2010-09-28

Still working on the boat in Ventura

Is this an incredible sunset or what?


More sunset and other Ventura pictures below, but first...

While installing the new engine mounts and replacing the shafts, the boatyard discovered a cracked shaft log at the shaft packing (this is a fiberglass tube where the propeller shaft goes through the hull - basically it's part of what keeps the ocean outside the boat). Dale and Tom have worked out a solution, though we'll be here probably through the end of the week until they can get some new shaft seals sized for the fixed and beefed up shaft log. All part of boat maintenance and having projects done on parts of the boat that probably haven't been looked at for over 10 years!

We've done a number of additional projects that we planned to do eventually, but we've had the time to do it now, so making some progress on various projects around the boat.

I will have to say that this is a good place to be stuck on the hard. Ventura Harbor Boatyard has been great to work with, and there's laundry and showers near our corner of the yard. Plenty of restaurants close by, though we are glad we've found the cheap burrito place so we've had a place to get massive quantities of good, inexpensive food when the mood strikes us to go out.

Here's a few more pictures from Ventura...

From sunrise to sunset of the same view:






And the rental car tucked safely away in "the garage" for the night. Monohullers - don't try this! :-) :


And finally, more pictures of the incredible sunset:











2010-09-24

Day 2 of bottom paint

We made good progress on bottom paint today, now we've got a full coat on everything, with two coats on leading edges and at the waterline - and one side of the rudders complete. Looking really great! Still waiting on parts though for the engine mounts and shafts, so an early week splash looks a bit overly optimistic at this point, but we will see!



Rudder partially painted:

As far as the ongoing blister repair, here's what it looked like after Albert finished glassing it:

And now you can't even tell there was any repair here, as you can see in this picture (camera had some white-balance issues so it doesn't look it's proper shade of blue, I'll get another picture tomorrow):

2010-09-23

Day 1 of bottom paint

After getting hauled, Ventura Harbor Boatyard washed the hull and removed the rudders, props, and shafts. We've known our engine mounts were not in great shape for quite some time, but we've noticed during the trip down a significant amount of vibration and that they need to be replaced. After replacing the mounts, it requires the propshafts be re-aligned, and as long as those bits were apart it made sense to rebuild the shaft packings, inspect the cutlass bearings, and rebuild the props. Much work and expense, but will result in all the mechanics being inspected and rebuilt, so in good shape for many years to come.

After drying out the hull, the boatyard sanded down the old bottom paint, and after giving some more time for the hull to dry, found a weeping blister in the hull. After grinding, it was determined to be a previous repair of a blister that was poorly bonded to the hull, resulting in some water intrusion. Fortunately it was only into a small bit of the foam core, and dryed out within a few hours. Albert, one of the awesome guys at the yard, then reglassed and filled the void - when all done it will be one of the strongest parts of the boat!

While chipping off some more old paint, I found a couple more spots that needed to be ground and refilled - one was another poorly done previous repair, a second was a weeping blister which Albert ground down and found to be a non issue. After adding some epoxy filler to these spots, the bottom is in really good shape!

Today we started painting - with first coat on just the waterline and leading edges. Tomorrow, we'll have a full coat on the entire hull.

Here's a few pictures of painting:






Here's Albert preparing the blister void:

And for anyone who doesn't read our facebook, here's pictures of the blister repair. If you aren't familiar with fiberglass repairs, this looks a lot worse than it really is. In order to get good bonding and allow the core to dry out, the proper way to repair a wet blister is grind a large area out, then rebuild the hull from the inside out using fiberglass for the skin on both side, and solid epoxy filler for the core:

Here's another picture, after the inside skin was repaired and void filled with epoxy filler:

Things are progressing pretty well, though this has left us in Ventura longer than expected, with no car to get groceries (and everything is pretty far away from the marina). Engine mounts (R&D from PYI) and dripless shaft rebuild kits (PSS, also from PYI)  should arrive tomorrow, so the mechanical guys will start to reassemble all the propulsion bits soon. Once that and the painting is done we'll be ready to splash and head off to the Channel Islands, probably early next week!

2010-09-21

Haulout


Watching your home lifted out of the water and set on blocks is quite an experience. We are at Ventura Harbor Boatyard for a few days for bottom paint and repairs - some planned and others unexpected, uncovered during our trip down the coast, or required due to removal of other parts.

Everyone at the boatyard has been great and easy to work with, which has been really nice. Currently Jane'O sits on the hard, with no rudders and no shafts. Jacob and I replaced three seacocks which needed to be replaced, two of which were for the head - dealing with boat sewage hose is always fun, Jacob really enjoyed the smell. Once the boatyard folks sand off the old bottom paint, we'll paint her bottom and buff and wax the topsides. The boatyard is also replacing engine mounts, which requires removing the shafts, which requires removing the rudders - a big job, but when done everything below the waterline will be in much better shape.

