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Saturday, January 7, 2017
It’s the middle of winter, and once again we are astounded anew that water can actually freeze and behave so badly in gale-force winds. What happened to summer? And why, after living full-time on a 24-foot boat and crossing 10,000 miles of ocean, do we find the normally palatial digs of our 850 square-foot house confining?
This is the time of year when most of us make big offshore voyages and fun coastal cruises—in our minds.
We browse online for off-season sales of boat equipment, and we concoct work plans that will fall apart like melting ice as soon as good weather hits. Because, would you rather work on the boat or go boating? The adverbial clause sounds so much more action-oriented.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that Jim and I don’t have much self-control when it comes to boats, and, very likely, neither do you. It turns out there’s a name for this nautical affliction: OCHD. Our friend Steve Stone at Off Center Harbor, being the first to scientifically pin down this syndrome after years of study, has naturally named it for his company, which, if you recall the way stadiums are named for corporations, isn’t unusual except that this isn’t a stadium, it's an affliction. Oh well. Go, Steve.
So, in light of this new name for it, Jim and I wish to say, “Hi, We are Karen and Jim, and we’re addicts.”
Check this list of symptoms to see if you, too, might be afflicted with OCHD:
1. Did you ever name a pet something nautical?
As a kid, Jim had an English setter named “Boots.” He says this was a family dog name, but come on, what’s a sailor’s favorite footwear at sea? He also had a turtle named Nellie Belle; okay, what rounded bronze item do sailors like to ring?
My developing OCHD has been less subtle; I had a schnauzer named Sparks. Her full name was “Chief Petty Officer, Telegraphist Sparks, Royal Navy retired, SAH!” Being the ship’s radio officer, she was the reason I’d point to when people would ask, “Why don’t you keep your radio on all the time, I was trying to reach you.” I also taught her to salute. Yes, that’s possible with a dog. But how to do that is top secret. One day at a parade of sail in Alexandria, Virginia, a Vice Admiral came up to the boat and said, sotto voce and looking slightly embarrassed, “I, uh, hear that your, uh, dog, uh, salutes.” A small crowd of about 50 midshipmen gathered grinning around a quickly amassing row of officers whose brass was so bright I put on my sunglasses. “Yes,” I said, “she can salute.”
“Uh, er, well,” said the Admiral, “We were wondering if she would salute us.” He gestured down the row of Admirals, Generals, Captains and Colonels. Sparks saluted them, and you never saw so many brass-laden arms snap to hat brims so fast. The Admiral smiled and said, “Uh, would you consider coming to my home and teaching my dog to salute? I’d like to be saluted when I come through the door each day.”
2. Do you dream about boats and sailing trips rather than working?
3. Do you shop endlessly for boats (or boat items) online?
Being the epitome of nerdly boat geekness, Jim in no way can deny this. My OCHD predates online. Back in the Cretaceous period, the arrival of the Defender catalog, which was in tiny black-and-white letters on newsprint with even tinier photos, would trigger an extreme bout of OCHD. Obsessive poring would not begin to describe what I did over it for weeks on end, imagining where I would stow all that gear without sinking, and maybe I could take out a loan...
4. Is it harder to hear your spouse’s voice when you're around boats?
We both have OCHD, so we’re balanced.
5. Do you take long mental voyages without untying from the dock?
I myself have sailed across the Atlantic approximately ten thousand times, visiting all of its historic ports, including the Mediterranean—during the age of sail, which kind of passed me by a hundred years ago.
6. Do you spend hours fixing defects that are unnoticeable to others?
Now see here, this is getting a little personal, don’t you think?
7. Do you make lists of things related to boats? And do you make lists of lists?
Possibly one of the most damning symptoms of all. Asking someone who is prepping for a voyage about this could unhinge them.
8. Do you have the ability to see boat equipment in store windows from half a mile away while simultaneously doing a U-turn faster than any landlubber can?
Of course you do.
