CHAPTER 7      Image1

 

SOPHMORES

 

SECOND MYSTERY CRUISE

            We hadn't thought about SPYC all summer so we were curious about the progress that was being made on the clubhouse. It was still the prime part of the sailing season so we decided it would be fun to go on this year's Mystery Cruise. It was scheduled for the first weekend in October and would be a good opportunity for us to catch up with people. We invited Lewis and Barbara to join us. Lewis was happy that Barbara was enthused about going sailing again. He was taking to it well himself. We were to meet at the marina in time to load the boat with our gear and make it to the 10:00 skippers meeting. The clubhouse was in an interesting state. There were many power tools lying on the floor. The two walls that separated the garage bays were down and construction had begun to turn them into a bar. In the middle of that project, Jeff Eastman was using the building to build a fiberglass dodger for Del Cielo, his new 42’ Freedom sloop. He had constructed the mold from scratch. His sanding efforts had left fiberglass dust everywhere.

            Jayne conducted the skippers meeting, passing out the instruction sheets and telling skippers to monitor channel 68 on their VHF radios. We went back to Moonshot to decipher the clues to determine our destination for the day. Everyone got involved plotting coordinates and trying to debug the mystery. There was talk on the radio about some difficulty determining where we were going. There weren't supposed to be any legs outside the Golden Gate this year but some of the information was conflicting. Finally I raised Jayne on the radio and pointed to a possible error in the instructions. Marty Rosenthal piped into the conversation pointing out that their instructions had us cruising up Mount Tamalpais. Jeff had taken the compass reading 180 degrees from the correct one at some point in his creation of the mystery. Through that conversation and other comments among the skippers on the airwaves, I determined we were headed for the Lock Lomand yacht club in San Rafael, past the San Rafael Bridge. We had only been past that bridge once when we went to the delta, so the idea sounded like fun. The weather was holding so there was still plenty of wind that afternoon. The sail up was fine, no big mystery getting there this year. Nine boats full of people, all having fun heading for an overnight stay at a real yacht club where there was a bar and food would be served. People were helping each other dock their boats when we got there. The wind was up in the marina and the docks were rickety. We made it in with no problem, our skills had been honed over the summer. Set the anchor or tie to the dock by late afternoon, then proceed to the cocktail hour.

            Dinner was our choice of chicken or steak and we were provided with the opportunity to cook it the way we liked it. Everything else was laid out buffet style. We became acquainted with a couple of new SPYC members, Bill and Aileen Caughran, owners of the Islander 30 sailboat, Lorien. We also spent time talking with Jeff and Jayne, as well as Charley and Mary from the vessel Char Mar. Charley remembered we were the ones with the dog from the first Mystery Cruise. He stated that fact, paused for a few seconds while he lit his pipe, then let out a chuckle. He was remembering Cindy being our excuse for coming in from the ocean and not succeeding at solving their mystery. We also met Geri and Glen Gollihur from the 40' trawler, the Geri-Glen and their friends Rob and Robby Flynn. Marion Stratton was there with two women on his trawler, the Mary Francis. Larry and Mary Ann Dulmage were there on their 27' Sea Ray, the Mary Ann.

            After enjoying our dinner and many good conversations, we went back to Moonshot with Lewis and Barbara for some nightcaps on our own. Barbara brought along a collection of small bottles of brandies. As we sipped the brandies, our conversation turned to cruising to Mexico. We discussed how much fun it might be to fly down and charter a Benateau sailboat from the Moorings out of their base in Puerto Escondido near Loreto. We were meeting people that were cruising their own boats down but we were not ready to consider anything like that yet, so a charter sounded like a good thing to do in the near future. I had been talking to Jim and Joanne Callan about it. They were gung ho because we had so much fun in the BVI's last year. David and Marcy were interested in future charters but were planning something else for their 1989 vacation and said pass but keep us on the crew list. Lewis was up for it and it seemed as if Barbara was becoming interested. So far the sailing she had done had been tremendous fun. As the conversation and brandy tasting proceeded, they were becoming very interested and finally decided it was in fact, a good idea. Lewis mentioned they were looking into enrolling into a sailing school to get more hands on training. This was very encouraging. I would need to start seeking information on chartering in Mexico. Here I was back from a summer in Monterey Bay for two weeks and already planning another cruise. Planning and looking forward to a cruise must be something I need to do.

 


Figure 48: Mystery solvers

            In a conversation with Alicia of Windward Leeward Yacht Charters. I learned Resort Commuter airlines had been fairly reliable in the past few months at getting people into and out of Loreto. I had been interested in that location for over a year after seeing an article in the San Jose Mercury newspaper. The article described the plans under way to turn two areas in Mexico into resorts over the next 20 years. Loreto was one of them. They were offering 30-year leases on land for $3,000 per lot if you would commit to a build schedule. They already had the plumbing and electrical systems laid out for the major portion of the town. Two major hotels had signed up for large water front lots. That intrigued me as an idea for a vacation retirement investment opportunity. I wrote to the addresses given to me by the Beverly Hills law firm listed. Eventually they send a reply.