Here's some pictures of her in the travel lift, and video of the whole haulout. Can't wait to get her back in the water where she belongs!





Video of passage through Santa Barbara Channel to Ventura

Video of our passage to Ventura. Things were a bit windy and choppy of Point Arguello and Point Conception, but not too bad and much nicer than Point Sur was - although it was cold, foggy, and wet again for a good portion of the trip, except for about a 2 hour period between 1-3AM, when the moon and stars were brilliant.

"The Birds" in San Luis Obispo Bay - Full Video

Here's the full video for this blog post. Enjoy!

Monterey Aquarium

Video taken at Monterey Aquarium for this blog entry.

2010-09-20

Video of passage from Santa Cruz to Monterey

Video of our trip to Monterey. Short and simple, but all part of the trip!

Video of passage from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz

Video of our trip to Santa Cruz. The day started out with no wind and drizzle, but turned into light winds and sun so we flew the colored sail to Santa Cruz.

Video of Labor Day in Half Moon Bay

Some video during a beautiful warm and sunny Labor Day in Half Moon Bay, including the rocks near Mavericks.

Video of our trip out the Golden Gate

Getting caught up with a editing and posting a few videos, with good hotel internet, and good hotel power to run the power-hungry, but capable of editing video, laptop. At some point in the future, I'll revise all these posts so they appear in proper chronological order.

Here's video as we went out the gate on a cold and foggy morning, bound for Half Moon Bay... This was the start of our big cruise and 2010 Baja Haha trip!


2010-09-19

A Tale of Two Harbormasters

As they say in the movies, any resemblance to real persons in this story, whether living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The job of Harbormaster can't be easy. No matter what, you will make somebody unhappy with everything and anything you do. If you don't have rules, then people will do stupid things and chaos will reign. If you have too many rules, everyone will call you the Gestapo and hate you. If you try to strike a balance between the two, then you'll have half the people complaining there aren't enough rules, and the other half complaining there are two many. You get the picture – no matter what you do, you will make somebody unhappy.

We've met a lot of harbormasters over the years, and like everyone in general, they can be categorized as either control freaks who hate their job, or nice people who truly want to help you. Many marinas employ both, resulting in sort of a good-cop, bad-cop experience for us transient sailors - and what sort of experience you'll have depends on who's working at that particular minute.

That's what this story is all about - A Tale of Two Harbormasters.

As we were sailing down the coast, we called ahead to see if any slips were available. Finding moorage for our catamaran is a bit tricky - while our length, at 39 feet, is not a problem our width, of almost 22 feet means we can't fit in a normal slip. So we generally have to find a side or end tie. Like the ends of rows in a grocery store, there isn't nearly as much space available at the ends compared to along the rows. So anyway, we called ahead and talked to Bruno, to see what was available. Bruno said at that point there was nothing, but a public dock was open, and to call again once we were closer - which we did a few hours later. There was still nothing available, but Bruno was very helpful in giving us directions to a public dock where there was space, and he said hopefully space in the marina would open up.

After docking the boat, we walked up to the harbormasters office. Bruno was very nice and helpful, giving us several maps of the area, circling where to get provisions, the location of the nearest chandlery, telling us about events happening in the area, and so on. He also said that if we needed to use the internet, we could come up and use one of their computers. Finally, he suggested we come back in the morning, as an end tie was supposed to free up - he said he'd leave a note for Scooter, who would be working the next day, to call us as soon as the slip freed up. Bruno was just a really nice and accommodating fellow.

The next morning, we saw that one of the end ties was now vacant, and went up to the harbormasters office to see if it was available - and to make sure we got it before someone else did just in case Scooter didn't call us. That turned out to be the right decision, because not only was the slip free, but Scooter hadn't bothered to call us. At any rate, Scooter wasn't in the office at the time, but one of the other employees got us all checked in to our new slip and we moved the boat. Much nicer - closer to the showers and bathroom, and now in a gated and locked marina - a huge improvement over the public dock.

In the afternoon, we needed to arrange a few things online, so went back up to the office to use the computer, since Bruno said we could. Now we got to meet Scooter for the first time, who looked up from the computer with disdain that we would be so rude as to interrupt him from whatever he was doing (playing solitaire perhaps?). He said there was absolutely NO way that we would be allowed to use THEIR computers, and looked at us as if we were crazy to ask. We were able to get some needed information out of him, and left the office. Whew, that was weird - and firmly established Scooter in the control freak category.

