March, 2015 browsing by month


Sunday March 22nd. Rub a dub dub. Three old men in a tub.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

But, on Saturday March 21st, these three old men felt again like a bunch of Spring Chickens. Paul de Leeuw, whose friendship I have enjoyed since 1976. half our life time, crewed with me since 1977. Paul is a Dutch-Canadian-Kiwi and was also a forest products exporter. Ken House became a friend in 1982 and has sailed many a race on “Fleetwood”.

The last crewed sail race I have done on the West Coast was 25 years ago. This was the last of a four race regatta sailed monthly from December in the Puget Sound. This one is called the Islands Race and is organized by my yacht club., the Gig Harbor YC. Sixty boats participated and the wind for most of the race was between 15 and 20 knots, with an occasional stronger gust. It was sailed up and down Colvos Passage from the mouth of Gig Harbor bay to a mark north of Blake Island. About 30 miles. With tacking and jibing more like 40 miles. It took us about 6 1/2 hours. We earned the Booby Prize. We got to the start 25 minutes after the starting gun. We had a few problems. One of the crew members could not find a parking spot and got on board after the starting gun. Then my engine quit again after I had put about 25 hours this week of work into trying to find the air leak. We sailed out and back into the slip. And our skills were a little rusty. But we had a great time and caught up on a lot of the years that we had not seen each other. I had not yet been in a good blow wit the boat, and found how well she handled and how much sail she can stand. It was a down wind sail to the mark with the current and tacking against the wind and current on the home stretch. We consistently sailed about 10 to 15 degrees closer to the wind than the other boats.

Now I realize why I enjoyed the North West as much as I have in all those years. I had wondered why anyone would want to live in this rainy dreary dark winter. But being out on the water in March makes me realize what I have been missing.

Advance notice: I will give another slide show and presentation at the GHYC on June 3rd. of “Fleetwood”‘s travels.

L.R.: Jack, Paul, Ken

L.R.: Jack, Paul, Ken, picture taken by Sheila Schultz-Mordue


Saturday 3.14.15 The Day of bye, bye American (π or) Pi when the levee ran dry

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

This mathematical formula, Π , or 3.1415 holds a certain significance for me. In the seventies and eighties it made me a lot of money. Though I have never had an education or inclination with anything that involved mathematics. In contrast to my twin brother who earned a degree in shipbuilding engineering and designed (cylindrical) storage tanks for most of his working life.

But knowing the correct way to calculate the content of a cylinder gave me an advantage over my competitors in the log export business.  Softwood Logs are purchased on the Pacific coast in Scribner Scale. The diameter of the log is measured at the top only and then the content is taken from pre-calculated scale books. It is a complicated, supposedly based on the expected yield of sawn lumber. But the shipping companies charge the ocean freight and the European buyers purchase based on the Brereton scale, where the average of the top and bottom of the log is used. No one in the industry seemed to know by what magic this Bernard Brereton had devised his tables, before the second world war. But every stevedore, shipping company, exporter and foreign buyer bought and used his Brereton Scale book. And because it would be impossible to show each diameter and lengths that trees produce, they were rounded of to the next even feet and inches. It turned out that it is the mathematical formula of a cylinder. Radius squared, in inches, x 3.1415 x length in feet to arrive at the content in Board Feet. Then it became obvious that the way to gain the biggest advantage in scale was to purchase logs with the most taper. The butt of a tree has the most taper and the longer the log the more taper.  And I did not need Mr. Brereton’s scale books any longer.

But the levee ran dry and it was: bye bye  American (& Tropical=A&T) Pi……

John van Ommen in 1977 or 1978, shipping logs to Valencia and Genoa.

John van Ommen in 1977 or 1978, shipping logs to Valencia and Genoa.

Other Business:

I am currently house, dog and cats sitting in the same home as I was last November, till March 19th. On Saturday the 21st I am signed up to sail the annual “Islands Race” from Gig Harbor. It will be a nostalgic encounter. The last time I sailed this race was before 1993. Ken House, long time friend and frequent crew in the eighties will be joining the crew and Paul de Leeuw expects to come down from B.C., he started crewing in the seventies on “Gemini”. I am hoping that Lisa can join us.

I am still looking for a good home for my friend’s Aqua Cat 14. Anyone with lake or sound beachfront in the Puget Sound area? All the owner is asking for is for me or you to teach him to sail it and use it  5 or 6 times a year. You have the use of it for the rest of the time. call me 253-441-7204


Monday March 2nd. My Holland trip in April/May.

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

I purchased a round trip ticket to/from Amsterdam. The offer that I expected no one could refuse, did not stand up. Laura, my second wife, helped me with a pass to Edmonton and back, which helped in comparison to flying from and to Seattle. I leave Sunday the 18th and return on May 8th. I will be staying with relatives near Amsterdam.  As soon as I arrive I will post my cellular phone number on this web site.

See previous two blogs for more details on the reasons for this short, unplanned, visit.  Today I received more information on the “Names instead of Numbers” planned events for the 70th annual commemoration of the liberation of  camp Dachau, see: