Posts Tagged With: captain

The Four Grossest Projects of 2012

The awesomeness of owning an older sailboat is surpassed only by its affordability. Boats made in the ‘70s are the reason we get to sail as much as we do. The comparable new boat would cost roughly three years of my school tuition. However, with affordability comes its … oldness. And oldness means that there’s always something to do. Unlike newer boats where the constant work is routine maintenance, with older boats the constant work tends to be larger, occasionally grosser undertakings.

In the grand tradition of yearlong retrospectives, here is our 2012 list of the four grossest sailboat projects:

4. Finding and cleaning mold off the underside of a memory foam mattress.
Be it condensation, the lack of a dehumidifier or bad luck, the underside of the memory foam mattress lacked circulation and gathered moisture which resulted in mold in the v-berth of our Columbia 34. There were a few different varieties as well as a distinct smell. A myriad of steps were taken to remove the mold, and our new boat has both a dehumidifier and a rubber mat under the mattress to improve air circulation so that we don’t have that experience again.

3

Patrick tries to figure out the wiring ...

Patrick tries to figure out the wiring …

The holding tank after its all been done ...

The holding tank after its all been done …

. Feeding new wire for a set of cabin lights through areas newly found to be `ridden with old raccoon poop.

I wanted more cabin lights. I wanted lights in the kitchen and lights in the bathroom. And not AC powered desk lamps that fall over and take up space. I wanted overhead LED lights. Patrick wanted safe wiring. So when we went to install the new lights, we found out that previous owners had made a complete mess of the wiring. There was absolutely no consistency in the wiring type or color. In an effort to create a safe circuit where all the lights are connected using marine-grade wiring, we had to feed the wires through bulkheads along the ceiling – where we found poop. We both remembered back to the original meeting with the person we bought the boat from. He had mentioned raccoons being on the boat, but just in the cockpit area – not inside. Oh well, now its time to clean raccoon poop.

2. Using a wet-vac to remove pee from a holding tank because the pump out pipe was clogged.
Yep. Pee. Thirty gallons of pee removed two gallons at a time by my home depot wet/dry vacuum. Each bucket had to be hand carried and properly disposed of. At least it was mostly my pee.

1.Clearing a pipe clogged with old man poo from at least two years ago.
When I bought my Catalina 27, I was told that the toilet didn’t work. And that it hadn’t worked for years. Boys, apparently, will pee down the sink if need be in the middle of the night. I, however, will not. Anyway, I promptly bought a toilet and installed it. It worked great and a couple months later, Patrick drove the boat down to the pump out station but the pipe was clogged. We bought a drain snake to no avail so, after drilling a hole in the holding tank and pumping out the pee (see previous gross job) we had to clear the pipe, which we found was clogged with corroded ancient poop. Patrick was a champ and cleaned it out, scrubbed the pipe and reattached it to the holding tank. He even sealed the hole we had to drill in the tank. But his hand covered in poo was the grossest thing of 2012.

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What We’ve Been Up To

The Story Sailboat has been busy this winter so here’s an update on some things we’ve been up to:

1. We’re working on our incorporation and 501c3 application. Once we have this status, we’ll be able to do fundraisers and allow for donors to write off their contributions.

2. We’re fine-tuning our mission statement to include working on literacy and library advocacy.

3. We sailed with friends and supporters in a lighted boat parade around the Peninsula for the holidays.

4. Joey got her tips on moving aboard published by Sail Magazine.

5. Patrick was elected Rear Commodore of the Peninsula Yacht Club.

6. Patrick fixed a couple small leaks we found in the first big storm of December – and bought a nice new dehumidifier to keep the boat nice and dry.

7. We’re actively planning a few fun events for 2013 – stay tuned!

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Sailing to Monterey for Internet Librarian

Well, I’m excited to announce that one of the boats in the Story Sailboat fleet is sailing to Monterey for Internet Librarian!

This boat is a Catalina 27 that is currently docked in Santa Cruz that Joey uses while she taking her PHD classes at UCSC. This is one of our smaller boats because we couldn’t get our new larger boat up and ready for the extended trip in time. Its also not the original Story Sailboat from the Fundraising project on IndieGoGo because that one is WAY too small to make it to Santa Cruz from where it is now.

