tomorrow in Sooke. That entails driving our boat around Paradise Head west into a very narrow bay with all sorts of rocks to avoid. Meanwhile, Tony and Coz' will be driving by truck our mast to the Government wharf where we meet them. The Wharfinger, Linda, will then crane our mast off the truck and onto our boat. That is after we've hooked up all the shrouds and stays [wires that hold the mast up]. Sounds like it should go fine except for the winds and rain expected.

We've been plugging away putting electricity into the conduit that runs up inside the mast, hooking up lights, and a wind indicator. I've been organizing and labeling all of the shrouds and stays. When we were tying those up last night LATE. Then I thought how long we had handled EACH wire and for how much time. First we bought a 500' long spool of wire from a power company, and then we laid it all out in Sandy on the driveway and cut them to the length that they'd need to be [a few feet more]. Then spliced eyes in one end. Then rolled them up with labels to bring up here. When we got here and got the mast to a certain point we did the final measurements which took a bit of trigonometry, spliced, parceled and serviced the other ends. I globed tar on those ends day after day to water proof the ends.

As I said, it's been a LOT of handling these wires over and over for different aspects. Tomorrow we shackle them onto the mast and then raise it, then shackle them to the boat. and when we bring MOM back here we'll spend days working on the running rigging. That is the soft ropes called sheets and halyards that pull up the sails! Whew! I'm glad I didn't have to figure this all out. Carl did. It makes my head spin. I did get my Crows Nest.

Luckily some guys came down the ramp last night and I had them help me do a bunch of guy moving things that Carl can't do. and all they wanted to do was gab about Brent Boats. This guy just bought a used one 7 months ago. and sure, it was a complete boat, but he was going on and on about all the stuff he has to do to get her ship shape. SO as we decided long ago, best to just build, then we know what we've got and it's only as good as what we put into her. and so far, she's pretty amazing. We will be so happy to get another HUGE part of her done tomorrow and turn her, finally, into a sailboat!

HOT! Its 75!-
Went into Victoria and spent another few hundred dollars - just a fact of life with building your dream boat. BUT we've got the mast raised (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) and of course, that wassa a trial because we wanted LOW tide and as we rushed to get it balanced on our boat from way up on a pier, the tide came rushing in like a mad river! Luckily all these fishermen wanted a piece of the action and helped us right at the last possible second. IT was INTENSE! The moment the wind began to howl thru the rigging we all shouted with joy! It was a deep eerie sound of a boat who wants to sail near and far on beautiful shining seas with lush lands to explore.

Our ship Wright has our tool shed, dinette installed and various other details. He's working on drawers for the galley today. Then we'll go north to Nanaimo for Evans inside steering and perhaps an arch over the back for solar panels but that's in a couple of weeks.

Carl and I are working hard to get the MAIN sail rigged to sail soon. We got all sorts of rope today in different colors for different tasks [in the heat of the moment - Grip the Black line for the final reef]. Off to another store to get some more chemicals to do other things to MOM and hopefully a couple of stools for I am having trouble with my knees getting in and out of the boat and I'm only 50!

OK, now it's got COLD sleet comin' down

We started our day lying about on the cabin trunk. Sound good? Carl wrapped bits of string on the ends of rope and I shrink wrapped um and burned the ends. Carl said we did about 32 of those suckers! and this is preparing ONE sail - just one. We've been working for days. The main sail is 38' X 15'.2. It's got 3 reefs. Reefs take the sail down smaller and smaller for less power. However, that won't mean that you won't be screaming along with it reefed all the way down! Each reef has a different color to signify reef 1, 2, and finally 3. #3 has black rope. That tells ya somethin', eh?

Then we spend a lovely afternoon zip cutting our counter top. Ohferfun! Tony made a template of our counter and back splash and we placed the template on the stainless steel thin plate we found at the scrap yard, and traced it out. ZIP ZIP ZIP and vala', counter top. OH but if anything were that simple and cheap BUT alas, now the quest to find out what kind of adhesive will stick it down since all it wants to do is BONG into its rollie shape! SIKA adhesive is about $11 a tube! SO the rest of the evening was spent eye splicing the ends of the reef lines.

