June 24, 2014

Our Projects begin... (New Anchor Windlass)

Windlass: Condition resulting from successful treatment in a windward. 
Windward: Section of hospital for boaters with chronic gas problems.
(Humorous Sailing Definitions by Peter W. Damisch)
One of our first projects was installing a new anchor windlass and replacing the old rusted anchor chain. We chose a Lighthouse Manufacturing model 1501 with two chain gypsies and one rope drum, and replaced the 3/8" BBB chain with 5/16" G4 [High-test] chain to gain strength while loosing weight.  

We can now retrieve two anchors simultaneously if we ever need to... Sweet. 

Boat Bling.
Lighthouse 1501 stainless steel windlass and custom deck plate
Lighthouse 1501 stainless steel windlass and custom deck plate

The finished install a year later showing 60lb CQR on port, and an 80lb Supermax [main bower] starboard.

Note: Our bow configuration changed in Jan-2017 with a new best bower... 

Design Note: Windlasses require at least a 90° wrap of the chain around the chain gypsy to operate correctly under load. [i.e., 1/4 of a turn minimum... more is better...] 
Less than 90° can cause the chain to hop on the gypsy under load. [So can too much twist in the chain. This is presuming perfectly matched ISO chain and gypsy.] 
Vertical windlasses have no problem with a chain wrap exceeding 90°; sometimes that can be a challenge with a horizontal windlass. 
To improve the chain lead-in angle one can either raise the windlass or lower the chain as demonstrated in the following photos:

Notes from personal experience about anchor chain:
  • There are many reputable chain manufacturers, and many of the other type... Choose wisely, and most importantly, make sure it fits your windlass...
  • ACCO- the brand we chose [and perhaps others?]- stamps every link with a G4. This is a quick check for authenticity... Many brands stamp every 4th link or so...
  • In the 2 years since we bought this chain, and 400+ overnights at anchor [averaging 60+ feet of depth i.e., most of the 360ft of main bower chain is submerged most times...] we have seen no rust appear anywhere...
  • We rinse our chain with raw water as it is retrieved each time. [i.e., It is stowed with no mud clinging to the chain...]
  • We freshwater rinse our chain every time after it is piled into the chain locker.
  • Don't buy HT [G4 or G7] chain unless they can provide a copy of the Proof Certificate from the manufacturer. [One comes with the chain from reputable manufacturers... (One was on top of our barrel of chain...) It is the validation of the results of tensile testing of the length of chain you purchased.]

Additional Resources:

Lighthouse Windlass Model 1501 Features: [From the manufacturer's website]

    Port and Starboard chain retrieval and payout can be independently operated, or can be simultaneously operated in opposite directions (paying out one while retrieving another) also allows rope wildcats to be operated either independent of chain operations, or in conjunction with chain operations.
    Fast rewind socket port and starboard, or an amazing 10,200 lbs. On 2nd speed, with only 35 lbs. Exerted on a 10" winch handle, in kedging socket located on top of winch. [This is a beast of a manual kedge...] Both manual modes are used in conjunction with a standard winch handle. Rope wildcat allows rapid rope retrieval and can be tailed, even under power.
    Continuous duty linear power unit (no field windings to burn out). No external grounding required (unit cannot induce electrolysis). No overload protector required for motor. Reversing is optional without changing the motor. 12v, 24v, 32v, 110/220 VAC, and Hydraulic power are available.
    All stainless steel type 316L construction, sealed case lifetime lithium lubrication, mounted to built-in base plate. Comes with chain pipes and cast urethane deck seal. [We clamped 2" ID exhaust hose to both SS chain pipes below deck to direct and quiet the chain.]
    Required deck space for mounting plate is L10" X W11.6", bowsprit mounts L12" X W4". Mounts with (6) ½" bolts. Motor mounts under deck and requires only 2" hole. Optional [SS] backing plates are available from the factory. [We had one custom made for a very reasonable price.]
    Standard cast bronze chromed gypsy and stainless steel wildcat port and starboard. ¼" through 7/16" BBB, PC, or System 40 HT are standard, others available on request.
    • 12v: free run=8amps/rated pull=80amps
    • 24v: free run=4amps/rated pull=40amps
    Continuous line pull at 12v - 32v 1000 lbs. @ 37 fpm.
    Maximum, depends on available amperage from power supply.
    Height: 8" (203.2mm)
    Length: 9.5" (241.3mm)
    Width: 24" (609.60mm) [This is for the dual gypsy, dual rope drum model.]
    Weight 110 lbs. (50.00 Kg)
    Depth: From top of deck: 14.5" (368.3mm). Unit will accept up to 4.5" (114.3mm) deck thickness as standard. Optional extension housings to 48"

June 23, 2014

Donna's adventure begins: (part Ia)

Cruising: Waterbourne pleasure journey embarked on by one or more people. A cruise may be considered successful if the same number of individuals who set out on it arrive, in roughly the same condition they set out in, at some piece of habitable dry land, with or without the boat...    (Sailing Pocket Dictionary by Henry Beard & Roy McKie)
As we leave Port Ludlow, I realize it's just Bill and me.  As the least experienced, and ONLY crew member, I have quite a few misgivings, and it has finally sunk in; "I live on a boat!"  However, it's only 13 nautical miles to Port Townsend, which at our average speed of 7 knots under power, ( think roughly 7 miles an hour), it's only a two hour journey.

The first thing we do before we go, is motor over to the pump-out station.  This is an unfortunate, but necessary chore for a boat with onboard heads.  When a vessel is within 3 miles of shore, all black water waste must be contained in a tank onboard, and when it gets full, you must go to a station that has a large hose and literally suck it out of your tank and put it in theirs. Be careful when you do this....  It also means that we have to sidle the boat with the fenders out, and lines ready to tie, up to the dock, so we can be next to the pump out station.  I drive. (first time with this boat) I get next to the dock fine...whew, did it.  Bill does the "suck out" part, whew, I didn't have to do that.  Now it's time to leave and I get my first lesson in currents, and wind.  I try to drive away, and the wind pushes the aft end of the boat towards the dock, a collision is in my future.  I gun the motor into forward, blue smoke arises, and I miss the dock. First crisis averted, and it is either a good start or a bad one depending on your point of view.  I view it as good. We are underway to Port Townsend, and everyone, with everything is intact.

Reading charts can be a complicated process, and I get my introduction to eddies.

We are rounding a point to head towards Port Townsend and the front of the boat, the bow suddenly gets grabbed and pulled in a completely different direction. WHOA, what the heck?  Bill points out the eddies symbol on the chart, see that, that's what those do.  We will have many more encounters with these on our way north.

I put DR (Denali Rose) back on course, and head towards port.  The cruising guide says the opening to the harbor is difficult to see from the ocean side, and that you are supposed to line up your bow with a white tower that is on the side of the hill, and then you'll see it. Not true.  I circle, circle, circle, it probably looks like we are either drunk, or can't make up our minds on what to do.  Finally, with just the right light, I see it, and we head in.  We radio in to the Harbormaster and receive our slip assignment, we find our slip, and now comes the fun part again, to put the boat next to the dock. Mission accomplished without too many maneuvers, and Bill jumps off, and ties the first line to stop the momentum. Boating people for the most part are very helpful and kind, and we have a couple of guys come over to help Bill to center the boat in the slip and tie her down.

We are docked right next to wonderful restaurant, and we immediately head over there for a pound of peel and eat shrimp, a dish of mussels and clams, and a cold beer.  Oh, yeah, cruising life is good.

Because of a slip assignment mixup, and ease of accessibility to the sail loft, (the firm working on our sails) we actually moved DR 3 times to different parts of the harbor, some are more difficult than others, and I gladly give Bill the helm.  At some point we have to do the pump out thing again, and this time I am not as lucky, I put the first scratch into the beautiful paint job, and I cry.  Yeah, yeah, someone's gotta be the first one.....

We spend our time adding food to our larder, shopping at West Marine, getting the sails repaired, and put back on, and getting DR measured for a new set when the time comes to buy.

