April, Sun, Repairs and Upgrades!


Logan enjoying the weather, April 2016

Logan enjoying the weather, April 2016

The worst of the long days of winter in the PNW have passed, we are getting teasers of summer sun in April, and things are looking up.   November to March is a hard time in this part of the country…made better by cruising, friends and cocktails, but we all look forward to later sunsets and weather that beckons the windows to stay open. Logan has been venturing outside to watch the ducks and seagulls and catch a few rays of sun. Although our organizational projects aren’t quite getting to where they should be, some upgrades and repairs have been happening!

Shiny new Dickinson Newport to keep us WARM!

Shiny new Dickinson Newport to keep us WARM!

We have a new Dickinson Newport bulkhead diesel heater to replace the 40+ year old non-functional heater that came with the boat and was attempting to set us on fire.  As upgrades go, this is a big one! Logan and I can now hang out on a mooring ball or at anchor in comfort!  The one down side is that for there to be enough draft the chimney needs to be 4 ft tall from the top of the heater.  Technically that worked out to about 10″ above deck, but the reality was, that for the fuel to not burn too rich I still needed more draft so the chimney is about 33″ above deck.  We obviously can’t sail with this in place, so it needs to be detached and capped while sailing. Aesthetically…looks awkward. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to remove and cap, and the cabin is a nice 70 degrees on the first setting, burning very little diesel. This definitely puts us back to a more mobile situation in the colder months.  The Caframo eco fan is an extra bonus!  I had noticed these on other people’s boats and was amazed at how powerful and quiet they were, using only the heat generated by the stove – what a great idea! http://www.amazon.com/Caframo-800CAXBX-Limited-Original-Ecofan/dp/B00P8E14K8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460955116&sr=8-1&keywords=caframo+ecofan+original    Another new trick I learned from S/V Cambria was to use Sterno to get the initial fire going which heats the cup. This was something I would never have thought of and it made my life so much better!

Rubigale upgraded to two new house batteries due to the fact that the old ones were 1. old, 2. I wrecked them because I didn’t know what I was doing.  Thank you JM for helping me with that. We decided on some lower maintenance sealed batteries, which are a bit more expensive, but in the long run it will likely benefit both myself and the batteries. The engine battery still appears to be in good shape despite my ownership.

New scupper in the toe rail. Ignore the brightwork (or lack thereof - work in progress).

New scupper in the toe rail. Ignore the brightwork (or lack thereof – work in progress).

Two new scuppers were carved into the toe rail (thank you AS) and you should see the water flow!  Rubi may sit differently now than originally designed due to her water tanks and anchor chain, and the water doesn’t drain well to the back of the cockpit and quite a bit sits at the beam rather than going further aft where the two original scuppers are located.  We are still battling leak issues (from above, not below!) so anywhere I can avoid water accumulating is a good thing.  The scuppers are a rough cut that need a little sanding to make them look like the others, but I have a feeling deck drainage will improve right away and hopefully less green will collect there.


Typical way for me to start a job

Typical way for me to start a job

I finally replaced the manual pump for the head and changed the joker valve a couple of weeks ago.  I had dreaded and procrastinated doing this job for a year.  The situation was dire.  It took forever to get anything to go down and the pump was very stiff.  Wait 5 seconds and some of what you pumped came back for an encore and brought along its own applause.

Finally, frustration won out over fear and dread.  It turns out that the re-build kit for a Jabsco pump is almost the same price as a new pump.  Buying the whole pump saved me some disassembly and replacing of rubber bits.  There’s a great Jabsco youtube video online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wxX2789F8 that I watched twice and went to work.

Joker valve after 1 year

Joker valve after 1 year

I had to replace the joker valve and the flapper which were not functioning properly due to a calcified toothpaste consistency goo that was present after only a year ( I had all the sanitation replaced before I moved aboard). The edges of the valve weren’t making contact which was allowing all of those encores and burps.  I’ve done the vinegar overnight trick, and I wonder what would happen if I hadn’t. There was more in the start of the tube just past the joker valve but it was still soft enough to wipe away. I’m happy to say that with the exception of a little blood (which happens if I even look at a hose clamp) everything went well.  (Yes, I wore gloves) The worst part was actually disconnecting the hoses, and the Jabsco video give a recommendation to save you from doing one of them. In the end I did need to use a few seconds of butane torch to soften the hose.  For something I put off for so long – it was actually quite easy and makes life on board just a little bit better. Joker valve is on 6 mo list.

