Monthly Archives: February 2016

Riding a gale across the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Porter watching the waves as we sailed north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca
Porter watching the waves as we sailed north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca

As big, frothing green and white waves passed under and behind Yahtzee, we’d pause and then surf down them with a hoot and holler from the crew. “10.9 knots on that one!” Jill gushed with a smile from the helm. Followed by a shout from Porter, “Mommy, you’re surfing!”

We were about an hour out of Port Townsend and a forecasted gale was delivering on the promise of a stellar sleigh ride northward across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And from beginning to end, the trip brought a lot of positives for our crew.

Continue reading Riding a gale across the Strait of Juan de Fuca

A beautiful day to replace a halyard atop the Space Needle

The view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier from the roof of the Space Needle
The view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier from the roof of the Space Needle on Thursday

A while back I remember watching some celebrity on the news raising the 12th Man flag atop the Space Needle. At the time I thought, “I wonder what kind of line they use for that halyard?” That’s kind of an odd thing for most people to think, but it turns out the halyard is a Dyneema loop, and they use a sailboat rigger to build the assembly.

When I got the call from my buddy Ken at West Marine Rigging in Seattle (where I lend a hand on a very part-time basis) asking for help installing the Space Needle’s new flag halyard, there was no hesitation on my part. Lots of people go up to the top the Needle to enjoy a meal in the rotating restaurant or to take in the spectacular 360-views of Seattle and the surrounding area from the observation deck, but very few get to climb atop its highest roof. Continue reading A beautiful day to replace a halyard atop the Space Needle

A nostalgic visit back to Florida brings Yahtzee full circle

Tropical sunsets on the beach are hard to beat
Tropical sunsets on the beach are hard to beat

As the sun set on one of our first few days back in Southwest Florida, it was easy to reminisce on the many sunsets we’d seen over that same body of water, because we used to call it home.

It has been nearly five years since we left Florida, though, and just over 12 since we moved here from Oregon. I say “here” because that’s where we are right now, and it’s kind of crazy to think all that time has gone by. Being here to visit family and friends after so many years has been a nostalgic ride, but it has also shed some light on how we got to Yahtzee and put things into perspective for the future of her crew. Continue reading A nostalgic visit back to Florida brings Yahtzee full circle

Completing the switch from incandescent to LED

So many LED options to choose from...
There are so many LED options to choose from…

While walking by the Fisheries Supply booth at the Seattle Boat Show last week, I noticed their display of LED interior lights and thought, “Boy am I glad we finished that project.”

That’s right, it’s done. This winter we finally completed the changeover of our interior lights from incandescent to LED. It took a while, but now that we’re fully running on brighter, less power-hungry lights, I feel like a great service has been done for our boat and for the occupants of its once excruciatingly cave-like interior.

Why LED?

LED lighting is no secret to boaters anymore. It seems that every new boat has them as standard equipment and many used boats on the market have been fully upgraded from incandescent to their energy-saving brethren. And it makes complete sense.

When we bought our 1984 Grand Soleil 39 Yahtzee over three years ago, all of the exterior lighting had been switched over to LED, but all the interior lighting remained incandescent. At anchor, we’d switch on a few of those old, hot incandescent bulbs and literally watch them drain our batteries. Many of them eventually burned out. Plus, they just didn’t light up the space very well and even though we have a fairly open layout down below, Yahtzee seemed cavernous at times. Continue reading Completing the switch from incandescent to LED

Snoozin’, cruisin’ and boozin’ with the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club

Sailing upwind towards Blake Island
Sailing upwind towards Blake Island

When we left Eagle Harbor on Saturday morning, a fresh 15-knot southerly was kicking up on Puget Sound and the sun was trying to burst through low cloud cover. We didn’t have very far to sail, as our destination was Blake Island, so we were happy to tack the short distance south.

Blake Island is one of our favorite Central Sound cruising spots and when our friend Dana, the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club’s (STYC) cruising director, invited us to join the group for their late January get-together and Moscow Mule Party at the state park, we were happy to oblige.

A few boats had come the night before, but we ended up being one of  the first to arrive that morning. As the breeze stayed up throughout the day, boats from Shilshole and Elliott Bay Marina trickled in to join the festivities and by mid-afternoon the small marina was packed with sailboats. Continue reading Snoozin’, cruisin’ and boozin’ with the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club