Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Search Continues

I think the man of the dock of O has the right idea. I've been looking at some of these coastal cruisers, with their fancy wine racks, down at the yacht broker's docks, and they just don't seem to be working out. The Dread Pirate O recommended a nice looking older boat up in Washington. I think we are going to look more heavily in the Bay and Seattle/Canada, rather than around here.

It seems like we might be able to find something more suited to our current/future needs in the larger markets. It also seems we might be able to avoid dealing with a yacht broker, which, so far, doesn't seem to be a very satisfying experience.

We've made a couple of offers on boats and it has felt like we were serving their needs as foil, rather than them serving our needs with a little more transparent communication about the process. This last one was sorta odd and unsatisfying, although test sailing the boat was great.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warning: Political Rant

I just got my notice that my Oregon driver's license renewal is up and this time around I'm required to bring a sheaf of documentation with me to prove I'm an American citizen, living in Oregon, born on the date I claim, and equipped with the proper income-reporting documentation.

I've had an Oregon dl for 29 years and now I have to jump through this ridiculous set of hoops for what reason? To stop terrorists from legally driving cars in Oregon? To stop non-taxpayers from legally driving cars in Oregon? To stop Oregonians living in Idaho from driving cars in Oregon legally? To stop non-citizens from driving cars legally in Oregon?

Or is it more about some right-wing, protectionist nutjob attempting to put the kibosh on immigrants receiving driver's licenses in Oregon?

The upshot of all of this is that rather than mailing in my thirty-nine bucks every eight years and renewing, I now have to go stand in line at the epitome of bureaucracy to get a new picture taken and stand by while I'm approved as a taxpayer, Oregon resident, and properly documented citizen. To get into that line I'll now be putting myself on the road with a higher risk of driving amongst uninsured, unlicensed drivers.

I won't be proving that I know the proper stopping distance for pedestrians.

I won't be proving that I understand the new bicycle boxes at downtown intersections.

I won't be proving that I know the proper following distance, or when and how to use my turn indicators.

What happens if Oregon only requires you to show up and take a test and prove state residency, as they had done for the past 29 years of my driving experience? I think what happens is that we end up with a bunch of people driving cars in Oregon who live here and passed the same test as everyone else to get their license to drive cars in Oregon.

We put ourselves at less risk. If we were to do that, I'd be driving with a bunch of people who understand the bike boxes, use their turn signals, don't tailgate me in the Terwilliger curves, and flipping yield to me when I'm trying to get across the street with my children on foot.

Damn you, George Bush and all those like you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Test Sail: Beneteau 323 - We Likey

Almost a beautiful day for sailing. The wind was a healthy 15 knots and out of the South. The only bummer was it started raining toward the end and it was a bit cold.

The smile on Kris's face belies the cold.

Note the professional looking gloves, too.

We liked her a lot. Great wind today and we were able to hold a straight line up the river, turn into the wind follow the same line back downriver, hitting over 7 knots a couple of times on the upriver reach.

Part of Kris's sailing smile is attributable to the saloon table's six-bottle wine holder, which you can see right here in front of her.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Pirate Blogger

Pirate's sailed around under a fake flag and commandeered the ships they came across. I know a pirate blogger. He doesn't actually have his own blog, but he commenteers on others.

I miss him. Anybody seen him lately?

You know who you are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Test Sail: Beneteau 323

Kris and I are going to take this little beauty out on Saturday. She's not the world cruiser we expect to head for blue water in, but we are thinking a couple of years of river sailing in something like this, might be the best next step as we build our skills.

I think that future boat is going to be an Island Packet. Those boats really speak to me.

Anyway, this one is affordable for now, in great shape, and possesses the important things that Kris looks for in a boat: built-in wine racks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Book Review: The Water in Between

By Kevin Patterson.

A canuck doctor, carrying a heavy load of Northern Prairie ennui, and pining over a couple of lost love affairs, takes to sea in hopes of finding something in Tahiti. What's the something? He's not sure, but he spends a lot of time reading and thinking about the traveling he's doing.

I enjoyed it and got caught up in the narrative, as well as the dialogue he has with the books he reads along the way. His outward trip is undertaken with a guy he meets at the docks, a guy in a similar mopey-pining mood.

The other characters present for most of the trip are Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux. Patterson does a good job of mixing in his understanding of these guys and their writings, while contemplating his own desire to be out on this journey.

He's frank about his inexpert boathandling and some of the problems that arise from his mistakes. He also does a good job of putting you out there in the horse latitudes, as he and Don drift in the daily langour of the Pacific High.

Well-written and a good read if you like the long passages of other's work included with the descriptions of the people he meets along the way and the adventures they experience.

Interestingly, they end up going the hard way. Boat problems force them to head to Hawaii and they they have to beat back to the Cooks and Tahiti. Patterson returns to Canada to make some more money.

When he returns, he has brought a couple of recruits and they all sail the boat back to Hawaii together, where Patterson ends up alone, as the others must return to jobs. He singlehands back to B.C.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Review: Ten Degrees of Reckoning

Just finished this one and I'm all out of tears. Sheesh. Family goes cruising and irresponsible log-carrying ship runs them over in the dark. Heartbreaking result.

It's a good story to know, but the details in the moments around the accident are so explicit and immediate that it's hard to bear.

I'll recommend it with the caveat to those who care about children will most likely find this nightmare inducing.