Sunday, December 20, 2009

MAST Christmas Party

Last weekend was the MAST Christmas Party. The party was held at South Shore Yacht Club here in Milwaukee. We had approximately 95 people attend the event! The team who organized the party did a wonderful job!

As a quick note, every Friday in the summer I crew on s/v Blue Pearl (pictured) in the MAST (Mid America Sail and Trail) races. s/v Blue Pearl is a Beneteau First 405 and we are in the Grand Prix division. Including the captain, we have a crew of 6 on the Pearl. I am planning on registering Jep with MAST for 2010.

Anyway, we had a terrific time at the party. There was, of course, an open bar. However, they also had a free keg of Louie's Demise from the Milwaukee Ale House. Dinner was delicious. The party planning crew sent invitations out a month of 2 in advance allowing everyone to select their meal for the party. Three dishes were served: Salmon, chicken, and steak. I had the salmon and Stephanie had the chicken. Both were excellent!

Dinner was filled with stories of summer adventures from the past season. Of course, the story about Drew and I donating our breakfast to the Lake Michigan God's on our way from Muskegon, MI to Pentwater, MI got a few laughs. I'll embarrass myself in more detail soon. And what night would be complete without mentioning the Twin Moons over Pentwater? You need to rig a preventer for that thing! Again, I'll explain later!

After dinner, we all did what sailors do best: knock back a few more cocktails! A great time was had by all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Addition to the Condo

I know, I know, this isn't about my boat or sailing. However, there is a nautical component to this post. Recently for my birthday, my parents had 2 nautical charts framed for me: Lake Michigan and Milwaukee Harbor (chart numbers 14901 and 14924, respectively). They are both 2009 NOAA charts. They add a nice touch to my humble abode!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours..." -Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

NOAA Lake Michigan open water forecast:


Not exactly conditions that make for an ideal sail! The wind is howling like hell out there right now! It's still 34 degrees Fahrenheit so lets hope most of the snow melts before the temperature drops. What I wouldn't do for an 85 degree day with an icy cold PBR and a 10 knot breeze off my beam!

Note regarding the picture: This is an image from

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jep is getting shore power for 2010

The national weather service issued a winter strom watch today for Tuesday and Wednesday. The greater Milwaukee area is expected to get a little snow this week. Oh joy!

I can only speak for myself in this regard, but I've found that surviving the winter is much easier if you periodically buy project materials for your boat so you can day dream about installing in the spring. It's funny how big chores such as installing electrical components or refinishing wood seem really fun in December.

I have two major projects penciled in for the spring. The first and most difficult will be the bottom painting job. Since bottom paint and barrier coat has not gone on sale and won't until March or April, I'll have to hold off on buying the necessary material until then. The second major project I am going to undertake is installing a simple shore power system.

After doing some research on various boating forums, I came across one thread that was very helpful. Here is the link. One of the members described in detail a system that would be more than adequate for my application as all I want to add are a couple outlets and a single bank on board battery charger.

The first thing I need is a shore power inlet. I bought a standard Marinco 30A 125V shore power inlet from It's heavy duty white plastic with a stainless steel insert on the flip up cover. It should look quite nice. I haven't decided on a mounting location yet, but I am leaning towards the very back of the foot well in the cockpit. I don't want to be stepping over the shore power cord every second when we are in the slip!

The next item I purchased is a circuit breaker. In addition to offering my system protection, the breaker will also act as an on/off switch. The switch is made by Blue Sea Systems and is a double pole 30A main breaker. From the breaker, I'll connect a standard GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) outlet. This will act as secondary protection from shock as most GFCI outlets trip at 15A. Everything wired down from the first GFCI outlet will also be protected. I'm planning on installing 3 GFCI outlets. You can pick these up at any hardware store for about $10 a piece.

