Friday, March 11, 2011

The S/V Pirogie

I think my dad had one glass of whiskey too many one night, or maybe he was just inspired by Naomi and I's purchase of the NIcholas Allen, but either way sometime in december he bought a Bayliner Buccaneer on E-Bay for 650 dollars. IN WASHINGTON. good deal, bad location. Well, lucky for us, i just so happend to know some people who needed a boat, and although it is small, the price was right, and my friends Tom and Mel agreed to take on the lucky little dumpling they dubbed "the Pirogie" (Toms ukranian).

Great, yeah, except that its in the middle of the winter, well we happend to get a good little window of weather there last weekend, so the three of us went down and brought her up from Everett. Winds were mostly light, but we put the sails up anyway, and had a pretty good ol' time motorsailing up the saratoga channel the first day. We had a beautiful evening, and nice warm night with the heater on tied up at the oak harbor marina.

This beautiful little Pete Culler designed motor launch lives there too, and we had a peek under the hood to see what powers it, a perkins 4-108 diesel. Beautiful Little boat

the next day we got up at 6 and motored up through the canal past la Conner which was great, I loved seeing all the boats, and then refueled in Anacortes. This steel schooner in Anacortes is a commercial fishing boat from Oregon, can we hear a loud HELL YES for Working SAil!!!

I wont say that WE were drunk the whole time, but Mel did open a bottle of wine with lunch, and the only polite thing to do was to join her, cant let the lady drink alone after all. We had some fun in the afternoon beating into the wind up to Lummi island, and just as we were passing the northern end the coast guard came alongside and boarded us. They were pleased with our preparedness, and just wanted to check to see if we had all the necessary safety equipment. It was getting a little choppy though, and they actually slammed right into us as they were leaving and Tom later discovered they broke one of the internal bulkheads loose. We went back to Lummi point and waited for the wind to die down. Just before dark we resumed our trip and made it to Sandy Point, where we tied up to a darelict dock. Tom and i set about the difficult task of drinking the remaining beer, (there was something like 15 of them) and mel slept a solid 11 hours.

I was exhausted and cold, but luckily we woke up at dawn and enjoyed a beautiful sunny high pressure day of motoring all the way past Point Roberts and into the mouth of the Fraser. We tied up in Steveston, and Tom called customs. They came right down, and investigated the boat, luckily we had all our ducks lined up for them, because they thought for sure we were trying to swindle them in some way, they couldnt believe the value of the boat, but it all checked out, and they must have thought we were pretty clever kids. We celebrated in the way we know best, by eating pizza and drinking too much!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Planting in Revelstoke

After years and years of rapping on the block, Dan finally helped me produce this music video about tree planting, I hope everybody likes it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Nicholas Allen

Some time around last Halloween, Naomi and I bought the 40' Ferrocement cutter the "Nicholas Allen". We had been shopping around for a live aboard size sailboat for years, and were actually pretty close to buying the "Dos Amores", a 60' steel ketch, that needed extensive work, when we discovered the "Nikki Al", as we call her, for sale, and snatched her up. She was built sometime in the 70s, possibly in Eugene Oregon, to a design by Patrick Cotten, and spent most of her life tied to a dock as a live aboard up in Puget sound somewhere. We bought her from a really nice guy by the name of Gordon who owned her for under a year and put a bunch of work into her, as well as fitting her out with all sorts of useful stuff. Thanks Gordon, good luck NOT buying another boat! This blue ones the "Dos Amores"

The Nicholas Allen has a running MWM 4 cylinder diesel engine in her, with a twin disc transmission. MWM stands for motoren werk mannheim, and they have been making diesels pretty well since they were invented. The original manuals, and spare parts catalog and everything came with the boat, and i've been brushing up on my German reading them, which is good, because i have the vocab of a 3rd grader! The alternator on the engine seems kind of weak though, its impossible to actually read what it says on there, so Naomi splurged and bought a brand new Honda generator, which pretty much rules. The boat came all set up with a Heart Interface Inverter/charger, so we have lots of options, A/c and D/c.

The mast is steel, it tapers, and all the cleats and fittings are welded to it, same for the boom, and all the rigging is stainless. Somebody spent a fortune back in the 70s building this thing, and not a second goes by that we don't appreciate it. Its very cool to climb the mast and stand in the crows nest!