I scrubbed the layer of fur off the rudder last weekend, and the whole bottom is due for an inspection and wipe down next week.  I’m sure we won’t notice that 0.01 knots we gain in speed (mostly because my knot meter died a slow death of condensation over the last two winters), but it’s always nice to have a clean bottom!

Next up – a power wash to get the wintergreen off (I will never chew that flavor of gum again), recaulking of the toe rail, and with some help, rebedding all the bow hardware.  Then some clean up and reorganizing in the leaky quarterberth.

Spring isn’t all chores….we had a great sunny sail last Saturday and I got to try out my new hammock on the bow on Sunday.  This weekend Logan and I sailed to Blake Island and caught the last mooring ball.  A little later our neighbors came around the corner and rafted to us and it was a nice relaxing night and a great sail today.   Thank you April for taking pity on we poor Seattleites.  Please put in a good word for us with May.

Oh Canada! Pt 2

Day 3-4

After leaving South Pender Island, I was headed to Prevost Island with several small anchorages to chose from.  There  was supposed to be a favorable current on the west side of North Pender, but I didn’t find it.  Crossing Swanson Channel was like a game of Frogger with the ferries and commercial traffic. Once into Captain Passage, the wind seemed to spin around me constantly, and although I tried to sail I was becoming increasingly frustrated and decided to motor – there was still ferry traffic to Ganges and Long Harbour to be avoided.

I was a bit disappointed with the anchorages on Prevost Island, but to be honest, most of that is being alone and not experienced at solo anchoring.  Glenthorne Passage was lined with large houses and wasn’t the feel I was looking for. I felt it would be like camping in a subdivision. Annette looked beautiful, but was quite narrow and much shallower than I am used to. It had multiple obstructions to avoid at the entrance, one of which was marked with a rusty pole. I had high hopes for Selby, and it was gorgeous, but my guide book wasn’t up to date. A large home had extended a dock into part of the anchorage, and a dilapidated floating dock covered in seals was centered in the rest of the best part. That is one way to keep the riff raff out. I moved on. James was quite open to the path of a dozen ferries and I preferred a quieter night. Montague Harbour on Galliano just went to the top of my list, and was only a few miles away. It was on my agenda, just not this soon.

I was pleasantly surprised that Montague Harbour’s marine park had dozens of mooring balls. They are white with a yellow stripe and cost $12/night (cash only). The park official comes by around 4-6pm (always),so if you don’t have a dinghy you can still use the mooring balls. The harbor was calm and I took the dinghy in to the marina to catch the bus to the Hummingbird Inn Pub.

Tommy Transit is a local celebrity, and it is a bus ride like no other. Everyone gets a tambourine or maracas and the music comes on-loud. Tommy has a drum mounted on the steering wheel and numerous percussion instruments overhead. The bus runs hourly until 10p but the route closes late September.

The marina also has moped and kayak rentals, and Galliano is a LONG island.  You could make a day of it if you wanted. The mopeds were $22/h up to 3h, then $20/h up to 7 h, or $109/day. I might consider it on a future trip because I miss my Vespa, but I wanted more water time.

I had my first dinghy ride in the dark in search of my boat, sporting an inflatable solar Luci Light strapped to the chest strap of my backpack. I had left another colored Luci Light on the back stay to light my US flag and was surprised at how easily I found Rubi. It is true what they say about finding your way back in a sea of anchor lights. Do something original. I keep forgetting about the neon glow sticks I have stashed aboard.

I spent the next day relaxing, reading and enjoying Montague Harbour. I was in no big rush.

Wednesday morning I was getting a little worried. There were gales reported just north of me and it was a rocky morning. Strangely enough, a few miles away at Ganges, only 5 kts were reported. I had breakfast and got the dinghy outboard back on the boat which is a work out all on it’s own. My diesel heater is a bit sooty at the moment so I spent a little time cleaning. By 10a the wind had calmed significantly, so I fueled up at the dock and left so see what was next….I had four possible plans.