Because the boat belongs to Joey she will be in charge and John Chrastka and I are going to be her crew to Monterey. It’s a pretty boat and very functional and ready to go and we’re going to have a great crew. It looks like the weather is going to be perfect for the sail and it should take us between 6 and 8 hours to get there since its about 25 miles. If you’re going to be in Monterey for Internet Librarian, we might be able to take some people for a ride! Ask me about it if you see me.

I do have some bad news… Because my doctor left off his phone number on the medical form for my USCG captain’s license, I won’t be an official captain in time for the trip. That means I can’t do the fundraising that I was excited about doing at in Monterey for both EveryLibrary and the Story Sailboat. But thats ok, we’re excited to have a sailboat for a trip to Monterey no matter what!

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Best Olympic Commentary OF ALL TIME!!

As you can guess, we really loved sailing at the Olympics. In fact, we really love the Olympics all together. In spirit of our wishing the 2012 olympics were still going on, I bring you this gem that is probably a bit old at this point, but we can’t help it. Everytime we watch it, we giggle even though we knows its fake. I think what’s really funny about it is that if you are new to the sport, this is just about what your own commentary of olympic sailing would be like.

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Anchoring, Book Seeding, and Near Disaster.

I’m not gonna lie or try to candy coat this last weekend. It was part wonderfully successful and part near disaster. I think it’s important though, in this case to discuss and focus on the near disaster portion of our trip. I’m not really going to make excuses for the incidents either so my only hope is to explain what went on while we were out giving books away to the kids at all of the amazing events that were occurring over the weekend in San Francisco.

Anchoring
Over the weekend we anchored in Aquatic Park with two other very small boats. We arrived very early in the morning and we tied ourselves together and dropped and set our Bruce anchor. We used at least 75 feet of solid heavy chain which we measured for the first 70 feet by taking the chain from the bow of the boat to the stern on a 35 foot boat. As a precaution and because I was nervous about the wind and current that day I put out quite a bit more chain after that (nearly 25 feet). We had decided on at least 75 foot length because the depth of the water at Aquatic Park is only 15 feet at mean low (someone correct me if I’m wrong). That would mean we had at least a 5 to 1 ratio at high tide and should have been enough. As a safety precaution, one of the smaller boats dropped one of their smaller anchors, although admittedly, this probably wouldn’t have saved us too much, instead intended to slow down any problems.

Everything seemed fine and we made breakfast and hung out for a couple of hours with no problems. We’ve dropped anchor at Aquatic Park twice before without any incident. Once, we stayed on a smaller boat and once we stayed on two bigger boats so we really didn’t expect much to happen this day. In fact, we had a discussion about how many boats showed up at Aquatic Park throughout the day and how little chain they were putting out. Some boats didn’t even bother to set their anchors! I watched as more than one boat simply dropped an anchor straight down, stopped at the first sign of slack, and then left their boats immediately without checking anything. Because of all of this, I was sure we had more than enough down to hold us firm and be safe. Apparently, I might have been wrong.

Book Seeding
So, this is what we came out to do. We had about 150 children’s books to give away throughout all the day’s festivities in San Francisco. In case you don’t know, there were a very large number of events going on and we wanted to get books into the hands of kids as much as we could. In fact, one of the things we did while we made breakfast and made sure our anchors were holding was to label our books. When this was all done, we had an amazing day giving out books to kids at the America’s Cup event and the Hardly Strictly Music Festival. At least this part of the trip was a huge success! Our joy was short lived…

The Near Disaster
When we were walking over the hill from the America’s Cup racing to the park we realized to our horror that we weren’t at all in the same place as we left! Our boat was much further than where we had left it and we ran as fast as we could to get back to our boats to see what was happening. Of course, we were much too late to do anything about it except hear about it from the other boats who had witnessed the incident and the efforts by the National Park Service to correct it. We could only go by what they said to us (much of which I can’t print, and rightly so) but we heard some pretty horrifying stories.

It seems like everything was said about the incident. We were told the boat was on one side of the park near Balclutha, to being told we were drifting to the other side towards the sea wall, to being told our anchor was dragging, to being told someone had knocked us loose, to being told we put out too little chain, and other people having the opinion that we put out too much chain and didn’t drag but swung wide!

