CHAPTER 3      

 

OUR FRESHMAN YEAR

 

FREEING UP WEEKEND TIME

            Once you get far enough into boating, you find yourself in a position where you still need to hold down your job and maintain a degree of normal lifestyle, but you really want more time for boating. In a job connected to the normal agreed upon times in which commercial companies do business, your time is required Monday through Friday. This leaves the weekend in your control, but people have so many things to do to maintain their lifestyle. We had been used to going grocery shopping on the weekends together, visiting various specialty markets along the way for meat, fish, and vegetables. Weekends had also been the time for doing laundry, clothes shopping and running other errands. The weeknights were for making dinner and relaxing in front of the television.

            David and Marcy were supposed to meet us at our townhouse one Saturday morning. Marcy showed up first, and then David arrived in a separate car. This was explained as they were each out running separate errands. It never occurred to us and didn't influence us right away, but eventually we realized that was something that would free up more valuable time. Gradually we started splitting tasks. We not only started splitting up tasks, but we stared performing various tasks either before or after work or during lunch on weekdays. Some of the side effects of this are fewer lunches with co-workers, which fosters a less social image. Also, each weeknight seemed to be busy with bills, laundry, or working around the house so there is less time for being a couch potato in front of the tube. It's still unavoidable, spending some weekend time working around the house or yard. The attitude that develops is to save the larger home projects for rainy days. Our house was suffering from a lack of tender loving care because of the past few drought years. Living in a townhome is better because all the exterior maintenance is taken care of by the fees paid to the homeowners association. The gardener mows the lawn, etc. I did plan to install an automatic sprinkler system in our patio yard to keep the plants alive. We just sacrificed the time to water plants and eventually they all died before the sprinkler got installed.

            Another thing that helps free up time is having a house cleaner come in on a regular basis. You begin looking at what your time is worth and feel it is worth it to pay for the service. After all, free time is a finite resource in one's life, "It is later than you think". A potential risk to this type of thinking is time spent on exercise to maintain your health. You have to work extra hard on the time budget and think of ways to find time. It helps when ice is sold in the marina, then that errand becomes part of boating, not something you have to do before you cross the marina property line. Eating habits get affected as well. You find yourself planning meals that are easier and quicker to prepare. A pizzeria started delivering to our neighborhood, so we have that once a week as the easy meal. Another side effect of less time for relaxing in front of the television occurs at work. I'm out of touch when conversations come to movies or a TV series. But once you get used to maintaining your land based lifestyle during the week, developing all of the necessary systems, it gets much easier and then there is no turning back.

 

THE DODGER

 

            As Indian summer passed and Thanksgiving approached, we began noticing more and more boats had canvas dodgers and windscreens. Winter sailing is certainly something people do on San Francisco Bay but it can be cold at times. The dodgers protect people from the cold wind and spray from the waves. The thought of Moonshot having a dodger enhanced the notion of the year round lifestyle we were enjoying in California. It took a while, but eventually we started getting serious about planning and designing a dodger for Moonshot. We began the usual way we begin design projects for the boat, by walking up and down the docks looking at other boats while studying the various things people have done. We learned it was going to cost over a thousand dollars to complete this enhancement.

            In response to my discussing our current boat project with a co-worker that owned a sailboat, I was handed a copy of an article from the current issue of Cruising World on dodger considerations. There are things you should know when retrofitting your boat with a dodger. This article not only proved to be invaluable information for the dodger design, it introduced us to Cruising World magazine. Now that we had developed clear cruising aspirations, reading through the magazine was like satisfying an addiction with a fix. The article pointed out considerations such as the type of fasteners to use, safety handles, double stitching, etc.

            Another major design consideration came to us from an advertisement in Latitude 38. Latitude 38 is a wonderful publication covering the Northern California's boating interest from local racing to cruising the west coast to Mexico and chartering in foreign ports. Between reading Latitude 38 and Cruising World, a healthy monthly "want to go cruising" habit can be supported. A specific design consideration was to be able to install a solar panel on top of the dodger. We had information on flexible solar panels obtained from the in-the-water boat show. It was a perfect location facing the sun where no one could walk on it.

            I could sense the cost of the project increasing. The maximum size panel that would fit on top of the dodger could generate up to 2.5 amps and cost around $350.00. We decided this was a project where it would be better to spend more money and get what we wanted as opposed to cutting corners and then wanting more. It seemed clear that the most straightforward approach was to install the panel while the dodger was being built. I spoke with Holly Solar Products in Petaluma regarding product availability. Could I still get the boat show price? They also provided information on fastening technology. They were very helpful every time I called, advising whether I should place snaps in the corners or install zippers on the 4' edges of the 2' x 4' panel. They recommend using zippers, because they would prevent wind from getting underneath the panel and causing vibration. It only cost an extra $12.00. That included them sewing half of the zippers to the panel.

            One of the last considerations we had to make before starting the project was to decide if we were satisfied with the main sail control lines the way they were rigged or would we want to lead any of the lines aft to be able to work them from the cockpit. If so, the dodger would have to have eyes installed to feed the lines through. We did lead one line aft as a result of this consideration, the boom vang control line. We previously made adjustments at the connection of the vang to the boom but that wouldn't be practical with the dodger. We reversed the ends of the vang, then ran the control line around a turning block mounted on deck, then through an eye into the cockpit. This required removing the cleating mechanism that was on the vang and installing a cleating device on the cabin topside close to the cockpit. This design change worked much better. If I needed additional leverage to adjust the vang in heavy wind, I could put my foot up against the cabin bulkhead.

            I was discussing the dodger work at another lunch with Dr. Rockmore. In his usual style, Joe gave me his best advice on where to go regarding a canvas maker. He said go to Bailiwick and talk to Bud Bailey. His referral was based on past experience in that Bud stood behind his work. If there was some kind of problem, Bud would take it back and fix it until his customer was satisfied. We saw a number of Bailiwick emblems on canvas work around the marina, mostly sail covers, so we gave him a call. After paying a deposit, we asked for additional references so we could look at other dodgers he had made. He gave us a few in Coyote Point, Oyster Point, and Sierra Point marinas. We took a few hours to explore. Some were old looking and some were in good shape, so we ended up thinking if we watched the project closely and made sure our acceptance criteria for paying the balance was that we had no more complaints, and then he could do a good job for us.