Vikings and the Po Po

We were on a leisurely trip to a state park island for a club event. I had a shelter reserved and more than usual boats arriving. As I came in to dock, a Sheriff was on the dock inspecting boats.  Interesting.

They didn’t seem very comfortable with boat things because they stood back when we were docking and were rather quiet as we tied up. I asked if there was a problem and he said “we will just let you do your boat stuff first”.


So we took our time as I mentally clicked off the things I needed for a Coast Guard inspection and where they were located. We tied up, didn’t like it, moved it, moved it again to leave more room for another boat, debated on spring lines, retied. They waited. He complimented our docking.

Mr. Sheriff asked me for my registration. I went below and came up with a small three ring binder which houses my registration, insurance, Logan’s rabies certificate, etc.  The front bears a map of the boat with a color and number coded map of the location of all thru hulls, pumps and tanks.
The officer was was having a hard time holding the binder and filling out his paperwork, so KS held it open for him like a writing desk. I asked three times if he wanted my Washington Boater’s card (even though I have no idea where to find it), and he declined. He said that I clearly had one because I knew about it. Note to self…find card.

“Do you want my cat’s Rabies certificate?”

“No, I don’t need that”.  I knew that, but I was finding it amusing to be overly helpful.

He asked about a CO (carbon monoxide) sticker I should have inside. I had no idea what he was talking about, neither did KS, and she has been sailing far longer than I. He was telling us it bore a symbol of a guy in a coffin.  Surely I would have recognized this by now?

“I have a carbon monoxide detector, isn’t that enough?”

No…you must have this sticker.

“Why? How will a sticker help?”

“Well….(his eyes go up, in that way that means you are remembering something) it shows people that come on your boat they could die from carbon monoxide.”

“OK”, and I looked at him in that “really?” sort of way, and he shrugged.

I also learned I had put my registration number on the wrong side of my registration sticker on one side of the boat. Dire mistake. Verbal warning. CG can’t read R to L, only L to R. Funny when you are hanging off the foredeck putting these stickers on….you only hope the letters are the right way up. Things in the front, stay in the front, no? I am a symmetry kind of girl.

As I was discussing with the officer about the man in the coffin sticker, I realized that as I moved my head, I felt movement up there. I was wearing horns. Actually I was wearing a knitted Viking hat, but bore horns. To his credit, the Sheriff’s officer never cracked a smile, but the realization of my hornage distracted me.

I received a pink slip saying I had been inspected with the two infractions noted, but only a verbal warning. I told him firmly that the registration sticker situation was not going to change until 2017 (my horns shook a bit at this) because I was not going to scrape off decades of stickers. “OK, show them your pink slip if you get inspected again.”

Shortly thereafter, while discussing this craziness down below, I pointed to the oil discharge placard that I am required to have, and noticed a sticker. A man coughing. Not a man in a coffin! I have lived on the boat for a year and a half and never realized that sticker was there.

Is there a point? Know where your STICKERS are located and wear horns when talking to the Po Po.

Down The Sound Underdog Race

Sometimes you just have to be the underdog.

But we were used to that.

I emailed Micah, “Want to do Down The Sound? It’s a double hander.  All I can do is rent a Capri 22 through the club”.

She says something similar to “Hells yes! Do we have a spinnaker?”

“Um, no, (thank goodness) and we are totally the underdog and guaranteed to fail.”

“OK, I’m in”.

And this is why we are friends. IMGP0426


Friday night was the skippers meeting where we were to get all the details.  We had also arranged to get the keys to the boat that night so we could stow our gear because our start time was 9:13a.  Micah had car trouble and she wasn’t able to make the meeting, but it’s a simple race, with relatively simple instructions, so she entrusted to it me.

After limping her car to the marina that evening, we hauled our gear to the boat only to find no key had been left. This was a bit of a problem because the office didn’t open again until 9a. We managed to get covert after hours help and were able to stow our gear.

