Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Closing In

Did I mention that I finally heard from the Yard : The boat is ready to go. Shaft is in, strut is in, all seems to be alright. A quick paint job around and we should be good to go.
And I got the Sat-Phone that I bet on eBay.

Safety First

Obviously, when you do not have (and do not plan to add) a SSB, a Satellite phone is a must have. Here you can see the basic of the safety at sea. Life vest. Harness. Strobe. Sat phone.
If you followed a bit, you know that we have an Epirb, a Satellite GPS tracker, a liferaft.
On this boat, we do not take safety lightly :)

There is two side of every story, and no safety measure is 100% effective.
De facto, a liferaft is merely a 30% improvement for survival by itself. By the time you might need it, it could be already blown away off the boat (30%), detached itself while inflating (30%), or you might not be able to reach it or climb into it (10%).
But well, that's always better than nothing.
Based on that assumption, the golden rule for the liferaft is to use it only when you can step into it from the boat.(i.e. the boat is already sunk and the cabin top is at water level). I heard some people do not take liferaft on purpose, to avoid to be tempted to take their chances with it and leave the boat "too early".
I guess if you purposely did not take a liferaft and you are sinking, this is a great motivation for improvisation.
Or not.

But the chances I will ever find out if I have some MacGyver skills are still extremely low.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

1000 Miles ?

Running a bit again. 
No wind, No waves and spending a little more time than usual with the family - I am leaving back from California - Again - at the end of the month. Running and swimming is the best balanced time/effort/reward.

Alright, I joined Strava a little late, then some "performances" of 2013 are not accounted for.
I estimated around 300 miles in 2013 (200 are accounted officially), and with almost 700 miles this year,
I am topping 1000 miles, roughly. 1600 Kilometers for the frenchies around.

Stats do not lie

The peak of earlier this year matches with the marathon training and a crazy month in California when I actually ran really a lot. Not much else to do :)

This is for 2014.

Nothing to be excited about, my priority is still to get ready for the crossing in November, then it is likely to go down again. We will see. Now, there is less work on the boat to be done, if the shaking down cruise goes well, then I might have more time.
Bottom line, I still love to run.
Actually, I am warming up right now to go for 2 hour run in the Makawao Forest.
Yeah !

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reconciled with surfing

My buddy John took me for an early Sunday morning session on the Lahaina side of Maui, to make most of the peaking south swell - maybe the last of the summer season.

Maui is colorful...

On the way, I picked his long board, I wanted to verify my new theory. I knew I like paddlesurf and kitesurf because it maximize the number of waves you can take, and there is almost always something going on if you look for it. Now, on a long  board, I am convinced - and the fact that we had a left for two hours all to ourselves made it easier - that the number of taken waves and time riding is more important than the tricks and turns I am going to do (realistically, fails) on the face itself.
The simple way of riding a long board, the zen and relaxing aspect of the glide itself, and the tiny dancing moves and foot tricks you can do, now I do believe:
This is the way it is meant to be ridden.
I can see why the old folks prefers long boards. Maybe I am getting wiser.
Or just getting older.

Looooong board style

Man, I need to rent Surfer Dude once more.
Quote of the day : "Now I am ready to watch Surfer Dude again."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It has to go

Getting a boat ready for such a adventure is a big part of the adventure itself. 
If not all of it.

It is time consuming, mind blowing - think about everything that can go wrong, the list is endless, and stressing. Financially too, it ended up way ... way ...more expensive than projected. The overall big items were listed and accounted for. Windvane, liferaft, Epirb, etc... It is quite easy to list items than are over 500$. The real catch is all the small stuff. I realized pretty early it was quite easy to spend two or trhee time 30$ a day in tools, parts, stuff and more stuff. Between West Marine, Port Hueneme marine, Industrial Bolts, Lowes, Home Depot,  .... The list, again, is endless. but at 100$/day you end up pretty much at 3000$/month of unaccounted spending. And this, being careful and savvy.
At this pace, it is obvious the budget had already being recalculated two or three times.

Xbox One, barely used.
Except for Netflix, to sell.

Anyway, more symbolic than actually helping (well, it is worth half of a sat phone - not too bad :), the Xbox One has to go. First, we had Blue Ray player issue. Second, you need a XBox Live account to go to Netflix.(more than 100$/year). Third, I actually played less than 10 hours overall.
I am back on PC Gaming, obviously, due to my job (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/) and by affinities as well.