Tony's done wonders. He's got the tool shed in, dinette, and now drawers in the kitchen besides getting the mast on last Thursday. We'd never got that done without him. He's been working on boats for over 30 years. A kiwi, often we're not really sure what he said but is in perfect Queens English. He has land in New Zealand, "hame" [home] and surfs there every winter [their summer]. He's a marvel this guy. in n' out of the boat 50 times a day out to a barge where he's got the saw set up and ZIP ZIP ZIP [sound familiar?], another built in thing in the boat that we couldn't have lived without!

Callie's gone into puppy hood. There are all kinds of doggies to bark at from way out here at the dock and bunnies to chase. A HUGE rotweiller lives at the estate and ate a bunny the other day. His owner said he does that often but usually leaves the little cottontail. ZIP ZIP, ZIP no more bunny. It's cool here and Callie has gotten very soft and fluffy. Poor thing. A month from now she'll be in hell BUT when the boat gets rockin and rollin with the wind, she thinks she's in hell anyway - just a cool hell.

The Nina of Chris Columbus came into the bay today. WAY cool ship. Total replica. We've seen some very cool boats hanging out here. We're just around the corner from Victoria but you'd think we were a million miles away from the world. Can't wait to sail MOM outta here in a couple of weeks to Nanaimo to get some other work done by Evan.

I'm sure Tony will be willin' to give us a sailing lesson with our new sail when it gets done. He mentioned that was such a fun thing to do - one of his favorite things - to rig a boat to sail. He said that he rarely gets to do THAT part of the boat projects. We've seen a few more boats he's worked on since we've been here. Beautiful work everyone. He keeps wanting to let loose and do some real nice wood work on MOM but we won't let him this year. The mast took most of our cash costing more than 3 times more $$$ than we expected. BUT as they say about our mast up here, "Skookum'". Guess that means WAY GOOD..

Hot again -
Went swimming it is so hot. Maybe 70?
Water's about 45 if lucky

Today was big. Got the Main sail raised. The proceeded with counter top [all stainless steel w. a splash guard a foot high all round the back of the galley. Gonna be SO pretty! But no unwrapping it till we're done painting, sanding, painting, sanding a HUGE process. BUT what isn't on this rig?

Tonys done wonders, as usual. BUT we have to wait till next summer to get our sole, the flooring. It will be of pear wood. Something that Carl's had for who knows how long. Tonys framed all the flooring area out on the floor. It's gonna be so beautiful. All soft curves around all the edges. So Tonys put in a tool shed - 4 drawers, 4 shelves, 3 bins. All holds easily, all of the tools you need PLUS some. Then his radio station and a steering station which Evan will have in in a few weeks. Dinettete, and more space than ever imagined in the back quarter aft by the motor. There's enough room for 2 people to sleep either side. COZY!

THE MAIN SAIL IS UP TIS' MORNING WOW. It's been blowing 40 - 50 knots everyday. NO WAY could be possibly rig a sail while that's going on. SO tis' morning I woke and said NO WIND! Carl says, yeah huh [huh is what American's say instead of "eh". I said, "let's put on our one n' only sail". He said - we've got all this other stuff to do. I said - NO WIND. We had it all rigged by 10:30! I said to Tony, "button everything down, we've got to sail this pup tis' afternoon!" He replied, "Have sail, will travel." BUT I didn't get my wish. Tony put in the counter top and Tony put 30 pound weights on top of it holding it down. You wouldn't want to jibe and have one of those slide off and hit the dog. So we're still tied to the dock. BUT I hope to head north by Thursday. It's good tides north to Nanaimo. Then it's not for a week. BUT we have to take the truck back to America before we get going north. Another complication as usual.

