2016-07-26

Cruising to the Schooner Zodiac

We have been working as crew on the Schooner Zodiac, a tall ship with a home port in Bellingham, Washington. For a week, it has been in Seattle at Lake Union, going out for day sails and charters. On Tuesday, we were due to staff the deck tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We decided we would take Fantasia down to Zodiac and take some of the crew for a sail on a smaller boat after our shift was done.

We headed out under motor, going through the Montlake Cut, under the Montlake, University, and Ship Canal bridges. We tied up next to Zodiac and headed over to the 160' schooner.

After our shift was done, we took a couple of the Zodiac crew for a short sail on Lake Union. The winds were light to non-existant at the start, but then picked up for a nice sail. We dropped the Zodiac crew, then motored back to our dock.


Sail track for the day.

2016-07-19

Sail Tracks Using Garmin Chart Plotter

We went out for an evening sail with a co-worker of Sandi's. After getting under sail, we turned on our new Garmin 54dv chart plotter, which we got on sale online at West Marine. The wind was blowing East across the lake, allowing us to run both up and down the lake. We briefly chased another Catalina 22, sail number 15705, down the lake, but could not catch it.

The Garmin chart plotter recorded the track of where we went. We topped out at about 5 knots toward the end of the sail.
July 19th, 2016 Sail Track

We also tried out the transducer, a sonar emitter that came with the plotter. Greg had made a temporary frame to try it out of a 2x4 and hung over the transom of the boat. This was very cool to watch the lake bottom as we traveled.

We also got the chart plotter talking to the Standard Horizon VHF radio as a test. The VHF radio is able to retrieve the latitude and longitude from the chart plotter and broadcast that to other marine traffic using DSC (Digital Selective Calling). It is also able to retrieve that same information from other marine traffic and show them on the chart plotter. The combination of the chart plotter and the VHF is a safety issue; if the panic button on the VHF is pressed, it not only broadcasts a mayday with the MMSI of the vessel in trouble, but also the location of where the vessel is.

To get the sail track as an image, the track is downloaded onto a mini-SD card. That card is brought home and read into the Garmin Basecamp program. Basecamp then transfers the track to Google Earth. That map is then copied and pasted into Windows Paint, where it can be saved as a jpeg. That image is then uploaded here.

2016-07-10

Let There Be Light

We worked toward finishing our DC panel wiring job. The though-deck connector got wired up.

We launched smoothly and motored for a bit down-lake, passing the barges that are carrying the disassembled old 520 bridge North for demolition. Then we raised sail.

As we were under sail, the connectors were put on the ends of the wires and connected to the fuse panel. Turned on the switches, and there was light and it was good! All that is left is to dress the wires so they are not hanging loose, and connect the VHF radio.

The new anchor light, steaming light, and deck light all worked. After docking, we added the navigation lights connection. All worked just like they were supposed to. All of the lights except the navigation lights are LED, so have minimal draw on the battery. We will replace those bulbs at a later point, so that we are all LED.

The sailing went smoothly. We found a few more rigging issues. We had added the spinnaker sheets, but, as usual, they were not rigged outside everything else. We did not raise the spinnaker, but we wanted them in place, if for no other reason than to get them out of the cabin. We got those routed correctly.

Our boat is running very nicely. We pulled in, and docked. Another nice day on the water.

2016-07-06

First Sail Doctrine

We went out for our first sail of the season. Since we had disconnected all of our rigging to work on the mast, it took a while to get it all straightened out. A sail boat is a complicated machine. If any piece is out of place, it can jam up the works. We found that our jib sheets were not threaded through the blocks. We found halyards that were threaded on the wrong side of the spreaders. We are missing a knob that goes on the sail track stop (temporarily fixed with a nut and some anti-chafing tape). And other miscellaneous problems.

We were also missing the battens for the mainsail. After some running around, they were located. Do not lose your battens, as you cannot sail without them!

After finally getting all the pieces in place, we were ready to test the machine. We untied and launched, motoring out of the dock, dropped keel, and raised sails. Greg turned to Sandi and said, "Now do you remember why we did all this work?" It was magical being under sail for the first time this season.

Everything went smoothly as we sailed out on Lake Washington. We tacked, ran, and jibed very smoothly.

Sandi is having to learn how to read the wind. We have the new windex on the top of the mast, which makes reading the wind direction much easier than the yarn we had before. It does, however, have a disadvantage over the yarn, in that it does not give an indication of the strength of the wind. We had removed the yarn, but may put it back on for that purpose.

During the off-season, we had some work done on the mainsail at North Sails Seattle. They repaired a rip, and serviced the sail. While they were at it, they added new leech and luff tell-tales. Sandi is having to learn how to use them to trim the sail correctly.

After a couple of hours on the lake, at sunset we pulled back in without a problem, docked, tied up. Greg and Sandi worked on a few more things until it got too dark, such as adding the quick release to the back stay. Sandi accidentally tossing a screwdriver in the water. Greg managed to fish it out with a magnet on a line the next day.

Our leak from the volcano is not being a problem. We are getting maybe an ounce a day seeping through the connection. We will just mop up the water each time we are out, and wait until we are pulled out to replace the hardware. We need to do a bunch of work on the keel in the next off-season.

All in all, a great first sail of the season.