9. Do you have trouble with control of drool at boat festivals?
Ever wonder why boat people like to dress so casually? Ever wonder why pirates wear scarves? This is why.
10. Do you love the smell of Stockholm tar, varnish, teak oil, and other things that are supposed to be bad for you?
It’s not just that you love them, they transport you to an alternate reality. To heck with steak and lobster, these are the steeds you ride to olfactory bliss.
Steve has suggested that someone find a Twelve Step cure, but so far all that’s been found is that those twelve steps lead straight down the dock.
Hang in there, northern hemisphere peeps, the days are getting longer.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
|Sockdolager leaves Port Townsend for her next chapter with her new owners, Dwight and Carmel.|
|One of our favorite secret spots. Shhhh.|
|Thunderbird racing action. Jim's T-Bird is called "Thatuna."|
|Clipper Round the World Race legs. Crews said the North Pacific was the hardest.|
|Pizza, of course!|
|Tom, Alex and the Clipper fleet in Australia.|
Some of Tom’s friends were still aboard Garmin, and he was eager to see them. But… one does not greet such a fleet empty-handed, does one? Alex and I organized a shopping trip, and off we went to pick up goodies for the incoming crews… ohboyohboyohboy, we chuckled, are they ever gonna be surprised! Piles of food disappeared into Raven’s commodious storage spaces, even filling the dinghy.
|Plenty of room for stowing extra food. We filled the dinghy.|
Over the space of a week or so, we went roaring up full throttle to every incoming Clipper boat we could find, all of us honking and waving wildly, making Raven look like a boatful of spiders. SLOW DOWN! WE HAVE FRESH FOOOOOOD FOR YOU! we yelled.
|Raven at full speed trying to flag down Garmin. Campbell Mackie photo|
|Garmin crew not quite believing their eyes. Photo: Alex Weaver.|
|The witty LMax crew eyeing the bag 'O food.|
“RED OR WHITE?”
“Oh, white, sil vous plais.”
We tossed him a Bota Box. “Don’t worry,” we said, “it’s good boat wine and it bounces!”
|The stormy North Pacific stripped the entire port side of this Clipper boat.|
|Bell Harbor Marina, downtown Seattle. Photo: Port of Seattle.|
|Raven at her duty station.|
“Tom, do you think Sir Robin’ll be here in Seattle?” I said, gripping a well-thumbed first edition of Sir Robin’s book about that 1969 race, called “A World of My Own.”
“Oh yeah,” said Tom, “He always shows up at race stopovers.” And so begins the Tale of the Little Rogue Hospitality Boat.
|The world's only Temporary Floating Clipper Race Pub.|
Alex and I each had our copies of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s book, so we lay in wait for him to walk down the dock. Here he comes, I said.
Leave this to me, said Alex, and called out, “Sir Robin! Would you sign our books?”
“Why sure,” he said.
“Would you like to come aboard?” asked Jim, followed by, “And would you like a beer or glass of wine?”
“Red wine, please.”
Thus began an epic era in the annals of maritime history that did not end for three whole days.
At first: “Sir Robin…” said Alex.
“Stop calling me Sir, it’s just Robin,” he said.
Okay, we said.
“Have you got any more wine?” he said.
So there we were, a gathering crowd listening to the man himself spin yarns late into the evening, over mostly liquid dinners. It was, to put it mildly, an astonishing development.
