Monday, May 31, 2010

Mast- und Schotbruch, Cirrus Crew!

Have a good trip and make sure that Klabautermann doesn't get on board. And here is a special routing from Cirrugator.

P.S. It is a real route

Frauline Caroline Heinrich

USSailing Instructor 2004 to present
Behavioral Instructor and Teacher for Austism and Challenged Children of Hawaii (2002 to present)

Past Commodore of the Hawaii Women's Yacht Racing Association 2004-2008
Past Commodore of the Pearl Harbor Yacht Club 2004-2008
1st Place skipper of the Hawaii Yacht Club "Wahine Regatta" 2002 "NO BRAKES (Spinnaker Division)
Ist Place skipper of the Hawaii Yacht Club "Wahine Regatta 2003 on "ADDICTION (Spinnaker Division)
Delivery Crew for Transpac boat 2003 "VICKI" from Honolulu to Santa Barbara/Long Beach.
Race Crew for 2004 PacCup "Cirrus"
Race Crew for 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race on Cirrus.
Winner of the Aloha B Class all women crew.
Race Crew for 2010 Paccup on "Cirrus"

Love to catch and eat fresh fish from God's Sea!!!!!!!

YotReps: 2010/05/31 18:17:53

TIME: 2010/05/31 18:17
LATITUDE: 21-25.13N
LONGITUDE: 157-47.41W
BARO: 1035
COMMENT: This Position Report is a test of our GPS-generated position data. ~Chris

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kaneohe Yacht Club runs story on Cirrus

KYC, Kaneohe Yacht Club, home of Cirrus and once again host of the Pacific Cup finish line and a wealth of activities around the Cup, has a report on Cirrus and Bill in their recent newsletter Telltales. Cirrus is KYC's only entry in the Pacific Cup.

Click on the graph to enlarge and the text might be legible, or get a pdf of their full newsletter from their website.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

2010 Cirrus Crew Shirts

As promised, here is a picture the 2010 Cirrus crew shirt, expertly modeled by our friend Maria-Lucia.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The 12-Day-Delivery Relief

After realizing Bill's despair about a too short 12-Day-Delivery I rushed along and spared no effort so I could assure him that this won't be the case ;-))

I looked at all my routings from this year for the delivery, and assembled them into this graph, showing how the predicted Time-to-go changed over the last 40 days. A 12 day delivery is on the list, but clearly not his most pressing problem. The range is from 12.5 to 18 days. The red lines are closer together today as they were in the beginning, so is the range narrowing, perhaps due to - on average - more wind? Possible, but no real indication for this. And keep in mind that Cirrugator is routing with racing in mind, while delivery is supposed to be more relaxed AND BEING REALLY CAREFUL WHEN USING THE SPINNAKER, therefore at least an extra half day has to be granted.

My bet is 15days 9hours, which means when departing at noon on the 1st, they will arrive exactly at midnight of the 16th. In the dark. Of course.

Anyone else betting?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Endlich, Fertig, Vollständig (This time I'm serious.)

The ToDo list is down to a handful of items. Chris is on the communications and technology full time, Donna and Kathy are committed to the provisioning, the tanks are full, there is a blue sky and a stiff wind. Kim Ickler is giving a Bon Voyage party tonight for everyone associated with the preparations. Life is good.

Ulli's routing calculations continue to amaze. (If you haven't already done so, go to the bottom of the right hand column on this page and click on the link.) He is predicting 12 day delivery times. I hope he is wrong. I have been looking forward to this trip and would hate to have it over so quickly.

One of the photos here shows a piece of the wood trim on the galley sink. The small hole with a plug in it used to be where an absolutely ancient bronze pump was located. For the first couple crossings the crew used to have to pump out the sink with this little pump. It was a real pain. There was a plunger with a leather seal that leaked, and sometimes it would not want to prime or get stuffed up with debris, etc. I can't recall that anyone ever complained. Still, it was nice when the hand pump was replaced by the electric automatic sump pump system shown in the next photo. This unit has to be replaced fairly often because it gets jammed up with crud even if people are fairly careful to screen out the big pieces from the waste water.

The bottom of the steering pedestal was showing some corrosion and by the time I got it wire brushed and cleaned up it also needed to be re-caulked. Been done.