            Having buy in from the Callans and the Knapps as crew, I booked a charter through Alicia but before I sent the deposit check in, I saw an advertisement from the Moorings offering a 25% discount on all their boats in Loreto. They said you had to deal directly with them. The discount wouldn't apply if you went through a charter broker. I told Alicia the group couldn't agree on everything and that we would have to postpone. I probably should have just told her about the discount but I didn't feel like getting involved with Mooring's distribution channel conflicts so I let it go that way. Moorings has an 800 phone number and the people were helpful and friendly. I saved 25%. I made reservations for a Moorings 432. This time, we were going to try having the charter company provision the boat as well as have a cook come with us as part of the crew. For this charter, I started a newsletter as a repository for the information that needed to be communicated to the crew. I titled it "EL-SNEWS Newsletter For South of the Boarder Cruisers".

            We just had to hope and pray nothing happened to the airline service from Southern California to Loreto. We ordered 2 extra cruising guides so each couple could read up ahead of time. The marina where the boats were berthed was in Puerto Escondido, a few miles away from Loreto. Moorings take great care of their guests. They would be meeting us at our arriving flight, taxing us to the El Presidente hotel for the first night, and then picking us up at the hotel for delivery to the marina the next morning. This one fell into place easily. Having the charter confirmed was enough motivation for the Knapps to enroll in the Olympic Circle Sailing School. Lewis and Barbara took a one week vacation to go through the beginning and intermediate classes. It had taken almost a year to get Barbara interested in sailing but it looked as if this was going to be a fun trip for everyone. The BVI trip had completely turned Joanne off to powerboats. Jim was getting excited about the prospects of fishing off the Baja peninsula in the Sea of Cortez. All we had to do now was savor the anticipation.

 

RADAR DAY ON POQUITO

            We had made it to Moonshot on Saturday speculating that the early morning overcast would burn off and the day would clear as in normally does, but this particular day started looking as if it was going to remain overcast, even becoming drizzly. We decided it wasn't a day we cared to go out sailing, so I started getting involved with the project of installing safety netting between the lifeline and the toe rail on the Frederick section of Moonshot, forward of the shrouds. The aft section of the boat already had windscreen and the center section had shrouds providing some protection. The front of the boat however, was wide open. I felt the protection provided by adding the netting would help. There could be times, like when I was trying to untangle the jib off Davenport on the ocean where I may need to mess around up there and may fall overboard. I also thought about it being more protection for Cindy. I had purchased the netting a few weeks prior and was waiting for such an opportunity to install it.

            I was just about completed with the port side after two hours when Marty and Betty walked down the dock to ask us if we wanted to go for a ride to the city for lunch on Poquito. I now knew how much time the other side would take and figured I could complete the project the next morning, so we said sure. It's easy to pilot a Grand Banks 32 trawler from inside, with windshield wipers for the rain. It made much more sense than sailing that day. Once underway, Marty turned on his radar unit. This was a great opportunity for us. We had covered using radar for navigation in the Advanced Coastal Navigation class, but had never acquired hands on experience. I had to study the screen for a while to get used to understanding what all the green blips meant. I gradually started to get the feel of what a given size blip was likely to be by matching the blips on the screen with things in sight. The range control let me scan 1/4, 1/2, 1, 5, 10, or 25 miles. This made it clear to me how radar could be useful in the fog for missing bridges and other boats, etc. We experimented with it all the way to Sam's in Tiburon. We were lucky to get a dock space there, stopped in for lunch, then motored over to Ayala Cove off Angel Island to anchor for a while and relax.

            The rain continued so we didn't stay long before hoisting the hook with Poquito's electric windlass. We continued to build our radar skills all the way back. It was clear it would be a good navigational aid, especially if we were trying to find an unfamiliar port after dark. Prior to this experience, the class had left us with the impression that there was a radar jockey in every power boater and it was just another gadget to play with because you weren't busy with sail trim. Learning about Marty's radar made the rainy day trip fun.


Figure 49: Radar day with Marty and Betty

 

CELESTIAL NAVIGATION CLASS

            We didn't do much more boating with Moonshot for the rest of the year. We were behind a few days of work on our house and on catching up with personal things. Surprise, surprise. People have standards of performance to keep and attention was required on our home and work fronts. We kept thinking about the skills we would need to be successful and competent cruisers though. It's a wonderful break from the sensory reality, thinking about sailing away one day. Though I think celestial navigation is an aspect of cruising that will go away with low cost portable hand held navigational electronics, one of the potential hazards of relying on electronics for navigation has been, "What if you lose power or your Loran or GPS fails?". Gary referred me to a celestial navigation course being offered at Foothills College near our home. It met one evening a week for 5 weeks starting the first Wednesday in November. He was interested in the class as well. I was glad the character building experience we had given him earlier in the year didn't cause sailing to leave his blood stream.