The final electrical component that will be wired into the system is a 6A on-board battery charger. I have not purchased this component yet, but I am going to go with a Cablea's Prosport II 6 charger. This is actually manufactured by Promariner and Cablea's just slaps their badge on it. Most of the reviews are favorable, so this should do the trick. Since I'll have shore power, I've decided to only run one deep cycle battery. I bought a deep cycle battery from Batteries Plus last winter and ran it parallel with the battery that came with the boat this past season. It has a capacity of 90 amp hours which is more than enough for my needs, especially if I'll be hooking it up to the charger after each use.

As if I didn't have enough power generation, I'm planning on keeping the solar charge system I fabricated this past season. Not to toot my own horn, but this was a terrific addition I thought of. I mounted a 15 watt solar panel on the stern pulpit and hooked it to a charge controller that ensured the batteries would not over charge or bleed off when the sun went down. Since last season I was dry sailing the boat, I had no electrical connection at the storage facility and no means of easily charging my batteries, short of pulling the batteries after every sail. The solar charger worked beautifully and I never had to pull the batteries to charge them - the entire season!

The last item I purchased for the shore power system is the all important shore power cord! The system is rendered useless without the shore power cord. Again, I found a great deal with free shipping on It's a standard yellow 50', 30A cord. I was going to try and find a used one on Craigslist but with the deal I got, I'd rather have a new cord! What would I do without the Internet?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The New Halyards Have Cometh

This past season I prayed every time I went out that my main or jib halyard would not snap! From the looks of things, I have to imagine my current halyards are the originals. Lets keep in mind, the boat is almost 24 years old, so I think it's safe to say they are due for replacement!

Two weekends ago, West Marine had a sale on all running rigging. West Marine frequently has sales on their rigging, so I was just waiting for the sale. At 30% off, you almost have to jump on it! I ended up buying New England Ropes VPC line. My halyards are 5/16" (8mm) and have a break strength of 4,000lbs. I bought two 80' lines. The biggest improvement, aside from the sheer strength of the line, is the lines are different color! My old halyards were the same color - old. My new main halyard is a solid navy with white and orange fleck while the jib halyard is solid green with white and orange fleck.

Another much needed upgrade to Jep for 2010 is a topping lift for the boom. Previously, the boom attached to the back stay using a spring clip. It was an enormous pain in the ass to unhook the boom when we wanted to sail. With rigging on sale, I bought another 80' of New England Ropes Sta-Set in solid black with white and reg fleck. The line is very thin at only 3/16" but has a break strength of 1,300lbs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I've been plagiarized!

This evening I decided to do a Google search of "Captive 240" as I like to see if there are other Cpativa's out there for sale. I do this for a couple reasons. First, I like to see what people are asking for their boat. I've seen a wide range in pricing on this boat and it's nice to know I paid in the lower middle range. Second, I really enjoy analyzing individual rigging on the boat. Yep, It's Jep currently has a pretty basic rigging so it's quite interesting to find a Captiva that's been rigged for racing since I am moving in that direction.

Anyway, while searching the web, I came across a site that had COMPLETELY plagiarized my February 25, 2009 post, "Background info on my 1986 Captiva 240." Click here for a link to the site. I think you'll find some striking similarities in the narrative!

Normally something like this would burn me up, but finding good information on this boat is challenging. At least the owner takes good care of the boat. On top of that, they are asking $7,500! Sweet!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chili Dump Results

The chili dump was a success! There were easily over 30 people in attendance and the chili was outstanding! I'm looking forward to future O Dock parties!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cookin' Chili Tonight!

Tomorrow is the MAST Chili Dump at the McKinley Marina pavilion. Since I have never made "real" chili before, I went to the Internet to find a suitable recipe. I browsed around for 15 minutes or so until I came across a very interesting recipe. Many of the ingredients I would never think to put in chili, but it smells delicious. Here are the ingredients:

2 teaspoons (olive) oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 lb beef sirloin, cubed
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used hot salsa instead)
1 can dark beer (PBR of course!)
1 cup strong coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
4 chili peppers, chopped

1. Heat oil.
2. Cook onions, garlic and meat until brown.
3. Add tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth.
4. Add spices Stir in 2 cans of kidney beans and peppers.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Add 2 remaining cans of kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes.