The jib sheet fairleads were next on the list. They are another example of the historic nature of the rigging. They are made of a solid block of glass cloth and resin (with a very characteristic smell when being machined.). My dad called this stuff "macarta". Big panels of it were used for mounting electrical equipment because it is a good insulator. Today, knowledgeable people call this stuff "phenolic". The sheaves were starting to show their age so I gave them a coat of epoxy. Hope that was a good idea.

Another sign that we are getting closer to cast off time is that Kate moved all her stuff aboard. She is used to making trips like this in a kayak, so even though she brought two or three times the normal amount of stuff (for her) it still didn't fill the space that was available.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes, we have the technology

Hi Gang. This is my first blog entry since I arrived in Hawaii on Monday. A few weeks ago, I bought a satellite phone on Bill's behalf and I spent yesterday and today setting it up. The first picture shows our magnetic "car" antenna, as adapted for a boat. Since we do not have a steel dodger, I acquired a 12" pizza pan at Foodland and attached it to the dodger handrails with parachute cord. This gives us a spot to "stick" our antenna. The second picture shows the phone in its stand at the nav station with its rat's nest of umbilical cords attacked. There is an antenna cable at the top, a data cable in front near the bottom, and the charger cable sticks out of the bottom. Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble getting the phone to make data calls, but with plenty of support from several people, we got it working. It's about 4800 baud, so it should allow us to upload big files like photos and videos to this blog. But it costs $1.25 a minute, so we will probably not be using it for normal emails. For that, we'll probably stick to Sailmail which is much slower, but it's already paid for. So, enjoy the pictures, and stay tuned for more. Your comments are aways welcome. ~Chris Doutre

Friday, May 21, 2010

Random Bits and Pieces

Maybe I'll start off by relating this morning's printer paper adventures. Those of you who don't have the stomach for this level of nerdyness are advised to skip ahead. For those of you who are still here let me first explain why it is that I have been on a quest to purchase a package of printer paper that has been punched for a three hole binder along both edges. Well, it turns out that if the printer paper orientation choice is "Portrait"  the holes should be on one side, and if the choice is "Landscape" they should be on the other. I can never remember which is which and on the boat during the delivery and race I don't feel like messing with it. So.............

When I went to the local FedEx store a couple years ago and tried to buy a package of printer paper drilled down both edges for a 3-ring binder they quoted me a $55 price. Five dollars for 500 sheets of paper and 5 cents a sheet to drill the holes (twice). So, I ended up buying it in Walnut Creek.

But I decided to try the local store again. I think the FedEx computer said $55 again but after some discussion among themselves the staff (not knowing that I knew what they were discussing) decided that $15 would do it. I tried to bargain them down a bit more to $10 without success. So, I left without the paper. A couple weeks later I decided "What the hell. Go for it. Spend the big bucks. You only live once. Etc." So, I went back to FedEx and this time the boss was there and he wanted $30 and would not budge. I left again without the paper.

This morning I just happened to be driving past FedEx and (since three visits had resulted in three different prices) decided to just give it another shot. Back to $15 again. Since this was historically the best price I had seen I took it and am now the proud owner of a box of double, 3-ring drilled, computer printer paper.

You might want to skip this one also. For that matter you might want to skip the whole day. Anyway, the next item concerns the new GPS that had rather crude charts. The helpful person at West Marine claimed that there was an "options" setting that would give me any level of detail that I wanted. He was right! It is working fine now. In retrospect, I realize now that part of the reason I was having trouble was that I just could not believe that such a tiny box could contain so much stuff. Such are the wonders of the digital age we live in. Pretty soon when you buy a hand held reader like Kindle or iPad they will simply contain everything on earth that has ever been written and will update each day everything (in every language) that has been created in the last 24 hours.

While fooling around with the GPS I did notice that the performance is pretty crappy (below decks and without an antenna). If you look at the photo you will see that Cirrus is in the wrong slip and facing the wrong direction. Also note (in passing) that digital photos of a digital screen can produce interesting patterns. I tried to fix this and everything I did made it worse.

The next item is the wrap up of the new engine panel saga. As those of you who follow these pages are well aware the old engine panel containing the tachometer and emergency  alarms disintegrated awhile ago. It has been replaced and an enclosure fabricated to keep the rain off. Now the job has finally been completed with the mounting of a "Tupperware" box to protect the back of the panel that protrudes into the space just aft of the galley (and up). The switches on the box are not hooked up at the moment, but they could be used if the switch on the binnacle panel should fail.

