Sunday, June 17, 2018

New Anchor Rode for Aeolus. G4 Chain and 8 Plait.

I've updated my anchor along the way to the fantastic Mantus design that I've written much about on this blog, yet I attached it to my same old 3/8 BBB chain. I've had that chain regalvanized once myself a few years ago, and it was showing signs of rust again. I'd long wanted to upgrade my chain to High Test G4 and finally got around to doing that this week.

Acco 5/16 G4 High Test chain with a WLL of 3,900 lbs
I ordered 100 feet of 5/16 G4 Acco chain from Defender, which has a WLL of 3,900 lbs. The larger diameter but weaker steel 3/8 BBB had a WLL of only 2,600 lbs. I'd swear the size difference is more than 1/16 as the new chain is so much smaller looking. Yet it is stronger. Part of my motivation is that although Aeolus has a wonderful Lofrans Tigres electric windlass, the controls for the windlass are in the pilothouse and not near the anchor locker. So when I am sailing alone, which often happens in summer when I am delivering our boat north to Desolation Sound, I have to pull that heavy 3/8 BBB up by hand. No fun, especially as I get older.
NE Ropes 5/8 8 plait with a WLL of 10,600 lbs. 

I also went ahead and replaced the 3 strand nylon because it was about 10 years old. This let me upgrade to the New England Ropes 8 plait that is far easier to work with and will lay better in the anchor locker. I hear it absorbs shock better, but haven't seen data on that. I use a 5/8 size nylon as recommended.

Tonight I spliced the 8 plait onto the chain and it's all ready to go. Altogether I keep 300' of rode hooked up on Aeolus, which has proven more than ample for even our deeper anchoring spots like Teakerne Arm at 70' depths. That Mantus anchor has never once, not once, in storms, so much has budged, and so even 3:1 has always been sufficient in moderate conditions. In anything resembling storm conditions in typical anchoring depths of 25-40 feet, we can go more than 6:1. And of course our bow roller is top notch and accepts two separate rides, and I keep a back up anchor and rode aboard for truly horrendous conditions of a sort I have yet to experience despite year round cruising in all weather here in the PNW.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Tumbo Memorial Day--Again!

Where better to go for a Memorial Day than our favorite island? Nowhere better!

I've written so much, so many times, about Tumbo, and am sure there is nothing new I can say about a spot so special. This trip was of a kind. Sunny skies and wild things, great food and family time. Island walks and rope swings. Secluded beaches and sunsets. All one could want.

I'll let the photos tell a few stories:

So much to see! 

NO more picturesque view than Mt. Baker framed by marsh

The rope swing of the Gods

Had to

Cult Priest dons Cult Head Gear. Praise Cult Leader! 

Rocking at the wheel

Isn't every place a voyage on the sea of life? 

Uh, yeah

Friday, April 6, 2018

New Joker Valve for Jabsco Head

The Jabsco head on Aeolus is pretty much original to when I first bought the boat. I have never replaced the joker valve, and the head had been back filling and burping for some years. So I finally got around to the stinky job of replacing that valve and what do I find but hard encrusted scaly unmentionable things caked around the now dried out valve that kept it from closing fully. New valve installed, the area cleaned out, and problem solved. Replace your joker valves every couple years, they are cheap.

Wet escape and Sucia

The boys and I took for what was supposed to be a lengthy adventure into the Gulf Islands and the enjoyment of some of our favorite northern places. However, it's a crap shoot with the weather, and this time we came up short on the rolls.

Starting out on Monday we had grey skies but no deluge, as we headed to Jones for the night. I was really pleased to see two young families on Jones with two sailboats and three or four little rug rats. Always looking for more young people to experience the Salish Sea wilds. At one point we were exchanging pleasantries and they said this was their first time up in the San Juan's from Olympia and asked if I had any suggestions of places to go??????!!!!!!!!!! I shared a few places...
We started with nice weather, but it didn't last. 

