It was a beautiful breezy day trailer-sailing in my... drive-way! The new owner of my Snipe arrived today so I showed him the "ropes." The wind was beam-to and quite gusty so the main wasn't up for long. I set the Snipe up last night and everything was there, no missing pieces. I threw on a brand new tire on the trailer I've been meaning to do since last fall. The owner drove it away with his Ford ten-ton "dualy". A little overkill, to say the least, but hey....we are in Colorado man!
Looks like our sailig club has nailed down the date to rally across to Catalina Island. The members from the Boulder Valley Sailing Club established August 13-17 as the best time for most of the members to participate. After some research, Marina Sailing and Blue Pacific out of Marina del Rey are the two likely candidates to charter from. They seem to have the largest fleets so everyone has a few boats to choose from. And, conveniently, MDR is only 10-15 minutes from LAX. Those who are driving, both charter companies have free parking for the duration of the trip. It is a good time for the memebers that haven't officially documented their sea time do so ASAP so they can reserve a boat and schedule a "check-out" time prior to departure, be it the morning of, or the day/ week before setting sail. Members holding a ASA 104 certification and a "sufficient" sailing resume shouldn't have a problem reserving a boat and completing a quick 30 minute checkout (included in the charter package) the morning of the charter. Those who are relying on their sailing resume alone may have to complete a one, two or three hour check-out/ test sail and will have to schedule that time separate from the charter time with an additional fee (usually $75/hour). Steadfast is planning to sail down to the northern channel islands in early August and, possibly, rendezvousing with the club boats prior to crossing San Pedro channel. If the latter plan doesn't work we might meet the fleet in Avalon or Two Harbors. It is still a little early to tell. Either way we plan on cruising the Channel Islands in August and September. So, book your spot on Steadfast quickly, before all the "seats" are taken ;)
I hosted "cat chat" yesterday. "Cat chat" is a group of BVSPS members interested in bareboat sailing to Catalina Island this summer.
Jack London Square, Oakland, California, April 12-15, 2012. Where will YOU be?
Selling my Snipe will make it the third sailboat I have sold in Colorado. The first was "BlueSky", a light blue-hulled Daysailor. The Daysailor was purchased in Santa Cruz but originated from Massachusets and now comfortably resides in San Luis Obispo with my worthy brother-in-law, Todd. Wow, counting Boulder, CO, that boat and trailer saw over 5,600 miles of pure American asphalt (math courtesy of Google Maps). It didn't take long to fill the Daysailor's shoes. I was soon in Long Beach, CA hitching up a Catalina Capri 22 and trailer to the tail of a suburban and driving it back to Boulder. Not two years later I was hauling "Rollercoaster", the Capri 22, up I-70 towards Dillion lake and the new owner. The Snipe was and still is a great boat. After finding out my Grandad owned one when he was a young lad made sailing the boat twice as cool. My piano tuner has had his eye on the Snipe for the last two or three visits. It was music to his ears last week when I offered to sell it to him. I will miss it as I have missed the Daysailor and the Capri but it is tough to see these boats not being used all summer. The sailng season in Colorado begins and ends much like California's, May 1st thru November 1st and I don't trailer the boats out west. We have enough boats out there as it is ;)
[Excerpts from "One Hand for the Lifeline", Keith's safety article in the February issue of the BVSPS newsletter]
As I pulled myself up by the aluminum toe-rail of the Santa Cruz 27, dripping of saltwater, I knew I had just escaped a worse fate. My crew, noting the broken lifeline dangling in the water, agreed. That was six months ago when I fell overboard while day-sailing on the Monterey Bay. It is a graceless but valuable tale I will awkwardly recount because it reiterates the extreme importance of safe hardware aboard sailing vessels. I was reminded the hard way.