            The instructor's name was Donald. He seemed OK, better than the Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors. He had written the book being used for the class, so he was much more knowledgeable. He was getting old so when he wrote on the chalkboard, he shook quite a bit. His advice on the $23 Davis sextant we had purchased was that it was a reasonable spare in case your real one fell overboard. He didn't quite motivate us to go spend several hundred dollars on a better one though. We decided the Davis would be a good back up for the unlikely event we would ever need to rely on celestial navigation.

            There were 30 people in the class, all intending to use the knowledge they would gain there. They didn't look much like Hank and Polly, or Richard and Hilarie, people on the verge of leaving for the big cruise. Like us, they looked more like people that were reaching for such a goal but weren't committed yet. During the second session, we experienced one of California's typical earthquakes. Donald was busy writing on the chalk board while it occurred. Because he shook so much naturally, he wasn't aware that the quake had happened. Meanwhile the entire class was working hard to keep their materials on their desks. When Donald finally turned around to look at the class, he was puzzled to see the expressions on everybody's faces. It was humorous convincing him we had just been through an earthquake.

            As the weeks went by while we were learning about celestial navigation, we began planning an automobile trip down the California coast to San Diego. Our goal was to visit and learn about every port of refuge between Stillwater Cove and San Diego and to visit with Craig Levin. We were planning to go over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We received the Trip Tic we had requested from AAA, then left Wednesday evening so we could make it to some friend's house north of Los Angeles in time for Thanksgiving dinner. We made good time leaving the valley and stayed over night in a rustic cabin in the woods just south of Carmel. The next day we would enjoy the drive down California's Big Sur coast. We saw clearly that there were no ports of refuge until San Simeon, the community near the Hearst Castle. We had to stop a few times along the way for photographs. Some of the rocky coastal sights were breathtaking. We weren't sure about San Simeon being a port so it was a good time for some exploration. There was a long fishing pier with a dinghy launch in the harbor. We saw two commercial fishing vessels come into the cove and anchor. It looked quite accommodating unless storm conditions brought strong southerly winds. The town and harbor were calm and peaceful.

            We pushed on with Morrow Bay being the next port. Craig hadn't mentioned San Simeon, but had made Morrow Bay shortly after dawn on his trip with Decoy. Morrow Bay is easily spotted because of a huge rock protruding from the center of the mouth of the harbor area. We toured the length of the docks and saw boats of all kinds, including many cruisers. There was an anchorage off to the south side filled with boats. We took a break for lunch and had a delicious meal at a restaurant over looking the bay.

            After making a quick stop in San Luis Obispo, we would be driving along Santa Barbara's coast before turning east to go inland on highway 126 on our way to Valencia. Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal city with a large public beach and water front area. It impressed me as a good place to stay for a long weekend get away. We moved on to make Steve and Patty's for Thanksgiving Dinner. We had become friends with them while living in Colorado. Steve had worked with Marsha. We played tennis and went skiing with them several times during our last two years there. They moved to Southern California shortly after we moved away. It was a fine feast and after dinner, we started talking about chartering yachts. Coincidentally, Steve was in the middle of getting ready for a Virgin Island charter on a Moorings 432, and he had a video from the Moorings.

            The video was short, but appetizing because it showed some familiar and new cruising grounds and gave us more insight into the charter company we would be dealing with soon, as well as some shots of the Moorings 432 we would be sailing. Steve had been sailing with friends from work, out of Oxnard. On long weekends, they would sail out to the Channel Islands. It sounded like the wind conditions were similar to Monterey Bay with warmer air and water temperatures and even clearer waters. We decided not to stay overnight at their house, but to push on to Oxnard where we could get a room in a hotel connected to its marina.

            I liked Oxnard. It had a new housing development near the marina. The marina itself was in good condition and seemed secure. After breakfast, while strolling along the docks, we spotted a Watkins 27. It was a later model than Moonshot. This boat had a split backstay and a bowsprit incorporating an anchor roller. We snuck in the gate to get a better look and take pictures of the newer design changes and how they had been implemented. The boat had been reasonably well cared for, but it looked a lot smaller than Moonshot without the windscreen and dodger. We toured some more before driving through Los Angeles. We already knew about Marina del Rey and decided not to take the time to visit there and made Long Beach our next destination. That would get us most of the way through the Los Angeles area, thank God. San Francisco had spoiled us. LA didn't seem like part of the same state we lived in.

            It was past lunchtime when we arrived so we found a restaurant before exploring. There was a large hill directly behind the marina with a road leading up to it. We drove up the hill and found a lookout point, parked and were able to study the layout of the harbor. Driving back down the hill, we were able to follow the drive through its marina. We paused to witness a couple getting married on a vessel drifting in the channel. While walking along the docks, we spotted another Watkins 27 and a boat we thought looked perfect for Lewis. It was a Catalina 30 named Knapp Time. Soon, it was time to move on if we were going to make San Diego with any time left in the evening. The marina was nestled in the grounds of the San Diego Airport. We made our way to the parking area near Craig's boat and soon met him. We piled into his RX7 to go have dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Then we checked into a nearby hotel for the evening and said good night. It had been an eventful 48-hour journey.

