North Before South 2

First, a quick update. We’re currently in Newport, Oregon waiting for the weather to settle, and posting from the Newport Public Library. Our trip down from Astoria went well, smooth seas, light wind from the south, and the motor running the whole way. Not quite how we wanted to sail to San Francisco. We tucked into Newport because those light south winds will be increasing over the next couple of days to the point we don’t want to go bashing into them – gusting to 30 knots or so. Seas would be confused and just not pleasant to be in. Around Wednesday, the fronts should have moved through and we should be back to a north or northwest wind that we can actually sail with. We have time to be prudent.

So, back to North.

Ganges, Saltspring Island. Groceries. Ganges was hopping. The anchorage was full. The guest dock was in the process of being taken over by a 131′ motor yacht. Drømen anchored close in to the public dock and we anchored out about a 15 minute row away. Got our groceries and caught a ride on Drømen out to Gypsy. We all headed to Annette Inlet on Prevost Island and rafted up again. One of the fun and nice things about rafting up is alternating boats for dinner or appetizers.

The next day, rafting up in Princess Cove, Wallace Island. You can clearly see the ropes off Drømen’s stern that are tied to the shore. The sheet-like thing hanging in the back of Gypsy’s cockpit is our aft sun shade. There is a also a sunbrella shade that goes forward to the back of the dodger that also slides into the pole slides into the top slit in the pole. We had an extra furler section and turned it into our shade support.

Wallace Island has two small coves for anchoring, Princess and Conover. Most of the island is now a park and has a nice trail to walk. Back in the 50s and 60s the island was owned by David Conover who built and ran a resort there. There are a few buildings left. It’s a beautiful setting, but walking around it reminds you that you had to be pretty self-sufficient to make a go of things on an island.

Aside from bopping between islands, this was also a voyage of discovery for the Gypsy crew. We needed to get our sailing skills back up. We got our motoring skills honed. Not much usable wind for where we were going. Bill had the single sideband radio to figure out. It simply would not talk to its GPS. The wiring diagram came out one more time and he noticed that the installation needed a ground. We managed to find an appropriate length of wire, installed it and hoorah, it worked! This means that we can send and receive text emails while out and about and more importantly, weather forecasts. Nina finally learned to use a pressure cooker.

Quick stop at Tent Island and on to Chemainus, a town on Vancouver Island. Joy had reserved slips for us both at the marina. It’s a tight marina with an awesome wharfinger. The town is known for its murals. Many depict local history and some of the newer ones are influenced by Emily Carr. It was a fun way to get some exercise and learn about a town. Enjoyed dinner at Thai Pinto and breakfast the next morning at Bonnie Martin. Chemainus had a lot going on. There was the weekly live music concert in the park, a farmers/craft market in the morning, a mill strike that was in its seventh week, some really good ice cream, and a nice grocery store a decent hike from the marina.

Vesuvius, Saltspring Island was our next stop. We had stopped there twenty years ago and met a potter that we bought a bowl from. We thought we’d try to look him up again. We tied up at the public dock, walked up to where the pottery shop was and it was now something else. Disappointed, but not too surprised, we headed back to our boats. Our next destination was Lyall Harbour on Saturna Island. We were going to meet friends of Jerry and Joy who have a Cascade 36.

Destiny, a Cascade 36 owned by Nick and Gail. They’ve lived aboard her for twenty years up and down the coast. She’s a beautiful and well kept craft.

Stuart Island, back in the States was our next destination. In the old days, you had specific ports of entry that you had to check into before going anywhere else. Joy told up about the ROAM app and Bill managed to get it loaded on his phone (wifi while cruising is interesting) and then get the data to upload. We made a phone call, and were admitted entry. No frantic circling at Friday Harbor waiting for the customs dock to become available and juggling documents while on the phone to the customs officers. Dropped anchor at the west end of Prevost Harbor.