Nanaimo! Arrived the day before yesterday
Wow, time flies by when you're goofin' around!
We're here to see friends and have Evan do some more on MOM. He came down to Newcastle Marina and fitted our self steering and we talked about all the few other things we'd like to do before we leave his expertise for another year.

OK, the run down since we left the bottom of Van Isle. We sailed out of the Bay and put a bit of the sail up. The winds were really blowing - so reefed down to the little sail. We then felt good about that and raised it up a bit more. Then all the way and then these Orca whales showed up and were frolicking all around us! One even breached! It was such a greeting for us to come into the Juan de Fuca straights under sail! Incredible!

Then as we went east towards Victoria, thru' Race Passage, we got into some current with us [for a change] and we began to go about 8 knots. FAST for a sail boat under sail [and that's JUST the MAIN sail We have no other sails yet.

We went up to Sydney and at that point we went into the marina there and I drove the truck via ferry back to Lopez Is. I then wandered a bit around at the Farmers' Market, got an Earth Flag at the health food store, then hitch hiked with the Coke Cola lady to the ferry. Went by ferry to Friday harbor, to another Farmers market with tons of music. I had to wait till late afternoon to catch the International ferry back to Canada. I had lots of fun wandering around, dancing to tunes as I went. These folks on the San Juan Islands know how to live!

As soon as I walked off the ferry and back to MOM, Carl was ready to go so we sailed north. The winds were fine at first then we lost them. So we motored [bless our "Suzi" our Isuzu motor] over to Russell Island for the night [off of Salt Spring Is.]

The next day after a nice doggie walk on Russell, we sailed via Active Pass out to the Strait of Georgia to see if we could get some strong wind to take us north. We sailed the whole length of Galliano Is. Then lost our wind again. So we motored into Silva Bay. The was a nice calm bay. It has all the facilities of civilization. We couldn't believe they flew a regular float place service into there from Tofino. MAN, I guess some people have a bunch of money, eh?

From there we took off to Nanaimo. When we came around Gabriola Is. into the Strait, it was calm seas but no wind BUMMMER! So we came into the channel next to Nanaimo and I said let's anchor close so we can go call Evan. When we got into this little bay right off Newcastle Is. it was too shallow. We backed up and promptly got the dingy rope wrapped around the prop! So we make an emergency anchoring before we washed upon the rocks and shut it all down to assess the situation. Thank heavens my mom had got us snorkel gear last Christmas. Now, I wanted to use that gear some day in lovely waters like the Caribbean. Oh well. SO I donned my swimming suit, climbed down the ladder and into the murky water. and oh the currents are fierce here! So I wrapped my legs around the rudder and proceeded to UN wrap the rope. It got to where it was really into the prop shaft and I thought I'd have to cut it. SO we got the knife ready BUT I thought I'd just get on the skeg and pull with all my might and then - it came off. However, my back has not been real happy since. BUT the back may not be happy because of all of the rowing of the dingy. I WANT a little outboard motor now BAD! Crisis over for the time being.

Now were anchored off Newcastle Is. and hanging out for a couple of days. A sister Brent boat, DarMi - Gary Prebble, is near us and she's going to dry out on the beach today to do some work on the prop. Pretty cool that you can do that! But we're out on the water. We think we may be here for about 10 days before setting sail back to the States, Lopez Is., and put MOM on the hard again for another long winter's nap. That sounds so sad to me. We've loved being on her for nearly 2 months now. OH well, gotta work to fund the fun! That's what I say as a mantra when I'm back to work, "fund the fun, fund the fun."

Still Nanaimo
We've been hanging out in the anchorage across from the HUGE city of Nanaimo. It's crazy hearing sirens, Harleys, Hells Angel central, rock n' roll bands blaring on the shore, etc. Just your normal kinda sea based city! In lower Van isle we never even heard a jet fly over, let alone the regular float plane service that begins here at 7 AM. Then when you get into town it's got SO many people. It really made me edgy at first. BUT I calmed down with a tray of some of the best fish n' chips to be had right on the dock.