What has been most interesting is the differing number of opinions. So many have been in favor of one or something completely opposite. In fact, there were so many that I was originally going to write a post about all of the different opinions about the speculated scenarios and what might and might not have happened. But if there is one thing I’ve learned while sailing it’s that everyone has an opinion and they’re entitled to them so I’ll just listen and learn from them all. I’m all ears. Really though, I think the most important thing is this…

Apologies and gratitude
No matter what happened, we’d like to say a big thank you to NPS and of course apologize to all the other boats in the marina who would be full in their rights to call us any number of names and even apologize to some of them who very rightly have called us names for giving them a scare. In fact, I can’t approve some of the comments on this blog for the language used (we flew a Story Sailboat flag so everyone knew who the trouble was coming from). There were other boaters who helped us in a couple of different ways to sort out what happened so we can avoid any mistakes later and I’d like to thank you as well. There have also been people who, when we told them story, related the time they had an anchor drag. While that makes us feel better, it still can’t make up for the scare we must have given the fine sailing community. We learned a lot on this trip and don’t plan on making these mistakes again. Sailing is a good way to stay humble.

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The Story Sailboat is Just… Library and Literacy Advocacy?

One of my friends asked me why we were giving books out in places Like Pier 39 or more affluent places in San Francisco. In case anyone has any of the same questions, let me explain.

We are really, really small. No, I mean SMALL! Our current boat is just 22 feet and we can only take about 300 books at a time at the maximum to advocate for libraries. We are also really busy. While I’m captain of the Story Sailboat, I’m also a full library Branch Manager of a library and while Joey is crew and education specialist, she is also a full time PHD student. Because of all of this, we have to choose a focus. For now, while we are growing and working towards some other goals, our goal is simply to advocate for libraries and literacy.

That means, that right now, we are just an Advocacy Campaign. Our goal isn’t to teach people to read (at this point), it’s to remind people that libraries and literacy are one of the most important components of a free and fair democracy. We want people to know about what kinds of things a library does to promote literacy in a community. We want to remind our communities that the library is there to serve them, to teach them, to help create literate communities. I probably don’t need to explain how important libraries are to most of you reading this blog so I’ll stop there.

We also want to go where the money and voters are. We want to focus our advocacy on people who might not have visited a library recently. We want to convince the people who might have the money to buy all the books and literacy materials they need from Amazon that libraries and literacy are important and go hand in hand in a community. We are excited about getting those people re-engaged in their libraries and to understand all of the benefits that would be lost with the loss of libraries.

If you’d like to help us out in anyway, feel free to contact us on our Facebook Page or following either (or both) of us on our twitter pages. We are always looking for crew and book seeders, book donations, and of course… Money.

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Thanks! You Made it Possible

Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to reach our goal of new sails. Some of you might remember that we raised money on IndieGoGo for our project. We had the chance to send out our polos to those of you who donated at that level and we are working through our giant pile of postcards that we need to get out to the rest of you.

But here is what you might not know… A couple of people continued to give outside of the Indiegogo project and we were able to do even more to make the boat very safe for our crew. Some of this was just some generous donations of some parts and pieces that we needed and some of it was money. The boat is now rigged with some new lines and equipment that will help us out a lot.

Besides the new sails, the big new acquisition was a set of cleats, lines, and pulleys that allow the boat to be single-handed. This means that I can sail the boat all by myself for those weekends when I can’t seem to find any crew. I can go out on my own and seed San Francisco and the bay area communities with just myself. It also means that if we have an incident or accident where my one other crew member falls overboard, I can easily rescue them. Don’t worry though, we’ve only rarely come back with less crew than we started with :-) .

So once again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped and contributed to our goals! You are all amazing for helping me make this possible. In fact, you can now check out our donors page to see who has given to our great project.

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Labor Day Sail

Ok, I know it’s really late to be writing about this, but so much has been going on that I didn’t get the chance to post earlier (more on that later). Over the Labor Day weekend, I took out a couple of my friends to help me crew the Story Sailboat to give out a bunch of books at Pier 39 in San Francisco. In fact, this was one of the better book seeding experiences yet as we got a great response from everyone who found the books.

