Friday, December 31, 2010

#1 or #2?

We are back! It is sooo good to be back on the boat. The holiday was nice but 2 weeks is a long time to leave the old girl. It rained a lot while we were gone and all the moisture and humidity in combination with a cold, closed up boat did not make a fresh boat for us when we came home. It was moldy and damp with a special musty smell that was not pleasant to say the least. We spent the day tidying up the mess and doing the 2 week old dishes that we left in haste. Halfway threw the day M was in the head cleaning and must have hit a tipping point. We decided we were tired of our toilet spraying back and bought a new one. The be fair, the old toilet was like a Lexus, an old broken down Lexus. It had potential to be rebuilt and brought back to life like a old GTO but neither of us were going to do it. SO- in proper American fashion we threw it away and got a new one. The solid cast bronze toilet effortlessly glided into the dumpster and like that all our crappy problems were over. (pun intended) We went to the local marine hardware store and bought the cheapest, smallest toilet you can get. It might only last a year but at least it will be a year without wee-water splash back when I flush.


Before

After

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in MARYLAND

Maryland is almost as cold as Ohio with less snow but just as much uncomfortable weather. Aside from the almost constant unconformable feeling outside and unnatural dryness that can only be caused by artificial air conditioning inside, it was a very nice trip. There was a lot of family time and catching up with old friends that I haven't seen in too long. M and I both developed bad head colds while we were there so we laid kinda low. However, we did go downtown Annapolis a number of times to take in the town. I grew up in this area and always feel a little nostalgic, almost wanting to move back- then I remember how uncomfortable I am at that moment and i'm glad I don't live there. Annapolis will always have a special place for me though. The town is very connected to the water and the boating community is small and friendly. There are bars on every corner and a mast every direction you look. Don't be fooled though, in the middle of summer the power boats take over the harbor but every good place must have a downside I guess. The waterways of the Chesapeake lend themselves to infinite places to anchor but don't expect to land your dinghy many places as most of the waterfront is privately owned by residents. There are dinghy docks but you have to know where they are ahead of time since almost everyone living on the water has a private pier also... must be nice. Anyway, it was a good trip but we were ready to get back to San Diego and back to our Ellen Louise.

View of Downtown Annapolis from Eastport

Star on my uncle's fire truck (yes he has a fire truck, no he is not a fire fighter)

Fire at my parent's house

Local watering hole, great Crabcakes!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Can you guess what this is? Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

OHIO

Ohio: It is cold, it is gray, and there are no masts to be found for 100 miles. We are land locked in the Midwest celebrating Christmas with M's family. It is nice to sit on a couch and relax but I could do without the cold dreary grayness outside. Ohio isn't all bad though, it is very beautiful in it's own way AND Lehman's is here. For anyone who doesn't know about this place, it is basically an old fashion goods store specializing in non-electric goods to serve the local Amish/Mennonite communities. They have a website (http://www.lehmans.com) and you would be very surprised how much the cruising community has in common with the Amish community. We bought a couple new oil lamps and wicks for a third the price that you buy them in any marine Chandlery. Here are some photos for your non-marine related enjoyment. Maryland is next week...it is cold there too...yay.

Like I said, it is gray

 Horse


and Buggy


Lehmans, check it out sometime

Neat old tractor, "starts on gas, runs on anything"

These signs are everywhere

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Half Pint of Rum Race: Results

So Friday night before the race we were trying to finish some last minute tasks, one of which was to adjust the valves on the diesel. The engine has been making a ticking noise which we assumed was just an easy valve adjustment. Everything went as planned and we had a quiet night before the race. Just to be safe we had our crew show up for dock call at 9am Saturday morning even though the start wasn't until noon. At 8:30 M decided to drill holes in our deck for new downhaul leads. Then at 8:45 he decided to go up the mast to finish up some other things. Let's just say it was a busy morning.

We left the dock promptly at 9:27 (half hour behind schedule) and motored for about 15 minutes when the diesel decided it was time to quit. We ended up sailing downwind in 0-5 knots with the spinnaker up for 7 miles. It took hours. By the time we got to the start everyone had already had a few beers and we were falling a little behind schedule. At 11:45 we started to get worried about not making it to the start but since everyone was already feeling a bit tipsy I forced M to make us bacon and eggs. (He loves me)

We showed up in the anchorage right at noon and M was in the kayak before we even set the anchor. He rowed to shore just in time for the skippers meeting and to taste the rum. A line was drawn in the sand and a gun when off. Everyone on shore ran to the water to get back to their boats as quickly as possible.

The second M touched the hull our anchor came up and the sails were set. It was one of the most beautiful moments on the bay I have witnessed. Since this race is sponsored by the San Diego Ancient Mariners Sailing Society it is only open to boats of classic build and design, ie beautiful old wooden sailboats.

The wind was light and shifty out of the Northwest all day. It was an upwind beat the whole race but it didn't ruin our fun. The sun was out and it was a warm clear day. After a couple hours tacking upwind, we approached the finish. When we were close to the finish line, M got back into the kayak and we catapulted him towards the beach. He got there in record time and slammed back his tot of rum. We finished 6th out of 10 boats in our class. Our elapsed time was 2 hours 18 minutes and 10 seconds. Not a great finish but not last either. Below are some photos from the race courtesy of Diane Keifer.


Skippers Meeting on the beach, tasting the rum for quality
Putting up sail and lifting anchor 
                          
Sailing with industrial South Bay in the background

Beautiful day in San Diego
Raft up after the race for the results and to finish drinking the entry fees




Friday, December 10, 2010

Half Pint o' Rum Race: A drinking race with a sailing problem

This is it, it is finally here, we have reached goal 2. The Half pint of rum race is an epic trial of strength, swimming, sailing, and drinking. All things I love.

