Friday, February 26, 2010

Readin' and Day Dreamin'

I can honestly read this over and over. The author of the article does a terrific job articulating the story about crossing Lake Michigan. Their trip over to Michigan sounded very similar to our crossing last year for the Queens Cup. It's tough to describe the feeling of being in the middle of Lake Michigan at 3 a.m. with calm seas and 10 knots of wind.

Every time I read this I can't help but imagine the quintessential moment of the Queens Cup. It was around 3:30 a.m. Half of the crew was below deck taking a cat nap while the rest of us were keeping our eyes on the wind and sails. I was sitting on the port side of the boat in the cockpit as we were on a port tack. It was about 50 degrees and dew was forming on my foulies. As my eyes were getting heavy, the song "Sailing" by Christopher Cross came on the radio. The timing was impeccable! The night was clear and the stars were amazing. I sat there and drank it all in - along with my PBR!

Crossing Lake Michigan

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lake Effect Snow...Awesome...errrrr

This picture was taken in the EXACT same location as the picture in the post below, "Spring Planning Begins." The emotional roller coaster Mother Nature puts those of us in the Midwest through this time of year is like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon where he's walking through the desert and thinks he sees a pond and runs to take a big drink of water but ends up drinking sand! Today, without any warning we were hit with a lake-effect snow storm. Anyone feel like drinking sand? Beep Beep!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Halyard Organizer Plate Has Arrived!

As I alluded in my previous post, one of the projects planned for the spring is to install a halyard organizer plate. The main reason to install this piece of hardware is to allow additional blocks to attach to the base of the mast so that all control lines can route back to the cockpit. Currently, only the main and jib halyards run back to the cockpit. There is a bolt that runs through the base of the mast / mast step plate to ensure the mast doesn't bounce around while under sail. There are 2 blocks ghetto-rigged to this bolt that allow the halyards to come back to my cam cleats. The halyard organizer plate will go UNDER the mast step plate and bolt to the deck. This will give me the ability to attach more blocks than Jep could ever use at the base of the mast!

I purchased the halyard organizer plate through Garhauer Marine. It's top quality, high-polished 316 stainless steel. The only drawback is that I'll have to drill 4 holes at the base to attach this sucker to the deck (under the mast step plate). Drilling through stainless isn't exactly like drilling through wood, aluminum, or even regular steel. Luckily I have some very resourceful friends! Don't worry, if you cannot visualize I'll be sure to post pictures once the install is complete.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Planning Begins

The weather last week has got me thinking of the endless spring projects I have to complete on the boat. For the first time in God-knows-how-long, mother nature gave us a couple days of sun last week! While I have to walk 40 feet to actually see outside at the ol' ore-i-fice, I do have a direct line to a window when I have to print out spreadsheets or make copies. During the summer, the view can be painful!

When I first started authoring this post, I had Bill O'Reilly on in the background. The subject matter was quite intriguing. However, it just didn't feel right posting to my blog and not have Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, or Jimmy Buffett cranking on the Dell! It took 30 seconds after turning on Kenny before I made a b-line to the fridge and got a Leiny Sunset Wheat!

Enough about that.

It's a harsh reality realizing you're a loser. Stay with me. A few nights ago I opened the Excel spreadsheet I use to keep track of all boat additions and their related costs. The workbook contains detailed information such as a description of the item or hardware, total cost, where purchased, date purchased, etc. After reading down the list it became apparent that, like my blog, I had not updated my improvement log in quite some time. With boxes of boat crap and receipts in my large, walk in closet, I began to reconcile the list. Only a total loser would do what I did next. Looking at my improvement log, which is quite long, I thought, "Huh, wonder what my total spend is by retail location?" So, what would a Senior Finance Analyst do in this situation to quickly and accurately compile the data? Create a pivot table and pie chart, of course! Possibly the worst part of all, I actually enjoyed it and started screwing with the cell formats as if I were at work presenting some important financial data to my boss. Turns out 44% of the money I've spent on my boat has gone to West Marine. Lousy crooks!

Along with reconciling my boat improvement log, I also started a list of projects that need to be completed. While my mast is down, I am going to complete the following:

1. Install shore power
2. Barrier coat and bottom paint
3. Install and rig lazy jacks
4. Install halyard organizer plate
5. Rig new halyards and boom topping lift

Mast up:

1. Rewire the DC electrical system (will be quite easy, actually)
2. Repair coax VHF radio connection
3. Lay genoa track
4. Install deck organizers
5. Install new Spinlock cam-cleat

That's a pretty aggressive project list. The 2 main and most difficult projects will be the shore power and bottom paint. All of the other stuff I can do with a can of PBR once the boat in resting peacefully in her slip! Too bad I can't speed up that countdown clock!