            It looked as if it was going to be a good sailing day on Saturday, brisk, clean air with mild winds. We met back at the marina early and Craig gave us the grand tour. While still on shore, we picked up sandwiches at the deli next to the laundry mat. Craig had taken his option to have a storage locker on land for an extra $37 per month, added to his slip rental fee of $300. The slip fee included water, electricity, telephone, and cable TV. The locker was a huge walk in closet. All his clothes were hanging on one side with boxes and larger stuff piled up on the other side. This was a perfect set up for a liveaboard. We could tell Craig had already established close bonds with the other liveaboards on his dock by the friendly hellos as we walked by. He had worked out an arrangement with his employer in Northern California to work via a terminal and modem on his boat. He talked about living on his boat and racing (breaking) on someone else's. One thing we noticed about San Diego Harbor is that it's proximity to the airport made the sounds of the airplanes taking off quite annoying. It was much louder than the noises from the San Francisco airport we had to put up with in Brisbane. Craig also complained about there not being many places to go out of San Diego. Ensenada or the island off Tijuana wasn't popular because it was such a hassle dealing with customs for just a day sail or an over night trip.

            The winds were light as we tacked Decoy out of the channel. An hour later we were out playing in the ocean rollers with firmer 15-knot winds. Some of the waves were very large. We discussed the celestial navigation class we were taking and as it turned out Craig had taken the same class last year. He brought his sextant out from the cabin and had Marsha take a sun site. She took a few more sites, just in case the first one was bad. It was difficult getting a good site with the rollers tossing Craig's light boat. He recorded the time and sextant reading and stated he would reduce the site to a latitude and longitude later.

            The waves were continuing to build so we decided to head in and sail in the channel. Once in the channel, the wind became calmer so Craig decided to rig his cruising spinnaker . We had seen him fly this on one of the few light air days in San Francisco Bay, but never had the experience of flying one ourselves. You had to work the sail more diligently than a normal jib, but it was rigged the same way. It was about 175% of the working sail area. It was an attractive design with four shades of blue 1/2-ounce spinnaker cloth. Because it is made of such a light material, it can't be flown in winds stronger than 12 knots apparent. The drifter , as it was also called, came with a dousing sock that made it easy to bring in. The dousing sock was a sausage like tube with a clothesline type drawstring. To fly the sail, you hoisted the tube containing the drifter with the jib halyard, and then used the drawstring to raise the tube to the top. This let the wind fill the sail. To bring the sail in, Craig just had to pull the drawstring in the opposite direction. There was a noticeable improvement in the boat's hull speed once he got the sail flying. Craig mentioned that he had purchased the drifter used but was thinking about selling it. It was too small for Decoy. He knew where he could get a good deal on another used one that would fit his boat better. We expressed interest so he asked me to measure Moonshot's P, E, I, and J dimensions. If it was a good match we could discuss it further.

            Once back at the dock, Craig used a calculator programmed with sight reduction formulas to compute Marsha's sun sights. Her best one was within 3 miles of our actual location. Craig was impressed stating his closest sight was over 30 miles off. He gave us a copy of a magazine article with a complete listing of a Basic computer program for sight reduction. It required no other information besides the height of your eye above the water, the time, and the sextant reading for sun sights and only a minor amount of information from the tables found in the annual Nautical Almanac for moon and star sights. We enjoyed the sail out of San Diego and seeing Craig again but he was right, it would be more fun if there were more destinations available. We took off after dinner wanting to get some miles behind us to shorten Sunday's drive home. It turned out that once again, we took our final exam sea trials for a navigation class on Decoy. A great Thanksgiving holiday.

            The next weekend we purchased a hand held Texas Instruments Basic computer from Fry's Electronics. We spent the rest of the weekend entering the program from Craig's magazine article, and then porting it to the particular dialect of the Basic programming language understood by this machine. Marsha enhanced the program improving its user interface. We were now capable of doing celestial navigation the easy way because of the computer program. We practiced in the marina near Moonshot's berth to verify the program was correct. Because there is no visible horizon inside the bay, we used a technique of overlapping the sun's image with the image of its reflection on the water, then dividing the sextant angle in half. The program seemed to be working, we were reducing our sextant reading to within 2 miles of our actual position.

