Friday, January 13, 2017

Into the Breach

Hello from rather cold and cloudy Port Townsend. 

I've been away and pretty busy in preparation.

Having left Tacoma, in early December, we made way and arrived in Port Townsend safe and sound, if a little cold.

We've been here for the last couple weeks, stripping Brigadoon in prep for her last refit before we leave. 

This weekend we take Brigadoon to the dock and work float. There we will pull her mast and put her in the shed at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op. Our PM is one of the Owner/Partners, Jeff Galey.

We will (off the top of my head):

1) Install our Hydrovane Self Steering system.

2) Replace the entire rig (all wire and mechanical fittings, replacing the check-stays with running backs). Paint the mast. Replace all fittings as necessary.

3) Pull and replace all chainplates and converting to bronze. The chainplates are Port Townsend Foundry made and are up-sized to match wire and fittings. 

4) Pull, inspect, and reinstall the rudder.

5) Pull, inspect, and reinstall the prop, shaft, stuffing box and coupler.

6) Divide the anchor locker so I can install a second spurling pipe (on order from Port Townsend Foundry). This allows me to keep both rodes in the locker, freeing up the deck box.

7) Rebuild all chain plate entrances with G-10 plates to ensure full seal of the new plates and covers.

8) Go to boat show and buy:
a) Honda 2.3 outboard.
b) Rainman Watermaker with pressure washer attachment.
c) Honda 2000i generator.
d) The latest Spinlock deck vest model with harness.

9) Pick up our sails from Port Townsend Sails, where they are in for inspection and replacement of the UV panels on the genoa and staysl.

10) Install new stack on Dickenson heater to improve performance.

11) Finish that Deck Box project.

12) Install AIS

13) Perfect my design for infinitely adjustable solar panel mounts.

...all by April 1, (no foolin) where we plan on heading north, to the San Juans, Canada, Alaska, before returning here for a short stay before going back out the strait and turning left forever.

And we have a Facebook Page thanks to my lovely 1st Mate: 

I've opened my own account at Admiralty Supply (I think that's the name).

Cover me.

I'm goin in.

The Ups and Downs of Limbo

We've been in Port Townsend for four weeks.  Amazing how time flies...enjoying the comforts of my parents' home, emptying the boat of all our belongings in preparation for the work we're doing; setting up various vendors and appointments to make everything happen the way we want before we depart for real in April.

Here are some observations:

1) Living on land again is interesting, if a bit weird.  I'm definitely enjoying the luxuries of a full kitchen, showers and laundry in house, and of course being with family.  But I also kind of miss our little home on the water and being rocked to sleep at night.  I cannot express how grateful we are to have the opportunity to live with my parents while we do this work - it's making a lot of this process SO much easier on a lot of levels.

2) All of our personal belongings fit within the footprint of a single car space in a garage.

The pile of stuff.

3) We've so far had amazing interactions with the shipyard (Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op) we'll be working with and the vendors we are using, including Port Townsend Foundry.   Our mast is getting pulled on Monday, and the boat will haul out on Wednesday.  We're scheduled to be inside their shed for about three weeks - during which they will do some contracted work for us.  We'll also take advantage of being out of the weather to get some work done ourselves while she's inside.  (More about this to-do list in a later post)

4) Port Townsend is a charming town - we've had to get used to the low speed limits, which pretty much everyone observes, and some odd driving habits here and there - but the restaurants, the people, the deer, and the scenery around here are all pretty wonderful.  My mom has even talked me into joining the local community choir for the Winter/Spring concert season, which concludes right in time for us to leave.

5) My transition from working 7-4 at a real job has been mostly smooth.  Obviously it's been lovely to sleep as long as I want most nights and not have to answer to anyone else other than myself and Donn for what I do all day.  But it hasn't been all about laying around and reading or playing on my phone - we go to the boat just about every single day and get *something* done.  Whether it's cleaning, prepping for mast removal/haulout, or wrapping our heads around the extensive list of stuff we want to get done in the next two months - we've been working steadily since we've been here and it's only going to get busier starting next week.  I struggle a bit with some anxiety around all this, hoping I'm able to do my part even though I will be learning how/what to do every step of the way.  

I'm embedded in this odd limbo world - we've left our old life, but not yet started the journey.  Lots of work between now and then.  But I keep reminding myself - it's like any other project I've ever taken on - be it theater or day job.  One step at at time.  The goal is just there, on the horizon, within reach.  

Friday, December 23, 2016

Weapons as Security

Written by: Donn

I have written about security and firearms before.

There are no firearms aboard Brigadoon, nor are there any plans for them in the future.

“Well,” the internet forum user responds, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.”

Good justification. I like the succinct quality. The brevity, almost lacking in foundation of thought…but I digress into criticism where the reasonable thing to do would be to offer my well-thought-out reasoning to support my position.

First, a little credentialism or, as reasonable people like to say, “establishing the context and the experience of the speaker.” Note that this is not speaking from authority. It’s the experiences I’ve gained that formed my decision, not the titles I held or the places I served.

I’m as experienced and comfortable with firearms as I need to be. I learned to hunt at thirteen years of age, maintained expert weapons qualifications scores in the military, scored at the top of my class in the police academy, shot expert in Army qualifications before being deployed to Iraq as a private security contractor, along with training private security in general and advanced defensive tactics.
So, former military, LEO, mercenary and instructor. This informs but part of my decision, along with the opinions and experience of my First Mate and partner, Kerry. She is also experienced and comfortable with firearms, having worked in armed security in the past. This is from where our opinions are formed.

So, while there have been in the past, there are no firearms aboard Brigadoon, nor are there any plans for them in the future.


We have come to the decision that the complications far outweigh the potential benefits.