“I’ve got an old friend who lives in this area, Robin mused, “John Guzzwell, it’s been years…”
“I KNOW HIM!” I exclaimed, then thought, just call him. Won’t that be a surprise. So I went below to call John, and he was pleased to hear from me. I told him who our guest was, and he said, “Oh, put him on, I’d love to talk to him!” So, walking up the steps from the cabin, I held out my phone and said, “Robin, John Guzzwell would like to speak with you.” He looked at me stunned, then looked at the phone and blurted, “Oh for God’s sake!” and reached for it. I laughed. They had a great conversation and we arranged to get these sailing legends together, two nights hence. For those of you who haven’t heard of John, he sailed the 21-foot self-built Trekka around the world in 1959. Robin told us that he himself had been utterly inspired by John.
|Clipper boat Qingdao wins the beauty contest.|
|Seattle's cruise ship baggage handling area became a sail loft.|
|Garmin's genoa clew ripped right out in a 60-knot gust.|
|Dr. Alex repairs sails. "Just like stitching up patients," she said.|
Garmin was also one of three or four boats that broke their carbon fiber bowsprits.
|Garmin crew holds up broken bowsprit. All repairs were made during the brief stopover, but for the crews and race support staff it was a scramble.|
|One of many bent stanchions - this one was aboard Unicef.|
Around 7PM a couple of well-dressed men stood on the dock and peered in. Come aboard! I said, but they demurred. What they wanted was for Robin to come to their boat, which was one of the bajillion dollar babies parked nearby, because they were all ready to host him. A collection of other equally well-dressed people were evidently waiting, too. Jim and I figured it must have been the official hospitality boat. Uh-oh, I thought, we might be interfering with official functions.
“Right. I’ll be over straight away,” said Robin.
An hour later, the envoy was back. “We’d like to INVITE you to come over to our boat,” they said, pointing. So Robin and his crew went, but were back aboard Raven within 90 minutes, and stayed until what in a pub would be called “closing time.”
“We’d better buy more boxes of wine,” I said to Jim. “That was fun!”
Our cruising friend Will Sugg could hardly believe it when I posted what was happening on Facebook, so he joined us for sail-mending over the next two days, and naturally, for the evening’s activities.
|Will Sugg helps Catherine, Garmin's crew in charge of sail repairs.|
Around 7PM, THREE well-dressed men stood outside Raven, but would not come aboard. “We were HOPING you might come over to OUR boat,” they said to Robin. “Be there in just a minute,” he answered. An hour later I whispered to Jim, “Here they come again, I think they hate us.”
Next day, sail repairs, third night, more wine and tales aboard Raven, but this time there were two well-dressed men and one well-dressed woman in the 7 PM envoy. I was feeling sorry for them, but hey, it was party time on the good ole Raven. And not only that, John and Dorothy Guzzwell were aboard, and the Clipper crews who recognized them were amazed, and we’d ordered pizza for everyone and were all having the time of our lives. In this photo Robin Knox-Johnston, Tom Reese, Jim Heumann and John Guzzwell are discussing offshore sailing. Jim said later, “I was about to say how long and tiring our 37-day passage from Mexico to the Marquesas was until I remembered just in time, who I was talking to!”
|Robin Knox-Johnston, Tom Reese, Jim Heumann and John Guzzwell.|
“I promise you, WE will be over soon,” said Robin. At this I was thinking, nuh-uh, they don't want me, not in these Carhartts. Just then, the “Visit Seattle” Clipper race boat arrived from China, and the entire Raven party, along with the bajillion dollar boat envoy, went down the dock to cheer them in. Speeches were made and Visit Seattle’s crew were whisked off to Customs to clear in, and when they came back down the dock we were dangling slices of pizza at them. The other boat’s envoy did not know who John Guzzwell was, so Robin explained it to them, in deservedly glowing terms, and the envoy invited him and Dorothy to their boat, too. By now they had stopped making eye contact with me, even though I was trying to tell them with my conciliatory smile, we didn't steal Robin, he just likes it here.
