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Monday, August 27, 2012

August 26, 2012-Watching Powerboats

tigersnail images-laura winter
Getting Out for a Day.

“Cast Off”

Then there was the slap of lines like fat snakes landing on the concrete and we started to back out. It was satisfying for me, after a month sitting in the marina berth, to get out of the slip, even if it was only for a motor trip to the Boca to watch a powerboat race; just to do something, anything.

Ten people had showed to go at six-forty-five so I guess it was a big deal for them, or maybe they were just like me, looking for something interesting to do on a Saturday morning in Trinidad or maybe they simply enjoyed the opportunity for another social interaction with other cruisers. Judy served coffee and tea and muffins and the scones someone brought and when we got to the Boca looking for a good viewing spot there was already a few dozen other spectator boats, so maybe it was a big deal after all. I dunno.

A guy named Gary came with us and I never met him before but he was a Kiwi and he seemed like he knew what he was doing so I gave him the helm to hold station among the pirogues and sport fishermen and I told him not to hit anyone when I went forward with Thorsten to shoot the racers when they came through the gap, if they ever did, and he didn’t hit anyone but we had to wait for half an hour. No problem.

Then a skipping dot leading a white roster tail appeared on the horizon and it turned into an orange and red missile with three big outboards and three men in red crash helmets and it sped through the cut alone and was gone.

We shot a few frames and wondered if that was it, where were the rest of them and mainly where were the big boys whose motors we’d heard snorting in the boatyard all week? Shouldn’t they be first?

Thorsten said there was two starts, and the big boats came soon enough; big cats with closed cockpits and snarling engines, and with photo helicopters swarming overhead, looking like they were loafing even though they were going a hundred and thirty. I missed them; looking through the viewfinder of a Nikon you don’t really see much.

But I got some shots despite the cloudy weather.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

When they were all gone on their way to Tobago someone joked that we should follow them to shoot the finish, Ha Ha!

Instead we went for a lazy sail on the Gulf of Paria. Gary and I checked out the Kevlar genoa which I had just got back from the loft while Chris steered and the rest finished off the scones.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Gary & Al.

We were back in the slip by noon. It was a great day; we have to do it again.

Click here for some more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012-Looking back at 1988

wingssail images
Aboard Wings, 1980's.

We were younger, so much younger then,

when we were sailing in Seattle,

in 1988.

We were crazy about sailing in 1988, or just plain crazy; we sailed on ninety-five days and we sailed in more than forty-one races.

We lived aboard but racing was the thing. In 1988 Wings had not yet been converted to a cruising boat. No wind-vane, dodger, solar panels, anchor windlass, or cruising interior. It was still a race boat, and we sailed hard: IOR racing, PHRF racing, Jack & Jill, and fully crewed racing. We were still learning, but by 1988 we were starting to win, and the logs show that. Not every time, but sometimes we did pretty good. The next year would be better.

But we also cruised. We sailed almost every weekend, we went cruising north, cruising south, cruising out to the coast, cruising all over the San Juans, and often we met our friends Jim and Kathy on Tumbleweed, or Pat & Joann on Saga, or other friends.

Between racing and cruising we didn’t do anything else.

But we lived aboard, we worked in the city and we sailed.

It was a good life.

We’ve just loaded the log book pages. You can find them here.

(or go to our log book blog, and scroll down the right side to find 1988)

They make pretty dry reading but check out the photos. Who are those kids?

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012-Open heart surgery on the 20/20

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
B&G 20/20

This is not the first time I’ve operated on one of these but the last one died of complications brought on by a careless hand. I confess, I crossed two pins and in an instant the life went out of it.

Before that I put one down, out of selfishness; it had a flaw, I wanted perfect. I thought we deserved better. It died of a broken heart, maybe. Anyhow, it too is dead.

So I was callous before, then careless.

Now I have another chance; this one came from California via Florida, used and somewhat neglected, from the garage of a boat owner long since boatless, but alive, he said. I tracked it down on the Internet and had it sent.

It arrived DOA, shipping is cruel, but machines can sometimes be saved, and for awhile it hung by a thread on my bench, wires connecting it to life support, it’s shutters clicking clicking like a heart beating, sixty a minute, music to my ears, and my surgeon’s hand working inside its chest.

To make it strong once again.

Solder here, a scalpel there, and forceps or pliers if needed, a screw driver, inserted with care.

Then we close, and watch the patient.

Thirty years ago, this 20/20, was born of B&G, and yet it still lives.

Wonder of wonders.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

Click here to see this operation underway.

What the heck was that all about?

We spend a lot of time on boat repair, working on Wings, maintaining, fixing. The B&G instruments get a lot of that attention mainly because they are 30 years old and, frankly, electronics that old tend to break down a lot. But when we sail we sail by the numbers and always have, and new systems are really expensive, so when the B&G system goes down we try to fix it.

But this isn’t always easy; parts and service is hard to find. Out of necessity I have collected a lot of spare parts myself and have often been “under the covers” on these instruments, repairing them, or trying, myself.

This particular instrument, the 20/20, which is on the mast, is pretty touchy, and since we replaced the insides in Africa in 2011, due to some limited functionality, it has been off and on, literally. This month I got another used one from a boat owner in California, who no longer needed it, but it didn’t work.

So for a couple of days I had this unit apart on my workbench, with wires strung around to supply power and data, and finally, by trial and error, got it working.

For how long? I don’t know

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

August 5, 2012-Replacing the Stem Fitting

wingssail images-judy jensen
Working in the hell hole.

It’s been a fun week replacing the stem fitting.

Well fun if you ignore sweating hours spent crammed in the forepeak taking out bolts, then putting them all back in.

If you ignore sitting in the dingy with an angle grinder cutting off bolts which could not be otherwise removed.

And if you ignore clothes-drenching rainstorms which seemed to hit just as we got all set up outside to do the next step, whatever that was going to be.

You see, we figured that after the backstay broke the forestay was next, or at least the forestay stem fitting
So we pulled it out; over the course of four days.

Then we put it back; another four days.

It was fine.

But at least now we know.

Finishing our racing season in Trinidad.

Oh, this photo?

That’s what we kept thinking about while we toiled.

To see the real event, click here.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

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