As I was making this, I couldn't help but picture the Swedish Chef from The Muppets. I had strong urges to just start throwing crap everywhere, but I like my kitchen and didn't feel like cleaning.

I had never heard of a "Chili Dump" before, so I asked John Norman (s/v Corvus) what this whole deal was all about. Evidently, a "Chili Dump" is exactly what it sounds like. Everyone brings about as much home-made chili as they expect to eat (perhaps a little more). You then 'dump' it all together in a Nesco or two, mix it all together, warm it up and then we all share the results. Then we drink beer and talk about sailing. Sounds like a plan! I'll post an update on how the chili was in a couple days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Congratulations Jeff and Molly!!

While this blog is dedicated to sailing, it's hard not to inject some tid-bits from my non-sailing life. This past weekend (Saturday, October 17th), my best friend of 23 years got married and I was honored to be the best man. We had an absolute blast! It was great to see everyone and meet some new faces!

Photo from left to right: me, Jeff, Molly, Robin, Todd. This picture was taken aboard s/v Blue Pearl (Beneteau First 405) in Muskegon, Michigan after the Queens Cup on June 27, 2009. Since Jeff and Molly live on the other side of the pond, they came up to visit from Grand Haven on Todd's boat while I was in town. I had been awake for 34 hours when this picture was taken. This picture also made the wedding slide show!

Jeff: I drank the Michigan Brewing Company Pale Ale while writing this post. Quite tasty!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dorking around tonight

Tonight I'm being a loser and staying in. Please note it's a Friday and 2 years ago this would NEVER happen. Most people would assume this is a sign of getting older. Not so fast. Going out would be a use of cash and I'm saving that cash for sailboat crap (i.e. capital expendature - can you tell I analyze cash flow for a living?)! This stuff ain't cheap!

Anyway, with a cold Miller Lite in hand (I know, I know, it should be a PBR), I had a little brainstorming session on how I am going to set up my deck this coming season so that all important lines are coming back to the cockpit. Bear in mind, I was using Microsoft Paint when I made my diagram, so it won't knock your socks off. This is in no way final - just trying to visualize. If you have suggestions, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email. I've got all winter to plan my rig!

To complete this project, I'll need the following:
-Small Mast Step Plate (3 1/2" x 5")
-Ronstan Series 40 Deck Organizer with 2 Sheaves (2)
-Harken Carbo-Cam® Cleat, 1-3/32"H (2)
-Harken Wire Fairlead, 1-1/4"H for Cam Cleat (2)

Of course, I'll need the appropriate line, but the hardware listed should work great. There are currently 2 Harken cam cleats on the boat, so I only need 2 more. I'm planning on buying all new halyards. I haven't chosen a line yet but I'm leaning towards New England Ropes VPC™ Line.

Time to break out the single malt! Cheers!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jep is resting peacefully for the winter

Today was the most dreaded day of the season. Yep, It's Jep got put away for a long winter slumber.

I woke up this morning around 8:30 and got all of my cleaning supplies and such loaded into my car. I had to make a quick stop at Pick'n'Save to pick up some booze for Chad since he's been such a tremendous help this season. I made my way over to EZ-Storage thinking to myself, "Thank God this is the last time I ever have to come here!" As I rolled my window down to punch in the code to open the gate, the terrible smell of the WE Energies coal plant hit me like a bag of oranges. It took me a few attempts to get the trailer hooked up since I was alone. After I checked the trailer lights and did a final inspection of the rig, it was time to roll.

The drive from Milwaukee to Mukwonago is roughly 40 minutes. Luckily traffic was light. I'm not overly confident in my trailer tires so I try and take it as easy as I can down the highway. The boat pulled well. I made it to Chad's without any problems around 1030.