We took MOM over to the dock yesterday to have Evan fit out the self steering. It's a cool mechanism that works off the wind once we're under sail to self steer the boat. It's got a sail up behind the tiller, then these steel arms push n' pull the rudder at the wind angle. It's amazing! Evan is also going to make our inside steering so we can steer from the inside captains chair. Since it rained last night, that'll be nice to be snug inside of the pilot house and move the boat.

This anchorage across the bay from town is crowded with many boats coming and going. STILL there are a lot of motor boats. I can't imagine planning on fuel. We were thrilled when we were able to sail [even with one sail] all the way along Galliano Island. Most of these islands are very long and narrow. They are all remnants of glaciers. Got off on another tangent BUT what I wanted to tell about was the boats that LIVE here year round' in the anchorage. One is BLACK - the dinghys black, the people are tattooed so they're black, the dog and cat are black - everything's on the boat is black. They almost lost their boat when the huge winds hit a couple of years ago that took most of the trees out in Vancouver. The boat's anchor line chafed and broke throwing her into the only rock on the beach which holed her. When they saw the boat for the first time it was high tide and only a bit of her bow was showing out of the water. BUT at low tide they were able to walk totally around her, patch her and pump out the water and float her again. She was totally full of diesel thus everything was ruined inside. BUT they have recovered her and plan to sail north this summer to "swim with the whales" on the northern tip of Van Isle. Her name: "Cetacea" meaning whale.

Another guy told us of his ship wreck up on Hornsby Island. His boat, Simplicity [Brent Swain's original steel sail boat] slammed into the rocks in huge waves in a storm. He almost lost his LIFE! The people of the island tried to help him by having a BIG fund raiser. Meanwhile while the party was happening, someone stole everything they could off the boat then set her a fire! There are some tragic tales of the sea that's for sure! We hope we never have anything more than the rope on the prop story to tell, eh?

Today, Saturday, we're just hanging out and doing a few little things to the boat. We'll take Callie over to Newcastle Is. for a long walk. Tomorrow is Sunday go to meeting. All the boat people, Evan included will meet at Jabberwockies, a coffee shop outside on the dock for a long chat. We hope to sell some of our extra Wasser paint that we no longer need. We'll have to get ice. I'm quite tired of not only using my settee [couch] for the cooler and having to tend it. We hope to have refrigeration next summer running on solar power.

We can hardly believe that after next week end we'd better get serious about getting down to Lopez Is. We put her back up on the hard either the 7th or 8th. I work Monday the 11th. Feelings of dread creep in from time to time. I hope I can make like a robot and not feel the trappings of the job press down upon me so bad. Also the heat - I sure like putting a sweater on in the morning and evening! All of this freedom is coming. and it can't come soon enough!

Speaking of cool - Callie still has her winter coat. She's SO fluffy. Back in SLC, she would limp and act like an old dog. Here she has gone into her new puppy hood. She gets in and out of the boat [not an easy task] and down into the dinghy. She's doing SO well. Hard to believe she's 11!

Nanaimo again
We spent a couple of nights of quiet in Degnan Bay on the south side of Gabriola Island. LOVELY! LOTS of birds, eel grass, and interesting harbor of homemade boats. There was a Brent boat that sat up on the hard every low tide with her twin keels holding her up! Just like ours can. We haven't tried that this year. Carl can't climb down the ladder [his shoulder is STILL bugging him bad] and onto the shore. Nor can we get puppy off easily with the boat all high n' dry. Yesterday the wind there was howling BUT its good anchoring and we held ok. We took off on our bikes around and about. Talked to some locals FUN and a new place to explore. I wanted to go out sailing but we didn't. Just when I couldn't wait another moment without going sailing, the wind died. So we took a dinghy ride around the harbor. It's SO secluded. We heard that Degnan Bay is a very good place to hole up for hurricanes.

