Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Sunny Day at the Needles of Isle of Wight

Check these guys, running up on the rocks in the Around the Isle of Wight race. Boat number two comes along and the dosey-do begins!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Typhoid Bill

Kris and I are looking into local sailing clubs for the new dinghy and I ran across this gem in the WSC history page:

Some Highlights of Our Past

1961 - Margaret and Billy Holley presented the Holley Cup Perpetual Trophy, to be awarded, annually, to the winner of a women's series.

1964 - Introduction to Sailing Classes were started with Bob Groshart as the lead instructor. Typhoid shots were given to all participating sailors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Dinghy Adventures

I am going to start another blog to cover our adventures in our dinghy. I'll keep it here. I don't know how practical it is to keep two of these things going, but the Log of the s/v Clarity is for the boat that we plan on sailing out of Portland with someday and I started this blog to track our progress to that end. I'll keep up with that progress here and chart our dinghy learning curve at Love and Coconuts.

Where did the name come from? Look back through these old posts and you'll see where love and coconuts came from.

In the search to satisfy our dinghy longings, we looked around at a few boats and debated how much time and effort we wanted to put into restoration, versus buying something that we could sail away in tomorrow. I looked at a Lido 14 on Sunday, but it had a few issues, including a need for new hardware and fabrication to get the tiller back in place. On the way home I stopped by the local yacht dealer to see the new big boats just arriving. They have a couple dozen big cruisers in the water, and a handful of trailerable boats in the parking lot.

This day I saw a newly arrived Hunter 170, very clean and they hadn't even put up signage. It also hadn''t appear in their brokerage list yet, so I had to track somebody down and find out the details. I went looking for somebody on the docks and took the girls along to also look at boats. We were down there for about ten minutes before my 5 y/o fell in the river trying to step across to the transom of a Hunter 38.

They are both very polite and the 7 y/o had asked "Permission to go aboard, sir." Unfortunately, sibling rivalry took over at that point and in the mad dash to be onboard ahead of one another, the younger mis-judged the gap and went in feet first.

I was able to fish her out pretty quickly, since she had on her super-floaty lifejacket and was armlength's away from me when she went in. We dried her off with some towels borrowed from a passerby and had to head home early.

I called back and got the scoop on the boat. Went and looked at her this morning with the broker. Took Kris over there to look at lunch and then made an offer, it got accepted and the check is now on the way from the bank. I'm expecting to swap the money for the title on Thursday/Friday. Here she is, sporting fall colors just off Tomahawk Island Drive on Hayden Island.

The 170 is an all plastic boat with a self-furling foresail and a nicely roached main. This one is in excellent condition. The previous owner bought her new in 2000 and has only sailed her about 20 hours, while storing her indoors. The sail covers are still a shiny dark Hunter blue and the sails are very crip.

The only thing I plan on doing right away is adding a boom kicker to save everyone's heads. Don't want to lose any crew to a head injury before they get a chance to give it up for some other reason, like having to sail in rain all the time.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Dinghy Search

I looked at the Lido 14 this morning. It's nearly ready to sail, so not a complete project boat, but it could use some more care. The 'nearly' is because the rudder apparently fell off, owing to some problem with the hardware attaching it to the boat, so it needs some repair and/or possible fabrication.

The woman who's selling didn't have the rudder handy. Apparently, she bought the boat from a guy who has used it for a few years to teach boy scouts how to sail. He sailed with her each time they went out and he's got the rudder. I don't know if that's because he was planning on getting the repair work done.

The sails were in fine shape and the rigging is all in good shape, with the running rigging having been replaced this summer. Kris is going to look at it this week and we'll make a decision before next weekend. The plus is that it's under a thousand bucks to get into and restoration will be inexpensive and good experience for us.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cranky Joe

Why does this story give me such schadenfreude?

Friday, October 24, 2008


Any Boz Scaggs fans out there ... willing to admit it?

The Lido 14 is looking like a strong possibility. Meeting up with the doctor who wants to sell on Sunday. Woohoo.

So, maybe we'll be doing this Sunday afternoon:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

International Lido Albacore Pelican

Part of Kris's and my mission is to sharpen our sailing skills by getting as much time under sail as possible over the next couple of years, before shoving off for blue water. We've been looking for opportunities to crew with other folks, as well as searching around for a reasonably-priced sailing dinghy to get some practice on while we target our finances on the big boat purchase.

In the process I've spoken to, or exchanged emails with owners of each of the title boats from above. I've also considered a couple of lasers that the local clubs have listed on their sites. The Lido 14 looks the most promising at this point and there's an active fleet ten minutes from my house. Although I haven't heard from her owner yet (a yacht broker we have been working with on the big boat is putting us in touch with her), I've got high hopes.