            To get the job started, we took the Cruising World article and the Latitude 38 advertisement to Bud to help explain what we wanted. He worked with the information to work out a final price and an implementation plan. There were phases to the project. Initially, Bud and his son would go to the marina and take boat measurements. As a general rule, they measure the height of the eyes of the husband and wife, then design the height of the dodger so when stationed at the helm, the wife can see through the windshield and the husband can see over the top. The constraint on the dodger's height is the boom clearance. We also had Bailiwick make a set of windscreens for Moonshot. The windscreen pieces would cover the stern, port and starboard sides from the aft end of the boat up to the forward end of the cockpit.

            After the measurements were taken, they farmed out the stainless tubing for the frame job to a contractor in Sausalito. The solar panel work needed to be completed and delivered to Bailiwick, and then the canvas work would be started. All of this would take three to five weeks before the initial fitting could be done. We heard from acquaintances in the marina that during the weekdays, guys had been working on our boat and parts started appearing over the course of the following weeks such as the twist fasteners and the tubing.

            The time from the beginning of the project through its completion was a period full of anticipation. Fortunately we had scheduled the work between Thanksgiving and Christmas; a time when the boating season is the slowest because of the cool weather, lack of wind, and holiday activity. We had difficulty waiting. Finally, the day arrived when we would be going to the marina to do an initial inspection. It was breath taking seeing what a difference the dodger and windscreen made to Moonshot. But we had to be realistic and scrutinize every aspect of the new canvas to determine the quality of the workmanship. There were several things that needed some reworking. Many of these having to do with the lack of symmetry between the port and starboard sides. The way the zippers fastened to the dodger from the solar panel needed reworking. We made a list and Bud dutifully worked until it was the way we wanted it.

 

Figure 12: Moonshot's new dodger with handles and solar panel

 

            I still needed to connect the solar panel to the battery system so we could keep the batteries charged with the help of Mother Nature. The panel came with an energy monitor unit. It contained a voltage meter so you could read the voltage level of the batteries. It reads out the lowest voltage, if connected to more than one battery. It also has a 5-amp diode so back charging won't occur when the sun is not shining. I located the energy manager inside the starboard lazaret on the backside of the bulkhead containing the 12-volt switch panel. I ran the wire from the underside of the dodger strapping it to the tubing frame of the dodger down to the shore power connection on the starboard side just outside the cockpit. I ran the wire through the hull using a through-hull plug; then connected it to the monitor; then to the battery system by attaching it to the common connector on the battery A/B switch. In this fashion, I could control how the panel charged the battery bank. I could charge battery 1 or battery 2 independently, or both at once. I was also able to take independent voltage readings from the batteries depending on the A/B switch setting. The panel worked well afterward, keeping a full charge on the batteries.

 

Figure 13: Moonshot's new windscreen

 

            The dodger and windscreen changed the way being on the boat felt dramatically. It obsoleted my two favorite places to sit, on the topside of the cabin on either side of the companionway entrance. But that didn't seem to matter. I could still sit further forward, in front of the dodger. Sitting forward removed me from conversations or from hearing music coming from the cockpit, unless the windshield was rolled up. In place of the two missing seats were places that were totally protected from wind and water. So you could now throw stuff like jackets behind the dodger and there was no danger of losing them. The windscreens made the cockpit feel more like a room. We could lay things like cushions, bags of potato chips, etc. in the area between the windscreens and the coamings.

            Before the canvas dodger and windscreen, we usually got drenched from waves coming over the side. Now we rarely needed our wet gear except for warmth in the colder parts of the year. Layers of wool and windbreakers work better for warmth and are more comfortable. So now, the wet gear comes out of the locker when we are guests on other boats without this marvelous enhancement. Two new places to sit with special qualities were created. The seats in the cockpit just before the companionway entrance were now protected from the wind and water and make good spots for a break from the environmental conditions. We never noticed a difference in the performance of the boat with the extra windage. One last feature worth mentioning coming from both the Cruising World article and the Pacific Coast Canvas advertisement was handles along the port and starboard sides of the top of the dodger. The handles are invaluable for boarding and moving about fore and aft. With the covers on the windshield, we now had much more privacy in the marina when we were just hanging out. All in all, it was well worth the approximate $2,000.00. It was one of those things that make you feel like "how did I ever get along without this." Marsha said it is her favorite enhancement.

 

THOUGHTS OF CHARTERING

 

            We began thinking about the idea of chartering boats to check out different kinds of boats, the kind we might buy to live aboard someday, and as a way to explore different parts of the world's cruising grounds. If we were able to get other people to tag along and join in on the vacation, then we could further reduce the overall price making the idea well worth pursuing. I thought of some of the crew we had spent 4 days on a houseboat in the Deltas with recently. I called Lewis Knapp but the idea didn't quite fit into their plans at the time. Having made no more progress, I left for Chicago to attend a conference. I ran into David Albert on the exhibit floor. I mentioned the idea of chartering in the Caribbean and his eyes lit up like he might be interested. On the plane back to California, I ended up sitting next to Lewis. I had been reading a book by Katy Burke titled "Managing Your Escape". I showed the book to him. He glommed onto it as if it was the perfect solution to some kind of problem. I loaned him the book and we agreed we should do more sailing together in the Bay area and that he and Barbara should join us on Moonshot some time.

            I made contact with Alicia of Windward Leeward Yacht Charters of San Francisco to get more chartering information. They deal with all the charter companies in various places. She sent me several charter vacation brochures. I called David to see if they wanted to get together for dinner and discuss the idea further. He was the one that started promoting the notion that more people would be more fun and cost even less per person. That is true. Though the biggest reduction in cost is a boat big enough for 4 people divided by 4. A bigger boat costs more so the returns start diminishing. We talked about asking Jim and Joanne Callan. Marcy also wanted to have her sister and brother-in-law come. Jerry and Cheris Dunlap both had quite a bit of sailing experience and could be Team B skipper and first mate. This all fell into place, but there were only two boats available in the brochures big enough for 8 people. The better boat was already booked for the time we wanted, just after the winter season ended when the rates go down around mid April. The number of people booking boats to get away from the snow decreases yet the weather conditions are still great. I ended up reserving a 46' Morgan ketch from Caribbean Yacht Charters. This would be the first opportunity we would have to be learning about sailing with a mizzen sail. CYC's rule of thumb for bareboat skippering was, if you owned a boat and sailed it regularly, especially in a windy place like SF Bay, they would let you skipper a bareboat without any questions asked for a boat up to 10' longer than the one you owned. Since the Morgan was 19' longer, the plan was we would have a skipper for the first day, who would check out our skills and train us on the rig. If he felt we were unqualified to run the boat in any way, upon his recommendation, we would have a skipper for as long as necessary.