The forecast at this point was calling for SE 15-25 and some SE 20-30 in the Straits of Georgia. With this forecast we shied away from going to Tumbo as planned (getting to Tumbo from the San Juan's requires crossing Boundary Pass, which in strong SE winds can be distinctly unpleasant, especially with a strong ebb running, which it was), so we decided to go to Sucia instead. In Shallow Bay there were two other boats, and we had a great afternoon running on the trails and hanging out. Again, the deluge had yet to start, but it was grey and cool. The following morning we did a new hike out to Ewing Cove. The walk there from the head of Echo Bay is about 2.1 according to the park sign, and it goes right along the shoreline and past many lovely Madrone trees and coves.

Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK weekend away to Prevost

Honoring Dr. King with a get away to wilderness may seem like an odd choice, but among the many things he championed, one could argue that the liberty to pursue happiness unimpaired by the dictates of a disapproving populace was high among them. He didn't argue we needed to approve of each other. He argued all people deserved the liberty, freedom and respect, to live a life of their own choosing so long as it brought no harm to others.
From a lofty perch, a place above it all. 

Among our highest choice of preferred liberties is time away from the very civilization that continues to institutionalize hatred, discrimination and prejudice. The owls don't do that, nor the trees. We commune with otters, and listen to the wind. The voices of oystercatchers are our companions and the  whisper of leaves our friends.
The Grandmother Tree-the center of the universe


This weekend we journeyed north to Prevost Harbor as the forecasted winds kept us away from Tumbo. Prevost is a bit less sheltered than Reid as it can receive vessel wakes and NE swells, but it is plenty sheltered enough that no real harm would ever come to you. Our trip there was uneventful, and it is 13 miles from Friday Harbor to Prevost. We encountered some chop in the vortex between Spieden, San Juan, Flat Top and Orcas, as that is a mixing zone for all currents and winds. Otherwise, we were on flat seas.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blizzard and sun, peace and joy at Portland Island, BC.

Just back from a wonderful four day trip. Since we had time, we took the chance to pop up into Canada and return to one of our old favorites just below Salt Spring, and that is Portland Island.

Owen at Arbutus Point, north side
The voyage to Portland on Monday was calm and easy. Gorgeous country rolling by and not a wisp of wind. There are two anchorages on Portland, like Jones. One south, and one north. The forecast was for stormy weather with SE winds, so we headed to the north cove called Royal Cove. For those that don't know, this island was given to Princes Margaret back during her visit to the province in the 1950's, and she gave it back in the 1960's to become a park. It is the largest island park in the Gulf Islands National Park system. A true gem.

So we tucked into Royal Cove, which is only open to the NE. You stern tie and make sure you have your bow pointed NE so the ferry waves cause you less trouble. After doing this, we were ashore for some exploration.

That night, a storm came up that blew strongly from the NE. Not the SE! We started getting 2-3 foot waves into he cove, and I was once again grateful for my Mantus Anchor and anchoring skills. We didn't budge, though our bow was doing the hobby horse all through the dark hours of the morning. It was blowing 25 or so. In the morning, I saw that the barometer had plummeted from 1019 to 1000.3 in just 6 hours. No wonder the wind was strong. We saw that it was also snowing, and during the downpours the snow was so thick it was a blizzard!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter Dads get away to Stuart

This past weekend I realized I had the chance to get away from home and do a trip with my younger son. Since my wife and other son couldn't come, I decided to invite another Dad and his son along for the fun. Given how busy and over scheduled people are these days, I was surprised when he said "Yes" so enthusiastically.

Such is the appeal of a sailboat trip in the San Juans. Even in winter.
Happy father and son in paradise



All who read this blog know how much I love our winter trips. To have the islands to yourself, to yourself, and so dramatically beautiful, is just incredible. I continue to be amazed how people stay away by the millions.

Winter trips anyone?
We went to Reid Harbor as there were some strong winds forecast. It was as snug as always. We dropped our trusty Mantus anchor off the public dock and enjoyed a couple days of hiking, reading, playing and eating. Oh, and the deep sleep that always comes from being on the boat.