OH this was quite exciting. In Degnan, this sail boat that had been anchored by us gets going yesterday afternoon. Carl says, "Oh look, their going for a cruise!" Well, we didn't notice that no one was at the helm. We'd just got back with our bikes and were on shore. Just then this guy comes out of nowhere with a motorized dinghy and starts chasing this boat! It had come loose and was heading for the rocks! He got it in time and was able to tow it back to its mooring. Whew, and that wasn't the owner of the boat! I hope the owner [who came out later] gets the rescuer a BIG ol' treat. Maybe some fine Single Malt scotch, eh?

Tis' morning we called Evan from there. He's got the pipe now for our solar panel arch we're putting on the back of the boat. We need to stick close to here now since we've only got 3 more days with him and thats it. No more metal work this year and we've got a lot we want done. So we'll go into town again tomorrow and hopefully help move it all along. That is - be there - with the boat for fitting and stuff. We forgot you can't just go flitting off if you want your boat worked on, eh? Degnan bay, SWEET! Goin' back there someday.

We took off from Degnan today around 9 AM. We had to go way down south before we could get around some islands to come north because the tide was way way low. We came through Dodds Narrows where for once it was running the direction we were going and WOW what a ride through there! It was like running a rapid! We got up to 12 knots and our boat can only go 6! BOY it was swirlie after we got thru' the narrowest part. That was the exciting part of the run back to Nanaimo. When we left Degnan, it was raining like crazy. Then as soon as we get out into this pass with the current running against us, the motor alarm goes off. Carl yells that I have to shut it off. I scream, "let's get away from this rocky shore before we shut down the motor! Alarms be damned!"

Now we have this big honkin' boat and it's not so easy to pull into marinas. We have to go out where the fish boats are and it's a bit rough. SO rough that we came in today in this BIG wind and the fenders were not in the right place. Fenders are the rubber thingies you hang on the sides of your boat to not get bumped. OK, we are not ready with them and put a giant gash all the way through all the paint to the steel right down the side. I just wanted to cry. It't been quite a morning and here we are docking, supposedly safe now and gash city! I went up to the tool place up the street, got paint brushes, got the tar paint out and painted it before the salt water hit it later!

Now we're back in our quiet little anchorage filled with motor boats, float planes taking off, ferry horns, Harleys and sirens screaming, the usual big city stuff.

Saturday 2 AM.
Still hearing the huge crash in my head of when I drove MOM up on the rocks yesterday. The horrible grinding and swift halt over the smooth water still haunts my head until it hurts. HOWEVER God watches over the fools and once again, busy as the God/Goddess is, they saved us again! Not only do we have a steel boat, but one with twin (bilge) keels that makes the boat stand up right.

I did not have the GPS out in the cockpit when we left our anchorage Friday morning. We didn't even get far and BOOM! I cut too close to Newcastle Island and it's got rocks JUST UNDER the surface for millions of miles out. and I KNOW THAT! GADS! SO we hit 3 hours before the lowest tide of the year!!! SO there we sit. That water slipped away SO fast under us. We were at a horrible angle - like we were planning a moon shot! Sooooooo I got in the dinghy and went to call Evan so he wouldn't worry [he knew something was wrong]. When I got back to the boat, I scrubbed the growth off the bottom. Took puppy to shore. Left her in the dinghy since that wasn't at an incredibly uncomfortable angle. and we waited. Only 5 hours. People came from all over to look. Most said - Oh, steel, twin keels, you'll be fine. Still my head throbs BUT it's true. The tide came up, and we had put an anchor out the back and pulled and we were off. None the worse for wear with a bottom scrubbed. WE are so blessed with such an amazing, strong boat. Lucky us ! Just stood there at this sick angle, for the keels were just at the rock, so she settled way low until it sunk down to the back skeg. YIKES!!! and by the way, there were all sorts of colors of bottom paint on these rocks.

Evan came out on a dinghy to inspect "his" boat. He stayed with us almost until it floated again. We had a wine and cheese party. He suggested with the wind the way it was blowing to put an anchor out the back to kedge off of. Brilliant ! Glad we had a 2nd anchor in the bilge for this little project! So here I sit, typing away feeling a sway of soft water below her keels. HOO RAY!