            We had to decide how we wanted to provision the vessel "Rum Runner". The charter company would do it for a per person per day additional fee, or we could do it ourselves. This also held true for beverages. If you want them to stock the boat, they offer a price list for various beers, wines, liquors, juices, soft drinks, and mixes. After talking with different people that had done this sort of thing before, we decided to shop for our own food. It is less hassle letting the charter company do the provisioning, but you can eat better food and save money by doing it yourself. This meant before we left California, we had to do meal planning and making grocery lists, deciding what we wanted to take, i.e. spices, etc. Marcy took the lead on this project. It was a good fit, she knows a lot about food and is a good organizer. For the beverages, we decided to have CYC stock a healthy amount of beer and we would get the rest at the markets. I ordered 10 cases.

            Everybody had to make sure their passports were current, as we would be cruising mostly in the British Virgin Islands. There was one disappointment. There would be no fishing because of some sort of disease that was showing up in some of the fish near the islands and we wouldn't have time to head for the deep sea. This was the biggest disappointment to Jim. Another detail, we felt the need to have a way to make spending money easy, so each time we bought something everybody didn't have to pull out their wallet or drag along a purse. On the houseboat trip in the Deltas, Jim was the organizer so he covered all the costs then sent everyone a bill for their portion. This wouldn't work this time because of the amount of cash needed for the length of time we would be on the boat. Since I was the organizer, we decided I would keep a kitty wallet that everyone would contribute to equally. Since this would impose the burden on me, or at least my wallet having to be everywhere group money was being spent, we needed a back-up spender. We would have the most flexibility if the backup was a member of the opposite sex. Marcy volunteered.

            The boat came with a dinghy, but we had the option of paying extra for an outboard motor. It was a unanimous decision to have an outboard motor. We also had the option of paying a small fee for trip cancellation insurance. If within 90 days of the trip date, anything happened and we had to cancel for any reason, we could get our money back, minus a small service fee. Otherwise, without the insurance, they would try to charter the vessel to another group, but if they couldn't we would have to forfeit our deposit. We gambled and decided we didn't need it. Snorkeling gear for everyone came with the boat or you could bring your own. The Rum Runner didn't have a cassette player, so we had to bring our own. Those were the major details we had to deal with to get the charter organized. All that was left was to worry about how many bathing suits and how much suntan lotion to bring. Everything being all set, we now just needed to anticipate the trip, for the next five months.

 

ADVANCED COASTAL NAVIGATION CLASSES

 

            In the spirit of learning more about sailing and becoming proficient, we started to focus on navigation. It's one thing, if you are on a small body of water and can see everywhere, but it's entirely different if you plan to go cruising anywhere. Even then, you need to get back to port, if caught in the fog. With the upcoming bareboat charter, we were planning on going to strange waters near open ocean on a very large sailboat. We felt more credentials would be helpful. After checking local reference material and making a few calls, I found a class conducted by the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary on Advanced Coastal Navigation. I felt my experience to date would serve as any prerequisite knowledge to take the advanced class. The class was 13 weeks in duration. One drawback was the class time and location, Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:30 PM in Alameda. That's on the other side of the bay and would require fighting commuter traffic on the way. Marsha wanted to get a refresher course so we decided to go for it and both signed up.

            The class started in January, so we would have time to complete it before chartering in the Virgin Islands. The class was being offered at no cost except for the materials consisting of a reference book, a workbook, and a plotting kit. The total cost came to $13.95 per person. Soon into the class we observed that something else helped make if fun. All of the other students were attending for reasons similar to ours, so we had much in common. The class was organized with a primary instructor, Dean, and guest appearances from other Auxilarists. Overall, I would rate the lectures as just okay. It was structured such that you were motivated to do the homework, which was averaging four hours per week to complete. Most of the learning came from working through exercises. Some of the answers in the back of the book were incorrect and usually, the instructor didn't have a clue how to figure out the solution.

            The class focused mainly on dead reckoning, navigation techniques using no electronic aids, just a compass, charts, course plotting tools, and your seaman's eye. Some time was spent on Loran-C, and what we thought was an inordinate amount of time on radar. Loran-C is a small computer and radio receiver that receives signals from three land-based transmitters about 1000 miles apart. The computer takes the time delay information from the signals and triangulates a position on earth and transforms the information into latitude and longitude. We were hearing about the Global Positioning System that would replace Loran-C in a few years. GPS gets its signal from satellites enabling it to update its information in fractions of a second instead of a couple of minutes, and would function worldwide instead of only within a couple hundred miles from shore where transmitters existed. There was a fairly equal mix of students that were power boaters and sail boaters. It appeared that some of these power boater types turn into radar jockeys. I guess it gives them something to do while steering their boats. Maybe the constant practice makes it easier to navigate on that day you get caught in the fog.

            The weeks went by and we diligently made time to do the homework to prepare for the final exam so we would pass and get the certificate. The final exam was a two-week take home test that simulated planning a voyage. We didn't realize how much hands on experience we would be getting though. Independent of the class, we had been becoming closer friends with Craig, the skipper of Decoy, we had met at the SPYC Mystery Cruise. Certain people on any given dock are friendlier, more talkative and more helpful than others. We were been becoming friends with Craig who was always helpful, if you were working on some project, and he would not hesitate to ask for a hand in his preparations. Craig was preparing for a single handed trip down the coast to San Diego and taking a 3-month leave of absence from his job. To get some heavy weather ocean experience and test out his rig, he was planning a cruise out to the Farallon Islands, about 23 miles offshore past the Golden Gate Bridge. Craig was open to having crew so we signed on.

            We had been out to the Farallons with an Oceanographic whale watching tour on a 75-foot powerboat. We took the tour because we wanted to get an idea what it was like out on the ocean on a larger boat. It had been a rough day. Many people were wearing those patches behind their ears for seasickness. Many other people got sick that day, being unprepared. Marsha and I had taken our foul weather gear, so we blended in with the ship's crew. They told us to bring our own food, so there we were in our foulies eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and drinking Budweiser while all around us, people's eyes were turning glassy, then red. One by one, passengers headed for the rail. The Farallon Islands are now mainly a bird sanctuary. There are many species of birds that breed there. For some it's the only place in the world. In the earlier days of San Francisco, the Farallons were used as egg farms. There were also many varieties of seals and sea lions on the islands, including huge elephant seals. There are a few buildings on the islands. Pleasure crafts are not allowed to anchor and no one except the caretaker and his family are allowed on shore.