As Robin, John and Dorothy were leaving with the envoy, I said, “We’ll see you later,” but Robin looked at Jim, Alex, and Tom, grabbed my hand and said, “Oh no you don’t, you’re coming with us!” So, like pirates at a Blackbeard barbecue, the entire Raven party boarded the bajillion dollar boat, and its owners were mighty good sports about it. Jim and I made an early exit (I mean, Carhartts and Gucci, really) but within 90 minutes the gang was back aboard Raven. “We drank them dry,” someone said.
|A sign stuck in Raven's window.|
There was a stunned silence. Good god, I thought, the great Robin Knox-Johnston just fell off our boat. What the hell do we do now?
|Will Sugg and others listening to Robin Knox-Johnston on the last night.|
|Karen Sullivan, Robin Knox-Johnston, and Jim Heumann.|
NOt counting a few short jaunts, there were two more cruises this year, both to Canada via the San Juans, and another 4-day sail in the San Juans aboard the 137' schooner Adventuress, but we’re going to save them for the next post.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
|Photo credit: Off Center Harbor|
After many miles in the Pacific Northwest and an excellent adventure from Port Townsend to New Zealand in which our dear little Sockdolager has carried us safely more than 12,000 miles, we find that we are no longer sailing her enough. So, we are putting her up for sale. As you can see from the photos, she’s compact but capable.
|Jim stands lookout in the ratlines as we thread between coral heads in Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotu archipelago in the South Pacific. Photo credit: S/V Vulcan Spirit|
|Our own private lagoon in Aitutaki atoll, Cook Islands.|
We’ve been spiffing her up and she looks better than ever.
|Forward hatch detail|
|Sockdolager arriving at Fatu Hiva, Marquesas after her Pacific crossing. Yes, K&J are looking stunned at all the greenery.|
Specifications: 1987 Dana 24, “Sockdolager”
|Sockdolager at her last haulout in October 2015|
• LOA: 24’ 2” on deck, 27’ 3” with bowsprit, 29’ including wind vane
• Beam: 8’ 7”
• Draft: 3’ 10”
• Displacement: 8000 lbs.
• Ballast: 3200 lbs.
• Headroom: 6’ 1”
|Always a fun view. The 175-watt solar panel eliminates the need for a power cord or running the engine to charge batteries on all but the cloudiest days.|
|Sail plan. Sockdolager is cutter-rigged with a removable inner forestay.|
Designer: William I. B. Crealock
Builder: Pacific Seacraft (1987)
Current location: Port Townsend, WA
|Sockdolager's interior. For those Doctor Who fans among you, the Tardis may come to mind when you see the 6'1" headroom and gasp, "This CAN'T POSSIBLY be a 24-foot boat!"|
• Fresh Water: 40 gallons
• Fuel: 17 gallons
• Holding: 15 gallons
|A custom hatch gives access to a LOT of stowage under the cabin sole.|
All made between 2005 – 2011 by Hasse & Co Port Townsend Sails
• Mainsail, 2 deep slab reef points (tanbark)
• 110% roller-furling genoa with padded luff (tanbark)
• Staysail (tanbark) with on-deck storage bag
• Backstay-sail (tanbark)
• Drifter (red)
• Cruising spinnaker (green) with sock and ATN tacker
• Storm trysail with on-mast storage bag
• Storm staysail (white with visibility patch)
|Sailing under reefed genoa, South Side of Catalina Island. Photo credit: S/V Silver Fog|
|Poled-out drifter keeps her moving in light air.|
|Here's the spinnaker; this is an older photo before we added the stainless arch and solar panel.|
|Storm sail inventory: Backstaysail, Storm Trysail, Storm Staysail.|
All new in 2011-2012
• Spray dodger with pockets for storage; roped edge to deflect drips
• Custom pockets for reefing line storage
• Cockpit weather cloths with line storage pockets
• Full set of awnings with side panels to cover cockpit
• Awning for underway (under boom) rolled up atop dodger
• Sail covers, including on-deck storage bags for staysail and storm trysail on its track. Various canvas pockets for storing gear/assorted articles down below
• Lee cloths on settee berths
• Custom pockets for handy storage
|Handy water bottle pocket. Roped dodger edge funnels drips away from cockpit and prevents chafe.|
|Rollup awning for underway. Note low outboard motor mount to prevent interference with self-steering wind vane.|
|Canvas storage pockets in head. You can never have enough of these.|
|Canvas pockets and thermos storage at companionway.|
Rigging & Hardware:
Sockdolager is a cutter rig with a removable inner forestay. Her standing rigging, including chainplates, was completely replaced in 2009-2010. Most of her running rigging is new.
