Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away.

I was born and raised in Stockton but I don’t remember any winter like this one.  The rain just never seemed to stop.  It rained substantially in the valley and snowed in the Sierra on June 4th!  The work we have been trying to do requires reliable dry weather.  Teak finish takes 9 coats 24 hours apart with no rain.  It has been frustrating but slow progress is being made.

I tried the Tom Sawyer trick of telling people that sanding was "fun" and that I would allow them to try it... no takers.

It takes a bit of effort to strip off old pealing and blistered finish.  Then it has to be cleaned, sanded and refinished.  There is a lot of woodwork on our boat.  That is part of what makes it special.  The effort spent refinishing is paid off in a beautiful boat that draws many complements.  Worth the effort.

Before and After

The deck, bowsprit, and toe rail remain to be finished.  Before that can be done the new electric anchor windlass needs to be installed and I have some finishing woodwork at the bow to do.  Fitting the windlass in a very limited space was a trick.

Fitting the new windlass in the limited space at bow.

The good news is that we don’t have any particular schedule to keep so I can work until it is finished.  Once the wood is all gleaming there are several electrical and mechanical projects to complete.  It’s like a house, projects are never all completed but you can get to a point where they are less pressing.  Hope to find that place soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oakland Boat Show and Lats and Atts Cruiser's Party

It’s mid April and just this week was the first time we have had more than two consecutive days of fair weather.  This was really a wet winter and so we are way behind what we thought we would have done by now.  Fortunately, we aren’t on a hard and fast schedule.  However, mid April is always the Oakland Strictly Sail boat show and Saturday night Latitudes and Attitudes Cruiser’s Bash.  This is our seventh year attending the show and the party.  We don’t miss it.
Big dollars for boats that I don't really want.

This year we were able to attend all four days of the show and take advantage of the numerous seminars on a wide variety of subjects.  Really good stuff and much more valuable than our one day Saturday visits in previous years.  We didn’t make any major purchases this year, and actually, I didn’t see any boat that I really loved.  New boats are so “antiseptic”.  Teak is completely gone from the exterior on all but the most expensive boats and even the interiors are now a combination of plastic and cherry or similar wood.  I didn’t love it.  The warm teak interior of our boat is more like furniture.  We will stick with Quiet Moon.
Goodies and gear everywhere.

Saturday night was the annual Lats and Atts Cruisers Bash.  Warm weather, cold beer, hot pizza and live music by Eric Stone.  Always a great time and we kept our perfect record by going 0 for seven.  We didn’t win anything in the raffles…again.
The usual big crowd at the Lats and Atts Party!

The weather for the show was great and it is still great.  Time to really get to work on boat projects.  I’m not even going to try and predict when we will get them done.  Time to get to work.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two tickets to Paradise

Holiday trips have all been made. Got to meet our new grandson Owen. Ria and Cayden’s birthday pizza party. Nice Thanksgiving in Alabama. Christmas with family in Susanville including Matt and family from Oregon. Very enjoyable visits. All the same, I am always glad when the holidays are over. Now we need to focus on our list of projects with the goal of having everything done by April. However, Mom Nature didn’t get the memo. Weather has been cold, gray, and wet. OK, so I expected winter to be winter but what I wasn’t expecting was that the cold and wet would stop most interior projects as well. We have been warm and comfy inside but condensation is a constant battle. Not much to do but wait for better weather…and wait…
Ladies gather on the dock in Newport Beach.
Karen signed up for the Women’s Sailing Convention at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Newport Beach. This provided a nice break from cold and gray. The convention was Feb 5th. She had a great time and signed up for some training and seminars. She got to practice docking someone’s Hunter 34. The boat survived without a scratch! Nice weather in the mid 70’s was refreshing.
While she was at the convention I did some marina scouting to try and find an affordable place for us to land in the spring and summer. I didn’t have a lot of luck. The most common advice for an affordable place to stay in SoCal: “Ensenada” Not what we wanted to hear.