If I chose to carry I’d have to:

·   Declare the firearms in every port, to every customs official. I’m smart but, foreign jails are full of people who thought they were smarter than local customs folks when they thought their hidden weapons/drugs wouldn’t be found.
·       Change my cruising plans, and miss perfectly safe destinations due to their laws.
·       Deal with each individual country’s views and laws for firearms, some of which may put me and my crew at legal risk. “Billy? Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”
·       Ensure that the firearm is properly maintained in a salt water environment.
·       Ensure that the ammunition is properly stored for a salt water environment.
·       Ensure that the firearm is properly stored to protect it from theft.
·       Ensure that every single person on board who has access to the firearm is fully trained and competent in its use.
·       Understand and accept that the mere presence of the firearm means that it is there to be used, misused, lost, or stolen. Three of those four are unacceptable.
·       Understand and accept that it may become common knowledge that we have firearms aboard.  People do talk at ports ya know, especially if you check in with a nice semi-automatic or two, and have the port officials hold your weapon.
·       Understand and accept that our firearm may not necessarily protect us from people that want those firearms, our other possessions or us.
·       Understand and accept that, by the time one of us is pulling the trigger, and possibly taking the life of another, we better have taken countless steps in order not to get here – that is; shooting someone.

There are many steps we can take to mitigate risk to ourselves and our vessel.

A firearm does not need to be one of them.

More Reading if you are intersted:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Casting Off

I wanted to put this in here, to make it official.

We are both gainfully unemployed, have left our slip in Tacoma's Foss Harbor, and are headed north for Port Townsend.

In Port Townsend, we plan on a final refit (standing rigging, prop and rudder inspection, new wind vane and other incidentals) before the spring.

I will publish my first novel in February.

In April we head for the San Juans, then to Alaska. Kerry keeps talking about Kodiak Island and, if I can get her there, I will.

In August we return to Pt. Townsend for a final visit before we head west out the strait and make a left. That will have us bound for Mexico, the South Pacific and the rest of the world.

I had to get that all down because it sure seems this is actually happening.

Brigadoon ran great and here we sit, the first night out, snug at the dock on Blake Island, fending off nosy rangers and trash pandas.

Here we go.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

All we have been doing...

This will give you an idea of boat work.

Rebuilt old shower sump, re-engineering system and relocating pump.

Added an ultra-sonic (Kerry calls it Super-Sonic) hull cleaning system. Yes, so far it seems to be working. Our hull is staying cleaner than our neighbors.

This included four transponders that were affixed to the hull with epoxy.

Rebuilt the Pilot House steering system.
Spent days chasing a coolant leak that basically amounted to a chafed heat exchange hose to the water heater.

Removed our old holding tank converting the usable space to sto

Scrubbed and cleaned the teak decks. I still think there is life in this deck.

Stripped all the moldy Teak Oil and blistered Cetol off the caprails, teak topsides and cockpit. This is Semco Teak Sealer in Gold Tone.

All the gold leaf is complete, including the cove stripe.

Upgraded the Bimini so...

We were able to add solar. This is a 200 Watt Renogy kit with controller.
Built a new deck box out of teak spa mats ordered from Amazon.
This was my beautiful overhead. Unfortunately, it hid a few small leaks.

Tore the entire head liner out so I could get to things.

Rebed the staysail tracks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Moral responsibility

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Simple Lessons I've Learned

By Kerry Christianson

So last week we got away from our home dock and went wandering a bit.  We stayed on a friend's mooring buoy one night, but otherwise chose to stay in marinas, including Bell Harbor, Port Ludlow, and Blake Island.  We had great experiences in all three, but as I watched other boaters coming and going around us, I realized I have learned lessons that seem obvious to me now, but somehow aren't always practiced by others.

When I was on my trip a couple of years ago with Linda Lewis from Blind Channel to Anacortes on her 45 foot trawler, she taught me many things about safe practices arriving at and leaving from a dock.  One thing she taught is that the person handling the lines should never have to "jump" off the boat.  The person at the helm should be able to get the boat close enough for the line handler to step off the boat safely.  Then, once I'm off, I can starting tying up the boat based on wind, current, etc., as the Skipper and I have discussed beforehand.  It can be fun to experiment with tying down lines in such a way that allows the skipper to use the line(s) to snug the boat into the slip.  Then once you're secured well enough, you both can adjust and add lines as needed to get fully settled in.

Last Sunday, as I made my way back from the shower in Port Ludlow, I noticed a large powerboat had its engine on and the Skipper was taking his place at the helm.  As I passed their finger pier, I noticed the bow line was off and thrown up onto the boat, and two women were still on the dock.  One was starting to climb aboard, and the other was finishing up by removing the remaining two dock lines from the cleats.  Meanwhile the Skipper shouts that everyone should be aboard, once, twice, and three times before she was able to actually get on board.  The wind was blowing the boat (gently) off the dock and she just about tripped on a cleat as she headed for the boat ladder to climb aboard.  Internally I just shook my head.  This is such an easy thing to avoid.

When preparing to leave the dock, remove all additional dock lines that aren't needed to hold the boat steady for the last few minutes while you prepare to depart.  Then the two (or three) lines that are still attached (usually bow and stern) should be run from the boat, down to the dock cleat or bull rail and *back* to the boat.  This allows for all crew to be on board the boat before leaving.  Now the Skipper and crew will determine which line to release first, based on current and wind conditions.  Once that line has been pulled back into the boat, proceed to the final line to bring it aboard also.  No one needs to be standing on the dock to release the lines!  Easy, huh?  After that I stand at the ready with a boat hook, just in case.  Once we're safely out of the dock area, I start putting away fenders and lines.  I wish more people would think through these things - it makes it all safer and easier for everyone.  Thank you Linda, for being my teacher - hopefully I'll be able to pass along a few pearls of your wisdom.