Getting rid of "stuff".
Paradox in buying the boat , and adding it to already long list of possessions, is actually a step forward in getting rid of other "stuff".
I have to do a "philosophical" post of that eventually, but right now, just trust me.
One day, I will be "out there".
And that day, I will not need an Xbox One.
Or "Stuff".

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lucky day

I have been lucky. My come back on Maui coincided with the first swell of the season.
Nothing to be crazy about, but 5 feet of ground swell and 5 feet of wind swell, there was some action.

Kanaha. 8m.
18 knots. 5 feet.
What could you ask for ?

Day like that, I really feel like I have - quoting a friend - "Won at the lottery of life".
Well, I prefer to say that I forced my chances and made some choices at a point where other did not.
But, yes, eventually, it came together alright.

Prey for it to last.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Last Stop

This would be my last time on Maui before the passage, still planned for November.
In the mean time, I enjoy the beauty of the island.

From the sky

Our sunday spot, Ulua Beach

Nothing really planned for those next 3 weeks here. I am gonna get back on my typical training - Running  Swimming - KiteSurfing - Gardening- and relax.

I decided to push back the Honolulu marathon to another year. The timing doesn't fit anymore with the passage that has been push back to November. But there is another one, on big Island, around March. I could lose a couple of pounds too. Every time I go to California for more than 3 weeks, I come back with one pound more. Less training, diet more irregular, I guess.
But, well, One thing at a time.
Now relax - September, get ready - October and jump - November.
And the jump is quite big.
Let's call it a Leap of Faith :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Get me out of there

The boat was going anywhere soon it seems. Yard is busy working on other boats. At this pace, I wont either
- be able to go back home before the November trip
- be able to break down and play with the boat enough to verify all the work that has been done made it actually better.

flying Hawaian Airlines,
A symbol ?
Running out of patience, I checked wioth the yard, they are certainly happy to have me back off their back, check wioth the airlines, we are off-season, the price are actually really good, even for a last minute flight, checked with the boss, checked with the family. Seems everyone is delighted to have me coming back home.

The last couple of days, I have mildly active though. Check the radio (again), finsishing the small electric - related tasks on my to-do-list. Some lights, moving the GPS out of the way ( I found it very illy placed over the electrical panel and on the way to the VHF).

Reorganizing the radio and GPS

Opening the guts of the "electronic  closet". Which is , .. no electronics anymore. Or barely.

Another corroded junction of the radio antenna cable
Reception was actually really bad (Again). Verified the new junction, seems alright, verified another old junction, looked pretty bad. Antenna and his cable is back on the To Do List. Unfortunately, the next step is change it at the top of the mast, if changing the connectors at the mast step does not work. Task that I do not look forward to. 

Incredible mess of bad DYI.
110v, 12v, house connectors, duck tape,
you find it all.

I fixed the 12v and installed the new led light for the Nav table. I decided to not touch the 110v for now, there is no 110v at sea or at the mooring, then it does not really matter at this point.

On the way down the coast, There was a lots of people on the water. Looks like a good surf had hit the coast this morning. And I thought there was already a lot of people in the water before !
That remind me that the summer season as getting to an end, and the best month of Maui will be arriving soon.
Wind and waves. That might be fun :)
Well, I will be only there for 3 weeks or so, then,
I shouldn't get too excited.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Oxnard - Day 33

Quote of the day : "Maybe Tomorrow".

We finally got the missing parts today. The yard manager told me they might be able to start the work tomorrow, which is obviously way too late to have any chance to be in the water this week-end.

Nice bronze coupler - this one fits - ,
and packing gland / shaft nut.

 Moral is quite low. It has been a long time to be camping on this improved giant parking lot, and the boat and me are missing the water. Being far from the island and the family does not help, when you feel you are wasting time.
I guess, waste of time is just a question of perspective. Sailing - and Boating in general - seems to be a patience exercise. Like fishing. You spend a lot of time, and usually for not a lot in return.
I guess the fun is just in, "being out there".
Except, here, I am not "Out there".
Not yet.

In Chinese, "Maybe Tomorrow" is a polite way of saying never. I am lucky my yard manager is not Chinese. At least, he doesn't look like one. I should ask him if he has ancestor in China or what :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oxnard - Day 31 & 32

It was overall a slow week-end on the boat-getting-ready-forever-on-the-hard-in-the-yard-thinghy.
But, it is mostly because the boat is -slowly- but - steadily - getting closer and closer to be ready :)
Let's go through a quick illustrated round of the events.

Cleaning the old charts, I found those pilots charts from 1977.

Hawaii !

Granted, a very nice sunset.

First splicing project. Got the tools.

Granted, it is not as pretty as it should be.
But it will be strong enough :)

Sink project - while I am at it...

Another Mast climbing.
This time I added a second safety.
It was to catch back the flag line on the spreader.
And be able to send up the radar deflector.

Really hate those holes.
But no choice.
Ugly, but strong.
As strong as the stanchion at least.

To celebrate the finalization of the galley installation,
a hot meal I did not cooked.
 Obviously, the galley and propane systems are far from ideal. Actually, I learned a bunch about how to do a proper installation to eventually ... not do a proper installation.
The key points is, first you need a gimballed galley , which is worth more than 1000$ and a full propane plumbing system, including a vented lazarette to put your tanks on. In any case, this is a lot of work when the boat as not been setup initially for it at all.
The big issue with the actual system, which is a camping gaz burner, is that we use high pressure propane all the way from the bottle to the burner. Typically, you will have a regulator and solenoid at the bottle, then the rest of the pipe system is low pressure, which limits the danger of leak and .. explosion :)
In short, you should not use camping gaz equipment, inside but outside.
Make sense.
However, for the trip, we will be extra careful to close and open the bottle every time we use it, and be sure to empty the hose by burning the remaining of the propane inside.

In any case, this is only temporary and will have to be on the first list of things that need to be revamped asap.

Cool, I am not there yet, and I have already things to do !

Monday, September 1, 2014

Oxnard - Day Off -

Still grounded for this wonderful week end of Labor Day.

6AM. Living in the fog.

Fog like this in the morning calls for a hot day windless. Anyway, I am still on the hard. Then, wind, no wind. who cares ?
I am starting to run out of things to do on the boat. Just kidding. Anyway, I decided to take a break this Saturday and go for a surf session. I have been weeks in Ventura County and never did it yet.
The coast is amazing and I already lurked several surf spot on the road along the coast.
Usually the conditions looks excellent in the morning. Only - but sizable - negative point : It is crowded. Everywhere. Every time.

C-Street. Lots of people.
Of course, I am still doing some stuff. In this case, I am preparing the work for the yard next week as soon as we get the coupler. Cleaning the support for the strut.

There is at least 5 layers of stuff before hitting the fiberglass.
Way more work than expected.
Unsurprisingly, we discovered a typical messy job from another yard. They redid the Strut at one time in the life of the boat, without even removing the bottom paint. I counted at least 5 layers.

Black bottom paint.
Dark green bottom paint.
Old Green bottom paint.
Grey Epoxy filler / putty.

Obviously, some layers do not bound together very well, then this is just a pointless losy job.
At least, in my yard, they do the job properly - when they decide to do it.

Eventually, it came out pretty good.
And this surf session ? Actually, surprisingly fun (I hate crowd, in general, and more specifically in surfing).
Switched back to a long board when I realized the number of people with long boards who will steal all the waves. And it was small anyhow.2-5 feet. But clean. And good waves.

Fog is slowly burning out.
That will be a sunny day !

So long I did not wear my wetsuit !
Water was cold, but eventually, I forgot about it. This is summer in SoCal. Some surfers were actually not wearing wetsuits at all.

Chilling out between 2 sessions.
There is a good vibe on this beach.
I finally realize I am in California :)

Fun peaky waves, couple of feet and little more some time. Easy peasy.

Eventually, we got the blue sky.
Ventura in the back.
Maybe I am just getting old, but I had a lot of fun with a long board. I am starting to think that the fact I am surfing less those day in HI is because I stick to my short board. If i was to become proficient with a long board, I can forsee a lot of fun.
Need to think about it.
There is something very zen of gliding on those big boards effortlessly.
Maybe I just need to realize I will never be Kelly Slater ( I am not trying very hard too), 
and just go big :)