We arrived at the boat at 8am, more than an hour before our start time and ready to go.  We were ready –but our outboard wasn’t. We tried every trick we knew–check gas, check connections, choke in, choke out, let someone else try, double check the vent, kick it, cuss it…no dice. Our start time was quickly approaching and dock staff arrived at 9a.  They were on it. Since neither of them could start it either, we felt a little vindicated.

A different outboard was hauled onto the boat, latched on, and off we went –20 minutes or so behind our start time, but still determined even if we were DNS.  About three fairways down, I thought the outboard handle felt weird.  I turned around to see that it was vibrating off the mount toward starboard and almost ready to tip over!

I throttled down and hollered (screamed, whatever you want to call it) to Micah who had been busy putting all of our fenders and docking lines away- efficient as always. I wish I had time to take a photo of her expression since all I could do was point. She rushed back and basically hugged the outboard into submission as I glided to a random end dock with no fenders or lines on the boat. We grabbed a jib sheet, wrapped it around a self tailing winch and it became our only docking line. It’s all we had in the moment.

We needed to make the outboard mounts tight on a boat we’d known for 15 minutes, and we were very late for our start.  The Leatherman I hadn’t used in a decade came through with a set of pliers and we tightened the mounts until they groaned and our knuckles were white, taking turns, just in case. We had a race to start.

We were at least 30 minutes late for our start under main alone because that’s all we could get out before crossing the line, but the committee boat let us go.  Our troubles were behind us and we had a long 30 mile trek south to Gig Harbor ahead of us. As Micah grabbed the jib sheet out of the sail bag in a rush to get all our sails in play, her iPhone flew out of the bag. I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and I definitely heard the splash.

“What was that?”

“My phone.”

“Are we done yet, because that has to be three. We need to be done.”

“God I hope so.”

The fast boats and those with spinnakers flew past us as we knew they would. This was going to be a long day. We pinky swore to not use the portapotty. We had Go Girl and Lady J to help us keep that promise. Neither of us wanted PP emptying duty (because it will be me).

It's Going to Be A Long Day

It’s Going to Be A Long Day

Just a few miles south, I looked behind us. The Farr 30’s had started at 11a and were all identical with their white spinnakers. Spread three across they were an eerie sight, bearing down on us like a ghost armada. I suggested Micah turn around for a look, and I can’t repeat the words that came next. It looked eerily similar to the cover of AWOLNATION’s latest album.

The Farr's Approaching

The Farr’s Approaching

OK, More Like This

OK, More Like This

The Farr’s blew past us not too long after, and we were alone with one boat with a blue spinnaker with white stars ahead of us.

It was, as predicted, a long day. As we approached the committee boat we let our commodore MB know he could button things up because no one was behind us- it wasn’t the first time we had sent this message on a race. Jovial as ever, he offered to give us the shotgun (in the air I assumed and hoped).

I replied, “With our day, a flock of doves would be nice.”

“I’ll try to hit some seagulls.”

“Anything is appreciated!”

Not one, but two shot gun blasts happened. That was nice.

We arrived, docked, dined, drank, and found out we actually corrected next to last! An improvement! Apparently at the very end the wind had died, and the current had taken some boats astray, messing with everyone’s times.



The next morning was a rough start–a no wind, slightly if not mostly hungover start. A stray eddy turned us 360 degrees and I could do nothing about it. I saw it on Tide Prints…I just couldn’t get away. We were now facing all the boats behind us….this was ranking up there with top embarrassments. It would have been a good time for photos of the other boats, but all the sails were limp and sad.

A Floater

A Floater, My View From Bow

“Starboard! Starboard! We want to go that way!”

“Do you SEE the tiller? Fine, you drive.”

“Oh shit! Why won’t it turn?!”

“Would you like to start drinking now, or later?”

“Now is good.”

“I’ll be right back”.

This is what when jokingly call our brief sailing divorce.

We actually had a nice sail up Colvos Passage after the wind filled in, and we were in a midst of a bunch of boats elegantly tacking back and forth until the Sound opened up; then we were alone again. We made it back within the time limit, although the committee boat had disappeared.  We were last again, but other than the loss of the phone, we can laugh about it all, and we still do.




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