Saturday, December 30, 2017

What if it were fun ?

"What would this look like if it were easy? is such a lovely and deceptively leveraged question. It’s easy to convince yourself that things need to be hard, that if you’re not redlining, you’re not trying hard enough. This leads us to look for paths of most resistance, often creating unnecessary hardship in the process." Tim Ferris
Proud owner of Hull #44

Let's challenge the "No Pain No Gain" rule.
I am the first to be guilty of believing that hard work pays, and high pain tolerance bring you want you to be.
I always thought that it was my dedication to my career that made the difference.
Truth to be told, it was always easy for me to spend long hours sitting in front a computer, programming.
I liked it, still do. I am enjoying the creative process of coding, the constant brain games and solving problems.
It is easy for me to go in flow while programming. Time flies, code lines accumulate.
Was it that hard to achieve success ? Maybe not.

Rage drill on an old aluminium traveler

Running my first marathon I had a fierce determination to never walk.
What ever it will take, never stopping. Failure was not an option, pain to be endured.
No pain, no gain.
Now, after I finally learned to stop and walk - hitting the wall on my second marathon pretty dramaticcaly made me believe that
all rules are meant to be broken - I am following the MAF method - which could be resumed by taking it easy.
You focus on running in zone 2 - Anaerobic zone - the easy zone. Believe it or not, you will improve and run faster and faster.
This is actually the golden rule of endurance.
As a side benefit this is more gentle on your joints and body and you reduce greatly the risk of injury - not a small advantage for me - still recovering from at least 4 different running injuries.
Running slow and easy.

back winded working jib.

Take it easy and bring the fun into everything you do.
Everything you do becomes a hobby.
Times flies, you are in flow, living the moment and improving.
The only way to improve is to spend the time. The body is an incredible adaption machine, and  so adapt the brain as well.
In everything you do, find the fun, and offset it to be easy.
Raging or swearing makes it worst, every obstacle is a chance to improve.

Starting on make her pretty. A paint job.

I discovered lately how to apply this to boat work.
I always assumed I did not like working on the boat. Hard, long, expensive. Not gratifying.
It was a mean to an end, travelling, cruising, and only because I did not have enough money to pay someone to do that grueling work in my place.
Now, what if boat work was easy ?
Remove the time constraint, work on one project at a time, and allocate only few hours a day to it.
Don't make it a live or die situation. Buy the right tools and do any shortcut.
What if it was fun ?
Prepare it well, make yourself comfortable. Take the time, Do it well, Appreciate the results. Appreciate the creation, the problem solving, the handcrafting.
Be patient. Do it once, twice, third time. Listen to a podcast.
It is actually quite marvelous to see your work take shape.

Reward of a job well done.

What if fixing the boat was actually half of the fun ? And the cruising only the excuse ?
By embracing it, you go with the flow, you go in the zone.
Slow and easy. And you improve.
Live your life like a hobby, live in the zone.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Give Thanks - 3 years in a row.

It has been three years in a row than Thanksgiving period has been firing.
20knots, 15ft feet of waves.
At that size of wave, my skills start to be a bit stretched :)
Over the year, my comfort zone kiting has been growing from the 8ft to 12ft.
But a building swell of that size, triple overhead face, going down the line ....
 Looking at the wall behind me ... Reconsidering this bottom turn that would throw me up there...
Just not ready yet.

Red is good. Last week we peaked 15ft ground swell.
This week is still super playful.

Hard to tell when you are not use to, but the reef is actually pretty far out.
The bigger the wave , the further they break.
Today they are very very far, and there is a lot and lot of white.
This is the kind of day crazy folks head to Peahi.

White Line is the back means .. It's alive.

Kite beach and Kanaha spots were pretty crowded.
You can only assume that Hookipa is closing out and everyone default to here, which is the best place to handle swell that size.

Old man's beach is busy busy. Must be good.

The last couple of weeks I have been enjoying serenity at home, rebuilding slowly my running (I feel this time I am on the good track) and kiting or paddling when ever possible.
I really enjoy spending time on the boat, getting ready for our next grand adventure, but I enjoy coming back as well. 

Smiling after an amazing sesh
It is sort of going back and forth between very nice and very very nice.
Life's good in Hawaii.
I am thankful, and we are sparing the turkey.
It was not chicken's day, on the plate and on the water.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Half and half

This past month has been charged with emotions.
I lost a grand-ma and I lost a friend.
I hit 45, which I believe is a good crossing the middle line of a life.
Half of my life.

It all comes down which half of the bottle you are looking into.

I did long and deep thinking - and the only conclusion, really, is that I should not waste my time, because - who knows.

Call of the sea

It is time to reach for my dream.
It is time to sail south.
To cross the equator and step into the other hemisphere.

It is time to see the other half.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Going Simple

Still on Oahu, working on the boat.
Life is simple on the boat. You ride your bike. You do your morning and evening exercises in the park next door.
Walk to the store to grab food.

Nice rainbow on the marina

As more and more people post fancy food and restaurant plates on Facebook, I go backward.
Simpler and simpler on the food. Vegan, of course.
Veggies, Raw or cooked. Soup. Fruit and Green juices.
Avocados. Coconut milk. Add some brown rice and black chocolate for dessert.

