Thursday, October 5, 2017

Time to get caught up to real time

Anna and her crew have been busy since the last posts about fuel tanks and chainplates, and yet  my blogging has been extremely poor.  Here are some of the highlight from the 2015-2016 projects:
New Dinghy and 15hp Evinrude, and new dodger panels, haul out and bottom paint by the captain--NOT easy!

We sailed multiple times to the San Juans and Desolation Sound BC in the summers of 2015 and 2016 and had some fantastic trips.  Highights include crabbing and even shriping like pros and feasting like kings on dungeness and king salmon from Campbell River.  We also got our first taste of big winds and seas on the Straight of Georgia.  Year one the straights gave us a whopin' but year two we figured out this thing called reefing the main, and what do you know, it works great!  There's a whole story about crossing from Vancouver BC to the Gulf Islands two different summers but lets jsut say that I learned to reef early, and now thats just what we do to keep everyone happy, including Anna.

Sailing to Princess Louisa Inlet and posing in front of Chatterbox Falls

Setting the spinnaker for the first time

Sunsets, seaplanes and cheeseburgers in Roche Harbor

More boat work to get ready to cruise including repainting the decks with Awlgrip and Griptex for traction, a new mainsail cover, re-certify the DBC life raft, new HT anchor chain and Spade 66lb anchor, IridiumGo!, one more 100W solar panel, and a thousand smaller projects that i can't even recall now, but were important and satisfying.  I really like taking care of Anna and she takes great care of us too..
This is really poor form and I hate to cram 2 years of sailing and boat projects into one crummy post, but I really want to get to the real fun stuff of sailing from Lake Union to  San Diego in July 2017!!

Projects to get Anna shipshape

Over the first winter we owned the boat we tackled two decent sized problems that came up.  First, we needed to get a "rig survey" for insurance purposes and while conducting the survey we found the 30 year old chain plates to be in need of replacement.  3 were cracked and the others were just a little rusty, but it was time to tackle this.  Cliff at Evergreen Rigging does great work and he made and installed 7 new chain plates with minimal assistance by me, which consisted of taking out the unbelievable layers of trim that cover the access areas.  The quality of the fit and workmanship for the panels and trim was amazing even if it took some time to remove and install.  The Ta Shing shipyard did a LOT of finish work on these boats.  Here are the before and after pics of the project.  I am glad the mast stayed up when we crossed the Straight of Georgia in 25 knots!
Next up, fuel tanks, because they were black iron and one of them got a leak and put 15 gallons of fuel into the bilge!!  Fortunately for everyone, especially the environmentalists, if you know a guy like Bob Ridenour (pro yacht fixer person) this fuel will not go into Lake Union, but can be lovingly pumped and fuel/water separated into jerry cans, using special pump, a Home Depot bucket, and some oil absorbent/diaper rags.  Also we used our clothes and skin to absorb the fuel, but it all came out and disaster was averted.  We got all the good fuel out of both tanks next and got ready to remove them. 

The real fun started as we had to disconnect the old tanks, remove the companionway steps and rails, cut a very small part of the floor up, and then hoist the tanks out using the main halyard. They weren't that heavy but had been in place for 30 years, but eventually they did come up.  This project has been done on virtually all of these boats so the collective wisdom is all there on owner groups, etc...   Just like most everyone else, we sawz-alled the tanks in half so they could fit out the companion way and had new ones made slightly shorter so they could fit back in.  The latest wisdom is to remake the tanks in aluminum and I hope they last another 30 years.  I love the new clean tanks and its reassuring to have fuel tanks that won't shift a load of gunk into the fuel filters in rough weather.  That's what you tell yourself when you spent a few $$$ on an item you didn't plan on replacing.  They are lovely tanks though.  See for yourself.  I also sterilized and bilge-coted that area so its all fresh and new.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Shipping 28 tons to Canada