Chad and I got down to business right away. We finished sanding my hull as prep work for the bottom painting job that will be completed this spring. That took us approximated 45 minutes, then it was on to power washing the deck. Since that is one man job, Chad winterized his motorcycles as I cleaned.

While I was starting to clean the port side of the deck, I looked up and saw two of Chad's neighbors. These clowns were driving their riding mowers over while drinking some delicious beverages. I couldn't help but laugh. Like Harley's, they lined their riding mowers up in Chad's driveway and came to visit for 45 minutes or so. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a break and have a couple brewskis. After some talk of sports and politics, Brian and Paul headed back on their "hogs" as Chad and I folded my sails. If I have neighbors like that, I anticipate my transition from city-slicker to suburban delinquent will be quite smooth!

After I washed the hull, Chad got the wood on top of the companionway off. The previous owner must have used a two sided tape or some sort of glue to adhere the wood to the deck. Neither of us could see the logic as all you need to do is put marine silicone in the holes to keep the deck water tight. Nevertheless, Chad got both pieces off. We next used a shop vac to suck out all excess water from the bilge compartment. Finished! We cleaned up and I got on the road over to my storage location.

Once I got to the pole barn, James, the owner, pulled up and helped me get the boat into the barn with his tractor. I pulled off all of the exterior wood so I could again refinish and make look new again.

I pulled away from the barn and sat in silence for a good 10 minutes. Can't wait for spring!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yep, It's Jep has a home for the 2010 season!

I put a deposit down today for my slip on the Milwaukee River in the Third Ward! Jep will be located in the slips between the Water St. and Broadway St. bridges, as seen in the maps "birds eye" view snapshot. I'll also be a chip-shot from the Ale House (a Jep favorite), Water Buffalo, Moct, Cafe Luna + Lounge, Rustico, and directly across from Fratello's.

The slips are managed by Performance Yacht Services. I will have the slip for the "season" which is May 15 to October 15. This is very typical of boat slips in the North due to the winter ice. Also, as floating docks are used, they need to be taken out in the winter or run the risk of being destroyed by big chunks of moving Of the river slips on the Milwaukee River, Performance Yacht Services offers by far the best value at the lowest price. As a major bonus, since the slip is so close to my place, I'll be able to ride my super-sweet Target mountain bike to the boat in the summer!

Is it May 15, 2010 yet?

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sad, Sad Sunday

The mast came down Sunday. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was fabricating a mount for my solar panel and getting the boat all cleaned up for our first sail of the season. I'm currently putting together my end of season "to-do" list. The list keeps getting longer! Oh well.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last voyage of the 2009 season?

As much as I hate to say it, today could have been my last sail on Jep for the season. As I look at my calendar, it's hard for me to imagine when I'll be able to get out again. Depressing.

Today is Steph's birthday, so we went for breakfast with her sister before an afternoon sail. Since Steph had to go to her parents for a bbq at 2:30, I offered to pick them up at McKinley Marina so they would have a car at close access. The boat launch at McKinley is a stones throw from the north gap of the breakers, so it worked out quite well.

Chad, Wendy, and her sister Patti helped me launch this morning. Once in the water, we motored through the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers to get out to the lake. The weather man was calling for an east wind but I quickly figured out it was more a northeast wind. We raised the jib and motor sailed over to McKinley to pick up Steph and her room mate Jess.

Once we had a full crew, we casted off from the fuel dock at McKinley and motored through the mooring "field". During this time, Chad lit a candle on a cupcake he and Wendy brought for Steph and we sang "happy birthday" as we approached the north gap. Happy Birthday babe!

Shortly after we exited the north gap, we raised the main and did some of that sailing, um, stuff. With a crew of 6 (including myself), we easily averaged around 5 knots. Six people on Jep isn't bad when you have a boat full of sailors, but with only Chad and I knowing what to do, we were both a little uneasy about tacking. I shifted people around the deck and had Chad man the soon-to-be active winch while Steph "broke" the sheet as we came about. Much to our surprise, we tacked quite well and headed back to McKinley. We probably got a couple miles off shore before we turned around.

