Sunday, July 27, 2014

Little touches on little boats

Finished organizer


If you are like us, we always have little "things" getting lost. Car keys, glasses, wallets, cell phones, Carmex and pens all seem to find their way to the far corners of the boat. To solve this problem, we adapted an idea we have used when on a cruise ship. We take a plastic shoe over the door organizer and fill it with sunscreen, jewelery, cell phones, nail, polish (ok you get the idea). For our boat, we created a small organizer for the side of the companionway using the pocket idea. We taped a few pieces of paper together to make a template of the empty space. Then we laid out all the small items we wanted to keep track of and allocated spaces for each item.

We happened to have an old sail laying around, so we used a piece if it for the back and pockets. The top of each pocket was turned over and stitched with a zig-zag stitch. The next step found me a bit puzzled until I remembered how to make a pleat. The pockets needed to have some depth and after a bit of experimenting, I found the right combination. It really wasn't very hard to do, although I wasn't confident of it's design until it was finished. The pockets were placed on the back and stitched around the three remaining sides. A pleat was sewn into the bottom, one on the small pockets and two on the bigger ones. The outside edge was covered with a binding made from of the material left over from the interior cushions. That Janome sewing machine sure knows how to plow through several layers.

Sewing on the binding

We used 3M removable stickie hooks to secure the organizer to the companionway. This required sewing buttonholes to accept the hooks. You could also use stainless steel canvas snaps that wouldn't need any extra sewing. This idea can be easily adapted to any size "wall" and you could get creative with material choices and contrasting thread colors.

The entire project took about an hour from start to finish.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Perfect Weekend

Mike picked a perfect time to take a Friday off.

We started out Thursday with our now traditional nachos and music at Nau-tiGal's. Matt and Kelly joined us "because it was too beautiful out not to". We marveled at the acoustic guitar player's talents while sitting outside where there was just enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. Oh yea, and we could just walk across the street to our boat when we were done!

Friday morning Mike got up and got his work out in, while I.......slept in of course! It wasn't too long after he returned before we were cruising out the channel to open water. It was a gorgeous day, but not much for wind. I was at the tiller trying to eke out any kind of forward motion without much success. I spotted some ripples farther out on the lake, Mike motored us over, and our sailing weekend began!

Tenny Park

We had a tackless sail to the far end of the lake where we tied up to the dock and walked up the street for a cold one and dinner. Only one problem...the entire block was out of electricity. Good thing for us the restaurant we chose still had a cold beer in the frig for Mike and a vodka and lemonade for me (their margarita slushy machine needed electricity). After about 15-20 minutes the power came back on and we had a relaxing and refreshing dinner.

After we walked back to the boat, we had a brisk five mile sail back to the union. Unfortunately, the docks were very busy and our sailboat didn't stand a chance snagging a spot before one of several power boaters snuck in ahead of us ( but that's a story for another day). The featured band was hip hop anyway, so we took an early departure for our anchorage at Picnic Point. The mosquitoes "greeted" us, so we set anchor and closed up shop as quickly as possible. Mike had downloaded the premiere episode of Black Sails, a pirate TV series to his ipad. It had the typical swashbuckling sword fights and cannon fire along with some racy women. The blood and guts proved to be too much for me as I woke in the middle of the night from a dream of pirates trying to board our boat! No more pirate movies for me!

Saturday we upped anchor after a quick breakfast and sailed for the rest of the day! It was a beeeauuuuutiful day. The winds were perfect. The skies were clear. And the thermometer hovered in the upper 70's. This was the kind of day we had been waiting for all summer.

We anchored out for supper and a little fishing practice while listening to the frat house music. We were treated to a rare, but spectacular, bright red sunset! The Union docks started clearing out about 9, so we ducked in for some Babcock ice cream. The ice cream was awesome, but the live rap music was something we could do without. Time to set the anchor for the night back at Picnic Point after putting in roughly 25 miles under sail. Why is it that when we are home we can't stay awake past 9, but when we are sailing, we never seem to get the anchor down before midnight?

Sunday we slept in, sailed off of our anchor and didn't stop until we were back at our slip around 2. We had perfect winds again so we decided to play a little bit. We tried to hove-to (see previous post) without much success and experimented with the whisker pole for the first time on this boat. The winds were perfect for a down wind run, so Mike took the opportunity to bask in the sun while lounging on the bow. Good view for me!

Once back at the slip we started to do some boat projects, but were saved when we got a call from Jim and Joni. They stopped by to watch the boat traffic parade with us. Shortly thereafter, Michelle and Dan parked their power boat in the empty slip next to us and joined us for a bit. We weren't quite ready for the day to be done, so it was off to Nau-ti-gal's for "linner" (that's Joni speak for lunch/dinner). It was a nice way to end a perfect weekend!