We had a great week in Mexico cruising around La Paz and the next move was to ship the Anna to the Northwest.  We got two quotes almost immediately at the Seattle Boat show from the vendors on site and we went with Seven Star.  They were slightly more money but they had a great operation and were excellent to deal with.  The rep whipped out the brochure showing them lifting a new 160 ft Italian minesweeper onto their freighter using the onboard cranes, so I figured they could handle Anna.
The Seven Star ship, Tramper, was to pull into the outer harbor area and someone had to take our boat to the ship at the appointed time and so they could hoist her aboard.  We hired the broker, Shelly from La Paz Yacht Sales, to ferry her out and hand over the TIP and other government forms, bill of sale, and who knows what else to get Anna out of Mexico.  Here she is about to be lifted. 
The ship sailed around May 6th and it arrived in Victoria about 12 days later on the same weekend we had already bought tickets for U2 in Vancouver  BC.  Lots of borders, logistics, a great U2 show, and one seaplane ride to Victoria later, we literally flew in watching Anna being offloaded from our Kenmore Air seats!  That was priceless.
This was amazing, and the next thing we knew we were going through customs on the Kenmore dock telling the agent in Victoria that we're here to pick up our boat, to which he replied, "I just inspected those last night--go get it!"  Because we were the first boat offloaded, a local off duty whale watch captain came to get us from the customs dock and delivered us alongside Anna, alongside mv Tramper, and then waved goodbye as we climbed on.  The boat was in decent shape but we did have some wind damage and chaffing on the mainsail cover lazy jacks.  I should have removed the sail entirely.... Unfortunately, the deck hands did some aggressive power washing and actually took off some deck paint with the high pressure water.  We got them to admit they did it, and hoped they would make good on a repair claim, which they did very nicely. 
After getting the genoa back on the furler and reattaching the backstay, we remembered most of what you need to do to run the boat again, and we left Victoria for Friday Harbor in perfect weather.  The amazing thing about the boat leaving Mexico and arriving in Canada was the lack of anyone caring about our bill of sale, taxes, or looking into all the gear, food, medicine, and who knows what else on board.    I shouldn't complain!  At Friday Harbor the customs officer was a little more particular, but really just wanted to see the CG Documentation which we had, and wanted $27 for the sticker, but mostly she did not want Jan to step onto the dock until we cleared-- strict on that one!  We were  officially in the US!  Our broker, Swiftsure, had another boat on the Tramper clearing at Friday Harbor, and they were not so lucky.  US customs did not like the fact that this boat was still for sale, and they had some explaining to do, but eventually got through.  We felt like pro's though, with our international boat dealings, and celebrated on land with a burger and a beer.  Its truly amazing when things go as planned.
We left Friday harbor with a clear skies and a fair tide Sunday morning and motored toward Seattle in a flat calm.  The end gets interesting though, finishing through the ship canal into Lake Union.  After having successfully navigated 80 miles of Puget Sound we faced 3 draw bridges, the locks, and finally entering a tight fairway and a narrow slip.  Our friends Lori and Terry Brady were at the slip to help us dock and they were needed, if you know what I mean.  Here's their picture, probably certain we would crash.  After docking without too much drama, we felt the best mix of relief and happiness.  We have this great boat that we bought in Mexico 3 months earlier, sailed on in La Paz for a week, then shipped to Canada, and now we're tied up looking at the Seattle skyline.  Somehow it all feels like way more than just buying a boat- OK--I'll just say it, Anna is part of the family. Its ok to cry a little as you read that last line...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Shakedown cruise in the Sea of Cortez

Sailing Anna for the first time by ourselves was a milestone.  The fact that this was in Mexico was a little surreal. Mexico is awesome, but we felt a little exposed as brand new boat owners with no Coast Guard to bail us out if we goofed up. Joe the former owner met us there to go over systems and Anna's care and feeding, which was a big help.  We had a the plan down--Meet with Joe to learn about the boat, buy the food, store it, shove off and sail to Bahia Balandra 10 miles away to anchor for the night, sail to a new Bahia every day for the next week, and come back to the slip in 6 days .
Who knew the hardest  part would be shoving off!?!  There's actually a big difference between owning and hanging out on this boat and really going somewhere on her. Finally at 3:00 we untied the docklines and we actually made it to our destination per plan with only one driver error (corrected prior to running aground!) trying to stay in the long weird  La Paz channel. 
We had a great week cruising around Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco, and Los Islotes, and were on  our way back to Marina Palmira safely. 
The last night at anchor we felt like such seasoned sailors having safely navigated this beautiful area.  We tucked ourselves back into Bahia Balandra again anchoring in the same safe spot we had on night one, which protected us from the southerly Corumel winds before.  A calm dinner and sunset were followed at 11:00 by the predicted Corumel, and we smugly scoffed at boats not as sheltered as we were.  They'll learn in time.... but then what's this?  At 2 AM we now get 15-20 knots from the North and we are taking this right from the open mouth of the bay, which soon becomes 3-5 foot swells and a lee shore!  Welcome to cruising.   The boat is rolling A LOT, no sleep, anchor watch, head visits, ready to scram,  hoping we can up anchor in the dark if needed.... a long night.  We left at dawn and got to our amazing slip by 10 AM and took a well deserved nap.  I spite of that one rough night Anna performed perfectly and we can now relax and start getting her ready for shipment to Victoria on Seven Star in 2-3 weeks.  Ironically, we do intend to sail her back to La Paz in 2017, but that's what this whole thing is about. 

Meet Anna

Anna is a  center cockpit Norseman 447,  hull number 53.  She was launched in 1985 at the Ta Shing Shipyard in Taiwan ROC, just two short years after Jan and I were married in Newport Beach California.  I've dreamed of owning a strong and capable cruising boat for a long, long time, and many plans have circled about for the last 30 years of how to pull off buying a boat like this, and then taking her on an extended cruise.  Dreams can be the most powerful of motivators, and in March 2015 she became ours. Now the fun begins!

We found her on Yachtworld but she was for sale in La Paz.  After looking for easier boats to buy and finding none we liked, we booked our trip to Cabo and took the 3 hour bus ride to La Paz to see her in person.  Here's how it all went down-- We saw the boat and were impressed, met the owner, Joe--super nice, then we had tacos and Pacificos while we watched the Seahawks beat the Packers in a crazy NFC title game, then went back to Anna for a sea trial at sunset in 12 knots of warm breeze on flat water reaching in and out of the channel from Marina Palmira in a mild state of euphoria.  After many other signs that this was the boat for us, we went home to go through the mechanics of making it official.  Next step-- come back to La Paz for a week of sailing on Anna by ourselves in April.

Time to get caught up to real time

Anna and her crew have been busy since the last posts about fuel tanks and chainplates, and yet  my blogging has been extremely poor.  Here ...