 

ENLISTED INTO YACHT CLUB SERVICE

            The Mystery Cruise had been fun so we decided to attend the yacht club's next general meeting. SPYC had started meeting regularly during the evening of the 4th Wednesday of the month and before getting down to business, there was a pot luck dinner. We had been to a few meetings in the past and were able to contribute ideas now and then, but soon we would be contributing much more on a different level. Jeff Eastman and Shirley Warren approached us and invited us to be officers on the board of directors for the following year. They asked Marsha to be the Recording Secretary and me to be the Port Captain. We were flattered and wondered what this meant we had to do. We enjoyed showing up at some of their functions occasionally but never considered for a minute what running a yacht club was all about. When we started to get involved with the club in the first place, our thought was it could be fun helping a young yacht club get started so we considered the appointments and decided not to turn them down. I began reading through the club’s bi-laws.

            Article 6, Section 5 stated the responsibility of the Port Captain : "The Port Captain shall see that the club property is properly used, protected, and maintained and shall maintain order at all meetings and at all other times when necessary." Since our clubhouse was still in the rough conversion phase, this sounded like a not much going on position. The Secretary 's job had more words in its description, but essentially read as keeping official minutes of the general and board meetings on file. Article 6.9 stated no member shall be eligible to serve in offices of Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, Secretary, Treasurer, Port Captain, or Fleet Captain unless they had served on the board of directors for at least one year. That restriction was waived until the election of the 1989 officers. It was a loophole that facilitated us into positions of responsibility from directly off the street.

            The Port Captain's job was to be the person to contact if some other yacht club or other entity was planning on visiting our club for any reason. The Port Captain would be the host for the event. I was in a quandary about how I could possibly make any kind of contribution during the foreseeable year given the still developing state of the club's facility. I had lunch with Joe Rockmore shortly there after. He mentioned one thing I might consider, hosting an SBYRA race. SBYRA stands for the South Bay Yacht Racing Association. It sounded interesting but I had no clue regarding what to do with the idea given the current state of the club. I would have to think about it.

            I received a call from Shirley the following week. She mentioned that things were still in a state of flux and that they would like me to be the Fleet Captain instead. Article 6, Section 6 of the Bi-Laws list the duties of the Fleet Captain: "The Fleet Captain shall plan and head all boating activities, provide an activities calendar of all boating activities at the beginning of each year or when necessary, and keep the membership informed of all boating activities." This sounded like something more tangible, like something that could be fun and have an impact on the club if I did a good job. In fact now, we realized that between us Marsha and I would be in control the club's activities and communications. Combined, we could indeed make an impact. So far, these were just nomination. The elections would be held in January and the installation dinner where the new officers would be sworn in would be in February. We would wait and see. 1988 had been an amazing year of boating for us. We went from average boater in a random slip to charter organizer and yacht club officers while spending a summer cruising in Monterey Bay.

 

HAULED OUT AND UPGRADED

            We were starting to think about and plan a haul out for Moonshot during the winter. I wanted to do several things besides have the bottom painted and topsides buffed and waxed this time. It was time to have the 10 year old rigging replaced. In the process of rigging with new wire, I intended to move the top of the mast further forward to better balance the boat. I also wanted to install a masthead lighting system. We purchased one at West Marine that was a combination tri-color running light, anchor light, and an emergency strobe light. Mounting it would require running wire through the mast and deck and installing a new switch panel. I purchased a switch panel with 6 switches so we could hook the bilge pump back up to a switch and take the steaming light off the running light circuit. There would still be one spare for whatever gadget might come along next.

            While the mast was down, I wanted to quiet the lines inside somehow. I had thought abut running conduit inside but the folks at West Marine suggested it would be easier to run a few sponges inside the mast at various heights to squelch the movement of the wires. While the mast was down, I intended to replace the wire to rope halyards with new all rope halyards and install a new Windex wind direction indicator. I also wanted to replace the topping lift as well as inspect the masthead hardware. We also wanted to have the boat surveyed to give us an idea of its sea worthiness and present value.

            I considered installing mast steps, but decided against it. I had also been considering radical design changes such as a split backstay, installing a bowsprit and a staysail stay. The timing to do all of this is perfect when you intend to replace your rigging. This would mean I would need to replace the existing bow pulpit as well. It would also mean another sail and more winches, sheets, and cleats. It all could be done but I decided against these engineering changes for reasons of cost and uncertainty of the actual benefits. Maybe the boat would point higher, have more flexibility with a variety of sails such as a storm sail rig, and provide more comfort for the helmsman with the split backstay. Probably, but not this time.

            I knew I wasn't going to go back to San Francisco Boat works so I needed to find a new boat yard. I lined up the project with Joe Rockmore’s recommendation, South Bay Boat works in Redwood City. They would subcontract to Svensons for the rigging job and give me recommendations for a surveyor . They asked if I was having it surveyed for insurance reasons, because they knew some surveyors that would provide a favorable report for that purpose. We said no, we just want to know our boat, so they recommended Rolland Fey. For a haul out that involved unstepping the mast, they recommended we loosen all the turn buckles to finger loose once we got the boat in the boat yard. Then the job would take them less time and would save us money. We had already purchased the switch panel, rope halyards and associated shackles, the Windex, the mast head light, mounting bracket and wire. I also installed the switch panel and ran the wire through the bilge and in between the inner liner and hull all the way to the head where the wire would go through the deck.