In case you don’t know the geography of the San Francisco Bay, let me describe the route to you a little bit. We sailed from the Story Sailboat’s home port of Redwood City. Redwood City is pretty far south in the lower part of the bay and it takes about 8 hours of motoring to get to San Francisco because the wind comes from the North. Typically when we do a project we leave on Friday night and just sail to a place called Coyote Point about three hours north. In the morning we motor the rest of the way to San Francisco and Pier 39.

Once we got to San Francisco we started labeling books with our stickers and labels and packed up a couple of bags. This time, we had a whole bunch of children’s books that had been donated and not many adult books but it turned out to work in our favor. As we walked around Pier 39 and placed the books on the benches and different places we watched as parents sat down with their kids and just started reading to them! It was really amazing to watch this serendipitous parent/child storytime occurring amidst the commotion of a touristy area like Pier 39. Needless to say we had a lot of fun watching people interact with the books. This is why we do this.

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The Story Sailboat in the News!

In case you’re wondering what we’ve been up to since we’ve been so quiet lately, let me fill you in. Basically, Joey and I have been working every weekend and that has seriously cut in to our sailing time. But otherwise its been a whole bunch of great news!

Library Journal
A couple of weeks ago I received a call from Library Journal about our Story Sailboat IndgieGoGo campaign that so many of you contributed too. The two of you who are not librarians who read this blog should know that Library Journal is a publication directed to librarians about all library related news. They interviewed me about the project and what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it and then a couple of days later they had a post about it on their blog. Well, yesterday Hillary Westgate sent me a tweet with a picture of a page in the magazine we were very surprised to see that we made it to the print issue too!

The Boat
Besides that good news, we’re also excited because the boat is really looking great and is almost set up to safely single-hand. The roller furling is working great, I’m installing a lazy jack, and running all the lines to the cockpit of the boat. That means that I can sail it on my own around the bay when I can’t find crew. This is going to be great over Labor Day weekend because it’s a three day and three night sail and strangely enough, not a lot of people want to stay on that small boat with me for that long so it looks like I’m on my own.

But of course, I’m always looking for crew to help me out and you can come sailing with me.

Future Plans
We are pretty excited about the potential of expanding this project into a full fledge non-profit kind of thing. Part of that is more marketing of what we do in order to get the social capital we need to ensure we can continue. So, next week and the following weekend we have a lot of publicity events planned just in time for the America’s Cup. If you’re going to be in SF for the cup events and at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, we’ll see you there.

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A Weekend of Work

The Story Sailboat has been trapped in the slip for the last two weeks for some repairs. It wasn’t anything too major, just some things that I thought needed to get done. It’s going to come out better on the other side. As you know, we were able to buy our new Jib and roller furling thanks to your help and we’ll be buying the new Mainsail soon! But, because it’s a boat there’s still a hundred little things that need to be done.

New mast support
One of the things that has been driving me crazy since I bought this boat about a year ago is the support that was under mast. Whoever had it before installed a kind of metal pole under the mast that blocked the easy access to the v-berth. The problem with that, is that the v-berth can be used for a bunch of stuff and I couldn’t get into it. Already we store the extra sails in there and it would be great to also be able to sleep in that area on the longer trips, or at least store more supplies up there to keep us going. So, last weekend I recruited some folks who helped me remove that post and install a better support system that allowed us to get into the v-berth easily.

Some of the crew!

Moving the Roller Furling Lines
When I originally installed the lines for the roller furling, I placed the blocks to far forward and when I was single-handing the boat I could never reach them. We took those blocks and line and moved them further aft and now I can single hand the boat much better. I won’t have to rely on finding crew for every campaign I try to do.

A Compass
The boat hasn’t had a compass on it this whole time. Not having a compass is typically fine because I can see just about everything I need to in the bay to keep up my point of reference when navigating. The problem is that I’m always worried about getting fogged in and lost because I can’t see anything. With a compass I can basically navigate blind.

New lines
Another problem has been that the lines were getting old and worn and while they probably wouldn’t have failed anytime soon, its best to replace them before they do. So, we spent the weekend replacing the Mainsheet, the Boom Vang Line, the docklines, and we’re about to replace the halyards. I’m excited about everything running so smoothly through the blocks.

At the end of the weekend of working on the boat in the perfect weather with good friends and cold beers, I have to say that the boat is looking fantastic and it’s almost like sailing a whole new vehicle! Now I all I need are more folks to crew it. Who wants in?!

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