Sunday, November 24, 2013

Home, Sweet Home

It feels so good to be "home". Home is a relative term seeing as how we live in a mobile, floating home. Of course for us, home is where our Hull is - haha, get it? Yah, corny I know... ;)

Anyway, we are back at our usual marina and it's wonderful. Neither of us expected to miss this place as much as we did but after a long and crazy 6 weeks we are so glad to be back.  It's much quieter here; less boat and people traffic - it's our sanctuary. 

We had a chilly and windy sail down the Bay this past weekend. Day got off to a rocky start - we had some engine issues but after a bit of basic troubleshooting and changing out a couple of filters we were on our way. We were able to sail nearly the entire 40 miles home, only having to turn on the iron genny once we turned up into our river.  Made decent time, about 7hrs and was able to pull into our slips 15min before sunset. A gale hit that evening so we were glad to make it home before it rolled in.  

Now that we are home the to-do list continues. I have to do a thorough inspection of our sail inventory and identify what repairs/improvements (or "Hassification") can be made. I also need to get a sail cover made ASAP - that will be a fun project. We need to build up our lazy jacks - we ran out of time before we left our "working marina". Those along with lots of other prep tasks...... Back to work!


Tango with her new mast, newly painted boom (hidden under the mails'l) and sails bent on...  We were finally ready to head "home". 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Game Changing Weekend...

This past weekend we traveled all the way to the beautiful state of Washington so I could attend a sail repair seminar in Port Townsend. The seminar was hosted by world renowned sail maker Carol Hasse and her sail loft crew. It was an intensive, long two days but such an amazing weekend. Words really can not describe the high I feel right now. First, if you've never seen the quality of Hasse sails, you can see some of it HERE.

Sails build by Hasse and Company are built from premium Dacron and all of them (some 3500+ to a date) are built in their Port townsend loft. Each sail is carefully designed, cut, assembled and finished by a talented group of 12 women. Each sail is reinforced with leather and all corners, rings, chafe areas and hardware are HAND sewn! Not only is the quality of these sails superb and far superior (in my opinion) to other production sails but they are beautiful!! They are truly works of art. 
I attended the class with 10 other people. Almost all of them were from the west coast - Canada, Washington or Oregon. One other couple was from Illinois but I was definitely from the furthest away. Each person was shocked to learn I traveled so far especially when I lived so close to one of the nations sailing capitals. Well, there is something to be said for learning from the best. 
The seminar was Saturday and Sunday - a total of 14 hours of curriculum. We went over offshore sail inventory, sail inspection, sail construction, sail repair and reinforcement (patch a hole, install a chafe guard, fix a torn seam, apply a spreader patch and reinforce a corner ring with webbing) and hand sewing with a palm and needle to sew in a ring, seize a jib hank, attach a mails'l slide, mend a seam, add a leather chafe guard and make "easy reefs".  The wealth of knowledge these ladies possess is amazing! 

Reinforcing strainer, round stitch and cross stitch

Leather chafe strip with running stitch and flat stitch

Sewn on slide, hank, easy reef and hand sewn ring

All the sail repair work, with machine.  Fixed holes, tears, seams, added patches and chafe guards.
As I mentioned part of the cirruclum was sail inspection. We were given the option to bring along a sail or two of our own to be inspected so we packed up our storm stays'l and checked it through to Seattle. 
We were so lucky to have Carol Hasse teach is portion of the seminar. She went step by step through the process of inspection, using our sail as an example. We knew this one was in rough shape - she had been used and put away wet. Her tack, clew and head rings are "batteries" and all her hanks are press on or crimp on and attached to grommets - so basically there was a lot wrong with this sail. She has another year, maybe two, left in her but I envision her being a training platform.

Battery... this is what happens when rings are not sewn in.  Only way to fix this is to cut it off. Not good when you're hundreds or thousands of miles offshore.

Crimped on hanks, with grommets.  Massive corrosion and unable to be reused or repaired.  Have to remove entirely and replaced.  This would not happen if done properly with sewn on rings and jib hanks.

Armed with this new knowledge, I plan on doing a complete inspection of our existing inventory and making improvements where I can, or "Hassisify" them as they say ;)  I'm so excited to put my skills to use! 
I also did some shopping while I was there. I purchased some tools and supplies for my offshore repair ditty bag, a new and beefed up palm from the local wooden boat chandlery as well as The Sailmakers Apprentice book - aka the sailmakers bible as I like to call it. 