            We had to monitor the tides just to get the boat into the yard. The Redwood Creek can be too shallow to navigate when the tides are low. Once in the slip, we proceeded to loosen the turnbuckles as had been recommended, take down both sails and remove the boom. We also took the dodger off so it wouldn't get damaged. I removed the solar panel's EMM, Energy Monitor Manager because Bill the manager of Sovonics offered to install a voltage regulator in it if I sent it back. Adding the regulator had been an engineering change to the design. The voltage regulator would cut off charging once it reached 14.5 volts.

            The haul out was scheduled for the next day. Gil, the yard owner would let both myself and Rolland Fey know when it would occur so we could meet there. The call came, I called Marsha and we all met at the boatyard to conduct the survey. We arrived before the boat was hauled in time to check out the interior. Rolland recommended that we replace our plastic through hull fittings with brass ones and the old gate valves with single lever action ball valves. He also recommended drilling a hole in the board behind the companionway steps so a fire extinguisher could be discharged into the engine compartment without removing the cover. After the boat was hauled out of the water and power washed, Rolland poked around the hull, prop, and rudder. He dug out a few surface blisters at the intersection where the lead ballast is bolted to the base of the keel. Gil had joined us by then. We added fixing the blisters and replacing the through hulls and valves to his to do list. The following are Rolland's remarks from the survey report: 


“Moonshot is a typical Watkins Sloop of satisfactory design and construction. She was found well maintained and equipped. A thorough inspection of the hull and superstructure while dry docked revealed no evidence of decay, delamination, structural failure or damage in areas where visible and accessible. No removals were made to uncover areas ordinarily concealed. The mast is stepped on deck on a stout beam. It was unstepped at the time of this dry-docking to install all new stainless steel standing rigging. While unstepped, a masthead strobe and combination running light and a new Windex will be installed. Foam blocks will be installed inside the mast to stop the internal wires from rattling. While dry-docked, the owner will replace the plastic seacock at the head discharge fitting and the gate valve for the engine raw water intake. Both will be replaced with ball cocks. The main engine was not operated but is reported in good running condition. It has only just undergone a minor overhaul including new gaskets, replacement of a rocker arm and injector inspection and adjustment. The unit was found well maintained with no obvious evidence of fuel, water, or oil leaks. Bilges were free of debris and were reasonably dry. In general, Moonshot was found in satisfactory condition. When recommendations appearing herein have been properly accomplished and projects planned during the current dry-docking are completed, she will be suitable for her intended service. Waters navigated, San Francisco Bay and it's Tributaries plus Pacific Coastal. Replacement value, $67,500. Market value, $23,750”.

            Moonshot would sit in the yard all week before we could work on it ourselves the following weekend. Gil would start the rigging project as well as replacing the seacocks. I had been looking at various backstay adjusters , Gil knew of a model that would fit the intended use for an added cost of about $50. This would provide me with one more sail adjustment. Being able to tighten the backstay when pointing high in stiff breezes would improve the trim on both sails, theoretically allowing the boat to point higher and go faster.

            We got an early start on Saturday morning. The first project was to run the 4-strand electrical wire for the masthead fixture and install the fixture at the top of the mast. I drilled a hole in the base of the mast for the wire to come through. I drilled a hole near the top of the mast for the wire to feed through to the fixture. We used the old backstay to feed the wire through the mast, and then I mounted and wired the fixture. Next was a simple Windex replacement, then a general inspection of all parts on the masthead. Everything was in reasonable shape except we noticed problems with the aluminum halyard sheaves . They had frozen in position and the wire halyards had been cutting through them as sails were hoisted. The main halyard sheave was cut over half way to its center. These would have to be replaced before we installed the new halyards.



Figure 50: Masthead halyard sheaves

            After removing the sheaves, I called a couple of rigging shops to find replacements. Giving the O.D., I.D., and width, we were unable to locate any of the size we required in stock anywhere. We decided to drive to the Palo Alto West Marine store. Perusing their shelves of rigging gear, we were unable to locate a match there either. Then Marsha noticed their Kenyon mast and boom display. It was a rigging display with a mast about 4' tall and a boom about 2' long, loaded with all sorts of blocks, halyards, cleats, and other mast and boom hardware. It was the same mast and boom fittings as those on Moonshot, including the correct size sheaves. We tracked down the store manager and pleaded a case that this was our only day to work on the boat as it was hauled out to be painted and that we had checked everywhere and these were the only two sheaves in town and could we please tear your display apart and swap out our defective sheaves for your good ones on display. She was sympathetic and agreed as long as we did the work and paid $20.00 for the parts. It took a while but the experience gave me practice putting the masthead back together. Our project was now back on track. I widened the slot the sheaves fit into by hammering the aluminum. This allowed them to rotate freely. I could now install the new all rope halyards . We made the jib halyard longer so it would be easier when using it to hoist the dinghy out of the water.

