Sunday, February 28, 2016

Back to the surf

Been a while - like an eternity - I did not go surfing. To be fair, on Maui, the good conditions are only the early morning. Even if there is not enough wind to Kite, in the afternoon, it is likely to be too much for quality surfing. And, when you live in Hawaii, you only go surfing when the waves are THAT good.
This Saturday was almost perfect. 6 to 9 feet, peaky, and amazing weather.

Kanaha, relatively crowded,
but not heat. There are waves for everyone here.
Except if you --really - suck ;)

For the little story, I always go a little bit outside (I prefer to miss a wave than getting caught inside) and far from the crowd (Hey, that's my hermit side).
That day, it was funny, because it took the pack a good hour to realize that I was in a better spot, and getting all the good ones. They kept being washed on the inside.
Weird. I am usually quite off, mostly because I prefer fewer waves than a good fight for them.
But that day paid off, and after all, it has been a while, maybe it was deserved.

Still ripping on my mini long board Kazuma.
It is so easy to take waves on this thing, it is not fun anymore.
or is it ? :0

This has been a weird winter for surf. With the Honolulu Marathon eating all the late months of 2015, and this intense boat work in Honolulu in January-February, it feels I kinda blew it.
The size of the waves have been tremendous, and for amateurs like me, certainly was not that easy. Peahi has been going off almost all the time, it seems.
Well, with the boat in Lahaina, maybe this summer will be good ? It is sitting next to a pretty good surf spot, for the West side, of course ;)
One thing is sure. 
When the conditions are good, and at my size, Surfing is really really fun.

Monday, February 15, 2016

On the Way back

Well, I had more pictures, but I have been stolen my phone at the pool, and there weren't uploaded yet. Grrr.
But thanks to the ever growing technology, I was able to upload few of them, while sailing between the islands.

The day before the passage, the sky was clear and inviting.
The forecast was accurate ;)

Decided to celebrate my last day in Waikiki.
Went for a "Hawaiian" burger. Not that bad ;)

Leaving Oahu, in the early day light.
Calm motoring.
Motoring setup. Inelegant and noisy.
But it works.

Sunrise in the Kaiwi channel, between Oahu and Molokai.
Diamond head

I think I was sailing by then. Light wind, full sail out.
Actually, felt pretty good this channel crossing.

Beating party in the Kalohi Channel,
Between Lanai and Molokai.

Sunset, closing on Maui.

Unsurprisingly, beating upwind in the channels is unpleasant, for hours. Only between Molokai and Lanai you really have the wind on your nose, and you regret it pretty fast. I picked an easy day, only 10 knots of wind, accelerated in the channels, I would guess 15 to 20 knots. Well, my anemometer is still broken, then , who knows. Wasn't that strong, but pretty slow progress. I eventually ended up in the lee of Molokai, a no wind zone, and used it to motor until the wind veer north east, and the beating is - at least - in the right direction.
I have hard time to imagine how it could be in actual typical conditions, with 25 knots of wind on the nose. I think it is better to aim to go south Lanai and avoid this channel upwind at all. I could see a battle for 12 or more hours to go through this little stream of water. I suspect there is good current working against you too, but again, my electronics are inexistent, then, hard to say. I was going with VMG of 3 knots, which is, really really slow. And that was in easy conditions.

Coming into the mooring at night, without moon, was actually wayyy trickier that I thought. Alone, no one to light in front, I almost hit a half-million catamaran, totally, unlighted, and dark hull. Well, that decided me to add some lights on our boat at the mooring. I don't want an apprentice sailor like me hit our boat because it is unlighted. Except that, it was very calm water in the last mile next to the mooring field, then the picking of it was actually quite easy, even alone. The hard part was to actually see the buoy.

Not many pictures, obviously, it was dark as tomb at that point. I think that night was the first I slept on the boat at our mooring. After 18hours of solo sailing, I slept quite well, I have to say.
Gosh. It was good to be home.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ending the work, and starting an adventure

Well, better late than never.
I finally managed to get the work (or most of the work) I wanted to be done, done.

Spent few hours on top of my mast struggling with a halyard change.

An easy one, two days before departure...
changing the fuel sender..

And the display gauge.
Ended up to be a nightmare, that almost cost me my departure

Replacing this sucker (which is NOT a breaker),
I shorten my full engine electrical and lost my alternator.
Digging into 30 years old diagram,
still relatively up-to-date (which is actually scary)

Digging in books,
Finally, found the cause of my problems.
Relays and reset buttons, with the help of professionals.

