Monday, June 21, 2010

MAST Poker Run

This past Saturday was, I think, the first annual MAST Poker Run. It was also the first time Jeff and Molly came to Milwaukee for a visit (well, Jeff has been here but Molly has not)! Anyway, for those confused on the whole "poker run" deal, a poker run is an event where you visit 5 pre-determined destinations and pick up a poker card. There is an official start time and finish time and you must have your cards in to a specific destination in order to qualify. Once everyone has turned in their hand, there is an awards ceremony where prizes are given to boats with the highest hand!

Since sailboats are not lightning fast, the 5 stops were in fairly close proximity in Milwaukee Harbor. You are not required to visit each stop in any particular order, so I'll go through the stops in the order in which we sailed.

First stop was at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center (MCSC). This is where I picked up my registration (which was free) and my first card. There was also a pancake breakfast going on that benefited the sailing center. We actually drove my trusty Trailblazer to register as we were a little late getting the provisions. The morning was beautiful and it gave me an opportunity to introduce Jeff and Molly to some of the superb people I have met due to this wonderful sport.

We stopped to pick up some breakfast sandwiches and beer before heading down to the slip. Once the boat was loaded with crew and provisions, we were off!

We cast off from the slip around 11:30. The crew consisted of myself, JY3, Drew, Jeff, and Molly (Unfortunately Steph had to work and then serve wine at a charity event. Boo!). We had enough beer to get a small village intoxicated and enough sun to change color within a matter of hours!

Our second stop was at Rip Tide, a seafood restaurant and bar at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. After we pulled our card, it was time for a "wake up" shot of soco-lime. It was, after all, 12:00! What else would we be doing?! Back on topic...

As we came back outside, I quickly realized that the wind was blowing like hell! We had a good 17-20 knots coming straight out of the west. We casted off from Rip Tide and motored out of the main gap and headed south to our third destination, South Shore Yacht Club (SSYC).

It didn't take us all that long to get there as we were on a beam reach with plenty of wind. Upon arrival at SSYC, we went over to s/v Blue Pearls empty slip to show Jeff and Molly where I spend every Friday evening. As we were milling around, we bumped into LT's dad (JY3's girlfriends father). Tom owns s/v Senta which is a few slips down from Pearl on B dock. We stopped and visited for a few minutes, grabbed some brats and burgers, maybe another beer, and were off! Oh, and we also got our card!

The next stop was the most unique and fun. We had to find s/v Wild Thing, a big (34'?) catamaran with an obnoxious (in a good way) amount of flags and fun crew! It didn't take us long to see a number of sailboats heading directly towards a floating monstrosity! We set our heading and made our way over. After a few tacks and quick analysis of what other boats were doing, we sailed right by as the crew of s/v Wild Thing held our card on a 20ft (approx) pole! It was a tricky maneuver to get the card, but we got it on the first pass! We were also obligated to dance to the song "Wild Thing" as we picked up the card. By this point in the day we had already been dancing to a certain extent...did I mention I love sailing?

On to the last card! Our last stop was the Milwaukee Yacht Club (MYC). We debated stopping for a visit but decided we'd rather get our card and head back to my slip, so that's exactly what we did! We got Jep all buttoned up by about 3 and headed over to MCSC to drop off our hand and join the post Poker Run party! What a day!

Of course, the post Poker Run party was filled with food, beer, sailors, live music, and prizes for the winners of the Poker Run.

We ended up finishing with 2 pair and I won a very nice Motorola Blue Tooth headset for my Blackberry!

What a GREAT weekend!

Genoa Track Installed

I'm finally (almost) done with my summer installations! On Friday I took advantage of our summer hours program at work to complete the final project on Jep. Jeff and Molly were also coming in from Grand Rapids so there was some additional motivation to leave work early!

The week before I went to the National Ace Hardware to pick up 20 stainless 1/4" x 1.5" screws, nylon nuts, and washers. I inherited the genoa track from Glyn "Obi-Wan Kenobi" Livermore. Glyn accompanied us on the Queens Cup last year and taught me more about sailing that I had learned in the past 15 years.

Anyway, since Steph doesn't have to work on Friday's, she came over to help with the install. I always get a little nervous cutting holes into my deck but since I just installed the deck organizers and cam cleat I was more comfortable.

Both tracks went pretty quick. The biggest pain is cutting a hole in the carpet liner below deck for the screws. Popping a hole in the deck and tightening bolts is a piece of cake. Of course, I siliconed the crap out of the bottom of the track to keep the deck water tight!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Deck Organizers and Cam Cleat

Today with an ominous weather forecast, I decided to risk it and drill some holes in my deck to install my new cam cleat and deck organizers.

First I installed the Spinlock PXR cam cleat. Steph bought this for me for my birthday and I've been dying to install it since December. According to the product description from Spinlock, "designed for precision control, these cleats feature an adjustable release spring that allows you to control how easy the cam cleat is to release—an industry first. The incorporated three-stage release spring can be pre-set for the prevailing conditions and application. Select lighter settings for continuously trimmed sheets, traveller controls, vangs and similar controls. Harder settings for halyards and occasionally adjusted lines. While sailing, the roller action of the PXR keeps the release effort easy, even as the wind strength increases."

I used #10 stainless hardware. The cleat required 2 bolts: a 1" and a 1.5". I used nylon locking nuts and large washers to distribute load. I also siliconed the hell out of the holes to keep my deck water tight!

Once I completed the cam cleat, I moved onto my Ronstan Series 40 deck organizers. The point behind this piece of hardware is to allow your control lines to route into the cockpit. So far, I only have my 2 halyards (main and jib) and boom topping lift running into the cockpit. I am planning on running a reef point back to the cockpit later this season.

Each organizer required 4 holes to be drilled into the deck. Again, I used #10 stainless 2" bolts. Once I completed the port side organizer, it began to sprinkle. Since the second time around installing is always a touch easier, I decided to risk it (ha) and do the starboard side. Right as Steph and I were tightening the nuts, the rain came down! Again, I siliconed the hell out of each hole so there shouldn't be any water issues.

Next up is the genoa track!