            We had attended the winter boat and recreation show at the Cow Palace this year before our haul out. While there, I talked to a sail salesman about our thoughts about a drifter and the fact that we would be replacing our halyards soon. He recommended installing a turning block about 8" down from the top of the mast for the drifter halyard to go through. This would allow the dousing sock to be used to douse the sail on either tack. Otherwise, if the halyard came straight from the masthead, the sail could only be doused on the tack it was on which it was opened. Installing this completed the work on the mast.

            Next we went back to concentrating on the hull to worry about surface preparation before painting. The yard crew doesn't do much prep work other than cleaning and applying some kind of etch that roughened the surface to make paint stick better. I feel they were lax in not specifying what needed to be done more clearly to insure a proper job. I scrapped the obvious locations where old paint was chipping off. I found it odd that the paint on the starboard side was chipping off much more easily than on the port side. I thought it could be from different exposures to sunlight. I did what I could without turning it into a major effort, then cleaned up and went home.

            I stopped by the yard one weekday afternoon the following week and talked to the person working the rigging to discuss the design of the replacement topping lift. He recommended having a block installed on the end of the topping lift and a cleat installed on the port side of the aft end of the boom. To rig the lift, I would then be able to tie a line on the end of the boom, run it through the block and back to the cleat. This would provide a 2:1 purchase for lifting the boom and would be controlled from the cockpit. Much better. It looked as if everything was converging on the projects for completion by the following weekend. I made the following entry in my journal on that Thursday evening:


The work outlined in November on Moonshot is converging. The parts should come in today for the new topping lift. The remaining task is to put it all back in the water. The yard believes it will be ready to go tomorrow. An additional project was to replace the valves connected to the through hull fittings. This was prompted by comments made by both the engine mechanic and surveyor. Although I have not seen the total bill and some jobs may have been labor intensive, I believe we will get out of the yard for under $2,500. The engine work was done, head gasket replaced, carbon removed from bore, injectors adjusted. That cost $434. Of all the work outlined, the engine motor mounts still need to be replaced. Lewis Knapp is going to help, I have the mounts, I still need to pick up aluminum shims. Regarding the mast, I would still like to install mast steps. I've seen the fold up kind, they look good but I don't know their cost. I will have to decide on screws or pop rivets. I have a rivet gun, though I'm not sure it's big enough. Pop rivets would be easier to install. They would also be easier to drill out if need be. When those steps are installed, it will be straight forward to install a more permanent radar reflector. Total job for steps and reflector would be half a day when parts and tools are in hand.

      The next major job would be refrigerator/ice box. I will first need to make measurements of the closure to determine the size I would end up with. If it comes out at a size that matches the rating for a small Adler Barber Holding plate, I will proceed. At this point, I'm not sure how much space I will be gaining. Before construction begins, I will also need to make a decision on cooking. Replace alcohol with propane. Propane storage plans would need to be thought out. This would require instruments and storage compartments, and knowledge of propane installation. Another decision would be to stay with a stove only. I personally think that would be fine. Marsha's adaptive cooking style. This would require only getting the dimensions from a propane stove. Any routing of propane lines would need to be planned before icebox construction began. I would also need to understand the holding plate installation. Other projects would be the dish shelf behind the table and drawer under the companionway first step. The thing to do before anything is deciding weather Moonshot is the boat to put this much energy into. Back to Brisbane. I pray Steve and Svensons did the rigging correctly. It would be a wonderful thing to have the boat back, sunshine, and wind on Saturday. The following is a longer term cruising list of things yet to consider:

- Life Raft
- Mast Steps
- Bicycle Rack
- Wind Vane
- Storm Sail Rigging
- High Tensile Danforth Anchor and Tackle
- Bimini Cover
- Food Nets
- Radar
- Ham Radio and License
- GPS Receiver
- Battery Bank
- High Output Alternator
- Redo Ice Box
- Refrigeration
- Storage Compartment Forward of Water Tank
- Warm Weather Companionway and Hatch Bug Screens
- Redo Cushion Velcro
- 12-Volt Sewing Machine
- Dish Rack Behind Table
- Larger Inflatable Holding Tank
- Extra Water and Fuel Tanks
- Permanent Radar Reflector
- Anchor Rode Cover End Fittings
- Cockpit Seat for Skipper
- Stove
- Improve 6 hp Engine Mount
- Clean Curtains
- Fire Extinguisher Opening into Engine Compartment
- Fresh Water Foot Pumps
- Organize Teak Fixtures in Head
- Entry Way Compartment
- Drop Leaf Shelf next to Stove
- Caulk Deck Stanchions
- 3rd Reef in Mainsail
- Spare Boom Vang


It seems like every time I remove something from the list, it grows by 2.