A sunny February day in Avalon on Catalina Island.
However, Ensenada was in the cards for us. The Carnival cruise ship Paradise was leaving for a four day round trip to Ensenada on the following Monday and it wasn’t full. Fares were dirt cheap…such as $150. We couldn’t resist and spent the next four days enjoying the sun and getting pampered. The ship stopped in Catalina and then Ensenada. It was a nice winter break and then back to Stockton and cold gray. Turns out that the weather was sunny and nice while we were gone. Of course…..
The calendar has rolled to March and we still can’t string a few dry and sunny days in a row but it is gradually improving. The projects await: Teak refinishing, radar install, refrigeration install, hull insulation, nav station…the list goes on. We got a great deal on a new electric windlass to that is on the list as well. We have had our new cushions made for the inside. They are in a hunter green fabric to match the outside trim. The old upholstery and foam was shot. The new cushions are 6” foam and have also allowed converting to a much larger double berth. They look a lot nicer too!
Warm weather is coming and so is the Oakland Strictly Sail boat show and the annual Lat’s and Att’s Cruiser’s Bash in April. We never miss it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A new chapter begins.

As I begin writing this Marcus and Cyndi are preparing to sail from San Jose del Cabo to Mazatlan. They are living their Mexican adventure aboard there new vessel, an Ericson Alberg 35, named Gypsy Moon. It was sort of the long way around for them to arrive in Mexico after starting with Quiet Moon and this blog some time ago. Someone once said that the way to make God laugh was to tell him what you have planned. In this case, things seem to have turned out how they are supposed to turn out and in doing so, have brought Karen and I to this blog and to the care of Quiet Moon. Much has happened since Marcus and Cyndi had to leave a wounded Quiet Moon in Monterey. So, time to catch up and share how the Moon came into our lives:

Karen and I got to know Marcus and Cyndi when we had our first Columbia sailboat in Owl Harbor. They had their Cheoy Lee there and were building a floating home. They also were talking about getting a cruising boat and going to Mexico. I was transferred to Southern California and we purchased another Columbia named Quiet Storm which we sailed out of Port Hueneme. Not long after we heard that Marcus and Cyndi had purchased their cruising boat, a Fuji ketch, named Quiet Moon. When they began their trip we followed along and suffered along as things didn’t allow them to complete their trip to Mexico. In the mean time, Karen and I had started shopping for an offshore cruiser for ourselves. We had been shopping for months when we stumbled across the add offering a damaged cruiser for sale. It was Quiet Moon. We didn’t know that Marcus and Cyndi had decided to sell their boat and regroup.
Things were going on in our lives that had us ready to start a cruising life and this just seemed like karma. I was a little concerned, but Marcus and Cyndi were very happy to have the Moon “stay in the family” rather than go to strangers. So for us, Quiet Storm left and became Quiet Moon, the beginning of a big project, and our new cruising lives.

Pulling Up Roots.

Tossing aside land life and moving aboard a sailing vessel is a big project. It’s hard to really understand it unless you have done it. Virtually every possession has to go. Beds, dressers, the big screen TV, tool cabinets…all the big stuff and a million other things accumulated in 20 years of marriage. The rule was, if it can be replaced - it’s gone. Only family photos and memorabilia were spared and they were packed to store at mom’s house. Even so, we still took more stuff to the boat than we needed and are still eliminating stuff even today. The line between want and need really gets put to the test.

The Project Begins.

We jumped in with both feet and all of our remaining stuff in August of 2010. We moved aboard and began to figure out how to get Quiet Moon back underway. She looked pretty sad. The motor was shot beyond repair as well. Where to start?

We decided that the first order of business had to be to get a working engine. At least then the boat would be mobile and we would have more options. The boat was in a slip in Monterey Harbor at the daily visitor’s rate meaning we would be paying $588 per month to stay there. The sooner we could leave to slips costing half that much, the better. Marcus was a great help as he had already been searching for a replacement engine and passed on his contacts. We were able to negotiate a low hour replacement of the exact same engine but then were able to purchase a new - never run - Volvo MD11c out of an abandoned boat building project. The MD11c was the newer version of the MD2b that needed replacing. By “newer” I mean that this new motor was 30 years old - just never run after it was purchased. It turned over smoothly and had compression so I bought a “pig in a poke” and hoped it would run. For $2000 it was worth the gamble considering that new ones cost three times that.

Out with the old....
We had no way to haul engines in our car an the motor was in the hills above Bakersfield. (Very odd - this guy’s property had about nine partially finished sailboat projects and a partially finished house - all hundreds of miles from water…?) Fortunately the motor’s seller was willing to remove it from his boat project and bring it to Monterey for just gas money.  Mauricio, a local sailor and handyman was highly recommended by locals and the harbor staff. We used him to help with removing the old engine and installing the new one. Trust me, it is not a one man project. Mauricio was great and worth every penny we paid him. If you are in Monterey and need help ask for him.

