July, 2014

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Wednesday July 30. My plans.

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Bad News-Good News: My 80-200 zoom lens that came with the 2nd hand Nikon D-50, I bought in Saigon in the first days of 2010, finally broke. I had not been able to use it for auto-focus for some time. Today I received a new Sigma 70-300 zoom lens, bought on Amazon for $ 120. I think that you will see an improvement in the picture quality.

My Monitor windvane arrived last Monday and is now installed. I plan try it out today. And will have some pictures of it with the new lens. Bernd Graf, an Alameda Calif. sailor turned power boater,  took the below picture. So far this is one of the sunniest summers the N.W. has seen in many years. We had one good soaking rain day last Wednesday. As you can see in the windvane picture I am as tanned as I was in the tropics. Check my sandal tan lines….. I hope to have the sound system (am-fm radio with MP3 player) hooked up today. The food picture is a nine inch Dungeness crab that John Alskog, my dock neighbor, gave me; he caught right here in the bay. On Monday he brought me 5 rock crabs that he caught near Lakebay. So, I have been feasting on the local water harvest. I steamed the corn right on top of the crabs on my one burner stove.

I had planned to cruise North for a couple weeks but the installation of the vane took longer than I had expected, drilling holes through stainless steel. The installation is much better done than I did in 2005 in Monterey, California on the previous “Fleetwood”. Better lined up and firmer connections. I hope to put still many more miles on this fine piece of equipment. I now plan to cruise the last two weeks of August and return here right after labor day weekend. I plan to spend time in Vancouver to visit my Canadian friends.

My longer term plans are to remain here on the boat in Gig Harbor this winter and leave for the Panama Canal around this time, next year. There still is not enough in my saving left for the equipment I still need. The list is getting shorter and I will update it soon. Many friends have come up with equipment, galley stuff, clothing and tools. Bu there are some major items like life raft, EPIRB, sails, Solar Panel, etc that I will be able to save up for by next year. I also plan to study for my HAM operator license to enable me to use the SSB radio for e-mail, without the Pactor Modem and the $ 250 annual SailMail subscription. And last but not least an opportunity to hunker down and finish the two language versions of “Soloman”. I will try fly to Virginia this winter to visit my family and friends there.

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Weekend July 19. Sail and overnight anchorage.

Monday, July 21st, 2014

My friend Maggie invited me for another barbecue at their home on Wollochet Bay for Saturday evening. And I decided to anchor out by their beach. To reach Wollochet Bay I have to go through the Tacoma Narrows where the current is too strong to go against the tide, you get your chance every 6 hours. I had to be through by 13.00h; this gave me time to try out the reefing system since the wind was gusting to between 15 and 20 knots. With two reefs and a 120% jib the boat performed very well, great acceleration in the gusts.  My long time friends Pete and DiAnne Sabin, live on the west end of W.Bay and it had been over 30 years since I had visited them by water.  I anchored at their beach. Another long time friend, Paul Hirsh, who lives nearby, saw “Fleetwood” sailing in and came along side in his racing kayak. I met Paul in 1973 around the same time as Pete. Both Paul and Pete used to race with me on the old “Fleetwood” in the seventies and eighties. The below picture was taken in the Hat Island race in 1980. Paul is far aft on starboard. His dad, Blake Hirsh, a retired PanAm pilot, was a sailing legend in the North West, he delivered sailboats all over the globe into his eighties.

Sunday I had planned to visit the new “Shipwreck Cafe” in Lake Bay. Figured I might just deserve a free lunch with my reputation. But I had been having too much fun sailing there that by the time I was close I had to turn around to catch the right tide through the Narrows. These are very familiar waters, I built a beautiful home in 1983 on the beach in Shaw’s Cove at Green Point which is due east of Lake Bay and North of the southern tip of Fox Island. And “Fleetwood” was moored at anchor buoy in front of the house.

Today the “Monitor” windvane arrives and I’ll be busy installing it for the next couple days.

Bald Eagle over Sabin's home

Bald Eagle over Sabin’s home

Hat Island 1980

Wind Indicator shows how close to the wind the new boat sails.

Wind Indicator shows how close to the wind the new boat sails.


Taco Tuesday July 15.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

A tradition of a number of my Gig Harbor sailing friends. At “El Pueblito” for less than $10.00 a Taco and a Modelo Supremo and good company. The summer weather just keeps going, overcast cool mornings then the sun break through and it warms into the seventies. Yesterday I finally had enough wind to find out that I have an awesome replacement in my second “Fleetwood”. She is a better boat. Sails closer to the wind with great speed. Maybe that shipwreck was not God’s worst idea after all.

Sunday evening we had an unusual red sunset after the gorgeous Saturday evening Super Moon rise. Yesterday I had to go into Tacoma to get my senior transit pass, so that I can ride free on the local shuttle bus. Without  a car taking the bus to get to the place in Tacoma but it happens to be close to the Glass museum which has a public moorage. Lisa picked me up and we had a beer together on the terrace. And I had a terrific sail.

I am planning to sail north on or around July 24 to be able to be in Bellingham for Sid’s birthday on the 27th. Then go make my rounds in Vancouver to look up old friends. Weather permitting I’ll sail the Canadian and U.S. San Juan/Gulf Islands.

Look what this Seattle Yacht Club cat dragged in into Gig Harbor!

Look what this Seattle Yacht Club cat dragged in into Gig Harbor!

A daily clean out of the soot of an industrial plant in Tacoma...

A daily clean out of the soot of an industrial plant in Tacoma…

Sunday nights evening sky

Sunday nights evening sky

Just before the smoke routine. My soup pan on the aft port, dinner.