We then went to Newcastle marina, met up with Evan and he finished the inside steering. Byron, our buddy had just hauled his boat out there so we all chatted, and then went to wonderful Chinese dinner. GADS, it was a wonderful ending to another interesting day. BUT what you'd think was time would finally, in this situation, drag on and on. BUT NO! Still, the day flew by and it was dark again around 9:30 now.

So the plan is at this point to change the oil and do some other chores in town. Then Sunday [tomorrow already], we'll have our coffee klatch at Javawockys on the pier. Evans taking me up to COSTCO after that to get a few things for our final run to America. We'll probably head out Sunday PM. We hope to mess around and sail a bit goin' south. Then stop in Sidney once more, perhaps to visit our cute [HAM radio] friends and to look in a shop with second hand sails. I think we'll check into Roche Harbor [not sure] then back to Lopez Is. Our haul out is Friday the 8th @ 1 PM ish. We hope to take most of Thursday the day before to UN load, load whatever we need to take back to Utah and leave what stays on MOM. WOW a whirlwind. I can't believe it. I've never seen a summer go by this fast. I think it's because we got to spend some fun time on the boat, instead of all work.

We'll probably catch the early ferry Saturday morning to get us back to the mainland. and be back sometime on Sunday. BACK to heat / hell. Poor puppy. She's still all thick and furry fur. and she LOVES her otter dropping snacks every morning on the beach. She's done so well and we've enjoyed her so much this summer.

Our boat is rockin' with gentle waves again THANK GOD!

August 3, 2008
Silva Bay - Gabriola Island.
Heading southbound towards Utah
Left Nanaimo @ about 2 saying farewell to Evan on the dock. The wind was howling! BUT our timing bad in that the tide was coming north and we're heading south. It took an hour to get out of the bay! We finally motored with the one sail we have up and broke free of the city life.

Tis' sad to leave our friends there. We had a nice time at coffee and hugged our buddies, Leslie and her dog Angel, Byron [SV Go IV It], Gary [SV DarMi], and Evan. We tried to get goin' early, but I asked Evan to take us up to Costco to get the good candy bars [Crunchy and Coffee Crisp] before leaving Canada for good.

We hope to get to Sidney near Victoria to look for a head sail [used gently we hope]. and we'll probably check into Roche harbor. Tonight we're beat from just a 4 hour sail. Once we broke out of Nanaimo's bay and came around into the Georgia Straights, we had up to 20 knots of wind and were sailing down wind. There were some BIG following seas and it was quite scary as it rocked the boat this way and that. I was just shaking. BUT I suppose we'll learn that our MOM will and DOES take good care of us. Once we have the right amount of sails she'll behave much better in those conditions. In fact, you'd not have the main up [our only sail] you'd have the foresail [the one in front]. Then the boat is pulled along instead of thrown hither and yawn.

We're listening to the HAM radio every night now to the Pacific Seafarers Net. It checks in with the dozen or so sailing vessels that are out to sea. One net control is near the Columbia River, the other in Kauai, Hawaii and still another in New Zealand. We heard one boat was becalmed, another had 47 knots of wind and were doubled reefed, and another had 20 and were going along at 9 knots. One boat, The Last Mango, just came into port from Hawaii. They were in Neah Bay, Washington. It's neat to hear about these boats, the conditions they're in, etc.

August 4th
Left Silva Bay in the WIND still raging! and went thru' Gabriola Passage into the Gulf Islands at over 9 knots! We never imagined we'd be river running on the sea! We decided to come on into the protection of the Gulf Islands rather than hang out in the Straight of Georgia which kicked our butt yesterday. Carl said our boat was like a drunken' pot bellied pig. It was rough going down wind with the wrong sail in BIG waves which from time to time were accentuated with ferry wake.

