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.

Anyone for Some Keel Walking?

HA!!!  Talk about having your rail in the water!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog Background Music!

I finally figured out how to add background music to my blog. You simply need to open a free account at opendrive.com, upload your desired song or songs and paste a streaming link in a simple web player.

Make sure you allow the ActivX control when you come to my blog so you can hear the music. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Strictly Sail Chicago

In the middle of winter (albeit a mild one), the next best thing to a day of sailing is walking around Navy Pier slobbering over beautiful new sailboats, boat electronics, hardware and, ahem, rolling some cocktails!

Saturday morning started as any other; wake up 30 minutes late (0700) because the power went out in my place and the alarm never went off, hop on a motor coach with my crew and crew from s/v Blue Pearl at 0800, have a bloody Mary by 0830 and a beer at 1000. Okay, so that's not even close to a typical morning but it's one hell of a way to start off my first experience at Strictly Sail Chicago!

Besides drooling over boats I cannot afford, I actually came down to Strictly Sail with a purpose. The show is an excellent place to find deals on pretty much anything related to sailing. In my case, I needed an assortment of hardware for my boat to rig a spinnaker. Keeping with my typical MO (modus operandi), I drafted a quick laundry list (spreadsheet) the evening before that contained all relevant hardware information: manufacturer part number, desired quantity, part description and the West Marine retail price. I loaded the spreadsheet to my Blackberry so I could verify any "special" boat show pricing.

I walked over to the West Marine area of the show and immediately noticed some of the teaser deals they were offering. I fell for one and picked up a floating boat hook for $10 (normally $30). After grabbing my new hook, I found Kip, the store manager for the West Marine here in Milwaukee. I told him I had a list of hardware I wanted to buy and he said he had some pricing I wouldn't be able to pass up! After comparing his prices to my handy spreadsheet, I was satisfied the deals were legit. That was easy! I picked up 6 Ronstan Series 30 Orbit blocks, 2' Schaefer T-track, WM Offshore Series auto-inflate PFD, New England Rope 6mm VPC line and New England Rope 1/4" Sta-Set line.

Once the business end of my day was complete, we met Chris and his daughter Layla at the Billygoat Tavern for lunch. After a couple beers and laughs, Chris and Layla were on their way and Chad, Drew and I headed back to the show as my folks and their friends were in route!

We met them at the Flying Scot booth and stuck around for a bit to inspect hull #6000 (my dad has hull #3203). We stumbled from booth to booth, checked out an 86' race boat that was on the floor (s/v Ocean - pictured), chatted with some sailors from Michigan and had another cocktail or two. Before we knew it, 1630 rolled around so the Milwaukee crew had to make a b-line to catch our bus home.

Overall I thought the show was terrific and look forward to making this an annual trip!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That's One Way To Do It...

My dad sent this to me today. I'm assuming this isn't the first time this guy has gone under this bridge. I'd need a change of shorts at the helm after passing under like that! YIKES!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

New-to-Jep Spinnaker

I know, I know, I know. I have once again neglected my poor blog. That's all going to change! As the month of January comes to a close, I find myself getting into the spring planning mode!

I have a number of ideas for upcoming posts to update the three people who read my blog, but for now, I'll give you the latest news.

Today I ordered a "New-to-Jep" spinnaker sail! Why did I buy used you might ask? There are a couple reasons, actually.

First, I barely know how to fly a chute (slang for spinnaker). I would much rather shred up a $250 dollar sail vs. a brand new $1200 sail.

Second, while I'm not actively shopping for a larger boat, I'd certainly entertain making an offer on the right boat. It doesn't make much sense putting, pardon the pun, a boat load of money into something I may only have for a couple more years. It's like the clowns who put $4000 rims on a 2001 Chevy Impala. Really? Save your money for a nicer vehicle...or a muffler...or some pants that fit. But I digress...

Searching for a used chute was far easier than I expected. Once I knew the luff and foot dimensions (30'6" luff / 15'3" foot) recommended for a Captiva 240, I began searching inventories of sail lofts on the Internet. To my surprise, there are a number of sail lofts around the country that carry an extensive inventory of used sails. After firing off 5-6 emails to various lofts, I found a sail!

I purchased a used MURPHY & NYE .75oz cross cut sail from Bacon Sails in Annapolis, Maryland. The dimensions of the sail are nearly perfect (30'6" luff / 15'6" foot) and the colors match the colors on my boat! The price was right, the dimensions were right, the colors were right and the overall condition of the sail appears to be very good. The only thing the sail needs are my sail numbers! Can't wait to see this thing flying 52997!!!