Pickings seem kinda slim around here for a trailerable sailing dinghy and the guys who have them and post them for sale seem reluctant to part with them even though I found them precistley becasue they had been posted for sale. Lest you think the problem is on my end, I have not asked about price, nor did I send annoying strings of emails asking questions about boat equipment or condition. I've simply requested a time/place to check the boat out.

The guy who posted the Albacore lives in a small town, eighty miles south of us, fondly referred to as CowValley. They have access to the Willamette River, which is pretty sheltered by high banks at this point, so, I imagine, this guy must have to drive an hour to the nearest lake to get in any real sailing and, being a farm town, I also imagine the sailing community is, well, standing long watches.

I found the Albacore posting last Friday and emailed him immediately, since Kris and I were headed down to Corvallis for the weekend. Serendipity, I thought as I hit the send button on my email interface. My son was playing on Saturday night and we had already planned to head down with the vacation home on wheels to spend the weekend. Maybe we come home with a new boat too...

So, what does the guy say? "Sorry, I'm out of town this weekend."

Here's a clue for you folks, if you post something on Craigslist on a Thursday/Friday, expect to be around that weekend.

Makes me think his wife made him post it and he didn't really want to sell.

Either that or it was some elaborate secret agent message that I stumbled into and gave the right response initially, but missed the follow-up code words.


The search continues.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We were shopping for a house this past year and had found something that we thought would work for us. It was going to give us more room than the current place, and it had a floorplan that we liked. Kris was ready to sign off on it because it had a retreat off of the master bedroom, which she imagined as her safe haven from a hectic world of me and two little girls. Also, it was new construction. If you know her, you know she's a particular girl and likes things just so. She spent the afternoon today (a Sunday) blowing the pine needles and leaves out of the driveway and vacuuming her roadster's interior. The latter task gave her the chance to use the shop vac; possibly the gift I've given her that she has enjoyed more than any other, with the exception of her extra-large red Coach purse.

We named the house we are in now the Hale Nani Mino'aka, which is Hawaiian for House of the Beautiful Smile and describes how I felt about Kris and our new home together when we moved in to this place 2 1/2 years ago. Although it looks small from the angle in this picture, especially dwarfed by the McMansions we are trapped between, it has a 100 ft. driveway and plenty of room inside.

However, like I said, momma likes new stuff, so we began our search for a new retreat, which when we found it, we were leaning toward naming Pu'uhonua, Hawaiian for Place of Sanctuary. So, there we were, all set up to make the move to the new retreat when the builder filed for bankruptcy protection.

We had made an offer and they had accepted, but we'd given ourselves extra time, planning on closing in 45-60 days. Kris had a bit of a breakdown and cried it out on a Friday night and we spent the weekend hashing out our options and deciding how and what to do. I called on Monday and told the realtor we were going to withdraw the offer. We were able to back out of the deal, since the situation had changed with the builder, and that was the point we started asking ourselves what we really wanted to do with our future.

A couple of the places we looked at were very nice, lots of room, great neighborhoods, and the sort of houses where you end up for the rest of your life. That's where I get stuck. It would be great to move into some place, live on a hill, hoity-toit with neighbors and friends and live the good life, but then what do you do after a year or two has gone by? You're still there, god willing, and a long life ahead of you. That is where the dream of the s/v Clarity starts.

We have talked about looking for a resort in the South Pacific that we could run as a couple, or possibly moving back to Hawaii and living working there, but, still, there you are and the rest of your life is coming at you down that same one-lane road. I want to sail away. I love Portland, I love Hanalei, and I love my friends and kids, but I also know that there is a world out there that I belong too and I want to go be part of it.

Now more than any time it's possible to stay connected to family and friends with email, blogs, etc. Why not take advantage of that and go live our life traveling? That's where this adventure began. The first thing we worried about was leaving family and friends. We aren't leaving, we will just be living in another home. Now, rather than live our life on that one-lane road, waiting out time, we are sailing away and we expect you all to plan the occasional trip to share in our life. We'll supply the accommodations.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Charles Keating's Nephew-the-Plumber

How have the Republicans and the tiny little upper class managed to co-opt such a large swath of working-class Americans? I make enough annual income that I didn't qualify for the Bush stimulus check (you MUST click that link; it's DAMN funny). I'm okay with that, but do guys like Sam the Plumber know that there was a top-end on that thing? Are they aware that they are not in the same boat as guys like McCain-of-the-countless-houses? And why do they seem so oblivious to the fact that Obama is trying to ease their burden and that of the mass of quietly desperate men? This line in the story linked above summed it all up for me "Wurzelbacher told ABC he was 'not even close' to earning $250,000 but worried that Obama would raise taxes for those making less."

Maybe you've got other worries, Sam.