As the sender plate was removed, I decided to look in the bottom of the tank.
By pumping a bit....
Well. I knew I had some growth.
At that point, I am running on Bio Diesel.
Another dirty job, while working with fuel.
Changing filters. Well, needed as you can tell.
Of course, I screwed my bleeding of the pipes again (third time, I think, every time, I changed the filters), and I had to bleed my injectors - again- . It is becoming routine at this point, but it is always super stressful to see your engine failing to start try after try (but so great when it comes to live again).

To keep the fun going, it was time to replace this 6 month old Stainless Steel Rod.
Well, not sure what kind of stainless it was,but it was so rusty I had to grind it.
Tired and stressed with all those electrical problems until the planned day of departure - there was a good weather window - light winds, and good direction - I eventually decided to go, with or without alternator (or instruments, but who cares about instruments).
With some good luck, the afternoon just before the departure, I eventually managed to install my new halyard (second time I lose the line inside the mast and spend 3 hours playing with pieces of wire to try to get it back through), and the guys from 'Boat Solutions' (you cannot invent this name) found the reset buttons (just before they decided to remove the alternator - what a luck).
All was good, and after some cleaning, it was time to leave,
and come back home.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Progress (Closing In)

I am closing in on the last majors items on my list, and hopefully, we will be ready to prepare for our return on Maui. I started to look at the weather, which is a good sign.

The windvane refit ended up to be as tricky as I was expecting. Took me a couple of busy nights, but now it is coming together,

Head is back on the legs

Heart of the system. 4 bearings systems.
But it works like a charm !

Bow cleat refit. As new.
Except the polish side.

Now you can see the big 1/4" plates.
We should be fine on the morring now ;)

the custom Arch/Bimini and dodger frame are setup.
You can notice the solar panel started to move from the cockpit to the top of the bimini.
Need to redo the electrical though.

As it really hot in the afternoon, I reinstalled my shade.
It worked so well, I am thinking of keeping an hybrid version of it.
Not sure I want to deal with the dodger and bimini top at ths point.
The last big steps are to reconnect the solar panel, and mount the windvane on the back. Still a lot of cleaning, maybe even a bottom session, and other small stuff, but overall,
we are ready.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Progress (A bit)

One week later, no counting late nights,
we are starting to see some progress here and there.

The stove and the propane locked was an endless fight. That I almost lost several time.

Fiberglass version of the Propane storage.
Obviously, Abandoned.
This is the first attempt. Need to do better. Later.
Wood and Epoxy version.
Good enough for now.
Fit all this in the stern Lazarrette was a millimeter thing.
At the same time, I am finally putting backing plates for the windwane...
Which make our transom awesome.

Back in the boat, in the Galley, I was pulling off the walls ....

That's the behind the scene of the galley wall.
Old electronics disconnect from the seventies.
And a future hatch window ?
The hole is already there.
Back inside.
As I was redoing  the electrical of the solenoid,
I refitted out Neon with leds. No excuses to not do the dishes.
Solenoid installation was not an easy one. But...
That night, I got my first "Real" coffee.
No rest for the warrior, I started to look at my 3nd major item. The backing plates for the bow cleats, that I use for the mooring. Need to be bullet proof.

That's the backside of the Bow.
Your expert eye will have noticed... Nothing !
No freaking backing plate for anything.
I ordered (a while back) thick 1/4" backing plates for the bow cleats.
Did you ever tried to drill through 1/4" Stainless ?
This is not a fun party. Especially for the neighbors.
Bored of drilling through metal ? Let's do a puzzle.

Doctor Maboul.
After dissecting the Windvane,
I have to bring her back to life.
Each of those Ziplock bag holds a dozen of tiny parts. I have to thank the ScanMar website that give a pretty clear explanation and drawing of the windwane. They literally did not change a piece the last 20 years or so, which prove they are .. bullet proof. and working great as is.
But even with good blue prints, it is challenging.

Frankenstein... Working on the head only will take me several hours,
until 1 AM. Rebuilding the bearings one by one, with hair pliers...

They offer to rebuild your Windvane. For one dollar boat, without shipping. Well, I am that cheap, that I prefer to use my -boring- nights to give it a shot.
For the landlubber, a dollar boat is worth nowadays around 1000$ - it usually multiply by 10 every ten years, which is not your typical inflation theory.
Well, that's sailing.