            When the tour date was finally set, it was the weekend between our 2-week take home exam. We left Brisbane at 7:30 on a calm, warm Saturday morning in March. I didn't listen to the weather report, but I knew Marsha always worried about such things and Craig seemed meticulous in his attention to detail so I trusted the situation. In addition to the three of us, Craig brought along another crewmember, Mark. As there was no wind yet, we were motoring using the autopilot to steer Decoy. Craig was busy below making cinnamon buns in his pressure cooker and filling his thermos with coffee to get a warm breakfast in his crew. The Single Handed Farallons Race, an annual event in the bay area, was also scheduled for this weekend. Having companion boats out there would make the day more interesting.

            The trip was uneventful until we got past the city front and Golden Gate Bridge. The tides were with us so we made good time. Shortly after we got past the bridge, Mark and I were both being lulled into a pre-seasickness state. Craig noticed my condition and offered me a Scopolamine patch. I quickly obliged having no sense of pride about being seasick. Mark didn't take any, stating it must be something else. That was a mistake. He kept getting worse and worse and continued to refuse the patch. It wasn't before too long, and before any of the real action started, that Mark had been sick a half dozen times and was rendered useless as crew with beyond-the-point-of-no-return seasickness.

            The wind eventually picked up and we were able to start sailing on a course slightly south of due west, out to sea. The wind direction in the bay area from March to October is predictably from the northwest with only slight variation and typically builds through the afternoon. Only in the occasional September and October Indian summer days where the temperature rises into the 90's does the wind subside. This day was no exception to the rule, except the wind seemed to be building faster than normal. Eventually Mark went below and tried to sleep in the port quarter berth. This was okay except he had to crawl to the head several times to continue his "no it couldn't be seasickness" barfing. The rollers in the ocean were starting to build. This made for a 50/50 chance whether he would actually make it to the head. To complicate matters, Craig had been having problems with his automatic bilge pump switch. I had seen him mucking with it earlier in the day. As it turned out, he hadn't mucked enough. His shallow bilge was overflowing into the cabin. Moving about below meant crawling around on the settees, not touching the floor, if you didn't want to get your feet wet.

 

Figure 14: Passage from Golden Gate Bridge to Farallon Islands

 

            The weather kept building with higher seas and stronger winds. We were hearing of small craft warnings on the marine radio and eventually started hearing that some of the Farallon racers were dropping out of the race because of the weather conditions. We were still determined, Marsha more than I had ever seen her before. I'm not sure if it was her confidence in Craig or just that it wasn't her boat. Decoy was 1-1/2 feet longer overall than Moonshot, but comparable in many ways and it was lighter.

            We started learning about a few heavy weather sailing techniques during this adventure. The first were jack lines and safety harnesses. The safety harness fits around your shoulders and chest and provides a metal eye in the upper center of your chest for fastening to a safety strap. The safety strap is an 8' strip of webbing with a clip on each end. One end is attached to your safety harness. The other end is always fastened to something secure on the boat. The jack lines are line or webbing that runs along the deck fastened securely to something in the bow and stern of the boat. When going forward for any reason, we clipped the safety line from the harness to the jack line, allowing us to move the full length of the deck without having to repeatedly move the clip to something else along the way. The ocean motion we were feeling from different directions made it essential to be strapped to the boat. Eventually we had the feeling we had to be strapped to the boat even if we were just going to stand up. The other heavy weather technique we learned about was a second reef point in the main sail.

            Marsha tried to help Mark be more comfortable, but for the most part she was glued to her seat in the cockpit just aft of the companionway entrance with her arm wrapped around a winch. Decoy wasn't the most comfortable boat in these conditions. There was no handrail at the binnacle. Marsha's feet wouldn't touch the cockpit sole from the sitting position.

            We forged ahead until we were within range to shoot photographs of the Farallon Islands. Because of the churning motion of the boat and water in the cabin, I was only able to get light wet gear on over my bathing suit. I wasn't able to get dressed in warmer clothes because the crew was short handed. I spent most of my time at the helm. If I had a tendency towards seasickness, this job was keeping the thoughts and feelings far away. I could feel the scopolamine making my mouth dry. It is a prescription drug. The American Medical Association has skippers see doctors to get a prescription. It is the sort of thing a skipper will pass out to his crew in certain conditions, and they need to be aware of its side effects. It's not good to give the drug to older people, they could fall and break something because of the possible drowsiness. It's not good for single-handed sailors, because it's possible to hallucinate and do something dramatic like head off to Hawaii.

            We were able to drink a small amount of beer to keep thirst away and eat light crackers to put food in our stomachs. Once Marsha was able to get her Nikon in position to take one photo, we tacked to head back. The weather kept building and the waves were getting much larger. Occasionally, we could see one of the Farallon racers, but only for brief moments while we were both on the crest of a wave. There were large following seas. I remember looking aft from the helm at one point and seeing the sun through a wave. The ocean water was much prettier than that in the bay, not having the silt and pollution. The water was a dark blue in color, or when of looking at the sun through a wave, dark green.

            Craig spent most of his time working the sails. Though hesitant to go forward because of the huge following sea and gale force wind, and knowing we had sailed well past the important "reef early" point, he inched his way to the bow to take down the jib. Decoy was now maintaining with the second reef in the main, still making 5 knots of boat speed. We were being very careful not to broach and dump the boom into the water. The seas kept building. I had to maintain my compass heading because we couldn't see land. Craig had a Loran on board but it wasn't practical to go below to get readings. When attempting to move about, it felt like you needed your safety harness attached to the boat even if you were planning on only moving two inches in any direction. We maintained our heading with our eyes wide open.

 

Figure 15: Farallon Islands from Decoy

 

             The double-reefed main was lying against the spreaders on a down wind sail. I was noticing the trim on the Farallon race boats going by and had the feeling we could have handled a smaller storm jib. Craig wanted to keep it simple. It felt as if we were going slowly with so much wind going by. Craig's pocket wind speed indicator measured apparent wind speeds up to 35 knots on deck. This meant the actual wind speed was more than 40 knots because of our downwind heading, higher at the top of the mast. We kept on course for the Golden Gate Bridge, Craig and I took turns at the helm. I didn't realize how cold I was getting. I never experienced fear for a moment, but Marsha later confessed she had some concern.