We were wrapping up our day on the bay. The wind was shifting from the strong north-westerlies to the lighter easterlies. Anxious to get our borrowed boat back to the marina I decided to change sails, grabbing the 150% genoa from below and scrambled up the windward deck towards the bow. At that moment, an undetected right-angled wave slapped the starboard side of our hull knocking me slightly to port. I quickly countered, shifting my weight to the right using the starboard’s vinyl-coated lifeline to brace my leg. But the lifeline, rated with an average breaking strength of 3700 pounds, instantly snapped in half. A split second later I found myself hanging on the toe-rail wetting my pants in more ways than one.
The wire or wires that encircle sailing vessels is known, appropriately, as lifelines. They are held up by poles referred to as stanchions. Many lifelines are made of vinyl coated stainless steel wire. Over the years sailors have been swapping the plastic coated lifelines with bare wire. In fact the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and the Offshore Racing Committee (ORC) prohibits the use of coated wire. Why? Hidden moisture trapped within hairline cracks or around the terminus of the vinyl coating quickly corrodes the stainless steel wire beneath. It isn’t long before the lifeline’s breaking strength is severely compromised, creating a great risk to anyone using it. Replacing your old vinyl-coated wire every couple years is an option . On the other hand, air can circulate thru bare stainless steel wire, drying out the moisture before corrosion occurs. In addition, bare wire can be inspected over its entire length and if corrosion is found the problem can be addressed immediately. What about the comfort level of bare SS wire? Over the last decade I have replaced all my lifelines with oversized, non-coated 1X19 stainless steel wire and I’ve never had any complaints. What about potential “meat-hooks”…those pesky wire strands that have failed and are sticking up, waiting to tear a hole in your hand? One broken little wire is the first sign of certain failure. Immediately wrap sail tape around the “meat-hook” and plan to replace that section of wire ASAP. If you want to spare the cost of a professional rigger look into Suncor's Quick Attach Lifeline Kits. Fittings are precision machined from 316 stainless steel and are certified with a breaking strength greater than the wire itself. You can enjoy a safe lifeline in minutes. The kit is available in white vinyl-coated or polished 1x19 uncoated SS wire. I highly recommend the later. Once you have swapped out your old, coated wire, go sailing in comfort knowing you can safely have one hand for the lifeline and one for yourself. My advice regarding worn, chafed, cracked or corroded lifelines on charter boats…don’t use them.
This Thursday I'm presenting "Capt. Keith's Sailing Guide to Santa Catalina Island" to the Boulder Valley Sailing Club. The 45 minute program will feature an overview of the Southern California climate, common sailing routes, appropriate charts, local commercial traffic, mooring tips, recreational activities and natural life found on the island.
As Steadfast rests over the winter season I contemplate the growing list of "to-do's"! Steadfast will see some wet winter days in the North Bay so I'm crossing my fingers she'll be dry inside come Spring. If not, my "to-do" list might get depressingly longer. My plan is to take advantage of her high and dry disposition and focus on projects "below the water line" such as replacing/repairing thru-hulls I found to be less than confident last summer. An added coat of bottom paint never hurts...if you don't count purchasing the 150 dollar gallon of paint. Replacing the handfull of zincs found on the hull, shaft and rudder also made the "to-do's" short list. Among the possible "can-o-worm" projects include the speed transducer and the wind speed/direction electronics. Neither were operable over the summer and I don't know why. Among the bigger "to-do's" and possibly the grandaddy of unwanted surprises is replacing one or both of the fuel tanks. Both tanks have corroded, mostly on the top surface where moisture had settled over the years. I don't have a good idea of the damage nor the extent of work required to remove them. I suspect hanging upside down in a dark and cramped bilge hole will only enlighten me. A most common, self-endowed practise among sailors young and old. The list goes on. Top sides, I'm looking to replace a questionable backstay and repair a section of the port cap rail. The cap rail was the victim of numerous shock loads by a preventer and full main while motorsailing in a light following breeze and a wallowing sea. The later didn't do my brother-in-law's stomach any good either. I tried not to end on a "sour" note.... ;)
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA certified sailing instructor.