Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lots Checked Off

Wow! Brad has kicked it into high gear. We are planning on taking part as spectators in the Opening Day festivities next weekend and anchoring on the south side of the Montlake Cut for the parade. Brad decided that there were a few things that needed to happen before we could have a comfortable stay on the anchor.
The new anchor chain got switched onto the boat and marked for length. The anchor, itself, got re-galvanized and now we don't have to be embarrassed by our rusty anchor hanging off of the bow. Even better, I shouldn't have to pay such close attention to the rust drip line on the bow!
Brad also got the genset working with a new raw water pump that he installed. The old pump has been cleaned up and fixed so that it can be a spare. So, now we can charge our batteries without running the main engine.
He was on a roll, so he decided to tackle the forward head which need a pump installed. Working on heads is never anyone's favorite job, but so far the pump is working well and there does not seem to be any leaking in the new hoses that were run.
My project was a pretty simple one: install some bungee along the port side of the pilot house in back of the nav station. We are hoping this will help solve the clutter that constantly plagues our poor nav station. The best part was that my project was cheap: $9.56!
Finally, the breeze calmed down to nothing mid-afternoon today and Brad took the opportunity to go up the mast and finish securing the spreader tips with wire. I think that they still need to be wrapped to help prevent chafe on the sails, but we are gettting close to being able to sail. When the wind first started to lighten, the jib was unfurled to make sure that it could dry out (don't want to have mildew grow from it being damp from the wet weather we have the last couple of weeks).
So, the Bakers are moving forward, getting ourselves ready for our departure . . . . just a couple of months away.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunset from the Cockpit of CAPAZ

It all started with a chance meeting of our neighbors and fellow live-aboard family on Thursday morning on the way up the ramp to school. They bounced the idea off of us for a dock party which we would not be able to attend and thought maybe Friday would be an alternative. The rain at dawn was not promising, however, the wind that followed blew out the clouds and by about 2:00 things were looking good. It turns out that Bryce is most excited about a dock party. He took the initiative to give our neighbor a call and see if there was a plan only to find out that the northerly was still blowing pretty steady at Shilshole. That left the plan to play it by ear. The first thing that Bryce did upon arrival back at the boat from work, was to turn on our instruments and check the wind speed which was down to 9 knots (still a little chilly for standing around the end of G-dock this time of year). Finally, around 6:00 Bryce went down to the end of G-dock and invited his friends to come and play and their parents to join us for a glass of wine. Angela called to confirm the 10-year old's invitation and all of the sudden we were having a cockpit party. The kids picked up another kid and her parents on the way back to the boat. Meanwhile, I realized that this was the first time I was getting to enjoy a nice sunny evening in the cockpit of CAPAZ. The way we are pulled into the slip, our dodger does a pretty good job of protecting us from the northerly. We pulled together some hotdogs and brauts, beer and wine, a few munchies as well as some sweet potato fries with Angela's chipolte dipping sauce and had ourselves a nice little evening. Thanks to Scott for running the BBQ and everyone for sticking it out through that chill that came on at sunset to celebrate enjoying our first sunset evening from the cockpit of CAPAZ. By the way: yes, there have been other sunsets, but weather and the crazy schedule we have been leading have both conspired to keep us from taking the few minutes required to enjoy this facet of being a live-aboard. I am hoping that this is the first of a long string of such moments!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Re-Homing of the Kitties

Any cubby open must be explored ~ Tasha
What is re-homing? This a term was developed by a friend and you probably soon be seeing it in Wikipedia. It refers to the process of finding a good, new home for animals who cannot go cruising with you. We have been spreading the word for months that we were looking for a new home (or homes) for our two cats, Sammy and Tasha. Over dinner one night, Brad's aunt and uncle mentioned that they had been catless for awhile. That comment later morphed into an offer of taking our cats while we are cruising. So as to make sure that the new situation is a good fit for both humans and felines, we decided that we would shoot for early spring to make the transfer.
The original plan was to take some time during Spring Break to mini-cruise around the close area ending up in Port Townsend at some point to drop off the cats. Business conspired against us, picking up and requiring to work rather take time off and go sailing. As it turned out, we managed to get away for the two nicest days of the whole break. (Truthfully, we had to add Monday onto our Spring Break to make it happen, but the boys didn't seem to mind missing a day of school.)
The cats did well en route, probably because the winds and seas were pretty calm. Once in Port Townsend, we loaded up all the feline gear and proceeded up to Carrie and Rex's house. There was a plan ready for acclimatization to their new surroundings which was enacted while we ate lunch. After lunch, phase two went into effect during which time Tasha explored and Sammy found hiding places. Evidently, Tasha also found a hiding place where she retired to right after we left. She remained there until the next morning, totally worrying her new caregivers. However, the next report was that she had found her buddy, Sammy and they were curled up together in the position we call "Yin-Yang Kitties".
Everyone is still adjusting, but we are hopeful that it will all work out. A big thank you to Carrie and Rex for giving this endeavor your best efforts!!
Yin~Yang Kitties