On the trip back, we were on a close reach, so the boat started to heel about 15 degrees. I had very little weather helm. The boat felt great. With 4 on the rail and Chad and I in the cockpit, we clipped back around 5.5 knots.

When we got back to the fuel dock at McKinley, I lost all of my crew except Chad. Chad and I decided to sail jib only back to the river. Amazingly, with my working jib flying, we maintained about 3.3 knots. The sail was quite relaxing. We had cold leftover beer from the Buffett concert along with Kenny and Buffett filling the air. Not a bad way to end the afternoon.

We made one tack and I shot right up the mouth of the river. I finally had to use that noisy thing once we got close to Riverwalk Pizza as the wind gets pretty weird on the river. I also think it may be illegal to sail on the river. Not sure about that one.

Chad and I docked at the Ale House and got some chicken tenders and mott sticks. We ran into a group of dudes we met earlier in the summer when we partied all night at the Ale House and ended up sleeping on the boat. I'll get into that one in future posts. By about 5, both of us were pretty cashed so we decided to call it a day.

Hopefully I'll get one more sail this season, but if I have to end on this note, I'm happy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a weekend (and it isn't even over)!

I'm sitting here inside on a beautiful Sunday. It's currently 75 and sunny outside. However, I'm nursing a pretty nasty whiskey cold, so none of that interests me whatsoever at this point.

Last night was my cousin Chris's wedding. Chris and Cathy got married at St. Sebastian's in Wauwatosa. It was a beautiful ceremony. More importantly, their reception was at Hotel Metro which is in downtown Milwaukee. Not surprisingly, by about 10, they had exceeded their "budgeted" bar tab limit. As expected, Chris and Cathy threw their booze "budget" out the window and allowed the guests to continue their merry ways.

The wedding was here in Milwaukee and we had the rehearsal dinner on Friday, so my folks came in on Thursday evening. I took Friday off so we could do some sailing before we had to attend the rehearsal dinner for the wedding on Friday evening.

The rents came over to my place around 0800 and Steph made breakfast. We finally got the boat in the water and casted off around 10:30 am Friday morning. The conditions were expected to be light - east winds around 5 knots with clear skies and seas of 1 foot or less. We had to make a quick stop at the Ale House to pick up Drew. It also gave me the opportunity to give the deck a quick scrub.

After the boat was cleaned up, we casted off from the Ale House and motored down the Milwaukee River through the Water St. and Broadway St. bridges. Once we exited the mouth of the river into the harbor, we were able to confirm the weatherman's forecast. The wind was straight out of the east, so we headed for the main gap. Drew jumped the main halyard while Steph tailed. With the main up, I fell off to a port tack and set my GPS way point for the Bell Buoy. Since the wind was so light, we were able to raise the jib while heading to our mark. My parents were quite delighted with the cruise out to the mark. The green bell buoy is about 4 miles off shore, so you get a terrific view of the city skyline from the water. About mid way to the mark, I handed the tiller over to my dad. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for a cold beer and some beef jerky.

It took about and hour or so to make the mark averaging 3.5 to 4 knots. The wind began to deteriorate the closer we got to the mark. After rounding the mark, we decided to head south to a gap in the breaker that is south of the "south gap". Unfortunately, the wind became so light, we were only able to average about 1.5 knots. I pulled my swing keel up to reduce drag. The head sail wanted to move windward, so Drew got my boat hook and I made it into a whisker pole so we could fly wing on wing. This actually helped our speed by a few tenths of a knot.

We encountered another sailboat on our approach to the smaller gap south of SSYC. Since I had never gone through this gap, I yelled over to ask the depth. They said the depth through the gap was approximately 8 feet, so there was no problem getting through as Jep only drafts 2 feet with the keel up.