            Finally we could see the bridge and fortunately it wasn't socked in with fog. We made it under at 7:30 PM, just as it was getting dark. It had been 12 hours since we left the dock. We steered into the San Francisco Marina and tied Decoy to the pump-out dock. Everyone changed clothing to get warm. Mark came to life and was gaining his back spirit. We broke out the food we had planned for lunch, and then Craig and I took naps. Soon Mark and Marsha decided they were fit enough crew to get Decoy underway for a night sail back to Brisbane. We were well past the Bay Bridge with only two more hours of sailing to get home before Craig and I awoke. Craig took over the helm. I couldn't stop shivering. Apparently, I had contracted a mild case of hypothermia from not having enough clothing on. I was typically the last one to go for the warmer layer as temperatures dropped. This time it had gone too far. I couldn't stop shivering so I took a quiet position in the background, impatient to reach our dock.

            Though we hadn't started doing it on Moonshot yet, Craig was in the habit of maintaining a radio watch on channel 16, leaving the VHF radio on at all times listening to the emergency and hailing channel. As we were getting closer to Hunters Point, there was some chatter on the radio between Shellback and the Coast Guard. Hank and Polly were already in port, but Hank was reporting a strobe light that was flashing on the other side of the bay just south of Brisbane towards San Leandro. We spotted it too. It looked like a masthead distress light. The Coast Guard reported being busy and tied up for the next few minutes and were asking any vessel in the vicinity for assistance in making out what the trouble could be. No one else entered the conversation, so Craig decided to get involved and started talking into the microphone. At this point, it was already past 10:30 PM. We changed our course for the other side of the bay. The boating mentality, even when racing, is to help out in distress situations. We never were able to make out what the light was. It almost seemed like a land-based illusion. Finally, the Coast Guard took the matter into their own hands and we again headed for homeport. We finally reached the dock around 1:30 AM, 18 hours after we had left the previous morning. Marsha and I crawled down Dock 5, back to Moonshot and as fast possible, climbed into the V-berth to wrap up in blankets and fall asleep.

            The frontal weather system that had come in kept building through the next day. By Sunday afternoon, winds in the city front area of the bay were peaking at 60 knots. The Coast Guard was asking all boaters to stay off the water. We all had received more than the experience we were seeking, for one day of adventure. For the next three days, upon feeling the slightest cool draft, I would shiver and feel a chill that seemed to go through to my bones. The following Wednesday, Marsha and I took in our final exams. We passed with flying colors, at the top of the class. I learned quite a bit taking the class, primarily from the homework and hands on experience.

 

THE KANGY, THE WABBIT, AND THE DEAD MAN

 

            We were starting to get comfortable with ourselves on the boat, in the San Francisco Bay winds and were settling in a bit. We were getting to know more people on Dock 5. I had developed a morning routine with Cindy. She would need to go for a walk, before it was time for me to open my eyes, and she usually got her way through persistence. I would take her up to the open field just past our gate beyond the parking lot. The Koll Construction Company was eventually going to develop the vacant land with office buildings, hotels, etc. Being covered with brush, the lot was the perfect hangout for jackrabbits. We would turn the job of morning walk into a game, hunting for "The Wabbit".

            Cindy and I played at home with a toy stuffed kangaroo that I had received as part of a company incentive program. I would throw the kangaroo around the house and Cindy would fetch it, then start teasing trying to keep it from me. When Cindy wanted to play kangy, she would grab it with her mouth, then come from behind and bump someone in the butt with it. When we came up to the field, it was like playing with a live kangy, only we called him "The Wabbit". We would smoke out a wabbit about 50% of the time, and when we did she would take off running. Once she tried so hard, she broke a toenail running across the pavement to another lot. She also did a skid on her chin getting it bloody. Sometimes she would be completely out of sight for a while, but eventually she would come back empty handed. She'll never catch a wabbit, so the game perpetuates itself.

            Occasionally, we would go for longer walks exploring more of the property. On one such morning, we came across a car with its engine running. We kept walking. I didn't want to disturb the folks inside. I thought they might be up to something because I couldn't see any heads. We walked for some time, and then came back by the car. It was still running, so we walked in its direction to get a closer look. There was a guy lying in the front seat. He appeared to be in his early twenties. The lock was missing from the trunk, so the hole had been covered with duck tape. There was a roll of duck tape lying on the back seat.

            I didn't want to get involved. I knew the Brisbane Police department patrolled the grounds. We kept walking and went back to the boat. I was disappointed in my reaction to this scene. I told Marsha what we saw and that I thought something was wrong. It wasn't long before we saw flashing lights and city vehicles where I had seen the car. I walked up and casually gawked. Sure enough, it was a case of suicide. The boy was dead. It bothered me that I didn't deduce exactly what happened and hadn't called the police. I thought about it for several days. It strengthened me because I developed a new mental system. Knowing that through internal dialog, a question posed will be answered, now in encounters such as that, I pose a question to myself. I say "Self, what's going on here?" The situation does not have to be so extreme. The experience involved me more with the environment around me.

 

JOINING THE YACHT CLUB

 

            Having settled in more, we remembered the thought, "It would be kind of fun to help a young yacht club get started." We had learned if you are a member of one club, you could get reciprocal privileges at other clubs, whatever that meant. I had been thinking about installing a flag halyard system but didn't have any meaningful flags other than a jolly roger or a martini glass. If we joined, we could fly the club burgee. Because the local club was still so new, the fees were low, $100 as a one time initiation fee and $10 per month. We tried and tried to join but we couldn't find any evidence of who to give our check and membership application. We later learned this had been an on going problem from the club's beginning. Finally, Craig Levin learned of our plight and took our money with the promise of helping out. He had already been through the experience and was planning on attending a meeting soon. He came back a couple of weeks later with our burgee.

            Some time went by, and I decided to attend one of the club's meetings to see what went on and introduce myself. It was a board meeting at the conference room of the Harbormaster's office. This was a special night for the members, as they would be going on the first walk-through of the building that was going to be the SPYC clubhouse, a milestone event for these people. The building was a two-car garage with some storage space and a back room. It had heaters and a utility sink with running cold water. There were lights and electricity. On weeknights, weekends, and holidays, the club also got to use half of the building next door. That space had a bathroom and a kitchen with a dinette set, an oven, and a refrigerator.