Gordon must have been paranoid about anchoring out, good thing for us, because he set the boat up with 400 feet of bbb chain that is also high tensile, that runs through a simpson/lawrence 555 manual windlass and has a 50 kg bruce anchor on one end and is bolted to the keel on the other. The sampson post is also stepped right down to the keel, and we have tons of extra chain, rode, and anchors. Very robust ground tackle.

The boat itself is Ferrocement, and before we bought it we had Matt, whom we had just met, dive and inspect the bottom, which seems to have no major faults, though it has evidently been a good long time since its been out of the water. Thats Matts boat the Ulanah, which he just spent the winter in the Aleutian islands aboard! I know, not my idea of a winter cruising destination either, there must have been a girl involved!

Anyway, the decks are plywood on laminated fir deck beams, and there are some spongy spots, and in particular there was tons of water seeping in along the gunwales pretty much right around the boat. It being winter, it rains a lot, and the whole inside of the boat was wet. We temporarily cured that problem by covering the entire gunwale with roofing mastic, as well as removing some stanchions and sail tracks, and gooping those as well. The inside of the boats hull had carpet glued to it, seems crazy to me, and it was all soaking wet and covered in mold. it even had mushrooms growing out of it in places. we removed all of that which was a ton of work, as well as all the old moldy ceiling panels and styrofoam insulation, and have started re-insulating with polystyrene foam. Now it actually stays fairly dry inside, especially if we have the Dickinson stove running.

Most of the heat escapes out the pilot unless we have the door closed and a curtain up, but our friend Drew just sold us a small diesel heater that we are going to put in the aft cabin, so we can warm it as well. With all the little projects and things to do on the boat we've only actually had her out sailing one time, and it was really light wind, but sure was fun, I cant wait till summer. The boat is only 40 feet long, but its actually quite large. Its full keeled, 14 feet wide, and bridge decked, so there's standing room from stem to stern. The aft cabin is huge, and there's tons of storage, so really it is the ideal boat for us. The fact that its Ferrocement is the only thing that kept it in our price range because we could easily tear it apart and sell the components for more than we paid for the boat. Nothing generates more controversy in the boat world it seems than ferrocement. Everyone I've met that actually owns one though swears by it. Well see, i cant wait to get the boat out of the water!

Still more SEAWEED

Sometime before next summer I'm going to modify the seaweed so that the engine sits in the canoe, with the leg sticking out a well in the back, and at the same time I will put a skeg near the back, and have a good size fin rudder behind the engine. This should help make it more controllable while sailing as well. When i built the canoe, my reasoning was that it being perfectly rectangular in section would give it all the tracking and leeway reducing properties it needed, and i figured that a long oar pivoting from the platform would be like a giant lever, and give sufficient steerage. The oar does work well for turning the boat quickly with a sweeping motion, but it just flexes and deflects, and losses its bite for actual steering. Its hard to get any work done on the boat right now though because its freezing all the time, the boat is at anchor, and we spend all our time on the other boat.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This is the official introduction post for Oliver. Oliver is a Chihuahua crossed with a Havanese. He weighs about 9 pounds, and as you can see he has the short coat and the erect pointed ears of the chihuahua, but most of his other attributes come from the havanese, such as the longer leg, body, and snout. Also his temperament is more havanese, he is extremely playful and athletic, although he does get the shakes, like chihuahuas do, when hes nervous. Amazingly, he is nearly silent, he only ever barks when someone comes to the door.

Hes also affectionate and loves to play fetch. Best of all is his small size, which makes him the perfect boat dog, and theres nothing he likes better than standing at the bow of the zodiac, running down false creek at full speed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MORE seaweed

Heres a few shots in Heriot Bay, Quadra Island, from Andre. It looks fun, but that "wet" didn't go away. Also, whats known as the capacitor discharge ignition module on our outboard packed it in, so while we waited for parts we hitched rides on other boats up to "Surge Fest" in Surge Narrows on Read island.

Well worth it, we saw Old Mans Beard, from Salmon Arm, play as well as other local legends like Miss Emily. Fun was had and the most extravagant hippie potluck of my life.
It was my mission for the summer to get up into the Johnstone Straight, but we never made it any further north than here, I considered the summer a failure due to this, but at least I was able to get back Andres' pot lid I dropped overboard in the bay! A small success.