We are rootless again and it feels so very, very good.
Plans include a month or so cruising before a major (planned this time) haul out including pulling out the mast.
"I had grown accustomed to life being interesting and adventure ridden and, rather childishly, I refused to believe that this must necessarily come to an end and that the rest of my life should be a sort of penance for all the reckless, irresponsible, and immensely fun things I'd done before."
"I was simply restless, quite likely because of a dissatisfaction with the recent trajectory of my life, and if there is a better, more compelling reason for dropping everything and moving to the end of the world, I know not what it is."Love it.
Recently we’ve had another set of meetings with people we met via our blog or theirs.
We had Carol & Lance from SV Syrah over for drinks while in Victoria as they were making plans to move their new boat.
While at the Seattle Yacht Club in Lake Union, Bob & Jane from SV Eolian (and also the great site Small Boat Projects) came over with a bottle in hand for a session where we tried to get stories out of them and Bob managed to always turn the tables and get us yammering on again. Next time, you’re in trouble Bob!
And finally, we hung out with Aaron & Nicole, some likeminded sailors on the similar sized yet opposite-to-us boat SV Bella Star who very kindly helped us out with a bottle of home brew that my brother gave us (in this case, you’re in trouble Josh!).
Cheers to new friends and to fun people aboard ships passing in the night!
REMEMBER HAUL OUT MONDAY?
This post refers to events of a little over two weeks ago at the beginning of our Puget Sound trip. Uninterested in beating in high winds, our first day of our winter sail was spent staying at the dock in Victoria. On the second day we crossed to Port Angeles on a gorgeous sail that turned into a completely flat calm stretch right around Port Angeles. Nothing like bobbing around in zero wind during a gale warning. We cleared customs in Port Angeles where they took our Kirkland brand Costco lamb from Australia (sigh) but then, in a stroke of customs good fortune, the extremely nice agent went to his car, called his produce specialist, OKd the lamb and ran back down to the fuel dock before we left to return that expensive piece of meat to us.
We continued on to Port Townsend and shortly after leaving we were able to sail again. Although we were beating into the wind, we sailed all of the way onto our anchor just off the town intending to move South in the morning.
That is the good news. The bad news is that during the sail, our bilge pump went off again, for the same reason as before. The damn hose clamp slipped again. Yes, we are replacing both the rubber boots and all 4 hose clamps ASAP. We emptied the entire starboard lazarette, Carol climbed inside and I accessed the engine from the interior. We did the same thorough, repeated flushing of the coolant system, and replaced the heat exchanger with the new one just in case, all while bobbing around at anchor.
It turns out that we are quite good at those tasks now and although we were exhausted from a 12 hour day of sailing we took the time after flushing, while we were carefully cleaning up any coolant and sea water residue, to do a thorough engine check.
We found white spots in the transmission oil. White spots and milky oil = water in the transmission. Remember that we have a sail drive? Water of any quantity is salt water in our configuration and it is coming into the transmission from where the prop attaches to the transmission – 4 feet underwater. We also found a crack in the blade of the relatively new Volvo impeller (thank you Speed Seal for an easy check) and replaced it with a Johnson which we had previously used and which had lasted several years.
Thankfully Port Townsend is a boating mecca and within 24 hours we had consulted a Volvo mechanic, within 48 hours had hauled the boat out of the water, and before the 4th day was over we had removed and replaced the two seals that allow the shaft to turn the prop without allowing oil out or sea water in (more on this process in another post) and were back in the water. 5 days lost from our trip (whine, whine) but it could have been a month or longer, if we could even access the parts in a remote location.
Below you can see the housing for the two rubber seals (viewing the inner seal) and the shaft to which the prop attaches and which the seals allow to turn freely.
My advice or “how I screwed up”: Check and replace the seals on the shaft of your sail drive at the regularly scheduled interval. Keep all solvents away from the seals during haul outs. We found our problem very early because of regular engine checks so we had only a little water which had entered relatively recently into the sail drive. For those reasons, our transmission is fine. I had confused the two types of sail drive seals (the one that mates the drive to the hull and the one around the shaft) in discussion with others and had managed to forget the shaft seals in our regular maintenance list.
Following (vaguely) our hurricane like naming system, this year’s snowman is Downtown Seattle. The first snowman we didn’t make, we both saw this snowball light sculpture at the Space Needle and chose it. Previous years snowmen here.
Four years ago this month we sailed Estrellita out of Lake Union for parts North.
For those not familiar with Seattle geography, the city is bordered by both saltwater and freshwater. The Puget Sound (the big dip in the state of WA) is saltwater and tidal, but there is a cut connecting the Puget Sound to Lake Union (centered in the Waggoner 2007 map below) and beyond Lake Union to Lake Washington. To get into Lake Union you have to pass through 4 bridges, 3 of which are too short for our mast and must be opened for us to transit. You also pass through one set of locks which control the water level in the lake and separate the fresh and salt water.
After one bridge, we entered the small locks (there are two) side by side, and it was full of boats. Rather than tying to the wall we had to squeeze into a spot not much wider than our boat and tie to another boat (see boat on our left in first photo). While the locks fill and empty there is a bit of turbulence and jostling and then we had to squeeze out of the locks going first without crushing ourselves into the wall or the other boat. Our stanchion and his rub rail brushed against each other with no damage (whew). I’m on the foredeck and Carol is driving.
After the locks we passed through 2 more draw bridges and one “tall enough” bridge into Lake Union but we were heading to the fancy schmancy Seattle Yacht Club and so we continued on through another tall bridge (I-5) and another draw bridge into Portage Bay. We posted the video yesterday but this is what it looks like from the helm to aim your mast at the gap in the draw bridge.
Leaving the SYC for a cold weather NYE viewing of the fireworks at the Space Needle: