Friday, January 30, 2015

New Toy ... with laser eyes!

Well, this is not yet Star Wars, but it is getting close.

Heart broken
I never really liked this ugly and clumsy chest wrap, and it eventually gave up, after only one year. Changed the battery, no luck. It usually give up after 45 minutes of running.
Time to change tech and look what's on the market.

Mio Link

No surprises there, on those time where a big portion of the population get fatter, a small portion get leaner and obsessed with toys like that.  On top of avoiding the heart attack, those device helps you to calculate your "exact" calories expenditure, and because of that, are price-less for us, for me, geeks of fitness training. Long story short, there is on the market a new tech, and they just released an affordable version of light-based heart reading (Typical devices are based on electromagnetic pulses),
as they say, less cumbersome (true), more precise (who knows?), and flashier (for sure).

The back of the beast.
Light Years, Light Beams

The good news, it works. (for how long ?)(who cares?).
Running is quite cheap (compared to kite surfing) then , the price is definitively affordable (compared to a new kite), and hopefully will last more than a pair of running shoes (who are lasting me 1000 miles it seems, but less than a year).

The bad news, I am back on my diet next week. I don't have the excuse of not being able to check my calories/run, then , well.
And Monday, I hit the scale again.

Oh. By the way, my life is binarized - no surprises there : Working and running.
Again, no surprises there. with 35 miles / week, that is quite time and energy consuming.

Only 8 weeks to go, and 200 miles.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1..2..3..Go !

Back yesterday, and I found the energy to go for a long run to close down the week.
The only dry part of the island was on the south shore, then I went south again.
I was lucky there was some clouds this time and the heat was overall bearable.

Lava rocks !
This part of the coast is really beautiful and wild.

A squall in the back.

Did not push to "La Perouse", I was targeting a "short" 12 miles, 2 hour run. But as I am trying to run a little faster than last year, I ended up at 13 miles with an average of 9 min/mile.
Not sure how long I will be able to keep this pace, but I suppose I am gonna know soon.

The training plan is starting, at 8 weeks for the marathon.

Training schedule.
8 Weeks to go.
And this is the start again of the actual long long runs, 16 miles.
As early as next week.
Gosh. This is getting serious again.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sea trial II, and goodbye Ensenada

Took a couple of hours of work this afternoon to test my refit of the autopilot arm and verify the engine throttle was alright.
Tests were both conclusive.
For the autopilot to work the boat need to be balanced, as it has to be with the windvane. But I was able to go dead downwind in very light wind without any issues, and this is a point of sail where the windvane can have some pain. Motoring in calm sea is very easy, but the boat is slow to respond, because the angles on the wheel are very small, and connections are loose. 
That will do the job and will be an efficient backup if needed.

New "All Wood" setup.
Still very ugly, but it works.
I begin to get used to the light winds and the blue sky.
I misjudged the strength of the wind and have a reef with 10 knot of wind.
But I was lazy and did not have much time.
Did I say the "Spirit Lounge" was cozy and calm ?
Got plenty of good work done there today.

Well, it was a good week overall, I managed to do what I wanted on the boat, checked that everything was alright and even get some work done from done there.
I am glad to come back though. 
Another big task wait for me, the start of the training for the marathon in March.
I should not underestimate it - this is still a very very long run !
And this week, I really did not do much :) - on this front.

But the week is not done yet, and Sunday call for a long run - that might be a tough one :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

All is good in the end ? **hopefully**

I could not wait for the mechanic, I started to to change the filter right away. While doing so, I found the throttle cable to be loose, could of screws I put back a couple of month ago decided to bail on me.
Easy fix. This time, I added some Loctite red - thread lock - It wont happen again.
** until it does **.

Dirty fuel filter  - 2 microns.
I thought it was the issue

All clean Racor filter

In the early morning, I redid the tiller arm for the autopilot, sticking to wood for the time being. Aluminum is great, light and strong, but too hard to work with - at my skill level.
Wood was easy, and ended up to work great.
** In the marina **

Now, I need to give it a spin. I have been swamped at work today and had to delay the sea trial.
It has to be tomorrow, as I am leaving the day after in the early morning.
No room for mistake, I won't have time to fix all this a second time.

Oh, almost forgot. The diver finally decided to come change my zincs and clean the bottom.
One week later, as I was almost leaving :)
** Mexican time **
Which is almost like Hawaiian time, but slower.
** Calm down, this ain't the mainland **

This morning, 3 huge boats - do we call those boats - ships - or floating skyscraper ?
were battling to find a spot in the harbor.
Impressive to see them maneuver in such "tiny" place.
I was far less happy when 4000 tourists landed in town and decided to hook in to my Starbucks - the only one in miles around - where I was working.
Of course, as a tourist, the first thing you do on Mexican soil is to rush in the closest Starbucks.
I don't get it.
** But my boat is smaller **

Dancing ships in the morning light.

It forced me to move my butt off (internet was so slow I could not work anymore - they don't have Wifi on cruise ships  - Do you have to check your emails - Right now ?), and found another coffee shop, waaaay cooler, actually. "Spirit Lodge", all the way back from India, awesome.
That will be my next place to work from now.
** Everything makes sense in the end **

Tomorrow, Sea trial , version II !

Monday, January 19, 2015

Could have been worst

Did I do already a post on the emotional roller coaster that is to own a boat ? An old boat ? I know I did, but today would have been a beautiful showcase. Overall, I start to believe that this is really forging a sailor character. No succumb to panic, and act rapidly without precipitation. Everything that can happen will happen. Just be ready.

Yesterday, I started to work on the installation of my new small tiller autopilot. This is tricky on this boat, it has to be a custom installation, as it will drive the Windvane , not the tiller or the wheel.
I decided to go ugly, but strong - hopefully. If that works, I ll do the pretty version at home, eventually.

The autopilot goes to a weird spot at the end of the boat, not in the cokpit.
I need a platform to support it. That's the ugly.
I am getting better at tapering screws.
The arm will be aluminum.
This will end up to be the weak link.
I put too much belief in epoxy glue.
Sea trial. It is working !!!!
I am actually surprised, never thought I was gonna pull it together
Hard to tell, but the screw between the windvane and the arm is failing.
I was ready to remove it for now. Just too late.
Well, I lost the arm. I had secured the autopilot, whih was another good idea.
One day of work literally thrown in the water.
Back on my trustfully mechanical autopilot.

Deterred by the lost of the aluminum arm that I built for the autopilot I was consoling myself with the idea, than - First, it will take me half the time to do it better. Second, it was working after all, better than expected. You still need a boat pretty well balanced, and fait conditions like today, but it would help when the wind will be low and/or while motoring. Overall, a great addition.

It was overall a beautiful sailing day in Mexico.
10 knots of wind, a beautiful weather.

Now the ugly. 
Coming into the marina, Engine starts fine, but lack of power. Struggling to go half of the RPM, I barely reach 2 knots. Raging against this damn thing, I prey all the sea gods from antiquity for the engine to hold until I reached the marina, which is quite far in deep of the harbor.
Actually, I bring back the Jib to give me a little push. Always pretty rare and scary to see someone coming into the harbor by sail.... Maneuverability is so bad with sail only, than you must be desperate to coming into your slip like that.
Still, the engine holds, barely pushing the boat. I make it to the slip, packing the sail as I was coming in. The engine did the rest , crawling the boat feet by feet.

It could have been way worst. I could have been stuck in the middle of the harbor, drifting to the shore. But I was ready, I thought about preparing the anchor and was ready to drop it. Eh eh. I am learning.

Now, I was anxious of the cost of fixing this damn machine, again. However, the more plausible explanation would be a clogged fuel filter, and this, I can do. It will be smelly and messy. but I can do. I asked for the mechanic to pass-by just in case tomorrow. 
But now, I am back on a high.
This is just a clogged filter. 
It has to be.

On the Top of the world

Or close to it.
My first task was to change the Jib halyard lines, as they caused me trouble in the past. The splicing made the line larger and got stuck on the top of the mast, which made impossible to get the sail down when needed.
Solution : smaller line, and a knot instead of a splice.
Obviously the quick replacement technique - lashing two lines together and made them go around the block on the top of mast from the deck did not work, and the line junction broke.
Next step, climbing the mast and somehow, hoping to be able to thread the new line through the block overt here.

As you can tell it is chilly at night in Mexico,
or in the early morning.
The good idea : wire.
The bad idea : only one piece, no tape and no sewing stuff
Mid way.
Almost at the top. View is beautiful, as always here.
Managed to catch a smaller leading line with a wire through the 2 blocks and the width of the mast. 

It ended up to be way harder that I thought. Not the climbing part, or staying at 10m up. It is like my second home now, I used to have the fear of heights, now I feel I could sleep over there. And I almost did. I spent more than one hour, struggling to hijack this line through the blocks using a steel wire. I almost gave up several time. At one point, I was just waiting for someone to walk the dock I could hail to, because I forgot some tools I needed. Having an extra line to haul things from the deck was a great idea. Using my typical double setup with a second harness and a safety line, it feels secure enough.
Well, it was my lucky day, and I eventually managed to catch the line. What a relief. The next step would have been to remove the mast somehow, which is impractical in the time frame we have until the passage.

Overall it took me more time than expected, but it is all good now, and we have a new line.
Next step, the autopilot.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Back at work

Jumped on the occasion to be in California for work and to have a blessed three days week end to cross the border and check on our Boat. The bus ride down there was alright, still a little long : Door to door was around 12 hours, but it was a Friday night. 

The huge Mexican flag is swinging with the light morning breeze

You can expect a few more posts about the projects I have for this week, Autopilot and new Jib halyard are on the menu, Hopefully I will have the time for one or two sail, and maybe a try out of the Drogue, if we have enough wind,

Boat is as before, and I am getting ready for some work.
There is quite a surge in this marina, and I might move the boat elsewhere. I already lost 3 fenders :(. The hull is fine though. Engine started right away and was pumping water and fuel like it was brand new. Knowing that it has already almost years old, it still amaze me. Overall, no real bad surprises.
A bottom clean, maybe new zincs, a trip to Costco and I could go tomorrow.
Alright, time to go to work !

Monday, January 12, 2015

Be an Island

There is no hazard in life. When we talk with people on the mainland about where we live, the first reaction is usually surprise and admiration. "Must be amazing". I guess people think we are all day long at the beach sipping Mai Tais.
Well, we are not tourist anymore here.
The truth is that most of them will not survive six months here. We call that 'Fever island'. Or just isolation, boredom. Being off the world can make you crazy.
Truth is : I like it.
I like it to be off on my island. Off the world. Far from the news. Far from atrocities. Far from politics. Far from religion.
However, it seems to catch you anyway. Proof of Charlie.
Another drop of blood in a cup full a hundreds of years ago.
And today, we had another episode of 'God Crazy' person. Not your typical cross bearer on the side of the road. No. People well integrated in the Maui Life society. 'Praise Lord', they say.
Like it justify everything. Hypocrites. Lies.
And the churches are always  full on Sunday morning, while I am running my endless miles.
(Almost 14 this morning!)

Not yet on an island

I know it since a while now. My island is too big. Too many peoples. Not remote enough.

Therefore the boat.
This is not a hazard we went in debt now for this boat.
We are getting ready. Or at least, I am.
Off the world.
Off the people.
Off the crazies.

Rejoice, Bernard, I am off for the long way. Not now. But soon.(*)
If running is my meditation practice,
Sailing will be my retreat.

From the world.
From the people.
From the crazies.

*Hopefully they wont have destroyed our world before I leave.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year Resolutions

Not much going on those last two weeks. When everyone is partying like crazy, or reuniting with family, us, exiled on our island, we just let the time flies by. As usual.
Following the rhythm of the low(s) and high(s), waves and wind shifts, oscillating between hard choices, which surfboard, or should I take my kites ? - typical holidays.

Those few months since the aborted passage have been rejuvenating, and maybe it is time to consider the next steps. It feels like 2014 was not properly closed-out. This damn boat is still on the other side of the pacific. The wrong side.

Now, it is time to put down some goals for this year. "Resolutions", as they say.

Already announced, no surprise there, I am signing in for a Marathon in March. Might not be on the Big Island, budget restrictions are on the theme for 2015 as well,  but there will be a good 26 miler on the menu.

This is getting serious.
Second resolution, but not a light one, the boat is coming to Maui in April. What ever it takes. Solo, or with Crew. I just got a second autopilot. Could be a backup for the windvane, and useful if no wind. In any case, this is always strongly advised when sailing solo. 
No step back this time. the boat is coming home.

Last, it is time for me to actually finish a couple of projects I have worked on, and send them 'out there'. I will publish an App for the iPhone. Not sure exactly which one, but let assume it will be a revolutionary one that will change the face of the world forever. Realistically, I found the cruiser apps pretty low quality and not really fitting my needs for this passage. Assuming people are like me, there is a niche market for the cruiser, or sailor, and certainly something can be done. Doesn't really matter, I just need to put something 'out there', as a stepping stone.

But for now, let got surfing.
This is Hawaii after all, and we are still in holidays.
And if the surf is no good, there is still plenty to do.
Like usual.