Fiddlybits

June / ? - Aug / ?

2004

We sailed and we sailed and we didn't get very far..

Summer sailing season is running by, so we dropped doing projects and did as much sailing with the kids as possible. Luckily we were able to get the boat in good enough shape to have some fun with it. Little projects were finished up here and there as time permitted.

Pulled the dink out of the basement. Its been rotting down there for years. Never thought it would float again but, doesn't hurt to try. Bought a pump and inflated the poor thing. It leaked, a lot. It was just about in the trash when I noticed that the biggest leak was actually a valve missing its cap. Stole a cap from another valve and waddya' know? It still holds air!

Notice it says "No Torrows" on the side? Julie wrote that on there back in '92. ( I bet she'd been drinking beer. ) I've been teasing her about "No Bulls" ever since.

The outboard engine is still in the "Should I just toss this?" phase. I don't know if its worth fixing. Its a 2˙HP Honda and every bolt holding the casing together sheared off when I started pulling it apart to clean it up.

Anyone have a small outboard that works that they want to get rid of?


A little acetone and the sides cleaned up nicely. Should have cleaned up the entire thing but, being lazy..

Anyway, no longer can Julie be teased about misspelling our boat's name. The West Marine logo washed off as well, so I stuck on a couple Banderlog stickers. Looks factory fresh!


Time for the new name. This time we made up some stencils using the computer. Pretty slick tools one has available these days. Cutting them out was my job..


Filling in the letters was a job for the kiddies. Allie and I held the stencil in place and drew the outlines. Then they took some permanent markers and went at it.

Turned out great!


We spent a week on the boat in the marina. The kids loved having their own craft to explore the harbor. Kept them busy for hours. Tuckered them all out paddling too.

During the week on the boat we used afternoon's for sailing instruction and boat stuff. This took place while Julie was at work. Coiling lines, tying cleats, working on how to get the boat "ready for sea". (Cleaning) Then sometimes we'd take the sailboat out on the estuary with just the main up for some hands on practice.

One of the things we did that week was to take the kids on their first over nighter at Angel Island. They had a blast. I get stressed tied to them buoys in Ayla cove. Most everyone had two, we had one. We swing, they don't. Will we end up crashing into someone at 1 AM?

Everything worked out fine. The kids loved exploring the buildings on the island. All in all it was a great time.


- S l o w l y - the kids are getting used to sailing. Unfortunately I never think to get pictures when we actually are sailing so there's not much to show. One thing that comes across loud and clear is that it takes a lot longer than you'd think to get kids seaworthy. At least its taking a lot longer than I thought it would.

Here's Allie draggin' her feet in the water off the back of Angel Island.


Crew shirts!

I'm quite proud of these! Yet another gimmick to keep the crew interested. That and I had no end of fun making them. The front has a No Tomorrows crew stamp on it..

I'm glad I did finish 'cause they turned out great!

They also work great for bribing boat workers.

The back has a picture of No Tomorrows on it...

Look at that detail! What you are seeing here is an anatomically correct J./35. I scanned the old blue J/35 brochure and made it into a line drawing by tracing it by hand with the computer. It took days! I'd never have finished, except Allie bugged me every night to do more work on the boat picture.


"Potato Chip Sailing". Sunny day, snacks in hand. Even non-sailers are having a good time..

Brochures show sailing like this. They also show wine glasses on the saloon table. So unrealistic, within about 10 minutes we sailed into "The Slot" and Zoom Bam crash away we go! So much for snacks and light conversation.

When I decided to buy this boat I'd been sailing a Cal T/2 for about 4 years on the SF Bay. One of the criteria I'd come up with during that time was that you had to be able to clean out the interior of a sailboat with a garden hose. The SF Bay is rough and the odds of getting a fair about of the bay downstairs is pretty high. This meant no carpet and no headliners. The J/35 fit the bill to a "T".


Who says a 4 year old can't drive a boat?

I say that's who! But at least she's still interested at the end of the sailing season. This is Shelby driving as we motor down the Alameda/Oakland estuary for a day sail. She wanted to drive so what the heck have at it kid.


Dan's showing an amazing improvement. In this shot he is actually sailing to weather using the jib tell tails. First time for this. I tend to rough him up when his attention wanders. Poor kid, how many eight year olds can concentrate longer than 30 sec? I gotta relax on the boy.


Autopilot Al. She's the only one of the kiddies that can keep the boat on any sort of a course when motoring. Here we're motoring back from a day on the bay.

The important thing about this picture is that this was taken after the wildest day on the bay these kids have experienced so far.

We were trying to get under the Golden Gate and there was just too much wind. I pumped up the back stay and ground everything in tight. But the 'Ol sails just ain't what they used to be and we didn't have ten or so crew on the rail to keep things flat. We were doing Ok and I figured it would ease up once we were under the gate. But then I sailed too close to the Sausalito side and got caught where the wind piped up around the corner. About this time Shelby barfed on the settee.. We tried to tack back north where things were lighter and ended up putting the windows in the green water a couple times..

Julie's driving, I'm running around trying to get the sails set for the new tack and we get knocked flat again. Standing on the cockpit side Julie's yelling in my ear "Just crack off! We're not racing!" I look down at my bleeding finger..

"Yeah, ok" And kick out the main sheet. (It jams so hard that it has to be kicked.) Off we go on a wild power reach across the city front. That part was fun. We brought the kiddies up to watch.

I was really afraid that I'd scared the kids from the boat completely on this run. We'd shoed them below when the wind piped up and I didn't know how they'd taken it. Luckily Dan rebounded in about 3 minutes and came out to ride in the cockpit on the ride home. Allie (Above) chimed in to drive down the estuary when we were motoring back. The next morning they woke up and played "Sailboat" which consisted of a lot of yelling and jumping on their beds. Whew! Still on track.

Completely my fault. I should have reefed and I knew it at the time. I'd been stupid and nearly gotten us in over our heads. I have to change my outlook on sailing. I'm not racing, I'm just hauling kids from one place to another.

In conclusion:
At this point I guess the refit is pretty much finished. I finally got the alternator working, bought a sail cover when our old one fell apart. There's still a propane system to build, and lot of cleanup. But, like I said in the beginning of this story, we were poor to begin with. Now we're broke. Oh well, we do have a working boat again and the kids sure had a lot of fun on it this summer. So did the grown ups for that matter.

In the end, its a lot more fun being broke with the sailboat than without it.

Hope you enjoyed the refit!

-jim lee

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