The next day we were leaving the boat in the marina for a couple of days as we had business elsewhere. We made sure to communicate this to Bruno and the other employees (Scooter was not in the office at the time we worked all this out). The marina said it would be no problem, and we'd keep the end tie while we were gone, though we may have to move when we get back to a smaller end tie (which we fully understand), so all was well - no problem at all. We try hard to be reasonable, and don't mind moving around as needed to maximize available space, though obviously there's nothing we can do when we aren't going to be here. And again, we did our due diligence to communicate this with the marina.

Can you see where this is going?

So there we are, heading out of town for a couple of days, and the phone rings. It's Scooter. Here's more or less the way the conversation went:

Scooter: We have some boats coming in and we need you to move your boat.

Us: OK, Bruno mentioned we may have to move, but we are going to be out of town until tomorrow, and Bruno said we'd be fine until we got back.

Scooter: Well that puts us in a bind, because we need that end tie for another boat.

Us: I understand, but we already worked this out with Bruno, and anyway we are already on our way out of town.

Scooter: Have you already left? Can you move the boat anyway? We need you to move to the public dock.

Us: As I said, we are already on our way out of town. As in, driving in the car.

Scooter: Well this is a huge problem. We need that end tie for another boat. When are you going to be back?

[At this point we are resisting the urge to tell Scooter to just put the other boat at the public dock - it's larger than this end tie anyway, and it costs the same!]

Us: We'll be back tomorrow afternoon.

Scooter: Well “afternoon” isn't very specific. That could mean noon or it could be five. When are you going to be back? This is a huge problem, we have all these boats coming in...

Us: OK, we'll be back by 3pm.

Scooter: Can you get back earlier? We're really in a bind here. We have all these boats coming in and we need to put them somewhere. I guess we'll just have tell them to anchor out somewhere until you get back. You've put us in a real predicament here.

Oh brother! Really? The entire management of the harbor revolves around our 39 foot transient catamaran? This is insane. We've done all that we can, we communicated up front that we'd be gone, we said we'd be happy to move (even though we didn't want to go back to the public dock). Seriously, what more can we do?

The next morning, the phone rings. Oh great, we think, as we notice the caller ID number - it's the harbormasters office. With a sigh of relief from our end, it turns out to be Bruno on the other end. The conversation goes something like this:

Bruno: We have some boats coming in, and were wondering when you'd be back.

Us: This afternoon ... [Then remembering the previous days conversation, quickly add] … We'll be back by 3pm, probably sooner.

Bruno: Oh, that's no problem at all. We'll work it out when you get here.

Us: The minute we get back, we'll come straight in to the office.

Bruno: OK, really, it's no problem and no hurry. I'll figure out where to put everyone.

Wow, what a difference compared to the conversation with Scooter.

Later that afternoon we get back, and head into the office. Once again, we are fortunate Bruno is the one at the counter. He's already got things all worked out, and figured out where to put all the boats. And, he tells us, we won't have to move - even though we really didn't mind if that's what it would take (and again, even though we didn't want to have to go back to the public dock).

See, Bruno is a problem solver. A nice and accommodating guy, willing to work with what's available and find a solution, even if it's hard. Bruno is the sort of person that makes you want to come back to a port of call, makes you feel welcome and is truly happy if you are happy. Scooter - not so much.

So that's the tale, and again - any resemblance to real persons, whether living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

2010-09-18

"The Birds" in San Luis Obispo Bay

A few notes about our passage - we are in San Luis Obispo Bay, anchored off Avila Beach after an overnight motor from Monterey on Thursday evening. It was pretty choppy, and for a period of about 5 hours as we went around Point Sur, winds were blowing 30-40kts and gusting to the mid 40s, but at least the winds were behind us, which makes it much more comfortable, even in those speeds. It was also foggy and wet the entire night - after about 9pm could no longer see any lights ashore. The moon, and one planet, attempted to make appearances overnight, but all you could see was a dim glow at best.

Night passages are always interesting. Unlike the cold and dampness, watching phosphorescence in the boat's wake never gets old.