We dropped the head sail and motor sailed passed SSYC. Since I bought my dad a SSYC burgee flag for his birthday, I figured he at least had to see the club. From there, we continued to motor sail back to the Ale House. What a day!

My sister and brother-in-law arrived Friday afternoon, so on Saturday we took the boat out again. Since the wedding was at 5 and I had to be at the church at 4:15, we didn't have a whole lot of time, so we motored over to Barnacle Buds for lunch.

While at Buds, they got to see the fork truck from Skipper Buds drop a power boat into the water. The boat was nice, but the captain appeared to be a complete sleaze. He was there with what appeared to be his teenage daughter and her friend. All of us agreed, something wasn't right about that situation. Very creepy.

After lunch, we casted off and motored out into the harbor so Maremy (Mary + Jeremy) could see the skyline from the water. As a side note, I saw captain sleaze and his crew blasting out of the river as we were coming back in. I felt bad we didn't get a chance to sail, but time was of the essence. The conditions were beautiful on Saturday too - sunny with light seas and east wind of about 10 knots. We motored back up the river and had the boat back on the trailer by 2:15.

After 2 action packed days, I don't feel too bad about being a complete pile of garbage today!

Also, congratulations to my cousin Chris and new cousin Cathy! The wedding was a blast! It was great to see everyone this weekend! My stomach finally stopped hurting from laughing at TJ!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The end of summer looms...

In all honesty, it doesn't feel like summer has even started! For those of you who do not live directly on one of the Great Lakes, they have a tendency to drastically alter the temperature close to shore. Since I live downtown (and seldom leave the city limits unless it's out of the state all together), I, like my fellow neighbors, have had to deal with the harsh fact that during a cooler than normal summer, living by the lake doesn't help. It has struggled all summer to get out of the 70's by Lake Michigan! Hell, sometimes it even struggled to get INTO the 70's by the lake.

With all of this whining about the weather, you're probably expecting to hear that I'm a fair-weather sailor and failed to venture out unless the conditions were perfect. Wrong. I now have a strong appreciation for the show "Deadliest Catch." Stories to come.

I guess I'll also acknowledge that this is the first post I've done since I started working on my boat in the spring. While my lack of posting is clearly apparent, there is good reason: most of my free time is spent out sailing!

My intent is to spend the fall and winter months reflecting on a summer that, while it wasn't exactly warm, proved to be an enormous amount of fun! I've also come a long way in my knowledge of sail trim, rigging, and ability to duck a swinging boom during a jibe! More on that later.

The one major project I have to complete before Jep gets put away for the season is prepping the bottom for painting. Why would I do this might you ask? I'm finally sucking it up and slipping the boat next season. Again, details to follow.

I apologize to my loyal reader (note the singular "reader" is not a typo) for neglecting the blog. I'm really trying to do my best to stir interest in reading by ending my paragraphs with catchy phrases like "details to follow" or "Stories to come." Any of these tricky phrases working for you (asking in the Stewie Griffin voice)?

Anywho, stay posted! I'll be posting pictures and HUGE lies that make me look really cool and awesome.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Projects, Projects, and more Projects!

Don't get me wrong, I love owning a boat, but holy crap is this a lot of work at the beginning of the season! However, all of the hard work will be paying huge dividends on an 85 degree day in 5-10 knots while I'm sucking down ice cold PBR and sailing the Wisconsin Lake Shore. Here's a quick breakdown of what has been completed thus far:
-Installed cockpit speakers
-Applied name decals
-Installed lifeline cushions
-Fabricated and installed windex mount
-Rewired steaming and deck lights
-Sealed windows and hatch with marine silicone
-Installed refinished cockpit and deck teak
-Refinished and installed outboard motor mount
-Installed cockpit cup holders
-Installed handheld GPS mount
-Installed toilet paper holder (This did not exist before. Kinda gross if you think about it.)
-Applied 1 coat of wax
-Repaired scratches in the gel coat on the keel
-Stripped old caulk on aftermarket deck additions and recaulked with marine silicone
-Repaired 2 interior cushions (Yes, I revisited my 6th grade home economics sewing skills)

I still have a few more projects to complete before we step the mast, but this should give some indication how labor intensive boat ownership can be! I'll be sure to post some pictures after we step the mast and take Jep for the first voyage of 2009!