Port Townsend to Anacortes is about 30 nautical miles, and we left in the afternoon.  We were trying to make it to our next harbor before dark, and we encountered some strong currents which delayed our progress more than we had anticipated. By the time we were approaching the harbor, the sun had set, and we were in twilight.  The nautical saying is: Red Right Returning. This means when you are returning from sea, you keep the red channel markers on starboard. (right)

These are the easy explanations, it gets complicated quickly.
(Courtesy of Nigel Calder: Captain's Quick Guides, How to read a Nautical Chart)
I was having trouble seeing the markers, much less what color they are, and you don't really want to stray outside the channel to risk hitting something, going aground, or colliding with another boat.  I had also called the Harbor Master to find out our slip assignment, and he didn't have the reservation that I had made. So the night watchman, who was the only one on duty, figured what the heck, and gave us one that he thought best.  By that time it was really getting dark, and he stood on the end of our slip finger with a flashlight trying to signal us in.  Cap Sante is a pretty big harbor and there were rows and rows of vessels, many of which were worth more than seven figures, which was just another reason to be be as precise as possible with where we were headed. Another successful docking, and a sigh of relief...break out the wine!

You may be wondering why I am at the helm, and Bill is tying up the boat.  Someone has to pilot the boat, and someone has to hang fenders, and get the dock lines ready to tie up. When you leave a dock, you don't leave the fenders hanging on the side, and you coil up all of the lines and put everything away. On the other side, when you arrive, someone has get all of this back out and attach it to the boat in the appropriate spots.  Usually this is being done RIGHT before you are ready to dock, and sometimes, the side that you put it on gets changed and then you have race around and try and get it all ready on the OTHER side.  I call it "doing the crazy monkey" as you are trying to get everything ready.  Then as the boat glides into the slip, the crazy monkey has to jump to the dock from the boat, and tie up the spring line, (line at the center of the boat), and help stop the momentum before you run the bow into the dock [actually, I apply reverse thrust to stop the boat...]  I'm sure with time all of this will become "old hat", but I would rather stand stationary at the wheel and guide the boat in for now, even with the challenges of tide, current and wind.

June 16, 2014

Our adventure begins: part I

We have been waaay behind in getting our blog ready for everyone to read.  Now that I have a few moments to reflect back on what we have accomplished since the middle of May, I can update everyone with what has happened so far. This first post will be a long one.  As Bill likes to say, "We are off like a herd of turtles."  That is our typical description of events.

I could see Bill was getting itchy for the sea, and our kayaking adventures, and our 26ft trailerable sailboat, "Second Wind", was not going to satisfy him for much longer.  He has always maintained that once he found the suitable boat, he was ready to become a "live aboard cruiser" again, and since I have enjoyed our other water sports, I'm ready to try this too.

Second Wind, 26ft MacGregor M

Our search for "the boat" began about 4 years ago, and we looked all over the globe, (via the internet) for the one that would fit our requirements and needs.  In the last couple of years, we found sailboats that we wanted to investigate further, and personally visited many.  Last year we found "the one" in Seattle Washington, and began the process to acquire her.  As it turns out the owners were from Fairbanks, and though we didn't know them before, we have become friends.  The push was now on to change our lifestyle. Our chosen vessel is a 1983 Nauticat 43, Denali Rose.  They are made in Finland, and are designed to be used in open ocean, and have an outside steering station, as well as an inside one, 3 cabins (bedrooms), 2 heads (bathroom), 1 galley (kitchen), and 2 settees (seating areas with a table). The boat came complete with wind generator, solar panel, watermaker, and a washer/dryer.

Both of us were employed at the University of Alaska, and Bill retired on May 1st, and I quit on May 9th. Alexa, my daughter, graduated from UAF on May 11th, and we scurried like crazy to load the 27ft trailer with boat and eventual Wrangell needs.  Oh, did I mention, that not only were we leaving Fairbanks behind to live on a boat, but we bought 4 acres on the Southeast Alaska island, Wrangell, and neither of us had ever been there before.  I know, call me crazy.

We took the Wakefield Wagon train on the Alcan Highway, and because we had a deadline to meet with finalizing the boat sale, we drove the highway from Fairbanks to Seattle in four days.  That is not the way to see the scenery, or relax along the way.