• All chainplates replaced with oversized bronze in 2010
• Stainless steel arch aft of cockpit for solar panel
• “StrongTrack” (Tides Marine) sail track & slide system
• Separate storm trysail track
• Harken jib roller furling system with Spinlock/Harken blocks on furling line
• Aluminum spinnaker pole (telescoping) stores vertical on mast
• 2 spinnaker halyards (port & starboard).
• Hayne Hi-MOD compression fittings on 7X19 stainless standing rigging
• Spectra running backstays
• Easy-rig preventers
• Pinrails and ratlines at shrouds; pinrails on stainless arch
• Spectra lifelines & chest-high jacklines
• Lewmar #30 two speed self-tailing sheet winches (2)
• Harken #8 staysail sheet winches on cabin top (2)
• Lewmar #16 self-tailing halyard winch (mast, starboard)
• Lewmar #8 halyard winch (mast, port)
• Bronze portlights (8)
|Ratlines for climbing. Radar does not interfere with staysail or genoa.|
|Furling arrangement for roller-reefing genoa. This allowed far less effort in furling in heavy wind.|
|An excellent use for ratlines.|
Engine and batteries:
• Yanmar 2GM20F 18 hp diesel, 2,415 hours
• VETUS Single handle throttle
• Leece-Neville 110 amp alternator
• Balmar Max-charge multi-stage 12-V regulator
• 2 100 AH Odyssey batteries
• Purolator solid state electronic fuel pump
• Racor 500FG secondary fuel filter
• PSS Dripless shaft seal
• Borel raw cooling water alarm sensor
• Borel bilge alarm
|Engine access from main cabin.|
|Engine access from cockpit.|
|This photo shows the forward end of the removable cockpit sole, and custom companionway hatches. The bar across the front of the dodger houses the radar mount.|
|Odyssey batteries are strapped down.|
|Single-level engine control saves space and confusion.|
• Cape Horn “Varuna” wind vane with Spinlock power clutch blocks on tiller
• Raymarine ST2000+ Tiller Pilot, Autohelm 1000 Tiller Pilot for backup
|View from starboard quarter, Cape Horn wind vane with custom platform visible.|
• Ritchie Navigator 2000 compass
• Garmin GPS 17X antenna for use with ICOM 802 SSB
• Datamarine A-18o Log/control panel
• Datamarine S-100KL digital knot meter
• Datamarine S-200DL LCD digital depth sounder
• Garmin handheld GPS
• Weems & Plath clock
• Weems & Plath electronic barometer
All new between 2010 and 2013
• Solar World 175-watt solar panel on a stainless arch
• Morningstar SunSaver MPPT solar controller
• Magnum ME Remote Control 1000 watt Inverter/Charger with battery monitor
• Various 110-V sockets
• Newmar galvanic isolator
• Standard Horizon GX2150 25 watt VHF FM marine radio with AIS receiver
• Icom IC-802 MF/HF Ham/SSB radio with PTC-IIusb Pactor modem and AT-140 automatic antenna tuner
• Simrad NSS7 broadband color radar with GPS and chart plotter
• Fusion Sirius-ready marine stereo system with Bluetooth
|Instrument panel, VHF radio & GPS above.|
|Custom fold-down box for laptop that connects to Ham/SSB radio above it for email, weather faxes & GRIB files at sea.|
All lights are LED (except steaming light)
• Orca Green Marine masthead tricolor/anchor light with photovoltaic shutoff
• Regular running lights for coastwise sailing
• 4 brass cabin overhead lights
• 4 brass cabin reading lights
• Strip light in galley
• 25-lb CQR anchor (bow)
• 20-lb CQR anchor (bow)
• Fortress FX-11 stern anchor mounted on stern arch
• Simpson-Lawrence Hyped 510 manual anchor windlass
• 30 feet of chain and 300 feet of 1/2” nylon 3 strand rope on main anchor rode
• 10 feet of chain, 250 feet 1/2 nylon 3 strand rope rode in stern locker abaft rudder post.