            We made it to the boat early the next Saturday morning and put the boom and sails back on. I adjusted the mast further forward with the new play in the adjustments. I stowed the old rigging in the spares compartment behind the holding tank. It was a good feeling having completed one of the more complex maintenance and upgrade projects we had been involved with. Sailing back to Brisbane, I could tell the helm was much easier to handle. The balance accomplished by the rigging modification totally knocked out the weather helm problem. Time to set sail for the homeport and get ready for another great season.

 

THE CRUISING SPINNAKER

            Though we hadn't discussed any final terms with Craig, we were excited about enhancing Moonshot with his drifter. I had delivered the measurements to Craig and was waiting to hear back from him. It had been taking a while so I sent him an email message. It turned out he was uncomfortable doing some kind of deal like selling a used sail to a friend. I sent a message back suggesting that he think about what his best fair price would be and I would either accept it or not, with no haggling. He thought that was a good approach and eventually came back with a price of $425.00 including the dousing sock and sail bag. A new one would cost $1,145.00 from the Spinnaker shop so I agreed to his price once I determined its size would be a good fit for Moonshot. During his next trip to San Francisco, Craig hand carried and delivered the sail to Moonshot. For rigging, we bought red and green lines for port and starboard sheets. We also purchased bull's eye fair leads, a cam cleat with bull's eye, and a swivel-block. These were to be used for rigging a tack line on the starboard side of the boat similar to the furling line on the port side. It could be used to adjust the position of the tack of the cruising spinnaker.

            We were able to play with the sail the following weekend. The wind started dying while we were sailing north to the city, so we got the sail rigged and undoused the sock. The boat started moving noticeably faster. We played with the sail trim for a while to learn how to manage it. There are two adjustments we could make. The first is the tack. We used the tack line to bring the tack in tighter when close hauled and to let it out when reaching and running. A cruising spinnaker should be trimmed to stop the luff , from curling such that the middle of the luff curls first when heading up closer to the wind. If the upper part of the luff curls first, the tack is too high. If the lower part of the luff starts to curl first, the tack needs to be raised. The other adjustment is the sheet. A cruising spinnaker differs from a real spinnaker in that it is not symmetrical, having an actual luff and leech . Also, the cruising spinnaker does not use a pole to control the position of the sail's tack. It tacks and jibes just like a normal jib. The wind started picking up again so we decided to douse the sail before it blew out. The sock worked fine, it was doused in a jiffy. During the following week I had a dream that we were sailing with the drifter and the wind picked up. The sail started rising above the mast higher and higher and eventually it exploded leaving tiny oblong chunks of sky blue and royal blue spinnaker cloth raining down on me like confetti. The light air sail made a fine addition to Moonshot's inventory.

 

NEW YEARS DAY PARTY

            SPYC was having a New Years Day party so we decided to go to the marina. The theme was an open boat party. You were supposed to tie up to the guest dock and serve a food dish to people that come to visit your boat. Lewis and Barbara joined us. Six boats tied to the dock for the event. It was a gorgeously sunny day, warm for that time of year. Marty and Betty Rosenthal were serving Futomaki. Marsha made a cheese seafood dip. We were also serving margaritas because Lewis brought his ice shavers and a block of ice. He was actually giving demonstrations of the ice shavers more than serving drinks. Lewis and Barbara had joined their relatives for a 4 day ocean liner cruise from San Diego to La Paz over Thanksgiving and had seen these ice shavers in a hardware store. They were used in the open markets to keep fresh produce cool. They were similar to a plain for wood, with a compartment for trapping the ice shavings. We were fascinated with the fact you could make blender drinks without a blender. People enjoyed the demos and we had fun with them. We entertained the idea of importing a bunch to sell at marine flea markets.

            Alan and Joy Karsevar opened up the Sultana later in the afternoon serving lasagna. We finally got to tour the pirate ship. They have a piano and full sized console TV in the living room, a bar, dining room, galley with a refrigerator and a freezer, 1 bedroom, a nursery, and a den. Alan stated it took 6 crewmembers to sail it. You have to tack the rigging with the sails. It hadn't been in a few years, but Alan was hoping to get back out this summer. Jeff and Jayne showed up in Del Cielo. Shirley and Dean Warren walked over from Dock 2 leaving their Chinese Junk, the Reluctant Dragon behind. They had been living on the 40' Junk for 13 years. They had known the Karsevars almost that long. They knew Alan when he was building the Sultana, a 91' Brigantine from its Ferro-cement hull. They saw what now were his masts when they were fallen trees lying next to the hull. Lewis wanted to climb up and see the view from Sultana's crow's nest, but we refrained from asking. There was also a young couple that had just moved from New York with their Tartan 34. They thought Moonshot had as much living space as their boat. It turned out to be a fun day, we stayed overnight at the guest dock. Onward to the New Year.

 


Figure 51: The vessel Sultana

 

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Keys to the Golden Gate, Copyright (c) 2002 by Steve Sears