Today were just sailing along maybe to Russell Island again. We like that place. It's protected and the doggie has a great walk there besides a doggie friend she likes. Tomorrow we hope to go to the Boaters Exchange to look for some used GOOD sails. Tis' morning once we got sailing, I took a nice shower with the sun shower on deck. Wonderful to get clean BUT it hadn't had a chance to warm up yet BURRRRR!!

OK, Irish Bay on Samuel Is. We run over a crab pot anchoring and wrap the floating line on the prop one million times. Now we're close to the Juan de Fuca straights so the water is SO cold! What a rotten deal! Trying to get in AGAIN and unwrap this crap! This time I had to take a knife down and cut it all off it was so wound on.

America again. Got a possible sail for the front furler in Sidney, came over to Roche Harbor, checked in with Customs. Very nice. Saw our friend Chris from Orcas Island racing in a sail boat. Guess we're back in the 'hood. So we pull the boat out and put her on the hard day after tomorrow. We'll fart around today and head to Fishermans Bay tonight with high tide. Tomorrow we need to start shuffeling our stuff off the boat into the truck and some stuff from the truck into the boat. We also hope to fit this newish old used sail to see how much work we have to do on it. It's filthy for sure Patched and tore. SO Maybe we can salvage it. I hope so.

January 4, 2009

Sandy, Utah.
We JUST got back from Lopez Island after a grueling 19 hour drive from catching the ferry off the island @ 6 AM yesterday and arriving home in Utah @ 1 AM tis' morning. We had a weather window and had TO GO FOR IT! We got the refrigerator box cut out and fitted into MOM But even neater was getting the SIGMAR 120 marine heater hooked up and running! It was so wonderful to have this little flame warming the cabin inside especially during the snow storm yesterday. We'll have lots more about how to install the 12 VDC refrigeration later.

We also hooked up the first 4 golf cart batteries to trickle charge from the solar panels. We were going to place them into the boat but did not have enough materials.

It really was a crazy trip with getting only 3 days there. BUT we got the stuff unloaded out of the truck. I did not want to unload here in Sandy!

The road up there was bad over the Blue Mountains. We decided on the way up to go around to Portland rather than over Snoqualmie pass. We did go over Snoqualmie pass yesterday on the way back to Utah although it was chains required for all vehicles except 4 wheel drive [which we have]. Hell, the road was barely slushy but became snow packed on the Ellensburg side. The Blues, once again, were solid ice! It was horrible. I was so relieved to get home to Sandy but I miss MOM.

We stayed inside the boat when we were on Lopez. The dog stayed in the truck. However, when we got snow the last night I knew it was too cold for her. We rigged up the boom vang, put her life vest on and hoisted her up on deck [about 15 feet high]. She was ok with that, but in the morning about 5:30 AM when we had to get to the Anacortes ferry, she was not happy about being lowered down. Poor dog. She was SO happy at 1 tis' morning to get home! That was a rough trip for us all!

The good part was getting what we could done and being on Lopez for just a minute. We got to say hello to the boat yard guys, deliver short bread, and collect the mail. We saw a black swan with a beautiful red beak. Lopez and the sea is so beautiful - oh but it was so COLD!!! We met a few new people - Pastor Joe for one. Another local is Bosco. We hope he'll help us with some painting and finishing the inside this next spring. Before we left, he delivered a yellow rose. He is a colorful man who has great talent in the painting area for boats. He lives in his boat at the dock. His boat looks like a Spanish Galleon.

Also, their weather has been horrific there and some boats have sunk in the bay. One story of a boat that sunk the day we arrived was that the guy sat in his boat and said, gads, think she's sinking. Guess I'll have another beer. Ummm, think she's sinking. So he goes to shore, gets a buddy, a Gen Set and pump plus more beer, and as they row out to the boat, it sinks. All you could see was the bow sticking up. Gives one a shutter to think about it being your boat. The boat yard crew all took bets on when it would go down that afternoon. But they're not just betting on things like that. They did save a cute wooden sailboat off the rocks that day after she got loose her mooring and they did let us know about the black swan.