As an aside, let me mention a little unexpected benefit from this last project. When I was heat shrinking the insulation onto the lugs connected to the switches the tiny puff of hot rubber smell that was produced set off the smoke alarm. Thus proving that the alarm is working and that I can hear it. Made me jump!

Inside the cabin and just below the back of the engine panel there are three switches mounted along the side of the port-side quarter berth. These switches are:

  • The propane tank solenoid operating switch
  • The Battery selection switch that allows us to isolate the refrigerator battery from the rest of the "house bank" of batteries.
  • The protected on-off switch for the refrigerator

I spent the whole morning recently on the first of these. "What?" You say, "It looks just like the last time I saw it." And that would be correct. What would be missing from these remarks is the fact that I accidentally broke off the toggle switch and had to replace it. I had one in spares but it was the wrong size so I had to drive across the island to buy one, (I got two.) Then  I installed it, and, lo-and-behold it looks like it did before. Now you see why the refrigerator switch has a protective cover. The propane switch could use some protection, but I didn't want to cover it up because that makes it too easy to forget to turn it off.

The covering on the jib luff that gives some sun protection to the furled sail was looking ratty and some of it was starting to come loose. On a recent quiet morning Ron Dodini helped me take the jib down and replace it with another similar sail. The sailmaker was too busy to fix it (in a week) so maybe I'll get Quantum to do it when I'm in the Bay Area.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Here's Where We're Going

Ulli's wondrous routing fantasy has filled us with unrealistic expectations. But, on the other hand, "Why Not."

Photo shows some of the Farallon Islands that are normally the first land we see on the San Francisco arrival. Always a welcome sight.

I was dreaming about 12 day deliveries the other day when Donna brought me down to earth by reminding me that we had to start out out three separate times on the TP2007 delivery, and that already made us a week late.  Then we had engine fuel filter problems, etc.

Her instructions for this year are "Don't do that." She is leaving shortly after our departure and will not be here to bail us out if there is a problem.

This group photo from 2004 shows a group getting ready to set out. They look pretty happy considering they are going to be cold and wet for the next 3-4 days.

The next group has even more reason for cheer having put the entire Pacific Ocean behind them. That picture looks like 1998 and would have been Cirrus' first crossing. The picture after that was the most recent race in 2008. So many memories. And I guess we will pile up a few more this summer.

I wonder what the drama will be. We have wrapped the spinnaker, broken shrouds, broken the gooseneck, the boom and the boombrake. So it has to be something new this time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Now You See It - Now You Don't

Still getting over the post inspection letdown. Interesting. (To me at least.) I get focused on bringing some aspect of life to the highest level of performance that I'm capable of, and then suddenly it's behind me and I have to cast about for what is next. There is a pattern here.

In this case "what's next" isn't so hard to figure out. It is clearly the June 1st departure for the mainland.

I recently made a little (long overdue) modification to the boat to make the passage easier. We have two big fuel tanks on Cirrus and some of you may recall that in the past only one has been connected to the engine at a time. To switch tanks I had to physically move the rubber hose transfer lines from one tank to the other. (In the middle of the night in 8-10 foot seas.)

So, before I tell you what I actually did, I have a contest for you. Look at the next two photos. Do you see a difference? Sometimes there are puzzles for children in the newspaper where you are asked to point out the differences between two very similar drawings. This is a similar problem.

Ok! Give up? Here is the answer. The first photo shows the bulkhead just behind the engine compartment. A 110 volt outlet (that once was used to provide power for a Microwave that sat on top of the engine) is shown in the process of being removed. There are two big holes in the bulkhead behind it that must, in the past, have been good for something. The object to the right with two hoses on it is an anti-siphon valve.

The second photo shows the outlet completely removed and a rubber fuel line is visible through the hole where it used to be. In addition one of the large round holes is now occupied by a little pointer type handle. On the back of the bulkhead, where you can't see, there is a two-way valve that connects the two fuel tanks to the electric fuel pump. Now, to switch tanks, one just turns the handle. What a concept!

The final photo shows the primary fuel filter, which is located on the same bulkhead aft of the engine that we have seen in the previous pictures.  Rather than being inside the engine compartment it is outside where it is easy to keep an eye on it. This has a couple benefits. One is that it is easy to see if the fuel gets dirty from bacteria invasion. The most important use is catching air bubbles before they get to the engine. These bubbles can be caused by a leaking hose fitting or by letting the fuel level in the tank get too low in choppy seas where the remaining fuel sloshes all around.