At around 4AM, I (Scott) relieved Chris and Jacob on watch. By now the winds had calmed, but it was still extremely foggy and wet and my glasses were covered with water droplets so I couldn't see anything. I needed to make a minor course adjustment to bring us closer to San Luis Obispo Bay, but clear of all the rocks. Our chartplotter doesn't allow you to move an active waypoint - no problem, I'll just stop the active route and handsteer while I make the adjustment on the chartplotter. So I push STANDBY on the autopilot and am trying to read the little 7" chartplotter screen, dimmed for night vision, through wet glasses. Now this is something you probably have to experience to really understand, but when you are motoring at night with no sails up, in the fog, in choppy seas, with calm winds, you can't feel which direction you are headed - you absolutely have to use instruments - just like a pilot flying through clouds. It's worse at 4AM when tired after not having enough sleep. Yes, I should have pushed the AUTO button, but hey I know how to steer the boat, so no big deal, right? So no problem, I finally get the chartplotter all setup, but then notice things are upside down on the screen. A quick glance at the compass verifies that we are now heading north instead of south. With no sensation of turning, and no reference outside the boat, without realizing it I had completely turned the boat around within a period of less than one minute. In the choppy seas, I didn't even feel the boat turn. Annoyed with myself, but no problem, I just steered us back on course. Now that we were headed back in the right direction, I once again activated the route on the chartplotter, which controls the autopilot in TRACK mode. And what happens? Now the autopilot turns the boat 180 degrees, heading us back north again!! Dang it! It was then that I remembered an annoying feature of our chartplotter. When you activate a route, instead of taking you to the next logical waypoint in the general direction you want to go, it steers you to the start of the route - in our case, back to Monterey. After steering us once again on course, activating just the portion of the route needed, and then getting a towel to clear off my glasses so I could actually see, the rest of my watch went without any issue. I bet the chartplotter on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise never did that - and would you feel a turn like that under warp drive? (Sean, this bit is for you).

Right outside San Luis Obispo Bay we went through some kelp and got to see a ton of neat jellyfish. So far, jellyfish seem to figure prominently in our trip!

We found a good spot to anchor right off Avila Beach in 25' of water, and a nice wifi connection thanks to Cal Poly!

In the afternoon. it suddenly sounded like we were in the middle of a packed concert hall, with everyone applauding. We rushed outside to see the boat literally surrounded by birds! There were thousands and thousands of them - in the water all around the boat, and flying in circles around us. We've never seen anything like it before!

As far as we can tell, these are Shearwaters - a bird species none of us were familiar with by name though we've seen lots of these particular birds as we've come down the coast. There were a few Sea Gulls and Pelicans getting in on the action too, along with one Seal.

Here's an excerpt of the video - the whole 6 minute clip will have to wait... [UPDATE: full video clip is viewable here].



This evening we head off around Point Conception towards Ventura.

2010-09-17

Tenth Street Ceramics


As mentioned a few days ago, we did a ceramics painting session at Tenth Street Ceramics in Monterey, which is owned by cousin Mariko.

Mariko's studio is really fun. In addition to selling her own ceramic creations, jewelry, and artwork, you can paint your own design on any of hundreds of different unfinished ceramic pieces. Paint your own plates, cups, mugs, saucers, pitchers, salt+pepper shakers - or decorations like cats, dogs, whales, turtles, tugboats, surfboards, candle holders - pretty much anything you can think of.

The whole casting process is really interesting and educational. It starts with gypsum molds, which are filled with a liquid clay solution called "clay slip". As the mold absorbs moisture out of the solution, a wall of clay starts to build up along the edge of the mold. After the wall is thick enough, the mold is emptied of any remaining liquid solution - leaving just a wall of clay along the inside walls of the mold. Once the wall of clay has dried enough, the mold is opened, and the piece removed. After cleaning any seams and extra clay off, the piece is fired in the kiln and a few days later is then ready for painting.

To paint a piece of your choosing with your own design just come on in to the studio, pick whatever unfinished piece suits you, sit down at a table, and paint it! The only thing you have to provide is the creativity to paint whatever design you want. When your are all done, the piece is glazed and fired in the studio's kiln. After a few days, return to pick up your creation! It's that easy - and a lot of fun.

Each of us picked a piece and painted it, and had a great time. Jacob picked a tugboat, Chris a fish dish, and Scott a mug. They all turned out great and we'll have the pieces with us as we continue our travels, which will be a fun reminder of our visit to Monterey!


Tenth Street Ceramics
1271 Tenth Street
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-0124


2010-09-16

Trip to Monterey Aquarium

On Wednesday we took a trip to the Monterey Aquarium and had an enjoyable time. Posting video will have to wait until we have more consistent access to internet, but here's a few pictures until then, though low res taken with the video cam, so not the best quality...

[UPDATE: The video is here].









2010-09-15

Monterey bay has been invaded!


Monterey bay has been invaded by millions of jellyfish. You can't look in the water without seeing dozens to hundreds of them all around - there's not one bit of water near the marina that isn't swarming with them.

Our family who live here say they have never seen this before, and it is pretty amazing and crazy. Wouldn't want to go swimming in this water, you'd get stung constantly!

We went through a school of a different sort of jellyfish between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz for a mile or two.

Not sure what's going on, but it sure seems like they are taking over Monterey Bay!


Click here to buy Jane'O merchandise