            People were walking around the building imagining what it would look like with the interior walls torn down, a bar, and other such enhancements. It was like the feeling you get when you are seeing your new home for the first time with none of the furniture in place. It was fun and the people seemed friendly and receptive to me. During the meeting portion of the evening, they talked about things that needed to be done and who would volunteer for this and that. Not having much of a clue of what was going on, I remained quiet taking a low profile. We were now official members of the Sierra Point Yacht Club.

 

ENGINE FAILURE

 

            We were on a day sail towards San Francisco and more than half way between Hunters Point and the Bay Bridge. Bernie and Christine were our crew for the day. Suddenly, there was a loud knocking noise from the engine and clouds of dark smoke started coming from the exhaust. We were motoring because the wind hadn't picked up yet. I killed the engine and quickly realized we were in one of the frustrating times for sailors, no wind and no engine. We had seen just seen Decoy pass us in the opposite direction, so I tried to raise Craig on the radio. Fortunately, he was monitoring channel 16, so he turned around to give us a tow back to the marina.

            This was before we learned about the salvers and their tricks. If you call for help on the VHF radio, the Coast Guard is not authorized to assist you unless you state, "There is life endangerment because of our distress." If you don't state that either factually or as a fabrication, you are fair game for the salvers. Power boaters that monitor the airways lying in wait for boaters in distress. Some are fairer than others. The most well known for being fair in our area is Grizzly Bear. If a salver comes to your aid, throws you a line and you don't negotiate the terms of the rescue i.e., price, then he can legally put a claim on your boat as salvage. When you do negotiate a price, it will most likely be in the hundreds of dollars. It's common to hear of them charging $100.00+ for a gallon of fuel. But don't fear, they do take VISA.

            So we begin the journey back to the marina under Decoy's tow. When we got close to Hunters Point, the wind picked up. We decided to undo the towline and both sail back. At least we could enjoy one last sail before debugging the engine problem. Having lost 6 weeks of a summer season, we knew it could take a while. It was good sailing in. We had gotten ahead of Craig while he was fiddling with something below deck while sailing with Otto, his autopilot. He was single-handing that day. When he was back at the helm and sailing again, we were keeping our distance ahead of him. He later stated there was nothing he could do to gain headway on us. So it's true, you get any two sailboats near each other heading in the same direction and no matter what anybody says, it's a race.

            Nearing the channel entrance we both dropped our sails and prepared for Decoy to tow Moonshot to her slip. It went smoothly. We maintained about 1 knot down the fairway, then at the right moment Craig let go of our line. We turned and coasted gently into our slip. Next we began debugging the engine failure. It was fortunate for me that Bernie was along again. He's mechanically inclined and already had some experience with Moonshot's engine. Also fortunate was the fact that after the last problem, I had ordered a shop manual for Moonshot's Yanmar YSM8G 8 HP engine.

            We went below and opened the engine compartment. The only thing abnormal we could see was oil leaking around the air intake flange and from under the rocker arm chamber. We had Marsha start the engine briefly and the loud knocking noise sounded like it was coming from near the rocker arm chamber. Because we had diagrams of the engine in the manual, we decided to take the chamber off and have a look see. It didn't take too long to get the cover off and pinpoint the source of the problem. I was about to dive deeper into engine mechanics than I had ever been.

            The problem we uncovered was the stem supporting the bushing for the exhaust valve rocker arm, on the valve rocker arm support had broken off. We took the assembly out and examined the fracture. It appeared to be a failure mode that had been creeping up for some time. We could see some irregular wear on the exhaust valve rocker arm, probably from the engine running after the support had fractured. We cleaned off the fractured parts, sealed up the engine, and then called it a day. I would have to get the replacement parts ordered through Peninsula Marine. We paid the extra shipping fees to have the parts delivered ASAP. Through all of this, I was gaining an understanding of the mechanics of diesel engines. Ever hear the saying, "It was a lot easier to take apart than it was to put back together?"

            The parts took about 10 days to come in so we missed the next weekend but planned to put the engine back together the following weekend. It was going to be a straightforward job re-assembling the components. It would be tricky making all the fine adjustments that affected the engine's timing. I would need to fabricate a gasket for the exhaust intake pipe from gasket material, hard stuff to cut cleanly. It didn't take long to get the work area ready and open up the rocker arm chamber. Proceeding, I started to mount the rocker arm support assembly into place. Gently now. OOPS! As I was trying to get the valve clearance adjusting screw that mates with the intake side push rod, the push rod slid into the wrong opening down a lubrication port, into the engine block.

            First I tried to get the push rod back out of the same hole it went down with a pocket magnet the shape of a ball point pen, tied to a string. This provided no results. Frustrated with this approach, I drove to the shopping center nearby to look for tools at Sears. I found a magnet on the end of an 18" flexible shaft. I tried it but produced no better results than the first magnet. With no more ideas in mind and time slipping away, I decided to call Peninsula Marine. After describing the dilemma to their proprietor, he recommended that I take the side-mounted oil pan off so I could fish it out by hand. This would involve removing the starter motor. It sounded reasonable so I went back to examining the diagrams in the shop manual and studying the engine. The oil pan was on the opposite side of the engine as the rocker arm chamber.

            With patience, the starter and oil pan came off. Then it was easy to get the missing push rod out from the bottom of the engine. After re-assembling those components, I was ready to attempt the rocker arm assembly but with much less confident and a more cautious approach. A problem was the weekend was over by now and we had to go home. I was to far into the job to let it sit until the following weekend, so we decided to go back to the boat to continue working on a weeknight, fix dinner after I was done and stay overnight. This would give us a chance to experience waking up on the boat then going to work for the first time. This time, everything went back together smoothly. Now it was just a matter of cleaning the oil off the tools, cushions, boat, etc. We would be able to take the boat out for trials the following weekend. Moonshot was only down for 3 weeks this time.

 

Figure 16: Moonshot's YSM8G 8 horsepower Yanmar diesel

 

            As a result of re-assembly and installation of the rocker arm assembly, I had to retime the engine. The timing was controlled by the adjusting screw the push rod seated into. Once completed, the engine ran much smoother than before. It seemed as though the engine had been timed improperly because of the fractured rocker arm support. I was hoping that was the reason Moonshot's transom was getting blackened from the engine's exhaust.

            The following weekend, we planned to stay up in the city if everything proved to be OK with the engine repair. It seemed to be purring once we got it started so we headed out. After a good sail, the engine worked fine for getting into Pier 39 then back out the next day. As we were approaching Hunter's Point on the return trip, the wind started picking up. As it continued to build, I had to reef the mainsail and furl in part of the Genoa. The clinometer was hitting 30 degrees. We were still over sailed but held our own as we crossed the Gulf of Candlestick, a nickname we had heard for the part of the bay between Hunter's Point and the San Bruno Hill.