Veggies and Tiger balm

Really wanted to remove a support for a spinnaker pole I am not using. Was really tricky to get access to the bolt under the deck. Had to tear off a large part of the wood shelves of the inside of the boat.
Way more complicated than it sounds, it took me 3 days to sort this mess.

Tearing off the inside of the boat

Finally got that part of the deck.

Fixing rotten supports on the way.

Has been a while I wanted to swap the reader lights to LED version.
There are 7 of them, takes some time.
And yes, I know, there is some varnish work that really needs to happen.

New little LEDs

Iridium GO on place

As well as its Antenna (On the left)
Work is not going as fast as I would like, but it is happening, and the boat is getting ready.
Ready for her next little adventure.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Respect the weather, Respect yourself

Hiding inside a Coffee Bean to escape the Waikiki afternoon heat, I took some time to reflect on the last "disastrous" passage from Maui to Honolulu.

A series of mistakes and choice ended up costing me a new Fiddle block (150$), Sail repair (800$), and damage on the pulpit ($$$) and bottom paint ($$), and more important some bruises in my pride and slaps in my captain face.

To be clear, I am not pretentious when I sail. I am actually very aware of my lack of experience and any trip is always like an adventure. Which is why I like it so much, even if I do not sail that much.
But a day sail in between islands, I thought I got it.
The ocean was there to humble  me.

I knew it was gonna be windy. Small craft advisory, a small low just went by the island few days before, clearing winds and strong trades (25+knots) on tap. Of course, 25 knots of predicted grib wind means 35+ in the channel.
Solo I would have certainly push back one week. But a friend was coming by plane, the ticket was taken... Anyway, that was a test for the boat.
Well, I guess I failed it.
In between Lanai and Molokai , we had gusts of 40+ knots. As a kitesurfer, those numbers never really scared me. You just rig smaller and tight your butt.
 As a sailor, this is more than atypical winds and require a set of skills I do not have yet.

High wind, but no waves. Pictures rarely capture the intensity of the sea.

Typical - The furler jammed with a double reef in the jib.
We could have go with it until Honolulu, after all, it was very unlikely to be worst.

Sunset. We still had a genoa at that time.

I waited for the night to fall - no moon - (why not ?) to decide to try to solve this - just in case - (of what?).
Which means unfurl the full sail (Genoa 140) and put it down, on deck.
This is doable by going upwind or heave-to. Heaving-to with a 140 Genoa in that kind of wind, I was not feeling it. There was a bit of shade behind our double reefed main, and I thought I could bring it down on deck while we were running (Really?). Obviously, some maneuvers you do in 8 knots of wind do not work in 30+.
Of course, the sail went in the water, generated an immense amount of force and drag,  teared along the furler, and went under the boat to tangle on the prop.
Dragging this huge mess under the boat, we slowed down to a mere 2 knots of boat speed and the motion became really uncomfortable.
Which made me sea sick - but not incapacitated, except while throwing up.
Losing control, we ended up jibbing involuntary a couple of time until the traveler gave up and the main slammed a last time.

In the morning, that what the sail looked like.

Fast forwarding, we eventually managed to bring most of the sail on board, jury rigging the main, disentangled the prop while drifting in front of the harbor and made it safely to the slip, 6 hours later than expected. Overall, no harm.
As they say, we kept "the people in the boat, and the water out of the boat".
Following this simple rule, nothing really critical can or should happen.

Once docked, easier to notice the bent bow pulpit.
Still few lessons I learned the hard way.

If you can't fix it and don't have to, just go with it.
(At least, wait for the morning and daylight)
140 Genoa is too big of a sail for Hawaii - if just fine from San Diego where I got the boat.
(I am gonna save some money to buy a smaller one)
Go upwind, motoring if needed,  to bring down the headsail.
(I got an idea how to disentangle the furler with the sail on, but that need to be proven)
40 knots is a lot of wind for a small sailboat
(even for a kite)
I need to up my game
(If I ever want to cross that pacific equator solo)

Actually not so bad. there is 3 or 5 tears like that one.

Repairing the traveler

Positive lessons:

We stayed calm the whole way and never endangered ourselves.
(according to the fact that working on deck by night is dangerous by definition)
If I was on a passage, I think I could have fixed all that mess on board, alone - eventually
(After the wind calmed down, as it usually does)
If I was solo, I certainly would have avoided this mess by being more cautious.
(Need to learn to always sail as I was solo)
We kept control of the boat and never were on a lee-shore.
(Even if we were not going fast)
The boat and the rigging took it without grim.
(For an old grand pa that is almost as old as me)

Safely in the harbor, enjoying the sunset

Anyway, I slowly getting back in the pace of working on the boat, which was the plan of this month on Oahu.
Adding more things that will break one day.
Fixing what I just broke,
And maintaining what did not break yet.

Chinese made Stainless vents. They look awesome.

Mostly on the program for this time, electrical and electronics.

AIS Transponder
Iridium Go
Steaming Light
Anchor Light
And half a dozen of smaller things.

Adding a deck and steaming light. Easier to work at night on deck.

Plan is to stay in Ala Wai until my time is up (6 weeks left on my transient permit for 2017), a couple of back and forth to stay with the family on Maui, and get most of that s**t done before next year.
And if that was going as planned, that would be freaking awesome.
For a change.