• Force 10 propane stove with oven (new 2010)
• Isotherm 3201 refrigeration system (new 2010)
• Hand-operated fresh water pump with switch for automatic function
• Hand-operated saltwater pump
• Strip lighting for seeing into fridge & lockers
• Galley safety belt
• Custom seat for galley
• Custom rope mat “ocean plait”
|Galley looking forward.|
|Galley looking aft.|
|Custom galley seat for the cook when guests fill the cabin.|
• Raritan PHII marine toilet with 15 gallon holding tank
• Head can pump into holding tank or directly overboard
|Head. Custom shelving in locker behind head.|
• All new foam and professionally made upholstery cushions in 2011.
• V-berth cushions divided athwartship for easier access to sail locker
• HyperVent under V-berth cushions to prevent condensation.
• Full-length cockpit cushions new in 2011
• All lockers, hatches, lids and openings fitted with “upside-down proofing” physical restraints to prevent opening. (See "Fiddly Bits.")
• Whale Gusher Titan bilge pump accessible in cockpit
• Electric bilge pump with float switch
• Special companionway seat for watch keeping
• Davis Echomaster radar reflector
• Custom horseshoe buoy
• Custom companionway seat
• Cockpit coaming storage for small items
• Cockpit interior locker shelves
• Custom-made storage for companionway boards
• Large sail locker beneath V-berth (cushion custom made for easy access)
• Hanging locker converted to three large drawers for clothing and pots/pans, with “secret” compartment stowage beneath and above.
• Two vertical chart storage spaces on either side of hanging locker drawers
• Custom shelving in locker behind head.
• Custom companionway steps utilize wasted storage space
• Custom cutout in cabin sole utilizes storage space underneath sole
• Custom storage atop hanging locker keeps items in place offshore
• Custom Thermos storage on corner horn at companionway for easy reach
• Custom fold down shelf for navigation laptop, with connections to SSB radio for downloading weather & emails
• Custom storage box in engine compartment
|Hanging locker conversion. Vertical chart storage either side of drawers; hidden compartments above & below drawers.|
|Storage area atop hanging locker is captured with this removable custom arrangement.|
|Custom companionway steps utilize wasted space, capture hatch in sole, and provide seats for galley and companionway.|
|Top step lifts to make checking engine oil easy.|
|Handy companionway seat for wet night watches or a mini-table for serving snacks to hungry guests.|
|Loads of storage in main salon, including behind and underneath settees.|
|Second laptop storage area in pull-down basket for nerds who sail.|
• Outboard motor bracket mounted low on stern to avoid interference with wind vane
• Custom shelf on wind vane bracket for storing two 1-gallon jerrycans outside hull
• All teak trim has been recently sanded and is ready for new owner's choice of finish.
• Sockdolager has teak decks, which we liked for the good footing. Bung maintenance is up to date.
|Offshore in rough weather, 2011, the wind vane handling all steering.|
• Large selection of engine, head, rigging, and other spare parts including spare tiller.
More about Sockdolager:
• Coming soon: link to 3 videos of her in summer 2013 by Off Center Harbor.
More about the Dana 24:
• Bluewater Boats review.
• Review of a customized Dana that crossed the Atlantic and is now in Europe.
• 2008 Transpac footage in a Dana 24, from our friend Chris Humann
• Spectacular kite cam compilation, also from Chris.
Contact Jim at: jheumann(at)yahoo.com
|We wonder, where will her next excellent adventure be to?|
|Kind of nostalgic here, but to everything there is a season.|