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Solo - Well Almost

Today there was a milestone for the Capaz Crew: The boat left the dock without Brad. I wasn't quite solo or single handing, I had my acting first mate, Bryce and temporary second mate, Austin. Let's not forget our the cabingirls, or maybe "cabinkitties" is better, Tasha and Sammy.
After working a good chunk of the day, the boys and I headed home to Shilshole. We cleared the cockpit, lashing the bikes to the stern rail and securing the still folded main and mizzen sails. There wasn't much wind and it was a pretty darn nice afternoon. We started up the engine and went down our departure checklist (OK there isn't one, but there will be soon - it's on the LIST). Since the marina was pretty calm, I was able to walk the boat out of the slip while Bryce manned the helm. Our neighbor kept a careful watch from her boat as to how close we were to "Golduster" cheering us on once we looked well on our way.
As Austin commented, "Mom, we made it out of the slip!" we waved to our other neighbors and pointed CAPAZ towards Port Madison. Bryce and I followed the directions given to us last night on how to fire up the Coastal Navigator (AIS system), but alas it was not working. This was later diagnosed by Brad to be a disconnected cable - nothing we did wrong. We weren't all that worried since I have even driven CAPAZ into Port Madison a couple of times. My biggest concern is depth at low tide (which it was) and the depth sounder chose to cooperate and function (not its choice on Thursday evening).
As we came around elbow where the Port Madison outstation sits, Brad arrived by taxi and scoped out a slip for us (per my preference, it was a double with no one in either berth). It was pretty much slack tide and the wind was very light - perfect conditions for my first attempt at docking without Brad ON the boat. I had both boys positioned with the bow line and the spring line, but unfortunately forgot to put down the fenders. Brad noticed in plenty of time and after deploying them, eased CAPAZ into the slip with no further ado. PHEW!!!
Then, it was on to the routine things for the dinner and a shower, fishing for the boys. Brad set to work on getting the main and stack pack set up. As of a few minutes ago, we now have a main sail, but alas I have been informed that in order to sail, there needs to be one more trip up the mast to secure the spreader tips and final tuning of the rig. Oh well, we are here, not at the dock in Shilshole. Last night, I swear I dreamed about every docking scenario that could happen except the one that actually did: a safe, easy one.
I had an interesting thought after we rounded the breakwater at Shilshole and headed across Puget Sound. It was about whether or not I had locked the door at the house. I laughed out loud and explained to Bryce how ironic it was because we were aboard our "house" with everything we needed. I can only imagine that there will be plenty more of those moments to come. Tomorrow, the cats will be re-homed. We will head up to Port Townsend to drop them off at their new residence.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools

Well, the joke was on us here in Seattle. At least, that's where I thought I still lived. Yesterday, the weather forecasters were saying that the temperature today should be around 50*. Yet, this morning woke up to snow, yes I said, SNOW! It was mixed with rain, but until about noon we had snow here at sea level. Now, I know they can have it up on the tops of the hills because as Cliff Mass routinely points out, we are right at the edge: sea level gets 34* rain and the tops of the hills get snow - but this is usually more of a January type pattern, not April. Seriously, this is the eighth time we have had snow at sea level this Winter. Yes, I am still calling it "winter" even though the calendar actually says "spring", because it only snows ever so often in Seattle in the WINTER!!! I often tell people who our Seattle gray days drive crazy that it is not the gray that is setting their sanity on edge, but the chill of the many varieties of precipitation that we experience in the 36*- 42* range. It is a damp cold that just goes right through whatever layers were donned that morning. Well, as a true Seattle native, I have pretty much had with this SNOW thing. At least with the aforementioned gray and wet cold of winter, it is over by now and we are on to spring which at least includes sun breaks in between arguably warmer rainy days. Also those days are getting noticeably longer so we should have even more chance to see the sun. Thankfully, our boat has a great diesel heater, so we are surviving that part of the out of character weather just fine. OK - maybe I do wear socks to bed, but we are not freezing.