Also, thank you to Drew, Chad, and Casey for your help so far this season!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jep Has a Name!

Spring is upon us (finally)! On the weekend of April 10th, 2009, Yep, It's Jep was pulled from hibernation. The first thing that was done was to finally put the name on the boat. I purchased the letters from Overtons. Take a look! More to come regarding upgrades...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

...Small Craft Advisory in Effect Through This Evening...

These advisories are issued when winds are expected to reach 25 to 38 miles per hour (22 to 33 knots). Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for North winds of 15 to 25 knots along with 3 to 5 footers and freezing spray. Not exactly ideal conditions for a relaxing day out on the water!

While this picture wasn't taken today, it gives you an impression of the depressing scene those of us in the Midwest must deal with for 5 months a year! Is this Milwaukee Harbor or Dutch Harbor, Alaska?! For those of you who haven't checked your calender recently, the first day of spring is a mere 19 days away! But who's counting?

Luckily for me, I only need to endure 2 weeks of March!

Tentatively, I have April 11th penciled in on my calendar to pull Yep, It's Jep out of winter hibernation. Through a connection at work, I was able to finagle a deal for covered storage in a barn in East Troy, WI. The gentlemen who owns the property has been outstanding thus far and I'm hoping we can continue our arrangement for many seasons to come.

My buddy Chad "Dr. Tearney" lives relatively close to the storage site and graciously offered to help with spring cleaning on the 11th. Chad has about every possible toy you could imagine for cleaning a boat, so it works out nicely. I'll be supplying the PBR!

The next item on my agenda is to secure a dry sail location for the 2009 season. I keep the boat on the trailer during the summer. A slip would be ideal, but since my savings has evaporated with the current economic downturn, continuing to fund my retirement accounts takes precedence! Last year I stored Jep at EZ-Storage. EZ-Storage is conveniently located only 3 miles from my condo. While EZ-Storage is not dedicated to mariners, it does offer a launch site into the South Menomonee River and is never busy. The big downside was the lack of electricity and running water. I had to pull my batteries after each voyage so I could attached them to the charger at home. Cleaning was also difficult. I would need to spend the first hour of any voyage in a transit slip and swab the poop deck!

This year I am hoping to line up a spot at McKinley Marina's dry sail area. McKinley is only ~.75 miles from home, has water and electricity, and a huge plus - no bridges to pass through on my way to the open water! After launching from EZ, I had radio the bridge operators on channel 16 to pass under 5 bridges; South 6th St, Plankington Ave, Sioux Rail Bridge, Water St., and Broadway. Normally it was never a big deal, but from 4:30 to 5:30 PM on weekdays, the bridges won't open due to rush hour traffic. I did manage to become friends with the Sioux Rail Bridge operator, Scott. Unlike the Milwaukee DPW automotive bridges who rotated the bridge operators, Scott was consistently at the helm of the Sioux Rail Bridge.

In the coming weeks I'll detail the list of spring projects to complete before Jep gets wet!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Background info on my 1986 Captiva 240

Now with a little history under your belt behind the name, I'll provide some detailed information on the vessel itself. First and foremost, I purchased the boat on July 8, 2008. Shortly thereafter, I began my quest to find information, reviews, forum sites, etc regarding Captiva Yachts, Inc. From what I have gathered, Captiva Yachts was based in Oldsmar, Florida. They managed to stay in business from 1984 to 1987 before going belly up. The boats were designed by O.H. Rogers (I have absolutely no idea what "O.H." stands for, so we'll say uhh...Orval Hubert?) who was a retired Naval architect. The Captiva 240 is a modified version of the RODGERS 24 with slightly different rig and keel. The ROGERS 24 hull is unique as it is a planing hull design. Additionally, she is a shoal draft, meaning she can sail in shallow water, with a swing keel for greater pointing control and tacking in heavier wind. Jep is a tiller steered boat with a retractable rudder (again, for shallow water). Jep currently has a little Johnson 4hp outboard for navigating out of the harbor or up the Milwaukee River.