Teslin Lake Canada, notice the lake is still frozen.
We arrived Seattle on Sunday night, and pulled into our RV Park.  If you can imagine a Walmart parking lot with the trailers and RVs pulled in for the night, you can picture our park, only without the Walmart. You could almost touch the campers on each side of us.  We met the owners of Denali Rose, Jack and Susan, (who goes by Fred), that evening, and it was like we had always known each other.  All of us had been corresponding the previous winter with questions, answers, suggestions, and photos, and we just had to meet in person to complete the friendship.
Our red truck, and our cozy neighbors.

Starting Monday morning and through the next week, we had the boat hauled out of the water so the surveyor could assess the boat, (engineer's report), and had an expert come and check on the rigging and masts.  (Rigging: those wires that hold the mast up. Mast: those tall metal posts that hold the sails.)

We completed our purchase on Thursday, and moved all of our 26 rubbermaid tubs full of worldly possessions onboard, as well as had a wonderful time learning about our new home from Jack and Fred.

Shipshape: A boat is said to be shipshape when every object that is likely to contribute to the easy handling of the vessel or the comfort of the crew has been put in a place from which it cannot be retrieved in less than 30 minutes. 

We had our life raft professionally repacked, they also put in new supplies, and gave us our indoctrination into how to deploy it if it ever became needed.  It's something you hope you never have to see again, but if you do, then everything is ready.

Winslow Life Raft

We drove our wagon train to Anacortes and arranged temporary storage, While there, Jack and Fred graciously gave us all of their spare boating supplies, and we filled our rubbermaid tubs back up with equipment, and stored them in the trailer.  We (of course) had to eat at our favorite place to celebrate, Dad's Diner.  Jack drove us back to Seattle, where we got onboard our boat and prepared to leave via water instead of land.

The northwest Nauticat owners get-together once a year, and as it turned out, the event was happening that weekend.  Jack came with us, while Fred drove her car, and we went to the rendezvous in Port Ludlow on Friday.  So between Wednesday May 14, and the following Friday May 23, we have driven to Seattle, bought a boat, put all of our stuff onboard, made multitude trips to the store, provisioned with food and stuff, and are now leaving to take up our new life.  It was quite the whirlwind.

Jack and Fred are famous in the Nauticat world, and as Denali Rose arrived, many people came over to our slip to welcome them to the rendezvous.  When we are in a port, this is a common occurrence for us now.  We always get "Hey Denali Rose, Jack and Fred!"  I usually come out on deck and say "Yes, Denali Rose, but now it's Bill and Donna!"  This leads to meeting new friends.
Denali Rose, second from left, in Port Ludlow

After a fun weekend getting to know other Nauticat owners, we said our goodbyes to Jack and Fred, as they said goodbye to their trusty vessel, (a few tears on both of our parts), and we motored off to begin our journey north.
              Bill is grinning, happy to be back aboard.  I took this photo in bed with my morning coffee, the first morning, "I live on a boat."

Our first stop was Port Townsend.  We were having our sails assessed, and repaired at Carol Haase's Sail Loft. After assessment, we had Denali Rose measured for a new set, so that when we are ready to purchase new sails, the sail loft will have all the details they need to make them.  Port Townsend is a very cute town, and they call themselves, the capital of wooden boats.  We saw many beautiful boats, and we were there when a salvage company pulled Captain Vancouver's anchor up out of the Sound.

We put our repaired sails back on and left for our next port of call, Anacortes.  We stayed in Cap Sante Marina, ate at Dad's Diner everyday, and did more work on Denali Rose.  We installed kayak racks, put in a new windlass, (electric winch to pull in chain and pull up the anchor), and new chain, had all of the running rigging replaced, (ropes that handle the sails), and installed the new navigation and radar systems.  We also unloaded (again) the rubbermaid tubs into the many storage compartments.

We drove the Wakefield Wagon train to my brother's house in Woodinville WA, where he is storing it in his backyard for now.  My niece took us back to Anacortes, and we became true "live-a-boards".