Stuart can only be reached by boat or private plane. It has maybe 15 permanent residents. Turn Point Lighthouse is a nice walk from the boat dock.

Turn Point Light.

Do you want to know where we are?

We have been asked, is it possible to know where Gypsy is? The answer is yes most of the time.*AIS (automatic identification system) is something big ships have been using for years. The AIS transponder on a ship sends out a signal that says here I am, my name is xxxxx, this is my course and speed.
Small boats like Gypsy can also get a transponder. We may or may not show up on radar, but we will be seen on AIS.
There is a website called they collect AIS data and display it. You can search for a boat and find out where it is.
The problem with a name search is there are a number of Gypsys and Gypsy varients. You can also search by MMSI number, which is a unique identifier assigned to a boat. If you have a Gypsy boat card you have the MMSI, if not it is 367591410.
You can also create an account and add Gypsy to your fleet. You will get daily emails about our location.
* If Gypsy is offshore, it is likely that we are out of range so you won’t get any updates untill we are back in range.

Bill and Nina

North Before South 1

We spent a provisioning day in Oak Bay, did laundry, had lunch at a lovely french bistro that had excellent local beer: Vis-a-vis and Penny Farthing. Then it was on to Sydney Spit to meet up with friends on Drømen. Except the engine started and promptly died. The kill switch on the engine was sticky, so we fixed that. Not the problem. So fuel filters were next. The big one wouldn’t come off (the wrench was still in Portland). Got everything tightened back up, cleaned up, and the engine bled and off we went. We managed to get out of the tight windy marina without crashes or scratches but it was close.

First stop: Sydney Spit to meet up with friends Jerry and Joy on Drømen.
Nina, Joy and Jerry on Sydney Spit. We rafted up and rowed over for a hike on the spit.

On the left: Gypsy and Drømen rafted up. Drømen has her anchor down and in this photo is also stern tied to the shore. Gypsy is tied up to Drømen. This way only one boat has to do all the anchoring. We’re rafted in Princess Cove on Wallace Island. Our respective dinghies are on the right.

From Sydney Spit, we headed over to Fulford Harbor for a lunch stop. The public dock is really short and was full so we circled around and headed off to the north side of Russell Island. One nice thing about the Gulf Islands, is they are all fairly close and we were able to get to the next island in 2 to 4 hours. Not much wind so a lot of motoring.

Russell Island was originally homesteaded by a Hawaiian family who had an orchard. It’s now a park and in years past, they’ve had volunteers who talk about the family and their history. This summer, the volunteers were renovating the buildings. There are a couple of short trails and we walked those. We anchored separately at Russell and Bill turned on his AnchorWatch ap. Boats do not stay in one place at anchor!

The next day it was on to Ganges for groceries.

More exciting travels later: the Astoria Public Library is about to close for the day.

We’re on our way

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful Bon Voyage party. We are very grateful for your friendship and support. We cast off and sailed about 25 miles down river to Martins Slough, where we are anchored for the night. It was a rainy trip which reminded us that fall is coming. We are dry and glad to be underway.

Bill and Nina

Shakedown Cruise 2019

We took a short cruise north to the Gulf and San Juan Islands during August. It gave us a chance to try out new gear on Gypsy and to work on our rusty sailing skills. Gypsy did great and we found that we did better than expected.

side curtains-
One of the new side curtains. They will give us more wind and rain protection in the cockpit. Nina got a fancy snap tool . It has been a big help on canvas projects. It is much better than the budget rivet the snaps together with a hammer.

