Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jep is Wet!!

Merry Launchmas!  I took the day off to launch the boat.  The weather was less than perfect; foggy, low 50s and cloudy.  Luckily there wasn't a whole lot of wind (one isn't a fan of wind when your boat is hanging in a crane).  I had an 11 A.M. launch scheduled.  Everything went off without issue.

My biggest concern was my new upper stays.  I had new side stays made as the old ones were too short and did not allow me to properly tune my spar (long story as to why they were too short).  Needless to say, the new stays fit perfectly!

This year was especially easy since my new slip is a couple hundred yards away from where I get dropped in (as opposed to the 20 minute motor to the river slip).  Not only that, when there is no current to battle, docking solo (like I did today) was a snap!

Once I got Jep tucked into the slip, I finished rigging the boom, hooked up the battery, got the cushions in place below deck, installed the porta potty, re-taped all sharp objects, had a beer and then gave the deck a wash.

After cleaning up my tools and toys, I hung around to relax a bit.  That's when I noticed a power boat on N dock was sinking.  Yes, sinking.  Slowly.

While buttoning up Jep, I saw a couple guys on a small power boat (Four Winns Horizon 200) move into their slip.  As they were covering the boat, I heard the sound of running water.  It was the boats bilge pump.  At first I didn't think anything of it since the two gentlemen were right there and most new boats have an automatic or float switch on the bilge pump.  It also rained pretty hard Sunday evening so there was no cause for concern.

I milled around Jep for maybe 10 minutes and noticed the guys had left.  The bilge was still running.  I went to see if the boat was hooked to shore power.  No shore power.  The bilge bump was running at full capacity.  I picked a spot on the out-drive of the boat to see if it sank further into the water.  Slowly but surely, it was getting lower in the water.  Ten more minutes passed.  The bilge was still running and the out-drive was still sinking.  I hailed the McKinley dock master for help.  Nothing.

Five more minutes passed and I began to seriously consider towing the boat to the launch.  Amazingly, one of the guys forgot his cell phone on the boat and had come back to get it.  I quickly alerted him that his boat was sinking.  It was his buddies boat and the poor guy was pretty clueless.  I explained to him what was happening; bilge pump running and the stern was sinking.  My initial thought was they forgot the stern plug.

I was right.  The guy opened the engine compartment and water was everywhere.  I helped him untie and get out of the slip and told him to haul ass to the boat launch where his buddy was waiting with the trailer!

How's that for a start to a season!?  I still need to post about the BIG new addition!  Details to follow...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spur of the Moment Addition...

This is just a "teaser", as they say in radio.  I ordered something BIG for Jep on Monday.  Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Drill Baby, Drill...More Holes in Jep's Deck!

No, I'm not referring to one of the Republican campaign slogans from 2008. We had some beautiful weather this past weekend so I thought I'd start my spring prep work and drill some more holes in Jep's deck!

After purchasing my new mainsail last year, I decided to run the main halyard through a rope clutch and back to a winch. This allowed us to put desired tension on the luff of the sail. The jib halyard, however, simply ran back through a Spinlock PXR Cam cleat. The PXR is a great little cam cleat but its prized selling point is also its fatal flaw.

The cleat features an adjustable release spring that allows you to control how easy the cam cleat is to release. The feature certainly sounds nifty, but even at the highest resistance level, if one sits on a halyard under tension, the cleat will release and down goes your head sail! After this happened for the third time this past season during a race, I decided I was going to give the jib halyard the same setup as the main halyard.

I purchased another Spinlock XAS Powerclutch and Forespar #6 Marelon winch. I was a little hesitant getting another Forespar #6 as we tore up the main halyard winch in one season. After talking to the fine folks at Forespar, they sent me a brand new replacement under the product warranty. Once I received and inspected the replacement, it seemed they made some product improvements as the winch operated far smoother than its predecessor. Combined with the positive customer service experience, I decided to give Forespar another go and get a matching winch for the port side of the boat.

Drilling holes in the deck has almost become second nature since I've installed deck organizers, a winch, clutch, cam cleat, and genoa track. Chad came to help with the installation and we popped the new winch and clutch on in no time.  Afterward, we finished up a few other miscellaneous projects, had a couple more beers and called it a day.

Next up: bottom paint!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Commodore Livermore's Wet Hat Regatta

At the end of the MAST awards ceremony a couple weeks ago, a few MAST members made a tribute to our outgoing Commodore, Glyn Livermore. Glyn and his wife Laura were on vacation and one of their friends had keys to their house. So of course, some people went over to the Livermore residence and filmed this "movie" while they were away. One thing to note, as you are reading and watching, any word or phrase you'd think shouldn't be capitalized in the dialog is likely boat name. They tried to incorporate as many MAST boat names into the video as possible. Thank you for all the hard work you put into MAST, Glyn!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Inexpensive Sailing Solutions

I'm not shy about being cheap. I'm cheap. I'm also not a sucker (for the most part).

For spinnaker sheets (or guys if you run double sheets and guys), they make something called shackle guards that are essentially big, round pieces of plastic that stop the spinnaker pole from clipping or jamming up on the shackle attached to the clew of the chute. If the pole gets caught on the shackle, it makes jibing the sail slightly more difficult.

These green and red colored pieces of plastic are about ten dollars each and are made by a variety of companies like Forespar, Schaefer, Ronstan, etc. What a waste of money.

So what's my solution? I went and bought some wiffle balls (little smaller than baseball size), put some green and red color electrical tape on them and wha-la. I just made shackle guards for two bucks.

Now, I have yet to test my little experiment but doubt I'll have issues. This solution may not work for larger boats, but should be a perfect for my application.

Friday, February 17, 2012

O Dock?! O DANG!!!

Well, the results of the poll are in! The readers overwhelmingly voted for McKinley Marina by nearly a 6 to 1 margin (as of 2/17)!  As I stated in my Jep Poll post, I really didn't care what the results were because I had already made up my mind.  Jep is moving to McKinley!

Since a big chunk of the MAST fleet is on O Dock, I figured there is no better place to be than with the group!  Plus, the MAST O Dockers have a party at the slips every Friday night after our races.  It's the sailors version of apr├Ęs-ski!

Today I spoke with marina management.  There were a number of slips available on O Dock so I pretty much had my pick.  Jep will be in O-12 which is on the east side of the dock (east is on the right hand side in the picture) directly across from s/v Hullabaloo!  It's a starboard side slip like the one I had on the river.

So, it's official!  I signed on the dotted line and put my security deposit down.  O Dockers, you've been warned!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Funny Stuff!

A buddy of mine sent this to me today. Hilarious!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jep Poll: Where Should I Dock This Year?

As another season approaches, I'm toying with the idea of moving Jep to McKinley Marina (assuming they have openings). There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Current Location - Third Ward / Milwaukee River
Pros: Directly in the middle of the Third Ward, walking distance to bars / restaurants / convenience store (beer & ice), midpoint between home and work, relatively inexpensive
Cons: Parking, no public restroom or shower, bridge closure from 4:30 to 5:30 PM (can't get out to the lake), no afternoon sun

McKinley Marina
Pros: Slightly closer to home, numerous friends have slips there, ample parking, restroom / shower facilities, more social boating atmosphere
Cons: Slightly more expensive, no bars / restaurants / convenience stores in close walking distance

I won't be using the results of this pole to make my decision but I'm interested to see what others out there think.