Crane operator Karen.
Monterey Harbor has a coin operated crane that is used by the fishermen and local sailors to launch and retrieve their boats.  After waiting through several crane break downs, this allowed us to pull the old and install the new motor for less than $5 in coins. The local boat yard wanted $800 for the same thing. This makes it sound easy, which it wasn’t, but it got done and the new OLD engine ran great! That was a relief.

We still couldn’t go anywhere as the rig didn’t have a head stay because of the damage and was unstable. Mauricio was also skilled in fiberglass work and offered to repair and hull to deck joint for a very reasonable $300 while we were out of town for a week. A bargain that I couldn’t pass up. I would have probably wasted that much in materials due to lack of skill. That left me just the finish glass work on the bow and many scratches and gouges all down the starboard side of the hull. Still a lot of work and repainting but we were now watertight.

Monterey outer harbor.
Cannery Row.

Monterey Harbor is a bustling place. Far more of a tourist attraction than I had imagined. Tour buses arrive daily. Major events like classic car auctions and golf tournaments happen almost every weekend. Mega yachts stop by. Lots of money floating around here (sic). The harbor itself is busy with fishing vessels mixed with recreational boats at all hours. The approach to Monterey airport goes directly overhead with a steady stream of biz jet traffic. The tourist pier is alive with music. In short, it’s not a sleepy, quiet harbor. But, except for the strong surge in the harbor from the ocean swells, it’s been an enjoyable to stay here. It’s a beautiful place and everything you want is within walking distance. The sea life around here is entertaining if somewhat annoying at times. It hasn’t been very sunny this simmer, lots of gray days, and the steep slip fees mean we need to keep busy and get repairs finished.

Docks and sometime boats were "shared".

In the time Cyndi and Marcus spent in Monterey they made many friends and all of them came by to find out how they were doing and to see what progress we were making on the Moon. Many thought that she was beyond repair. She looked worse than she actually was. We became the entertainment in the harbor as folks came by daily to watch the repairs progress. There are a lot of really nice folks in Monterey and the Harbormaster staff couldn’t have been more helpful…not to mention letting us do some pretty major repairs there in the slip. Really great people!

How big is it?

We had the new motor, the hull was repaired, but the bowsprit and rig remained. It could not be repaired back to original as the large teak beams couldn’t be replaced…or if they could, I couldn’t afford them. Have you priced teak lately? A new plan and design was needed. One problem (actually many!). I didn’t know how long to make the bowsprit. The original was gone. You can find out almost anything on the internet except, it seems, the “J” dimension for a Fuji 32. I looked at may different designs of bowsprits used everything I could find to try and estimate how long to make the bowsprit. In the end, I went with my best guess and a design that looked like it would work as well as make the best use of teak left over from the damage.

I had emailed another Fuji 32 owner and asked him to measure his boat for me. By the time he got back to me the new bowsprit was already installed. He said that the J dimension on his boat was 15’. I measured my bowsprit and it came out to 14’ 11 ½”…I can live with being off ½”!

The new bowsprit needed me to purchase one main beam and then it made use of a teak anchor platform purchased at a swap meet and much of the broken teak from the old one cut in to usable pieces. The teak toe rail was damaged on the port side and starboard side as well. Both sides were redesigned and repaired using teak from the damage. All in all, it came out functional and looking like it belongs on the boat. If you didn’t know it wasn’t the original design, I don’t think you would notice anything.

Why is everything you need on a Volvo on the back?
Besides the bowsprit and woodwork, there was the hardware. Almost all of the rigging bits on the starboard side and bow had taken a swim. The bow pulpit was twisted into a pretzel. Geez rigging is expensive! The large turnbuckles cost about the same as a car payment! I did a lot of internet shopping and trying to find the best bargains I could to get everything replaced and back ready to sail. The general rule of boat repair is that everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you plan for. We found this pretty accurate.

Ready for sea trials...finally.
Finally sailing!

I don’t think there are too many rigs more complicated to tune than a cutter rigged ketch with split backstays and twin furlers. All I can say is I did my best and it seems to sail OK. Lots of things were last minute issues, fuel leaks, lights, systems, etc. but we worked through them and finally got to take the boat out for a SAIL! What a sweet sailing boat. The sun was out. The breeze in the bay was moderate. It was great. Only the autopilot refused to cooperate and that turned out to be minor tuning. This was a big day and a pleasant reward for lots of work. It had been nine months since Quiet Moon last left the harbor.