Nina made a cockpit shade, the side curtains and a companionway cover. They were big improvements in our comfort on the boat, protecting us from the sun, wind and rain if it had rained.

swim ladder-182850136
Our new swim ladder. Bill had a teak board that he had kept for years. Before we moved and sold the tools he made a new ladder from the teak.  When you are swimming the ladder folds down to make it easy to climb out. It is very solid. It mounts to the toe rail with webbing straps that fit through the holes and are held in place with a piece of pvc pipe. He got the idea for the mounting system from our friend Jerry on Drømen.


deck portside-

Looking forward, port side. The yellow line on the left is a jack line so we can attach ourselves to the boat when we have to go forward in the ocean. Our ocean life jackets have D rings to accommodate a tether so we are always attached to the boat or to a jack line.  Toward the center is the boarding ladder Bill built out of teak.  To the right of that is the dinghy seat, oars and sailing kit.  In the front of the boat is our nesting dingy.  In the foreground on the right is one of our three solar panels.

deck stbd side-073315512

Down the starboard, or right side, of the boat is another yellow jackline. The white canister is our life raft.

view underway-

This is the view out the dodger window. The gear on the deck blocks some of our view, so we also look over the dodger and around the side to get a complete view.

RR Bridge-133415795

The first obstacle going down river is the Vancouver railroad bridge. The bridge is too low for us to go under it. It swings open to let tall boats and ships through. Depending on train traffic it can be a slow or a fast wait. This time we got right through.

While everything on deck looks shipshape, we were still figuring out where things needed to be stowed down below.  Portland to Astoria is about 100 miles, and when you are traveling at about 6 knots it takes awhile.  We split the trip up into three legs.  Day one: Portland to Walker Island.   Day two: Walker Island to Cathlamet, Washington.  Day three: Cathlamet to Astoria West Basin.  At Walker Island we met up with Rose City folks heading home from the Lazy Days Cruise: Willow, Lady Louise, Honalee and Crystal Swan.  On the way to Cathlamet, Bill organized the head storage and tried to get our Open CPN and GPS to talk to one another. An email to the great folks at Rodgers Marine Electronics solved that problem. The charting program on the laptop now knew where we were.  We got to Cathlamet on farmers market day so we got some fresh blueberries and figs. The next morning we headed to Astoria. In Astoria we filled the fuel tank and worked on our offshore prep list. We made a trip to Englunds Marine for some last minute parts.

Astoria sights.

Day five we were ready to head across the bar. The tides determine when you cross. We left at 8:45 in the morning. It was cool with low clouds and light NW wind. We motored down river with the help from the ebbing (outgoing) tide. At 9:23 Nina lost her hat overboard. We did not rescue it and considered it a sacrifice to the gods of the deep. The ebbing tide had us going 11.5 knots over ground, so it must have worked. That is a five knot boost in boat speed. By 10:10 we past buoy 3 so we were across the bar and officially in the ocean. We started heading north. At 3:00 pm (1500 hours) we started doing watches.

When we are on a passage we take turns being on watch or sleeping. We have found that 3 hour watches work well for us. Nina has the watch from midnight to 3:00 am, Bill has 3:00-6:00 am, Nina 6:00-9:00 am, Bill 9:00-noon, Nina noon to 3:00 pm, Bill 3:00-6:00 pm, Nina 6:00-9:00 pm, Bill 9:00-midnight. While you are on watch you keep a lookout for other boats and ships, set the course and note important information in the log book. Log entries cover where you are, the weather and wind.

Off watch you sleep, if you get caught up on sleep you can read or work on a project or cook.

The northwest corner of Washington State is Cape Flattery. That is where we turned east to head down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

cape flattery lighthouse-4930
The light house on Cape Flattery. It is 1:15 pm on day 6. Much of the weather up the coast looked like this – a lot of gray.

ships Juan de Fuca-164513709
A couple of freighters on the strait.  These are much bigger than the ones that ply the Columbia River.

It is a long way down the strait to Victoria. The wind from the west built over the afternoon and by evening was blowing strongly. We kept reefing the sails to keep the boat speed under control. It was well after dark by the time we got to Victoria. We did not want to enter Victoria Harbour at night so we sailed on to Oak Bay, a suburb, where you can also clear customs. We got there and tied up to the customs dock at 12:15 am. We cleared customs and waited until morning to get fuel and a slip in the marina.