            As we approached the channel entrance, I turned on the engine before taking the sails down. All of a sudden, the engine started racing out of control at what seemed like top speed. I pulled the throttle all the way back to no avail. The engine kept racing with black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. With Marsha at the helm, I ran below to try to kill the engine with its governor. This worked. By now we were sailing in the channel with the winds stronger than ever. We decided to go for it and try to sail all the way to our slip with just the mainsail. We had done this once on the Aquarius back in Michigan with only a mild smack into the dock because Marsha pulled the main down a few seconds too late. This time I would work the sails. We sailed in the channel past the point where we would normally make the turn to head into the marina. Well past that point we tacked and started to head in. I furled the rest of the jib. Things were going fairly well, we were progressing slowly in the right direction under reefed mainsail alone. We were getting closer to Dock 5.

            Hell broke lose as we were passing Dock 4. Though Marsha was pinching on a port tack, we kept inching closer and closer to the breakwater on our starboard side because the wind kept pushing us sideways. The marina was very noisy with all the halyards flapping against masts and the noise of the wind. Darkness was rapidly approaching. Finally, trying to avoid the wall, we accidentally tacked through the wind. Once the boat tacked, we were aiming straight for one of the trimarans on the end of Dock 4. I had no time to drop the main having to run forward to stop us from colliding into the multi-hull. I climbed out onto the bow pulpit to fend off. The skipper of the tri was on board and became aware of our situation. He came out to help. As the boats almost touched and our faces were just inches apart, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Needless to say, we're out of control." He just looked pissed. Moonshot kept turning around after we cleared the trimaran. Now we were headed toward the boats on Dock 3. We were quickly moving diagonally toward the stern of a cabin cruiser. I stayed at the bow pulpit and as we got close to the cruiser, I jumped off Moonshot onto the cruiser's stern rail. I fended Moonshot off the best I could but it kept coming. SNAP! Moonshot's nose snapped the chain that secured the stern entrance, and then bumped the boat before it stopped. I managed to push Moonshot back and it started to move rapidly, stern first into the empty slip next to the cruiser. I jumped back on the bow, ran the full length of the boat, then jumped off the stern rail onto the dock just in time to prevent a collision with the dock. Throw me a line.

            We tied the boat to the dock and tried to collect our wits. I got the sail down, then we checked out what damage had been done to the cruiser. It didn't look too bad. The only visible damage seemed to be the snapped chain. I wrote my name, phone number, and what happened on a note and stuffed it in the cabin door. Marsha suggested that I had better report this to the harbormaster. The skipper of the trimaran was still watching us. Looking back, we should have tied to the first slip we could have, because of the strong wind. We weren't confidant enough with our anchor system to anchor out and wait for help.

            We went below to sort out the situation and let our nerves settle. Much adrenaline had just been expelled. Our systems went through a shock from the experience. After settling down somewhat, I decided to look at the engine. I could see a small amount of oil around the air intake flange but nothing apparent was wrong. I decided to try starting it to see if that would point out anything. It started fine and ran normally. The winds had started to die down, so we decided to motor back to our slip. It was now completely dark outside. We made it back with no further problems, so we prepared everything for departure and went home. We were both quiet all the way. That night's dream state was a funny feeling. The next morning, I asked Marsha, "Are you mad at me?" She said, "No, are you mad at me?" It was one of the strangest experiences to internalize, but we learned from it.

            Later that day, I called the harbormaster's office and reported the incident. I then called Peninsula Marine to schedule a mechanic to visit the boat to check out my work and the basic health of the engine. Peter stated over the phone that it sounded as if a little bit of oil had gotten into the engine's intake. Being on a starboard tack with the oil pan on the low side of the heeled boat, oil could have traveled through the vacuum tube mounted in the top part of the oil pan assembly. I made an appointment for Jeff, their top mechanic to meet me at the boat.

            Jeff and I were meeting at Gate 5 to check out Moonshot's single cylinder diesel engine. As one of the most neglected things in sailing, engine maintenance was starting to smack me in the face. I didn't feel comfortable with my knowledge and understanding so I wanted him to do an overall sanity check on the engine and everything attached to it. The main reason Jeff was here was to check out the rocker arm support replacement job I did and verify the engine timing, so we did that first. He removed the rocker arm chamber cover and inspected everything. He made a couple of tweaks but said in general, everything appeared to be fine. He recommended replacing the gasket I had made from material for the air intake with a pre-fabricated one. He said one drop of oil in the fuel system would cause the engine to race as I described. With the engine bolted back together, I started it. He said it sounded fine. The noise level was normal for a single cylinder engine. The black in the exhaust was also normal for a diesel engine.

            I explained that we may entertain the thought of doing a season in Mexico and asked what should I think about regarding the engine. I also asked about longer-term maintenance considerations. First he asked me for the hand start crank. I knew it was around somewhere but had a hard time finding it. While I was looking, he inspected the motor mounts. He tightened the nuts and stated I should check the nuts occasionally making sure they stay tight. It wouldn't hurt to keep the correct size wrench close to the mounts to make it easy to check. I found the hand start crank so he got his body into position and asked me to give it some throttle. Though I had tried to start the engine by hand a couple of times, I hadn't figured out how to do it. I had seen the de-compression lever in the diagram of the rocker arm assembly, but hadn't figured out its purpose. Jeff was pressing the lever with his left hand. This released the compression on the engine, allowing him to turn the crank freely with his right hand. The trick was to turn the crank for a few revolutions building momentum, then at a point in a revolution where he had the best leverage to continue rotating the crank with his force, once the compression was on the engine, he released the decompression lever. Brrr, BRR, Brr almost. One more try with a little more throttle and he got the beast started by hand. He had the subtle look of victory from a knowledgeable master in his eye. He stated, "Of course it will be a little harder to start when it's cold."