To Hove Or Not To Hove

Mike recently had a chat with a sailing buddy, George, who mentioned a couple that never hove-to their sailboats. George single hands quite often and finds hove-to invaluable and couldn't understand their reluctance to try it. We have practiced and used this technique of "parking" our boats for breaks or adjustments on each of our previous boats. We realized that we hadn't tried this on the O'Day yet and decided to correct that shortcoming.

This weekend we made several attempts to get the O'Day to settle into the hove-to position. We tried adjusting the main, foresail and rudder to no avail. We tried it on two different days with light winds one day and moderate winds the second. Each time we got it into position it would slowly rotate until the balance was gone. We were frustrated since we have always been able to get our previous boats to cooperate in this important manuever.

Any ideas out there? Is this common on the O'Day 25?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July Weekend

We started our weekend on Thursday afternoon by meeting Matt and Kelley at the Nau-ti-gal restaurant for live music, great food and maybe a couple of beverages. They had a really fun two man band playing oldies which started our weekend just right. The kids picked up their two dogs and we hopped aboard the O'Day for some sailing and fireworks.

We motored out just as the sun was setting and made it to the main lake just in time to sail directly at a fireworks display. We sailed across the lake watching the show which was awesome. The night sailing was beautiful, so we decided to sail for a while before finding a spot to anchor. There were only three or four other sets of boat lights that were still on the water. About midnight we thought we heard some guys shouting, but we figured some kids were just partying on Picnic Point which was up wind of us. We continued to sail for a few minutes and then decided we better at least sail in the direction of the voices to make sure nothing was wrong. As we sailed toward Picnic Point the silhouette of a power boat came into view and the boys were laughing and shouting for help. They had run out of gas and need a tow. They wanted us to tow them back to their slip which was about 4 1/2 miles away, but with just a little 9.9 HP outboard we offered to tow them over to the Memorial Union piers which were about a mile away. They were happy with that and our little Johnson putt-putted them safely to the piers and some awaiting friends. We sailed back to Picnic Point and finally set the anchor about 1 a.m.

Friday the kids swam the dogs ashore for a potty break and then had a simple breakfast on board. One of Mike's co-workers came by to pick Mike and Matt up for a fishing lesson. The ladies read and napped while the boys learned a few fishing tricks from a true fisherman. We sailed over to the Memorial Union for live music and food. A pitcher of beer or two may have been involved. Another co-worker of Mikes arranged to meet us at the slip later to watch the fireworks from our sailboat. We ended up with Mike's mom, Matt, Kelley, Michelle, Dan, Brenda and Mike all aboard for the fireworks. We met our friends the Domasks at the slip to motor over to a good viewing spot for the Maple Bluff fireworks display. The fireworks were good, but the show had several issues such as long delays, fireworks going off too close to the ground and an abrupt ending without a grande finale. Oh well, it was still pretty and fun. The wind came up enough to sail slowly back to the pier, so we set the sails and glided across the water. The local fireworks going off all around the lake combined with the always spectacular night view of the Capitol Building made it a special night for everyone. Mike's mom had never sailed (she needed two Dramamine pills) with us and really enjoyed the magic of night sailing.

Matt and one of his catches

Kelley, Matt, Mike

We (Brenda and Mike) sailed over to Picnic Point again to anchor up for the night. It was well after midnight when we got to bed. We are too old for these late nights. Here is a picture of the gorgeous sunrise we were treated to the next morning.

We slept in and then went out sailing in the strong winds that had come up mid-morning. It was some challenging sailing which is fun for a while, but eventually it becomes tiring. We sailed back over to the Union for a break, which turned out to be a long one. We relaxed on the boat, listened to music, napped, and watched the fire trucks and ambulances deal with a couple of issues along the shore. One drunk pulled from the water and one really drunk lady who fell back into her power boat just 100 feet from us. One severe hangover and one broken ankle were the damages for the day.

Memorial Union


We walked up to State Street for supper which is always interesting. We try to sample a new restaurant each time we go there and we still haven't been to them all. This time we sat outside at a new spot called 608. The food was really tasty and the outside seating treated us to non-stop people watching. Anyone who has ever spent time on State Street will tell you that people watching there is great entertainment.

We walked back to our slip and pulled out our lawn chairs, blankets and Muscato wine to listen to the next live band and view more fireworks around the lake. This sailing is a tough business. Since Brenda was falling asleep we motored out to an anchorage and fell asleep immediately. Another rough day in a sailor's life?

Sunday we tried to sail, but the winds just didn't want to come out and play. It started to drizzle a little rain on us, so we decided it was time to pack it in. The ol' Johnson revved up and we motored back to our slip in the channel. We cleaned up some of the mess on and in the boat from the busy weekend and then packed up a few items to take home.


Another awesome weekend of friends, family, music, food, fireworks and sailing. We can't ask for more than that.