First sail on Monterey Bay.
North for the winter.

It was now October. The calendar had been ticking away and we really wanted to get north up to the Delta area before winter set in. Each delay and issue made us worry about a rough cold passage north. We now had to deal with waiting for a suitable weather window to had north. At 10pm on October 30th we set out for Half Moon Bay. We waited almost two weeks for a favorable weather window and left on the heels of a weather system with a south breeze promising a boost on our passage north to Half Moon Bay. With a predicted passage time of 14 hours, leaving at 10pm would give us a daylight arrival Half Moon Bay. The sometimes tricky harbor entrance made that important. Santa Cruz harbor was bypassed. Winter swells can make Santa Cruz dangerous to enter in fall and winter.

The predicted south winds never happened but a confused sea of south and north west swells did happen. That coupled with Karen making her first coastal passage at night made her a bit nauseated for the first couple of hours. The seas settled down outside of Monterey Bay and so did Karen’s stomach. The CPT autopilot steered flawlessly the entire way. We completed the leg in just over 10 hours.
Dad with his Cal 2-27 in Monterey harbor in 1982
Saying Goodbye.

My dad passed away last summer. He was 82 and enjoyed a great life. He taught me about sailing from the 13 foot boat he designed and built when I was young to later racing and cruising on his Cal 2-27 at the Stockton Sailing Club. He was never happier than when he was sailing. We talked sailing and debated sailboat design for years. In his later years he was still busy coming up with new boat designs and following our sailboat adventures. He never got to go full time cruising but was very happy when we were able to make the step up from our Columbia 8.3 Quiet Storm to the fully offshore capable Quiet Moon. He passed shortly after we purchase her but he knew that we were going to be able to realize our dream of cruising.

His wish was to have his ashes spread at sea. His ashes accompanied us on this first coastal passage with Quiet Moon. At sunrise, offshore from Half Moon Bay, we spread his ashes and followed them with his 0U.S. Navy dog tags. He would have like it. I will miss him.

Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay.

It was a beautiful warm morning in Half Moon Bay. We pulled into a visitors slip between the fishing boats and had a good breakfast at Ketch Joanne’s on the pier. Then much needed sleep.
The next day was forecast for good conditions in the morning, with swells increasing later in the day and getting progressively bigger over the next few days. Tides weren’t in our favor as flood tide at the Golden Gate wasn’t until 5pm. With the strong current, trying to arrive at the gate much earlier than that would be a waste of time. So balancing increasing swells with tides we left Half Moon Bay under sunny skies at noon on Nov. 1st.

Passing under the Golden Gate on Nov. 1st.
Passing under the Golden Gate.

Swells were already building up as we headed out but once offshore about 5 miles things settled down and it was a nearly picture perfect day. Seventy degrees, clear skies, smooth seas. This is November? We weren’t complaining! I could not have been happier about how Quiet Moon handled all the varied conditions.

We approached the gate right as the flood tide started giving us a nice speed boost. At the same time we were hearing warnings over the radio about large seas entering Half Moon Bay. Not here. It was smooth sailing. This passage into busy shipping lanes gave us our first opportunity to use our AIS radar. It works great! It puts vessels on the screen long before you can see them, even on a clear day like today. It give us size, name, speed , heading, and shows their relative bearing from our boat. It warns if there is any chance of collision. It’s terrific!

Passing under the gate is something special for any sailor. It was a glorious day with the sun setting behind us as we entered San Francisco Bay. Perfect!

The Delta
Riding the tides.

We had originally planned to stop in Richmond but we were on quite a sleigh ride with the incoming tide. We were doing about 9 knots over the bottom. The Carqunez bridge wasn’t very far away at that rate so we decided to keep going. Night time navigation doesn’t bother me. Lots of sailing in overnight races like the South Tower Race had taught me to navigate the “hard way” by charts and counting the frequency of flashing navigation lights. Now with modern GPS chart plotters it’s just too easy. So we press on, figuring to anchor once we are clear of the Carqunez Straights and into San Pablo Bay.

 What we didn’t take into account was that it was a clear, but very moonless, night. You can navigate by lights and GPS but you can’t scout out a suitable anchoring spot in unfamiliar areas in the pitch black. Only option: Press on until we get to familiar waters west of Antioch. It was 2am when we dropped the hook and turned in. Very tired but with a satisfied feeling of having arrived in "home" waters.