            I mentioned the throttle had been getting harder and harder to move. He shot both ends of the cable coating with WD-40 and made adjustments to the throttle mechanism at the engine. It loosened up like new. He looked around the engine housing and made a few recommendations. The hoses were below standard. First he pointed out the cooling water hose. I remembered it being sucked flat when we had clogging during a trip to the delta. It should be wire-reinforced rubber, not clear plastic. Then he looked at the fuel lines. Below par. He examined the external fuel filter and recommended replacing it with a Raycor. Besides fuel filter cartridges, he recommended stocking a few spares including a water pump impeller, replacement belts, vacuum tubes, zincs and an exhaust elbow. He also recommended cleaning the engine with soap, water, and a scrub brush, then coating it with LPS2, a corrosion inhibitor. LPS2 doesn't hurt electrical connections. He also recommended installing an engine hour meter to record maintenance intervals.

            Regarding long-term maintenance items, we focused on items definitely needed before we took any long trip where mechanics and parts were few. He recommended replacing the cylinder head gasket and having the fuel injectors inspected and adjusted. If we wanted to be even more prepared, we may even consider having a spare injector. That was the list. He gave the engine an OKAY rating, stating, "These little Yanmars run forever". I replaced the air intake gasket the next weekend and we were done with the engine problem.

 

JIFFY REEFING

 

            As the summer season approached, so were the stronger summer breezes. With our recent experience with jiffy reefing and second reef points on Decoy, we decided our next project should be to implement them on Moonshot. Before installing the reefing system, we needed to have the second reef point sewn into the main sail. We took the main, as well as the Genoa, into Sally Lindsay's Spinnaker Shop in Palo Alto.

            As long as I was going to the sail loft, I thought it would be worthwhile to have the condition of both sails checked out and make any other necessary repairs. They stitched where needed and replaced the elastic in all the batten pockets on the aft edge of the mainsail. We used fiberglass battens to help stiffen and keep the sail shape, but had been losing many of them lately. The comments on the mainsail were that it was in good condition and should last at least as long as it has, if we continue caring for it as we have. The second reef point consisting of large grommets on the luff and leech, with a row of several smaller ones in-between went in okay. They also replaced the old reef lines used to tie the unused canvas to the boom with thinner, longer pieces of line.

            Before I could implement the reefing system, I had to design it, and before I could design it, I had to understand how it was supposed to work. Joe Rockmore had explained jiffy reefing to me by talking and pointing his finger at my mainsail but he talked too quickly for me to absorb the details. Time for another lunch and diagrams with Joe. I consulted "The Sailors Handbook" and rigging catalogs. With the correct understanding, I could proceed with the right design. Then it was just a matter of purchasing the right sized line, turning blocks, line feeds, and cleats with the associated stainless panhead self-taping screws. I also needed small pad eyes for tying off the ends of the reef lines. These eyes and the turning blocks at the aft end of the boom have added potential danger for anyone getting smashed in the head with the boom. So far, I've been lucky.

            With the jiffy reefing system installed, we were eager to try it out. It worked like a charm, even in the tough winds in the Gulf of Candlestick. With a little practice, the maneuvers became even smoother. We were able to reef the main by letting the boom out all the way to spill the wind and could remain underway by sailing on jib alone with minimal loss of boat speed. This was one of the most significant improvements to our performance sailing on San Francisco Bay.

 

Figure 17: Jiffy reefing with second reef point

 

            The on-board toolbox took a while to figure out. Every time we went to the boat, we made several trips back and forth from the car, hauling stuff. When you are doing maintenance or performing upgrades, you need tools. Tools can get heavy and it seems like every job needs a different set. A small toolbox came with the boat but contained only a few metric tools for the engine. We started using canvas ice bags for hauling miscellaneous stuff. The bags are inexpensive, carry just about anything, and fold up small when not in use. I used a combination of two canvas bags for tools needed for projects. One would stay with the boat. It contained tools I thought were likely to be needed on the next job. The other bag would be a traveler. I would take the tools, I didn't think would be necessary on board for a while, back home. Gradually, I started to get a feel for what tools were likely to stay on board.

            This, among other aspects of hanging out on a boat lead to the thought, "Where should I store these tools?". There is no workshop here, let alone a workbench. The cabin hatches under the port and starboard settees were not very useful because the boat would leak from time to time soaking whatever happened to be in the hatches. Besides embarking on a caulking campaign and general leak seal awareness, I decided to make the hatches more useful. From scrap pieces of 2"x4", 1/4" plywood and other collected wood chunks, I constructed shelf systems for each of the hatches. Each shelf had to be custom fitted because of the contours of the hull. The design strategy was to construct a shelf averaging 6" wide that would follow the hull shape and be level. Each hatch's shelf would be in two halves so it could be easily inserted or removed. This rendered the triangular chamber underneath the shelves useless but if water leaked in, water could rise quite a bit before it reached the shelf level.

             I started thinking about drilling drain holes in each hatch. I was worried about drilling holes through the bottom of the boat, instead of into the bilge. Carefully, using a mirror and a flashlight, I studied the bilge and shell construction looking at the edges of the bilge to see if there were pockets that would allow water to drain. It appeared so. To make sure I wasn't doing irreparable damage to the boat, I decided to call the manufacturer. I ended up speaking with their plant manager. He stated the reason we didn't see any other Watkins yachts locally was because the cost of shipping the boats across the country increased their price to the point of being non-competitive with other boats manufactured on the west coast. He asked me if I wanted to open up a Watkins dealership. I declined, describing my work. He mentioned that 20 years prior he used to be an aeronautical engineer. I asked him how he liked the change. He stated it was fun for the first few years but these days it felt as if he had turned a great hobby and past time into a lot of work. He stated he had a Watkins 27 sitting in his backyard and that he knew of several that had sailed to Cuba. Finally we got around to my question. He said, "You mean you haven't drilled holes in those hatches yet?"

            Now the hatches had a flat base and the possibility of their contents getting wet was minimized. The entire project only cost the time for the engineering and labor. All the materials used were leftover scrap. We allocated one hatch for tools and ditty, one for the bar, one for other fluids and cleaners, and the forth one for miscellaneous items. There was a fifth hatch that was for the most part, taken up by the 12-gallon holding tank, but there was some space around the edges. This space became designated for spare engine parts. For the ditty hatch, I purchased a plastic toolbox with several compartments. Now I had a place and container to stow on-board tools. The tool collection would grow for some time as the selection process got more refined. The most commonly used tools were the hand drill, two sizes each of flat and Phillips screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, a crescent wrench, a boson's knife, and a tape measure. With every project, I purchased extra panhead stainless self-tapping screws building a large collection for future projects. This was the beginning of a fundamental style of boat living, where no square or cubic inch is overlooked with respect to how to use it.

 

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Keys to the Golden Gate, Copyright © 2002 by Steve Sears