Bon Voyage

One of the things we agreed on early in our boat ownership days was that projects were okay, but the boat had to be sailable.  That kind of got put on the hard so to speak for the past four or five years.  We now have most of the major projects done.  It’s time to go sailing.  We headed up to the the San Juan and Gulf Islands on Gypsy for a short three week shakedown cruise and to meet up with friends on Drømen.  There will be more about that soon.  Meanwhile, there’s a Bon Voyage party to invite you to before we head south. Hope you can make it.

Bon Voyage Party

Bill and Nina are sailing Gypsy to Mexico

Saturday, September 7 4:00-8:00 Rose City Yacht Club

Photo credit: Jerry and Joy, Drømen

It’s a potluck party, drop by and see Gypsy.

Please RSVP

Rose City Yacht Club, 3737 NE Marine Drive, Portland

Gate code: 572637# (Kramer on a phone keypad)

And you may have noticed we’ve changed the title of the blog.  We hope it reflects the direction our project is taking.

It is too late now, we’ve paid the entrance fee

It has been almost two months since our last post. A lot has been happening, but most of it is not about boats. We sold our house in NE Portland and bought a small condo in NE Portland. Thank you David, our super realtor and sailing friend. We moved off of Gypsy and into the condo June 21st. We then had to do those new house things, like empty boxes and buy a couch. Then just as we were starting to return our focus to Gypsy we had a trip to Minneapolis to see family over the fourth.

Since we got back we have been checking tasks off of the list. Gypsy has a new alternator and voltage regulator. The old ones are going to be our spares. We installed a single sideband marine short wave radio. This will let us get weather forecasts, send text emails and join boater nets.  We installed lots of wires and parts and managed to find spaces for them. We added an AIS transponder, which tells other ships near by that we are there too and lets us know who they are and how fast they are moving.  We installed three solar panels and a solar controller. Nina has been getting the overhead panels covered in white vinyl and reinstalled. The cabin looks much better. Our life raft is now installed on the deck. The cabin has a new bookcase and table and a galley storage cabinet.

knife block start-163704350
While we were living aboard we discovered that we really needed a knife block. Keeping the knives in a drawer was not working. This is how the block got its start, strips of wood with a knife blade slot got glued together. This then got sanded and finished.  Thank you, Randy for the wood.  It’s the same wood as the tiller.

galley box-113058000
The galley cabinet and knife block. The cabinet will give us storage for garbage on the bottom and thermoses on the top shelf. The trim is recycled from old Gypsy trim so it blends in. The door fronts are repurposed old drawer fronts that were on the boat when we bought her.  What’s really nice about the cupboard is we will no longer have a box of garbage kicking around the floor.

overhead 3-130734866
Nina has been getting the overhead panels installed. They hide the cabin insulation and light wiring. The vinyl also helps to deaden sound. The panels can be removed if we need to get to deck hardware or wiring.  But, since the lights and fan are all screwed through the panel and into blocks in the ceiling, we hope we don’t have to take them down too often.

overhead 4-183250282
The vee berth looks much better too.

You can see the life raft canister on deck in front of the dodger. You can also kind of see the SSB antenna going up the backstay.  New solar panels on the aft sides of the boat and one on the top of the dodger are now functional and are helping charge the new batteries.

The solar panels. The two aft panels on the stern pulpit can be adjusted to follow the sun. We left space on the dodger to stand on it when working on the main sail.

The table and bookcase. The table is the old table Bill made for Gypsy. It now folds up when not in use. It will be fantastic to have space for books. The wood slats in the middle of the shelves lift out to get at the books and to keep them from flying into the cabin if things get rough.

We also signed up for the Baja HaHa. It is a 150 boat regatta from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. It gives a date to leave for Mexico and it may help us get more social. It leaves San Diego November 4th. We are working on a date for a Bon Voyage party in Portland before we leave. We will let you know once the date is set.