Our first goal was to refinish the mast before the Ancient Mariners Yesteryear regatta. We met that goal and finished 37th out of 47 boats. Not a great finish but it was the first race on the boat. Let's just say there were a lot of kinks to work out. Goal number two was to haul the boat and paint the bottom before the Half Pint O' Rum race. Well, as you know, we hauled the boat and have reached the second marker.

We have had the boat at the dock where I work all week in preparations for the race. We got a new coat of varnish on the cabin sides on Sunday because everyone knows that looking sharp makes you go faster. The next step was to address the weight. We live aboard and have literally everything we own on board. No storage units, no cars, it is all there. If you came on our boat you would be surprised by what little possessions I own. None the less, we have a lot more than you would find on a racing boat. So, I have been clearing out the boat all week to make it lighter and thus go faster. This will serve two purposes. One: it will make us lighter and faster obviously. But more importantly, Two: it gives us a chance to deep clean and purge things that we don't need. We really don't ever have a chance to do this so it feels good to take everything out and reevaluate what we actually need. (My shoes are staying by the way)

So, the race is tomorrow. The dock call is at 9am. We will be making breakfast on the boat and anchoring near the start in South Bay. Excerpt from the Sailing Instructions:


The race begins off the beach southeast of the Naval Sailing Club along the bay side of the Silver Strand in South Bay.  An entry fee is a fifth of quality rum that is deposited into the AMSS keg. This is the only race of the year where at yacht’s handicap may depend on the quantity and quality of the entry fee. Also, the Race Committee has great latitude in assessing penalties as well as time awards for 
exceptional seamanship or costumes. The race is followed by a raft-up in La Playa where crews reflect on the race (tell lies), awards are given, and the remainder of rum in the keg disappears into some of the finest rum drinks to be found.  

Traditional Format (Beach Start) - Racing and Cruising Classes 
Boats in the Traditional format classes anchor off the beach with sails down. The Owner, or pre- approved designate, rows or swims ashore for the skipper’s meeting held on the beach.  

At this time the entry fee is inspected and deposited into the keg and the Sailing Instructions are reviewed. The Traditional Format start will be signified by a long single blast at which time skippers row/swim out to their boat. Only when he/she has made contact with the yacht can the crew begin to hoist sail and sail off anchor (no motors).  After sailing the course, the finish is on the sandy beach adjacent to the Shelter Island launching ramp, across the street from Silvergate YC.  A member of the crew must row or swim ashore with his/her own cup, find the Race Committee and drink a tot of rum.  Upon finishing the rum, the Race Committee records the yacht’s finish time.   

 I will post pictures and post race comments after the race. Wish me luck!

"The only way to drink all day is to start in the morning."


Monday, December 6, 2010

Hot Rum III

The final Hot Rum race was this past Saturday. It was a nice warm day for December in San Diego, sun was out, wind was off. The tide was ripping out at 3 knots and the breeze was reading 0.03- not ideal conditions for sail boat racing. The breeze came up to about 1-5 knots and the race committee (RC) started the race. Just about every one was over early due to the no wind and strong current and we ended up floating backwards for about half hour. Not the best start but we powered through. We sailed fast and caught up to the pack just in time for the wind to die again. We had another intense hour of extreme floating and beer drinking then the RC finally abandoned the race.

As we took down the sails and motored back towards the harbor it was a little bittersweet. Although we were probably not going to win, and the wind was forecasted to go into a negative spiraling vortex of nothingness, it was the last race of the Hot Rum and that means the year is almost over. Every month we get closer to our deadline reminds me how much work we still have to do.
A slow day of ocean racing
(Thanks to Dennis St. Onge for the shot. www.da-woody.com)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hot Rum Race Series

Although cruising is the ultimate goal, Matt and I also are pretty into sailboat racing. If you have read the 'About Us' section then you know that Matt and I actually met at the Hot Rum II after race party a couple years ago. The Hot Rum races have been a tradition in San Diego for many years... I don't know how many years or even how and why it started but I do know that it is a pretty sweet race and they serve hot buttered rum at the after-party which is reason enough for me to do the race. There are always 3 races in the series and are in November and December.

This year Matt and I were honored to be part of the race crew for the Cimarron, the fastest, sweetest, most awesome Ericson 35 in all of the world (in my humble opinion). The Cimarron is not only fast but she also knows how to have a good time while going around the race course. SO, in honor of the best race crew I have ever had the fortune to be a part of and also in honor of Matt and my 2 year anniversary, here are a few photos of the Cimarron from the first two Hot Rum races. Enjoy.

Hot Rum I: Light wind, variable, with gusts up to 20 knots. Good day of sailing however there was some minor confusion at the start and it turned out we were over early. Race 1: OCS (16 points)

Hot Rum I: Before the start 


Hot Rum I: Beautiful day, fluky winds, sunny and warm


Hot Rum I: Great day of sailing

Hot Rum II: Windy, gusts to 25, steady wind. Very fun day of sailing but not ideal picnic weather. It was wet. Did I mention it rained all day? Race 2: 4th in class out of 17

Hot Rum II: Best day of sailing in SD in months

Perfect wind conditions...not perfect wetness


Hot Rum II: The Cimarron in yellow perfectly trimmed going upwind


Hot Rum II: The race committee decided to change the race to a bay race rather than the normal ocean race. It made mark roundings interesting.
Upcoming Race calendar:
December 4th: Hot Rum III on the Cimarron
December 11th: Half Pint O' Rum on Ellen Louise