New palm and needle case from the Wooden Boat Chandlery
I was also able to pick up the necessary hardware in order to turn our furling stays'l to a hank on sail.  Yes, we are once again going the KISS (Keep it Simple Sailor) route. Most folks transition to roller furling, not the other way around. So now that I can successfully, and quite easily, hand sew rings and sew on jib hanks I plan to convert our sail. I'll also be Hassifiying it a bit with some additional leather in the corners and doing necessary repairs I find during inspection. I'll be sure to blog about that project once it gets started. 
So we knew before heading to Port Townsend that we were going to order a new mains'l from Hasse. After the seminar, J and I were able to meet with her and put down our deposit. Our new main should be done around September - yay! A long wait but well worth it. We're also toying with the idea of ordering a couple of other sails (trys'l and light air sail) but we're going to have to see how the budget looks after we get done with our current projects. Ideally we would leave with a full suite of Hasse sails but not sure if that will be possible. Perhaps I'll attempt to do a trys'l and storm stays'l... Both are pretty straight forward, small sails - who knows, could be fun or could be a disaster ;)
We were able to enjoy some of the local sights while we were there too  - it was such a lovely town, honestly it was hard to leave. Awesome people, great sights, amazing food (didn't have a single bad meal) and the craft brew was some of the best we have had!  
Mount Baker as seen from Point Hudson in Port Townsend

After being there for the long weekend and talking to the sail loft crew as well as some local sailors we're thinking we may alter our route a bit and after the South Pacific, head North and make our way through Alaska and down into WA to spend a season there. It's seriously beautiful there! Oh and did I mention the beer?? ;) 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


J and I live in a world of acronyms.  Just when you think you know what they all mean, another gets added.  While boat life doesn't have nearly as many, there are a few - not counting those which we've made up over the last few years, e.g., ASSWOP :)

BOAT - if you have a boat you likely know what this stands for.  Break Out Another Thousand.  

We've been busy trying to get things done with Tango's new mast and boom refurb so that we can sail "home" in the next week or so.  However, as J put it last night "we have more money than we do time" - how often can that be said!  Not only are our jobs hectic right now, but J is in school full time and I am in school part time.  AND tomorrow (Friday) we head to Port Townsend, WA where I will be attending a sail repair seminar at Hasse & Company, Port Townsend Sails ( and J will be meeting with world renowned sail maker, Carol Hasse to discuss the construction of our new mainsail.  While we are both very excited for the trip, the timing is not ideal.  There is still a significant amount of work to do before we can sail home and we're quickly running out of time. 

That said, we've decided to "BOAT" or perhaps "BOATs".  So far we're slightly under budget on our tasks which played into our decision to let the yard do nearly the rest of the work.  There are some smaller, easy items which don't need to be done until right before we leave to sail back, which we'll do. Our main concern is that there are things that must be done before other work gets done and being out of pocket for 5 days really throws a wrench into things. So, J met with the yard this AM and gave them a list of things we'll need done.  By the time we get back, she'll be that much closer to being ready to head "home".  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back to the Grind

We're getting back into "work" mode after a wonderful weekend away. We headed to NC to witness a beautiful and wonderful couple tie the knot. It was a fantastic weekend! Our wedding was a crazy blur so it was so nice to actually enjoy a wedding! We drank, we danced (we got do our waltz) and met lots of wonderful people! We wish C&A the best of luck and lots of love in their marriage! 

So now that we're back we've got lots of work to do before we head back out of town this coming weekend (does the crazy ever end??).  First up we have to prepare all the new halyards. I started this task last night. J and I have been going around and around about these - do we eye splice them or do we use hitches? Our previous halyards, as well as halyards on all of our previous boats were spliced. However, we feel there are some disadvantages to this. First, there have been accounts of increased chafe from the eye splice rubbing against the mast head sheave box. Second, if it does chafe and we redo them (if it's possible and hasn't elongated too much) we'll have to sacrifice a few feet of line to do so.  Third, we're unable to end-to-end the lines if they are spliced. And last, it takes a while to do eye splices (and we've each only done them once before). Based on our research, a buntline hitch is an option. This is a very strong knot and commonly used for halyards. Chapman's recommends it as well as Brion Toss - both reliable sources in our opinion. 

So we've made the decision to give the buntline hitch a try. Worst case we can always eye splice them later. First thing to do is to whip both ends of the new lines. We decided to go with a sailmakers whipping as opposed to the regular whipping as we feel it is a better whip. 

                                                  Handy palm, needle and waxed twine. 


                                            Finished product except for hot knifing the end. 

While I am working on the halyards J is working on making adjustments to the headstay. As with most boat projects lately things are not going according to plan. What should take an hour is now already at 2.5hrs and counting. The roller fuller has three stripped screws which are refusing to come out. J was able to get one out last night but the other two, no such luck.  On to plan D which is yet to be determined but may end up being to enlist the yard to take care of it.