Okay, that's probably it for political rantings; back to the sailing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tillerman's Other Quest

Our sailing Bucket List? Here we go:

1. Liveaboard.
2. Cross the Columbia Bar, turn to port, go South for a month.
3. Costa Rica to Galapagos with Aunt Dodo.
4. Galapagos to Marquesas passage.
5. Spend a Northern Hemisphere winter in Kiribati and surf deserted reef passes everyday, while living off the hook.
6. Sail into Sydney Harbor and spend a couple months on Mark Gately's lanai.
7. Up the inside of the Great Barrier Reef.
8. A season in The Maldives.
9. Back to Africa in a boat (Kris).
10. A season in the Caribbean on the hook.
11. Crew a Transpac race (Greg).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Swell blogger

I started following Liz Clark's adventure on her Cal 40 "Swell" after reading about her in one of my surf magazines. She's a cute little surfer girl, but no lightweight. She knows her surfing and writes honestly about her struggles with backside barrels on Tuamotu reefs, amongst other adventures. She gets down and dirty in the maintenance of her 40+ year-old yacht and she is doing a ton of solo sailing, making stops at isolated reefs all around the Pacific.

I love her blog and find her pictures outstanding! Tons of great shots at sea, as well as in places like Kiribati, Bora Bora, Tuamotus, on and on. She's got a great eye, capturing the beauty in details of local life, realistic shots of the daily life in the boatyard, alongside postcard-worthy images of islands adrift in amazing seascapes. AND the girl can write. I predict a successful book in the future.

Young man! You've got no need to feel down...

Yes, I was a squid. I was in the Navy. I sailed the seven seas, or four, or something. Why did I join the Navy? Well, I'll tell you .

I was born at Edwards AFB in the Mojave desert, where my father was stationed at the tail-end of The-Right-Stuff era. I grew up all over the country, living on or near AFBs and saw my father go from an enlisted wrench-turner to an officer. He went to night school until they sent him to get a B.S. in computer science, followed by an M.A. in management. I was set up to think that the military was a good home.

The Air Force might have been, but the Navy was tough. Too much time away from the family. I hated it. So why the Navy? I wanted to be a diver. I went in and told the recruiter that's what I wanted to do and he told me "No you don't." I said, "I don't?" He said, "You want to be a nuke!" I said, "I do?" And that's what happened.

Later I figured out that one of the tests I took qualified me to go to nuclear power school and the recruiter was required to get a certain number of guys signed up for nuke school billets. If he didn't make quotas, he was headed back to sea and the shore party in Portland would end. I don't mind helping a guy out, but at the impressionable age of nineteen, I kinda feel like my best interests took a back seat to this guy's desire to avoid sea duty. There are a lot of things that happen in life that you figure out later might have been steered a certain direction for someone else's purpose. I guess it's part of the package.

Let my life be an object lesson to your kids. Don't kick'em out of the house when they are nineteen. Especially if they've just started to make decent grades and find a niche. Ugh.

Not much sailing news on the home front. Kris and I are making great progress on getting into a boat, however. We've sold a few things, refined our plan, and we're on track. This is the period where we spend lots of time looking at boats and trying to make the right choice between something we can live with and something we can't. Lots of compromises between practical livability and, well, flair, such as wooden interiors, fancy fiddles, wine bottle racks, dish dryers, and the list goes on.

I'm learning a ton, however. I'm perusing the blogs you see on my list regularly, and the list is growing as I connect to more from the originals. The forums at Sailnet and Cruisers and Sailing are great places to get some information, as well as some practical experience sifting through loads of opinion for the nugget or two of helpful info. These sailing folks seem to have more than their fair share of opinions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Poop on Technorati

Anybody familiar with Technorati? I just learned about it reading someone else's blog. There is a feature that allows you to claim your blog and then you can check your ranking. I'm not sure if I should celebrate because the world has over 6 billion people and I got this message:

Rank: 4,647,702 (update - October 20: moved 2,706,351 spots to 1,941,351 ; watch out world!)

Or, maybe I should lapse into despondency about the futility of modern life (as if W and his cronies haven't raised this thought in my head every day for the past 7+ years), since there are likely only 3-4 million of those billions with computers, a few of them most likely running multiple blogs, which means I'm at the bottom of an extremely long ladder.

Oh, well, at least I'm not number two*, because as every parent of toddlers knows, number two is the pooper number.

Technorati also offer an authority figure (okay, it's really an authority number, but who am I to resist a pun, when they were the thing by which The Bard was undone? [or a bad couplet, for that matter]), which is some indicator of how many people are linking to you. So, if you're a blogger and you link to me, I'll get some aww-thore-uh-tay (October 20 update: authority = 2; very funny, Mr. Technorati. Been reading my blog, have you?)

Right now? I got nothin'.

* All of the numbers, other than blogs ranking and the pooper number are irresponsibly speculative guesses on the part of the author of this post.