In the main cabin, there is a dinette to port along with a majority of the electronics mounted to a small dinette console. The main electronics below deck include a 25 watt VHF ship-to-shore and a 208 watt Sony CD Stereo (w/Aux input) with two 5.25 inch Boston Acoustic speakers. As a side note, the stereo sounds outstanding (and it's not even finished - I have Pioneer Nautica 6.5 inch 2-ways for the cockpit)! To starboard is a single berth that is actually quite comfortable! Also to starboard, there is a small pullout galley with a sink and single burner alcohol stove. Up in the bow is a v-berth that can sleep two, along with a porta-pottie on the port side.

The cockpit of Jep is quite simple. There is a large storage compartment under the port side seating. The 3 gallon fuel tank rests under the starboard seating. This spring, the cockpit will be transformed after the laundry list of projects I have are complete. Currently, aside from the tiller reaching in from the stern, there is a main traveler roughly 18 inches from the companionway. She has two Lewmar non self-tailing winches, one to port and one to starboard, with the el-cheapo Wincher self-tailers. The main and jib halyards route back into the cockpit.

Currently, the head sails (I have 2; a 100% working jib and a 150% Genoa for lighter wind conditions) hank onto the forestay. Eventually I'll pop for a roller furling system. All in good time...

The main sail has a single reef point and 4 battens. I dropped my main off with Tom Peace of North Sails in January to have the slugs replaced, sail numbers applied (52997), and attach tell tales to the leech. Tell tales allow you to monitor how efficiently your sail is channeling the wind.

With a PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) rating of 222, she can race with 26 to 29 footers competitively. Because of the limited production of these vessels, finding additional information has proven to be difficult. However, I can detail some technical specs:

L.O.A. ........................... 24' 0"
L.W.L. ........................... 20' 0"
Beam ............................. 8' 2"
Draft (board up) ................. 2' 0"
Draft (board down) ............... 4' 8"
Displacement ..................... 2,400 lbs.
Ballast .......................... 1,000 lbs.
I (deck to top of mast) .......... 31' 0"
J (forestay to mast) ............. 8' 6"
E (main foot or boom) ............ 11' 0"
P (boom to top of mast) .......... 27' 0"

This picture was taken moments before I put Yep, It's Jep into hibernation for the winter. What a depressing day!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's in a name?

Inevitably when someone finds out I own a sailboat, the first question I am asked is, "What's her name?"

Yep, It's Jep!

The name rolls off your tongue quite quickly, so often times I encounter a confused, blank stare. I like to give everyone a moment to process before I recite my elevator speech.

"Cool. What is Yep, It's Jep?"

It's funny how people ask or phrase the question, like they missed some obvious observation and assume I think they are a total dolt (chances are, I do think you're a dolt, but for different reasons). But I digress...

The name for my 1986 Captiva 240 originates from the painting posted. "Yep Its Jep", without proper punctuation, is the original campaign poster for my Great Grandfather Dale K. Jepson when he ran for probate judge in Ionia, Michigan back in the 1930s. The poster was actually painted by an inmate at the Ionia County Jail, 'Rumley.' You can see his signature at the bottom right. I'm guessing 'ol Rumley skipped one or two English classes. This was the inspiration for the name since my middle name is Jepson. My folks had the original poster fully restored and digitized in 2007 as a Christmas gift (seriously one of the best presents I've ever received). The painting is now the focal point in my condo!

Just as a note, no, I do not look like my Great Grandfather. If there is a resemblance, it is a total coincidence, as my Grandpa Jepson (Willy) was adopted.