Just before the smoke routine. My soup pan on the aft port, dinner.


Saturday evening July 12 Full Super Moon

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

A gorgeous  moon rise over Point Defiance.


Saturday July 12th Third consolation (troost) prize for Holland in the World Cup. Muito Obrigado Brezil. Até logo!

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

So, now all we still need to do is see the Sunday’s final game of Germany defeating Argentina and then we can go back to our normal routine. But it has been an exciting spectacle of changing fortunes. I wonder if Brazil will ever offer to host the games again… In the end the best team won. The Germans are at their very best. But I expect that in 2018 the USA will move up higher again.

Last night I watched a free movie put on in one of the parks here in Gig Harbor.”The Help”, I had forgotten that I had seen it years ago, on an airplane. I watch very few movies and this must be the first one I have ever seen twice. But the advantage is, that since you already know the plot, that you pay more attention to the acting. And several of the players, in particular the main character, the black maid, Viola Davis, who won an Oscar, were awesome. A very moving story. Hard to imagine these abuses took place in our life time. But it also showed the good sides of some of the southern white folks.

I am showing a few pictures of wood boat building craftmanship right here in the marina I live. Last night Jeff and Julie Stang stopped by in this gorgeous Cosine Wherry. Made in strip plank 1/4″ thick W.R. and Alaska Yellow Cedar with some Ash and Purple Heart for accent. The oars are made from Sitka Spruce with Purple Heart tips. Jeff is a local boat builde and fine woodworker here i the harbor. The other picture is of a 1952 ChrisCraft runabout owned by Dan McDonough, parked next to his 55? foot Sparkman & Stephens designed yawl “Weatherly”; also from the fifties. The gorgeous varnish touch up on “Weatherly” is the work of my dock neighbor Ira Specter. When I grow up I want to be as good a re-finisher as Ira. The last picture is of the end result of painting the cockpit bulkhead on “Fleetwood” and re-varnishing the companion way trim and roof. And the replacement of the of the transom deck where the plywood had rotted out around the rudder. Slowly catching up with the years of neglect but fortunately most of the maintenance is cosmetic. I also enlarged the scupper holes, to be able to drain the cockpit faster when a good wave rolls into the cockpit.

"Fleetwood"'s new look

“Fleetwood”‘s new look

Jef and Julie Stang in their Cosine Wherry

Jef and Julie Stang in their Cosine Wherry

The ChrisCraft and "Weatherly"

The ChrisCraft and “Weatherly”

Three Bridgedeck Cruisers

Three Bridgedeck Cruisers

The “Marian II” was built in 1928 and the “El Mistico” 45 ft in 1927, the latter at Ballard Marine, the one on far right is the third of the visiting bridge deck cruisers, a Canadian owner.


Wednesday July 9 World Cup Soccer: Argentina defeats Holland in semi-final

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Memories of the last time that Holland lost from Argentina, in the final game, flash by. It was the World Cup held in Argentina in 1978. I was sailing on my Ranger 29 “Gemini” from Vancvouver, B.C. back to La Conner, Wa. On my way home from seeing my friend Susi Stern a Swiss Canadian, the #1 flight attendant of Ward Air.  It was another hot July day. I was listening to the game on FM radio. The Coast Guard three (or four?) masted sail training vessel the “Eagle” was passing me and a little later the Holland American line cruise ship the “New Amsterdam”. And today history was repeated in the semi-final game of the World Cup. Argentina won by the skin of their teeth, in the shoot out. All that is left now is for Holland and Brazil to play for the 3rd place. My money is on Holland. And for the Germans to crush Argentina. The Germans have never played as well as they are doing in this World Cup.

And then it’s all over for another 4 years and we can go back to enjoy the summer.I may never see another soccder game till then. But what a spectacle from my little country the size of Rhode Island.  They made it to the finals in 2010 and have won a number in the past. These men are true athletes, tacticians, sportsmen. Proud of you!!

Saturday July 5th. Orange wins and a memorable 4th of July

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

The Costa Ricans are tough hombres. Eventhough the Dutch dominated the World Cup 1/4 final game against Costa Rica they just could not manage to score. Then the 30 minute extension, stil 0-0. But the men in Orange managed to win the shootout on goal by 4-3. By the skin of their teeth. So they are in the semi finals.
I put the boat back together, all the instrument panels had been pulled from the companion way bulkhead to be able to refinish the weathered surface, and temporarily put the rudder back in place before painting the replaced rotted out transom deck. Sothat I could join the fun of the fireworks for the Independence Celebration. There had to be over 250 boats anchored and rafted in Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island. The last time I ever went on my boat to watch the 4th of July fire works had to be before 1993; that was the year that I put the former “Fleetwood” on the hard for a thorough overhaul. The work on her was interrupted by my financial problems and she did not get back in the water till 2004. At that time it was just Tacoma that put on the great Fireworks display on at the old town waterfront. But now Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon island is in the competition. It was a fabulous show. I tied up to the power boat that Rose Marie (Daughter #2) and her husband Donovan were with at Dockton on Vashon Island for a short visit and a libation before joining the 12 plus Gig Harbor yachts rafted up in 1/4Master Harbor. A very memorable Independence Day celebration

The oldest existing GH home now part of the Arabella Landing Mafrina in Independence Day dress-up

The oldest existing GH home now part of the Arabella Landing Mafrina in Independence Day dress-up


QMaster firerworks

QMaster fireworks

Mt.Rainier, Pt.Defiance on right

Mt.Rainier, Pt.Defiance on right