Sunset at the Stockton Sailing Club
Tucked in for the winter.

We spent a couple of days anchored in the peace of the delta. The weather was unseasonably warm and pleasant. After harvesting a few hundred pounds of riverbed vegetation with our Bruce anchor, an electric windlass was added to the “must have” list. Hand over hand of 100 ft. of chain, a 35lb anchor, and half the river bottom is more than I care to deal with. Maybe in my younger days….

It was good to arrive at the familiar surroundings of the Stockton Sailing Club. The folks were friendly and the sense of arrival and hot showers felt good. Next up was stowing the boat away and preparing for holiday trips to visit family. November would be a trip back to Alabama for grandkid's birthdays and Thanksgiving. December would be Susanville for Christmas. Then hope for a quick, mild, winter and a chance to finish many boat projects before we head back to the S.F. Bay Area in April.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A New Beginning

A lot has happened since Karen and I took over the care of Quiet Moon in July of 2010.  It was such a sad situation but has seemed to turn out well in the end.  Cyndi and Marcus wound up getting to do their Mexican sailing adventure after all, and we wound up with this wonderful vessel to begin our adventures.  Karen and I are going to continue this blog as we travel.  All the posts prior to this are from Cyndi and Marcus.  From here forward, it will be Karen and I.

I am working on a "catch up" post to talk about our trials and adventures in getting the Moon back to seaworthy condition.  I will post it soon and try not to be too wordy.  We are presently waiting out the winter months in the harbor at the Stockton Sailing Club and tending to the never ending list of little least the projects are little now.    More soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Moving On

We visited Hal and Karen on Quiet Moon Saturday, she looks lovely. Hal did an amazing job and unless you knew about her "surgery" you would not guess. They are enjoying her,and while it is sad that she is no longer our home, she is in good hands.

Life has spun us around recently, and we have purchased another boat, and as things fell into place, we have decided to head for Mexico THIS year. I know, I know, it is hard for me to believe it as well.

If you are interested in following our new adventures, the new blog is

Blue skies, Cyndi

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Roads

Working hard, saving money, and looking ahead.

We have sold our beloved Quiet Moon, rehomed her, hahaha. We sold her to friends and the repairs are coming along nicely, which really helps. You really do come to love your boat.

Quiet Moon was our home, our focus for four months, seems like such a short time, but like vanilla; extracted, a small amount, but powerful and potent. She will always be a part of us, I refuse to look back, to entertain what ifs, shoulda woulda coulda.

So even though we SAID we would wait, and buy a boat in Mexico, we have already started the search for a new boat. Or should I say a different boat.

The day we transfered paperwork, we looked at 3 boats. Yea right, we are gonna wait. We seem to be addicted to the water. We have become gypsies, vagabonds, boat people.

I am trying to be content. I love my apartment, ie first land anchorage, and we are one block from the river, but still, every time I drive by the sloughs and the river, I dream of anchorages, quiet places with the lazy river meandering by.

So tomorrow, we head to Alameda and Richmond to see a few possiblities. AHHH boat shopping.

I think I have honed my goal setting to much to fine a point. I don't just fall in love with boats, or see myself on them, they are MINE. They belong to me, and I am a part of them. But it is both a blessing and a curse, it motivates me and also causes frustration and sorrow. These wonderful vessels of transportation to dreamlike setttings, magical locations, visions of the future, the hopes, the dreams of the cruiser, or hopes of many for an eden, nirvana, paradise a Camelot. We all dream of SOMETHING, for some it is an island, a mountain cabin, a beach; we all need a future, a possibilty. We need to believe there is a purpose, a "why" for the sacrifices we make daily.

I think what Marcus and I are doing speaks to the possibilities of the future. If all there is is laundry, childrearing, bills, work, and all the mundane tasks of life, it is just too hard. We all need a dream, a goal, a "someday".

When I was raising my children, my best friend and I had an apartment, not an acutal apartment, but a dream apartment. We talked about it when times were hard, it had white carpet, shiny stainless appliances, and a stereo in a glass case with no littleone's fingerprints. It helped us cope with the day to day "stuff".

I know raising children is important, I am first in line with parents focusing on their children, and lives revolving around them and their activities. But, sometimes, you need to look beyond.

I'll let you know what tomorrows search brings.