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!!!