I went to West Marine yesterday to pick up an order and was all ready to drop some big bucks to get a chart upgrade for my new GPS. Fortunately the sales person who helped me really knew his job. He explained that the charts are as good as one could possably want, and that my problem was probably that one of the unit "Options" had been set to "Dumb".

I'll check it out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

THREE...3...III... (Weeks to go that is!)

We passed our Pacific Cup inspection with flying colors this morning. Clark Fremgen (Former KYC Commodore) did the honors.  He did a careful job and didn't skip over anything, but (as is not unusual for Cirrus) every time the race requirements called for something, we actually had three.

Now that the pressure of preparing is off I don't know what to do with myself. There is still a lot to do on the ToDo list, but somehow it does not seem as urgent. Maybe I'll go see a movie. Iron Man 2 maybe. I want to celebrate somehow, but everyone I know is working or otherwise occupied.
  • I was away for a couple hours. Now I'm back. Went to see IM2. He creates a new element (and saves the world) sort of like I did before I retired. Loved every minute.
    Another recent small improvement is a cover for the new engine control console. I tried to get Min Plastic to make me one but was shocked by the price. Did it myself. Panel still needs some wiring work. Bought some parts. Thinking about it.

    Inspired by Ulli's wonderful routing link (to the right) I put the computer aboard and have been messing around with it a little. The Nav Sta is looking a little crowded with the computer, printer and new GPS. Which reminds me that I gave away my beautiful (selbstgemacht) plastic holder for the satellite telephone so we will probably need to make something new when Chris gets here for the delivery.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Weekend Sail

    Photo serves to introduce Kate Schalk who replaced  Tina on the delivery crew when Tina had to drop out for personal reasons. Kate has ocean kayaked just about everywhere around Oahu (as well as actually around Oahu), goes hiking, camping, trail biking. She is a great addition to our Cirrus community this summer.

    We tried to set out together Saturday to sail to the Ala Wai for an overnight, expecting to return on Sunday, but it didn't work out. I made the mistake of not putting a couple reefs in at the dock. So, when I tried to hoist the main out in the open ocean the halyard got tangled on the spreader, the seas were 6-8 feet, wind over 20 and gusty. It was a mess. After we turned back to sort things out it was getting too late in the day to start out.

    We  gave it another shot Sunday morning with Rick's help. Actually, Kate's partner Mick also joined us for a buttermilk pancake breakfast at the dock that Kate decided to make. She just wanted to get a feel for cooking on the boat. Great way to start the day.

    Then we set out for Makapu'u in about 20 knot winds and really bumpy seas. I didn't want to make too long a day of it so we  turned around over by Kailua around 1300. We came home like a rocket, surfing most of the way. So, all in all, a great weekend even if we didn't make it to the Ala Wai.

    By the way don't forget to check out Ulli's routing plots for today. He is predicting a 12 day delivery time!

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Day at a Time

    Makani Kai Marina in the morning. What a quiet grey windless weekend.

    Ric, Kate and I took advantage of the dead air to get the main back up. Then spent the remainder of the morning on spinnaker drills (at the dock). It took us about an hour to get one up. This will, presumably, improve with practice.

    Then on Sunday it was just me and Kate watching the rain come down and chatting about the delivery. You know, what books to bring along, what DVDs for movies during happy hour in the evenings. Games to fill the time were also discussed, like Scrabble, Chess, Trivial Pursuit, various card games, etc. Much heated discussion. Food was also discussed at length. We were not able to come to agreement about the necessity of having the food catered in order to take the load off the crew who already have their hands full standing watches attending to personal hygiene and posing for blog pictures.We would appreciate the views of the viewing audience on these important topics.

    The first picture sort of reminded me of the second one. One of my favorites and one that Nabikov claimed was hanging in every German home. Anyone know the name of the painting and the name of the painter? Speaking of "objets d'art" I recently saw a picture of a hawk that reminded me of something similar by the Swedish artist Milles. Well, maybe not really "similar". Maybe more like "suggestive".  Or, if you really want to be fussy, how about, "is reminiscent of".

    Good fun.

    Coming back to the boat discussion, I've been thinking about doing some cooking aboard, just to be sure everything is working ok. Maybe this week. Next weekend would be a good time for an overnight sail somewhere. Maybe to the Ali Wai and back.