Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spring Commissioning - Getting Masters MMC Credentials - Captain with no crew

Busy week doing boat stuff this week.  First, with Jim from S/V Ranidan I finished my coursework for the Ship Master's License of less than 100 tons, Sailing Aux. and towing credentials.  My next step is to turn it all into the US Coast Guard Offices next week.

On a separate note this is the teaser weather in Oregon.  Every year in Oregon, in mid to let February we get two weeks of nice brisk spring weather with no rain. After that two week period, the rain comes, and doesn't leave until July.  I call it the teaser weather; because that's when the local companies will invite job candidates out to Oregon for interviews.  This Sunday it looked like we might just have that teaser weather. 

Just like Ishmael in Moby Dick, I could take it no longer and sent out a call for crew.  I got no reply, to my call for crew.  I put the sails in the car, (storing them in the garage for the winter) and headed to the marina to bend them on.  Of course my good friend Jim was already there, willing to help.   We bent on the main and the jibs.

Jim and I trek'ed over to Westmarine to pick up a pre-paid coupon for  The dinghy needed renewal stickers this year, and these guys have a great way to get the registration numbers on the PVC tubing to stick.  Their solution is this nice piece of printed PVC rubber with the numbers on it.  When I got home from the day I ordered them on line.  The process was easy; stay tuned to learn more about how they go on.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow and Ice Bound - Winter of 2014

Yesterday looking out from my home office window I noticed a woman skiing on the street.  Not unusual for some parts of the world but uncharacteristic winter weather for us.  It rarely snows in Portland, and when it does the entire city shuts down.

My good friend Jim from S/V Ranidan emailed last night saying he was going to brave the weather and go out the marina.  He graciously asked if I'd like to join him.

When we got to the marina, the scene was from something out of the TV show Deadliest Catch. The marina had frozen over with one to two inch thick ice surrounding every boat in the marina.  Hefty amounts of snow burden most of the boat causing them to lay lower in the water, except of course S/V Ranidan.

Ranidan sat higher up out of the water then usual.  Jim came to the conclusion it was due to the density of colder water increasing.  I think it was because he had a really nice Sunbrella Boat cover that kept most of the snow off his boat, while everyone else's was laden with snow and ice.

After helping Jim brush the snow off his boat cover I went over to shovel the snow off the CarolMarie.

Ice and packed snow had blocked the scuppers, which needed to be clean out as well.

 So off to work I went, shoveling the snow off the boat.

 We are expecting another two to twelve inches of snow and ice pellets before the weather warms on Sunday to 41oF.  I am expecting another trip out to the marina tomorrow just to ensure we don't have any problems.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More armchair winter sailing...

While sitting in yet another meeting at work I have found that I can actually enjoy looking at other ships crossing the oceans of the world.

I recently pulled down an app, for free, then later paid the updated services of Boat Watch.  Boat Watch is an app on the mac that tracks and plot ships based on their AIS transceivers.   Boat Watch is from  They have basically color coded each of the types of water craft reporting an AIS signal so you can pin point them in the chart.  Here's what the legend looks like:

They don't seem to really differentiate the Sailing vs Pleasure craft.  I have seen a couple of pleasure craft that were sailing but labeled as pleasure.  I guess that doesn't really matter too much.  

Here's a look at the projection on the Columbia River Bar near Astoria, Oregon. 

The boats with circles on are at anchor.   Here's another screen shot of San Francisco.  In this screen shot you actually see the velocity vectors of each ship underway.

Boat Watch is a nice app to watch while you're sitting in a window less cubical, wishing you were out on the water underway.   I can at least dream about voyaging through the eyes of others.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Sailing through the eyes of Amazon Prime

Winter in the Pacific Northwest is never the same from one year to another.  Once boat shows are done, we sailors crave the break in the weather in mid to late February when winter seems to stop, and we get two weeks of nice weather.  Often this nice weather is followed by 6 more months of rain.

To squash my urges to get out to boat, go down the Columbia River, and turn left, I have discovered the old forgotten sailing movies of the Hollywoods glory days. I found them on Amazon Prime to watch as part of the service for the subscription.  Here are a few that were intestine recently:

  • The Voyage of the Yes. Starring Desi Arnaz Jr. and Mike Evans is about two teenage boys that set off for Hawaii from California in a Columbia 30.  Reminds one of the racial issues of the time.
  • Kill Cruise.  Set in the 1990's with really big hair, it's about a mysterious sailor who takes on two young women from Europe to the Caribbean.  The big mystery is who is the real bad guys on the boat.
  • Sea Wolf.  Famous story about Wolf Larsen and his hard tactics with men.  He makes the men of the HMS Bounty look like weaklings in comparison to what his crew handled.
  • Dead Tides. About an ex-navy seal that seems to have every woman in the world chase after him in one way or another while he combats the boarder patrol and the drug lords to sail with attractive women.   If you don't take it seriously it's kind of funny.  The wooden sloop in the movies is beautiful. 
  • The Dove. Of course this is a classic to all single handed sailors.  The adventures of Robin Lee Graham, the sixteen-year-old yachtsman who makes a five-year voyage around the world.
  • Tripoli Starring Maureen O'Hara takes place in the war between the Jefferson's US and the Tripoli pirates in 1805. Less a true sailing movie, but I got sucked into seeing how corny Maureen O'Hara's character was played as she made her way across the desert.
  • The Wake of the Red Witch.  Starring John Wayne it's a classic that all sailors should watch.  What was really bad in the movie was the fight seen between John Wayne's character and the 60 foot, rubber octopus. That scene will remind you how far Hollywood special effects has come.
All the movies were entertaining and kept me from going completely nuts as I wait for the spring teaser that mother nature always give us.

Meanwhile last weekend the S/V CarolMarie's decks were washed, and all system checked before this week's winter weather hit again.